|Inflating a Dog Screenplay
Chapter 22: Flash! (in which the mayor’s wife makes a splash)
by Eric Kraft
The screen rights are available.
|EXT. ARCINELLA’S SLIP. NIGHT. Hung
between two telephone poles is a slightly sagging banner hand-painted in
an effort to imitate a deco-style typeface:
MUSIC UP: Fred Astaire: “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails.”
A sequence of very brief scenes:
Ella and Patti dash about, nervous, checking everything.
Peter plays captain, walking the deck in his whites.
Peter sneaks a peek below to check the water level.
The first cars with invited guests arrive.
More and more excursionists arrive and step aboard, handed aboard by Ella, in her slinky satin gown.Oh, my god. Here comes somebody.ELLA(thrilled, scared)
Ella checks her guest list, pacing the deck.Good evening! Good evening! Welcome to Ella’s Elegant Excursions.ELLA
Patti circulates with champagne.Ohhh, do you think the mayor will come?ELLASure he’ll come. Don’t worry, Mom.PETERI don’t know. If you ask me he’s a big blowhard and a stuffed shirt and . . .BERTYour honor! Mr. Mayor! Welcome.ELLA(the mayor’s car pulls up)
Freeloaders greet one another and sip and chatter.
Patti passes a group, squeezing through the growing crowd, and the men and women alike turn to get a look at the way her white satin gown clings and slides on her bottom.
Arcinella’s deck becomes more and more overcrowded.
Peter casts off the bow line.Peter, you’d better get the show on the road before anybody else shows up.ELLAAye, mom.PETER
Peter backs Arcinella out of her slip.
Peter pilots Arcinella downriver toward the bay.
Arcinella reaches the broad waters of the bay. Ella leans in through the wheelhouse window.
Peter ties the wheel.Patti and I can’t keep up with them. Can you give us a hand?ELLAUm, sure. I can tie the wheel.PETER
Then he helps keep the guests supplied with food and drink.
Peter shrugs at “Winky” and hustles off to pour champagne. “Winky” snaps him on the job, as a waiter.“Winky” Wills, Babbington Reporter.“WINKY” WILLS(to Peter, brandishing his Speed Graphic)Oh. Wow. Hi.PETERCould I get you at the wheel, kid?“WINKY” WILLSSure!PETER(a glance at Ella, overworked)Um . . . after things calm down?Sure, but . . . who’s driving the boat?“WINKY” WILLSI tied the wheel. She’ll just scribe an arc across the widest part of the bay. Should be a nice smooth trip.PETER(feeling very clever)Hey, kid, any more champagne?A FREELOADER
Long shot of the boat, crowded to the very edges of the deck. In one group, a corpulent braggart telling a golfing story mimes a swing and nearly knocks a woman behind him overboard.
Fog begins to creep in. It grows thicker and thicker. In a very short time we can’t see Arcinella at all.
Peter, Patti, and Ella are busy serving the guests. They glance apprehensively at the fog, but return to their work.
In the bow, a group near the edge is suddenly surprised when a channel marker materializes from the fog on the starboard side, very close. (These markers are painted wooden posts.)
People laugh, because he’s the mayor. Suddenly another marker emerges from the fog on the port side. Arcinella hits it, pitching SWEETIE, the Mayor’s wife, overboard.Iceberg!MAYOR GERBER(a regular comedian)
Flash! Winky Wills gets a shot of Sweetie going overboard.
Flash! Winky gets a shot of Porky White gallantly diving in to save Sweetie.Sweetie! Somebody do something!MAYOR GERBER(flustered, timid)
Flash! Winky gets a shot of Porky standing in about three feet of water holding Sweetie in his arms.
CUT TO:EXT. A MOMENT LATER. Sweetie’s back aboard, clinging to Porky.
Flash! Winky catches them with his Speed Graphic.My darling! Are you all right?MAYOR GERBEROh, yes, I’m quite all right . . .SWEETIE(flirting with Porky). . . thanks to this gallant corsair.
This gets everyone’s attention, including Bert’s.This is really outrageous.MAYOR GERBER
He glares at Peter. Peter hangs his head.You should never have entrusted the wheel to a . . . a . . . halfwit.MAYOR GERBER (CONT’D.)(to Ella)
All eyes on Bert.Just a minute, there, “Your Honor.”BERT(standing tall)
He gets some laughter and applause.He may be a halfwit, but he’s doing the best he can.BERT (CONT’D.)(throwing an arm over Peter’s shoulder)
CUT TO:EXT. ABOARD ARCINELLA. MINUTES LATER. HEADING HOME. Mayor Gerber sits at the stern with his legs dangling overboard, his shoes off and his pants legs rolled up, swishing his feet in the wake and singing “Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen.”
In the bow, Porky White, FATHER O’MALLEY, Bert, and Sweetie lean together like a barbershop quartet and singing “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”
Peter is at the wheel, looking glum. Patti sticks her head through the window.
A WELL-DRESSED MAN, standing in a group within earshot of Patti and Peter, raises his glass in the direction of the drunken mayor and says . . .Don’t let it get you down.PATTIYeah.PETER
His audience titters.Isn’t that elegant?WELL-DRESSED MAN
His audience roars.Oh, very elegant, but . . .SECOND WELL-DRESSED MAN(raising a sandwich). . . this is the heighth of elegance.
Ella, far enough away to have heard the laughter but not the remark, turns toward the group and smiles.
The man raises his sandwich again and leans toward her in a suggestion of a bow. Ella acknowledges it with the suggestion of a curtsey, and the group laughs again.
Patti, squeezing through the group, steps heavily on the man’s patent-leather shoe.
Peter brings Arcinella back to her slip.
Ella hands the excursionists back to shore.
Ella waves as people begin driving off.
Peter still looks glum.Please tell your friends about us!ELLA(calling)Oh, we will. You can count on it!EXCURSIONISTS(laughing, ad lib)
Come on. Cheer up. By tomorrow everybody will have forgotten about it.PATTI
THIRTY SECONDS OF
TOP HAT, WHITE TIE, AND TAILS
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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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