"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"THE HUDSUCKER PROXY"

Written by

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, and Sam Raimi

September 1992 Draft



BLACK

No image. A bleak WIND MOANS. HOLD.

With a STINGING CHORD we --

CUT TO:

CITY SKYLINE - NIGHT (CIRCA 1958)

Lights twinkle. Snow falls. The WIND MOANS.

After a beat, the voice of an elderly black man:

NARRATOR (V.O.)
The's right... New York.

We are TRACKING HIGH THROUGH the night sky. From the streets
far below we hear the sounds of TRAFFIC muffled by the falling
snow, and the DISTANT sound of many VOICES SINGING.

We are DRIFTING AMONG the buildings; the tops of skyscrapers
slip by left and right.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
It's 1958 -- anyway, for a few mo'
minutes it is. Come midnight it's
gonna be 1959. A whole 'nother
feelin'. The New Year. The future...

The SINGING, a little MORE AUDIBLE, but still not close, is
"Auld Lang Syne."

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...Yeah ole daddy Earth fixin' to
start one mo' trip 'round the sun,
an' evvybody hopin' this ride 'round
be a little mo' giddy, a little mo'
gay...

We are MOVING IN TOWARDS a particular skyscraper. At its top
is a large illuminated clock.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
Yep...

We hear a SERIES OF POPPING sounds.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...All over town champagne corks is
a-poppin'.

A big band WALTZ MIXES UP on the track.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...Over in the Waldorf the big shots
is dancin' to the strains of Guy
Lombardo... Down in Times Square the
little folks is a-watchin' and a-
waitin' fo' that big ball to drop...

The LOMBARDO MUSIC gives way to the CHANTING of a distant
CROWD: "Sixty! Fifty-nine! Fifty-eight!"

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...They all tryin' to catch holt a
one moment of time...

The CHANTING has MIXED back DOWN AGAIN TO leave only the
WIND. Still TRACKING IN TOWARD the top of the skyscraper, we
begin to hear the TICK of its enormous CLOCK. The clock reads
a minute to twelve. Above it, in neon, a company's name:
"HUDSUCKER INDUSTRIES." Below it, in neon, the company's
motto: "THE FUTURE IS NOW."

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...to be able to say -- 'Right now!
This is it! I got it!' 'Course by
then it'll be past.
(more cheerfully)
But they all happy, evvybody havin'
a good time.

We are MOVING IN ON a darkened penthouse window next to the
clock. The window starts to open.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...Well, almost evvybody. They's a
few lost souls floatin' 'round out
there...

A young man is crawling out of the window onto the ledge.
With the opening of the window, "AULD LANG SYNE" filters out
with greater volume.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...This one's Norville Barnes.

The man gingerly straightens up on the ledge. He is perhaps
in his late twenties. He wears a leather apron. Printed on
the apron: "HUDSUCKER MAIL ROOM/The Future is Now."

He looks with nervous determination into the void.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...Let's move in for a closer look.

The CAMERA obliges. We TRACK IN SLOWLY, ENDING VERY CLOSE.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...That office he jes stepped out of
is the office of the president of
Hudsucker Industries. It's his
office...

Norville sways in anguish as the TICKING of the CLOCK grows
louder and the WIND blows in his face.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...How'd he get so high? An' why is
he feelin' so low? Is he really gonna
do it -- is Norville really gonna
jelly up the sidewalk?

Norville is tensing his body, peering out over the ledge,
preparing to make a swan dive into oblivion -- but the
CAMERA'S continued MOVEMENT is LOSING him FROM FRAME.

We are MOVING IN ON the enormous CLOCK, whose MECHANICAL
THRUM becomes very loud indeed.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...Well the future, that's something
you can't never tell about...

The second hand of the clock is nearing the twelve -- bare
seconds to midnight. Distant CHANTING from Times Square MIXES
UP: "Nine! Eight! Seven!"

NARRATOR (V.O.)
...But the past... That's another
story...

OVER BLACK

The HUM of the CLOCK SINKS UNDER the HISS of an AIRBRAKE and
GRINDING GEARS as we...

CUT TO:

DESTINATION DISPLAY

On the front of a bus just rocking to a halt. The display
says "MUNCIE-NEW YORK."

LINE OF BAGS

is being set out on the pavement. A man with the cuffs of a
redcap uniform swings one into the f.g.:

It has a sticker on it: CLASS OF '58, and below an
illustration of crossed right and left hands, their thumbs
hooked and fingers spread like wings: MUNCIE COLLEGE OF
BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION.

After a beat the hand of its claimant ENTERS to pick it up.

DISSOLVE TO:

STREET

FOLLOWING the bag as its owner carries it down the street.
He pauses, sets it down.

