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After her initial resistance, she relents.
Close-up on Miriam: “Just what is it you want me to do?"  p. 20

Mr. Rosen, registering his daughter’s voice, looks up from his book,  pages covered in the Hebrew letters of Genesis 28:15.  The English translation appears at the bottom of the screen.

MR. ROSEN (V0): "I do not promise that your heart will never be broken.  My promise is simply that I will always be with you...”  

p. 20

EXTERIOR: MR. KLOTWOG'S HOUSE   p. 20
 

Two shot as Hyman arranges to borrow

Mr. Klotwog's wife’s straight-jacket.   p. 20
 

INTERIOR: IDLE HOUR CINEMA -- STAGE  p. 20

Camera pans packed house.  p. 20
  

Close-up on Mr. Forbitz announcing the first act:
Dr. Dreyfus.  p. 21

 

Camera captures Dr. Dreyfus call-and-audience-
response as he tells one of his old jokes.  p. 21

 

Mr. Forbitz announces Ike Tautenblatt, who delivers a

heartfelt soliloquy from “King Lear.”   p. 22

 
Close-up on Ike shot from below.  p. 22

INTERIOR:  IDLE HOUR CINEMA - BACK STAGE  p. 22

Over Ike’s impassioned King Lear monologue,

Hyman puts on a top hat, the final piece of his

traditional magician’s costume, which consists

of black silk cape and bright red cravat.  

He peeks out at the audience and then looks around

for Miriam.  p. 22

Miriam has finished dressing and looks around for

Hyman.  They almost collide back stage.

HYMAN: "Oh, great!  You’re here!"

MIRIAM: "Where else would I be? p. 22

INTERIOR: IDLE HOUR CINEMA - STAGE

Mr. Forbitz announces the “piece de resistance”:
HYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT.”  p. 22

 

Hyman emerges in complete Magician’s regalia.  p. 23
 

The audience goes wild.  p. 23
 

Close-up as Hyman removes his silk cloak revealing

his stringy physique under his sleeveless undershirt.  p. 23
 

Pan audience members going even wilder at the sight of

Hyman’s physique, capturing more cat calls.  p. 23
 

Miriam emerges from the wings to even more audience commotion.  p. 23
 

Hyman hands Miriam his top hat and cloak.  p. 23
 

Miriam places his hat and cloak on a chair and holds up a straight-jacket—causing even more pandemonium.  p. 23
 

Hyman stares the audience into submission.  p. 23

When quiet has descended, Hyman begins his spiel: camera shoots him from below.  p. 23

Two shot: Miriam holds the straight-jacket for Hyman to thrust his arms into.  p. 23
 

Two shot: Hyman gives Miriam a nod.  p. 23

Miriam mumbles as she tries to invite audience members to the stage.  p. 23

Camera pans audience cat calls.  p. 23

Miriam speaks up more assertively.  p. 23
 

Camera captures almost all the young men in the audience stampeding the stage.  p. 23
 

Two shot: Miriam glances sheepishly at Hyman who maintains his rigid pose, but rolls his eyes.  p. 23
 

Miriam selects the most aggressive Bernie Saperstein and probably to compensate, the consumptive Milton Pinkus.  p. 24
 

As Bernie ties the restrains, he swats Milton’s hand away

each time Milton tries to help.  p. 24

Hyman’s torso is so constricted, he can hardly speak.  p. 24
 

Close-up: Hyman asking the audience if the “Punishment Suit” is secure.  p. 24
 

Close-up: Bernie: “No way you’re getting of this!”  p. 24
 

Close-up: Hyman says the magic word "Anthropropolygos!”  p. 24
 

Long shot: Miriam rolls out a gauze hospital modesty curtain

and  places it around Hyman.  p. 24
 

Close-up: Miriam: “Je tire le rideau comme ca.”  p. 25

Long shot: Miriam stepping to one side.  p. 25
 

Two shot: Stuart translating what Miriam has said for his mother,

who isn’t interested and has her own agenda.  p. 25

Shot of Rachel and Clara sitting next to Stuart and his mother.  p. 25
 

Close-up Stuart reciting under his breath from “Magical Rope Ties and Escapes.”  p. 26
 

Pan audience focusing on Hyman’s gyrations behind the curtain.  p. 26

Rachel and Clara watch  from the audience.  p. 26
 

Hyman’s gyrations cause the modesty curtain to topple.  p. 26
 

Close-up Bernie: “Quick, somebody, get the Rabbi!

There’s a Dybuk inside of Hymie Weiss!”  p. 26
 

Pan audience splitting their sides laughing.  p. 26
 

Camera on Mrs. Elster rocking out on the accordion.  P. 26
 

Mr. Forbitz strides onto the stage:

“All right, Weiss, that’s enough already. Shoyn genug!”  p. 26
 

Close-up Miriam: “Stop it, Hymie!”  p. 26
 

Mr. Forbitz returns to the wings and the movie screen descends

with a dust-raising thud.  p. 27


Mr. Forbitz steps back onto the stage and signals to the Projectionist.  p. 27
 

The stage goes black.  p. 26
 

A beam shoots over everyone’s head.  p. 26
 

John Barrymore’s “The Beloved Rogue” begins with a text that reads:

“Even torture could not quell the spirit of the vagabond poet…”  p. 27
 

“The Beloved Rogue” unfolds to Mrs. Elster’s sweet soulful Klezmer

accordion.  p. 27
 

Hyman continues with his gyrations to free himself and

urches through the movie screen,

falling headlong into the orchestra pit – shot from below.  p. 27

 

Pan audience reaction: 

What happened to Hyman?

More important, what’s happening  to the Vagabond Poet!

Where’s the ‘Beloved Rogue’?

Be quiet, we’re try to watch a movie here.  

Who’s going to fix the screen?                          

Is Hymie okay?   p. 27

Establishing shot: Nussbaum’s Emporium  p. 27
 

Two shot: Hyman’s arm is in a sling – he is trying help

Mrs. Altfelder: unrolling a bolt of fabric with his good hand;

stabilizing the fabric with the elbow of his arm in the sling.  p. 27
 

Enter Miriam and Hyman.  p. 27
 

Mrs. Altfelder greets Miriam and the reticent Stuart.  p. 27

Close-up:  Hyman: “Don’t say it….” as he tries to explain  

last night's debacle to Miriam and Stuart.  p. 27


Angle on impatient Mrs. Altfelder.  p. 28
 

Hyman cuts fabric with a reckless zig zag and hands it to Mrs. Altfelder.  p. 28

 

Hyman explains his next act, the "Procurstean Bed Mystery"

to Miriam's increasing dismay.  p. 29

 

Miriam raises her voice in response to Hyman's description

of his next act.  p. 29

 

Mrs. Altfelder turns around at the sound.  p. 29

 

Miriam lowers her voice and continues to abrade Hyman.  p. 29

 

Hyman removes his arm from the sling and shows Miriam

his cast, emblazoned with the words, "HYMAN AND MAGNIFICENT."  p. 30
 

Long shot of Miriam walking away.  p. 30
 

Close-up: Hyman: “Women, who can figure ‘em, eh, Stuart?”  p. 30
 

Establishing shot: back of Nussbaum’s Emporium.  p. 30
 

Close-up on Hyman working on the wardrobe prop for

Procrustean Bed Mystery.”  p. 30

 

Two shot: Hyman explaining to Stuart how the

Procrustean Bed Mystery trick works.  p. 30

 

Close-up Stuart: “When did you get to be so handy?”  p. 30
 

Angle on Hyman’s hands: “My hands are being guided by my

spiritual father: Houdini himself.”  p.  30

 

Hyman lies down in the prop bed for a run-through.  p. 30
 

Stuart is unable to lift the bed, preventing Hyman from rehearsing the trick.  p. 31
 

As Hyman continues with his explanation of the trick, we see him

imaging the triumph of its execution.  p. 31
 

Establishing shot: exterior of the Idle Hour Cinema Angle on the actual

“Procrustean Bed” propped up outside the theatre.  p. 31
 

Angle on homemade sign announcing the trick shot from below:
HYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT  will attempt to escape:
THE PROCRUSTEAN BED MYSTERY.  p. 32

 

Establishing shot: Mr. Forbitz’ office.
Papers piled almost up to the ceiling in places.  p. 32

 

Two shot: Hyman presenting his case to Mr. Forbitz: 

why he “should get maybe a percentage of the gate…”  p. 32
 

Close-up: Mr. Forbitz: “Where you been boychick?
You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘amateur’”?  p. 32

 

Hyman beaten but not defeated….

"Who knows, some scout from the Pantage’s Circuit

might be in the audience.  He could offer me top billing

to take my act on the road... Then it’ll be good-bye

Main Street, and hello Atlantic City, Rio-by-the-Sea-o, Zanzibar.  p. 32

 

Establishing shot: Idle Hour Cinema – packed.  p. 32
 

Two shot: Mrs. Rosen speaking with her son Stuart.

Unable to control her daughter's life,

she announces that it's time for Stuart's Bar Mitzvah.  p. 33
 

Audience members chanting: “We want Hyman.” p. 33
 

Mr. Forbitz mollifying Dr. Dreyfus, Mrs. Pnisky and Ike Tautenblatt:

“So you’ll go on after Hyman. It’s no big deal!

I gotta give the people what they want.”  p. 34
 

Stuart VO: “Although Hyman was backstage,

I bet I knew what he was thinking:

at Houdini’s engagement at the London Palladium:

the other performers were also bumped…”  p. 34
 

Miriam emerges from the wings in a dress of airy chiffon…

her hair loose and luxuriant… p. 34
 

Audience applauds, accompanied by whistles and stomping.  p. 34
 

Angle on HYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT wearing an orange terrycloth bathrobe,

which he removes, revealing a one-piece bathing suit,  highlighting

his bony ribs and knobby knees.  p. 34
 

Long shot: audience is divided between those who cheer and those who deride.  p. 35
 

Using different angles: Camera captures Hyman striking several poses

before the nightmare piece  of furniture.  p. 35
 

Camera pulls back as Hyman struts around the bed.  p. 35
 

Audience is a riot of cat-calls.  p. 35
 

Hyman is impervious, if anything more determined:
a study in cool self-assurance.  p. 35

 

Hyman stares the audience down to silence and begins to speak.  p. 35
 

Close-up on Hyman: “I spit in the face of danger.

