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MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/ Part 8

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WE ARE HAVING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH OUR SITE.
HOPE TO HAVE THEM RESOLVED SOON.
*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 *Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including"Rolling Thunder,"Fort Apache, The Bronx, "Boys From Brazil"and "Cocktail." 

EMPIRES OF CRIME /Part 8
By Heywood Gould                            ACT FOUR/Part 2 INT. ROTHSTEIN’S LIBRARY. NIGHT. A meeting is just beginning. Rothstein’s valet is passing out cigars as he introduces the participants.                      ROTHSTEIN              This is Harry Greenberg              from Saint Louis. Abner              Zwillman from Newark.                      ZWILLMAN                     (very tall)              Everybody calls me,              Longie.                      ROTHSTEIN              Harry Solomon from              Boston...Charley Luciano,              Meyer Lansky, Ben Siegel...              Herman Wexler...                      CHARLEY                    (laughing)              Herman who? This is Waxey              Gordon, the hophead’s               friend. Whaddya goin’ by              an alias, Waxey?                      GORDON                (squat, dark and ugly)              I don’t answer to that              name.                      MEYER              Except when they’re              passin’ out money, huh              Waxey?                      ROTHSTEIN              Remember when cocaine was                           legal, boys? Coupla broken                          broken down old whores used                          used to use it. Then it was                       illegal and all of a sudden              the smart set wanted a sniff                         Well that's small change              compared to booze. Everybody              takes a drink, from the               college kids right down to              Grandma who likes a shot of              elderberry wine on her              birthday. Everybody who has                         a drink tonight is gonna              want one tomorrow  and we’re              gonna give it to them.                      MEYER              But they’re closin’ the              breweries, and the              distilleries. Where we              gonna get the booze?                      ROTHSTEIN              We bring it in ourselves.              From Canada, from Europe.              I’ve got a deal with              biggest distillery in              Scotland. There’s a              boatload of premium scotch              whiskey headin’ for the              states right now. I’m              talkin’ to Bronfman and              Rosenstiel in Montreal               about sellin’ me Canadian              whiskey. Rothshild’s gonna              ship wine in from France              and Italy.                      MEYER              How you gonna get a              Rothschild to break the              law?                      ROTHSTEIN              He won’t have to. The              freighters stop just              outside the twelve mile              limit so they’re outta               US waters. Then, we              send launches out to              meet ‘em.                      CHARLEY              Where ya gonna get the              boats?                      ZWILLMAN              I’ll take care of that.              Every fisherman in Jersey              gets a coupla bucks plus              a free case of booze for              the use of his boat.                      CHARLEY              You’ll have to fix              everybody from the Coast              Guard to the cop on the              beat.                      ROTHSTEIN              Fix a coupla Senators               and the President too              if I have to. This is              gonna be the biggest              business in America.              There'll be plenty of              cash to bribe the              politicians.                      MEYER              You’re gonna need trucks              to bring it into the              city.                      ROTHSTEIN              You’re good with cars. You              can get the wheels for me.              We’re gonna move ten              thousand cases every few              weeks. King Solomon’s              gonna bring it in from              Canada.                      SOLOMON              I can smuggle it through              an old logging road in              Vermont. I got a Boston              banker, Joe Kennnedy.              He'll front us all the              money we need...                      GORDON              How do we make money?                      ROTHSTEIN              I’ll cover the up front              expenses and pay a flat              fee to anyone who delivers              to my clients. You guys              will each have your              customers. You’ll reimburse              me my costs plus twenty              five per cent of your              action.                      CHARLEY              But booze is gonna be              like gold. People will              be robbin’ each other              left and right.                      ROTHSTEIN              It’ll be up to you guys              to protect your own              shipments. We’ll have to              work together. If we start              fighting among ourselves              it’ll turn into a free for              all and nobody will make              any money. Agreed? The men shoot mistrustful looks at one another.                      CHARLEY              Well, let’s give it a              try anyway. The men nod...”Give it a try...” As they start making plans, Charley approaches Rothstein with an admiring look.                      CHARLEY              You just put together              a big corporation, AR.                      ROTHSTEIN              Not yet. I got a lotta              smart guys together.              Gave ’em a good proposition.              Answered all their questions.              Now let’s hope they don't              kill each other. LITTLE ITALY 1921 INT. BAKERY. NIGHT. Joe "The Boss" Masseria is chewing on a cigar. Behind him, a big scowling hood named JOE NAPOLI. Charley, plays the courtier, anxious to please. Meyer stands behind him.                      LUCIANO              See Joe. My boys wanna              give you a little token              of their appreciation              for you doin’ business              with them. OUTSIDE Benny opens the rumble seat of a PIERCE ARROW, revealing a case of SCOTCH WHISKEY.                      CHARLEY              They got a load of premium              Scotch, exclusive for you.                      MASSERIA                     (in Italian)              How much do the Jews              want?                      LUCIANO                   (in Italian)              Fifty dollars a case,              five thousand cases...                      MASSERIA                    (in Italian)              Give 'em twenty five.                      CHARLEY               (turns gruffly to Meyer)              Twenty five a  case.              Take it or leave it.                      MEYER              Can you get thirty,              Charley?                      MASSERIA                    (in Italian)              Twenty seven. No more              talkin’ or the deal’s              off...                      CHARLEY              Twenty seven. Be happy              you’re gettin’ it.                      MEYER              Anything you say,              Charley.               (bowing to Masseria)              An honor doing business              with you, Mr. Masseria. On the way out, Charley whispers, triumphantly.                      CHARLEY              He went for twenty seven               Meyer, just like you              said.                      MEYER              Always gotta make the               other guy think he beat              you down...                      LUCIANO              How'd you get so smart?                      MEYER               (taps his forehead)              Chicken soup. MASSERIA watches them walk out and turns with a sneer to Napoli.                      MASSERIA              Cornudo. Thinks he’s              foolin’ me. How many guns              you got?                      NAPOLI              Ten.                      MASSERIA              Bring twenty...The trucks              come back. The drivers              don’t. EXT. L&S GARAGE. NIGHT. On Clinton Street in Lower Manhattan. Trucks roll in and out as Rabinowitz and some DAIRY TRUCK DRIVERS enter..                      DRIVER              L&S is Lansky and Siegel.              I don’t wanna get mixed              up with the Bugs and              Meyer mob.                      RABINOWITZ              Don’t worry. Meyer says              this is just a simple              driving job. Benny, stylish in a Chesterfield and homburg comes out with a manic smile. Meyer follows him with a clipboard.                      MEYER              Hey fellas, ready to              make money?                      BENNY              We’re gonna take a nice              moonlight ride to the              Jersey shore...Next time              bring your girlfriends,              we’ll go dancin’. EXT. EGG HARBOR, NEW JERSEY. NIGHT. OFF SHORE  a FREIGHTER is anchored. Charley, Meyer and Benny watch as LAUNCHES head out to meet it.                      MEYER              Five thousand cases of              premium scotch? What's              Masseria gonna get for              ‘em.                      CHARLEY              Three hundred a case.               He’ll be sold out              tomorrow morning. They turn at the sight of MOTORCYCLE POLICE pulling up.                      CHARLEY              It’s our police escort.              Fifty bucks per cop, five              grand to the Commander              plus a case of scotch.              And they take us right to              the New York border. EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. NIGHT. A CONVOY OF TRUCKS rolls down the road, their side panels emblazoned with the sign: L&S TRUCKING. INT. TRUCK. NIGHT. Meyer is driving, Next to him Charley looks out the window. Benny is hunched in the back seat.                      CHARLEY              It’s dead in the sticks.              Them farmers are all in              bed by ten o”clock.                      BENNY              You wanna come out              tomorrow? Esther's got              a girlfriend she wants              you to meet.                      MEYER              Friday night I go to              my mother's... Suddenly, a VOLLEY of BULLETS shatters the WINDSHIELD. A SPOTLIGHT blinds them. THE HOOD POPS AND SMOKE POURS out of the busted radiator. Meyer jams on the brakes.                      BENNY              It’s a stick up! SEVERAL SEDANS are parked across the road, blocking their way. Behind the light, a HARSH VOICE  commands:                      HARSH VOICE              Everybody out, Hands up! Charley grabs a shotgun and fires blind out of the window. Meyer pulls a.38.and both men jump out of the truck, while Benny sneaks out from the back. OUTSIDE Rabinowitz and his drivers are standing by their trucks with their hands up. Meyer waves to them.                      MEYER              Get down. Charley fires a blast at the sedans. Another VOLLEY of SHOTS rings out from behind the spotlight. A driver goes down. Charley fires into the darkness. Meyer stays low and watches. BENNY moves around behind the truck. He sees SILHOUETTES in the trees.. He fires a BURST and a silhouette disappears. Fires again and the SPOTLIGHT SHATTERS. THE HIJACKERS fire back, their pistols flaming in the darkness. BENNY jumps into the open with insane courage and advances on the sedans, firing point blank. Meyer and Charley move in behind him, firing. There is an ear splitting bout of gunfire. In the eerie silence that follows we hear GROANS and HURRIED FOOTSTEPS mixing with the chirping of CRICKETS. The boys stumble over bodies in the dark. IN A BLOOD SPATTERED SEDAN a MAN is slumped over the wheel, his brains blown out. There is another BURST of MACHINE GUN FIRE. Meyer and Charley run into the woods. In a clearing they find Benny standing over a WOUNDED MAN.                      BENNY              This guy ain’t dead...              Yet. They turn him over. It’s Joe Napoli, Masseria’s bodyguard.                      CHARLEY              Joe Napoli. Fat Joe send              you?                      NAPOLI                 (gasping in pain)              Gimme a break, Charley.              Ain’t I always been fair              with you? Benny kicks              him, savagely.                      BENNY              Answer the man.                      NAPOLI               (pleading for his life)              Don Giuseppe set you up.              He said you were workin'              with the Jews against              him. You’re my gumbare,              Charley. I didn’t wanna              do this to you, but he              made me..Please Charley,               I'll work for you. I’ll               spy on the fat bastard.              Don’t kill me.                      CHARLEY              You’re already dead, kid.              Don Giuseppe won’t let you              live for bunglin’ this              heist...                      MEYER                (as they walk away)              You better get Masseria              now.                      CHARLEY              Can’t. He feeds too he'll              deny it. He’ll say Napoli              was freelancin’ and he              didn’t know nothin’ about              it.                      MEYER               Yeah, but he’ll take               another shot at you.                      CHARLEY               He’s gotta be careful.               He knows he can’t knock               me off for no reason               ‘cause it’s a sign of               weakness and it might               give other guys ideas.               They swore an oath of               loyalty, but they’ll               turn on him overnight               if they think I’m               stronger. I’m gonna               keep kissin’ his ring               until that happens. Another BURST from Benny’s Tommy gun silences Joe Napoli’s pleading. Charley turns with a smile to Meyer.                      CHARLEY              Don’t worry. Our time’ll              come. END ACT FOUR Next: Part 9/ACT FIVE: Taking Control(Wednesday, 11/16)  In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie? Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station. The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky and "Lucky" Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor's Mansion and almost to the White House. *For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 (Calendar at right.) Use Contact Us, above, for submissions. *Pt 1/Oct. 19, Pt 2/Oct. 23, Pt 3/Oct. 26, Pt 4/Oct 31, Pt 5/Nov. 3, Pt 6/Nov. 7, Pt7/Nov. 13

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 7

WE ARE HAVING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES WITH OUR SITE.

HOPE TO HAVE THEM RESOLVED SOON.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions. *Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including "Rolling Thunder,"Fort Apache, The Bronx, "Boys From Brazil"and "Cocktail." 

