Perhaps the most striking fact about FORKED TONGUES is that it casts a Native American in a radically different role:
As a romantic comedy hero.
Totally contemporary, he’s a charming, charismatic maverick.
His name is Chief Tommy Tomahawk.
In essence, he is the protagonist in a big canvas, socio-political comedy which unfolds in that most dangerous of universes: high finance and human greed.
Very simply, FORKED TONGUES centers on a Native American tribe that falls innocently but happily into the clutches of a ruthless Wall Street securities firm. One of the traders there makes an astonishing discovery. Namely that a rare mineral, molybdenite — crucial to the U.S. space program — is possibly buried underneath the tribe’s sacred burial grounds. The firm decides to strike while the opportunity is hot.
Our trader flies to North Dakota and makes Tommy a business proposition. If Tommy can convince his tribe to hack up their sacred burial ground, then that Wall Street firm will enter a 50-50 business partnership with the tribe. Does molybdenite really exist under the tribe’s earth? There is no clear proof. But Tommy jumps at the chance to make a fortune. The tribe follows in short order.
To complicate matters, Tommy meets a dazzlingly beautiful but idiosyncratic girl named Amy. She happens to be the director of a little Native American museum in New York City. Tommy falls head over heels in love. Although Amy is not Native American herself, she is a purist. She is more Native American than any Native American, She is convinced Tommy is betraying his heritage. Inevitably, they keep clashing.
With the Wall Street firm’s assistance, the tribe’s fortunes skyrocket. They decide to make a huge jump. They move their reservation from North Dakota to the Plaza Hotel in New York. However, preoccupied by romance, Tommy makes a catastrophic financial blunder. Soon one fiscal calamity follows another. As a result, his tribe becomes the first Japanese-owned American Indian tribe in history. Tommy now faces a double dilemma. He must not only win back his disapproving love but he must also wrestle ownership of his tribe back from the Japanese multi-national that swallowed them.
Please note: FORKED TONGUES is not a whimsical little art house movie about Native Americans such as SMOKE SIGNALS of a few years ago. No, FORKED TONGUES is unabashedly mainstream. It’s very big, it’s very funny … and in some ways it is very politically incorrect. Of course, therein lies its greatest strength. And its greatest appeal. We’re talking about an envelope-pushing satirical comedy … as much about America as it is about one Native American tribe and its rule-breaking chief.
Think of it as Preston Sturges with a twenty-first century spin.
The Muscles Mogul
What do you do when your father is America’s physical fitness king …and you’re an out-of-shape, overweight 28-year old contradiction of everything he stands for?
You’re cursed, that’s what you are. Seems like the shadow of his perfectly sculpted body has been hanging over you like a shroud forever!
So what’s your strategy when — as he’s demonstrating a few basic chin-ups — he suddenly drops dead of a heart attack right in front of you?
Talk about being inconsiderate! Your father has the audacity to croak while he’s flexing muscles you couldn’t possess even in your wildest dreams!
Hey, your nightmare has only begun!
What should your reaction be when you learn what the executive board of your father’s physical fitness empire has done? Turns out they’ve hidden your father’s body in a giant refrigerator stocked with health foods. (Nobody must find out he’s dead. After all, if the news of his death from a heart attack leaked out, it would destroy the company’s image. In fact, the company itself could become a corpse in no time.)
It gets worse.
A few days later the executive board offers you another privileged news flash. Knowing they couldn’t keep your father’s death a secret forever — they stuck his body in a car and then sent the car flying over a cliff. (Makes perfect sense, they claim. A fitness icon cannot die of a heart attack and maintain his credibility. But a fitness icon can accidentally die in a fiery car crash. That way his fitness philosophy would not be jeopardized.)
What’s your strategy now? You don’t want to be too rash. It turns out that your father left you only 50% of the company. The other 50% went to the executive board.
The board is pitiless. They inform you that as your father’s only son — you’re the corporate brand. A brand they need to protect. A brand they need to continue cultivating. So because your current out-of-shape look clashes violently with the image of this brand …they’ve hired the world’s most brutal live-in physical trainer to whip you into shape as quickly as possible.
