Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Youth will not be denied

Today there is some lingering bittersweetness from yesterday's post.

After sheltering in place with us for the last two months, my daughter Abby returned to Denver, back to her apartment and back to the job she loves at 11dollarbill. I will always be grateful to my friends Lisa and Tim for giving her an opportunity and teaching her the ropes. But now I'm jealous, because they have Abby and we don't.

Before she left, she nosed herself into my recently re-organized and reasonably cleaned garage and found a bin of undigitized photos. She yanked this from the bunch and reveled in my hirsuteness and my apparent youth. I think I was 43 in this picture.

Though I have mentioned (and offered free copies to any takers) MADWEEK before, I will permit myself to retell the story of how we, myself, Tom Parker and Jim Jennewein, three struggling writers, collaborated, conspired and constructed a full size 16 page brick and mortar parody magazine of the industry's own ADWEEK.

It took us more than a year to write, collate, print and distribute. If memory serves, it also cost us $5000 of our money. That was in 1989. The equivalent today be $5039 dollars, because let's face it, nobody does print anymore. Money well spent, as I got interviewed by and quoted in the NY Times. Naturally they spelled my name wrong.

It was our first collaboration as a trio, but it was not our last. We had taught ourselves a lot about project management, collaboration, compromise and excessive alcohol consumption. So we smashed our heads together again and decided to write a screenplay. About 8 months into the project, my father passed away and I could not muster the energy to continue past the story development phase.

Jim and Tom did and wrote a fantastic screenplay that, for a hot summer week in 1992, generated a supernova's worth of heat. Major studios were bidding on it like a frenzied scene from Shark Week. I'll never forget coming home from dinner with my wife, turning on the answering machine to the giddy and already sodden voices...

"Rich, Rich, we did it...(giggling and laughing)...We did it.....Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!....we sold the screenplay....Ahhhhhhh!!!!....we sold the screenplay...where are you? ....you have to get over here....Now!...we sold the screenplay...and bring more champagne."

And that's exactly what Deb and I did. We hopped in a cab and headed to Jim's place in Marina Del Rey. We drank that night until the sun came peeking through the curtains.

Two years later, we gathered in Westwood at the Bruin Theater for the world premiere of the movie, which many now regard as the launch of Peter Hyam's incredible foray into comedy movie making.

Maybe this will jog your memory...

Bonus material which I had never seen until this moment, movie posters from the international markets.  The B&W one from Germany is my favorite. 

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