EMPIRES OF CRIME /Part 7
  By Heywood Gould

                           ACT FOUR/Part 1  EXT. DELANCEY STREET. DAY A balmy spring day. The streets teem with IMMIGRANT HUMANITY.Tom Dewey, sweating in a black suit, is speaking earnestly to a group of PEDDLERS, who keep shouting him down.                       TOM               Look, give me a chance.               I’ve come all the way               downtown to convince you               people that Republican               is not a dirty word. Moans and groans. OLD PEDDLER               Take off your coat, have a               cold drink. It’s a long               subway back ride up town.                       TOM               Honest government will               put money in your pockets.               It will provide for your               families. Insure a better               future for your children.               You don’t have to accept               intimidation or threats.               You don’t have to pay off               every cop or thug. This is               a free country...                       PUSHCART PEDDLER               For the rich.                       TOM               For you, too. You can               change things. Your vote               counts.                       OLD PEDDLER               I know, I voted four times               last week. Fifty cents a               vote.                       TOM               I understand your cynicism.               But we have laws that               protect your right to do               business without bribery or               corruption...                       PUSHCART PEDDLER               There’s our protection... ACROSS THE STREET Charley and his boys, Davey, Vito and Albert, are back slapping, shaking hands, flipping coins to the kids.                       TOM               Who can Luciano protect               you from?                       PUSHCART PEDDLER               From Luciano, who else? Everyone laughs.                       OLD PEDDLER               When we need money, your               upstanding Republicans at               the bank won’t lend it to               us. So we borrow from               Charley Luciano...                       TOM               And he makes you pay it               back twenty cents on the               dollar.                       PUSHCART PEDDLER               Maybe, but he comes through               with the cash, no questions               asked.                       FISHMONGER               Business is done in a               different way down here, Mr.               Dewey. You won’t change that. INT. ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN'S BILLIARD ROOM. NIGHT. Leather and dark wood. The valet serves drinks on a silver tray. Meyer watches, cue in hand as AR is circles the table.                       ROTHSTEIN               Two to one I make the nine               ball in the corner, off two               cushions into the side,               Meyer.                       MEYER               I wouldn't give you odds               if you said the balls were               gonna roll in by themselves,               AR. Rothstein laughs and turns to Charley, who is sitting on the couch with Rabinowitz, the union organizer.                       ROTHSTEIN               And if I laid a hundred to               one that I could get               Weinberg and the Dairy               Owners Association to offer               the truck drivers a raise to               a dollar an a half an hour..?                       CHARLEY               I’d never bet against you,               AR.                       ROTHSTEIN               Smart boy, I already fixed it.               Just waiting for you to sign               on the dotted line, Mr.               Rabinowitz.                       RABINOWITZ               What do I do to get this raise?                       ROTHSTEIN               Lepke and Gurrah Shapiro have               been very helpful in these               negotiations.                       RABINOWITZ               They’re the bosses’ goons.                       MEYER               So make ‘em vice presidents.               Then they’ll be the union’s               goons.                       CHARLEY               All you gotta do is raise               the dues a dollar a month               and kick it back to Lepke.                       RABINOWITZ               I’m gonna be the front man               while the gangsters control               the union.                       MEYER               You wanna get more money               for your members, don’t               you?                (offers a wad of bills)               Don’t worry, the front               man don’t get left out in               the cold.                       CHARLEY               Gotta take bribes, kid.               People get nervous dealin’               with an honest man. Gotta               be a crook if you want’em               to trust you. Rabinowitz senses the subtle threat. He takes the money. INT. WAREHOUSE. NIGHT. A CRAP GAME. HIGH ROLLERS  shoving, shouting, throwing money down. Meyer, watches the stickman handle thousands of dollars. Charley, in a dark suit with a yellow and black handkerchief peeking out of the breast pocket, plays the host, smiling and backslapping, but always with a cold eye on the action. Benny, groomed and dapper, flirts with the DEBS at the door. Meyer takes a stack of bills off the craps table. The other two gravitate toward him and they walk toward the office.                       MEYER               We’re up over fourteen               G’s.                       BENNY               AR’s gotta be happy with               that.                       MEYER               That don’t even cover               expenses. You know how much               he gives out?                       CHARLEY               He don’t tell nobody.                       MEYER               He don’t have to. Do the               numbers. He controls four               hundred pool rooms in New               York, takin’ bets, sellin’               lotteries. Each one pays               three hundred a month to               the local cops. Five               hundred crap games, each               payin’ a hundred and fifty,               two hundred card joints,               hundred fifty a month.               Twenty fancy casinos for               the carriage trade. Five               hundred a month to stay in               business.                       CHARLEY               My head’s achin’ from all               this arithmetic.                       MEYER               Two hundred and thirty               five G’s a year to the               cops just to stay in               business. And whaddya               think he gives the District               Leader and Assemblyman?                       CHARLEY               Marrone, AR’s got the whole               city fixed. INT. OFFICE. NIGHT. The three enter a cramped, windowless room. At a desk, a BOOKKEEPER in a green eyeshade is counting money. In the corner RED LEVINE, a hulking, red headed hood is playing solitaire. Lansky picks up a stack of bills, tied with a rubber band.                       MEYER               What’s the count?                       BOOKKEEPER               Thirty nine hundred in               twenties...Without removing               the rubber band, Lansky               riffles the bills.                       MEYER               Thirty-eight sixty....                       BOOKKEEPER               I counted those bills three               times... Benny cuffs him in the back of the head.                       BENNY               Whaddya arguin’... Meyer throws the stack back at him.                       MEYER               I told ya: put the twenties               in four hundred dollar piles,               twenty bills to a stack.               Fives, fifty, singles a               hundred. Charley yanks               Levine’s tie loose and begins               to retie it.                       CHARLEY               You know what a gavone is?               You walk around like a slob               you don’t represent me.                       MEYER                 (to the Bookkeeper)               Get the numbers right to               the penny. Treat my money               with the respect it               deserves...                       BOOKKEEPER               Your money. I thought it               was Rothstein’s.                       MEYER               Some of it. But none of               it’s yours, remember               that. Benny cuffs him again.                       BENNY               Yeah. You got a future... The boys walk out, laughing. INT. ROTHSTEIN’S CASINO. NIGHT. A festive, glittering cross section of New York night life. SOCIALITES in evening clothes, GAMBLERS, POLITICIANS, SHOWGIRLS. Rothstein circulates, gladhanding, signing chits. CHARLEY, MEYER AND BENNY enter and walk cockily to the back, stopping to laugh and back slap at a few tables before reaching Rothstein.                       ROTHSTEIN               Hey boys, did we break even? Meyer whispers a figure.                       ROTHSTEIN (CONT'D)               Any winners? Always gotta               send one sucker home happy.               Stick around I got a big               surprise. At his signal a JAZZ BAND strikes up and marches out, followed by WAITERS carrying buckets of champagne, Rothstein mounts a roulette table and announces:                       ROTHSTEIN (CONT'D)               Bar’s open, kids. Eat, drink               and be merry for  tomorrow               we’ll be dry.                       BENNY               Somebody’s birthday?                       ROTHSTEIN               Yeah, ours. He holds up the front page of the New York Times. VOLSTEAD ACT PASSES. ALCOHOL DECLARED ILLEGAL. The Daily News: THE PARTY’S OVER... ALCOHOL DECLARED ILLEGAL..                       ROTHSTEIN               The geniuses in Washington               just passed the Volstead               Act. As of midnight tonight               alcohol consumption is                 illegal in the US of A.               Know what that means?                       MEYER               A lotta sober people in               the morning.                       ROTHSTEIN                  (pouring champagne)               Not for long. Look at these               people. You think they’re               gonna stop drinkin’ because               Congress says so? They’re               gonna drink even more. And               we’re gonna give ‘em all               they want.                       (toasting)               Here’s to our leaders in               Washington. They just                handed the whole country               over to us. INT. REPUBLICAN CLUB. NIGHT. A celebration. Champagne corks are popping. The normally dour Republicans are toasting each other. Tom is standing off to the side watching with disapproval. A YOUNG REPUBLICAN offers him a glass.                       YOUNG REPUBLICAN               C’mon Tom, have your last               legal cocktail.                       TOM               I’m not much of a drinker.               Guess I won’t miss it.                       YOUNG REPUBLICAN               You won’t have to. I’ve got               three cases of scotch in the               basement. And I’ve got a guy               who’ll get us all we want...                       TOM               Who’s this guy?                       YOUNG REPUBLICAN                        (with a wink)               You know. A friend of Arnold               Rothstein’s.                       PORTLY REPUBLICAN               C’mon boy crack open another               case of that French seltzer               water... Tom sees the irony.                       TOM               So we’re all going to               end up making the gangsters               rich.                       YOUNG REPUBLICAN               Richer my boy... A lot richer. END Part 1/Act Four Next: Part 2/Act Four: An Empire is Born In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie? Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station. The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and "Lucky" Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor's Mansion and almost to the White House. *For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

 


		

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 6

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 6

By

Heywood Gould


ACT THREE


NEW YORK, 1918

INT. MOVIE THEATER. NIGHT.

ON SCREEN—a NEWSREEL shows AMERICAN TROOPS disembarking from a ship, greeted by CHEERING CROWDS…The AUDIENCE SINGS “OVER THERE” The subtitle reads:”WAR OVER…`100,000 AMERICAN TROOPS COME HOME VICTORIOUS. PAN TO the AUDIENCE where Meyer and Benny watch with their young GIRLFRIENDS… The AUDIENCE is singing the popular WWI tune:

         AUDIENCE
And we won’t give up/’Til
it’s over/Over there…

         BENNY
(singing)
Eighteen bucks a month
them doughboys were
gettin’. Over there…

         MEYER
(sings back)
Eighteen bucks a month.
A hundred thousand guys.
We coulda run some crap


INT. FAT AL’S NIGHT.

A raucous Lower East Side dive, smoke filled, festive, crude. A JAZZ BAND swings. Meyer, Benny and their girls push through the writhing COUPLES on the dance floor to their table.

         BENNY’S GIRL
I never been to a place like
this….

         BENNY
Yeah and you learned how
to smooch from a rabbi…

         MEYER
(to his girl)
Get a drink, doll, I’m gonna
look over the action…


He walks over to a noisy CRAP TABLE.

         CHARLEY
Stick’ em up, pal…


Meyer turns and sees Charley older and harder, but with the same mischievous glint in his eye. He is dressed in the loud colors of a street pimp. There are two cold eyed THUGS standing behind him.

Meyer hugs him, gleefully.

         MEYER
Hey Salvatore.

         CHARLEY
(returning the hug)
Not Salvatore no more. It’s
Charley, Charley Luciano,
Maier.

         MEYER
It’s Meyer Lansky now. I
got sick of people callin’
me the Mayor.

         CHARLEY
Yeah and I learned my lesson
in the can. All these guys
callin’ me Sally like I was a
girl.

         MEYER
I bet you made ‘em sorry.
The two laugh and pound
each other on the back.

         CHARLEY
I missed you guys.

         MEYER
Yeah me too. We don’t know
where to go for the good
spaghetti…

         CHARLEY
You still with that bughouse
shlammer?


Benny runs over, laughing and grabs Charley in a bear hug.

         BENNY
What’d you call me?

         CHARLEY
(fingers Benny’s loud suit)
How many guys you rob to
get those rags?

         BENNY
A broad bought it for me.

MEYER
So, you makin’ money?

         CHARLEY
(flashing a HUGE ROLL)
What do you call this?


Benny pulls out a big WAD of BILLS.

         BENNY
Mine’s bigger.

         CHARLEY
How about you, Meyer?


Meyer takes out a couple of crumpled bills.

         MEYER
I hide my money in my
sister’s drawers…

         BENNY
And if you know his sister
that’s the safest place in
the world…

         CHARLEY
You guys wanna go for corned
beef?

         BENNY
We’ll dump our girls. You
dump yours.


The two thugs move up with menacing glares, but Charley restrains them.

         CHARLEY
This here’s Albert Anastasia
and Vito Genovese.

         MEYER
Hiya boys…Just jokin’.
Seeya at Bernstein’s,
Charley..


As they walk away…

         ANASTASIA
Whaddya wanna hang out with
those Hebes?

         CHARLEY
I was runnin’ with Meyer
before I knew you was
alive. Them guys are my
best friends.


INT. DELICATESSEN. NIGHT

Charley is wolfing down a corned beef sandwich while Benny tells a war story.

         BENNY
So the guy says you gonna
fight me you little shrimp
and Meyer knocks him ass
over tin cup…

         CHARLEY
You gotta have a little
Sicilian in you, Meyer. The
way you drop a guy just for
lookin’ funny at you.

         MEYER
And you gotta have a little
Jew, the way you love that
corned beef. Hey, see that
guy sittin’ with Lepke.


ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN

Mid forties, elegant in a top hat and evening clothes is gobbling deli with Buchalter and Shapiro. He waves over at Meyer.

         MEYER
That’s Arnold Rothstein.
They call him The Brain…
The guy owns every politician
in town.

         CHARLEY
So what’s he doin’ with those
headbusters?

         MEYER
He owns them, too. Sets up all
the labor deals. High class
gamblin’ joints. Does it with
class. No shlammin’, no shootin’.
If you woulda known him you
wouldn’t have spent a minute in
jail.

         BENNY
How’d you get caught anyway,
a smart guy like you?

         CHARLEY
Cops grabbed me with a hatbox
of full of nose candy.

         MEYER
You still sellin’ hop to
hooers?

         CHARLEY
It’s a good business. Little
package big money. I’d be
walkin’ around today if that
pimp Motchie hadn’t ratted
me out.

         BENNY
Can’t let these rats think
they can get away with
squealin’.

         CHARLEY
Motchie’s in with the cops.
I touch him they’ll be all
over me.

         MEYER
So we’ll get him for you.

         CHARLEY
You’d do that for me?

         MEYER
Yeah. And then you get
somebody for us. Deal?

         CHARLEY
(hugging him, laughing)
I shoulda known you weren’t
doin’ no friendly favors…
Deal…


INT. NEW YORK REPUBLICAN CLUB. NIGHT.

A paneled club room. A group of portly businessmen, more interested in their cigars than their guest speaker, Fiorello La Guardia. All except for Tom who listens with interest.

         LA GUARDIA
For too long the Republican
Party has been content to
control the upstate vote and
leave New York City to the
crooks in Tammany Hall.

         AN OLD REPUBLICAN
We have no influence with the
foreign element, Mr. La
Guardia.

         LA GUARDIA
You’re not trying. These people
come from cultures of bribery
and intimidation. They have to
be educated in the American
way of life..

         ANOTHER REPUBLICAN
The police are corrupt. The whole
area is a sinkhole of graft and
depravity.

         TOM
The gangsters get away
with murder in broad daylight.
They are accepted in the
community.

         LA GUARDIA
They’re not accepted, sir.
They’re feared and hated.

         TOM
So if a young Republican
challenged them in their
territory…

         LA GUARDIA
The first politician who stands
up to the racketeers will be a
hero to thousands of new voters.