Do you want to be whipped into shape? Are you kidding? But what can you do? You turn to your only friend in the world: your cockatoo. Your scarily brilliant cockatoo! Of course, he’s not much help either but he does relieve the pressure. Since you’re a master ventriloquist, your cockatoo seems able to do what you can’t do: mercilessly give all those people sticking their noses into your affairs a piece of your mind. Even if it appears to be a piece of your cockatoo’s mind.
(Of course your cockatoo plays a bigger role than just being a ventriloquist’s dummy. He keeps shoving his other astonishing gifts in everyone’s face. He can duplicate anybody’s voice. He does everything from singing “Mr. Tambourine Man” exactly like Bob Dylan … to warbling La Marsellaise in pitch-perfect French. Always at totally inappropriate moments. This bird has killer talents.)
But now the complications really multiply. A corporate raider enters the picture. Smelling blood, he makes a deal with the executive board to snatch your legacy from right under your nose. At the same time (through the help of your cockatoo’s silver tongue) you pick up the corporate raider’s dazzlingly beautiful daughter. In spite of the obvious danger, you start courting her. What’s worse, you fall head over heels in love. Which, of course, tempts that trickster in the sky to heap even more calamities over your head.
From start to finish, “THE MUSCLES MOGUL” reaches for the comedy jugular. Exceptionally funny, it’s rich with outrageous characters … twists upon twists … and absolutely astonishing set pieces. Although you might technically classify it as a romantic comedy, it jubilantly transcends any single genre.
Adultery has been called many names … but it has never been called a marketing niche.
That is until the hero of my new comedy — ADULTERERS ANONYMOUS — seizes on adultery as a fabulous, unexplored money-making opportunity.
Permit me to tell you more.
ADULTERERS ANONYMOUS centers on a philandering advertising copywriter who creates the ultimate in politically incorrect support groups: a support group for married men who are having affairs behind their wives’ backs. He calls it “Adulterers Anonymous.” The way he sees it, Adulterers Anonymous isn’t about trying to quit. It’s about empowerment. About the strength that comes through the support of others engaged in the same dangerous activity.
Apparently fulfilling a long-standing need, Adulterers Anonymous really takes off. But that only whets our hero’s appetite more. Now he’s really inspired. He expands the concept. He adds all kinds of other support services culminating in what he brands “The Catered Adultery.”
Next we see how he franchises this idea. And how it explodes across the country to become an incredibly lucrative underground phenomenon.
Then … disaster strikes! Our hero meets a truly bewitching girl and (against his own best interests) falls genuinely in love.
The complications keep mounting. Our hero must sweat bullets to withhold his myriad dark secrets from her. What choice does he have? After all, revealing he’s the founder of Adulterers Anonymous isn’t exactly likely to warm her heart. Nor is confessing that he’s saddled with an icy wife. To say nothing of a pathologically jealous mistress. And what about her — this new love of his life? What happens when she finds out the truth? Who’s to say she doesn’t have her own astonishing secret? And that she won’t use it to get dramatically and horribly even?
ADULTERERS ANONYMOUS is a comedy perfectly primed for the 21st century. On one level, it’s a merrily forthright take on the state of marriage in America … and on the marketing potential of marital disaffection. Yet that’s not the main story. The main story is still a man and a woman singing love’s own sweet song — in clashing keys and spectacularly out of harmony.
How would you like to party from one end of the world to the other while your clone does all the hard work of actually being you?
You’d jump at a deal like that?
Well, so does the hero of MY CLONE.
(No, it’s nothing at all like the pathetically unfunny, terminally timid, hopelessly sanctimonious MULTIPLICITY.)
In a nutshell, MY CLONE is a comedy about a geneticist who — while trying to clone a duck —accidentally creates his own clone. At his clone’s urging, the geneticist agrees to let the clone take over both his marriage and his career. Strictly as a scientific experiment, of course. The geneticist himself secretly runs off and parties around the world.
