The Year Was 1938 – June 1st

Cecil B DeMille in 1938
  • Paramount can no longer brag about the four name combination of C B Demille, Ernst Lubitsch, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. Only DeMille is left, and he only does one picture a year. [His one for 1939 is ‘Union Pacific.].
  • The picture biz is mulling a national exploitation campaign for September, to make the consumer more film minded. Emphasis – quality pictures, enlisting stars to ballyhoo – via their radio programs (so many have radio venues).
  • Talks stall between actors and producers on proposed amendment to the basic minimum contract.
  • In Germany, Nazis have an edict that all cash in Germany belonging to Jews of any nationality is to be confiscated. Several picture companies with leading execs that are Jewish were tipped that they are targeted. Warners took all of theirs out when Hitler came to power. But Metro, Paramount and 20th Century Fox have considerable cash there. US State Dept protesting. Universal the only company producing in Germany, (nearly kicked out when Hitler came in). UA moved out before the Nazis came in. RKO and Columbia never had much there.
  • ‘Letty Lynton’ victors (Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes) not happy with amount ($587,000) proposed by special master proposed settlement. (See May 11th).
  • At 20th Century Fox – in cutting rooms – Little Miss Broadway (Shirley Temple) and the Mysterious Mr Moto, (directed by Norman Foster with Peter Lorre). And a 14 member crew left yesterday to Canada where they will join those already there for the Dionne quint picture ‘Five of a Kind.’
  • W S van Dyke has returned from Idaho, and has selected locations for exteriors to be shot in Payette Lake and the upper reaches of the Payette River for the MGM produciton of ‘Northwest Passage.’ Col Tim McCoy is staying in Lewiston, ID for negotiations with the Nez Perce Indians for extras.
  • Jeanette MacDonald taking technicolor tests. [Most likely in preparation for Victor Herbert’s ‘Sweethearts.’ MGM’s first film in the three-strip Technicolor process. She only had one film for 1939, ‘Broadway Serenade’]. 
  • Wendy Barrie called back for retakes at Columbia. [For ‘I am the Law’ starring Edward G Robinson].

ON THE MOVE

  • Alfred Hitchcock leaving London for NY on the Queen Mary. Plans to negotiate a deal with David O Selznick to make a film in Hollywood at year’s end. He had signed with Mayflower Pictures (Charles Laughton and Erich Pommer) for their next picture – ‘Jamaica Inn’ – starting in three weeks.
  • Mr & Mrs Darryl F Zanuck leaving NY for London on the Normandie. Zanuck when in Paris, will be made a Commander of the Legion of Honor. 
  • Hal B Wallis to Honolulu.
  • LA to NY – Irving Berlin, Rudolph Mate.
  • Aldous Huxley gandering studios.
  • Ray Bolger is back in town, waiting for the call from MGM to play the part of the Tinman in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
  • A crew from 20th Century Fox has been sent to the Ozark mountain district to scout locations for ‘Jesse James.’
  • Soon as Claude Rains finishes ‘Sister Act,’ he is heading east to his farm in Pennsylvania.
  • Julian Johnson, the 20th Century Fox story editor, leaves tonight for New York. Half vacation – half business, for, while there he will look over the new plays, and scout other story material.

STARS IN OTHER NEWS

  • Judy Garland suffered a wrenched shoulder in a motor crash in Hollywood.
  • Bobby Breen’s parents set up a trust fund for his benefit – to date has earned $105,000. Parents to receive $200/month.
  • Eddie Cantor’s daughter Edna will be married to Jimmy McHugh jr (son of song writer) on 9/18. Will live in Beverly Hills.
  • Stan Laurel and thrice married wife Iliana have parted again. She is going to Vegas for a divorce.
  • C B DeMille a grandfather.
  • Merle Oberon is sued by her attorney Lyle W Rucker for a contract negotiated by him with Selznick Int’l. She was to have received $82,000 to star in an as yet untitled film by January 1937. Evidently the actress had litigation against Selznick regarding this. She never went through with the deal, but the lawyer wanted his percentage (14%).

