D.M. Marshman, Jr.
A-l-4 START the picture with the actual street sign:
SUNSET BOULEVARD, stencilled on a curbstope.
In the gutter lie dead leaves, scraps of paper,
burnt matches and cigarette butts. It is early
Now the CAMERA leaves the sign and MOVES EAST, the
grey asphalt of the street filling the screen. As
speed accelerates to around 40 m.p.h., traffic de-
marcations, white arrows, speed-limit warnings, man-
hole covers, etc., flash by. SUPERIMPOSED on all
this are the CREDIT TITLES, in the stencilled style
of the street sign.
Over the scene we now hear MAN'S VOICE
sirens. Police squad cars Yes, this is Sunset
hurtle toward the camera, Boulevard, Los Angeles,
turn off the road into a California. It's about
driveway with squealing five o'clock in the
brakes. Dismounted motor- morning. That's the
cycle cops stand directing Homicide Squad, com-
the cars in. plete with detectives
and newspaper men.
A-5 PATIO AND POOL OF A murder has been re-
MANSION ported from one of those
great big houses in the
The policemen and news- ten thousand block.
paper reporters and You'll read all about
photographers have it in the late editions,
jumped out of the cars I'm sure. You'll get
and are running up to it over your radio,
the pool, in which a and see it on tele-
body is seen floating. vision -- because an
Photographers' bulbs old-time star is in-
flash in rapid suc- volved. one of the big-
cession. gest. But before you
hear it all distorted
and blown out of
proportion, before those
get their hands on it,
maybe you'd like to
hear the facts, the
A-6 FLASH OF THE BODY
Angle up through the If so, you've come to the
water from the bottom right party... You see,
of the pool, as the the body of a young man
body floats face down- was found floating in the
ward. It is a well- pool of her mansion, with
dressed young man. two shots in his back and
one in his stomach. No-
body important, really.
Just a movie writer with
a couple of "B" pictures
to his credit. The poor
dope. He always wanted a
pool Well, in the end
he got himself a pool --
SLOW DISSOLVE TO: only the price turned out
to be a little high...
Let's go back about six
A-7 HOLLYWOOD, SEEN FROM months and find the day
THE HILLTOP AT IVAR when it all started.
& FRANKLIN STREETS
It is a crisp sunny I was living in an
day. The voice con- apartment house above
tinues speaking as Franklin and Ivar.
CAMERA PANS toward Things were tough
the ALTO NIDO APART- at the moment. I hadn't
MENT HOUSE, an ugly worked in a studio for
Moorish structure ofsat a long time. So I
stucco, about four there grinding
stories high. CAMERA out original stories,
MOVES TOWARD AN OPEN two a week. Only I
WINDOW on the third seemed to have lost
floor, where we look my touch. Maybe they
in on JOE GILLIS' APART- weren't original
MENT. Joe Gillis, bare- enough. Maybe they
footed and wearing no- were too original.
thing but an old bath- All I know is they
robe. is sitting on didn't sell.
the bed. In front of
him. on a straight
chair, is a portable
him, on the bed, is a
dirty ashtray and a
scattering of type
written and pencil-
marked pages. Gillis
is typing. with a
pencil clenched bet-
ween his teeth.
A-8 JOE GILLIS' APARTMENT
It is a one-room affair with an unmade Murphy bed
pulled out of the wall at which Gillis sits typing.
There are a couple of worn-out plush chairs and a
Spanish-style, wrought-iron standing lamp. Also a
small desk littered with books and letters, and a
chest of drawers with a portable phonograph and some
records on top. On the walls are a couple of repro-
ductions of characterless paintings, with laundry
bills and snapshots stuck in the frames. Through an
archway can he seen a tiny kitchenette, complete with
unwashed coffee pot and cup, empty tin cans, orange
peels, etc. The effect is dingy and cheerless --
just another furnished apartment. The buzzer SOUNDS.
The buzzer SOUNDS again. Gillis gets up and opens
the door. Two men wearing hats stand outside one of
them carrying a briefcase.
Joseph C. Gillis?
The men ease into the room. No. 1 hands Gillis a
We've come for the car.
(Consulting a paper)
1946 Plymouth convertible. Calif-
ornia license 97 N 567.
Where are the keys?
Why should I give you the keys?
Because the company's played ball
with you long enough. Because
you're three payments behind. And
because we've got a Court order.
Come on -- the keys.
Or do you want us to jack it up
and haul it away?
Relax, fans. The car isn't here.
Is that So?
I lent it to a friend of mine.
He took it up to Palm Springs.
Had to get away for his health,
You don't believe me? Look in
Sure we believe you, only now we
want you to believe us. That car
better be back here by noon tomorrow,
or there's going to be fireworks.
You say the cutest things.
The men leave. Gillis GILLIS' VOICE
stands pondering beside Well, I needed about two
the door for a moment. hundred and ninety dollars
Then he walks to the and I needed it real
center of the room and, quick, or I'd lose my car.
with his back to the It wasn't in Palm Springs
CAMERA, slips into a and it wasn't in the
pair of gray slacks. garage. I was way ahead
There is a metallic of the finance company.
noise as some loose
change and keys drop
from the trouser pockets.