Of course, that’s just for openers.
A year later our hero returns and wants his identity back. Well, good luck! The clone is now a year smarter and has created a quantum leap of his own. To add insult to injury, the clone has also made a staggering mess of our hero’s personal life. Needless to say, the clone absolutely refuses to switch places.
How does our hero outwit his smarter biogenetic duplicate? How does he disentangle himself from the women his clone has recklessly become entangled with? And how does he keep his wife from discovering that for over a year she’s been sleeping with one of his experiments?
And what’s worse — an experiment that got her pregnant!
You’ll have to find out yourself. But I’ll give you a clue. We’re in the realm of advanced 21st century cloning. Which means our hero also has the power to isolate specific features. For instance, he can clone any brains he chooses. The brains of any man. The brains of any woman. Even the brains of any beast.
Possible leads for “MY CLONE” could be anyone from Jim Carrey or Will Ferrell to Jack Black. A brilliant choice might also be that veteran comic, Steve Martin.
Of course, the lead could also be a lesser known comedian. Or even a gifted unknown. Naturally, that would bring the budget down substantially. However — if at all possible – I think a smarter bet is to go with star power.
Our Spirits Are Up
What we have here —- I believe — is a precedent-shattering new TV comedy series. Precedent-shattering? Well, it’s the first TV comedy series broadcast (or streamed) to you directly from heaven.
In a nutshell, it’s the first “TONIGHT SHOW” from The Beyond.
Yes, it’s JOHNNY CARSON* in heaven. (At any rate, someone Johnny Carson-like.) He begins with the traditional opening comedy monologue. (Except here it’s about the scandalous doings of the departed.) And he then goes on to interview a non-stop parade of famous show biz or political immortals. The comic style? It can best be described as a serendipitous blending of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. With just a dash of Larry David.
The title of the series? “OUR SPIRITS ARE UP”.
Conceptually, there is only one reason we’re able to see the show. There’s been an extra-terrestrial glitch. It isn’t meant for us, the living. The show is beamed to millions of dead people everywhere. They watch it on the ghosts of old abandoned TV sets, computers, I-Phones, I-Pads, etc.
The show is hosted by a JOHNNY CARSON- like figure (here known as Jimmy Gordon*) who is continuing in death what he did in life. That is, interview celebrities. Except, of course, these are all deceased celebrities. Moreover, our host doesn’t simply interview these celebrities. It goes beyond talk. Turns out that the dead are able to preserve any memory digitally. And then play that memory on the show. In his intro, our host issues a warning to the heavenly audience. These memories could be true, partially true — or completely delusional. Celestial technology simply spit s out the DVD of that memory. No, it doesn’t matter how flawed that memory might be. (Naturally, this is a rich opportunity for every kind of lunatic flashback.)
Incidentally, the show’s orchestra leader is LOUIS ARMSTRONG.
The pilot’s theme is “SUPERSTARS WHO EXPERIENCED SUDDEN DEATH IN MID-CAREER”. The featured guests are MARILYN MONROE and ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
(A very quick glimpse into the comic tone of the show:
Marilyn is asked exactly how she died. “Here’s the DVD” she replies. We watch Marilyn’s bizarre recollection. It takes place in Marilyn’s bedroom. We see a screaming match between Marilyn and Jackie Kennedy over JFK. Finally, Jackie lands a powerful haymaker on Marilyn’s jaw. Marilyn flies across her bed, knocked unconscious. On an overhead shelf, a bottle of sleeping pills falls over. One by one … sleeping pill after sleeping pill… drops into the unconscious Marilyn’s open mouth.
Abe is asked what he planned to do after he left the White House. Abe confesses he always wanted to go into show business. As a tap-dancer. Also as a singer. Naturally, he didn’t know he was going to be assassinated. We see him rehearsing a number with a line of 19th century chorines. It’s a masterful performance of “Camptown Races”. As he dances across the stage, Abe lifts his stovepipe hat. What do you know! Abe looks astonishingly like Fred Astaire.)