ITEMS OF INTEREST

  • Talent schools at the studios, not effected by the studio economic reductions, in fact more talent is being using from these schools than ever. At Paramount – Oliver Hinsdell and Harold Helvinston are the heads – 20 young hopefuls in the stock company, training in dramatics, to be advised on dress and studio deportment. At WB, Frank Beckwith, head and Mavina Dunn (voice and diction teacher) – have a stage (to be ready within the week), where they can put on productions – they have a 13 point program, 6 in American technique, 6 in emotional acting from the Russian school, and one course to bridge the two. Also being taught – how to get along with people on the lot, when to give presents and what can and cannot be done. At 20th Century Fox – the talent director is Florence Enright, according to her philosophy there is no difference between acting for stage or screen (prepare for one, good for other). Their key, ndividual attention. Has a camera crew on call for her use, schools her people for particular roles to test for. Has 60 current students (grads – Arlene Whelan, June Lang, Lynn Bari, Robert Allen). At Metro, they have no such school per the desire of the head of talent forces, Bill Grady. Instead they have talent scouts (3 on Coast, 7 in NY) to feed prospects to him and he assesses their possibilities. His asst Glesca Marshall preps them for a reading with Grady. He keeps ahead of producers with future needs and mentally places the young talent needed. He has a staff of specialists – Ruth Roberts – former prof of phonetics at U of MI; Meastro Romani, singing teacher; Lillian Burns – diction & posture; Sidney Guilaroff – hair stylist. He considers stage and film acting different, though legit training an aid. Grady instructs his students in the idiosyncrasies of each director. Recent grads – Dennis O’Keefe, Alan Curtis, Lynne Carver, Ruth Hussey, Anne Rutherford.
  • Bill Robinson leaves next week for a personal appearance tour in the East. This evening he is throwing a benefit at the Lincoln Theater to help 1500 underprivileged kids to summer camp. He has enlisted the help of fellow Fox people – Tyrone Power and Don Ameche.

The Year was 1938 – May 26th

John Wayne in 1939
  • John Wayne was born on this day in 1907, making him 31 years old in 1938. [He toiled all of 1938 at Republic on their Three Mesquiteers series. A big year ahead for him with ‘Stagecoach’ for Walter Wanger, with John Ford directing, opening in January of 1939. Then back to Republic and the ‘B’ westerns].
  • Actress Constance Bennett was sued by portrait artist Willy Pogany, who was trying to be paid for a painting he made of her. He wants $3500, and she countered that it was only worth $500, as it was not done to her satisfaction – the shoulders were too round, and the thigh too large, and the mouth had a curlicue that she did not like. [Bennett was currently doing well in the ‘Topper’ comedies, ahead she only had one film for 1939 – ‘Tail Spin’ with Alice Faye at 20th Century Fox].
  • MGM director W S Van Dyke departed for McCall Idaho today to scout locations for Northwest Passage. Col Tim McCoy will hire 1,000 Nez Perces for work in the film. [Van Dyke is only credited for the background shots for the film].
  • George Brent and Ronald Reagan are set for the top roles at WB for ‘Wings of the Navy.’ Leading lady yet to be set. [George Brent had his lead in the film, but Reagan did not. He was replaced by John Payne. And the leading lady role was taken by Olivia DeHavilland, in this opus for 1939].
  • Director Henry King left in his private plane today for a trip east – St Louis, Miami and New York. On his return he will stop over in Kansas City MO in order to scout locations for his next film for 20th Century Fox – ‘Jesse James.’
  • Columnist Sidney Skolsky goes on about the hefty sums paid for two plays to be made into films – $200,000 for the Kaufman/Hart play “You Can’t Take it with You,” then shooting at Columbia under Frank Capra’s guidance; and $250,000 paid by RKO for “Room Service.” Both had challenges in preparing them for the screen, but probably most problematic was Morrie Ryskind’s task in converting ‘Room Service’ into a Marx Brothers’ movie, instead of a movie of the play. [Ryskind had plenty of practice, having working for the boys on ‘The Coconuts,’  ‘Animal Crackers,’ and ‘A Night at the Opera’].

