- 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’].
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.
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.
All done here, sir.
Louis strains to hear their conversation.
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.
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 two agents overpower the guard on the Gatling gun and one drags him below, the other remains on guard.
Riley scans the grounds and sees a batch of soldiers milling around the elevated vault entrance.
That’s where we got to go next.
Commotion erupts in the yard as they point to the tower above them.
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.
Looks like you were right, dear.
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.
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.
Lon dismounts from the cab as Louis walks up. He remains mute and unresponsive. Louis picks up on his attitude.
Oh, so it’s that way, is it, Commander?
He salutes and Lon returns it.
Tell me lieutenant, is everything shipshape here?
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.
And sir, may I see your manifest?
Lon hesitates briefly, then fishes the document from his inside coat pocket and passes it to Louis.
(scanning the paper)
The last of the Mexican silver?
Aye. See for yourself.
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.
What’s the problem, Carl?
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.
Mind if I join you, 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.
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.
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.
How are Sissy and the twins?
They be fine, mighty fine.
Up to a little journey?
Is it now? Tonight?
Moses you are leading your people out of here. Tonight we execute the plan. Meanwhile, I’ve got one more thing to do.
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.
Peso for your thoughts, Commander.
Lon does not respond. Clay changes tack.
My condolences on the passing of your father.
Are you okay?
Ennui. Simply ennui.
Living in a foreign country can do that. Cheer up, you’ll be going back soon.
I’m counting the hours.
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.
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.
(looking over his braid)
Well, commander, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes!
Well, Mr. Jesse James, the sentiment is mutual.
I hear you’re coming up to my spread soon.
Surprised, Lon looks to Clay for an “okay” to answer. Clay nods his approval.
If you’re near where we’re building the vault–
I just bought me a ranch, not more than a stone’s throw away.
Mr. James has taken it upon himself to see to the security of the area.
Yeah. And you’ll be glad to hear I’ve got an old pal of yours working for me. Your old shipmate Louis.
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.
No mistaking a sailor on horseback.
I just don’t think he likes heights of any kind.
Louis reins up to them.
There are horsemen up ahead.
Ours or theirs?
No telling, they aren’t in uniform.
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.
Lordy. I know that face.
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.
Would I have the honor of addressing Captain Turner?
That would be an honor, but as you can see I am only a Lieutenant.
(laughs and hands him a letter)
Here. We were sent to find you.
Lon breaks the seal and extracts a paper.
(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!
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.
It’s alright, men. We turn our shipment over to these gentlemen.
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.
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.
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–
Well, lads, we’re going to run the blockade and go to France. We’ve a brand new ship waiting for us!
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.
Ben takes his eyes off of the road ahead to check the vehicles following theirs.
Something to do with your “minor glitch?”
Just cautious, Hon. There are some forces at work that we’re just not sure about.
Hence, your visit to the FBI?
Yeah. I talked to Agent Sadusky. He had some intel that tends to confirm my suspicions.
So, you going to keep me in suspense?
Sorry, dear. It seems that the KGC is still around and it looks like it has morphed into some type of neo-nazi outfit.
And they’re after you?
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.
Dr. Toombs, may I thank you again for this courtesy.
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.
Have I met you before?
(before Ben can respond)
I have it! Jeopardy. You missed that question on Confederate submarines.
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.
What are those markings?
(before Conrad can answer)
Those are the assay marks, noting the weight and purity of that particular ingot.
(turns to Conrad)
But is this all there is?
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.
Are those the remains of the wagon that were buried with the gold?
Yes, we’ve arranged it in the configuration that we found it.
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.
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.
Yes. There are a few odds and ends that date from later.
Like these coins.
Not really. It just means that the KGC kept it in use as an active repository.
A repository? Interesting! That may explain this.
Conrad stoops to pick up one of the box lids and turns it over.
There’s our friend, “J J” again.
So it is.
(Abby shoots him a look)
I’ll explain later.
How is your security here?
State of the art. That box outside controls more than you can see.
Pressure sensitive plates. Light beam alarm system. Heat sensors. A fly would have a difficult time in here.
Is this the only board with any writing on it?
That’s all we’ve found, and we’ve been over it very carefully.
It looks like Lon never returned to this site.
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
So, the outlaw Jesse James is tied up in this affair somehow?
Not really. I’ve got ancestors that knew Blackbeard the pirate.
I once met Ted Bundy.
Blackbeard the pirate, really?
(in a sudden revelation)
You’re still after that submarine, aren’t you?
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.
I’m getting real close to that part of the story in Lon’s journal.
You sure about this?
Nothing to it. Piece of cake. And it’s going to pay dividends in spades.
EXT. STONE RAILROAD BRIDGE – NIGHT
The train slows to a stop on the stone bridge. Lon drops from the cab and runs back and unhooks the baggage car. He motions to Jimmy, who moves the train forward and stops.
Then, Romeo rides up on the far side of the bridge and there pickets the horses. He meets Jimmy by the engine and together they walk back to join Lon by the baggage car. Jimmy passes out huge crowbars, which they use to tip the car off of the tracks. It hits the water with a tremendous splash and there she rests on her side.
LON (to Jimmy)
All right then.