I invite one and all to examine this bed—which could become my coffin.”  p. 35
 

Camera pulls back: As Miriam begins to deliver her spiel,

Hyman takes his place in the hollow wardrobe of the Murphy Bed.  p. 35
 

Mrs. Elster’s ominous aacordion chords almost drown out Miriam,

forcing her to shout.  p. 35
 

Close-up on Miriam stumbling on the word “Procrustean…”  p. 35
 

Long shot: Bernie and his pals storm the stage.  p. 35
 

They lift the bed frame up from its foot with such zeal that it falls over backward.  p. 35
 

It hits the stage with such a long bang that the entire audience is hushed.  p. 35
 

Close-up: the cabinet begins to rattle.  p. 35
 

Sounds of distress emanate from the cabinet.  p. 35
 

Bernie and his pals right the cabinet as energetically

as they had knocked it over.  p. 36
 

They open the wardrobe doors revealing Hyman

writhing in pain from a spike that has pierced his thigh.  p. 36
 

His leg is bleeding profusely.  p. 36
 

Audience lets loose a thunder of cheers and raucous applause.  p. 36
 

Hyman is carried from the stage by Bernie and his pals.

Despite his pain, Hyman waves to the audience like a conquering hero.  p. 36
 

Close-up: Mr. Forbitz: “This is the last time you will ever perform

in my theayter.”  p. 36
 

Segue to Hyman’s bedroom above Nussbaum’s Emporium:

angle on bed covered with books and pamphlets about Houdini;

handcuffs, chains, ads for Uncle Sam’s Pawnshop.”  p. 36
 

Three shot: Miriam and Stuart approach the prone Hyman

propped up on his sagging bed, his pajama pants cut off to

accommodate his swollen leg resting on a pillow.  p. 36
 

Close-up: Miriam is dismayed at what she sees.  p. 36
 

Two shot: Miriam and Hyman exchange words.  p. 36
 

Close-up: Hyman gazes at Miriam then catches himself.  p. 36
 

Hyman imitating Aunt and Uncle: camera angles reflecting their voices.  p. 37
 

Hyman segues into descriptions of his next exploits.  p. 37
 

Miriam rolls her eyes.  p. 37
 

Hyman continues.  p. 37
 

Miriam tries to get a word in edge-wise.  p. 37

Two shot: Miriam and Hyman have words.  p. 37 - 38

 

Miriam leaves. p. 38
 

Close-up: Hyman: “Easy come, easy go, eh Stuart?”  p. 38

Hyman continues to enumerate the stunts that will

make him the toast of the waiting world.  p. 38

Stuart VO: “I could only listen…. Somebody has to listen…”  p. 39
 

Hyman declares his next trick rhymes with “Hymie”:
“Tie Me Upside Down.”  p. 39

Establishing shot: Rabbi Fein’s Study  p. 39

 

Rabbi Fein and Stuart sit at a desk. p. 39

 

Stuart is miserably uncomfortable in the enthusiastic young Rabbi’s

cozy book-lined study, crammed with evocative mementoes and artifacts:

menorahs, shofars, photographs of ancestors, etc..  p. 39

Two shot: Rabbi Fein and Stuart discuss  Stuart's up-coming Bar Mitzvah.

camera reflects Stuart's anxiety.  p. 39 - 40

 

Establishing shot: Rosen’s Deli.  p. 40

 

Stuart VO: “I had my own problems….”  p. 40
 

Hyman limping along Main Street.  p. 40
 

Stuart VO: “Without Hymie around,

Miriam was fair game for all the lovelorn sons of the pinch.”  p. 41
 

Exterior Miriam’s bedroom window.  p. 41
 

Mickey Graber, on stilts, recites a Shakespeare
sonnet: “When forty winters shall besiege thy brow….  p. 41

 

The dapper Bernie Saperstein leaves his father’s grocery store,

crosses North Main, and enters Rosen’s Deli.  p. 41
 

Interior Rosen’s Deli
Two shot: Bernie not so subtly, hitting on  Miriam.  p. 42

Miriam gently rebuffs his advances.  p. 42

Rachel and Clara observe all from a close table.  p. 42

Rosen’s Deli – storage room

Two shot: Mrs. Rosen confronting her daughter:
“You know, Miriam, you’re not getting any younger…”  p. 42-43

Miriam leaves the storage room in a huff.  p. 43

Establishing shot: MARKET SQUARE  p. 43

 

Hyman is tacking up a sign announcing his next performance:  p. 43
 

Angle on sign:  HYMAN the MAGNIFICENT
                            MARKET SQUARE – 3PM
THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL OF LIBERATION.  p. 43

 

Stuart VO: “and while Hyman was out of our sight, this didn’t
mean that he was out of our thoughts….  p. 43

 

Establishing shot: North Main Street  p. 43
 

Stuart VO: “at the end, my curiosity got the better of me…  p. 43
 

Stuart skulking in doorways behind Hyman hobbling
along in this bathrobe, a coil of rope over his shoulder.  p. 43

 

Stuart VO: “I must not have hidden too well because Hyman
spotted me right away…”  p. 43

 

Two shot: Hyman and Stuart walk along North Main.  p. 43- 44

Hyman doing imitations of his Aunt Frieda and Uncle Sharkey.  p. 43-44
 

Establishing shot MARKET SQUARE.  p. 44

Camera pans the crowd: dusty farmer’s families,
trussed and squawking poultry, clerks from North
Main Street, Irish toughs from Goat Hill, a
scattering of “people of color” in the background.  p. 44

 

Hyman keeps peering over the crowd as though looking for someone.  p. 44
 

Content that his Audience has assembled, Hyman removes his robe

and hands it to Stuart who lets it fall.  p. 44

 

Hyman is now stripped to his bathing outfit,

a stained tourniquet around his thigh.  p. 45

Angle on a Sharpie who is walking through the crowd

taking bets on Hyman’s chances of success.  p. 45
 

Seeing that someone has the idea of making money from his exploits,

Hyman looks around and finds a paper bag lying on the ground.  p. 45
 

Hyman walks through the crowd asking for donations.  p. 45
 

Most people ignore him.  p. 45
 

The few coins Hyman collects he leaves with Stuart for safe-keeping.  p. 45
 

At the foot of the Oak Tree: Bernie Saperstein, Herman Blen,

and Mickey Graber.  p. 45
 

Camera angle on block and tackle attached to a heavy rope nailed to tree trunk.  p. 45
 

Camera follows the rope which is looped through a pulley

and hangs from a high branch.  p. 45

Hyman shrugs the coil of rope from his shoulder and begins his spiel:

“I use only the finest-quality braided lariat, certified by the

honorable Hekkie Schatz of Hekkie’s Hardware on Commerce Street….  p. 45
 

Before Hyman can finish, Bernie rushes forward:
“I’m clearly the man for the job.
Ain’t I wrapped enough fish in my Papa’s store?”  p. 46

 

Bernie is pushed aside by two local yokels in bib overalls.  p. 46
 

Two shot: First yoke (Eugene): “I’m the champeem hog-tier in She’by County.”  p. 46
 

Yokels push Hyman to the ground and tie him up thoroughly,

starting at his ankles.  p. 46
 

Second yokel (Clarence): “Be careful! This here’s kosher meat.”  p. 46

 

Laughter and catcalls from the assembled as the two men

hook Hyman’s feet to the block and tackle,

then tug at the thick hawser cable and haul him aloft.  p. 46

 

AUDIENCE     “This is his best trick ever.”

 “He’ll never get out of this one!”

 “This time, he’s a goner!”  p. 46

Stuart: VO: “I hoped Hymie had the presence of mind

to recall Houdini’s advice, to swell his muscles

(oh, what muscles did he have….)  p. 46
 

Camera follows Hyman as he is hauled aloft several stories

above the earth, dappled in sunlight through a canopy of leaves.  p. 46
 

Spun by balmy breezes, Hyman begins his struggle to free himself.  p. 46
 

Bucking valiantly against the ropes,

Hyman lets out a blood-curdling scream.  p. 46

 

The audience freezes.  p. 46

Stuart VO: “I was getting pretty anxious but I

told myself not to worry.  Houdini often

dislocated his own limbs at will….”  p. 46
 

Soon the spectators were rambunctious again.
Someone starts up a mock cradle song:
“Rock-a-bye Hymie in the tree top..”  p. 47

 

Stuart VO: “What I didn’t notice was the branch:

starting to bend lower and lower…”  p. 47
 

Close-up on the branch bending lower and lower

until it breaks (with appropriate sound effects).  p. 47

Long shot of Hyman bouncing from branch to
branch in slow motion.  p. 47

 

Eugene and Clarence run to Hyman and carefully carry him
off in an old horse blanket.  p. 47

 

AUDIENCE Is he alive?  Is he dead?  

Where are they taking him?  

What happened? It all happened so fast...  I missed it...   p. 47

 

The Sharpie is walking around collecting his bets.  p. 47

Stuart VO: “Although I didn’t see Hyman again until

some time after he got out of the hospital,

I kept track of him through the grapevine…
I knew he hadn’t broken his neck.
All of his bouncing from branch to branch had slowed his descent,

diminishing the impact of his collision with the ground…..”  p. 47

Hyman leaves the hospital.  p. 47

 

Establishing shot: North Main Street  p. 47
 

Hyman looking bewildered at street corners… p. 47
 

Establishing shot: Nussbaum’s Emporium  p. 48

 

Two shot: Uncle Sharkey bans Hymie from Nussbaum’s

over Aunt Frieda’s protests.  p. 48
 

Establishing shot: BLOCKMAN’S SALVAGE  p. 49

The old mare, QUEEN ESTHER,  is waiting patiently,

tethered to BLOCKMAN'S SALVAGE CART which is piled high with

assorted rags, mattresses, cast-iron stove plates, mangled trombones,

busted sewing machines.   p. 49

 

Two shot: Mr. Blockman taking in Hymie:
“How could I turn you away? Who knows?
You might be Elijah…”  p. 49

 

Three shot: Hyman sorting “junk” with Cordelle,
a handsome man from many gene pools, and Rufus,
an Albino with African features.  p. 49

 

STUART (V.O.) What Hymie didn’t know was that

without him around to cramp everyone’s style,

Miriam’s resistance was beginning to weaken.  p. 49

 

Establishing shot: Dreamland Gardens  p. 49
 

Mickey and Herman are sitting at a table on the side of the dance floor,

observing Bernie resentfully.