Ed Sullivan’s quote on the occasion of the premiere of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ at the Carthay Circle Theater – he calls it a smash hit – but then he hears the criticisms come out, and he adds – “…this Hollywood is a strange town, bounded on the north by Malice, on the south by Envy, on the east by Exhibitionism, and on the west by old Virginia ham.”

The Year Was 1938 – May 18th

Zanuck’s strategy for 20th Century Fox
  • Darryl F Zanuck expounds on the biz – some are saying that negative costs must come down to meet a lesser box office take, but he points out that quality films never are made with short budgets. And that is why they are spending more on their films than ever before. He agrees with exhibitors when they say that double billing is a mistake. Little pictures are a good training ground for up and coming actors. He would rather go with his solution – cast the younger players in big pictures (and cites the example of Tyrone Power in ‘Lloyd’s of London’). He intends to gamble on Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Richard Greene and Arlene Whelan. He goes on to give credit to their writers – touting originals, written in “the technique of pictures.” The future of films counts on writers.
  • Twentieth Century Fox cut the vacation allotment for Tyrone Power down to 10 days this summer in order to ease his schedule once ‘Jesse James’ starts shooting.
  • Scat singer, Johnnie Davis is the latest added to the cast of ‘Brother Rat,’ being made for WB. Eddie Albert who had the lead in the NY play takes the lead here too. The leading lady is yet to be selected, between Priscilla Lane and Olivia DeHavilland. Camera crews are now at work shooting exteriors in Virginia at VMI, the film’s setting. [The decision was for Priscilla Lane (or did Olivia say no?). Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman were also added to the cast. Johnnie Davis appeared in four films in 1939, 2 features and 2 shorts].
  • Carole Lombard is building a home for her mom in Brentwood.
  • Edward Small rests at home under a doctor’s care. [The powerhouse independent producer had ‘The Duke of West Point’ for this year, and two for 1939, one of which was ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’].
  • Leon Schlesinger is welcomed by an office party after a long hospital seige. [I can only imagine what that would have been like. Schelsinger was head of the animation unit at WB, so the likes of Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin, Chuck Jones, and voice talent Mel Blanc would have been on hand].
  • Gene Autry starts work back at Republic today after nearly a half year absence.
  • According to Ed Sullivan, “most wigs for the movies are made from human hair from the Balkan and Scandinavian countries.”

SOME SIDE NOTES

  • Howard Hughes planning an around the world flight to promote the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He will bear invitations to the European nations.
  • According to a reporter taking in the shooting of the latest Sonja Henie film at 20th Century Fox, she had to be provided with special socks, costing $35 a pair. Even then she puts runs in them when strained by the leaps she does, running through five pairs a day. The makeup department in preparing her for the day, sprays a glue in her hair to keep her tresses from flying every which way.

ON THE MOVE

  • Hal B Wallis, associate in charge of production at WB, in NY today for business & pleasure, to look over the current stage plays. [Given his position at the company his name is on linked to 47 film for 1939 – 16 credited (including The Old Maid, in which his wife, Louise Fazenda, played a maid), and 31 uncredited].
  • Departing for London from NY on the Normandie – Danielle Darrieux with her husband Henri de Coin, writer-director (though she would like to stay in US, she needed to return to France for her mandatory one film per year, according to French regulations), Brian Aherne, David Niven, Diana Barrymore
  • NY to LA – Billy Halop, Fredric March, Luise Rainer.
  • Arrivals in LA – Olivia DeHavilland, Mr & Mrs Paul Lukas, Lily Pons, Claudette Colbert, John Hay Whitney.