Tom nods; he’s getting an idea.

EXT. ESSEX STREET. NIGHT

Motchie parades down the street with his “girls,” speaking loudly, brushing people aside. He meets Meyer and Benny coming the other way.

         BENNY
Well look who’s here.

         MEYER
You meet the best people
on Essex Street, dontcha know.

         MOTCHIE
Hey boys. Haven’t seen you
around lately, Benny.

         BENNY
Not crazy about the
merchandise, Motchie.
If I wanna screw an old
broad I can go to my cousin
Ruthie.

         MOTCHIE
Hey, I’ll get you anything
you want. Come down to my
joint on Bayard Street.
Getcha a pipe, too.

         BENNY
That’s more like it…

EXT.CHINATOWN.NIGHT

Motchie leads the boys down a dark, narrow street. CHINESE bustle by, heads down.

         MOTCHIE
I been hearin’ a lot about
you boys. Workin’ with
Lepke.

         MEYER
Industrial management. We
been hearin’ a lot about you,
too…

         MOTCHIE
Yeah, I’m spreadin’ out. Got
a joint uptown at the Abbey
Hotel.


Meyer looks around; the street is empty. He grabs Motchie and walks him toward a basement entrance.

         MOTCHIE
Hey, this ain’t the place.


From behind, Benny jams an ICE PICK into Motchie’s spine. He screams and goes rigid. Meyer drags him down the steps. Benny jumps down after and plunges the ice pick into the back of his neck. He goes limp. The boys jump out and walk away, Benny tossing the pick as they turn the corner.

INT. SINGING CLASS. NIGHT.

Tom Dewey, now in his early twenties, is standing at a piano, straining to hit the high notes in Pagliacci. In the class: FRANCES HUTT, a petite, pretty soprano winces at every clinker. The MAESTRO, a temperamental Italian, rises from the piano.

         MAESTRO
Mr. Dewey, may I ask: are
you studying another
profession?

         TOM
I’m at Columbia Law School.

         MAESTRO
Well don’t ever sing in
front of a jury. You’ll
lose the case…


INT. DRUGSTORE. NIGHT.

Frances and Tom sit in a booth sipping sodas.

         FRANCES
You have to work up to the
high notes.


She demonstrates, singing a flawless scale. The CUSTOMERS applaud and Tom shakes his head with an admiring smile.

          TOM
I’ll never sing like that.
I’ll never hold an audience
spellbound.

          FRANCES
There’s no better stage
than a courtroom.

          TOM
Or a political debate. I’m
getting active in the
Republican Club…

          FRANCES
Won’t get much applause
there. Democrats run this
town.

          TOM
Not for long. I heard a
man named La Guardia speak
the other night. He says
the party needs young men
to carry its message to
the people.

          FRANCES
Tom Dewey the pride of
Oswosso, Michigan, rides
into the big city on his
white horse guns blazing,
and throws all the bad
guys out.

          TOM
Makes a good story,
doesn’t it?

          FRANCES
Let’s just say you’ll sing
the lead in Rigoletto
before you clean up New
York.


INT. ITALIAN BAKERY. NIGHT.

Benny and Meyer sit at a marble table eating cheesecake. Across the room Charley is standing, hat in hand, in front of Joe Masseria, who has gotten fatter since we first saw him. The boys watch in amazement as Charley kisses his ring.

         BENNY
You see that?


Charley returns with a smile.

         CHARLEY
Okay you’re in. I told
Masseria you were workin’
with me.

         MEYER
What does that get us?

         CHARLEY
Protection. We can run any
racket we want in this
neighborhood as long as we
throw him somethin’.

          BENNY
What makes him so big?

          CHARLEY
He’s kinda the head of the
club that runs everything.

          MEYER
How do we join this club?

          CHARLEY
You don’t, it’s for Italians
only. This guy snaps his finger
and a thousand greaseballs kiss
his hand and call him Don
Giuseppe like he’s still in the
old country. He’s a fat pig,
don’t know from nothin’.
But the crumbs off his table is
like the biggest loaf of bread
you ever seen.

         BENNY
I could stroll over there
right now and cut open that
tub of guts.

         MEYER
Then you’d have a thousand
Italians with a vendetta
against you. We oughta go see
Rothstein. He does business
the American way.


EXT. ROTHSTEIN’S TOWNHOUSE. NIGHT

Meyer and Charley stand at the door, looking around in awe.

         MEYER
Not bad, huh? They don’t
call him The Brain for
nothin’.


The door opens. A BUTLER greets them.

         BUTLER
Good evening, gentlemen. Mr.
Rothstein is waiting.

They follow him through a glittering vestibule.

         CHARLEY
How does a little putz like
you get to the great Arnold
Rothstein?

         MEYER
I met him at the Weinberg
Bar Mitzvah. See, we got
a club, too.

         CHARLEY
How do I join?

         MEYER
First, you get a painful
operation.


ROTHSTEIN, in a silk smoking jacket, greets them with a smile.

         ROTHSTEIN
Meyer, Charley, thanks for
coming.

         CHARLEY
It’s an honor, Mr. Rothstein.


Rothstein puts his arms around both boys and walks them into the dining room.

         ROTHSTEIN
Everybody calls me AR…


INT.ROTHSTEIN’S DINING ROOM. NIGHT.

An opulent table under a crystal chandelier. The butler serves and pours. Meyer and Charley, are intimidated by the surroundings, confused by the array of cutlery.

         ROTHSTEIN
A cop is a crook with no
guts. He’ll always be
happy with a small piece
of your action. That’s
your fish knife, Charley.

         CHARLEY
Oh yeah, my fish knife…

ROTHSTEIN
Now the politicians, they’re
just a bunch of hypocrites.
Whorehouse on Saturday,
church on Sunday.

         MEYER
What does that make us AR?

         ROTHSTEIN
Businessmen, backbone of
America. We give people
what they want. How you
makin’ the rent, Charley?

         CHARLEY
I help the boys downtown.
Sell a little hop…

         ROTHSTEIN
Good business to invest in
on the sly. Let somebody
else do the dirty work.
How about you, Meyer?

         MEYER
I like to run a crap games.

         CHARLEY
He’s a whiz with numbers,AR.

         ROTHSTEIN
That’s what I’m lookin’ for.
Ford makes a car, everybody
buys it,. Post makes a cereal
everybody eats it. I have a
product–gambling, which I can
turn into the biggest industry
in America. But I need talented
guys to run it. You boys are
real executive material. We
just have to smooth out some
of the rough edges.


INT.WANAMAKER’S. DAY.

A conservative haberdasher. Meyer is being fitted for a suit under Rothstein’s watchful eye.

         MEYER
I coulda gone to
Hennigsberg’s on Rivington
Street for half price.

         ROTHSTEIN
Forget those greenhorns, you
gotta use an American tailor.
Somebody sees you in a John
Wanamaker suit they know you
got class…

         CHARLEY
steps out of a fitting room,
a man transformed in a pin
striped suit.

         CHARLEY
What do you think?

         ROTHSTEIN
You look like the Chairman
of the Board.

         MEYER
Ironing board maybe.


Charley admires himself in the mirror.

         CHARLEY
Clothes make the man they
say.
(pokes Meyer)
From now on, call me Chairman
of the Board.
</>

END ACT THREE

Next: Part 7/Act Four: Billions & Booze (Wednesday, 11/09/11)

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13.  Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

 

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 5

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13.  Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 5

By

Heywood Gould

ACT TWO

EXT. BOWERY. NIGHT.

A few weeks later. The Bowery is the Broadway of downtown New York, featuring VAUDEVILLE THEATERS, SALOONS, crowds of ROWDIES out for a night on the town. Maier and Benny stand outside a saloon gaping at the painted WHORES and their flashy PIMPS. Maier has a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth. Benny ogles the women.

         BENNY
Salvatore gettin’ us
broads?

         MAIER
Nah. Business before
pleasure.

They peek into saloon thick with smoke and honky tonk music

SALVATORE

is talking to a FIDGETY MAN at the bar. A YOUNG WHORE pushes through the swinging doors, dragging a giggly, staggering DRUNK.

         YOUNG WHORE
C’mon honey, let’s get some
air.

TWO YOUNG MEN jump out and drag the drunk into an alley. They blackjack him to the ground, then “roll” him, taking his pocket watch and billfold. IN THE BAR a buxom singer is drawing cheers with her song.

         BUXOM SINGER
The wealthy Four Hundred in
mansions reside/ With fronts
of brown stone and stoops high
and wide/While the poor working
people in poverty deep/ In
cellars and shanties are huddled
like sheep

INT. OSWOSSO LUTHERAN. NIGHT

A church social. YOUNG TOM DEWEY is singing as MARY SIMMONS, a young girl accompanies him on the piano. COUPLES take their last dance and wander out hand in hand as the song ends.

         YOUNG TOM
Good night Irene, Irene/
Good night Irene/ Good
night Irene, Good night
Irene/ I’ll see you in
my dreams.

EXT.SALOON. NIGHT.

Salvatore returns with a bottle of gin and a small package.

         SALVATORE
Keep chickie for the cops…


He draws a VIAL OF COLORLESS LIQUID out of his pocket. Reaches into his pants pocket for several small GLASS JARS.

         SALVATORE
Used to buy opium in a drug
store like cough syrup. Then
the law said it wasn’t legal
no more. But people still
want it so I give it to ‘em.

         MAIER
How you make money?


Salvatore pours a small amount of opium into the jars, then fills them up with gin.

         SALVATORE
I buy the dope off that
junkie in the saloon. Five
bucks a bottle. Cut it with
gin and sell it for three
bucks a jar to the girls on
Essex Street.

         MAIER
You could get guys on the
street to sell it for you
so you don’t gotta worry
about cops.

         BENNY
The broads like this stuff?

         SALVATORE
They love it. You should
see ‘em jump when I come
around.

INT. ROSIE SOLOMON’S. DAY

A brothel in the back room of a saloon. Through a beaded curtain, we can see MEN drinking and hear a PIANO playing. Under red lights, YOUNG GIRLS in camisoles, giggle and gossip with CLIENTS, WORKING MEN of all ages. Salvatore, Maier and Benny enter and are immediately surrounded by GIRLS flirting, entreating “Sal, you bring me a present?”..”Got any of that nose candy, Sal..?” Salvatore brushes them off with a laugh “I don’t see you givin’ nothin’ away.” MOTCHIE, the pimp steps out with a desperate grin. He is young and full of bluster, but wary of Salvatore.

         MOTCHIE
I supply the girls around
here.

         SALVATORE
They like my product better.
(menacing)
That okay with you, Motchie?

Motchie is about to defy him, but Benny moves in with a crazy look and he backs off with an ingratiating smile.

         MOTCHIE
Sure as long as they’re
happy.

         SALVATORE
These are my friends, Benny
and Maier. Take good care of
‘em.

Benny goes for a CURVY BRUNETTE.

         BENNY
I’ll take that zaftig one…

He thrusts a few crumpled bills at Motchie, but Salvatore slaps his hand away.

         SALVATORE
Put your money away. Only
crums pay for it, right
Motchie? It’s my friend
Maier’s birthday. Get
somethin’ nice for him.

         MOTCHIE
Sure Sal…Hey Pearl, where
ya hidin’?

PEARL

a consumptive redhead in a black shift steps out of a room.

         PEARL
Where ya think?

         SALVATORE
(gives Maier a shove)
What are you waitin’ for?
Go, have a good time…

Maier walks timidly down the hall, turning to protest:

         MAIER
But it ain’t my birthday.

INT. PEARL’S ROOM. DAY.

An old iron bedstead, rumpled sheets. Maier watches shyly as Pearl lights an oil lamp. A reddish glow spreads through the room.

         PEARL
So how old are you?

         MEYER
I told ya. It ain’t my
birthday.

All business, Pearl pulls her shift over her head.

         PEARL
You gotta get a little
closer, or it don’t work
so good…

Meyer sits next to her. She tousles his hair.

         PEARL (CONT’D)
This your first time?

         MEYER
Yeah…

         PEARL
Don’t be scared honey,
it’s easy…
(pushes him down onto the bed)
Mama’ll do all the work…

INT. SALVATORE’S ROOM.NIGHT.

A basement room. A bed and a rickety table. JARS and BOTTLES. Salvatore and the boys enter in the darkness.

         SALVATORE
This here’s my office.

         BENNY
You live here too?

         SALVATORE
(lights a candle)
Yeah. My old man threw me
out. I slip money to my
brother to give to my mother…

         BENNY
I had to leave Brooklyn.
Toomany guys lookin’ for
me. But I’ll go back there
one dayflippin’ gold pieces,
broads hangin’ offa me…

         SALVATORE
You still livin’ at home,
Maier?

         MAIER
Yeah.

         SALVATORE
Your mother know what
you’re doin’?

         MAIER
She gets mad. But I’m
goin’ to school for
mechanic work.

         BENNY
You ain’t gonna get a
job are you?

         MAIER
Why not? A lotta guys do
it.

         SALVATORE
That’s ‘cause they can’t
scheme like you. You think
those crums would work for
a dollar a day if they could
make thirty bucks hustlin’
crap games?

         BENNY
Everybody wants to be like
us…

         MAIER
Like us, huh. Freezin’ in
a basement with rats runnin’
around…

         SALVATORE
At least we’re on our own
and no crum is makin’ money
off our backs…My old man’s
gonna die poor.