Bernie is awkwardly dancing Miriam around the floor.  p. 50

 

Establishing shot: a riverboat, the Enchanted Isle.  p. 50
 

Miriam and Bernie on the deck:

Bernie beaming with pride at his prize.  p. 50
 

Establishing shot: kitchen Rosen’s Deli  p. 50
 

Two shot: Miriam catches Stuart sneaking a piece of brisket.  p. 50
 

Close-up: Miriam: “I think it’s time you paid your
friend Hyman Weiss a visit…”  p. 50

 

Long shot of BLOCKMAN’S SALVAGE cart
being pulled by Queen Esther, with Cordelle
and Rufus on the box and Hyman perched in
the wagon bed, piled high with gutted mattresses,
rags, cast-iron stove plates, mangled trombones,
busted sewing machines, etc…  p. 50

 

Close-up: Cordelle urging Queen Esther on…  p. 50
 

Angle on Stuart realizing that Hyman is in the cart.  p. 50
 

Stuart chasing the cart down the street. p. 50
 

Establishing shot: Blockman’s Salvage interior  p. 51
 

Two shot: Hyman (sitting on baled magazines) and
Stuart (sitting on a nest of copper tubing)   p. 51

 

Angle on Cordelle and Rufus cooking.  p. 51
 

Stuart: “What is that awful smell?”  p. 51
 

Hyman: “They make the best tsimmes!”  p. 51

 

Hyman asks Stuart for a favor.
Would he go around to the Emporium and get a few
things: “I can pick any lock but breaking and entering—
that’s against my ethics.”  p. 51

Hyman hands Stuart a bushel basket.  p. 51
 

Stuart VO: “I figured that he would want some clothes

since grubby schmattes were what he was wearing…

But all he wanted was his “’Houdini stuff’…”  p. 52
 

Establishing shot: Nussbaum’s Emporium.  p. 52
 

Stuart's arms are wrapped around the bushel basket

piled high with books, and magazines about Houdini,

and Hyman’s memorabilia box.  p. 52
 

Aunt Frieda approaches, pushing clothes and food into Stuart’s

already full basket: “Don’t tell Sharkey,”  and scurries away.  p. 52
 

As Stuart is leaving the store, Uncle Sharkey corrals him and

puts some cash into Stuart’s pocket: “Don’t tell Frieda.”
“Tell Hymie he can come home whenever he wants to..”  p. 52

 

Blockman’s Salvage.  p. 52
 

Two shot: Stuart delivers all, which Hyman

receives with gratitude.  p. 52


HYMAN: You know, even the maestro took some knocks

early in his career.  He traveled with medicine shows and

two-bit circuses ... surviving all kinds of situations,

including a bullet wound...  p. 52

 
Rosen’s Deli  p. 53

 

Two shot: Miriam and Stuart.

Miriam: “To think that I was ever mixed-up with such

a nut case.  Does he ever ask about me?”

Stuart: “Only to ask if you ever ask about him.”
 

Miriam: “Does he talk about doing more ‘performances’?
 

Stuart: “Not really….”
 

Miriam: “Well, that’s good. At least that’s something…”  p. 53

 

Mr. Rosen sits behind the cash register, reading his book.

The Hebrew letters from Song of Songs 2:11-13 are translated nto English along the bottom of the screen, while Mr. Rosen reads in voice-over. .

MR. ROSEN (VO) “Look!  Winter is past.  The rain is over and gone.

Blossoms have appeared in the land.

The season of songbirds has arrived,

and cooing of turledoves is heard in our land...”  p. 53

Blockman’s Salvage:  Stuart is visiting his friend.  p. 53
 

Close-up on Hyman: “Look what I found in one of the bins

in the junk yard! It’s fate!”  p. 53
 

Long shot: Hyman dramatically removes  a dirty canvas tarpaulin.

from a large object.  p. 53

Close-up: galvanized milk can slightly the worse for wear.  p. 53
 

Stuart watches while Hyman, surrounded by crowbars, hacksaws,

and cutting pliers, begins to meticulously transform the

milk carton into a theatrical prop.  p. 53

Stuart questions Hyman: “Why do you do this?”  p. 54
 

Camera circles the two of them as they circle the question.  p. 54-55
 

Hyman tries to explain how his next trick will work

but Stuart doesn’t seem to get it. p. 55
 

Hyman mentions that he will need an assistant.  p. 55
 

Stuart: “Not on your life,” and tears out of there.  p. 55
 

Close-up on Mr. Blockman reading “The Forward” hidden inside

the pages of his Accounts Book.  p. 56
 

Hebrew Letters on the screen with the English subtitle:
“Neither exploiter not exploited be,”  with Mr. Blockman's  voice-over.  p. 56

 

In the background, Hyman is holding the milk can and

demonstrating with the screws and bolts,

explaining to Cordelle and Rufus how the trick works.  p. 56
 

Whether they understand is dubious.  p. 56

 

Hyman shows Cordelle and Rufus the sack

they will be holding to collect one thin dime.  p. 56
 

Blockman's Salvage Cart – being pulled by Queen Esther.  p. 56
 

Close-up on signs on both the sides of the cart:
SEE HYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT
ESCAPE FROM THE INUNDATED CHAMBER
OF THE MILK CAN!!!
Just One Thin Dime!!!!  p. 56

 

And the sign on the back of the cart reads:
THIS SATURDAY – 3 o’clock
BLOCKMAN’S SALVAGE!!!
Just One Thin Dime!!!  p. 56

 

Rosen’s Deli  p. 56
 

Three shot: Bernie tells Stuart and Miriam about Hyman’s latest:

“Escape from the Milk Can Trick.”  p. 56
 

Miriam runs from the room, hands over her ears.  p. 57
 

Blockman’s Salvage
The crowd is filled with Goat Hill roughnecks,
Mud Island fisherman, Union Street swells with girls

on their arms passing flasks back and forth.  p. 57
 

Everyone is tossing dimes into the sacks held on either side

of the gate by Cordelle and Rufus.  p. 57
 

Hyman looks around and surveys the scene.  p. 57

Before he can get two sentences into his spiel,

the two yokels, Clarence and Eugene, appear

 and lift Hyman up from his arm pits.  p. 57
 

Close-up: Hyman’s legs spinning like bicycling in the air.  p. 57
 

The two yokels force him into the milk carton and ask

Cordelle and Rufus: “What’s next?”  p. 57
 

Cordelle and Rufus form a bucket brigade with

Clarence and Eugene, dousing Hyman with water.  p. 57
 

Camera on Eugene: “So, Hyman the Magnificent,

you’re finally getting baptized.”  p. 58
 

Clarence:   “Now what?”  p. 58
 

Cordelle and Rufus screw on the lid and snap on the padlocks.  p. 58

 

The crowd is alive with opinions about this latest trick.

AUDIENCE: The guy is gonna drown.          

How can he get out of there?      

This is one for the books!        

I don’t even believe my eyes!  p. 58

Then Cordelle and Rufus drag out a circular shower stall

and draw the curtain around the container.  p. 58
 

Camera pans rambunctious crowd as it simmers down.  p. 58
 

After a short moment, Cordelle and Rufus

move the  shower curtain.  p. 58
 

They take the lid off the milk can.  p. 58
 

They tip the can over.  p. 58

Water pours on the ground.  p. 58

Hyman is no longer in the can.  p. 58
 

The crowd goes wild.  p. 58
 

Angle on Hyman, more dead than alive.  p. 58

 

Clarence and Eugene spy Hyman gasping for breathe.  p. 58
 

They lift him up to more cheers and applause.  p. 58
 

Clarence tries to work the water out of him

by sitting on his chest.  p. 58
 

Stuart VO: “It seemed as though Hyman’s first professional,

that is to say, money-making event, was a ringing success —

at least from a distance.  p. 58
 

Rosen’s Deli  p. 59
 

Angle on Bernie regaling the assembled with Hyman’s condition:

“Hymie’s lips were blue and all kinds of water

came flowing out of him…  p. 59.

 

Miriam to Stuart: "Go see how he is."  p. 59
 

Stuart tears out of the deli .  p. 59
 

Blockman’s Salvage Loft  p. 60
 

Hymie is lying on a mattress drifting in and out of a
fugue state.  p. 60

 

Stuart VO: “Hymie had developed an infection from

retaining water in his inner ear….  p. 60
 

Rufus is spoon feeding  Hymie some broth.  p. 60
 

Stuart VO: “Hymie confused the junk collectors with me.
Sometimes he called for Mama Weiss….and something

open to interpretation: ‘I will escape the clutches of a

mermaid with tentacles of midnight hair…’”  p. 60

 

Stuart's voice-over continues:  "Now he seemed to have

permanent hardness of hearing in his left ear which upset

his sense of balance which was frankly not so good in the first place,

especially since he had begun to drag his right leg.  

He consoled himself that his injuries were evenly distributed--

on the other hand."   p. 60

Hyman: “I’m rich! Did you see what Cordelle and

Rufus did with their share of the gate?” p. 60
 

Angle on Cordelle opening his rain slicker to reveal a

portable library, complete with individual cloth pockets for books.  p. 60

Rufus has purchased a sunbonnet for Queen Esther and is wearing

an elaborate sombrero.  p. 60
 

Two shot: Hyman discusses his next move with Stuart.  p. 60

Establishing shot of the Peabody hotel.  p. 60

Hyman and Stuart examine the lobby of the elegant Peabody hotel.  p. 60


HYMAN:  I need a more dignified door than Blockman's

for the world to beat a path to.  But the lobby of the Hotel Peabody

will be crawling with autograph hounds and manufacturers

pestering me to escape from this sealed envelope or that

glass box for the greater glory of their products.

Better I should stay at the Cochran Hotel on North Main Street,

where no one will recognize me.                  

This is because Hymie Weiss is banged-up beyond recognition.  