The Year Was 1938 – May 17th

Samuel Briskin
  • Sam Briskin, producer, left RKO last November, being recalled to Columbia to an exec prod post. Had been there between 1926-1934. [Briskin was the real talent behind the successes at Columbia in that earlier period. Cohn lost him over a dispute about the stock options in the company. Briskin could have gone anywhere in 1935 – Fox – MGM – Universal – and wound up at RKO. Cohn got him back at Columbia with a seven year contract and stock options. He was immediately involved in the dispute between the directors and the producers].
  • As part of their economy, Paramount announces they are trimming film budgets and film schedules (cutting 8 weeks to 6). No bidding against rival studios for novels or plays. Tightening in all departments. 
  • RKO now has a writing staff with 38 writers working on 22 scripts.
  • Tailors and seamstresses are busier than they have been for several years, because of a flock of historical films upcoming – for Paramount – 6 (includes ‘Zaza’ for 1939); for WB – 6 (includes ‘Juarez’ and ‘Dodge City’ for 1939); 20th Century Fox – 1; Metro – 1 (‘Northwest Passage’ for 1939). [20th Century Fox actually had many more – ‘Jesse James,’ ‘Young Mr. Lincoln,’ ‘Drums Along the Mohawk’; and the MGM title did not make it into release until 1940. MGM did have ‘Gone with the Wind,’ but not at this point in 1938].
  • Jerry Wald, writer at WB, is going to court to untangle the problem of three agencies claiming to represent him. They are – Zeppo Marx Inc, Myron Selznick & Co and Leland Hayward, Inc. [Wald had four screenplays made into films for 1939, including the gangster film ‘The Roaring Twenties’].
  • Deal in the making between David O Selznick and W C Fields. Selznick tried to borrow him from Paramount before, but was unsuccessful. Now that Fields left Paramount, it is possible that Fields will be in their film ‘Heartbreak Town,’ about the trials of Hollywood moppets. [Sounds like they were trying to capitalize on the Jackie Coogan situation. W C Fields ended up at Universal instead]. (See May 9th)
  • Cecil B DeMille settles with the IRS on a tax bill going back to his 1934 earnings.
  • Robert Pirosh and George Seaton called in to collaborate with Irving Brecher on the script for MGM’s ‘A Day at the Circus,’ the next Marx Bros movie. Brecher started it last week. [Pirosh and Seaton had worked together on Marx Bros films before, and ended with no credit on this one, their only film for 1939 was ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and even that was uncredited; Brecher did get the credit for ‘A Day at the Circus,’ but he also was uncredited for Oz].
  • Gene Autry to draw $10,000 per picture in his new pact. It had been $5000. When he was out due to  his feud with Republic, his side kick Smiley Burnett was assigned to work as Roy Rogers’s sidekick. (Roy was filling in for the missing Autry). [Now what to do about Burnett].
  • Buck Jones sues Republic to restrain the release of their serial ‘The Lone Ranger’ – for imitating those films in which he played a Texas Ranger. On top of that the name of horse was Silver also. [His only film for 1939 had him as a boxer, not a cowboy – ‘Unmarried,’ a remake of a 1932 film – both Paramount].

ON THE MOVE

  • Wesley Ruggles dueling with Paramount on a new contract (to produce and direct) before departing on a European vacation. [He got the contract and did ‘Invitation to Happiness’ for Paramount in 1939].

The Year Was 1938 – May 12th

  • Exhibitors who recently complained about producers paying huge salaries to stars who are Box Office poison, are now complaining about double bills as the root of all evil in the film industry.
  • Strained relations between the producers and directors continues. Frank Capra accuses Zanuck of trying to split the Directors’ Guild and that Zanuck and the pesident of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, Joseph Schenck, have acted for the producers without authority. [I’m not sure how Capra could make that last statement, given that Schenck was the president of the producer organization. Unless perhaps by inference he was trying to divide the two from the other producers, by making it known what they were doing or not doing in the negotiations]. (See May 9th).
  • Stan Laurel as producer releases his western feature ‘Songs and Bullets,’ – director Sam Newfield with Fred Scott, Al St John, and Alice Ardell. Variety pans it. [Laurel has another film (Swiss Miss) with his partner Oliver Hardy coming out this month from Hal Roach. Laurel’s foray into production petered out after his 1939 offering ‘Two Gun Troubador,’ another western with Fred Scott. For the most part here on out, he stays in front of the camera].
  • Shirley Temple is appointed sponsor of National Airmail Week. She is visited on the set of ‘Little Miss Broadway’ for the presentation by acting Postmistress of Los Angeles, Mary D Briggs.
  • Nancy Kelly, a 17 year old actress, is just in from New York and her role in the play ‘Susan and God.’ Feeling very much the new face and lonely her first day on the 20th Century Fox lot, she spotted two actors that she had worked with as a child in films made in New York – Warner Baxter and Jean Hersholt – and felt more at home. [Fox had three films for her in 1939 – Jesse James, Tail Spin, and Stanley and Livingstone].
  • In an article about Clark Gable, it is noted that his girl friend Carole Lombard has a nickname for him – “Moose.” [Once married they began calling each other ‘Pa’ or ‘Ma’].