         MAIER
Mine, too.

         SALVATORE
See what I mean? At least
we got a chance to get rich.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. NIGHT.

A peaceful world. Quiet, starry, leaves rustling, crickets chirping. Tom and Mary walk up to a farmhouse..

         YOUNG TOM
I’m goin’ out for football.
(makes a muscle)
That farm work’s makin’ me
real strong for the tryout

         MARY
(feels his bicep)
You’ll make the team for
sure.

         YOUNG TOM
I’m joinin’ Debating Club.
I’m gonna need public speaking
when I go into politics…

         MARY
You gonna make those long
boring speeches at the
July Fourth picnic?

         YOUNG TOM
Maybe I’ll just sing a
song…

         MARY
(laughs)
Tom Dewey, the singing
Senator.

         YOUNG TOM
(a mock song)
And if elected I will
uphold our cherished
Republican values.

         MARY
You’re a sketch, Tom. I
almost think you could
do it.
(offers her hand )
Well, thanks for walkin’
me home.

Tom moves in and “steals” a kiss. Mary laughs and pushes him away.

         MARY
Why Tom Dewey. I thought
you were such a good boy…

         YOUNG TOM
(puts his arms around her)
Only when I have to be.

This time the kiss is mutual

EXT. LOWER EAST SIDE STREET. NIGHT.

Only a year has passed. The boys are seventeen, but look older, more sure of themselves. Salvatore and Benny and are keeping“lookout” as Meyer jumps in the front seat of a Model T.

         SALVATORE
How you gonna start it, you
don’t got the key?

         MAIER
(fiddling with the wires)
Just watch the guy don’t
come out.

Sparks fly under the wheel as he makes a connection. He jumps out and turns the crank. The Model T sputters into action.

         BENNY
How’d you do that?

         MAIER
Get in.

But as they move away, the OWNER runs out, followed by THREE MEN. “Hey, where ya goin’” Maier tries to speed away, but the car bucks and stalls. Benny jumps out wielding a wrench and rushes them, swinging wildly knocking three men down. Salvatore pulls a knife and holds the other man at bay. Maier runs around and cranks the car until it starts again. Salvatore jumps in.

        MAIER
Benny!

Benny runs back and jumps into the car and it clatters away, leaving the three men lying in the street.

EXT. LIVERY STABLE. DAY’

Early morning. The place is half stable, half garage, horses on one side, MODEL T’s and STUTZ BEARCATS on the other. Benny, clothing torn, nose bloody, watches as Maier and Salvatore negotiate with a BURLY BLACKSMITH.

        BLACKSMITH
Where’d you get the car?

        MAIER
My father gave it to me
for my Bar Mitzvah, what
do you care? Fifty bucks
is a fair price.

        BLACKSMITH
I’ll give you twenty.

        SALVATORE
C’mon you’ll get two
hundred…

        BLACKSMITH
You stole this heap. I
could call a cop friend
and get it for nothin’.

Benny looks around with a casual smile; he has developed a new technique for intimidating people.

        BENNY
Better call a fireman friend,
too.

        BLACKSMITH
What for?

        BENNY
To put out the fire when
I burn this joint down
with you in it.

The Blacksmith is about to answer. Benny just shrugs.

        BENNY
Nice place you got here.

        BLACKSMITH
Okay. Fifty bucks.

        MAIER
(smells his fear)
Make it a hundred for
hollerin’ copper.

Salvatore laughs and puts his arm around the Blacksmith’s shoulders.

        SALVATORE
Make it a hundred fifty
and throw in your horse…
Partner.

EAST SIDE 1917

EXT. RAPPAPORT’S RESTAURANT.DAY
A few years later. Meyer and Benny have grown up and found their personal styles. Meyer is understated in a gray topcoat, hat pulled low. Benny is brash in a cashmere coat with a fur collar. He stops to tilt it at a rakish angle.

        MEYER
C’mon, I’m hungry…

INT. DAIRY RESTAURANT. DAY.

Noisy, crowded with ORTHODOX JEWS,GARMENT WORKERS,etc. MOTCHIE the pimp is at a table with his GIRLS. The girls wave and call “Hiya Benny…” At a round table in the back, gorging themselves on bagels and lox, are LEPKE BUCHALTER, squat and fierce and his partner GURRAH SHAPIRO, gross, thick lipped, with an uncaring stare.

        SHAPIRO
The toughest boys on the
East Side.

        BENNY
Toughest boys in the world.

        LEPKE
Wanna make some easy
money?

        MEYER
Nah, I wanna sew buttons
twelve hours a day.

        LEPKE
There’s a strike at the
Weinberg Bakery. Mr.
Weinberg is a good friend…

        MEYER
Yeah and you’re a silent
partner.

        SHAPIRO
We want you to break up
the strike, send the boys
back to work…Fifty bucks.

        MEYER
Hundred’s the goin’ rate,
Lepke.

        LEPKE
A hundred? It’s ten minutes
work.

Benny takes a bite out of Lepke’s bagel.

        MEYER
For us. Anybody else you’ll
need a mob and it’ll cost a
G note.

        BENNY
We’re savin’ you money,
Lepke.

A blustery winter day. STRIKERS shiver on a picket line, Exhorting PASSERSBY to “Pass’em by…”

A TAXI

pulls up. Meyer and Benny get out..

        BENNY
Keep the meter runnin’, we’ll
be back…

        RABINOWITZ
Meyer’s childhood friend, is
shouting instructions.

        MEYER
Rabinowitz. You the boss
here?

        RABINOWITZ
You one of Lepke’s shlammers,
Maier?

        MEYER
If I have to be. You gotta
go back to work, kid.

        RABINOWITZ
Weinberg’s profit has doubled,
but he won’t pay us a living
wage, Maier. Whaddya think of
that?

        LANSKY
I think it’s smart business
if he can get away with it
and we’re here to see that
he does…

        BENNY
Back to work baker, your
bagels are gettin’ cold…

        RABINOWITZ
You guys don’t scare me…

Benny punches the Rabinowitz flush in the face. Grabs him as he falls forward and gut punches him. The other STRIKERS run to their leader’s defense. A TOUGH STRIKER advances on Maier.

        TOUGH STRIKER
Think you can fight
thirty-five guys?

Benny leaps at the Tough Striker, knocking him to the ground, beating him with the wooden handle of his placard.

        BENNY
Now it’s thirty-four…
Who wants to try for
thirty-three?

        MEYER
Hold it Benny…
(and faces the Strikers)
You know the Golden Rule?
The guy with the gold rules.
Weinberg’s gonna win in the
end so go back to work, you
got mouths to feed.

BENNY

leans over the bleeding semi-conscious Rabinowitz and shoves a few bills in his pocket.

        BENNY
Here, take your girlfriend
out dancin’ on Ben Siegel…

INT. HAT STORE. DAY

Salvatore is loading JARS OF MORPHINE and “raviolis” of COCAINE in a hat box, then concealing them under DERBY HATS.

        OWNER
(o.s.)
Ready for the deliveries,
Salvatore?

        SALVATORE
Ready, Mr. Gordon.


EXT. ESSEX STREET. DAY


Salvatore struts happily, three hatboxes in each hand.

MOTCHIE

is standing on the corner with two cops. He steps into the shadows as the cops block Charley’s way.

        RED FACED COP
What’s in the boxes,
Tony?

        SALVATORE
Hats from the Gordon Hat
Company.

The red faced cop opens a box and comes up with a “ravioli.”

RED FACED COP
Hats, huh?

Salvatore tries to run, but the red faced cop flicks his nightstick between his feet and he goes down. The fat cop kneels on his back, pushing his face into the ground.

        FAT COP
Who told you could sell hop
around here?

        SALVATORE
Who I gotta ask?

        FAT COP
Who you think, you dumb
wop?

        SALVATORE
That pimp Motchie’s sellin’
it,too.

        RED FACED COP
(snapping on the cuffs)
Motchie’s with us. You’re
not.

        SALVATORE
Take my load. I got eight
bucks in my sock. Take it
for lettin’ me go.

        FAT COP
We’ll takin’ it for not
bustin’ your head. You’re
gonna go cool off up the
river. When you come back
maybe you’ll know how
things work.

They jerk Salvatore to his feet and start to march him away. He turns with a cold, vengeful look toward Motchie.

        SALVATORE
Yeah. I’ll know how things
work.


END ACT TWO

Next: Part 6/Act Three: Getting Some Class (Monday, 11/07/11)

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13.  Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.


 

 

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 4

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 4

By

Heywood Gould

Act 1 (cont)


INT. MAIER’S KITCHEN. DAY

YETTA, Maier’s mother, pinched and bitter, is looking anxiously out of the window. His father MAX, sallow and bent with a tubercular cough is poring over the Yiddish newspaper, while his younger brother JAKE struggles with his homework.

         YETTA
He’s comin’.

         MAX
So’s the messiah…

INT. TENEMENT STAIRWAY. DAY.

Maier opens the door and runs anxiously up the stairs. People pass him on the way down. SHOPGIRLS, RELIGIOUS STUDENTS, WORKING MEN. RABINOWITZ, the young activist, loaded with books, stops him.

         RABINOWITZ
Hey, Meyer, come to the
meeting. We’re gonna get
the union into Weinberg’s
bakery. Get the workers a
fair shake.

         MAIER
Watch out Weinberg don’t
bust your head.

He reaches under the landing to where he has hidden his schoolbooks. Then with a nervous breath he opens the door.

INT. MAIER’S KITCHEN. DAY

Maier enters with his books.

         MAIER
Hey…

         MAX
Hey is for horses. Where
were you all night?

         MAIER
I was studyin’ with Cousin
Asher. We fell asleep in the
kitchen…

Yetta leaps at him. Pinches his cheek..

         YETTA
Liar! I went over there.
They hadn’t seen you…

         MAIER
Ow ow! Okay…I was at
the fruit market. A man
needed help unloading.
He gave me two bucks.

Yetta twists his ear, forcing him to his knees.

         YETTA
Look at me. A good boy
with an honest job can
look his mama in the
eye…

         MAIER
Okay, okay. I was in
a crap game.

         YETTA
(scandalized)
Oy, Max what are we
gonna do with him?

         MAX
The dice are crooked.
You think the gangsters
play so you can win?

         MAIER
I know, Pop, but I
beat them at their
own game. Here…

He takes a handful of bills out of his pocket and offers them to his mother. She gapes at the money in amazement.

         MAIER
Here Ma, buy yourself
winter coat.

         YETTA
It’s schmutzikeh gelt,
dirty money.

         MAIER
It’s the same money your
boss don’t give you, Mama.
Now you don’t gotta sew
buttons twelve hours a
day, You can stay home
and rest, Papa. Take care
of your cough.
(pushes the money on his father)
Don’t worry Papa, this
is America. The Cossacks
ain’t gonna bust down the
door…

EXT. HUDSON RIVER. NIGHT

On a crumbling pier. A crap game in the eerie glow of FIREPOTS. Maier hangs back and watches as The Young Gambler repeats the same ritual. The flirty girl blows on the dice to the ribald cheers of the other players. Then, he rolls:

         YOUNG GAMBLER
Seven! Who says those dice
are cold?

         MAIER
Hey, I’m down, too. Pay
off.


A handful of crumpled bills is thrown Maier’s way. He tries to slip unnoticed through the crowd. But is suddenly knocked to the ground. Stunned, he sees:

THE YOUNG GAMBLER

standing over him with a pair of BRASS KNUCKLES. TWO BRUISERS move in behind him.

         YOUNG GAMBLER
I’ll teach ya to run a
racket on me, punk.

Maier ducks, spins and takes off. The Young Gambler and his two henchmen give chase.

EXT. CHRISTOPHER STREET. NIGHT.

Maier runs down the narrow street and into an alley. Runs into a stone wall…A dead end… Turns to see the Young Gambler, breathing fiercely.

         YOUNG GAMBLER
Gotcha now, you little…..

Something FLASHES in the darkness. Benny steps into the light, wielding a lead pipe. There is a THUD and the Young Gambler drops to his knees.

SALVATORE

comes out of the shadows, a KNIFE GLITTERING. One henchman screams, holding a bloody gash in his face. The other tries to flee, but Salvatore runs him down and sticks him in the ribs.

MAIER

grabs a garbage can lid sand whacks the Young Gambler in the head. The Young Gambler stumbles. Benny blocks his path. Raising the pipe high,he smashes the Young Gambler, driving him down, flat on his face.

         SALVATORE
Is he dead?

         BENNY
How should I know? I ain’t
a doctor…

Maier tears a GOLD WATCH and CHAIN off the Young Man’s belt. Goes through his pockets and finds a GOLD MONEY CLIP bulging with bills. Salvatore goes for the money, but Meyer holds on.

         SALVATORE
Give it here.

         MAIER
This is my proposition…

          SALVATORE
Okay, but it’s fifty fifty.
You take care of Benny outta
your end.

As they walk away, Maier is counting the money.

         MAIER
Thirty eight bucks…

         SALVATORE
Let’s go eat…

         BENNY
Let’s get a broad.

Behind them one of the henchmen staggers out of the alley, moaning and collapses in the street.