Don't you see, Stuart, Hymie Weiss is the perfect disguise for

HYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT!  p. 61

Establishing shot of the much more modest: Cochran Hotel.  p. 61
 

Hymie’s room at the Cochran Hotel  p. 61
 

Hyman: “I sure have come a long way from the days

when I worked behind the fabric counter at Nussbaum’s

and worshipped the feet of one small-time femme fatale.  p. 61
 

Rosen’s Deli.  p. 61
 

Two shot: Stuart discussing Hyman with Miriam:
Stuart: “He looks really awful…”
Miriam: “So what am I supposed to do about it?”
Stuart: “Hymie has a theory that your looks have certain
healing qualities …”  p. 61-62

 

From inside the deli Miriam observes Hyman clunking

down North Main Street in new clothes flapping on his skinny frame.  p. 62
 

Hyman’s room in the Cochran Hotel.  p. 62

 

Stuart brings Hyman groceries.  p. 62
 

Two shot: Stuart and Hyman: “Your Aunt Frieda tells me

not to tell your Uncle Sharkey…and your Uncle Sharkey

gives me this, and tells me not to tell your Aunt Frieda…”  p. 62
 

Angle on Stuart handing Hyman a fist full of cash…  p. 62
 

Two shot: Hyman reveals he is broke.  p. 63
 

Stuart: “How could you be broke? You had a fortune?”  p. 63
 

Hyman: “You are going to be the first to know..”  p. 63
 

Angle on package marked “SHENDELMAN’s”  p. 63
 

Hyman takes out some printed handbills:  p. 63
 

Close-up on: SEE The daredevil and impetuous
PACKING CRATE PLUNGE
Lithograph of a wooden crate in flames:
Part of the crate is cut away to reveal a the crude
self-portrait of a shackled Hyman the Magnificent.  p. 63

 

Hyman hands several handbills to Stuart.  p. 63
 

On inspecting the handbills, Stuart starts to sob.  p. 63
 

which Hyman mistakes for tears of joy.
“I knew you would get a kick out of them…”  p. 63

 

Stuart holds his head in his hands in anquish.  p. 63
 

Hyman is oblivious to Stuart’s despair.
“Rather than invite the audience back to The Pinch,
where a Prophet is without honor in his own home,
I have decided to take this show to the audience…”  p. 63

 

Close-up on Stuart: “Schmuck! Where are your marbles!”  p. 63
 

Two shot: Stuart and Hyman verbally spar.  p. 64
 

Stuart VO:  “For his most ambitious event ever,

Hymie was taking his most elaborate precautions,

doing everything short of actually rehearsing the stunt…”  p. 64
 

Hyman: “I thought you understood, Stuart.
I’m an escape artist – this is what I do.”  p. 64

 

Stuart shouting as he runs out of the room:
“You don’t have to do it!  No way you have to do it!”  p. 64

 

Stuart VO: “I charged out of that cheesy hotel room,

but we both knew I’d be back.”  p. 64
 

Stuart VO: “Hymie determined on an evening performance

for heightened effect….  p. 64-65
 

Start of a long tracking shot: Angle on Queen Esther

clip-clopping through autumn leaves.  p. 65
 

A lantern hangs on the wagon as it rattles along

North Main Street at dusk.  p. 65
 

Angle on Hyman standing shakily in the wagon bed

supporting himself against a large wooden packing crate.  p. 65

 

Cordelle and Rufus sit in the front box on the top of the wagon.  p. 65

Close-up on the new dressing gown draped over his shoulders,

flapping in the breeze, the monogram H the M ruggedly

hand-stitched across his back.  p. 65
 

Camera pulls back to reveal handcuffs, padlocks, leg irons,

and chains in the bed of the wagon;
also a jog of kerosene and a sack brimming over with bottle rockets

and Roman candles.  p. 65

 

Continuing with the tracking shot: pulling back:

the turnout on the street is inconsiderable.  p. 65


A few kids try to follow the wagon but are

quickly called back by their parents.  p. 65
 

A few old men leave their liars’ bench in front of the

barbershop and stumble funereally behind the wagon

for a moment or two.  p. 65
 

One worshipper mentions: “It’s almost time for services.”  p. 65
 

They turn away toward the Synagogue.p.  65
 

Rosen’s Deli..  p. 65
 

Stuart watches the wagon from inside as it passes

in front of the Deli.  p. 65
 

Rufus tosses handbills from his sombero.  p. 65
 

They scatter among the dead leaves.  p. 65
 

Major turmoil and pandemonium on the Harahan bridge.  p. 65
 

Traffic is tied up on the bridge because of the crowds. p. 65
 

Police Officers are trying to get to Hyman

who is posing dramatically from the wagon bed.  p. 65
 

Eugene and Clarence appear.  p. 65

 

To quell his anxiety at the sight of them,

Hyman sets off a few fire-crackers.  p. 65

 

Scarlet pompoms shoot off in all directions.   p. 66

Roman candles spray the evening sky with peacocks' tails.  p. 66

 

Clarence and Eugene jump on to the wagon.  p. 66

Hyman flinches.  p. 66

 

He looks toward Rufus and Cordelle for support

but they are enraptured by the fireworks and don’t notice

Hyman’s silent plea for help.  p. 66

 

Never one to give in to fear, Hyman pleads with the two of them.

HYMAN: "Go easy on me, fellas."   p. 66

 

Eugene winks at Hyman as they dump Hyman,

who is now looking very worried, into the crate.  p. 66

 

They roughly man-handled the crate onto the railing and
set it aflame.  p. 66

 

Hyman’s packing crate doubles as a blazing meteor.  p. 66
 

Upon hitting the water, the packing crate shatters to splinters 

with fire crackers going off in all directions.  p. 66

leaving Hyman bobbling in the water.   p. 66

 

The crowd roars.  p. 66

 

The water is inky black beneath the fireworks.  p. 66

 

Hyman waves his arms wildly.  p. 66

 

HYMAN (CONT’D) (Barely audible under the roar of the crowd...)

I’m okay...  I’m okay... but I can’t swim...  p. 66

 

Rosen’s Deli.  p. 66
 

Stuart is holding the morning paper.  p. 66
 

Close up on headline: “ PINCH MAN TAKES A DIVE.”  p. 66


Pull back to reveal photo of Hyman on the front page
posing for the camera from the Harahan Bridge.  p. 66

 

Stuart reading:  “Hyman Weese, age unknown, of North Main Street

stopped traffic on the Harahan Bridge…”  p. 66
 

Close-up: cartoon of character wrapped in bandages from head

to toe like a mummy; stars and springs : poking out of his head.  p. 66

 

Camera moves down to caption” “And for my next trick…”  p. 66
 

Stuart continues to read: “He escaped with broken ribs

and superficial burns.”  p. 67
 

Camera moves back to capture Miriam peering over Stuart’s shoulder.  p. 67
 

She snatches the newspaper from his hand and runs out the door.  p. 67
 

Stuart chases after her as she boards the trolley.  p. 67

 

Rachel and Clara watch from an adjacent table.  p. 67
 

Establishing shot: Hospital Charity Ward.  p. 67

 

Miriam and Stuart stand at the foot of Hyman’s bed

looking down at the sleeping figure.

 

Wearing a thin print sundress covered with tiny flowers    

and cinched at the waist with a primrose ribbon,

Miriam is  a curious contrast to the wire mesh windows

and the stack of cracked enamel bedpans.  p. 67

Close-up of Hyman’s chest girded with adhesive tape.  p. 67
 

Camera pulls back to reveal singed eyelashes and hair
like molten feathers.  p. 67

 

Stuart VO: “In what I took to be a morphine stupor,

Hyman smiled goofily at my sister,

the smile of a showman anticipating applause.”  p. 67
 

Hyman: “You’re a sight for sore eyes.”  p. 67
 

Miriam: “What have you got that isn’t sore?”  p. 67
 

Then thinking of a possible answer, Miriam blushes.  p. 67.
 

Hyman shudders, as if her blush is more warmth than his
sensitive skin can stand.  p. 67

 

Two shot: Hyman: “I beg your pardon?”
Miriam: ”I said you’re a mess.”  p. 67

 

Hyman tries to sit up but it is beyond him.  p. 67


Miriam sits on the edge of his bed.  p. 67
 

She leans over to plump his pillow.  p. 67
 

Hyman breathes in her aroma and closes his eyes.  p. 67
 

Hyman opens his eyes, one eye at a time—maybe he is dreaming.  p. 67
 

Miriam puts the newspaper in Hymie’s gauze-mittened hand.  p. 68
 

As he reads his chest starts to swell visibly.  p. 68 

 

Until his fractured ribs start to hurt:  he winces.  p. 68
 

Seeing that Hyman is unremorseful,

Miriam snatches back the newspaper.  p. 68
 

Miriam: “What’s the matter with you?  Don’t you know
the truth anymore?”  p. 68

 

Hyman: “When Houdini escaped, the men and women
hugged each other and wept!”  p. 68

 

Miriam: “Escape! Who escapes?
You never noticed every stunt you pull ends up in disaster?”
…… Take a look at yourself!”  p. 68

 

Hyman: “I tried that already…”  p. 68
 

Close-up: Miriam announced to Hyman that she has accepted
Bernie Saperstein’s proposal of marriage.  p, 69

 

Hyman shrugs to show that it is all the same to him.  p. 69
 

Stuart VO: “Hymie looked the way I imagined Houdini

must have looked on that fateful night backstage,

when the magician was poked in the gut before

he could brace himself against a punch that

set loose the poison in his bloodstream that killed him.”  p. 69
 

Close-up: Eventually Hyman mutters: “Mazel tov.”  p. 69
 

Long shot: Miriam looking up and down the length of the

white-washed ward.  p. 69
 

Patients watch Miriam closely.  p. 69

Miriam stands up, having come to a decision.  p. 69
 

Angle on Miriam: she takes a Hospital Modesty curtain

folded against a wall, and places it around Hyman’s bed.  p. 69
 

Miriam steps inside the Modesty Curtain.  p. 69
 

Stuart: (under his breath): “Je tire le rideau comme ca.”  p. 69
 

Long shot: patients are straining toward the curtain.  p. 69
 

Stuart parts the curtain from the frame to peek inside.  p. 69
 

Through the curtain: Miriam is bending over Hyman.  p. 69
 

Both of them are further hidden by a curtain of her
midnight hair.  p. 70

 

