Friday, July 13, 2018

"Saddlebag Fantasies Watching A Hopalong Cassidy Movie (Which, Incidentally, I Got Scheduled On Television, But That's Another Story)"

Here’s what I saw…

In a moment of thrill-packed excitement, “Gramps” grabs Hoppy’s barely capable sidekick Red’s gun from Red’s holster and, getting the “drop” on them, makes his getaway on horseback.  Hoppy instructs Red to ride into to town and keep his eyes peeled for trouble while Hoppy pursues Gramps.

And here’s what I immediately imagined.

RED HESiTATES BEFORE HEADING FOR HIS HORSE.

RED:  (STILL HESITATING)  Ahhh…

HOPALONG CASSIDY:  Yeah?

Well y’know, Hoppy, Gramps rode away with my gun.

I know he took your gun.  That’s how he got the ‘drop’ on us.

That’s right.  Y’know, it’s kind of embarrassin’, old-timer grabbin’ my gun.

Well you oughtta be more careful next time.

I will.  The thing is, now that I don’t have a gun, I was wonderin’ if I could maybe borrow one of yours.

What’s that, now?

Well, I mean, you have two guns…  

I always have two guns.

… right.  And I don’t have any.  So…

You want me to loan you one of my guns.

I’ll return it when you get back to town.  I don’t cotton to the idea of ridin’ in there unarmed.  What if some bad-‘uns start in “hoorahin’’’ the citizenry?  I’m “slappin’ leather”, but there’s nuthin’ to draw.  What do you say, Hoppy?  Will you loan me a gun?

I don’t know, Red…

It’s just for a coupla hours…

These guns came all the way from St. Louis.  Who knows? If I loaned you one, you might lose it.

Why would I lose your gun?

You lost yours.

Okay, but think about it. What are the chances of losin’ two guns in one day?

I can’t believe you don’t have a “spare.”

Who has spare guns?

have spare guns.

You do?

I keep an extra rig back at the bunkhouse.

So let’s see now.  (GESTURING TO HOPPY)  Four guns.  (GESTURING TO HIMSELF)  No guns.  And you still won’t part with one gun?

Look, how’s this?  If I give you the money for a new gun and you can pick one up at the gunsmith’s.  That’s just as good, isn’t it?

I s’pppose.  It just seems easier, you loanin’ me a gun. Spare all the uncomfortable blather.  “What happened to your gun?”  “Old man got the ‘drop’ on me.”  “Haw! Haw!  (CALLING)  Hey, townspeople, wait till you hear this!” Come on, Hoppy.  Lend me a gun, and I’ll go straight to keepin’ my eyes peeled.

HOPPY HISTATES, TORN.

What is it, Hoppy?  You afraid if you I borrow your gun, then everyone around’ll want to?  You afraid you’ll look lopsided?  You afraid you’ll have a run-in with outlaws and you’re stuck with half the available firepower?

I ain’t afraid a’ nuthin’!

‘cept goin’ around with one gun.  

HOPPY BRISTLES.

And an empty holster, flappin’ in the breeze.

Now you listen ta me. Not to be blowin’ my own horn or anything – ‘cause that’s against “The Code of the West” – but I don’t have ta prove nuthin’ ta nobody.  I’ve cleanup up dozens of cow towns.  I’ve helped of ranchers’ daughters whose gunned-down Pa’s refused to sell out.  I’ve saved my fair share of youngsters trapped on runaway buckboards.

What’s that got to do with loanin’ me a gun?

I don’t know.  And now I’m sorry I mentioned it.  I don’t want to be loanin’ my guns, that’s all.  It’s just somethin’… I don’t do.

You've sure been mighty tight-lipped about it till now.

Well, I’m just naturally tight-lipped.  Besides, the subject never came up.  I’m sorry, Red.  I can’t do it.

Fine.  I’ll ride into town unarmed.  Facin’ bullyin’ ridicule and possible death.

RED TRUDGES GRUMPILY TO HIS HORSE.  AND THEN, FINALLY…

HOPPY:  Oh, all right.  (EXTRACTING A GUN FROM HIS HOLSTER, AFTER MOMENTARY DIFFICULTY DECIDING WHICH ONE TO GIVE UP.)  

That’s okay, Hoppy. 

Go on.  Take it.  

No, sir.  I changed my mind.

You’ve been pesterin’ me about it.  Take it! 

I can’t.

Now you take it, y’hear? 

I am not takin’ yer gun.

(MENACINGLY)  And I’m sayin’ you are.

What are we goin’ to do?  Shoot it out?  I’m not carryin’ a gun!  (OFF HOPPY’S EXASPERATION)  Look, Hoppy. I wantedto borrow your gun.  But then I got to thinkin’ about things.  You know me, Hoppy; I’m not that reliable.  Suppose I do borrow your gun, I’m eatin’ pancakes and I get molasses all over the trigger. What if I get throwed into a horse trough and your gun gets all rusty and now only shoots water?  What if somehow a big pinto bean gets stuck way down in the barrel?  Keep your gun, Hoppy.  I can’t handle the pressure.

Are you sure about this? 

It’s too much for me, Hoppy. I’m not that great with responsibility.   That’s why I’m only a sidekick.

Okay, then.  If you say so.  

HOPPY HOLSTERS HIS GUN. YOU CAN ALMOST SENSE THE RELIEF.

Now, I’ll get Gramps and you hightail it back to town.

Right you are, Hoppy.

THEY EACH HEAD FOR THEIR HORSES.  HOPPY STOPS AND TURNS.

Oh, and Red.  

RED STOPS, AND TURNS.

I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention any of this.

Don’t worry, Hoppy. My lips are sealed.  (MOUNTING HIS HORSE, TO HIMSELF)  As if anyone would believe it.

HOPPY AND RED SPUR THEIR MOUNTS AND RIDE OFF IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.

FADE OUT.

Recently Discovered Editor’s Note:  “That scene was originally in the picture.  But we cut it out ‘cause it slowed down the action.  And because the star asked me to.”  

Wow.  Is that a coincidence, or what?

2 comments:

JED said...

Since it's Friday, I have a question. Oh wait, that's Ken Levine's blog.

Is it OK if I ask a question? I guess I'm going to anyway.

I enjoyed today's post but it brought a question to mind (surprise). Is what you wrote in today's post what you would write for a TV comedy? I mean, would today's post be considered a final draft of what you'd turn in to the Show Runner? Or would there be more directions or set-up (or whatever you call them)? I guess my not knowing the name for the stuff that is not dialog is a follow-up question. What do you call those non-dialog notes?

I think this is a perfect example of your style. As you've mentioned before, you write comedy with situational humor. It's not just a bunch of jokes strung together. I like it.

By the way, I hope the arrival of the name calling, butting into other people's business, know nothing who happens to live in Our House didn't dampen the joy of your visit to London. But did you happen to see the blimp? Sorry, I snuck in another question.

Thomas Anderson said...

Earl, Red Connors as portrayed by Frank McGlynn Jr. In the Hoppy movies would never have let someone take his gun! Red the bumbling sidekick in the TV episodes as portrayed by Edgar Buchanan was a comic foil who did have that kind of thing happen to him way too often. Of course he later made his mark as Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction, but the man could sure ride a horse!