A Scene from A FAN’S NOTES
Yeah, I know Gifford — went to college with him.
EXT: CAMPUS – TRACKING – FEATURE COED – DAY
The COED is smiling, walking along the campus. She is a pastel, chestnut blonde, pink-lipped, golden-legged, lemon-sweatered epitome of softness encased in cashmere. One has the feeling that if the first layer of cashmere were taken (or torn) off, there would always be another.
CAMERA PULLS BACK SLIGHTLY to include two blond, pectoraled, male ANIMALS strutting beside her, with “Property of U.S.C.” stenciled on their T-shirts.
CAMERA HALTS as the three of them pass EXLEY (21) and his friend, FRAT, a loafered, crew-cutted, pullover-sweatered type with a fraternity pin with dangling ganglia pinned over his left teat. They are looking at the Coed.
That!? That?! My God, Fred, what the hell’s the matter with you? That just happens to be Frank Gifford’s girl!
Who’s Frank Gifford?
Oh, come on Exley, this is too much!
EXT: CAMPUS – FRAT & EXLEY’S P.O.V. – LONG SHOT – DAY
Beyond Frat and Exley in the distance we can see the Coed and the Animals stop and be greeted by a tall blond MAN.
My God, it’s Him! — That’s Frank Gifford, you asshole!
The Animals greet Gifford, (whom we cannot see as his back is to the CAMERA), and depart. Gifford is left with the Coed, whose hand he takes.
Exley starts walking toward them.
Where the hell you think you’re going?
(a superior smile)
I want to meet that girl.
And he walks away.
EXT: CAMPUS – OVER SHOULDER – GIFFORD P.O.V. – FEATURE COED – DAY
From over Gifford’s shoulder, we see the Coed looking up at him, laughing an intimate loving laugh. She then sees something O.S. Gifford looks too. CAMERA PANS their P.O.V. to see Exley approach. Gifford and Coed are in the foreground looking at Exley. There is an embarrassed moment. Exley tries to look contemptuous, then smiles a hard, mocking, so-your-the-big-shit-smile.
Exley is caught short. Gifford and the Coed exchange a look, and move away O.S. Exley is furious with himself, intensely embarrassed. He looks back toward Frat, then after Gifford and the Coed.
(not to loud)
Hey, Gifford —
EXT: CAMPUS – EXLEY P.O.V. – DAY
Gifford and the Coed continue walking, not able to hear.
EXT: CAMPUS – FEATURE EXLEY – DAY
He speaks low enough for them not to hear.
Listen, you son of a bitch, life isn’t all a goddam football game. You won’t always get the girl. Life is rejection, and pain, and loss — !
Frat comes up to him.
Exley, shut-up! What the hell’s the matter with you?!
It’s alright. They can’t hear.
You’re nuts — .
Exley and Frat walk across campus. CAMERA TRACKS with them.
Look, Gifford and I are both at college to discover man’s heritage. But I have a higher calling: I want to write a novel, I want fame, I want money, and …
CAMERA CONTINUES, Exley and Frat stop and watch the passage of four of the most climactic breasts crescendoing out from TWO GOLDEN CALIFORNIA GIRLS.
… I am horny!
CAMERA CONTINUES BACK as more BEAUTIFUL WOMEN wander past Exley, Frat and the CAMERA.
You wouldn’t believe it! — they were everywhere, like mounds of ripe fruit hanging around waiting for the juice to be sucked out of them —
EXT: CAMPUS – FRAT & EXLEY – DAY
You can’t just reach out and squeeze them, can you?
Good lord, Exley!
I’ll bet Gifford could —
You know that Gifford’s going to play ball for New York?
EXT: MADISON AVE. – EXTREME KONG SHOT – DAY
The New York City traffic is jammed and the sidewalks are crowded. As CAMERA ZOOMS IN we notice a figure walking in the street against the traffic in a some-what fluorescent blue suit. The traffic is a blur around him.
Frank Gifford and I arrived in New York with the same ambitions:
The figure darts into and office building.
… to stamp our presence on the consciousness of that city, to achieve fame and adulation.