Miriam: ":Escape this.”  p. 70
 

We hear the unmistakable sound of Miriam

kissing Hyman on the lips.  p. 70
 

Angle on Hyman, his limbs slightly elevated from the bed.  p. 70
 

Then he relaxes.  p. 70
 

Miriam slips out from the Modesty Curtain and disappears.  p. 70
 

Stuart VO: “If he was able to think at all,

Hymie was probably remembering how Bess Houdini

would sometimes pass Houdini a skeleton key

in a kiss, in preparation for Houdini’s naked prison breaks.”  p. 70
 

Long Shot: Aunt Frieda and Uncle Sharkey arrive

and move the Modesty Curtain aside.  p. 70
 

Aunt Frieda and Uncle Sharkey talk to Hyman about his

returning home, which Hyman considers until Uncle Sharkey says:

“Everything will be just the way it was before…”  p. 70 - 71
 

Blockman’s Salvage  p. 71
 

Hyman is walking with a cane.  p. 71
 

Long shot: Hyman climbs on the junk wagon alongside
Cordelle and Rufus.  p. 71

 

Hyman (as much to himself as to Cordelle and Rufus):
“Faint heart never won the fair lady.
Only the brave deserve the fair…”  p. 71

 

Salvage yard night  p. 71
 

Two shot: Hyman to Stuart: “I think the failure of my escapes

is all Miriam’s fault…”

 

The two of them discuss Stuart's fear of his 

impending Bar Mitzvah.  p. 71-72
 

Establishing shot: Synagogue  p. 72
 

Long shot: entire community gathered for Stuart’s Bar Mitzvah.

Women upstairs; men below.  It's a lack-luster affair.  p. 72-73
 

Angle on Stuart wearing ceremonial shawl and yarmulka.  p. 73
 

Almost inaudibly, Stuart is mumbling a passage in Hebrew.  p. 73

 

Camera looks over Stuart’s shoulder at the Torah,
Amos 5:21-24. As the Hebrew letters appear, with English
subtitles: “I hate, despise, your feasts and festivals….
I take no delight in your solemn assemblies…”  p. 73

(We hear the English in voice-over read by Rabbi Fein.)  p. 73

 

Stuart stops reciting.  He looks like he is about to faint.   p. 73

The entire congregation freezes.   p. 73

 

Stuart looks like a deer in headlights.  p. 73  

 

HYMAN (in a stage whisper): "Take a breath, Stuie.  You can do it."  p. 73

 

Stuart takes an exaggerated breath and continues.  p. 73

 

Hebrew letters appear on screen; English translation

on the bottom; with Rabbi Fein's voice reading the words.   
“Let justice swell and righteousness flow like an
everlasting stream…”  p. 73

Stuart comes to the merciful end of his recitation,

but he flees from the center of the stage

to a small niche off to the side.  p. 74

 

The Rabbi follows him off stage.  p. 74

 

Stuart to the Rabbi: "I just can’t do this.  I’m a complete failure."  p. 74

 

Rabbi Fein assesses whether Stuart can finish his

Bar Mitzvah and when it's clear that Stuart cannot

return to the beemah, the Rabbi covers for him.  p. 74-75

Rabbi Fein strides back to the beemah and addresses the congregants

as though all is well and going according to plan.   p. 75

 

Mrs. And Mrs. Rosen at each other with alarm,

not taken in by the Rabbi’s ruse and gentle demeanor.  p. 75

 

Rabbi Fein:  "We take great pride in this moment as we always

do when any young man becomes a bar mitzvah.  In Stuart’s case,

we are especially proud that he was able to overcome his fears

and accept his responsibilities as an adult."  p. 75   

 

Hyman looks around, confused by Stuart’s absence.   p. 75

 

Rabbi Fein:  "I want to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Rosen

not only for the achievement of their outstanding son, Stuart,

for their delicious deli, and on the betrothal of their beautiful

daughter Miriam.  p. 75  

 

The congregants chuckle knowingly.  p. 75


The ceremony ends in a conspiracy of kindness.  p. 75

 

Mr. and Mrs. Rosen look at each other with relief.  p. 76

 

Hyman shrugs at the irregularity of the ceremony;

he has other things on his mind.  p. 76

 

Stuart remains in the niche on the side of the front of the synagogue  

looking sadly into the distance.  p. 76

 

STUART (V.O.) No one could convince me that I hadn’t failed,

but at least I survived without fainting or worse.. (beat)

I had become a man… without anything changing,

Luckily for me, my “big day” was far out-shadowed by

preparations for my sister's wedding.  p. 76   

Rosen’s Deli  p. 76
 

Long shot: Mrs. Rosen is a flurry of activity. p. 76


Mr. Rosen responds to her requests with nods.  p. 76


Miriam is subdued.  p. 76

 

Mr. Rosen is sitting behind the cash register reading

from Isaiah 62:4-5 while the Hebrew letters are translated

into English across the bottom of the screen:

Mr. Rosen in voice over: "...you will be called the One

the Lord delights in..  That’s because the Lord will take

delight in you, as a groom is happy with his bride...”  p. 76-77

Bernie strutting around like a pouter pigeon,
calling Stuart, “Brother-in-law.”  p. 77

 

Miriam is preoccupied and inefficient.  p. 7
 

Angle on Customers: complaining about wrong orders:
“I didn’t order kneydlach.”
“Where are my lattkes?” p. 77

 

Miriam keeps gazing out the window

as it looking for someone to come along.  p. 77
 

Mr. Rosen is locking up for the night.  p. 77
 

Bernie is waiting for Miriam at the front door.
“Why don’t we go for a walk…”  p. 77

 

Miriam: “Not tonight, Bernie.  I’m really too tired.
I’ll see you tomorrow.”  p. 77

 

Long shot: Miriam and Stuart on the roof of their house.  p. 78.
 

Miriam admits to Stuart her feelings for Hyman.  p. 78
 

Stuart VO: “I wished there was something I could do

for my sister, but once the machinery for a Jewish wedding

is set in motion, no power on earth could turn it around.”  p. 78
 

BLOCKMAN’S SALVAGE.  p. 78
 

Stuart VO: “The one thing that scarred me more than watching

Hymie, was letting him out of my sight.
I figured he was too crippled to try any more funny business.

However, I found out how wrong I could be.”  p. 78
 

Two shot: Hyman telling Stuart about his next trick:
“Buried Alive!” – almost Houdini’s undoing…”
“But this one I am going to rehearse!”  p. 78

 

Rabbi Fein’s Study  p. 78
 

Three shot: Miriam and Bernie with the Rabbi presiding

over premarital counseling.  p. 78-79
 

After a few rhetorical questions from the Rabbi, Miriam

drifts off into (her version) of some encounters with Hyman p. 79-80.
 

Her first memory: Hyman assisting in her choosing fabric

at the Emporium: Hyman: “Take the green. It goes with your eyes.” p. 80
 

The Rabbi asks, “Why at a Jewish wedding, do the
men and women face each other in two straight
lines?”  p. 80

 

Hyman showing Miriam the photo of his parents.
“I ask you, Miriam, do these look like the parents
of a hero?”  p. 80

 

Rabbi Fein: “Many people think that if they meet

the right person, things will go smoothly from then on….”p. 80
 

Hyman asking Miriam to be his Assistant…” p. 80
 

Rabbi Fein: “It’s not possible for two human beings

to share such an intimate space and not go through

some rough patches… “  p. 80
 

Rabbi Fein: “….In the dance of love, the good times

bring you close, but the tough times bring you closer.

The secret: even in those rough times: never turn your back.”  p. 81
 

Bernie and Miriam are looing increasingly uncomfortable.  p. 81

Rabbi Fein: “In the words of the Prophet Hosea:
“Va ar resh tech lee LaOlam….
(Letters appear in Hebrew with English subtitles:)
I marry you forever."  p. 81

 

Rabbi Fein: “Do either of you have any questions?”  p. 81
 

Two shot: Bernie puts his arm around Miriam’s

unwelcoming shoulder:

“No, I think we’re fine, aren’t we, Miriam?”  p. 81
 

Miriam looks down at her shoes.  p. 81
 

BLOCKMAN’S SALVAGE  p. 81

 

Stuart and Hyman are talking among various stacks of

salvaged materials: piles of magazines, broken appliances

and bicycles, odd-sized pieces of wood, etc..   p. 81

 

STUART In less than a week, Miriam will become

Mrs. Bernie Saperstein...  I don’t think really

she’s happy about it...

HYMAN:  " Her choice.  No one’s making her do it.

I have more important things on my mind.  p. 82

Stuart: “You’re in no condition to perform

anything more strenuous than trying your shoe laces.”  p. 82
 

Hyman: “This stunt will be perfected in solitude.”  p. 82
 

Two shot: Stuart gets Hyman to agree to take him along

for a "dry run" on Halloween Eve, the anniversary

of Houdini's death.  p. 82
 

Establishing shot: Stuart’s house  p. 82
 

Stuart, wearing a skeleton costume, attempts to s

sneak out of the house.  p. 82
 

His mother catches him and notices

that his costume is too tight.  p. 82 
 

Mrs. Rosen: “…and stay away from that Hyman Weiss…”  p. 83
 

Establishing shot: North Main Street  p. 83
 

The street is crawling with small ghosts and witches.  p. 83
 

Angle on Hyman carrying a clanking shovel,

coal chute, oil lamp, and toolbox.  p. 83
 

Stuart VO: “For the site of Hymie’s rehearsal,

he chose the Catfish Bayou, a fetid area just

north of the Pinch, its banks bordered by ramshackle

shanties and an old slave burial ground.”  p. 83
 

Long shot: the only light is from the odd

jack-o’-lantern in some windows. But the

moon is bright enough to upstage the oil lamp.  p. 83
 

p. 74

The moon shines on the mud of the bayou, rippling
sluggishly with what might be the spines of snakes.

