Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #457


Casting director at the initial movie production meeting: “So we have several actors to choose from and I’ve arranged their photos on this wall so we can-”

Producer: “That one, right there. That’s gonna sell a movie. Who is he?”

Casting director: “Oh, he’s a nobody, but his name is Gary something. Cooper, maybe?”

Producer: “Get his agent on the horn. He might work out for a picture or two.”

Costume designer: “Oh, I hope we get him. What I could with that tasty bit of chest hair poking out.”

Production assistant: “Producer Man, a messenger boy just handed me something.”

Producer: “What does it say?”

Production assistant: “I don’t know. I haven’t opened it.”

Producer: “Well, if you want to continue being an assistant, I suggest you do so.”

Production assistant: “Oh, right. Sorry. It’s my first day and I didn’t know I would have to open things. And I’m not used to being near you when you actually have clothes on. Thanks for the job by the way.”

Producer: “How about we talk less and open more.”

Production assistant: “Oh, right.” Sounds of extremely unprofessional letter-opening, with ripping and such. “Okay, it’s from that gossip columnist, Hedda Clodhopper.”

Producer: “Ugh. I can’t stand that woman. Such an ignorant piece of trash.”

Production assistant: “She starts out by saying that she really enjoyed the last movie you produced, Rebecca of Sonny’s Broke Farm.”

Producer: “Love that woman to death. Have my secretary send flowers.”

Production assistant: “Then she says that the man on the wall is not Gary Cooper. It’s Paul Newman.”

Gasps filled the room.

Costume designer: “Wait, who the hell is Paul Newman? Does he have chest hair? Because that’s all I really care about in the end.”

Producer: “We have to get to the bottom of this. I can’t move forward without having all the facts. I’m not a Republican.”

Casting director, sighing and whipping out a smartphone: “Everybody settle down. I’ll get to the bottom of this.”

Gasps filled the room.

Costume designer: “What the hell is that? I’ve never seen one before and I go to a lot of bars.”

Producer: “Is that coming out of my budget? We have to have some type of regulation around here. I’m not a Libertarian.”

Casting director: “Relax. I stole this from a draft Past Imperfect story that hasn’t been published yet. Okay, it says here on Wickedpedia that Paul Newman was born just three years ago in Ohio. Now, they might grow em big in Ohio, but that man on the wall is older than three.”

Costume designer: “The chest hair alone is more than three years old. Trust me, I’ve studied these things. Most nights of the week. Twice on Sundays.”

Producer: “So, Hedda Clodhopper is trying to pull a fast one once again. Production Assistant, send an immediate rebuttal to the Clod.”

Production assistant: “Rebuttal? I’m not sure… is that what we did last night when you-”

Producer: “Less talking, shut up more. Tell Hedda I’m calling her on her lies and I will not put up with it. I don’t keep playing nice when the other side refuses to do so. I’m not a Democrat.”

Casting director: “Alrighty, then. After all this completely useless dialogue, are we in agreement that I should call Gary’s agent? I have the agent on speed dial.”

Costumer designer: “What the hell is speed dial? I’ve never heard of that before and I’ve been to Amsterdam.”

Production assistant, turning to Producer: “Is that what we did last night when you had me plug in that vibrating-”

Producer: “How about we all go in timeout until the casting director performs Wiccan magic on the shiny flat thing that nobody understands. It’s got to work better than what’s happening in American politics right now.”


Previously published, mildly modified. Trivia: The Cooper/Newman confusion in the dialogue was added in the prior revision, as a tongue-in-cheek reference to a discussion that had just taken place in the Bonnywood comments on one of my Clam Bake episodes. So, it’s a little head-scratching, but I think it still plays well. But yes, that’s really Gary, not Paul, circa 1928.


18 replies »

  1. That expression, he appears to be thinking, I’m not sure who that is, or what’s going on, but they can’t pay me enough to be part of that nightmare

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if someone had handed ME a sandwich composition like that, I would do more than just stare. Fisticuffs may well ensue. (Oh, who am I kidding? There would be no physicality. I would probably just blog about it later, perhaps in a multi-part series…)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gary or Paul or Whoever: “Boy! They weren’t lying when they told me not to drink the whole thing. That plutonium packs quite a wallop!! Say!! Look at my eyes!!! They….they’re GLOWING, and my! Don’t I look handsome though!”
    A pause while our budding narcissist swans about staring at himself raptly.
    The flash of an unscheduled flashbulb breaks the mesmeric spell our confused hero has on himself.
    Gary or Paul or Whoever “WHO THE *insert delicate epithet seemly for the time frame* ARE YOU? And why are you invading my space? Even the overly blessed with gorgeous-ness need their ‘me’ time.”
    Paparazzi Photographer: “Just tryin’ to earn a buck Mac. You’re the hot new trend on Twitter (no resemblance to that insipid once enormous social media site) and I thought…”
    Gary & Company: “I am going to come out there and shove that camera … (fill in your own scenario for where the camera comes to rest) ! I have a future in film, and whatever you’re rambling on about does not exist in this innocent time before the world went totally to hell. Well, there was that one war thingie, but still..”
    P.P.: Isn’t that the Production Assistant’s job to shove things where they don’t belong? It said it was in my contract….. OUCH!”
    Gary & The Boys have come out, leaping and bounding (with chest hairs bristling) and punched our intrepid photographer wanna be squarely in the face, ending that man’s hopes & dreams of ever being discovered. The broken nose look never did catch on.
    P.P. “I’ll SUE!!! Wook at my dose!!!”
    Gary & the Rest: “Aw what you on about? This is 1928 and nobody’s gotten around to suing anyone since that ugly incident with Mz. Murphy’s cow in San Francisco and that whole barn conflagration! .It just ain’t done, son! It’s (dare I say) UNAMERICAN to sue when invading someone else’s privacy! *insert not so gentle epithet* off now like a good little pervert and go peddle your papers elsewhere! I have a film career to attend to, as soon as they can decide on who I really really am!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another terrific roundelay, Sister from Another Mister. So much ripe fruit, but I think my favorite pickings are the transition to just “Gary & Company”, the offhand “Well, there was that one war thingie”, the crispness of the “chest hairs bristling” and the nasally “wook at my dose!”

      I am satiated. Thank you.

      Like

      • Thank you so much for the kind critique brother from another mother 😉 (it had to be said). I tried to simply “like” your response to my contribution, but WordPress is being a dick today (and not a good kind either). No gravatar (although it tells me my like was counted) and no likes on any comments. F*ckers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that’s a very interesting (and somewhat envious) connection. And yes, Gary is really Frank James. (No idea where the “Gary” came from; I’m sure there’s a story about it, somewhere.) Of course, many actors in the Golden Age of Hollywood changed their names to one that was more “marketable”, but at least Gary/Frank kept his last name while many didn’t. Naturally, this causes a bit of confusion when it comes to family trees… 😉

        Like

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