Monday, November 25, 2013
The Chicken Coops of Madison County
This treatment for an episode of "Steven Spielberg presents Animaniacs" was purchased by Warner Brothers Animation but the show was cancelled before it was produced.
INT. LAWYERS OFFICE
Carolyn and Michael, a brother and sister in their 20s, sit at a large table. They are listening intently to a pompous lawyer.
...and to my darling two children, I leave the contents of my safety deposit box.
Carolyn and Michael try to look casual as the lawyer brings out the box, then they both grab at it and pull it open. Michael reaches in and removes several pictures of their mom standing in front of a chicken coop, plus a book called “The Chicken Coops of Madison County.” The music swells. They open it up. A letter falls out. Carolyn opens the letter and starts reading.
What is that?
It’s from mom.
Well read it.
“I suppose I shouldn’t be telling you this, but by contract, I must. I have kept it inside for too long. Once in a lifetime, you find something so rare, so tender, so juicy that it changes your life forever. It started when daddy took you to the fair, leaving me alone for four days.”
CROSS FADE TO:
Francesca is a statuesque farmer’s wife standing on the porch watching her family drive away. The wind blows through her dress. The music swells. The clouds part as golden celestial light falls on a beaten old truck pulling up the driveway. The truck stops and Boo gets out, though he is so heavily backlit you can’t tell it’s him.
The first day...he showed up. He told me he was lost, that he was looking for a chicken coop, one of those old wooden covered coops that made Madison County so famous. There was something about him, maybe his smile. I could tell he wasn’t from Madison. I asked his name.
Buck Buck BcGaw...
Buck BcGaw? That’s an interesting name.
Boo points to the side of his truck, which has his logo painted on - “Buck BcGaw - Professional Photographer.”
He was on assignment from Frequent Fryer Magazine and he needed a guide. He caught me in his spell. I was so transfixed that for one moment, I forgot to do my Italian accent.
Boo drives while Francesca points the way.
They arrive at a dilapidated old chicken coop. Boo takes Francesca’s picture in front of it.
INT. LAWYER’S OFFICE
Michael and Carolyn look at the picture. She puts down the letter. Michael picks up the book and starts reading.
She reminded me of ancient times and distant music. Her dress was as florid as my squirrelly prose.
LOVE MONTAGE as Michael and Carolyn alternate reading.
He felt feathery, oh so feathery. I know you think I’m an adulteress but it’s not true. I’m more of a poultress. He was my first fling, my flirt with foul, and I don’t regret a thing. Now that I am dead, I can finally tell you the truth. I know it will have a profound effect upon your lives.
The wind blows. The music swells. We leave her crying on the porch.
SLOW CROSS FADE TO:
INT. LAWYER’S OFFICE
Michael and Carolyn are cracking up laughing. Michael puts down the book.
Hoo boy, mom. What a card.
She always did have a weird sense of humor.
That was the worst thing I’ve ever read.
What should we do with it?
I’ve got an idea.
EXT. COVERED BRIDGE
Michael and Carolyn set fire to the one and only copy of “The Chicken Coops of Madison County” by Buck BcGaw. The violins swell as the ashes scatter into the wind. The world is spared.
What do you feel like?
How about Popeye’s?