|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 1: Why Not Give It a Try? (in which Ella launches an idea)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
MUSIC UP: "Indian Summer," played by Sidney Bechet
EXT. THE PARKING LOT OF A SMALL SUBURBAN HOSPITAL. 1987. DAY. WINTER. The atmosphere is gray, hushed. A car crunches into the snowy lot. PETER LEROY (43) and his wife, ALBERTINE (43, a beauty) get out and walk hand in hand to the entrance.
INT. INTENSIVE-CARE WARD. At the bedside of ELLA (61), who is dying of cancer. She is fettered by wires and tubes. Ella beckons to Albertine as well as she is able, indicating that she wants to say something to her.
Albertine drops back, and Peter comes forward.Take good care of my baby.ELLA(barely able to speak)I will. Always.ALBERTINE(gripping Ella’s hand, glancing at Peter, the “baby”)Peter . . .ELLA
There’s a twinkle in Ella’s eyes, despite everything.I’m here, Mom.ADULT PETERI want . . . want you to remember . . .ELLA(like “Rosebud”)Arcinella.
She can’t manage more than that.Remember?ELLA(tightening her grip)Of course. How could I forget?ADULT PETER(tenderly, reassuring her)Wh-h-h-e-n-n you-oo-oo dance . . .ELLA(barely audible, singing)
Ella is listening. Her hand is still in Peter’s. There is a smile on her face. A tear runs down her cheek.. . . be sure to hold her close to you . . . when you dance . . .ADULT PETER(singing, badly, “When You Dance,” from 1955)
CUT TO:EXT. WINTER. GRAVESIDE IN A CEMETERY. Peter and Albertine are there, and Peter’s father, BERT (62, seedy, tired, and sad), and about twenty OTHER MOURNERS.
Ella’s casket is lowered into the grave.
Peter swallows and blinks back tears. Albertine puts her arm through his and hugs him to her.
CUT TO:EXT. WINTER. THE CEMETERY. The mourners are dispersing.
Arcinella?ALBERTINE(her arm through Peter’s)Ahhhh . . . Arcinella.PETER(it’s a pleasant memory)An old girlfriend?ALBERTINENot exactly . . . though she was a beauty . . .PETER(with a reminiscent grin)(giving her a squeeze)She was my mother’s lunch launch . . . her only successful venture . . . after a long string of failures . . .
DISSOLVE TO:INT. THE LEROY FAMILY KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM. 1957. ELLA LEROY (31) is putting dinner on the table. BERT LEROY (32) is sitting at the table in his gas station uniform, reading the evening paper, drinking a beer. PETER (13) is helping Ella.
Bert looks over the top of the paper, giving her a look that says, “Oh, no. Not another wonderful idea.”I had a wonderful idea today, Bert.ELLA(full of enthusiasm)
You know that Christmas ribbon candy?ELLA(ignoring Bert’s look)
DISSOLVE TO:INT. THE LEROY LIVING ROOM. Every inch is decorated for Christmas. Ella bustles about, putting ribbon candy into Christmasy dishes and spotting the dishes around the room.
CUT TO:INT. THE LEROY FAMILY KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM. As before.
Bert gives her another look and adds a dismissive snort.Well, I bet I could make ribbon candy.ELLA
I could . . . I could make it . . . and sell it . . . and ship it far and wide.ELLAFar and wide!BERT(mocking her)Ella’s Ribbons of Dee-lite.ELLA(dreamily)Ella’s Ribbons of Dee-lite . . .BERT(with fake enthusiasm)(listing her failures)Ella’s TV Colorizer . . . Ella’s Cards for Forgotten Holidays . . . Ella’s High-Heel-Low-Heel Convertible Shoes . . . Ella’s Peanut Butter on a Stick.Ella’s Ribbons of Dee-lite.ELLA(firmly)Ella. Look. Ribbon candy is made in a factory by machines that squirt sugar syrup out in a ribbon, fold it back and forth, snip it off, and . . .BERT(with a sigh)I could make it in my own kitchen.ELLAWell then, why not give it a try?BERT(almost sneering)
THIRTY SECONDS OF
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Copyright © 2001 by Eric
The screenplay for Inflating a Dog is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this teleplay may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.