         MAIER
Let’s go someplace and
divvy it up…

EXT. TENEMENT.DAY

Salvatore walks jauntily down the street carrying a large loaf of bread and a bag of groceries. He ducks quickly into a storefront when he sees his father, FRANCESCO LUCANIA, a short wiry working man, come out of the building. PEOPLE greet him: “Buon giorno Signor Lucania…” He tips his cap and walks on. Salvatore jumps out and enters the building.

INT. TENEMENT STAIRWAY. DAY.
Salvatore bounds up the stairs and knocks softly. His mother ROSALIA, pale and careworn opens the door. She lights up at the sight of him.

         ROSALIA
Salvatore…

         SALVATORE
(with a big hug )
Mama…Don’t worry, Papa
didn’t see me.

He steps into a KITCHEN of desperate poverty. A rickety table, a coal stove, an ice box, scraps of food. His little brother BARTOLOMEO jumps up in glee.

         BARTOLOMEO
Salvatore!

His sister GINA runs out:

         GINA
Salvatore!

         ROSALIA
You look so thin, Salvatore…

         SALVATORE
I’m doin’ great, Ma. Got a job
deliverin’ hats on Twenty third.

         ROSALIA
Every night I pray your father
will let you come back…

         SALVATORE
Forget it. Not even God could
get that hard headed Sicilian
to change his mind. Look at this
beautiful prosciutto.

He takes a large BAKED HAM out of the bag. Melon, tomatoes.

         ROSALIA
My God, what am I gonna tell
your father?

         SALVATORE
Tell him the Tammany boys gave
it to you for votin’…

         BARTOLOMEO
Hey Sal, I’m gonna come live
with you…

         SALVATORE
(takes a swipe at him)
You stay in school, stupid.
You wanna be a bum like me?

The door flies open. Francesco enters, clenched, furious.

         ROSALIA
(appeasing)
Francesco, he just came for
a visit. Look what be brought.

         FRANCESCO
Tony, the peddler says you
stuck him up.

         SALVATORE
Why do I wanna take pennies
off that crum? He’s a liar…

         FRANCESCO
You are the liar. You dishonor
this family…

Francesco raises his hand, but Salvatore grabs his wrist.

         ROSALIA
Salvatore!

Salvatore lets go and steps away.

         SALVATORE
This ain’t the old country,
Papa. I don’t have to stand
here and take a beatin’ from
you.
(tries to make up)
C’mon, I know how much you love
a nice prosciutto ham…

         FRANCESCO
I won’t take charity from a
thief.

Francesco grabs the ham and the bread and throws them out of the window. The whole family sags with disappointment.

         SALVATORE
The rats are gonna eat good
tonight, but your kids’ll go
hungry. That what you want?

         FRANCESCO
Get out! You’re not my son no more.
Get outta my house.


Salvatore hugs his mother and Gina.

         SALVATORE
(tousles Bartolomeo’s hair)
Stay in school…


EXT. TENEMENT. DAY
A cold wind is blowing as Salvatore comes out of the house. He shivers and turns for one last look.. Then walks away, pulling up the collar of his skimpy jacket.

END ACT ONE


Next: Act Two/Partners (Wednesday, 11/2/11)

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.
The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

 

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 3

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 3

By

Heywood Gould

Act 1 (cont)


EXT. DELANCEY STREET. DAY.

ELECTION DAY. A gray drizzle cannot dampen the festivities. BANNERS reading MURPHY FOR ASSEMBLY flutter from lampposts. A BAND PLAYS. CHESTNUT VENDORS hawk their wares. POLITICOS in DERBIES with GOLD WATCH CHAINS slap backs and kiss babies.

INT. LANDING. DAY

Two men climb the stairs, chatting amiably. One is TIM SULLIVAN, the Tammany Man, the other FIORELLO LA GUARDIA, short,round, bursting with energy. La Guardia carries a bouquet, Sullivan a fresh killed turkey. They knock at a door.

         LA GUARDIA
The Republicans are gonna
catch up on you guys today.
Only underdogs vote in the
rain.

         SULLIVAN
Ah now, we’ll get the vote out.


An ITALIAN LADY opens the door. La Guardia bows.

         LA GUARDIA
Fiorello La Guardia, Signora,
from the Republican Party,
the party of Lincoln, Teddy
Roosevelt, the party of the
poor…


Sullivan laughs and interjects.

         SULLIVAN
Don’t believe him, mama. The
Republicans are rich. Rockefeller,
J.P. Morgan…
(thrusting the turkey at her)
Take this beautiful bird as a
gift from Big Tim Sullivan.

         LA GUARDIA
That turkey won’t get you a
fair wage…

         SULLIVAN
But it’ll feed your kids.
(referring to a list)
I see you’ve got your husband
Vittorio and three boys here.
That’s five votes.

         ITALIAN LADY
My boys is too young to vote.

         SULLIVAN
Everybody votes in my ward,
mama, we don’t discriminate.
(with a scornful look at La Guardia)
We ain’t sellin’ fancy ideas.
We’re in business to help
good Democrats.


EXT. BOWERY. DAY.

A cold rain falls over the district where the streetwalkers prowl. Salvatore stands in a doorway pouring liquid opium into small jars, while little Davey keeps watch. A YOUNG PROSTITUTE, wet and shivering, stumbles in.

         PROSTITUTE
Hey Salvatore, I was lookin’
for you on Pell Street.

         SALVATORE
Can’t help ya now, toots,
I got work to do.


Maier jumps, shivering into the storefront followed by BENNY SIEGEL, a scrawny kid with a crazy look in his eye, who looks avidly at the Prostitute.

         MAIER
Okay we’re here.

         SALVATORE
I told ya to bring some
tough guys, not this
skinny marink…

         BENNY
(squares off)
I can take care of myself.
Wanna see?


A WAGON rolls up and Hines shouts:

         HINES
Hey you guys, no brawlin’ on
Election Day. Who can read
here?

         MAIER
Whaddya think we’re stupid?

         HINES
See this list? These people
are all dead, but they like
Charley Murphy so much we’re
gonna bring ‘em back to life
to vote for him.


MONTAGE…The BOYS get out the vote.

A BOWERY GIN MILL…DRUNKS mumble in their beers. Salvatore and his boys burst through the swinging doors, shouting:

         SALVATORE
Election day…Everybody
votes.

And drag the drunks off their stools, promising:

         SALVATORE
After you vote all the
drinks are on Mr. Charley
Murphy…

OUTSIDE A KOSHER RESTAURANT…Maier and Benny recruit voters in a crowd of ORTHODOX JEWS.

         MAIER
Two bits every time you
vote.

         OLD MAN
Two bits. Vus es two bits?

         MAIER
A quarter.

The crowd is impressed. “A quarter…”

A BROTHEL…Maier and Benny hang back shyly as Salvatore emerges with a PROSTITUTE, pale and depleted from drugs.

         PROSTITUTE
I’m sick Salvatore.

         SALVATORE
Vote for Charley Murphy,
I’ll give you the cure…

Suddenly, several gaudily dressed PIMPS burst out. “Where ya think you’re goin’?”

         SALVATORE (cont’d)
Ah, we’ll bring ‘em right
back.

         PIMP
(shoves Salvatore)
Take a walk.

Benny jumps in and kicks him in the groin. The other pimps jump him, but Benny fights them off furiously.

         MAIER
Okay, Benny they had
enough.

         BENNY
Not ’til I say so.


Benny knocks a pimp to his knees and kicks him in the face Pulls another pimp down by his hair and slams his head into the ground. Salvatore steps back and watches in amazement.

         SALVATORE
(to Meyer)
This kid’s nuts…

         MAIER
They call him Bugsy on the
block. Everybody’s scared
of him.

         SALVATORE
But not you?

         MAIER
Benny’s my best friend. He
wouldn’t hurt me.


EXT. POLLING PLACE. DAY.

A long line of VOTERS, some illiterate, some underage, herded together by Salvatore and his boys. PRECINCT CAPTAINS with DERBIES and GOLD WATCH CHAINS, speaking Yiddish, English and Italian with thick New York accents, escort VOTERS into the booths and mark their ballots for them. “ Charley Murphy’s the people’s choice..”

MAIER

escorts an old Jewish man up to a corrupt ELECTION OFFICIAL.

         ELECTION OFFICIAL
What’s his name?

         MAIER
Vus es die nommen?

         OLD MAN
(reads haltingly from a slip)
Liam O’Kelly..?

         ELECTION OFFICIAL
(checks off the name)
A fine Irish name.


Salvatore brings up a PROSTITUTE.

         ELECTION OFFICIAL
Name…

         PROSTITUTE
Rabbi Nathan Goldberg.

         ELECTION OFFICIAL
Right this way, Your Holiness…


EXT. POLLING PLACE. DAY.

As the voters emerge, Salvatore and his boys march them to the back of the line. Salvatore grabs a BOWERY LUSH.

         SALVATORE
Where ya goin, pal, you’re
votin’ again. Everybody’s
votin’ today..


EXT. ELIZABETH STREET. NIGHT.

The boy gather eagerly around Salvatore as he counts off the money from a big roll.

         SALVATORE
Twelve bucks for Benny.
Twelve for Maier. Twenty
four for me. I get
double ‘cause it’s my
proposition.

         MAIER
Okay. I got a proposition
for you.


ESSEX STREET. NIGHT.

Maier, Salvatore and Benny stand in the shadows watching a CRAP GAME. A YOUNG GAMBLER with a FLASHY YOUNG LADY in a low cut dress, is rolling the dice.

         MAIER
Gimme eight dollars I’ll
give you sixteen back.

         SALVATORE
(hands him the money)
You better…

THE YOUNG GAMBLER turns to his lady friend.

         YOUNG GAMBLER
Here doll, blow on these
for luck.

The Young Lady bends, giving the players a good look and blows flirtatiously on the dice.

MAIER.

darts into the crowd, throwing the money down. The Young Gambler rolls a SEVEN.

         STICK MAN
Lucky seven…

He throws some bills back at the Young Man. Maier jumps in.

         MAIER (CONT’D)
Hey Mister, what about me?


The Stick man looks up at the BANKER, another Italian.

         BANKER
Kid got lucky. Pay him off.

         MAIER
It’s s’posed to be three
to two.

         BANKER
Kid’s a bookkeeper.

SALVATORE AND BENNY

are waiting in the shadows.

         SALVATORE
How did you know this guy was
gonna roll a natural?

         MAIER
(demonstrates)
It’s a trick. He palms the
loaded dice. While everybody’s
watchin’ the pretty girl he
switches ‘em.


Salvatore gives him an affectionate smack.

         SALVATORE
You got some eyes on you
to spot this racket. We’re
gonna make big money, me
and you.

Next: Part 4/Dirty Money (Monday, 10/31/11)

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 (Calendar at right.) Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

 

 

 

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 2

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 (Calendar at right.) Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 2

By

Heywood Gould

Act 1


DISSOLVE TO

LITTLE ITALY, NY, 1913

EXT. MOTT STREET. (STOCK) DAY

A million immigrants jammed into ten square blocks. Noisy, narrow, teeming with desperate humanity. PUSHCARTS, HORSE DRAWN WAGONS. WORKERS,bent and weary, PEDDLERS screeching their wares. Sharp eyed women haggle in the Sicilian dialect keeping a wary eye on their CHILDREN running underfoot. MUSTACHIOED MEN in black suits swagger arm in arm with their GAUDY WOMEN.

YOUNG CHARLEY LUCIANO

still known by his given name, SALVATORE, sixteen, wiry, ashamed of his shabby clothes, has his nose pressed hungrily against the window of an ITALIAN BAKERY.

THROUGH THE BAKERY WINDOW

he sees JOE MASSERIA, a member of the BLACK HAND gang of extortionists. In his early ‘20’s, but already starting to bulge out of his black suit, Masseria is at a table with his HENCHMEN gorging himself on a huge slab of ITALIAN CHEESECAKE. As Salvatore watches the PROPRIETOR arrives with more pastry. He sets down the tray with a desperately ingratiating smile and slips Masseria a wad of BILLS

SALVATORE

licks his lips. He’s hungry, he’s always hungry. As he walks on he is followed by a three RAGTAG BOYS, led by DAVY BETTILO, a runty kid, mad at the world.

         BETTILO
Salvatore, wait up…

         SALVATORE
(pushes him away)
Stupido, don’t follow me.
Go cross the street and
come when I tellya.

Bettilo retreats, shamefaced. And Salvatore passes:

BIG TIM SULLIVAN

stocky, florid in a bowler hat, smiling broadly under a sign reading, FREE SHOES FROM BIG TIM SULLIVAN, TAMMANY HALL. PEOPLE fight and jostle as a young block captain, JIMMY HINES passes out shoes from enormous boxes.

         SULLIVAN
We’re goin’ to give out
seven thousand pairs of
shoes and socks today to
our loyal voters…


RABINOWITZ, a young idealist, jumps out and harangues the crowd.

         RABINOWITZ
Don’t sell your souls to
these Tammany crooks! Vote
for justice.

         JIMMY HINES
Justice won’t keep your
feet warm in the winter.
Who gives you what you need?


The CROWD responds in gleeful unison:

         CROWD
Big Tim Sullivan. He’s a
damned fine Irishman. Vote
for Sullivan.