 

Camera pans the tin roofs, the smooth headstones,
and the ring of fallen leaves where Hyman and

Stuart have stopped.  p. 83
 

Hyman,  impervious to fear,  gets to work.  p. 83
 

Hyman bangs together some slats from his

toolbox making an upright trestle against which he

props his coal chute.  At the mouth of the chute

he places a wooden grave marker and tamps it

into the ground.  p. 83
 

Stuart VO: “Seeing him so industrious, who would have believed

that he didn’t necessarily know what he was doing!”  p. 83

 

Hyman begins digging and heaving damp clumps of earth

onto the coal chute, grunting as he tries to tell a rambling

story about Houdini.  p. 83-84
 

Stuart offers to help Hyman dig.  p. 84
 

Stuart VO: “My offer surprised us both. I was no great shakes

at physical labor, either. Here I was a fat kid in a skeleton costume,

helping his only friend dig a grave.”  p. 84
 

Angle on Stuart trying to convince Hyman to
reconsider doing the stunt.  p. 84

 

Hyman is unstoppable.  p. 84
 

Hyman takes wads of cotton from the pockets of his

ragged cardigan and stuffs some in his nostrils,

mouth, and ears.  p. 84
 

Throwing off his sweater, Hyman unwinds a long linen sack

from his waist.  p. 85
 

He pulls the sack over his head, poking his arms
through slits in the side.  p. 85

 

Then Hyman curls up in the grave and makes some sounds

which are unintelligible because of the cotton in his mouth.  p. 85
 

Stuart: “What?”  p. 85
 

Hyman: “Open the chute.”  p. 85
 

Stuart: “Guess again!”  p. 85
 

Hyman: “Stuart, old pal, just this one favor…”  p. 85
 

Stuart: “Miriam would kill me!”  p. 85

Long shot:  Undiscouraged, Hyman gets out of the grave,

ferrets through his toolbox and finds a large three-prong

fishhook with a line attached, which he attaches to the

grave marker at the bottom of the chute.  p. 85
 

Hyman lays back down in the giant hole with the line in his hand.  p. 85
 

Hyman: “Anthropopolygos!”  p. 85
 

Hyman pulls on the cord.  p. 85
 

The marker topples but the huge mound of earth stays put.  p. 85
 

Hyman: “Oh, for god’s sake Stuart! Give it a shove!”  p. 85
 

Stuart: "Miriam would kill me!”  p. 85
 

Hyman: “Stuart, this is what I was born for!”  p. 86
 

Stuart VO: “So I did it! If only to shut him up.

To stop his accusing me of coming between him and his destiny.”  p. 86
 

Stuart: “Alright: Hymie, meet destiny. Destiny meet Hyman.”  p. 86
 

Stuart places his hands on the earth, but it refuses to budge.  p. 86
 

Then Stuart pushes again, and this time the dirt begins to move,                 glacially, inch by inch, sliding down the chute, spilling over the edge.

It dumps its full weight like a dull avalanche on top of Hyman.  p. 86
 

Stuart VO: “In the moment before I panicked, I was angrier than I had

ever been in my life….angry at myself for having Hyman sucker me

into this, angrier at him for not being anybody magnificent,

only the screwball Hyman Weiss, whom I could wait for till kingdom

without his ever crawling out of that grave.”  p. 86
 

Stuart falls on his needs and starts clawing his way from above,

the way Hyman is supposed to be tunneling from below.  p. 86

Stuart digs, certain that he isn’t going to meeting Hyman

and is nearly out of strength when he remembers the shovel.  p. 86
 

Stuart grabs the shovel and manages to scoop out the hole

to the depth where Hyman is laying inert.  p. 86
 

Stuart tosses the shovel and begins clearing away the dirt by hand,

unearthing Hyman enough to lift his head by the filthy shroud.  p. 86
 

Stuart pulls the sack off Hyman’s head, and unplugs the cotton,

which the killing weight of the earth had supposed to expel from

his mouth, nose and ears.  p. 87
 

All along Stuart knows it is too late.  p. 87
 

Hyman is stone cold.  p. 87

 

There is no hint of a pulse in his marmoreal neck,

and his moonlight-flecked eyes,

opaque as ball bearings, stare starkly from his hollow face.  p. 87
 

Stuart, beating Hyman on his chest, is unable to elicit even the

faintest sign of life.  p. 87
 

Stuart, plunking himself down next to Hyman,

starts to call for help through his tears.  p. 87
 

Stuart tries to close Hyman’s gaping jaw.  p. 87
 

He lifts one of Hyman’s arms and it drops limply, like a marionette’s.  p. 87
 

Long shot: After a while, a few kids from the shanties come

and peer over the rim of the hole.  p. 87
 

They see a stiff, pearl gray corpse in the arms of a roly-poly skeleton,

and their curiosity satisfied, they turn tail and flee.  p. 87
 

Close-up: all of a sudden Hyman opens one eye.  p. 87
 

Then he opens the other eye.  p. 87
 

When Hyman’s eyes adjust to the light, he starts
to scream.  p. 87

 

Hyman leaps to his feet and screams some more.  p. 87
 

Stuart, sitting splay-legged in the hole starts
screaming, too.  p. 87

 

Stuart is pointing at Hyman, screaming, and holding

his heart with his other hand.  p. 87
 

Suddenly, Stuart realizes that he still has on his rubber

skull mask and pulls it off.  p. 87
 

Stuart: “Hymie, it’s me, Stuie!”  p. 87
 

Hyman, his hysterics ebbing, says, “Stuart,” like he

might have made his acquaintance in another world.  p. 87
 

Hyman touches Stuart’s features, the way a blind man might                 touch someone he was hoping to recognize.  p. 87
 

Hyman: “Stuart, I was dead.”  p. 88
 

Hyman confides in a voice thick with awe.
He repeats with growing urgency.
Hyman: “I was dead, Stuart.”  p. 88

 

Hyman hunkers down in the hole beside Stuart.  p. 88
 

Hyman: “I was crushed under the weight of the clay.
I wasn’t alone, but I was lonely and I wanted to come back.

So I escaped.  p. 88
 

Stuart VO: “At first Hymie said he couldn’t explain it,

then he began:…”  p. 88

Hyman: “Death is like being in an audience, looking towards a milk can,

or a packing crate that contains your life. It is your life though you

aren’t in it anymore, and you can only see it taking place vaguely,

like on the screen at the Idle Hour before the curtain is raised.  p. 88
 

Idle Hour Cinema Stage  p. 88
 

Stuart VO: “Hymie told me that everybody who had recently

died was there:  the Birnbaum kid, who was knocked over

by a milk wagon…”  p. 88

The Birnbaum kid emerges from the shadows
and takes a seat on the stage.  p. 88

 

In the background, the Mourner’s Kaddish:
“Yit ‘gadal v’yit’kadas sh’mei raba…”

 

Stuart VO: Mr. Klotwog, who died of that thing that nobody will mention…  p. 88
 

Mr. Klotwog emerges from behind the curtain and takes a seat

next to the Birnbaum kid.  p. 88
 

Stuart VO: And Mrs. Pinsky, who passed away in shul…                             she was there.  p. 88
 

Establishing shot: Synagogue  p. 89
 

Mrs. Pinksy is sitting with the women.
She seems to have fainted.
People gather round and try to revive her with smelling salts.

They realize she is dead.  p. 89
 

Female congregant: “I didn’t think anybody could die in shul…”  p. 89
 

Idle Hour Cinema Stage  p. 89
 

Mrs. Pinsky takes her place on the stage.  p. 89
 

Catfish Bayou  p. 89
 

Two shot: Hymie: “So I thought, maybe Houdini is here and

we could put our heads together and figure a way to get out of there…
But when I asked, no one know who I was talking about.”  p. 89

 

Idle Hour Cinema Stage.  p. 89
 

Hyman turns to the people on the stage:

“Has anyone seen Houdini?  Maybe he can get us out of here!”  p. 89
 

Their faces are blank.  p. 89
 

Catfish Bayou  p. 89
 

Two shot: Hyman: “Stuart, they didn’t know who I was talking about!”  p. 89
 

Idle Hour Cinema Stage  p. 89
 

The gaunt, bearded man wearing a dented bowler hat and holding a book,

whom we have seen earlier when Hyman showed Stuart the picture of his

parents, steps forward from the shadows into the light.  p. 89
 

Gaunt man: “Pardon me, but I was your Papa, Berl
Weiss, that didn’t live to meet you.”  p. 90

 

Then Berl Weiss waves toward a pie-faced woman in a babushka,

(also seen in the same photographer earlier).  p. 90
 

Hymn's mother steps forward from the shadows into the light.  p. 90
 

Berl Weiss: “And this is your mama, Chanah Sarah, rest her soul.

We’ve been watching your monkeyshines, which makes us wonder

is this really our own sonny,eh, Mama?”  p. 90
 

Lady in babushka: “Gevalt!”  p. 90
 

Catfish Bayou  p. 90
 

Stuart, clutching his heart: “Have a heart!”  p. 90
 

Hyman: “There’s more!”  p. 90
 

Idle Hour Cinema Stage  p. 90

Hyman: “I’m sorry if I’ve been a disappointment to you.
But I’m a little disappointed, too, because I was sort of

hoping that Houdini was my father... (beat)

Say, do you guys know a way out of here?”  p. 90

Berl Weiss: “Give a listen, Mama!  He wants out, this little pisher,

that’s been trying so hard to get in!  Well, it ain’t to my knowledge

in the Five Books of theTorah, the secret how to get out of here…  p. 90
 

Mama Weiss: “Was you afraid? We was all the time afraid.  p. 91
 

Papa Weiss gives a nod.  p. 91
 

Mama Weiss: “That’s right. We were afraid of the Russians,

and the diseases, and the whole gantseh megillah.