Rebel Treasure fiftieth post

Rebel Treasure fiftieth post

THE SUPPORT STRUCTURE – LON’S STORY 1866 CONTINUED
The long line of refugees snakes over and under the wooden beams into the crystal chamber where it climbs up the path along the underground stream and into the passageway.

THE GROTTO
Louis watches from the shadows as Lon paces, puffing on a cigar. The last of the forlorn workers pass from the passageway into the grotto, with Jonah on their heels, laying down a gunpowder trail.

JONAH
(saluting)
All done here, sir.

Louis strains to hear their conversation.

LON
Good. The ring tunnel and the vault are locked down. Time to seal this entrance, too.

Louis’ eyes glow with hatred, his hand gripping the hilt of his knife. His discipline breaks, and he charges them. He catches Jonah on the side, propelling him into the pool, and goes for Lon.

Lon coolly fires the gunpowder trail with his cigar, and unsheathes his sword.

LOUIS
Traitor!

LON
To your cause, not to humanity!

In his rage, Louis cocks his arm and throws his Bowie with all his might at Lon.

Lon’s blade meets the blade of the knife, and controlling it with a circular motion slings it back at his adversary.

It sinks into Louis’ chest with a THUD. Louis falls to his knees and then collapses on his face.

JESSE JAMES’ RANCH – NIGHT
Jesse emerges from his ranch house clad only in his nightshirt to the glow of his barn in flames.

A frenzied RINGING of the farm triangle brings the ranch hands tumbling out of their barracks. They quickly form a bucket brigade.

Jesse runs to the corral, only to find it empty of horses.

And there is a flash of light from the mountain above, then the BOOM of an explosion rolling down the mountainside.

PRESENT – GUARDHOUSE CLOSET
Riley cautiously raises the trapdoor and peers out to see an empty guardhouse. He throws the trapdoor aside and climbs out, motioning those behind him to follow.

Sadusky sends the first two of his agents up the stairs to the tower above.

THE TOWER
The two agents overpower the guard on the Gatling gun and one drags him below, the other remains on guard.

GUARDHOUSE
Riley scans the grounds and sees a batch of soldiers milling around the elevated vault entrance.

RILEY
That’s where we got to go next.

Commotion erupts in the yard as they point to the tower above them.

SOLDIER ONE
Shut the entrance!!

BASEMENT OF THE OTHER GUARD HOUSE
The third soldier grabs the brake release and gives it a yank.

DECK OF THE IRONCLAD
A jolt quivers through the deck; all brace as the ship begins to descend.

BEN
(to Abby)
Looks like you were right, dear.

ABIGAIL
Well, duh.

[next pt 51]

Rebel Treasure thirty ninth post

Rebel Treasure thirty ninth post

EXT NEW MEXICAN DESERT – DAY
Riding above the haze of heat waves, a train with a dozen cars steams along the razor straight tracks, the only objects in the flat as a tortilla expanse. Two engines, one pulling the other pushing, propel the cars forward towards a distant mountain range.

AN ENCAMPMENT
Straddles the tracks, tents and piles of boxes laid out in neat rows, and to one side a newly constructed water tower. OVERSEERS, armed with bullwhips, watch over work parties of MEXICAN INDIANS that are unloading another train parked on a siding. With a BLAST from its steam whistle the two engine train slides to a stop near the water tower.

Louis emerges from a tent chewing on a cheroot. Seeing the train he reaches back in for his gun-belt, from which dangles his Bowie knife. He sees Lon in the cab of the first engine and waves.

LOUIS
Lon!

Lon dismounts from the cab as Louis walks up. He remains mute and unresponsive. Louis picks up on his attitude.

LOUIS (CONT’D)
Oh, so it’s that way, is it, Commander?