In order to accomplish this subtle rape of the city, I created an image of myself —
CAMERA HOLDS as Exley sits down and we see him. He is wearing a hideous shiny California suit, is sucking on a yellow-bole pipe, and has a coiffure of piquant little bangs.
… the image of the Poet, a combination of Clark Gable in the HUCKSTERS and Truman Capote, an idol of the moment.
INT: OFFICE – FEATURE EXLEY – DAY
The EXECUTIVE is what you’d expect: a frozen smile.
Well, we got your letter from California — Have a good trip East?
I see you’re from up-state New York. Glad to be back home?
INT: P.J. CLARKE’S – ESTABLISH – NIGHT
The bar is crowded with BLUE BLAZERS, talking to LONG BLOND HAIR. We see Exley through the crowd, sitting alone at the bar, wearing a knowing, but lunatic smile. No one is talking to him. He is surrounded by backs. Behind him, over the bar, is a sign: “DRAFT BEER 15¢”.
Oh, God, I loved P.J. Clarke’s. It’s where I begin the search for my future every night.
Exley nods at the BARTENDER who immediately gives him a beer, and he looks around with his lunatic smile. He tries to smilingly start up a conversation to one side, but is frigidly put down. He stares at the end of the bar.
CAMERA DOLLIES TO HIS P.O.V.
There is a BLONDE VISION at the end of the bar, in a flowing cream suit and a sweater underneath that is a bare covering of unrestricted body contours. She is talking to a blue-blazered UNDERGRADUATE who smokes a pipe pretentiously and crinkles his forehead.
INT: P.J’S – EXELY – NIGHT
Exely stares, his mouth hanging slightly open.
INT: P.J.’S – FEATURE BLONDS VISION – NIGHT
The Blond Vision listens to the Undergraduate for a moment, sees Exley, and floats over to him, leaving the Undergraduate helpless. She smiles at Exley. She moves slowly and gracefully.
I don’t know why, — I wanted to be with you. What do you do?
I am trying to write The Book, Esmerelda. — I want to tell you of the night.
I want to help you.
I have no place to work.
(taking his hand)
Come with me.
Where did you go to school, Esmerelda?
INT: VISION’S BEDROOM – TWO SHOT – DAY
The Vision and Exley sit in a huge sateen divan, she in pajamas, he is disarray, eating grapes. She is taking notes.
The Book. Chapter 1.
“My father was a good man –“
That is — so — perfect.
With one graceful arc of her arm, she takes off the top of her pajamas, he takes off the bottom. She lies prone, he covers her, mingles briefly, and languidly rolls over.
Chapter Two —
INT: P.J.’S – TWO SHOT – NIGHT
Hey, buddy, stop staring at my date.
The Undergraduate is poking Exley with his pipe.
I wasn’t staring at your date.
Don’t give me that. You’ve been staring at her for the last fifteen minutes!!
Bartender comes over and calls the undergraduate away, trying to calm him down. At which time Exley turns toward the Vision and stares pop-eyed, fat-tonged and drooling at her.
INT: P.J.’S – FEATURE VISION – NIGHT
She is haughtily appalled and looks to some GREY FLANNEL for support.
INT: P.J.’S – ANOTHER ANGLE – NIGHT
The Undergraduate returns to Exley, jabbing again with the pipe, making a lot of noise.
Exley turns suddenly, takes the pipe, puts it down on the bar, grabs the Undergraduate by he cheeks, and plants a slobbery kiss full on. After which he picks up the pipe and plants it in the surprised mouth of the Undergraduate, who is paralyzed with amazement. Then Exley starts to leave through the now attentive Crowd at the door. He turns to the Bartender.
INT: P.J.’S – EXLEY’S P.O.V. – NIGHT
The Bartender, in spite of himself, smiles at Exley, agreeing that it had to be done.
EXT: P.J. CLARKE’S – EXLEY – NIGHT
It is raining.
Exley comes out and puts on his coat. He looks back in the windows of Clarke’s. Then he walks off down the street alone.
EXT: EAST RIVER DRIVE PARK – FEATURE EXLEY – NIGHT
Exley is walking along the small park between East River Drive and the River. Hundreds of cars go by behind him. He sits on a bench, alone. CAMERA closes in.