Good riddance, says I.  We was glad to leave the world.  p. 91
 

Catfish Bayou  p. 91
 

Two shot: Hyman to Stuart: “Then I started to think…
Was there anything I was afraid of?
Certainly not danger, or pain, or even death—
…which is no big thing….  p. 91

 

Hyman: “But it occurred to me, when I looked back on my life

from the other side, everything was faded already to shadows—

everything, that is, except for Miriam—in all her smoldering

anticipation—lit up as bright as my own dead family.  p. 91
 

Angle on Miriam standing next to his parents on the
stage of the Idle Hour Cinema.  p. 91

 

Hyman: “All right, I’ll admit it. I was frankly afraid of her.
But now, I was even more scared that, if I didn’t act quick,

Miriam would turn to shadows along with the rest.
That’s when it came to me, Stuart, how to jimmy the lock,

so to speak—which you’ll understand is a professional

secret that I must take to my grave.”  p. 91
 

Camera pulls back: Hyman scrambles out of the hole.  p. 92
 

Hyman gathers up his gear and heads for North
Main Street, with a decided spring in his limp leg.  p. 92

 

Stuart VO: I wonder if there’s anyplace I won’t follow him.  p. 92
 

Synagogue  p. 92
 

The entire neighborhood has gathered for the
wedding of Miriam Rosen and Bernie Saperstein.  p. 92

 

Women in the gallery are weeping openly or
sniping in whispers.  p. 92

 

Downstairs, young men are grumbling into their
prayer books.  p. 92

 

Miriam, a vision in organdy and lace, begins circling the groom seven times.  p. 92
 

Bernie, despite his finery of leather spats and silk lapels looks humble

as Miriam marches around him.  p. 92

 

Veiled and resolute, Miriam is such a vision, you could go

snow-blind from looking at her too long.  p. 92
 

Bernie looks downright apprehensive, like a prisoner tied

to a stake surrounded by cannibals.  p. 92
 

p. 84

Directly in front of them, wearing his homburg,
Rabbi Fein recites a psalm: “Yeah, though I walk
through the valley of death, I shall fear no evil…”

 

The Synagogue Choir begins to sing.  p. 92
 

Members of the congregation join in the singing.  p. 92

 

Rabbi Fein:  "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of death,

I shall fear no evil...  p. 92

Rabbi Fein begins to say the blessing over the wine:

“Borei pri ha gafen…”  p. 92
 

Two shot: Stuart , sitting in the front row next to his father,

clearly girds himself for what is to follow.  p. 93
 

Stuart rises from his seat, and walks in front of his
father: “Excuse me.”  p. 93

 

Angle on his father: “What’s a matter, mistah?
You got ants in your pants?”  p. 93

 

Long shot: Stuart walks to the altar.  p. 93
 

He turns to the audience and sniffs the flower in his lapel,

as though this will give him the courage to go on.  p. 93
 

Long pan shot: Stuart looks around at his parents,
the Nussbaums (Aunt Frieda and Uncle Sharkey),
Max Forbitz, Dr. Seligman, Dr. and Mrs. Dreyfus,
The performers from the Idle Hour Amateur Show,
and assorted guests.  p. 93

 

All of them muttering in a commotion that swells

like a stirred hive of bees.  p. 93
 

Stuart: “Je tire le rideau comme ca.”  p. 93
 

Stuart pulls on a cord.  p. 93
 

Muslin draperies fall about the bridal canopy concealing the

wedding couple.  p. 93
 

The congregation holds its breath.  p. 93

 

Rachel looks at Clara, knowingly.  p. 93

 

Stuart starts to count down from ten,

barking out the numbers as loudly as he can,

to drown out his own fears and the noise of scuffling and chains.  p. 93
 

Then standing up very straight and very tall, Stuart
announces: “Behold a miracle.”  p. 93

 

Restored to the top hat and cloak of his original
performance, HYMAN the MAGNIFICENT

is standing astonishingly tall in the place of the groom.  p. 94

 

Miriam is smiling mischieviously.   p. 94

 

She winks at Rachel.  p. 94

 

Hyman: “You want kiddies, I’ll give you kiddies.
I’ll give you six kiddies. We can use them in the act.

They’ll pop out of flowerpots and picture frames,

and when they’re older, I’ll teach them escapes…”  p. 94
 

Miriam: “You’re impossible!”

 

Somewhere in the distance, the sound of thumping and clanking.   p. 94

 

Stuart in voice-over:  "Struggling in his chains, Bernie was in a safe place,

known only to me and Hymie, and Miriam, and Rachel and Clara.  p. 94

 

Clara (turning to Rachel):  "That was a great idea of Miriam’s."

 

Rachel:  "That Miriam is one smart cookie! "  p. 94

 

Clara: "It wasn’t easy! They couldn’t have done it without us!"   p. 94 

 

Rachel:  " Well, nothing difficult ever is!"  p. 94

 

Hyman gently extends his hand to Miriam.   p. 94

 

She looks at Hyman fondly then reaches out her hand to accept his.   p. 94 

Angle on Mr. Rosen looking confused.  p. 94
 

Mrs. Rosen pats her husband's hand.  P. 94

 

She is beaming contentedly, knowing that her daughter

is marrying the man that she loves.  p. 94
 

Rabbi Fein is in shock, his mouth is hanging open.  p. 94
 

Angle on the ceremonial goblet fallen from his hands,

waiting on the floor to be smashed.  p. 94
 

Hyman slips a ring on Miriam finger.  p. 94
 

Two shot: they both turn toward the Rabbi who

begins to deliver the benediction.  p. 95
 

Rabbi Fein: “Blessed are thou, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe, who, in his infinite wisdom,
has plucked this bride and this groom out of a hat…”  p. 95

 

Closing credits over the entire town (including those from

the other side, because they, too, are always with us)

doing a joyous wedding hora to the sweet soulful

klezmer music we have heard throughout.  p. 95

Rachel is happily next to Bernie (who has been released!)   p. 96

 

Carla shyly stands next to Stuart in the circle dance

(this could be the start of a beautiful friendship!).  p.96


                                                 THE END
                           Or MAYBE JUST THE BEGINNING

In anticipation of story-boarding the script: the look of each shot/   scene in words.  SON OF HOUDINI will feature cutting-edge, captivating camerawork throughout.

Tracking shot of everyone in the town whom we are going to come to know and love
wending their way to the IDLE HOUR CINEMA.

(See opening: Robert Altman’s “The Player”)  

In order of appearance:

UNCLE SHAKEY speaks w/ AUNT FRIEDA as they walk along.  p. 1

MR. and MRS. ROSEN walk  w/ their daughter MIRIAM,  the village beauty (ca. 18) and STUART, their shy, appealing son  (ca. 16).  p. 1

RACHEL (Miriam's friend) and Rachel's younger sister CLARA

walk alongside  Miriam.  p. 1

Three young men, BERNIE SAPERSTEIN, MICKEY GRABER, HERMAN BLEN,  jostle each other for Miriam's attention).  p. 1

Rachel looks at Bernie with interest.  p. 1

Clara sneaks a peek at Stuart.  p. 1

Bernie shoves Mickey to get Miriam's attention.  p. 2

 

Miriam is unimpressed.  p. 2

 

Bernie calls out to Stuart.  p. 2

Stuart turns away.  p. 2

Rachel checks out Bernie, again.  p. 2

HYMAN WEISS, angularly, charismatic young man,

     walking more quickly than the occasion calls for

     strides past the Rosen family.  p. 2

Miriam's eyes linger on Hyman's back;  p. 2

      a look not lost on Miriam's mother.  p. 2

DR. DREYFUS and his WIFE, walk and talk  

       with IKE TAUTENBLATT.  p. 2

MR. BLOCKMAN, strolls with his two assistants,

       CORDELLE, and RUFUS.  p. 2

MRS. ALTFELDER walks on one side of MRS. PINSKY;

        MRS. ELSTER, the accordionist, (with her accordion

        strapped to her chest) walks on the other side of                             MRS. PINSKY.  p. 2

MRS. PINSKY turns to Mrs. Altfelder, ignoring her own labored breathing.  p. 3

 

MRS. PINSKY What if I sing, “St. Louis Blues,” you know--that new Bessie Smith ...  p. 3

 

MRS. ALTFELDER That’s a good one!  A Yiddisha Bessie Smith...  p. 3

 

In spite of her shortness of breath, Mrs. Pinsky begins to belt:  “I hate to see, that evenin’ sun go down..."  p. 3

Mrs. Elster begins a playful accompaniment on her accordion.  

Camera continues to pan the procession with Mrs. Pinsky’s singing and Mrs. Elster’s accordion in the background.  p. 3.

MR. KLOTWOG walks with his unstable wife, PEARL.  p. 3

OLD WORSHIPPERS shuffle along with the FEMALE CONGREGANT.  p. 3

MRS. BIRNBAUM tries to contain her rambunctious                 6-year old SON.  p. 3

ASSORTED CONGREGANTS and CUSTOMERS from   Rosen's Deli are all part the crowd.   p. 3 

PAN ends in front of the Idle Hour Cinema

on a large colorful sign announcing: “Amateur Show” 
Shot from below looking up.   p. 3

END OPENING CREDITS


Camera pulls back to capture MR. FORBITZ

warmly greeting townspeople by name.  p. 4

EXTERIOR:   IDLE HOUR CINEMA

Marquee announces:  Coming soon: John Barrymore's 

"THE BELOVED ROGUE."  p. 4

INTERIOR: The Idle Hour Cinema  p. 4

Hyman enters the theatre alone,  looks around

as though trying to find someone.  p.4

Shot from above looking down on people jostling for
seats, warmly greeting old friends they haven’t seen since noon.   p. 4

Mr. Forbitz walks to center stage and begins to

greet the assembled audience, to good-natured catcalls.  p. 5

 

Mr. Forbitz announces the Amateur Hour to much

audience heckling.  Camera circles audience cat calls.  p. 5

Camera angle on Hyman, considering participation in

the Amateur Hour, not participating in the catcalls;

never one to follow the crowd.  p.5

Stuart hunches down his seat.  If he could be, 

he would be invisible.  p. 5

NEWSREEL begins:  Footage of Houdini exploits –
grainy black and white  p. 6

Camera pans Audience appreciation of Houdini.  p. 6

 

Reporter VO:  “It has been reported that Houdini died

suddenly on Halloween Eve of a ruptured appendix.