YOUNG MAN

Fresh-faced, eager -- NORVILLE BARNES. He is gazing off at:

WESSELS EMPLOYMENT AGENCY

The sign is over a ground floor office; an exterior clock
shows 9:00. A curtain is just being pulled open in its picture
window to reveal a great job board. It is like the departures
board in a great train station, with each of its individual
entries flipping over occasionally to reveal a new
opportunity. On offer are jobs like: PASTRY CHEF, STEAMFITTER,
LAY-OUT MAN, GRAVEDIGGER, etc.

REVERSE

On the small crowd gathered to, like Norville, watch the
board -- men in search of jobs, of various classes and
vocations, but alike in their intent gaze, their hands dug
into their pockets, their hats pushed back on their heads,
bobbing occasionally to get a better view of the chattering
board. Men occasionally head for the office as they see a
prospect they like.

Norville stands pat, watching.

HIS POV

An entry flips over to reveal EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT.

NORVILLE

He brightens.

BOARD

We PAN ALONG the executive entry to EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

NORVILLE

He frowns.

Around him, the crowd is thinning out as men trot in to apply
for their respective jobs.

We see other entries: JUNIOR EXECUTIVE. PAN TO EXPERIENCE
ONLY. EXECUTIVE MANAGER... MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE.
BUSINESSMAN... EXPERIENCED.

The CROSS-CUTTING ENDS in a wash of SUPER-IMPOSITIONS PANNING
OVER Norviille, now alone on the sidewalk:

EXPERIENCED ONLY... EXPERIENCED... EXPERIENCED...
EXPERIENCED...

CUT TO:

CLOSE SHOT - EXECUTIVE

A middle-aged, mousy-looking man in a conservative suit and
wire-rimmed spectacles is addressing his remarks to someone
O.S. Behind the Executive we see only the skyline of New
York City.

EXECUTIVE
-- So in the third quarter we saw no
signs of weakening. We're up 18
percent over last year's third quarter
gross and, needless to say, that's a
new record...

TRACKING

DOWN the LENGTH OF the board room table. Executives line
either side. We are APPROACHING the man at the far end of
the table, to whom the report is being directed.

He is late middle-aged, dressed expensively but
conservatively, his attention smilingly fixed on the Executive
who drones on.

EXECUTIVE
...The competition continues to flag
and we continue to take up the slack.
Market share in most divisions is
increasing and we've opened seven
new regional offices...

The TRACK has ENDED IN a CLOSEUP of the man at the end of
the table, who still smiles benignantly at the droning
Executive. The smile is serene, almost otherwordly.

This is WARING HUDSUCKER.

REPORTING EXECUTIVE

He drones on.

EXECUTIVE
...Our international division has
also shown vigorous upward movement
in the past six months and we're
looking at some exciting things in
R&D...

The CAMERA SLOWLY PANS OFF the droning Executive as the big
man's attention apparently wanders; we FRAME UP ON the picture
window skyline of New York.

EXECUTIVE (V.O.)
Sub-franchising. Don't talk to me
about sub-franchising; we're making
so much money in sub-franchising it
isn't even funny.

FOLDED-BACK WANT ADS

A hand with pencil goes down a list of positions, ticking
each one: STREETSWEEPER -- EXPERIENCED; LINOTYPE MAN --
EXPERIENCED; CANTOR (REFORM) -- EXPERIENCED; SPARRING PARTNER --
EXPERIENCED.

WIDER

Norville, sitting at a coffeeshop counter, sets the pencil
down. His chin is sunk disconsolately into his palm.

His hat is pushed back dejectedly on his head. He idly stirs
his coffee with his spoon.

He takes one last gulp of the coffee, then sets the cup down
on the want ads, stands, and digs into his pocket for change,
turning it inside-out.

CLOSE ON COUNTER

As Norville puts all his change on the counter. His hand
hesitates; he takes a little of it back. He LEAVES FRAME.

A waitress's hand ENTERS from the far side of the counter.
She clears away the saucer, then the cup -- which has been
resting on the want ads. It leaves a perfect brown circle
around one entry:

THE FUTURE IS NOW.
Start building yours at Hudsucker Industries.
Low pay. Long Hours.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.
Apply Personnel, 285 Madison Avenue.

As we hear the COFFEESHOP DOOR OPENING O.S., a draft wafts
the sheet of newspaper off the counter and OUT OF FRAME.

NEW YORK CITY SKYLINE

Again LOOKING THROUGH the WINDOW as, O.S., the reporting
Executive drones on.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...Our owned-and-operateds are
performing far above expectations
both here and abroad, and the Federal
Tax Act of 1958 is giving us a swell
writeoff on our plant and heavies...

WARING HUDSUCKER

looks dreamily out the window. His attention returns to the
droning Executive and the benignant smile returns to his
lips.