P.J.’S wasn’t the only place I went, — but I’d usually begin or end there. That was the time in my life of lust — fact, and a good deal of fantasy.
CAMERA PULLS BACK on Exley, and sitting next to him is an earnest young lovely girl named EARNESTINE, who listens intently.
My main intellectual effort of the time was to figure out the character of the organ one female or another deemed fit for me to invade her downy sanctuary. If she liked movies —
We should introduce ourselves. I’m Cecil Rhodes, Warner Brothers’ representative currently promoting Burt Lancaster’s latest picture.
Burt will be in town next week. Like you to meet him. Nice Guy. A little swish like all of them —
If she was dedicated to society —
I’m Jonathan Surgrit, cancer researcher out at the Institute for Advanced Studies — at Princeton.
He takes a long drag on a cigarette and starts coughing. He smiles at her bravely.
I’ve been told to give it up.
If she had a mother instinct:
What are you thinking about?
My hands —
I don’t see nothing. They look beautiful to me. — just like a surgeon’s hands should —
They’re trembling. Can’t you see they’re trembling? And oh, God, I’ve got and OGL-33 at six in the morning. I’ve got human life, do you understand, human life in my hands Esmerelda!
She takes his hands, kisses it and places it softly in a half of one of her ample udders.
Let me help you. My name is Earnestine.
I’m Dr. Horatio Pahnee — .
Yes. P-E-N-I-S. My friends call me Hor.
EXT: STADIUM APPROACH – FEATURE EXLEY – DAY
He is walking with the crowd, wrapped against the cold.
Oh, God, this was it. Football and Bunny Sue, these two things happened to me: I fell in love, and I became a fan. One ended up keeping me alive, and one helped me get to Avalon Valley.
CAMERA TRACKS WITH HIM. He is being swept by the crowd and is surrounded by a FAMILY OF FOUR, all auburn haired, all with white teeth, and the camel-hair polo-coats. Each has an element to make the afternoon perfect. DAD has the plaid blankets, MOM has a picnic basket, little SISTER has a thermos jug, and little BROTHER the field glasses. They are wholesome as hell, all under tweedy little caps. At the moment, little Brother is playing giggle games with Exley, shyly looking at him, and Exley giving fantastic facial impressions back. The rest of the family looks at Exley, and all smile at the little Brother’s amusement.
They move in with the crowd.
EXT: STADIUM ENTRANCE — FEATURE FAMILY AND EXLEY – DAY
As they reach the entrance, little Brother gathers the family for a quick conference. He whispers in Dad’s ear. Then they all look at Exley, smiling.
EXT: ENTRANCE – EXLEY – DAY
Exley returns the smile, but hesitantly, thinking he may soon be up on a morals charge, or that his fly is open.
EXT: ENTRANCE – ANOTHER ANGLE – DAY
Dad approaches Exley. He is terribly nice, and smug as hell
Excuse me, but at the request of my son, well, I have an extra ticket — our maid couldn’t come, — and if you’re alone we’d all like it if you joined us.
Well, I’d love to, that’s very kind, — but won’t I break up the color scheme?
Dad laughs acidly and takes Exley to the family and there are explanations and introductions. Then they go in the gate.
I felt like the guy who drinks too much, neglects his teeth, scratches his vital parts, and wakes up in the middle of a Norman Rockwell Cover carving the turkey for some family he’s never seen before.
EXT: STADIUM – FEATURE FAMILY AND EXLEY – DAY
They all get to their seats, dad very neatly letting the whole family in so he can sit as insulation between them and Exley.
I’d seen in the paper that Gifford was going to start at half-back. I hadn’t cheered for any thing in many years. Having been something of an undiscovered novelist at U.S.C., I hadn’t deigned to go to a football game.
Come to see the Giants often, Mr. Cabot?
I seldom miss a game, if I’m in the country.
At this point, the band strikes up the Star Spangled Banner. O.S. ANNOUNCER: LOUDSPEAKER: something about “National Anthem.” The family stands up in unison, so fast that Exley is startled. Then he slowly stands, watching them incredulously.