(motions to the train)
Let’s give the Yanks something else to keep them busy.
Jimmy races forward to the cab, opens the throttle, and jumps back out. As they watch, it picks up steam and chugs away into the night.
And from a place of concealment, the trio watches the cavalry troop split in two. One section rides back to the bridge, while the other chases after the train.
FIELD IN MARYLAND – NIGHT
Lon swings down from his horse and points out to the far side of the field, etched silver in the light of the moon.
Are you sure?
(holding up a sextant)
As sure as the sightings that I took last night.
I don’t see the wagon.
A window appears to open in the ground itself, and a square of yellow lamplight beckons to them. Jesse steps out from under a tarpaulin, bearing aloft a kerosene lantern. Behind him the wagon rests below ground level in a hole.
About time you got here. Give us a hand with the shovels.
Let me get a souvenir first.
Why not? We all got ours.
The petty officer and Jesse each hold up a golden ingot. Louis prepares to start shoveling.
Sure seems a waste of all our effort. I can’t see how all this is doing the Confederacy any good.
Lon selects a shiny gold ingot with “1860” stamped on it.
It’s all temporary. Maryland is going to secede; and soon General Harper will be marching over from Harpers Ferry and forces will be coming up from Alexandria– we just need to remember where we left it.
But what if Maryland doesn’t go out?
Well, then, I guess, at least we denied the gold to the enemy.
The petty officer, Jimmy and Romeo all chuckle.
EXT. ANNAPOLIS HARBOR – DAY
Five vessels ride their anchors out in the Roads, tended by a flock of small boats plying back and forth, transporting soldiers and supplies to shore.
Three more vessels crowd the dock, each disgorging their contents into the mountains of cargo heaping up on the wharf. A line of freight wagons do their best to cart things away but it’s a losing battle.
U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY WHARF
Jimmy, attired in the uniform of the New York State militia, wanders among the hubbub and chaos of the wharf. At last he arrives at the object of his curiosity, the base of the gold ship.
At present, no workers are busy unloading her. About to take a step toward her empty gangplank, he stops and retreats when he notices Romeo and Lon at the top.
GANGPLANK OF THE GOLD SHIP
Lon turns to the CAPTAIN of the vessel and extends a hand in thanks.
You’ve been most gracious, Captain.
CAPTAIN OF THE GOLD SHIP
Not at all, it was the least that one could do for a fellow officer. I wish you success, sir. Up with the Union, down with the rebels!
Lon smiles, bids him goodbye and he and Romeo begin their descent.
I will head straight to the Helmsley Tavern and will meet you there later. Meanwhile you will be about your business?
Yes, suh. I will seek out the harbor master and offer–
(with a grin)
A STREET IN ANNAPOLIS
As Lon threads his way through the throng of people, Jimmy keeps him in view. Besides LABORERS and PEDDLERS, most are SOLDIERS like Jimmy, in a multitude of militia uniforms.
On the corner near Helmsley’s Tavern, Lon stops and wheels around. Jimmy pretends interest in a shop sign, when he looks back, Lon is nowhere in sight. Then, before he can take another step, he is seized violently from behind and spun around.
I’ve had enough of your sneaking–
Jimmy! What the devil are you doing here? And in that uniform!
Oh. Hi, Lon. You know I’ve fallen on hard times when you find me in the garb of a soldier.
It wasn’t too long after you left that I bilged, failed the February exam.
I wound up at my grandfather’s in Brooklyn, and then Sumter came along–
He looks downcast. Lon puts a comforting arm around his shoulder.
Still have a hankering to be a pirate?
INT. HEMSLEY’S TAVERN
Lon enters with Jimmy and immediately encounters the PROPRIETOR.
My name is Turner. Someone may have been asking for me.
Lon holds out his hand, and they grip one another’s wrist. The proprietor gives him a curt nod in reply.
Yes. I’ll send for the gentlemen. You can wait for them in here.
He motions them into:
A PRIVATE ROOM – HELMSLEY TAVERN
So, I’ve told you all about me, where have you been these last few months?
A-sailing the bounding main.
Ah! Checking out the gold ship!
Among other things.
JESSE JAMES enters, a man of medium height and build. At first he is all smiles and cordiality until he notices the uniform that Jimmy is wearing. With that realization his hand drops and his smile twists into a scowl.
Before he can say a word, Louis Toussant follows him into the room. He swiftly crosses to his friends and initiates a round of back slapping. With this display, the older man relaxes his animosity.
Well I never thought I’d ever see you two again. And together too.
You can rest at ease, sir. You’re among friends. Mister?
You can call me Jesse. Jesse James from Tennessee.
A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. James.
They exchange a wrist hand shake, and Lon introduces the others.
Is the shipment really here?
Yes, we accompanied it from Panama. But from here on in, it’s under a closer guard than we expected.
(looks at Jimmy)
But we’ve figured out some ways around it.
Do you have access to any arms?
Jimmy looks startled. Lon answers.
They shouldn’t be necessary. Not the way we’ve planned it out.
(pats his waistband)
Well, I’ve got us covered, if things get rough.
I don’t think we have a worry, it should all go like clockwork.