Something special tonight!!
I'm in touch with Ernest Frankel, the wonderful writer of Philotimo, Apollo, and Turnabout for Traitors, who would have become the co-producer, with Art Seid, for the fourth season of I SPY, if the show had continued on. He was also Earle Hagen's dearest friend.
Ernie is a true gentleman and scholar ... straight down the line. He is also one very charming fellow. I had asked him a long while ago about others stories he had written for the 4th season of I SPY. He told me that he had donated all of his materials to the University of North Carolina, and that if any of you are ever in the area, you can see them at their library. Ernie's long career writing career for television includes scripts for Perry Mason, My Friend Tony, Mannix, The Mod Squad, and numerous Made-for-TV movies.
But several months ago, he received copies of 2 of his unproduced I SPY scripts The Day They Gave the Bride Away and The Choice from a gentleman with UNC. Ernie most kindly and graciously sent them on to me to have a "look-over"!!
Because of legal and copyright restrictions, I was not able to make copies of the scripts before I sent them back to Ernie .... but I did take copious, voluminous, and a "whole bunch" of notes. And that is what has taken me so long to share them here -- I had to decipher my scribblings and organize them in some sort of coherent manner.
Well, I finally have "The Day They Gave the Bride Away" ready to go. The story is set in Oxford, England. I will post this in parts and include some photos of the locations Ernie has described in his script. I will try to go into as much detail as I can, so you can get the full flavor of the story.
A few quick comments first ....
The most enjoyable side activity to reading these scripts was trying to cast the roles with different actors from the 60s. This really has been a lot of fun, and I will share my choices at the end, and hope to hear yours.
This story is straight drama -- in the serious, darker vane of "Turnabout for Traitors" and "Apollo." Ernie has included some humorous banter between Kelly and Scotty, but truth be told, you can just see where Culp and Cosby would have had a field day in some sections adding their own "unique touch" to some of these moments (to the total chagrin and frustration of Mr. Frankel, I am sure. )
You can clearly picture Kelly and Scotty throughout. Ernie captured them and their "actions and reactions" perfectly.
Here is the "Teaser" where the storyline is set-up and most of the characters are introduced - and where we learn a little something about each of them.
The Day They Gave The Bride Away
by Ernest Frankel
TEASER -- Oxford -- St. Mary's Bell Tower
The scene opens with a view from the Bell Tower, the bells are pealing, and we look down on the serene Gothic architecture -- which is suddenly interrupted when a small open foreign sports car comes careening in -- brakes squealing as it pulls up in front of the Oxford University Church.
Kelly scrambles out from behind the wheel and Danny Lee, a young Chinese scientist, hurries out of the passenger side. Both of them are dressed in formal morning suits. As they dash into the church, they pass Anton Kono, "a squat, pocked-faced, memorably ugly Albanian with a facial tic." Anton appears to be aiming his camera at the scrollwork by the church doors, but abandons the pretense after he sees them, looks at his watch, and half-runs out of the scene.
As Kelly, Danny, and Scotty enter the church, 3 ushers dash up to them -- and begin asking what took them so long?
And Danny replies, "My friend Kelly, who managed to get me out of China, couldn't get his dress shoes out of a locked suitcase."
As Scotty and Kelly enter a side room, we see Lian, the beautiful, radiant bride. She smiles warmly at them. Kelly, who is holding up his brown loafers, has a give-and-take with Scotty about his shoes. Kelly points out that "he" is the best man and will be walking down the aisle and standing in front of the altar, in front of everyone there. He also points out that Scotty, on the other hand, is giving the bride away and will then sit down in a pew. So Kelly insists that Scotty give up his dress shoes and trade them for Kelly's loafers. Scotty is not buying this at all. Lian laughs, and says in that case they should all take off their shoes and walk down the aisle barefoot ... she says everyone will think it is a charming Chinese custom.
More of the shoe bantering continues as they leave the anteroom and see Max Jedenoff entering the church. "Max is of the old-school of Russian agents, a 60 year old, wizened, courtly man of intellect." Surprised to see him, Kelly confronts Max and asks why he is here at Dr. Lee's wedding. Max replies in his courtly manner, "that a ceremony at St. Mary's -- where John Wesley preached? Is that not enough to bring an old Marxist to church?"
Kelly's not falling for any of this ... but just as he is about to enter the sanctuary doors, Kelly eyes Jedenoff 's black shoes ... and starts back with "Oh Max!" ....
The scene cuts to the outside of the church just as an ambulance pulls up. Yovkov , a huge Albanian, gets out, along with Anton Kono. Both of the men are wearing white attendants' jackets. They go to the back of the ambulance, take out the stretcher, and cover up a large rusty pipe in it.
The Wedding March begins to play, the bridesmaids start down the aisle, and Lian takes Scotty's arm. Lian tells him, "Scotty, when the Reds forced Danny to return to China last year, I was certain there was no hope for us ... and until the very moment, 2 months ago, when you and Kelly brought him back to me, I never thought I would see this day ..." Scotty replies warmly, "I don't know why not. We specialize in happy endings."
The scene shifts to Kelly and Danny standing by the altar, waiting with the minister, when suddenly we hear Lian scream. Everyone turns around and Kelly, followed by Danny, run to the doors where the bride was to enter. They can't open them, because a large rusty pipe is wedged through the handles on the other side.
And on the other side of the door, we now see Scotty lying unconscious on the floor and Lian's bridal veil on the threshold -- as we hear an ambulance siren wailing in the distance.
End of Teaser .... Act I next!