He was 52 years of age.”  p. 6

 
Camera (going in the opposite direction)

pans Audience despairing outcries.  p. 6
 

Reporter VO: “Many are expecting a message

from Houdini for his wife, Bess, from the beyond…”  p. 6


Photo of Houdini and his wife.  p. 6

More Audience reaction shots.  p. 7

 

Hyman holds his face in his hands, clearly  in pain.  p. 7

Stuart and Miriam look at each other dismayed.  p. 7

Rachel and Clara grab each other for support.  p. 7

EXTERIOR:  NUSSBAUM'S EMPORIUM  p. 7

INTERIOR:  Hyman's bedroom, above Nussbaum's Emporium  p. 7

 

Newspaper clippings of Houdini are spread across a bed.  p. 7

 

Angle on scissors cutting article from the front page

of the Memphis Press-Scimitar announcing Houdini’s death.  p. 7

Pull back to reveal Hyman Weiss–his eyes red from crying.  p. 7

Hyman adds this new clipping to his collection,

gathers them all and places them in his rectangular

memorabilia box.  p. 7

EXTERIOR:  establishing shot of ROSEN'S DELI.  p. 7

INTERIOR:  Rosen’s Deli.

     Embossed tin ceiling, worn tables and chairs.   

     Welcoming atmosphere.

     Behind the counter in front of the store sits the

ever elegantly-dressed MR. ROSEN, behind the cash register

reading his book.  p. 8


Close-up on Miriam Rosen.

VO  Stuart:  “…I think they lined up at my parent’s deli

just to look at Miriam and watch her serve kreplach.”  p. 8

Miriam throws Stuart a sisterly smile, almost as

though she can hear his voice-over.  p. 8

Camera roams the Deli, settling on Miriam’s friend

Rachel, and Rachel's sister, Clara, then on

Miriam's various suitors as Stuart mentions them,

or they speak.  p. 8

MICKEY GRABER leafs through a small volume of

Shakespeare Sonnets.  p. 9

 

Herman Blen: "If you don't go with me to the Institute

dance, I'll kill myself."  p. 9

Miriam ignores him.  p. 9

 

EXTERIOR: establishing shot of Miriam's bedroom window.  p. 9
 

Close-up: Mickey Graber reciting Shakespeare sonnet:

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”  p. 9
 

Camera catches Miriam watching Mickey through

her curtain; she is careful not to let him see her watching.  p. 9
 

INTERIOR ROSEN'S DELI

Long shot: Herman Blen strides into the Deli with a

gigantic snake draped around his shoulders.

"Hey, Miriam, look what I got!"  p. 9

Close-up on gigantic snake.  p. 9

 

Medium shot: Mrs. Rosen (Miriam’s mother)
shouting for him to get out.  p. 9

Mr. Rosen, in a brown Harris tweed three-piece suit

with a flower in his lapel, sits at the cash register reading.  p. 10

 

We see Hebrew letters from Exodus 7: 8-12.

The English translation appears at the bottom of the screen.

We hear Mr. Rosen read the English translation in voice-over.

MR. ROSEN (V0) “Aaron threw his staff down and it became a serpent...”  p. 10

 

Tracking shot: Camera catches Hyman entering the Deli;

several customers look up and note his arrival but

resume eating without acknowledging him.  p. 10
 

Continuing to track: Stuart greets Hyman enthusiastically. 

The two of them make their way to a back corner booth.  p. 10
 

As Hyman makes his way to the booth:
Camera captures “a look” that Miriam and Hyman

exchange: sometimes that's all it takes to establish

interest and attraction.  p. 10
 

Stuart catches sight of “the look,”

but turns away, embarrassed.  p. 10

 

Rachel and Clara watch everything from a table near

Bernie and his friends.  p. 10

 

Overhead shot: Stuart and Hyman settle into

the back corner booth.  p. 10
 

Hyman takes clippings from his memorabilia box.  p. 10
 

Close-up on clippings as Hyman enumerates:
“Americans of Hebrew extraction can do anything

they put their minds to: look at Al Jolson, the singer;

Benny Leonard, the fighter; Flo Zeigfeld, the world's

greatest impresario; Arnold Rothstein, the famous

gangster; Bernard Baruch, an advisor to presidents,

and composers: Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin….”   p. 11
 

Close-up on Hyman: “But Houdini, Stuart,

Houdini was the greatest of them all.”  p. 11
 

VO: Stuart relates tell the story of Hyman’s birth

over the Camera on Hyman’s Houdini clippings,

and Hyman gesticulating wildly, enumerating

Houdini's many exploits.  p. 11
 

Hyman shows Stuart a picture of his “parents:”

Close-up on photograph of Hyman's young parents:
“Aunt Frieda says that they were

good haimesheh people, but I ask you, Stuart,

do these people look like the parents of a hero?”  p. 11

 

VO Stuart: “That’s the way Hyman talked, which never

sounded boastful or immodest, so sure was Hymie that

he was marked for greatness."  p. 12
 

Miriam approaches to look over Hyman’s shoulder

at the photograph.  p.12
 

Hyman is aware of Miriam's interest but ignores her.  p. 12

Miriam walks away, miffed at Hyman's snub.  p. 12

  

EXTERIOR:  NUSSBAUM'S EMPORIUM   p. 12

INTERIOR: Nussbaum's Emporium  p. 12

Camera pans a glorious mess of every tool and trinket imaginable;

except for the sewing section, which is an immaculate collection of

all goods related to the making of clothes.  p. 12

 

Close-up on "THE CONJUROR'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE.  p. 12

 
Camera pulls back to reveal Hyman engrossed in the magazine,

oblivious to Mrs. Altfelder, a customer  seeking attention.  p. 12

Miriam and Stuart approach the fabrics counter.  p. 12

 

Camera moves back further to capture Aunt Frieda and

Uncle Sharkey in conversation about Hyman's

shortcomings as a clerk.  p. 12-13  
 

Camera roams the multitude of items in the Emporium,

as Stuart (in Voice-over) reveals more about Hyman’s

background.  p. 13

 

Miriam, so used to men fawning over her, is challenged

by Hyman’s seeming indifference.  

She tried to catch his attention by twirling prettily,

but is unsuccessful, although Hyman has taken a

quick look as she turns,  careful not to let Miriam notice.  p. 13

 

Angle on a bolt of deep blue chiffon.  p. 13
 

Miriam examines a bolt of emerald green.  p. 13
 

Camera on Miriam holding both fabrics up to her face.  p. 13
 

Miriam asks: “Stuart, which one?"  p. 13
 

Camera captures Stuart’s noncommittal shrug.  p. 13
 

Miriam turns to Hyman:  

“Which one do you think looks better?” p. 13 
 

Hyman looks at Miriam appraisingly.  p. 13
 

Camera pans Miriam and her two color choices.  p. 14
 

Close-up on Hyman, who speaks after a pregnant pause:

“I think I wasn’t put on this earth

to be your fashion consultant.”  p. 14
 

Camera catches Stuart’s almost imperceptible smirk.  p. 14
 

Hyman doesn’t miss the smirk, but chooses to ignore it.  p. 14
 

Hyman to Stuart: ”I have a greater destiny.”  p. 14
 

Miriam: “Well! I’ll take the green.  It matches my eyes.”  p. 14
 

Hyman: “Your wish is my command.”  

Camera captures his deep facetious bow.  p. 14
 

Miriam is more than a little intrigued by this fellow

who can so easily resist her charms.
“I’ll take two yards and don’t skimp on the fabric.”  p. 14

 

Hyman takes a veiled sideways glance at Miriam,

careful not to let her notice.  p. 14

VO Stuart: “Whatever Hyman’s greater destiny,                                   it changed daily.”  p. 14

 

EXTERIOR:  MR. KLOTWOG'S MODEST HOME

HYMAN, holding a copy of the World Book Encyclopedia,

is trying to make a sale.   MR. KLOTWOG is able to

resist Hyman's pitch.  p. 14

Close-up on Sheet music of Jerome Kern’s
“They Didn’t Believe Me.”  p. 15

 

CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL Hyman balancing                 bolts of fabric while trying to hold the sheet music and sing the tortured melody of “They Didn’t Believe Me,” giving it his all.  p. 15

 

Aunt Frieda and Uncle Sharkey comment on 

Hyman's efforts.  P. 15

INT. HYMAN’S ROOM / NUSSBAUM’S EMPORIUM  p. 15 

Hyman has rigged up a boxing bag in his small room.

As he spars, he gets more and more into it.

HYMAN:  "I could be bigger than Benny Leonard..."

The boxing bag bops him in the eye and he falls back on his bed,

which is covered with Houdini magazines.  p. 15

EXTERIOR:  IDLE HOUR CINEMA  p. 15

INTERIOR: IDLE HOUR CINEMA  p. 15

HOUDINI  footage is on the screen.

Hyman and Stuart are entranced.   p. 15

Stuart VO:

“Every Saturday for 15 consecutive weeks Hymie and I

went to the see the serial installments of Houdini’s,

“The Master Mystery,” and the feature, “The Man from

Beyond,” in which Houdini, as Howard Hillary, is

chopped from the ice,  still alive after having been

frozen for a hundred years.”  p. 16

More clips of Houdini footage.  p. 16
 

EXTERIOR: IDLE HOUR CINEMA  p. 16

Hyman and Stuart emerge from Idle Hour Cinema.

Camera tracks them down Main Street as Hyman explains:

“For centuries, Jews did nothing but read books and

get clobbered by Cossacks…but this one…this Houdini –

he was more than just a showman, he was a millionaire

and a movie star, a friend of presidents and a

pilot of flying machines…."  p. 16 
 

Stuart VO: “I listened but I had my doubts.”  p. 16
 

INTERIOR: Rosen's Deli  p. 16

  

Three shot: Hyman, Stuart  and Miriam  sit at the counter.  p. 16

Close-up on Hyman: “Do you realize that Houdini’s real last name

was Weiss?  The same as mine!   Erich Weiss….

And Jack Hyman was the name of his first partner…

If Houdini had a son, he might have named him: Hyman Weiss!”      p. 16-17
 

Pull back to three shot: Hyman speaking to Stuart:

“I think Houdini  is finally in a place where he can’t come back.

(beat) Ever since he died, it’s like I lost a piece of myself.”  p. 17
 

Close-up: Miriam: “You do seem to be missing a
piece or two.”  p. 17

Stuart reaction shot: slight smile.  p. 17
 

Hyman ignores Stuart’s reaction.  p. 17

While Hyman and Miriam banter w/ each other

Stuart , sits between them, looking from one to the other,          

like he is watching a ping pong match.   p. 18

  
Hyman cajoling Miriam as he reveals his plan to perform

as “HYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT” at the Idle Hour Amateur Show, with Miriam as his assistant.

 

Son of Houdini

Shooting Script