Salvatore laughs and walks on. Lighting a cigarette he passes:

A PEDDLER

hawking fruit from a pushcart with the cry:

         PEDDLER
Applapear…Applapear…
Get ‘em over here. Two
cents a piece…Applapear…


Salvatore checks the street for COPS, then approaches, cigarette dangling out of his mouth.

         SALVATORE
The t’ieves is thick as flies
around here, huh Tony. Gimme
a quarter a day, I’ll keep’em
away.

         PEDDLER
(swipes at him)
Get outta here, I call a cop…

         SALVATORE
Cops don’t care about
greaseballs like you…


He gives a signal. Davy Bettilo leads the three boys across the street. They swipe handfuls of apples. Shouting, the Peddler gives chase. They dodge him laughing. Little Davey doubles back and pushes over his cart. Apples and pears roll off onto the street, setting off a stampede as PASSERSBY run to pick them up. The Peddler gets the message.

         PEDDLER
Okay a quarter…

SALVATORE

He runs out and rounds up the boys. Smacks them, grabs them by the ears…Chases them.

         SALVATORE
Hey you bums, put them
apples back, every single
one of ‘em. This man’s a
friend of mine. Don’t ever
bother him again, you
understand?


The Peddler looks at Salvatore with new found respect. He digs into his pocket for a few coins. Salvatore flips a coin back at him.

         SALVATORE
Pick me a few nice apples
for my mother,Tony…


JIMMY HINES

has been watching in amusement. He grabs Salvatore.

         JIMMY HINES
Hey kid, you the boss of
the block?

         SALVATORE
Just lookin’ out for my
friends.

         JIMMY HINES
I could use you and your
boys next week to get out
the vote. Give you
fifty cents a head.

         SALVATORE
A buck for every vote we
bring in…

         JIMMY HINES
Okay…But get me some tough
Yiddish kids to speak the
lingo to the greenhorns…

         SALVATORE
(walking on)
There ain’t no tough Yiddish
kids…


EXT. DELANCEY STREET. DAY.

The Jewish quarter. Shop signs in Yiddish. PEDDLERS hawking their wares in Yiddish. ORTHODOX JEWS in long coats and beards.. FLASHY PIMPS jostle wild eyed RADICALS.

SALVATORE

swaggers fearlessly into this alien territory. He stops to buy a pickle from a peddler.

INT. HEBREW SCHOOL. DAY

STUDENTS with YARMULKES muttering over their books, while the TEACHER, a spiteful, humpbacked old man, smacks the inattentive on the backs of their heads. He stops at little MAIER SUCHOJWOLANSKA, who is staring out of the window. Prods him hard with the pointer.

         TEACHER
So, Maier, This is where
the portion is? In the
street?

         MAIER
(defiant)
I know the lesson.

         TEACHER
So, how much gold did the
Israelites pledge for the
Tabernacle?

         MAIER
Twenty-nine talents and
730 shekels.

         TEACHER
How much silver?

         MAIER
One hundred talents and
seventeen hundred and
seventy five shekels.

         TEACHER
How many wandered in the
desert?

         MAIER
Six hundred and three thousand,
five hundred and fifty.

         TEACHER
So. And why do we study it?

         MAIER
God’s secret is in these
numbers. When every man
knows every number in the
Bible, the Messiah will
come and our enemies will
be defeated.

EXT. HEBREW SCHOOL. DAY.

A crumbling white stoned SYNAGOGUE. As Maier and the boys come out, one of them points across the street at

SALVATORE

who is watching from a doorway.

         FRIGHTENED BOY
That’s the kid, Maier. His gang
robbed us on Delancey yesterday.
Oy, look they’re comin’.

The boys turn to flee, but Maier grabs two of them.

         MAIER
Don’t run, stick together.

The others try to escape, but Salvatore’s boys sweep down on them from across the street and shove them into a storefront, slapping them, smacking their heads against the shop window…“Hey kid, a nickel to walk on Delancey Street…” One boy tries to run. “Hey, where you goin’, Ikie?” He is grabbed by the sidelocks and thrown to the ground.

MAIER

tightens his grip on his two friends. They walk the other way, but are pursued by Bettilo and two BIG BOYS.

         BETTILO
Hey, you gotta pay a nickel
to walk on the street.

         MAIER
Who says?

         BETTILO
I say.


Bettilo tries to grab Maier by the hair, but Maier sidesteps and pokes him in the eye, then clubs him to the ground. The Big Boys run at them, but Maier kicks one in the groin. Then pulls the other boy’s jacket up over his head and clubs him, bloodying his nose, Bettilo comes at him, swinging blindly. But Salvatore steps in pushing Bettilo away.

         SALVATORE
Give up Davey, don’tcha
know when you’re licked?
(and turns to Maier)
I never seen no Jewish kid
fight like that

         MAIER
(fists clenched)
You wanna see one now?

         SALVATORE
(backs off,laughing)
G’wan get outta here, tough
guy, you win.


Maier runs after his friends and grabs them by the necks.

         MAIER
Where you guys goin’? Gimme
two cents for savin’ the both
of yiz.

         FRIGHTENED BOY
But you’re robbin’ us, too.

         MAIER
Hey, it’s a good deal. Them
Italianas woulda taken all
your money and givin’ yiz a
beatin’ too.


SALVATORE

watches the boys pay up and calls:

         SALVATORE
Hey kid, c’mere I wanna ask
you somethin’.


Maier approaches warily. Salvatore lunges and pokes Maier in the neck with his lit cigarette. Maier recoils in pain.

         SALVATORE
See, I know more tricks than
you. Ya got friends tough
like you?

         MAIER
(rubbing his neck)
I got friends.

         SALVATORE
Bring ‘em around. We’ll make
some money…

         MAIER
Doin’ what?

         SALVATORE
What I tell ya. I’ll give
you a quarter for every kid
who can handle hisself. Okay?

         MAIER
Fifty cents

         SALVATORE
Yeah, yeah, okay. How much you
get off those little sissies?

         MAIER
Four cents.

         SALVATORE
(holds out his hand)
Gimme two…
(as Maier protests)
Hey, you wouldna made nothin’
if I didn’t stick ‘em up.


Grudgingly, Maier hands the money over. Salvatore offers his hand.

         SALVATORE
Shake,partner.


Maier is uncertain at first, but is taken in by Salvatore’s charm. With a shy smile he shakes his hand.

         MAIER
Okay…Partner.


EXT. DEWEY HOUSE. OSWOSSO MICHIGAN. DAY


A white Victorian house on a tree lined street in a picturesque small town outside of Detroit. From within we hear the pure tones of a young tenor, singing:

         YOUNG TOM
Mine eyes have seen the glory/
Of the coming of the Lord/He
is tramping out the vintage/
Where the grapes of wrath
are stored…


INT. DEWEY PARLOR. DAY

YOUNG TOM DEWEY, thirteen, but still in knickers is belting out the song, while his mother, KATHERINE proudly accompanies him on the spinet.

         YOUNG TOM
He has loosed the fateful
lightning/Of his terrible
swift sword/His truth is
marching on…

The guests listen appreciatively. The men, portly, cigars peeking out of their vests. The women standing, plain, unadorned in long sleeved long skirted dresses. They all join in the final chorus:

         EVERYBODY
Glory, glory Hallelujah/
His truth is marching on…


INT. HALLWAY. DAY

Tom carries a tray of pastries and a big silver coffee pot across the hall and opens the door to THE STUDY, a book lined, smoke filled room where his dad GEORGE and his UNCLE JOHN and several other men are smoking cigars.

         GEORGE
Ah refreshments. Set ‘em
down here son…

         UNCLE JOHN
(an overbearing man)
You can climb outta those
knickers now, nephew, you’re
a big boy now. Your Dad
tells me you’re bent on
studying music.

         TOM
(knows he disapproves)
I’d like to give it a
try,sir.

         UNCLE JOHN
Singin’ is for church socials,
Tom.

         GEORGE
(an old argument)
Let’s not bring this up again,
John…I’ve told Tom he can
do what he wants…

         UNCLE JOHN
You’re too easygoing with the
boy, George.

         GEORGE
Don’t tell me how to raise my
son…

         UNCLE JOHN
I think I have a right to
express my point of view.
Has your father ever told
you what kind of stock you
spring from. Tom?

         YOUNG TOM
Yes sir, of course.

         GEORGE
I don’t burden the boy with
our family history.

         UNCLE JOHN
It’s not a burden, it’s an
honor. The first Dewey was
a Huguenot Protestant escaping
persecution by French papists…
Our cousin Cousin Admiral
George Dewey defeated the
Spanish Navy in 1898. And
Cousin John was a great
teacher, who invented the
Dewey Decimal system. Every
time a boy takes a book out
of a library to improve his
mind he can thank our cousin
John…And your father…

         GEORGE
John. please…

         UNCLE JOHN
If you won’t blow your own
horn I’ll blow it for you.
Your father isn’t just
running a small town newspaper,
Tom. His editorials are read
all over the country. He is
defending Republican ideals
against the corrupt, machine
politicians in the big cities…
You see Tom, America has been
invaded by a horde of ignorant,
retarded criminals.

         GEORGE
They’re immigrants just like
our ancestors…

         UNCLE JOHN
They’re thieves, pimps, deviants.
A tide of filth breaking on the
big cities and threatening to
engulf the true Americans.
People like us aren’t free to
follow our whims, Tom. Every
Dewey has to be on the front
line defending our way of life.

         GEORGE
Don’t lecture the boy, John.
He knows his responsibilities.

         UNCLE JOHN
(with a pointed look)
Do you, Tom?

         YOUNG TOM
(looks him in the eye)
I know what’s expected of me,
sir. And I’ll try to live up
to it.


Next: Part 3/Election Day (Thursday, 10/27/11

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

 

           

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE/Empires of Crime/Part 1

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME by Heywood Gould. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 on Calendar at right. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.

*Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including “Rolling Thunder,” Fort Apache, The Bronx,” Boys From Brazil,” and “Cocktail.”

EMPIRES OF CRIME

 By

Heywood Gould

Act 1

NAPLES 1962


EXT. DA GIACOMINO’S RESTAURANT. DAY


The “classiest joint” in Naples. Vases of fresh flowers, white coated WAITERS, bustling, festive. But today there’s a traffic jam. AMERICAN SAILORS, TOURISTS and REPORTERS clog the aisles leading to a large round table in the back. Who is the focus of all this celebrity attention? It’s mob boss LUCKY LUCIANO,early sixties, elegant, gray at the temples, dressed in his usual impeccable style in a Brooks Brothers gray summer suit, his signature yellow and black handkerchief in the breast pocket. Next to him is a VOLUPTUOUS GIRL. Whispering in his ear is MARTIN GRAYSON, a fawning Hollywood producer. Lucky is plowing through a plate of spaghetti, but stops good-naturedly to sign autographs and answer questions.

         SAILOR
Can you make it out to
Jimmy, Mr. Luciano?

         LUCIANO
Sure kid. Can’t do enough
for our boys in uniform.

         TOURIST
(aiming a camera)
Say cheese Mr. Luciano…

         LUCIANO
Provolone. Hey, don’t point
that thing,it might go off.


Everybody laughs as the FLASH BULB pops.

         REPORTER
Senator Kefauver says that
the Mob is raking in five
billion dollars a year from
illegal gambling and you’re
in for ten per cent…

         LUCIANO
Five billion? Lemme tellya
somethin’: every time a
politician wants to get
elected he says he’s gonna
throw mob boss Lucky Luciano
in jail. I put more crums in
office than the Democratic Party…

         SAILOR
When you gonna come home,
Mr. Luciano?

         LUCIANO
Funny you should ask. My
associate Mr. Grayson here
has a big producer flyin’
in from Hollywood to buy my
life story. Think we can
get five billion, Marty?

         GRAYSON
The sky’s the limit, Lucky.

         REPORTER
Who do you want to play you,
Lucky?

         LUCIANO
I’m thinkin’ of starrin’ in
it myself…

Laughter and agreement from the crowd. “You could do it, Lucky..” “You look great…”

         LUCIANO
But if Cary Grant’s busy maybe
Sinatra. That kid owes me a lot.

A WAITER pushes through the crowd, bearing a huge ITALIAN CHEESECAKE.

         LUCIANO
Hey, look at that. I got two
weaknesses in life, cheesecake
and…Cheesecake…

LUCIANO

He puts his arms around the Voluptuous Girl and everybody laughs. Then looks up at the waiter.

         LUCIANO
You new here?

         WAITER
My first day Signor Lucky.

LUCIANO

Luciano stuffs a few bills in his shirt pocket.

         LUCIANO
Well now we’re old friends…

As the crowd laughs he eyeballs the cake

         LUCIANO
Last time I saw a cake this
big a guy jumped out blastin’…

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM. DAY

In the darkened room a NEWSREEL on a portable screen. We see Luciano in front of a bank of microphones.

         NEWSCASTER
Mob boss Lucky Luciano is
comingout of exile to tell
his story…And the world
can’t wait…

         LUCIANO
I’m gonna leave no stone
unturned, boys. I’m gonna
rattle some cages from
Mulberry Street right on up
to the White House…

The screen goes dark. The lights come on. We are in the law offices of DEWEY, BALLANTINE, et al… THOMAS E. DEWEY, early sixties, austere black suit, pencil mustache, is sitting at the head of a conference table. With him is LIEUTENANT COMMANDER “RED’ HAFFENDEN formerly of NAVAL INTELLIGENCE and FBI agent GEORGE BLACK.