EXT: STADIUM – HAND-HELD – QUICK SHOTS
A number of shots of various activities during the national anthem such as saluting, scratching, and picking.
EXT: STADIUM – EXLEY – DAY
Exley looks away from the family and down at the field. CAMERA CLOSES IN ON HIM.
EXT: STADIUM – EXLEY’S P.O.V. – TELEPHOTO – DAY
The Giants bench is crowded with PLAYERS with their helmets off, standing at attention.
CAMERA PANS DOWN to the row of Players and holds on the back of Gifford’s blond head.
CAMERA FRAMES GIFFORD and we see #16 on his back, as National Anthem ends.
EXT: STADIUM – CLOSE- UP – EXLEY – DAY
Exley looks, and smiles, almost in recognition, or comaraderie.
EXT: STADIUM – EXLEY & FAMILY – DAY
SOUND: ROAR OF CROWD.
That is a delayed buck, a play which requires superb blocking and marvelous timing.
Wonderful stuff here, Mr. Conerly!
Wonderful stuff, Mr. Conerly!
They all look expectantly at Exley. He looks at them.
Good show, Mr. Conerly!
EXT: STADIUM – EXLEY AND FAMILY – DAY
The sandwiches and blankets are out.
CAMERA PANS DOWN the Family, each engaged in watching and eating.
Now, that is a screen pass, a fantastically perilous pay because of the danger of interception.
CAMERA has reached Exley, who by now is a totally committed nervous wreck, watching the game with maniacal eyes, and stuffing his dainty crustless sandwich into his automatically masticating mouth.
(slightly questioning Exley)
Good show, Gifford!
Fine stuff, Mr. Gifford!
I know Frank Gifford —
Exley reacts to this, slightly appalled. There is a particular ROAR OF THE CROWD. Exley looks.
EXT: FIELD – FEATURE #16 – DAY
#16 takes a short flat pass, fakes a defensive back and heads for the sidelines. He picks up a blocker, breaks a tackle, cuts in field, confronts the safety man, and bulls his way to the one-foot line.
EXT: STADIUM – EXLEY – DAY
For a second, Exley looks at the Crowd going wild. Then he breaks, starts yelling and pounding on Dad’s camel-covered shoulders.
Oh, Jesus, Frank, you did it.
Oh, Frank, baby, you did it, you did it, you did it!
By this time, Dad’s hat is knocked off and he is recovering and becoming the patriarch again.
Mr. Cabot, he did not do it!
EXT: FIELD – OFFICIAL – DAY
The OFFICIAL places the ball a foot away from the end-zone, and signals the space with his hands.
EXT: STADIUM – FEATURE EXLEY & DAD – DAY
I’m sorry — I thought Mr. Gifford was going all the way.
Alright. Now —
They didn’t get a first down so, it’s fourth down and they have only one play to win the game.
CROWD BEGINS TO ROAR.
Exley tries to contain himself, but it is hopeless.
Come on Frank, go Frank, take that thing and cream them, go Frank, go, go, go. —
Aw come on you goofies, cheer!
Dad looks worried.
EXT: FIELD – FEATURE #16 – DAY
#16 takes the ball and drives into the line, off-tackle. There is an immense pile-up. It is apparent that he didn’t make it.
EXT: STADIUM – TWO SHOT – DAD & EXLEY – DAY
Mr. Gifford did not make it.
He looks at Exley. Exley is motionless and unexpectedly, tears come to his eyes. Dad looks at his family.
EXT: STADIUM – FAMILY – DAY
Mom and the Children are plainly embarrassed by this display of emotion.
EXT: STADIUM – EXLEY AND DAD – DAY
Look here, Mr. Cabot, it’s only a game. —
Exley turns to the family. He then moves to Dad’s ear.
(very close and trying to be quiet)
Fuck you — .
EXT: STADIUM – FEATURE EXLEY – DAY
He is hurrying out the steps. Behind him we see Dad screaming for a cop, chasing half-heartedly, being followed by the family, not wishing to be left alone in the stadium with a madman.
Gifford was starting to become a part of New York’s hard mentality. And he came to be the realization of life’s large promises.
He runs on, followed by Dad in a fury.