He salutes and Lon returns it.

LON
Tell me lieutenant, is everything shipshape here?

LOUIS
Aye, sir. As soon as you’ve passed we’re sending that train –
(points to the one on the siding)
back down the line and take up the tracks.

LON
Excellent.

LOUIS
And sir, may I see your manifest?

Lon hesitates briefly, then fishes the document from his inside coat pocket and passes it to Louis.

LOUIS (CONT’D)
(scanning the paper)
The last of the Mexican silver?

LON
Aye. See for yourself.

LOUIS
All right, I will. I’ll ride in the back.

CANYONS OF NEW MEXICO – DAY
Sunlight dapples the hilltops but does not penetrate down into the arroyo where the treasure train rolls alongside of a river that snakes its way at the bottom of the canyon.

POV OF THE ENGINEER
Ahead the twilight of the canyon gives way to sunshine. The sand under the tracks sparkles golden as it curves into a massive opening in a rock wall.

E/I ANTE-CHAMBER TO A CAVERN
The treasure train slows as it enters the cavern. Fanning out from the mainline are many branch tracks, and on them rest hundreds upon hundreds of boxcars, giving the whole area the appearance of a busy big city railyard. Work parties of blacks and Indians march along the side of the tracks under the watchful gaze of whip bearing overseers.

The track runs forward and hugs the wall passing by massive stalactites and stalagmites.

A STATION MASTER runs out of his depot, waving a lantern to flag them down. Lon steps down from the cab before it comes to a stop.

LON
What’s the problem, Carl?

STATION MASTER
The new circuit is finished, Commander. You won’t have to back out from the “bank” this time. Give us a moment to switch the tracks.

The station master seizes the rail switch and signals for his ASSISTANT to trip the other down the way. Jesse James appears from nowhere.

JESSE
Mind if I join you, Lon?

LON
Come on ahead, you can help me check off the list.

The treasure train veers off onto the branch line and puffs up a gentle grade and into the mouth of another cave whose lower stalagmites have been broken out, but whose “upper teeth” have been left intact, lending the whole the appearance of the maw of a vicious beast.

UNLOADING AREA
A fire brigade of WORKERS pass along box after box of Mexican silver from the parked treasure train. We follow the last of the boxes to the head of the line and find Lon checking the list under the vigilant gaze of Jesse. Two workers pry open the boxes with crow bars, then MOSES GRANT, a giant black man pours the contents of each one down a chute in the floor.

One of the workers lingers to peer down the shaft after the contents of the last box are committed to it.

JESSE
Don’t even think about it.

Their work done, Jesse and the OVERSEERS begin to collect the workers together and march them out. Lon lingers behind with Moses.

LON
How are Sissy and the twins?

MOSES
(grinning)
They be fine, mighty fine.

LON
Up to a little journey?

MOSES
Is it now? Tonight?

LON
Moses you are leading your people out of here. Tonight we execute the plan. Meanwhile, I’ve got one more thing to do.

[next pt 40]

Rebel Treasure thirty eighth post

Rebel Treasure thirty eighth post

EXT VERANDA OF A VILLA – MEXICO CITY 1866
Lights sparkle in the distance like diamonds sewn into a mantilla and thrown over the rounded curves of the hills that rise from the city below. In full uniform, Lon stands at the rail, stone-faced and staring into the glow of fireworks shooting up from the central plaza. The sounds of festival time strike no chord in him.

CLAY
Peso for your thoughts, Commander.

Lon does not respond. Clay changes tack.

CLAY (CONT’D)
My condolences on the passing of your father.

LON
(without turning)
Thanks.

CLAY
Are you okay?

LON
Ennui. Simply ennui.

CLAY
Living in a foreign country can do that. Cheer up, you’ll be going back soon.

LON
I’m counting the hours.

CLAY
No one blames you for what happened. Well, almost no one. You did a great job and I hear that your design for our vault is pure genius.

LON
Thanks. I did what I could.

Jesse James barges in, drink in hand, which he gives to Clay to hold while he pumps Lon’s hand.

JESSE
(looking over his braid)
Well, commander, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes!

LON
Well, Mr. Jesse James, the sentiment is mutual.

