|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 10: Ella’s Elegant Excursions (in which Ella floats an idea)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
ELLA sweeps the papers onto her lap.What’s this?PETER(repeating himself)
She gets up and goes toward the kitchen.These are part of my idea, but I don’t want you to see them yet because I want to tell you about the rest of it first. The boat can wait.ELLA(coyly)The boat?PETER(raising an eyebrow)The boat, yes. I’ll get to it. Oh, I’ve had such a wonderful idea, and I want to tell you all about it, but I don’t know where to start . . .ELLA
She opens the refrigerator and takes from it a platter of sandwiches in many pastel colors: pink bread with green filling, blue bread with orange filling, and so on.I was sitting here, daydreaming . . .ELLA (CONT’D.)
She brings the platter to the dining room table.. . . thinking how nice it would be to give a party, a really smart party . . . and somehow I got the idea of tiny sandwiches on colored bread.ELLA (CONT’D.)(dreamily)
Peter and Patti inspect the sandwiches. They exchange a look. Then each takes a sandwich and takes a bite from it.Have one.ELLA (CONT’D.)
The idea just . . . came to me . . .ELLA (CONT’D.)
DISSOLVE TO:INT. THE DINING ROOM TABLE. EARLIER THAT AFTERNOON. Ella flips idly through a magazine and comes to an ad for Tintoretto’s Tasteful Tints food coloring. The headline is “You Can Color More Than Eggs, You Know!” spoken by a comical cartoon chicken. The copy reads “They come in three tasteful colors, but you can’t taste them at all!” The artwork shows a box holding vials of red, yellow, and green food coloring, and, in the foreground, a platter of muffins, cookies, and sliced bread in various colors. To one side, a domestic scene is depicted: a trim housewife, dressed for a cocktail party, holds a platter of pastel treats of some unidentifiable kind, offering them to a smiling man in a suit. On the floor behind them are two children, a boy and a girl, giggling behind their hands at a cat they have tinted pink. The tag line is “There’s a rainbow in every box! Be creative!”
. . . from . . . wherever ideas come from . . . out of the air, I guess.ELLA (CONT’D., V. O.)
CUT TO:INT. THE DINING ROOM. THE PRESENT. Ella picks up a sandwich.
Very creative.PATTI(impressed)And do you know what the filling is?ELLA(opening the sandwich)Well, they all look different.PATTI(considering)But they all taste like cream cheese.PETER(with his mouth full)
DISSOLVE TO:INT. THE DINING ROOM TABLE. EARLIER THAT AFTERNOON. Ella turns the pages of the magazine and comes to an ad for Bland & White Cream Cheese. The headline is “Nature’s Most Flexible Food.” The copy is “You can spread it, squeeze it, mix it, shape it, even tint it!” The artwork shows a box of Bland & White Cream Cheese and a row of small drawings of chefs using it. One is squeezing it from a pastry tube onto a cracker, a second rolling balls of it in chopped nuts, and a third pouring red food coloring into a bowl of it. The tag line is: “It’s bland. It’s white. It’s putty in your hands! Be creative!”
They are all cream cheese! I colored it with Tasteful Tints!ELLA (V. O.)What a great idea!PATTI (V. O.)
CUT TO:INT. THE DINING ROOM. THE PRESENT.
I don’t know where I get these ideas. They just come to me.ELLAIt’s amazing.PATTI(awed)Isn’t it? But wait’ll you hear what happened next! I was sitting here sampling the sandwiches and daydreaming about being at that party . . .ELLAWhat were you wearing?PATTIA white satin dress.ELLASlinky?PATTIMmm.ELLAThat’s very smart.PATTII was sipping champagne and holding a long cigarette holder . . . and after a while I realized an amazing thing.ELLAWhat?PATTI(all ears)I was on a ship.ELLA
DISSOLVE TO:EXT. THE DECK OF AN ELEGANT LINER. NIGHT. ELLA’S FANTASY. In the style of romantic movies of the 1930s. A MAN IN A DINNER JACKET, with his back toward us, pours champagne for Ella, who’s wearing a long, slinky white satin dress and nibbling daintily at a little sandwich.
Ella and the unidentifiable man watch the moonlight on the waves; now and then they nibble little sandwiches.In my daydream, I was on a ship.ELLA (CONT’D., V.O.)
An ocean liner.ELLA (CONT’D., V.O.)
CUT TO:INT. THE LINER’S ELEGANT SUPPER CLUB. Ella and the unidentifiable man whirl around a dance floor; a waiter approaches them with a silver platter of little sandwiches.
Ella and the unidentifiable man kiss.With women in gowns and men in tuxedos.ELLA (CONT’D., V.O.)
The man feeds a sandwich to Ella, who feeds one to him.And romance.ELLA (CONT’D., V.O.)
The film stutters as if Ella’s mental projector has jammed. It freezes on one frame, and the lamp melts a hole in it.And little sandwiches. And for a while I really seemed to be on a ship like that . . .ELLA (CONT’D., V.O.)(now matter-of-factly)Then you came home, Peter . . .
CUT TO:INT. THE DINING ROOM. AS BEFORE.
Patti gives Peter a disapproving look. Peter shrugs as if to say “Gee whiz, Patti, it wasn’t my fault.”. . . and I snapped out of it.ELLA (CONT’D.)
Ella smiles, her eyes twinkling, and with a flourish spreads the papers on the table. They are sketches for ads inspired by art deco ads for transatlantic steamship lines. One is nearly complete. The headline is “Ella’s Elegant Excursions.”But it doesn’t matter, because I know how to make the dream come true.ELLA (CONT’D.)(brightly)You do?PATTI(hopefully)
She has finished. A silence falls over them. Patti sighs, lost in Ella’s romantic dream. Peter looks doubtful.Ella’s Elegant Excursions.PATTI(dreamily)My idea is that maybe you can’t go on an ocean voyage, but we can take you on a bay voyage right here in Babbington!ELLA“We?”PETER(warily)Shush.PATTIAnd you can have champagne and moonlight and dancing and romance . . . and little sandwiches.ELLA
Well, what do you think?ELLA(tentatively)I think that is really inflated!PATTIInflated?ELLA(puzzled)It means it’s good. Very good.PATTI(as one who knows)Peter?ELLADefinitely inflated. Blown up like a blimp. Lighter than air.PETER(to please her)
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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.
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