EXECUTIVE
...The news in the money market isn't
good -- it's excellent...

CUT TO:

NORVILLE'S BACK

He walks dejectedly down the street, hands shoved into his
pockets.

A sheet of newspaper eddies INTO FRAME. The wind tosses it
this way and that.

Slap! -- It plasters against another pedestrian, who bats it
away.

The newspaper eddies around some more, then plasters against
Norville.

He peels it off and is about to toss it away but stops,
noticing something.

NEWSPAPER SCRAP

It is a section of the want ads. One entry is perfectly
circled by a coffee stain.

BACK TO NORVILLE

He looks up from the paper. There is purpose in his gaze.
Wind whips his hair.

CUT TO:

CLOSE SHOT - WARING HUDSUCKER

As the Executive drones on, O.S., Hudsucker is carefully
winding his wristwatch.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...Our nominees and assigns continue
to multiply and expand extending our
influence regionally, nationally and
globally. So, third quarter and year-
to-date, we've set a new record for
sales...

Hudsucker looks up from his watch, smiles, runs his palms
back over his fringe of hair.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...new record in gross...

Hudsucker pulls his sleeve cuffs to expose just the right
amount under the suit.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...new record in pre-tax earnings...

Hudsucker takes one puff from his cigar and carefully sets
it in his ashtray.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...new record in after-tax profit...

He deliberately unstraps his wristwatch and looks at its
face.

The sweep second hand is starting the last revolution that
will end at precisely noon.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...and our stock has split twice
this year...

Hudsucker lays the watch carefully on the table.

EXECUTIVE (O.S.)
...In short...

Savoring a pause, the Executive looks around the board table.

EXECUTIVE
...we're loaded.

This draws an appreciative chuckle from the board. It is cut
off by:

HUDSUCKER
Ahem...

The board turns expectantly to Hudsucker, who sits in the
f.g. Beyond him is the length of the board table and the
large picture window. He rises to his feet, slowly and
deliberately, and rubs his palms together.

He swings his chair out.

He steps up onto the chair.

The board stares.

He steps up from the chair onto the board table.

The heads of the board members swing up in unison.

Hudsucker is FRAMED FROM MID-TORSO DOWN. He shakes the tension
loose from each leg, then waggles both arms dangling at his
sides, like an athlete preparing for a sprint.

EXECUTIVE
...Mr. Hudsucker?

CLOSE ON WANT ADS

THE CIRCLED AD

THE FUTURE IS NOW.
Start building yours at Hudsucker Industries.
Low pay. Long Hours.
NO EXPERIENCED NECESSARY.
Apply Personnel, 285 Madison Avenue.

The hand holding the paper DROPS AWAY and we TILT UP, as
Norville walks AWAY FROM us into the b.g., towards the office
building across the street. Its street number tops its
imposing entryway in large gilt letters: 285.

We continue TILTING UP the length of the skyscraper, to reveal
a huge clock capping its facade. Above the clock is the
identification "HUDSUCKER INDUSTRIES." Below the clock is
the motto "THE FUTURE IS NOW."

The huge clock's sweep second hand is just approaching the
position that will make the time 12:00 sharp.

ANOTHER ANGLE

As the second hand hits the twelve, the CLOCK TOLLS, the
board room WINDOW SHATTERS and Waring Hudsucker comes flying
out.

HUDSUCKER
Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh...

SECRETARIAL AREA

Somewhere in the Hudsucker Building. A secretary sits typing
next to an open window, finished pages sitting stacked beside
her. As we hear ANOTHER TOLL of the CLOCK.

HUDSUCKER
...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh...

As Hudsucker shoots past the window, his draft sends the
stack of papers wafting this way and that. As the secretary
turns to look out the window, FREEZE FRAME (wafting papers
have their motion arrested) and SUPER A TITLE.

TRACKING

WITH Hudsucker, the building slipping by behind him. As he
yells he calmly runs his palms back over his fringe of hair.
The CLOCK TOLLS.

FREEZE FRAME and SUPER A TITLE.

HOT DOG VENDOR

on the street, handing a steaming frank to a customer who is
handing him some change. As we hear the APPROACHING HUDSUCKER,
both men look up. As the CLOCK TOLLS:

FREEZE FRAME and SUPER A TITLE.

PASSERBY ON SIDEWALK

The man, wearing a fedora, is in the f.g. of an EXTREME LOW
ANGLE whose b.g. is the bottom three or four stories of the
Hudsucker Building.

The passerby reacts to the approaching yell, looking up just
as Hudsucker ENTERS FRAME.

FREEZE FRAME to suspend Hudsucker a good twenty feet above
the sidewalk, arms and legs splayed, comically arrested. The
passerby is frozen in an attitude of surprise and disbelief.

SUPER the title of the film: THE HUDSUCKER PROXY.

