|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 21: The Madman of Seville (in which “Dudley” plants the seed of hope in “Ella”)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|EXT. THE BULKHEAD, ARCINELLA’S SLIP.
A SHORT WHILE LATER. They’ve finished cleaning up, and they step ashore.
They turn to look at Arcinella. She is a little wet with dew, her
glossy paint glistening in the silver moonlight.
She has embarrassed all of them, including herself.She’s beautiful.PATTIYes, she is. Even more than that first night we saw her . . .PETERIt shows what a little soap can do.PATTIAnd paint.PETERThe right clothes . . . the right walk . . . and you can turn a tramp into a lady. . . . Thank you, Ella.PATTI(pirouetting)
Ella spontaneously hugs her.
They get into the car and drive off.
CUT TO:EXT. PATTI’S HOUSE. A FEW MINUTES LATER. Peter opens Patti’s car dooor and holds it for her. She slides out, taking Peter’s hand, and they walk to her doorstep.
She kisses him, slowly and affectionately.May I tell you how very beautiful you look in that gown, Patricia?PETER(formally)
Tomorrow night? At Dudley’s?PETER (CONT’D.)Yes. Tomorrow night.PATTI
CUT TO:INT. THE LEROY LIVING ROOM. Bert is sitting up, watching television. Ella and Peter enter from the kitchen.
She goes to him, leans over him and hugs him.Well?BERTMr. Lodkochnikov loved it.ELLAGood.BERT(a beat)What? Who?I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow, Bert. I’m too tired now.ELLA
But it was a wonderful success.ELLA (CONT’D.)Any sandwiches left?BERTIn the refrigerator. In waxed paper.ELLA
CUT TO:INT. DUDLEY BEAKER’S LIVING ROOM. Patti (as Ella) and Peter (as Dudley) sit facing each other before the fireplace.
He winks, but Patti doesn’t seem to notice.Dudley . . . can I tell you a secret?PATTI (AS ELLA)Of course. I hope that you will consider all your secrets safe with me.PETER (AS DUDLEY)Oh, sure . . .PATTI (AS ELLA)And I hope that you will be as frank and forthcoming as you would be if you whispered your secrets to your pillow in the privacy of your bedroom.PETER (AS DUDLEY)
Yeah. I will. So . . .PATTI (AS ELLA)In short . . .PETER (AS DUDLEY)Dud!PATTI (AS ELLA)Yes, my dear?PETER (AS DUDLEY)Shut up and let me tell you!PATTI (AS ELLA)Of course.PETER (AS DUDLEY)When I grow up . . .PATTI (AS ELLA)Ah, my darling, I wish you never would.PETER (AS DUDLEY)When I grow up, I want to be famous.PATTI (AS ELLA)Ah, fame. . . . I would much rather you said that you wanted respect, or admiration, than fame.PETER (AS DUDLEY)But I do want to be famous. I want people to know who I am. And I know how I’m going to make it happen.PATTI (AS ELLA)Do you, now?PETER (AS DUDLEY)I’m going to buy a boat . . .PATTI (AS ELLA)(slowly, hesitantly)
CUT TO:INT. BERT AND ELLA’S BEDROOM. SAME TIME. Ella gets out of bed, slips a bathrobe on, goes to the refrigerator, takes a bottle of champagne and some of the pastel sandwiches, slips out of the house, gets into her old car, and drives off.
CUT TO:EXT. NIGHT. ARCINELLA’S SLIP. MINUTES LATER. Ella parks, gets out, boards Arcinella, walks the length of her deck, admiring her, and sits on the stern, dangling her feet in the water, opens the champagne, takes a long swallow, unwraps the sandwiches, and, very daintily, nibbles one.
CUT TO:INT. DUDLEY’S LIVING ROOM. Patti (as Ella) is finishing her starry-eyed description of what she hopes to do.
She sits for a moment, flushed with excitement, a little out of breath, and then sinks, now doubtful.. . . I’ll call it Ella’s Elegant Excursions. It’s going to be wonderful.PATTI (AS ELLA, CONT’D.)
Peter’s face: panic. He realizes that he doesn’t think it will work. Patti raises her head. She wants an answer.Do you think it will work?PATTI (AS ELLA, CONT’D.)(meekly, eyes downcast)
Tears well up in Patti’s eyes with each word he speaks.I don’t think it will work . . .PETER (AS DUDLEY)
Patti brightens.. . . unless you make it work.PETER (AS DUDLEY, CONT’D.)(looking into her eyes)
We see the madman in the struggles as Peter-as-Dudley describes them.I know how many things young people wish for. . . . I know that a young person hopes that . . . she . . . can do something that will make the world take notice, and become famous . . . rich and famous. But it is never easy.PETER (AS DUDLEY, CONT’D.)(playing the wise man)(even more like Dudley)Do you remember the old story about the madman of Seville who won fame by inflating a dog?Sure I do.PATTI (AS ELLA)Think about the part of the story that you have not heard.PETER (AS DUDLEY)What part is that?PATTI (AS ELLA)(knitting her brows)
Suddenly she is in his lap, kissing him passionately.The part about all the effort that he put into making himself a famous dog-blower. Just think what that required! Thhe hours that our clever madman spent learning to inflate a dog, hiding in a shed, practicing on strays. Think of the failed attempts, the bitter disappointments while he was mastering his art, the dogs that ran away, the ones that bit him, the ones that burst like balloons and sprayed themselves across the walls of the shed.PETER (AS DUDLEY)Ooh.PATTI (AS ELLA)(grimacing)The bouts of self-doubt, when he wished he had chosen some easier path to fame, when he wondered whether he wouldn’t be happier as an unknown madman.PETER (AS DUDLEY)Gee. It sounds . . . impossible.PATTI (AS ELLA)(the brink of tears again)Oh, no. Not impossible. The madman did it, remember. He inflated that dog. And you can inflate yours. You can succeed at this. You will succeed at this. You’ll be famous for it. I know you will. . . . I believe in you.PETER (AS DUDLEY)(at once)
INT. UPSTAIRS, DUDLEY AND ELIZA’S BEDROOM. Later. Peter and Patti are in Dudley’s bed. We see them from above. Peter is lying on his back, smiling at the ceiling in a state of goofy bliss. Patti is propped on an elbow, leaning over him.
Where did you learn to talk like that?PATTIFrom Dudley. I guess it’s “like father, like son,” except that he never offered me any encouragement.PETERMmmm. . . . About that “like father, like son” business? I don’t think so.PATTIWhat?PETERI’ve been doing lots of research, and I’m getting some other ideas.PATTIReally? Even after tonight?PETEREven after tonight.PATTIWell?PETERGive me a little more time.PATTI
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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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