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Monday, September 20, 2004

The Road to Hell

About a lifetime ago, I had been slated, with a friend, to perform in a student film the child of an acquaintance was making. On the assigned day, my friend turned out to be sick with the flu. However, since I was doing without an automobile in those days, he very generously allowed me to borrow his car so that I could make the shoot. Everything went fine with the taping, which was followed by lunch at an Atlanta landmark called Manuel's Tavern. At the end of lunch, I went out to the car only to discover that the keys were still in the ignition switch and the doors were locked. Unfortunately, the most logical way of retrieving said keys was to call my friend, rouse him from his sick bed, and have him come down with the spare set to unlock the door. Which is what I did.

Having been such a bonehead put the thought in my mind that there was a good plotline in someone unwittingly disturbing a sick friend. At first, I thought it would do well as the main storyline of the sketch comedy show we were working on at the time, but as that concept died, so did the need for more storylines.

The thought kept with me, though, and when I started writing the Jerry and George scripts it bobbed back up to the surface. I wanted a third script out of these characters and I could see it with Jerry sick and George trying to help him. To add another level, I thought of doing a double parody by having Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in an adaptation of Dante's "Divine Comedy" called "The Road to Hell." I figured that it could be a movie shown on some classic movie channel and that it seems to be on the TV everywhere the boys go.

This script took a while to write, though. I started it off and wrote three or four pages before it stopped dead. After a bit, I decided to put it aside so that I could work on other things while I waited for the whole concept to gel. Everything I tried working on, though, failed to come together. (More of this at another time.)

After a few months had passed, I returned to "The Road to Hell." This time, words came in a torrent. Pages were written at (for me) lightning speed. And all I had to do was to listen to the characters. It's always the simplest answer, n'est pas?

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