As Gillis bends over to
pick them up, we see that
he has dropped the car
keys, identifiable be-
cause of a rabbit's
foot and a miniature
license plate attached
to the key-ring. Gillis
pockets the keys and as
he starts to put on a
A-9 EXTERIOR OF RUDY'S GILLIS' VOICE
SHOESHINE PARLOR (DAY)
I knew they'd be coming
A small shack-like build- around and I wasn't tak-
ing, it stands in the ing any chances, so I
corner of a public park- kept it a couple of
ing lot. Rudy, a blocks away in a parking
colored boy, is giving lot behind Rudy's Shoe-
a customer a shine. shine Parlor. Rudy
never asked any quest-
ions. He'd just look at
your heels and know the
PAN BEHIND the shack to GILLIS' CAR, a yellow 1946
Plymouth convertible with the top down. Gillis enters
the SHOT. He is wearing a tweed sport jacket, a tan
polo shirt, and moooasins. He steps into the car and
drives it off. Rudy winks after him.
A-10 THE ALLEY NEXT TO SIDNEY'S
MEN'S SHOP ON BRONSON AVE. GILLIS' VOICE
I had an original story
Gillis drives into the kicking around Paranount.
alley and parks his car My agent told me it was
right behind a delivery dead as a doornail. but
truck. PAN AND FOLLOW I knew a big shot over
HIM as he gets out, walks there who'd always liked
around the corner into me, and the time had
Bronson and then toward come to take a little
the towering main gate of advantage of it. His
Paramount. A few loafers, name was Sheldrake. He
studio cops and extras are was a smart producer,
lounging there. with a set of ulcers to
A-11 SHELDRAKE'S OFFICE
It is in the style of a Paramount executive's office --
mahogany, leather, and a little chintz. On the
walls are some large framed photographs of Paramount
stars, with dedications to Mr. Sheldrake. Also a
couple of framed critics' awards certificates, and an
Oscar on a bookshelf. A shooting schedule chart is
thumb-tacked into a large bulletin board. There are
piles or scripts, a few pipes and, somewhere in the
background, some set models.
Start on Sheldrake. He is about 45. Behind his wor-
ried face there hides a coated tongue. He is en-
gaged in changing the stained rilter cigarette in
his Zeus holder.
All right, Gillis. You've got
five minutes. What's your story
It's about a ball player, a rookie
shortstop that's batting 347. The
poor kid was once mixed up in a hold-
up. But he's trying to go straight --
except there's a bunch of gamblers
who won't let him.
So they tell the kid to throw the
World Series, or else, huh?
More or less. Only for the end
I've got a gimmick that's real good.
A secretary enters, carrying a glass or milk.
She opens a drawer and takes out a bottle of pills for
Got a title?
Bases Loaded. There's a 4O-page
(To the secretary)
Get the Readers' Department and
see what they have on Bases Loaded.
The secretary exits. Sheldrake takes a pill and
washes it down with some milk.
They're pretty hot about it
over at Twentieth, but I
think Zanuck's all wet. Can
you see Ty Power as a
shortstop? You've got the best
man for it right here on this lot.
Alan Ladd. Good change of pace for
Alan Ladd. There's another thing:
it's pretty simple to shoot. Lot
of outdoor stuff. Bet you could
make the whole thing for under a
million. And there's a great little
part for Bill Demarest. One of the
trainers, an oldtime player who
got beaned and goes out of his head
The door opens and Betty Schaefer enters -- a clean-
cut, nice looking girl of 21, with a bright, alert
manner. Dressed in tweed skirt, Brooks sweater and
pearls, and carrying a folder of papers. She puts
them on Sheldrake's desk, not noticing Gillis, who
stands near the door.
Hello, Mr. Sheldrake. On that Bases
Loaded. I covered it with a 2-page
(She holds it out)
But I wouldn't bother.
What's wrong with it?
It's from hunger.
Nothing for Ladd?
Just a rehash of something that
wasn't very good to begin with.
I'm sure you'll be glad to meet
Mr. Gillis. He wrote it.
Betty turns towards Gillis, embarrassed.
This is Miss Kramer.
Schaefer. Betty Schaefer. And
right now I wish I could crawl
into a hole and pull it in after
If I could be of any help...
I'm sorry, Mr. Gillis, but I
just don't think it's any good.
I found it flat and banal.
Exactly what kind of material do
you recommend? James Joyce?
I just think pictures should say
a little something.
Oh, you're one of the message
kids. Just a story won't do.
You'd have turned down Gone With the
No, that was me. I said, Who
wants to see a Civil War picture?
Perhaps the reason I hated Bases
Loaded is that I knew your name.
I'd always heard you had some
That was last year. This year
I'm trying to earn a living.
So you take Plot 27-A, make it
glossy, make it slick --
Carefull Those are dirty words!
You sound like a bunch of New
York critics. Thank you, Miss
Goodbye, Mr. Gillis.
Goodbye. Next time I'll write
The Naked and the Dead.
Well, seems like Zanuck's got
himself a baseball picture.
Mr. Sheldrake, I don't want you
to think I thought this was going
to win any Academy Award.
(His mind free-wheeling)
Of course, we're always looking
for a Betty Hutton. Do you see
it as a Betty Hutton?
Now wait a minute. If we made
it a girls' softball team, put
in a few numbers. Might make a
cute musical: It Happened in
the Bull Pen -- the story of a
You trying to be funny? -- because
I'm all out of laughs. I'm over a<