I should note that Marilyn and Abe each have two segments.
Subsequent episodes include: “An Evening With Adolf Hitler” ( a special elevator brings up the Fuhrer from the lowest rung of hell) … “The Marx Brothers Behind The Pearly Gates” (Harpo and Chico tie up Jimmy Gordon. Groucho then takes over. He goes on to interview Queen Victoria. In her appearance and responses, Queen Victoria is the spitting image of that clueless grande dame, Margaret Dumont.) … ; “Hip-Hop Gilbert & Sullivan” (Tupak Shakur goes on a rant about racism in heaven. Then out come Gilbert and Sullivan. They’re horrified when Tupak performs a jaw-dropping, profane version of “A Wandering Minstrel, I”); “Tonight’s Special Guest — God” (Why shouldn’t God be a guest here? After all, it’s His own backyard. Turns out God is something of a show-off. As He talks, He keeps transforming Himself. He switches from being a grumpy old white guy … to a finger-snapping young black female … to an eight-year old Chinese boy … to a scowling, somber owl … to a tail-wagging Great Dane.)
*Satire that plays fast and loose with famous figures is legally protected. Still — I decided to exercise a degree of caution here. Instead of naming the host Johnny Carson, I name him Jimmy Gordon. However, everyone else appearing in the show is called by his or her actual name.
Tap-Dancing Across Mars
It’s the beginning of the 22nd century. America has already landed on Mars and claimed a huge chunk of it. (Of course, China has also landed on Mars and claimed another huge chunk.) The portion of Mars that America has carved out for itself is called Xerxes. In fact, Xerxes has become the 52nd state. (The 51st state is on the moon.) Xerxes is the ultimate consumer proving ground … a 22nd century technological wet dream. It’s where an advanced tomorrow’s even more advanced ideas are constantly being tested.
A 22nd century mobster, Carmine De Napolitano, is trying to sell the prototype of his totally computerized Mafia soldier to an even bigger mobster. Carmine orchestrates a product demonstration. He has his prototype (whose name is Asparagus) mercilessly beat up Henry Boswick — a 22nd century stand-up comic. ( Henry owes Carmine $150,000.) In order to get away from Carmine, Henry has himself booked into a comedy club on Mars. And it’s on Mars where Henry’s lunatic odyssey really begins.
Just for starters, Henry get thrown into a penal colony because the “6” on his Universal ID Card is mistaken for a “0.” The “0” is the code numeral for criminals.
Through a quick series of scenes, we learn what prison life is like in the 22nd century. For instance, Henry gets examined by the prison physician — a robot by the name of Dr. Leonard Silverstein. Henry tries to make a run for it when Dr. Silverstein prepares to examine his prostate. But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Henry meets another convict who’s in the cell above him. She’s a beautiful young technological whiz kid named Veronica. Their romance starts when Veronica projects her electronic facsimile through a hole in the ceiling. Veronica’s facsimile sits on Henry’s lap. When it’s dinner time, she pours cream in his coffee and seasons his steak.
Back on earth, Carmine decides to really wow his sales prospect. He orders Asparagus to take the rocket ship to Mars and personally capture Henry. Asparagus immediately sets out on his interplanetary trip. Apparently there’s no limit to what a highly evolved criminal robot like Asparagus can accomplish.
In the meantime, Henry and Veronica fly the coop by disguising themselves as inorganic garbage and getting shot through a wind tunnel into a garbage dump on the outskirts of Xerxes City.
Their escape triggers major repercussions. The head of the penal colony — a super-computer named X-22 — goes bonkers when he hears the news. It seems Henry and Veronica are carrying evidence of X-22’s plot to overthrow an even more powerful super-computer — the one who’s running the American portion of Mars. X-22 now springs into action. He sets up one brilliantly crafted booby trap after another to stop Henry and Veronica in their tracks.
Where will it all end?
Can our star-crossed human duo really defeat the combined forces of advanced Martian technology and advanced earthly greed?
To find out, I guess you’ll just have to read the script.