Despite the underwhelming response in the comments post of my last blog (Is anyone reading?! Post a comment!), I am going to share with you my pitch for the perfect Classic-TV-Show-Turned-Into-a-Movie. Before I do, a warning to all you Hollywood executives out there: When you greenlight this project, I expect a fat paycheck, as well as a percentage of the gross.
Okay, then, here we go.
One of the beloved TV shows of my youth was "Mr. Ed". It chronicled the misadventures of one Wilbur Post, an architect with a beautiful wife who buys a new house and in the barn connected to the house, where Wilbur has his office (all the great architects worked out of barns), he discovers a horse living there. The horse is Mr. Ed, who can talk! However, Mr. Ed will ONLY talk to Wilbur, because, he explains, Wilbur is the only person he's ever met worth talking to. This, of course, led to Wilbur getting into all kinds of hilarious messes thanks to the antics of Mr. Ed.
Actually, this "Francis the Talking Mule" rip-off was a pretty funny show. At least from the perspective of a 5 year old me. What better property to be bastardized into a big Hollywood movie?!
Of course, to make this work for today's kids, some adjustments need to made to the premise. First off, kids don't want to watch a movie about adults, so we'll have to cast Wilbur as a lonely teenage boy. I'm sure some young hot Disney channel star is available. (Sorry Bill Pullman & Jeff Daniels, you'd have been perfect!).
Secondly, we can't have Mr. Ed talk in the friendly, folksy voice of Rocky Lane, the original voice. (Since he's dead, this would be a problem anyway.) No, kids want ATT-TI-TUUUDE! So Mr. Ed should be voiced by someone like Chris Rock (who did great work as the rodent in "Dr. Doolittle"). If Mr. Rock is unavailable, we can see if Chris Tucker is free.
As solid as this concept is, I'm a little unsure of what the plot should be. I do know that as a big Hollywood kids' film, we should probably include the following plot elements:
• Wilbur should have only one parent. If he has 2 parents, then they should be divorced, and the events of the film bring them back together. (Maybe we should still think about Bill Pullman & Jeff Daniels. Not as the parents together. One or the other as the Dad.)
• Wilbur should have a crush on a really pretty, popular girl, who doesn't know he exists. The girl should should also have a real jerk of a jock boyfriend, who torments Wilbur. By the end of the movie, you can bet Mr. Ed gets Wilbur & the girl together, and the bully ends up in a pile of manure.
• Mr. Ed should fall for some female horse, and express his interest in her by making remarks completely inappropriate for a kids' film. He could also sing, "Get Down Tonight" at some point.
• The inevitable scene where Wilbur is taken to a psychiatrist because he thinks his horse can talk. If Ben Stein is available, it's comedy gold!
• The film must have a musical montage sequence. A scene where the horse, Mr. Ed, is in a leather jacket and sunglasses while "Bad to the Bone" plays would be perfect.
• I almost forgot! Plenty of bodily function jokes!
These are, of course, no brainers, but with a film of this magnitude, you have to think about how to sell it to today's savvy filmgoers. So what about the trailer?
Here it is. Close your eyes and imagine:
A black movie screen.
A sonorous narrator says:
"Young Wilbur Post has a new home, a new life, and a new problem."
Suddenly barn doors fly open as they did in the original series, and Mr.Ed sticks his head out and shrieks (In either the voice of Mr. Rock or Mr. Tucker):
"HELLO, I'M MR. ED!"
We then launch into a hip-hop cover version of the original TV theme while the screen fades to "Coming Soon" or "February 2010", or whatever.
Yes, we need to tweak a few things, like whether Burger King or McDonald's will get the happy meal rights, as well as an actual script. However, if some young Hollywood eager beaver gets cracking, we can see this in theatres as soon as the next school vacation week.
See you at the movies!