Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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bat-rss
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Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by bat-rss » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:12 am

Yes, it's a draft-- or rather, THREE drafts at various stages -- of what became DEATH IN SLOW MOTION/THE RIDDLER'S FALSE NOTION!

As mentioned on our most recent TO THE BATPOLES episode, our schedule is a little different here because, among other reasons, we're trying to build up a stock of episodes to avoid going on another hiatus later. So while our episode on these scripts won't go up until November, we're going to be recording around mid-October. More info on that later in this thread when we have our recording date set. Comment ahead of that time and we may quote your post on the podcast. Enjoy!

First draft
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ua9wg50z8aygk ... t.pdf?dl=0

Second draft
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tzu9w6srkiyh6 ... T.pdf?dl=0

Polished version
https://www.dropbox.com/s/aqqpdm7ud9sx8 ... T.pdf?dl=0
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Keith Mayo
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Keith Mayo » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:38 am

Any explanation why they changed it from a Joker arc to the Riddler?
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SprangFan
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by SprangFan » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:04 am

I have another question: Why is it called "Death in Slow Motion?" I always have to remind myself that this title applies to "the silent comedy" ep, because my mind wants to make it the Astin Riddler outing, where people actually fight in slow motion because they're under water.

If anything, silent comedies were usually "under-cranked" to play back in fast motion, not slow motion, so I really don't get it.
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Jim Akin » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:38 pm

I love this stuff!

The scene of the pie fight and payroll plunder evidently got named Mother Gotham's Bakery at some point after these drafts were completed, but an annotator (Howie Horwitz?) suggests in a note on Draft 1 that it be described as a large commercial chain, "like Helms."

SoCal board members may be familiar with it, but I never heard of Helms Bakery. The business went defunct soon after Batman left the air, but its name is evidently still associated with a retail complex in Culver City.

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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by robinboyblunderer » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:51 am

bat-rss wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:12 am
Yes, it's a draft-- or rather, THREE drafts at various stages -- of what became DEATH IN SLOW MOTION/THE RIDDLER'S FALSE NOTION!
What a bonanza! Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy reading these! Alternate versions, what could've been. I love Death in the Slow Motion/False Notion but I like the original scripts much better...! More Pauline and Robin interaction, more Pauline overall; never understood why they got her taken out of the story so quickly in the filmed version.

Thanks again for sharing these!

cheers

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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by robinboyblunderer » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:53 am

SprangFan wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:04 am
I have another question: Why is it called "Death in Slow Motion?"
My guess is because it's a good sounding title. It's evocative and while "Fast Motion" fits silent films, in this case the poetic license was the best way to go, in my opinion.

cheers

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Jim Akin
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Jim Akin » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm

Several changes were made to the script between Carr's final polish and production. All were improvements, in my view, and I'm guessing Lorenzo Semple Jr. was responsible for the bulk of them:
  • Gotham Bakery becomes Mother Gotham's Bakery. Just the right touch of commercial fake-folksiness.
  • "Whipped sleeping gas" becomes "sleeping cream." The silliness of "sleeping cream" as a concept, the fact that it only exists in the Gotham City of 1966, and Batman's ability to identify it instantly with an expert sniff all seem like Semple touches to me.
  • Unnamed "Girl" becomes Pauline. Perfect for a starlet appearing in a crooked (and perilous) silent film.
  • Pauline's shepherd's crook becomes a sleeping-gas gun, eliminating her seductive come-on to Robin. Even with treachery in her heart, the Bo Peep character, like Robin, exudes innocence. Sexing up their scene together would've sounded a false note, IMHO.
  • Part one ends on the sawmill scene, not with Robin's abduction. This one seems like a no-brainer in hindsight: The buzzsaw peril, complete with Riddler in mustache-twirling costume, reinforces the silent-movie theme, and the life-or-death stakes make for a true cliffhanger. (Having it turn out that Robin wasn't really in danger even approximated an actual movie-serial "cheat.")
  • Tweaking Robin's high-rise rescue with the bite-the-batarang business, and adding Batman's "dental hygiene" message feel like inspired Semple lunacy.
As to the reasons for adapting "The Joker's Comedy Capers" comic as a Riddler story, I think the silent-movie disguises probably had a lot to do with it. Frank Gorshin's skills at mimicry certainly helped him pull off the Chaplin impersonation, but even if Cesar Romero were capable of an equally impressive imitation, he'd have been hard-pressed, as the tallest guy in every scene, to sell himself as "The Little Tramp." And of course, in the comics Joker's skin really is chalk-white, and make-up and masks are always convincing, but the TV team would have had to negotiate Joker's disguises (as Chaplin and the Snidely Whiplash bad guy) against Romero's customary whiteface and the famous mustache it concealed. If makeup- and prosthetic-based disguises were too unwieldy for clean-shaven Malachi Throne as False Face, I don't see how they could have worked with the Joker.

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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Keith Mayo » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:38 pm

Jim Akin wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm
As to the reasons for adapting "The Joker's Comedy Capers" comic as a Riddler story, I think the silent-movie disguises probably had a lot to do with it. Frank Gorshin's skills at mimicry certainly helped him pull off the Chaplin impersonation, but even if Cesar Romero were capable of an equally impressive imitation, he'd have been hard-pressed, as the tallest guy in every scene, to sell himself as "The Little Tramp." And of course, in the comics Joker's skin really is chalk-white, and make-up and masks are always convincing, but the TV team would have had to negotiate Joker's disguises (as Chaplin and the Snidely Whiplash bad guy) against Romero's customary whiteface and the famous mustache it concealed. If makeup- and prosthetic-based disguises were too unwieldy for clean-shaven Malachi Throne as False Face, I don't see how they could have worked with the Joker.