         DEWEY
He can’t come back. The
terms of his parole barred
him from ever setting foot
in the US again.

         HAFFENDEN
He’s applying for a
temporary visa to visit
his sick brother, Governor
Dewey.

         BLACK
It’s blackmail. His lawyer
threatens to reveal Luciano’s
war time activities if he
isn’t issued the visa.

         HAFFENDEN
He’s trying to sell the
movie rights to his life
story. Just wants to get
into action again.

         DEWEY
You always liked him,
Haffenden.

         HAFFENDEN
Everybody likes Lucky…

         DEWEY
(a rueful smile)
Don’t I know it. I prosecuted
the man. Proved that he was
a pimp and a murderer. And he
got better press than I did.
Still does.

         BLACK
We should have taken him
out when we had the chance.

         HAFFENDEN
(bristling)
We should have given him
a medal.

         BLACK
The man’s a security threat.
He can reveal classified
information about the FBI.

         DEWEY
About all of us. We
don’t want it known that
Luciano worked for Naval
Intelligence during the
war, do we Commander
Haffenden? I certainly don’t
want it to come out that I
made a secret agreement or
his services.

         HAFFENDEN
Charley’s a patriot in his
own cockeyed way. He won’t
talk.

         BLACK
We have to be sure.

         DEWEY
Ask Lansky.

         HAFFENDEN
Meyer? They haven’t spoken in
years.

         DEWEY
Doesn’t matter. Lansky was
his partner. They were so
close they could read each
other’s minds…Ask Lansky.

EXT. COLLINS AVE (MIAMI BEACH). DAY

A modest bungalow by the beach. FBI AGENTS WHITMAN and SNYDER are on stakeout, parked across the street in the shade of the palms.

MEYER LANSKY
emerges, with his constant companion, BRUZZER, an ancient Shih Tzu dog. He is a short, wiry man in his sixties,in a plain white shirt and slacks, a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth .He smiles, sardonically as they approach.

         LANSKY
My own personal FBI. Want
some iced tea? A little
seltzer, maybe?

         SNYDER
Thanks Meyer, but I don’t
think J. Edgar would
approve…

         WHITMAN
Lucky’s writin’ a book,
Meyer.

         LANSKY
Lucky? Lucky who?

         WHITMAN
C’mon Meyer…

         LANSKY
You mean Charley Luciano?
Knew him in the old days.
Writin’ a book, huh? I
didn’t know he could
spell.

         SNYDER
They say Lucky knows
everything.

         LANSKY
Oh yeah? So maybe he knows
a good horse at Hialeah…

         SNYDER
He’s gonna tell everybody
where you got your money
hidden, Meyer.

         LANSKY
That’s no secret. It’s
in the pishka.

         WHITMAN
What’s that?

         LANSKY
Little glass jar where you
drop pennies to give to
the poor people in the
Holy Land…
(looks toward the house)
I better go back and tell
my wife I’m not bein’
arrested. Seeya boys…

         WHITMAN
You could do yourself a
lot of good telling your
side of the story, Meyer.

         LANSKY
I’m an old man sittin’
in the sun. That’s my
story…


INT. LANSKY’S BUNGALOW. DAY

Plain and comfortable. Family photos, book lined shelves, bric a brac or tchotkes as they are known in Yiddish. TEDDY LANSKY, early sixties, a former chorine, still trim and glamorous, is waiting anxiously.

         TEDDY
Oy Meyer, is Charley gonna
make trouble?

         LANSKY
(fishing in a drawer)
He just wants to be Page
One again. But he won’t
talk outta school.

He finds a faded photo and sits back in his lounger.

INSERT PHOTO (CROSSCUT)

Three YOUNG MEN, nattily dressed in the style of the ‘20’s. Lansky looks at it, nostalgically.

          LANSKY
Look at me and crazy
Benny… And Charley. Boy,
we sure started somethin’,
didn’t we?


Next: Part 2/LITTLE ITALY, NEW YORK, 1913

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House.

For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 on Calendar at right. Use Contact Us, above,  for submissions.

 

MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE

Sick of the movies you’re seeing? Would you like a look at the ones you’ll never see?

For every movie that is released there are hundreds of scripts that were commissioned, “developed”, written, restructured—and rewritten; reconceived, redeveloped—and rewritten; restored to their original state and—rewritten; Acquired in “turnaround” by another production entity which redeveloped, reconceived, rewrote, rejected, rescued, restored and finally—shelved them.

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie?

Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and “Lucky” Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor’s Mansion and almost to the White House. Who hunted Luciano for years, using wiretaps and bugs, informers and tainted witnesses to send him to prison. And then released him into exile, enduring vicious accusations by his political enemies and dooming his chances of the Presidency, while never revealing the reason for his sudden turnabout.

Readers are free to submit their own shelved scripts for publication.

With two conditions:

1. The scripts must have been commissioned or acquired by a producing entity.  

2. The  writer must have full rights to the script.

The Daily Event legal department (non-existent) does not want a young Business Affairs attorney to pause the Coeds in Bondage video he is watching for the seventy-third time to write us a threatening letter.

Decisions of the judges will be final. Until, of course, they are reconceived, reconsidered, reexamined and—repeated.

Heywood Gould interviews Heywood Gould for Nigel Bird @Sea Minor

   INTERVIEW

Heywood Gould Interviews Heywood Gould

Why are you doing this interview?

 To promote my new book The Serial Killer’s Daughter.

 Why should people buy your book?

 To generate enough sales so I can publish another one. And maybe get a movie deal.

 Let me rephrase the question: with so many books available why should people buy Serial Killer’s Daughter?

 Because if won’t do me any good if they buy somebody else’s book, yo…

Okay. What’s special about Serial Killer’s Daughter?

It’s a sexy, suspenseful thriller that will keep you guessing at every turn, while providing a life affirming, redemptive, poetic exploration of man’s place in the universe.

So you have moderately good sales. What happens next?

I raise my profile in the market place.  I e mail a hundred publishers and accept the least insulting advance. My next book drops stillborn from the press with no advertising and no book tour unless I pay for one myself. I  drive hours to a signing attended by an old lady on a walker who thought she was coming for Mary Higgins Clark and a homeless guy who eats all the cupcakes. A producer  calls, full of extravagant praise, although he’s only skimmed the three page “coverage” written by his assistant who read the book after being stood up by a Match. com date. I give him a free option for twenty years or the term of my natural life, whichever comes first.

That doesn’t sound so great..

It is for me and for the people around me. Consider the alternative. The book bombs. No publishers, no producers. I sit in the dark in my underwear, muttering imprecations. I become a burden on family and friends. Vast sums are spent on pharmaceuticals…

If your book doesn’t sell will you be able to muster the energy to write another one?

Oh sure. Writing is a compulsion, not a profession. I’ve been doing it since I was six and will continue until the day I die. I’m just lucky I can make a living at it. But repeated failure will cause me to doubt myself. Have I dried up?  Has age taken its toll?  I’ll write and rewrite, first the same page, then the same sentence, the same word. I’ll be attacked by punctuation anxiety. They’ll rush in to find me rolling on the floor screaming. “A comma…You idiot, it’s a semi-colon…No, goddamit, a comma…”

How about a brief biographical sketch.

I only recall fragments and images from my childhood.

Fine, give me fragments.

At the end of long dark hallway in my grandmother’s apartment in the Bronx a monster lurks waiting to eat me. My aunt’s false teeth are in a jelly jar on the bathroom sink. A memorial candle for my grandfather flickers in the kitchen. I see his ghost’s shadow flitting along the walls. A kid in a sandbox is raising a toy shovel and hitting me in the head. I open the bedroom closet and find my mother, hiding among the coats, sobbing…

Can we move on?

My adolescence is devoted to basketball and self-abuse; the sport changes to baseball during the summer. As I get older I diversify my self-abuse to include, alcohol, drugs, pathetic attempts at seduction, frustration at not being able to write a simple short story like Chekhov…

Thank you,  I think we’re okay on biography. Can you give us a brief synopsis of Serial Killer’s Daughter?

I’ll let Peter Vogel, the protagonist describe the book. After all, he lived through it, not me…Take it away, Peter 

This is so typical of me. I make a sex- for term papers- deal with a whacko chick in my American Lit. class. She sticks around just long enough to make me fall crazy in love with her, then disappears. Six months later she’s back like nothing happened. But then the weirdness starts. My apartment is invaded. Bodies are found in a dumpster. Thugs try to run me off the road.  One night she confesses: she’s the daughter of a notorious serial killer, doing life in a super max for eleven murders. Somebody is trying to kill her and I’m the only one who can protect her. But now they’re after me, too. They stalk us on the road, in hotels, everywhere. The cops don’t believe us. They think we’re renegade drug mules being hunted by the cartel. I get so freaked out I kill a dude who’s been tailing us. So now I’m on the run. Our only chance is to figure out who’s after us and get them first. And the only person who can help us is her dad.

Sounds like a thriller.

It’s a thriller wrapped up in a mystery. But it’s really a love story.

Covering all bases?

I’m trying to break into the cosy market.

Is this book autobiographical?

Yes, except for the sex scenes.

Can you describe the book in one word?

It’s a warning.

About what?

About hot women—they’re always in trouble.
About getting what you wish for—you pay plenty and you’re always disappointed. About trying to save someone’s life—you won’t and the bad guys will come after you as well.
About commiting murder—it’s easier than it seems.
About criminals—they never feel guilty
About cops—they see a guy with a beautiful woman they want to throw him in jail.
About the world—it’s an unjust, capricious, place. Stay indoors as much as possible. 

That’s pretty bleak.

Really? I think it’s positively Buddhist. Once you cleanse yourself of all passion, ambition and illusion, you can begin to find peace…only if you have abandoned all hope…

Okay, I get it. Let’s talk about your career.

My career has been a series of lucky encounters. A guy I met in Greenwich Village told me they needed copy boys at the NY Post. A man from IBM came into my office by mistake, then mistook me for someone else and hired me as a consultant. A woman I talked to on a bus was an editor at a paperback publishing house. A guy I played poker with was a producer for the TV show NYPD. An agent I knew had two partners  looking for someone to write a cheap  script about two cops in the South Bronx. A friend’s upstairs neighbor worked with Bill Devane who needed a rewrite for a movie called Rolling Thunder.

Didn’t talent have anything to do with it?

If you factor talent into the equation how do you explain the no-talent bums who are doing so much better than you?

Okay, so it’s all coincidence and luck and who you know. Does that mean there are geniuses out there whose work has never been discovered?

And never will be.

Well, that’s encouraging.

Oh it is.  You see it’s so much easier to accept failure when you see life as a series of random collisions…

Thank you. I think we’re covered on the zen fatalism. You were involved in some pretty glamorous Hollywood projects. That must have been fun.

Oh yeah, laughs galore.. On Fort Apache the Bronx I was called a racist and chased down the street. Then, sued by a cop who said I stole his script. Then somebody posted a slanderous Wikiipedia piece about the movie

Everybody loves Cocktail now, but it was slammed so badly by the critics that I took to my bed for three days. I still meet people who say, “how could you destroy your own novel?” And I say, “what do you want me to do, send the fucking check back?”

One Good Cop was…

I think I get your drift. What’s your new book about?

A bitter writer  wreaking horrific vengeance on people who exploited him…

Is it autobiographical?

Of course not. What would give you that idea?

Any place we can get a drink around here?

You buying?

 For the original interview and other author’s interviewing themselves visit:

http://nigelpbird.blogspot.com/2011/07/dancing-with-myself-heywood-gould.html

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Steve Hockensmith


 

More Talk, Less Hock #2: Heywood Gould

 

A funny thing happened after I launched the new “More Talk, Less Hock” writer spotlight on my blog a few weeks back. Someone took me seriously. To be honest, I really didn’t think there was going to be a “More Talk, Less Talk #2.” #1 was going to pimp my buddy Russel D McLean, and that would be that. But then I got an e-mail from a publisher pitching an interview with another writer — a non-buddy, someone I’d never met — and I thought, “Why the hell not?” So I said yes.

 

 I’m glad I did. Heywood Gould is one interesting dude. I mean, how many writers have you met who’ve not only met Michael Keaton, they’ve directed Michael Keaton movies? The guy wrote Cocktail, for chrissakes — the movie and the book! (Yeah, I didn’t know it was a book, either.) Heywood’s newest novel is the wild chase-thriller The Serial Killer’s Daughter. Here’s what he and I had to say to one another.

 

Me: Back in the day, you wrote the screenplays for some pretty memorable movies. The Boys from Brazil. Fort Apache, the Bronx. Cocktail. So when I hear you’ve got a new thriller out, I get the sneaking suspicion it began life as a screenplay. How far am I off the mark?

 

[Aside: Quite a bit, it turns out.]

 

Serial Heywood: Writing a spec screenplay is like shoveling manure for three months and getting paid with a lottery ticket. I’ll never do it. The book was inspired by a story I read about how a suspected serial killer was caught by matching the victims’ DNA with his daughter’s Pap test. I had always wondered what happened to the families of these monsters. How did they live in a town where Dad had wreaked havoc? There was never any follow-up on the families of the victims. How were they dealing with this sudden intrusion of evil into their lives? Also, a la Hitchcock, I wanted to take an ordinary guy, in this case a nerdy movie buff, who lands the one girl he never thought he could get, and then has to run for his life.