JESSE
I hear you’re coming up to my spread soon.

Surprised, Lon looks to Clay for an “okay” to answer. Clay nods his approval.

LON
If you’re near where we’re building the vault–

JESSE
I just bought me a ranch, not more than a stone’s throw away.

CLAY
Mr. James has taken it upon himself to see to the security of the area.

JESSE
Yeah. And you’ll be glad to hear I’ve got an old pal of yours working for me. Your old shipmate Louis.

[next pt 39]

Rebel Treasure twentysixth post

Rebel Treasure twentysixth post

EXT A DUSTY ROAD IN TENNESSEE – DAY
Title: Near Memphis, August 1864
Two heavily laden wagons plod down the road. Romeo holds the reins of the first, with Lon riding beside him. Jimmy follows in the second with the Petty Officer driving the team.

Then, from around the bend ahead comes a racing rider. Soon, it is clear that it is Louis, who can barely keep the saddle under himself.

LON
(to Romeo)
No mistaking a sailor on horseback.

ROMEO
I just don’t think he likes heights of any kind.

Louis reins up to them.

LOUIS
There are horsemen up ahead.

LON
Ours or theirs?

LOUIS
No telling, they aren’t in uniform.

LON
You keep back with Jimmy and the “freight.” We’ll let them poke around this wagon, but if they try it with yours, you know what to do.

Louis spurs away as a body of horsemen emerges from around the bend. The one in front breaks away from the pack and charges them at a gallop.

ROMEO
Lordy. I know that face.

LON
I do believe I do too.

The obvious leader reins up in front of them. His followers soon catch up and fall into a semi circle to their front.

LON (CONT’D)
Jesse?

JESSE JAMES
Would I have the honor of addressing Captain Turner?

LON
That would be an honor, but as you can see I am only a Lieutenant.

JESSE JAMES
(laughs and hands him a letter)
Here. We were sent to find you.

Lon breaks the seal and extracts a paper.

ROMEO
(reading aloud over his shoulder)
Alonzo Turner is hereby commissioned a Captain in the Provisional Navy of the Confederate States of America.
(turns to shout to the others)
Lon’s a Captain!

JESSE JAMES
And my orders are to relieve you and your men of this detail and give you your new orders.

Jesse takes another envelope out. Lon peruses the directive.

LON
It’s alright, men. We turn our shipment over to these gentlemen.

JESSE JAMES
We’re right lucky to have caught you when we did. The territory up ahead is swarming with Yanks. As it is, we’re going to have to take your “freight” down into the mountains yonder.

Lon holds out his hand and Jesse James grips his wrist.

Three of James’ men dismount and trade their horses for seats on the wagons. Everyone in Lon’s party has a horse except Romeo.

LON
Do you have a mount to spare for my man?

James looks to his men, but they all look the other way, pretending they didn’t hear the question.

LON (CONT’D)
Looks like you’re riding with me.

As they watch the wagons change direction and head off down the dusty road towards the Smoky Mountains–

LON (CONT’D)
Well, lads, we’re going to run the blockade and go to France. We’ve a brand new ship waiting for us!

[next pt 27]

Rebel Treasure twentyfourth post cut scene

Rebel Treasure twentyfourth post cut scene

Today’s segment is actually from the first draft and was removed from the third that I am currently posting.  It does not flow from last week’s, as you will see.  Last week’s and next were changed to fit together.  This post has the protagonists visiting the NSA museum to review the archaeological artifacts buried on their property by Lon and his  cohorts mentioned elsewhere in the script.

Hopefully you will find this alternate scene of some interest.

LATER
Ben takes his eyes off of the road ahead to check the vehicles following theirs.

ABIGAIL
Something to do with your “minor glitch?”

BEN
Just cautious, Hon.  There are some forces at work that we’re just not sure about.

ABIGAIL
Hence, your visit to the FBI?

BEN
Yeah.  I talked to Agent Sadusky. He had some intel that tends to confirm my suspicions.

ABIGAIL
So, you going to keep me in suspense?

BEN
Sorry, dear.  It seems that the KGC is still around and it looks like it has morphed into some type of neo-nazi outfit.