Most detailed and logical answer I've ever gotten. Thanks, Jim!
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Therin of Andor » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:56 pm

Jim Akin wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm
Unnamed "Girl" becomes Pauline. Perfect for a starlet appearing in a crooked (and perilous) silent film.
Yep, to namedrop 1914's "The Perils of Pauline" serial.
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by chrisbcritter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:33 am

Jim has covered a lot of things I noticed as well - although to me the idea of Pauline giving the answer to the "bonnet" makes more sense (She still could have gassed him with the crook).

The second and third rewrites do have a bit of dialogue that is missing in the finished version:
dism script 9.jpg
This leads in to the part that was kept:
dism script 11.jpg
Also note there was concern about whether or not real actors could be named, especially Buster Keaton in the "dead-pan" riddle; Harold Lloyd isn't mentioned by name in these drafts, but in the final version he is (and Keaton isn't).

And as a connoisseur of pie fights, I'm sorry that the number of pies thrown at the bakery was cut WAY down from the first draft.
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by High C » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:32 am

Jim Akin wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:41 pm
Several changes were made to the script between Carr's final polish and production. All were improvements, in my view, and I'm guessing Lorenzo Semple Jr. was responsible for the bulk of them:
  • Gotham Bakery becomes Mother Gotham's Bakery. Just the right touch of commercial fake-folksiness.
  • "Whipped sleeping gas" becomes "sleeping cream." The silliness of "sleeping cream" as a concept, the fact that it only exists in the Gotham City of 1966, and Batman's ability to identify it instantly with an expert sniff all seem like Semple touches to me.
  • Unnamed "Girl" becomes Pauline. Perfect for a starlet appearing in a crooked (and perilous) silent film.
  • Pauline's shepherd's crook becomes a sleeping-gas gun, eliminating her seductive come-on to Robin. Even with treachery in her heart, the Bo Peep character, like Robin, exudes innocence. Sexing up their scene together would've sounded a false note, IMHO.
  • Part one ends on the sawmill scene, not with Robin's abduction. This one seems like a no-brainer in hindsight: The buzzsaw peril, complete with Riddler in mustache-twirling costume, reinforces the silent-movie theme, and the life-or-death stakes make for a true cliffhanger. (Having it turn out that Robin wasn't really in danger even approximated an actual movie-serial "cheat.")
I agree with all of these, especially the Bo Peep thing. If Pauline were going to come on to Robin, it would have made more sense for her to be in a Clara Bow or Theda Bara type of clothing.

I thought one of the most fascinating annotations was Horwitz saying, 'nowheres near our kind of dialogue' on the first page of the first draft. At this point, early Nov. 1965, they've got the pilot in the can and perhaps nothing else. But the Sempl-ian vision Tim and Paul (and Dan E. Kool) always talk about is clearly the blueprint.

Carr also made a mistake, even in the polish, with having the capture take place at the end and not leaving time for an epilogue. I suspect Dough-zier, likely already musing about syndication, knew darn well those Wayne Manor tag scenes eventually could be excised if need be.

Speaking of which, I wish the scene with Harriet and Dick and the chocolate cake had stayed in. Longtime board members probably have noticed I never discuss personal stuff on the board (just my thing, not saying anyone else shouldn't) but I have to make an exception here. I actually cried reading the scene because my Mom, who died suddenly at 86 in 2016, always would say how if I was happy, then she was happy. For Aunt Harriet to say a thing like that, it briefly lifted her up from befuddled caricature to a flesh-and-blood person, and it was nice. A nice, sweet moment that I wish the show could've given her AND Madge Blake. It would've been a perfect season 1 or 2 tag scene.

Of course, maybe that was the problem. Maybe they already were concerned about how much dialogue Madge could handle in one scene given her apparent penchant for flubbing lines and drying up during takes.
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by bat-rss » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:41 am

We've now scheduled our recording of this script episode for the morning of Oct 15, so please submit your takes on the script here by the 14th for consideration for discussion in the episode. The actual release of the episode will be November 1!

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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by bat-rss » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:24 pm

Sorry, make that November *8* for the release of the episode!

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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by chrisbcritter » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:31 pm

The idea of the "sleeping cream" does make sense if you understand how it would be made: using a blender with an airtight vacuum chamber. Put cream in, vacuum out the air, refill with your favorite sleeping gas formula and whip it good - the gas would stay suspended in the cream.

Or skip the gas and just mix in the powdered stuff used by Sandman, False-Face, and Catwoman.
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Re: Script: THE SILENT FILM CAPERS, by Dick Carr

Post by Jim Akin » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:04 am

chrisbcritter wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:31 pm
The idea of the "sleeping cream" does make sense if you understand how it would be made: using a blender with an airtight vacuum chamber. Put cream in, vacuum out the air, refill with your favorite sleeping gas formula and whip it good - the gas would stay suspended in the cream.

Or skip the gas and just mix in the powdered stuff used by Sandman, False-Face, and Catwoman.
sleep.gif
I'm no expert on chemical weaponry, but I have taken a few pies to the face. I get what you're saying about using sleeping gas as a whipped-cream propellant, but I don't think a pie would be an effective delivery vehicle for an inhalant. A fast-acting agent that could be absorbed through the skin could work, though, and that's just the kind of thing Riddler might concoct.

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