 

Me: Whoa. Seeing as I was so incredibly off with my first guess, there’s only one thing to do — make another one. Is it safe to assume you can relate to “nerdy movie buff” types? You had quite a run in Hollywood as a writer/director. I can only assume you had the gumption it takes to make that happen because of a deep love of film.

 

Heywood: Busted! I am the original nerdy film buff. Movies were a rainy Saturday diversion until I was 15 and discovered a little theater in my Brooklyn neighborhood whose crotchety owner showed old comedies (Keaton, Chaplin, Fields, Marx Bros., Stooges, etc.) and Warner Bros. antiques (Cagney, Bogie, Edward G.) I was hooked. Still am. I can see the same movies over and over. It’s like reading the Bible — you always find something new. Manhattan in the ’60s had at least 10 theaters that showed old Hollywood or foreign films. It was the era of Fellini, Antonioni, De Sica, Bergman, Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol, Reed, the Boulting Bros., Kurosawa, etc. Every week brought another revelation. The Apollo in Times Square showed triple features. We’d get meatball sandwiches and spend the night. You could see great films, wash your socks and score a little cheap weed. The balcony smelled of garlic, dirty feet and stale tobacco. Suggestive moans and groans came from the last seats. We kept our eyes on the screen. I read Film Quarterly, Sight and Sound, Andrew Sarris in the Village Voice. It all seemed so far away and glamorous that I never thought I could ever be a part of it. I wanted to be a cynical reporter like Ben Hecht or a suffering novelist like Fitzgerald. Tragic artist was my pimp. I thought a little alcoholism plus a touch of T.B. a la Orwell was just the ticket for getting the girls. Boy, was I wrong.

 

Me: So how’d you go from being a Brooklyn film nerd to a published author and a Hollywood writer/director?

 

Heywood: That’s War and Peace.

 

1947: A blizzard in Brooklyn. I’m 5. It’s warm in the kitchen. My mom does freelance typing at the table. She leaves a page in the typewriter and gets up to make lunch. I move into her seat and start to bang on the keys. It’s the first piece of clean commercial work I destroy.

 

1951: I’m 8 1/2. A big, fat 10-year-old slob is bullying me, taking me into the stairwell of our building and putting me in a choke hold until I promise to bring him a dime, which I steal from my mom’s purse. Promises to kill me if I tell, and I believe him. I write a story about a machine that magically appears and helps a boxer win a big match. I disguise the characters so my parents won’t recognize the bully.

 

1956: I’m graduating from Public School 154. I write an essay about what the future holds for our class. Make a few jokes about my friends getting arrested, me getting drunk and falling off the Ferris Wheel in Coney Island. All my friends think this is uproarious. The teachers don’t agree. I don’t win the English medal.

 

1959: The high school literary magazine snubs me because I’m on the basketball team. I win a fountain pen in a citywide contest for writing an essay about They Came To Cordura and Northwest Passage, both of which became pretty good movies. I get the pen, but no respect. My English teacher asks me one day, “Are your parents immigrants?” When I ask why, he says, “All immigrants use too many adjectives.” He advises me to forget writing as a career. “The prize was an aberration,” he says.

 

1960: The college literary magazine rejects me. “I don’t have the time or the inclination to tell you all the ways that this is inferior,” says the editor. I have violent sex dreams about her. Still do.

 

1962: A newspaper strike lasts for seven months. When it’s over, the New York Post has no copyboys. I write a letter to the managing editor. I have just spent nine months in France trying to be Fitzgerald. I mention that I speak French. His wife is French. He has the personnel manager call me for an interview. “We’ll put you on a tryout basis.” My first day the managing editor yells at me across the tundra-like city room: “Apportez-moi un cafe et un bagelle avec fromage de creme.” [Translation: "Get me a bagel with cream cheese."] Ever the wiseguy, I answer, “C’est une bagelle.” [Translation: He corrected the managing editor's French.]  Thank God they like wise guys in the newspaper business. He laughs and I’m hired.

 

1963: Kennedy is assassinated. I work the whole weekend in the wire room. It’s a national tragedy, the country will never be the same. I’m thrilled to be working on the biggest story of the year.

 

1963: I’m given a three-month tryout as a reporter. I cover Mafia hits, civil rights, cool burglaries, gory murders. I’m sent to a Spanish class for police officers. Thirty red-faced Irish cops squirm angrily while a nice Puerto Rican lady teaches them rudimentary phrases so “you can communicate with the community.” All the six papers and three networks are covering this love fest. But I’ve been around cops for two years now. I know this is too good to be true. David Halberstam of the New York Times, back from being expelled from Vietnam by the U.S. Army, is covering, complete with clipboard and assistant. When he decides there is no story he leaves and is followed by the entire press corps. I make myself small in the back of the room. The cops reach critical mass. “Why do we have to learn Spanish? Why can’t they learn English?” “These people are animals. See the way they throw their garbage on the street?” “When some junkie pulls a knife on you, you don’t have time to pull out your dictionary.” I take it all down. Next day I scoop the city. I’m hired.

 

1963-65: I’m a 20-year-old with a press card that gets him in anywhere in New York City. I cover MLK’s “I Have a Dream Speech” in D.C. Also the rise of Malcom X and the Nation of Islam. The anti-war movement, demos and sabotage. Harlem erupts in riots. Then Newark and Elizabeth and Paterson, N.J., explode. Break a story about rats infesting a Harlem housing project. Ride with civil rights activists trying to stall cars on New York’s highways to prevent the opening of the World’s Fair of ’64. Great idea, but nobody shows up and the fair is a big success. A California surfer breaks through the skylight of the Museum of Natural History, going under and around the electric eyes, and steals the Star of India, a huge sapphire, providing the inspiration for Topkapi. An epidemic of fat dentists drugging and raping their patients. Seems they have a club and a newsletter. A spoiled Park Avenue scion kills his girlfriend and rides around for days with her body in a blanket in the back seat of his ’56 Jaguar convertible. Mafia Don Frank Costello arrested for vagrancy. Flashes a wad of hundreds and the judge laughs as he dismisses the case. Occasionally on the 4 to 12 shift I’m a leg man, picking up quotes and items for Earl Wilson, a syndicated gossip columnist (604 papers around the world). I sit at the press table in the Copa, drink Chivas, smoke Camels and hear Sinatra, Nat “KIng” Cole, Vic Damone, Joe E. Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr. The Latin Quarter, another famous nightclub, has ten “leggy chorines,” 6 feet and taller. I’m tall, trim and 20, look good in my suit and have a fund of witty (at least to me) repartee. Plus, I’m making $95 a week. But they go for the short, fat and 50 guys, pinky rings and big cigars, look exactly like they do in every movie. Hard to tell who’s imitating whom.

 

More stories. The South Bronx is a war zone. Drugs, street crime, grinding poverty. An occasional short, fat 50 guy is found in the back seat of a Caddy with a bloody hole in his head, cigar between his fingers. A Chinese crew mutinies on a docked Greek freighter. I sneak on board pretending to be a doctor. I will go anywhere, do or say anything to get a story. There are six newspapers in the city and I want to scoop them all. I live in a sub-basement on Barrow Street in Greenwich Village. Fifty-three dollars a month. I eat myself into a stupor in Chinatown for three dollars. (If you don’t believe me ask someone who was there.) It’s too good to last.

 

February 1966: I’m drafted.

 

1966-68: A roaring darkness descends over the world. I discover the “control class,” people whose only skill is to acquire power over others. I will spend the rest of my life scuttling out from under their hobnailed boots.

 

1968-69: I surface from a weird dream to discover I have a wife and a baby son. Somehow I convince IBM that I’m the head of a cutting-edge media company. (See Corporation Freak.) I play basketball on LSD and dominate. One of my teammates is the story editor of a TV show called N.Y.P.D. I tell him some of the stories I covered as a reporter. He brings me to David Susskind, the biggest TV producer in New York. Susskind is eating a corned beef sandwich and working three phone lines. “Sure, give him a script,” he says. I’m so green I put quotation marks around the dialogue. Nobody cares. I get loaded at  the Xmas party and puke all over Susskind’s desk. Next day, I slink in to apologize. “That was some party, huh?” he says. “Were you around when that hooker chased Jack [Warden, the star] around his trailer?” Ah, the good old days.

 

1970: N.Y.P.D. canceled. All the writers go to L.A. I stay in New York because I’m going to write The Great American Novel. I write for Stag, a men’s magazine. Make up news stories like “Diving for Nazi Gold Off the Florida Coast,” “Rabbi Officiates At Lesbian Wedding.” The editor-in-chief is Mario Puzo. I write porno novels, five bucks a page. Ghost write books on Swedish massage and college basketball. Write a biography of Sir Christopher Wren. A medical book called Headaches and Health. Anything that pays. I play poker to make the rent. Finally have a losing night and have to borrow from a shylock who lurks around the edges of the game like a jackal around the campfire. Can’t pay him back and the vig is mounting. He knows if he breaks my legs nobody will borrow from him so he gets me a job as a bartender in the Hotel Diplomat in Times Square. I discover cognac and ditch all the other drugs.

 

Fortapache 1970-73: Short stories rejected, novels rejected. I’m divorced. Hack work and bartending pay the child support. An agent needs a writer for a movie about two cops who work the 41st, or “Fort Apache,” in the South Bronx. The cops keep putting his candidates through an ordeal by fear and alcohol and they all quit. I go to the Bronx. “You took the subway?” they ask in amazement. We go to a mob bar. They try to get me drunk, but I’m in training. After a few hours they’re so loaded that I dump my drinks on the floor and they don’t see. They drive me to the Bronx Zoo. Hookers patrol the perimeter. They get the biggest, fattest hooker into the back seat with me. This time my experience as a reporter pays off. I know how cheap cops are. “Is this on you guys?” I ask. They throw her out. I get the job.

 

1973: I write the first draft of Fort Apache, the Bronx for $1,250. The producers can’t sell it. Susskind reads it and says, “I’m going to make this movie.” I file the script and forget about it.

 

1973-75: Rejections and general dissipation.

 

1976: I finally learn how to write fiction well enough to get a novel published. I think the screenwriting taught me how to structure a story.

 

Rolling thunder 1976-78: An agent circulates Fort Apache in L.A. I get jobs on Baretta and Kojak but fight with the producers and Robert Blake and never finish the scripts. I write a pilot for John Houseman, which later becomes The Paper Chase. Bill Devane prevails on Larry Gordon to hire me to rewrite Rolling Thunder. I spend six riotous weeks in San Antonio. The laws of God and man are suspended on a movie location. The producer of Fort Apache hires me to adapt Ira Levin’s The Boys from Brazil. Six more great weeks, traveling super-first class in Lisbon, London and Vienna with Peck and Olivier. Susskind sells his company and gets financing for three movies. He calls me. “I’m going to do Fort Apache,” he says. I finally think it’s safe to quit my bar job.

 

The rest is war stories.

 

Me: Wow — what a saga! So tell me what life looks like now.

 

Heywood: Life is trying to turn out as much coherent work as I can before they put me in the Old Hack’s Home.

 

Me: I’ve got a question about how you’re putting out that work these days. Lately, all writers seem to be able to talk about is e-publishing. Yet it looks like The Serial Killer’s Daughter isn’t available as an e-book. Is that a temporary situation, or are you making a bold one-man stand against the Kindle and its ilk?

 

Heywood: It’s part of my agreement with the publisher. I maintain e-book rights and I promise not to put the book on Kindle until it goes into remainder. Kindle has been a boon for me. It’s revived a lot of my books that were out of print. I sell between 20 and 30 a month, and the number is inching up. I’m publishing all my books and have started a company, Tolmitch Press, to put up other worthy, forgotten titles. So far we have five new titles and are acquiring more. There’s no real money in it, but it’s great to give good books a new life.

 

Me: Obviously, publishing has changed a lot since you got your start. What do you think of the state of the industry? Are you in the “We’re the orchestra on the Titanic” camp or are you more hopeful?

 

Heywood: It’s always been a struggle for me to get a book published, so that hasn’t changed. The publishers that were content to give writers like me a small advance, take a share of the paperback and foreign sales and make an incrementally increasing profit as I took the 10 years to build up an audience are now non-performing divisions of industrial conglomerates. Their structure is no longer geared to the modest earner. They need a mega-hit to cover their overhead and justify their existence as the poor relation. They publish best-selling authors only and insist that they replicate their previous success by writing essentially the same book every time out. Marketers don’t innovate; they repeat a formula until it no longer works. Thus, the same tired heroes labor through 20 or 30 iterations of the same story until even their fans cry for mercy.

 

I could not follow my career chronology if I were a young writer today. The hundreds of magazines and scores of paperback publishers who kept so many of us alive no longer exist. It’s almost impossible to break into the movie business the way I did. Studios don’t make the kind of movies I was hired to write. Success was always based on luck colliding with talent. Now success is just a happy accident.

 

For me the future is with the small independents. Everybody wants to make money, but these people are in publishing because they love books. I sold my last two books by e-mail. Never met the publisher of Leading Lady [a thriller put out by Five Star in 2008] and just met the publisher of Serial Killer at the book launch. If I were a young writer today I might never be able to quit my bar job. But I’d keep writing anyway.

 

Read more from Steve Hockensmith at

http://www.stevehockensmith.com