ABIGAIL
And they’re after you?

BEN
Let’s just say, at this point, our paths have crossed.

INT NSA MUSEUM OF CRYPTOLOGY – NIGHT
An UNIFORMED GUARD leads Abby, Ben and Riley to the front glassed-in entrance, unlocks the door and lets them in.  CONRAD TOOMBS, the curator, steps forward to greet them.

ABIGAIL
Dr. Toombs, may I thank you again for this courtesy.

CONRAD
Not at all, Dr. Gates.  From what you told me your husband may be able to clear up some mysteries attached to our little find.

He turns to Ben and has a moment of recognition.

CONRAD
Have I met you before?
(before Ben can respond)
I have it!  Jeopardy.  You missed that question on Confederate submarines.

BEN
Guilty.  But I live in hopes of vindication.
(he holds up the journal)
This may have the answers we both seek.

THE CALIFORNIA GOLD EXHIBIT
In a display case, upon a bed of deep red crushed velvet, several gold ingots of various sizes rest glittering under the yellow lights.

RILEY
What are those markings?

BEN
(before Conrad can answer)
Those are the assay marks, noting the weight and purity of that particular ingot.
(turns to Conrad)
Right?

CONRAD
Exactly.

BEN
But is this all there is?

CONRAD
Oh, no.  Forgive me.

He steps to the wall and opens a hidden cover and flips a switch underneath.  The wall behind the exhibit changes from opaque to transparent giving us a view into a room beyond.  There, stacks of boxes fill the room, some of which are open, revealing their contents.

ABIGAIL
Impressive!

RILEY
(pointing)
Are those the remains of the wagon that were buried with the gold?

CONRAD
Yes, we’ve arranged it in the configuration that we found it.

BEN
Can we go in and examine it up close?

For answer, Conrad pushes a button within the same control box and there is a HISS of air and panel slides to the side.

THE DISPLAY ROOM
As Abby, Riley and Conrad look on, Ben hops all over prodding into every nook and cranny.  He points to some coins.

BEN
May I?

CONRAD
Sure,  Go ahead.  We believe most everything here is from the California gold shipment that disappeared along the rail line here in May of 1861.

BEN
Most?

CONRAD
Yes.  There are a few odds and ends that date from later.

BEN
Like these coins.

RILEY
How odd!

BEN
Not really.  It just means that the KGC kept it in use as an active repository.

CONRAD
A repository?  Interesting!  That may explain this.

Conrad stoops to pick up one of the box lids and turns it over.

RILEY
(excited)
There’s our friend, “J J” again.

BEN
So it is.
(Abby shoots him a look)
I’ll explain later.
(to Conrad)
How is your security here?

CONRAD
State of the art.  That box outside controls more than you can see.

RILEY
(to Abby)
Pressure sensitive plates.  Light beam alarm system.  Heat sensors.  A fly would have a difficult time in here.

BEN
Is this the only board with any writing on it?

CONRAD
(nodding)
That’s all we’ve found, and we’ve been over it very carefully.

BEN
(to Riley)
It looks like Lon never returned to this site.
(to Conrad)
Why don’t you give me your e-mail and I’ll send you a copy of what I’ve decoded so far from this journal.  It’ll tell you how this all came to be here.

INT ABBY’S CAR

ABIGAIL
So, the outlaw Jesse James is tied up in this affair somehow?

BEN
Impressed?

ABIGAIL
Not really.  I’ve got ancestors that knew Blackbeard the pirate.

RILEY
I once met Ted Bundy.

BEN
Blackbeard the pirate, really?

ABIGAIL
(in a sudden revelation)
You’re still after that submarine, aren’t you?

BEN
Hot on the trail.

EXT – THE FREEWAY – FROM ABOVE
As Abby’s car heads towards the lights of Baltimore, a van comes onto the freeway in the opposite direction.

Horatio and Morgan are dressed as maintenance workers.

BEN (O.S.)
I’m getting real close to that part of the story in Lon’s journal.

MORGAN
You sure about this?

HORATIO
Nothing to it.  Piece of cake.  And it’s going to pay dividends in spades.

[next pt 25]