UNFREEZE to send Hudsucker plummeting THROUGH the FRAME to
his rendezvous with the sidewalk, BELOW FRAME.

DUTCH ANGLE

The Hudsucker Building lists up into the distance. A woman
in a fancy fruited hat with a black veil rises INTO FRAME AT
an OPPOSING SLANT. Looking down at the sidewalk, she sends
two dismayed hands to her cheek and screeeeeeeeeams.

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

EXT. TOP FLOOR

With the LAST TOLL of the CLOCK punctuating the CUT, we are
FLOATING IN TOWARDS the shattered board room window.

The woman's SCREAM on the street below is FAINT, ECHOING,
MIXING INTO the sound of an APPROACHING SIREN.

THROUGH the window we see the BOARD MEMBERS still sitting
around the table, paralyzed in attitudes of horror and
disbelief. All stare at the shattered window in the f.g.

At the far end of the table, Hudsucker's chair is empty and
oddly askew. His cigar still smokes in its ashtray.

There are dust footprints down the middle of the long oak
table.

One Executive sits with a pluming cigarette held halfway to
his mouth; another holds a carafe suspended on its way to
his water glass; another holds his spectacles inches from
his nose.

We hear only the HUM of the HUDSUCKER CLOCK.

SID MUSSBURGER ENTERS FRAME at the window. He is a tall middle-
aged executive with lean and rugged good looks and a
commanding presence.

He knocks a last piece of glass out of the sill with his
knuckle, looks out, grunts, and draws his head back in.

The CAMERA FOLLOWS him INTO the room. The other board members'
heads swivel to watch him, all staring, searching desperately
for some hint as to the fate of their fallen leader.
Apparently, some absurd hope still lingers.

Mussburger perches on the board table by his own chair.

He reaches over to pluck the smoking cigar from the suicide's
ashtray.

MUSSBURGER
Pity to waste a whole Monte Cristo.

The other board members unfreeze, their worst fears confirmed.

AN EXECUTIVE
He could've opened the window.

ELDERLY EXECUTIVE
Waring Hudsucker never did anything
the easy way.

ADDISON
My God, why?! Why did he do it?!
Things were going so well!

MUSSBURGER
What am I a headshrinker? Maybe the
man was unhappy.

ADDISON
He didn't look unhappy!

EXECUTIVE
Yeah, well, he didn't look rich.

ELDERY EXECUTIVE
Waring Hudsucker was never an easy
man to figure out.
(reminiscing)
He built this company with his bare
hands. Every step he took was a step
up. Except of course this last one.

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure, he was a swell guy, but
when the president, chairman of the
board and holder of eighty-seven
percent of the company's stock drops
forty-four floors --

PRECISE EXECUTIVE
Forty-five --

ELDERY EXECUTIVE
Counting the mezzanine --

MUSSBURGER
-- Then the company has a problem.
Stillson, what exactly is the
disposition of Waring's stock?

STILLSON
Well, as you know, Hud left no will
and had no family. The company bylaws
are quite clear in that event. His
entire portfolio will be converted
to common stock and will be sold
over the counter as of the first of
the fiscal year following his demise.

MUSSBURGER
Meaning?

STILLSON
Meaning simply that Waring's stock,
and control of the company, will be
available to the public on January
first.

MUSSBURGER
You mean to tell me that any slob in
a smelly T-shirt will be able to buy
Hudsucker stock?

Stillson shrugs.

STILLSON
The company bylaws are quite clear.

ADDISON
My God! You're animals! How can you
discuss his stock when the man has
just leapt forty-five floors --

PRECISE EXECUTIVE
Forty-four --

ELDERLY EXECUTIVE
-- Not counting the mezzanine.

MUSSBURGER
Quit showboating, Addison, the man
is gone. The question now is whether
we're going to let John Q. Public
waltz in and buy 87 percent of our
company.

PIPE-SMOKING EXECUTIVE
What're you suggesting, Sidney?
Certainly we can't afford to buy a
controlling interest.

MUSSBURGER
Not while the stock is this strong.
How long before Hud's paper hits the
market?

STILLSON
January first.

AN EXECUTIVE
Thirty days.

ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
Four weeks.

ADDISON
A month at the most.

MUSSBURGER
One month to make the blue-chip
investment of the century look like
a round-trip ticket on the Titanic.

AN EXECUTIVE
We play up the fact that Hud is dead.

ALL
(in unison)
Long live the Hud!!

ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
We depress the stock --

YET ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
-- to the point where we can buy
fifty-percent.

PRECISE EXECUTIVE
Fifty-one.

ELDERLY EXECUTIVE
Not counting the mezzanine.

CAUTIOUS EXECUTIVE
It could work.

OPTIMISTIC EXECUTIVE
It should work.

PRACTICAL EXECUTIVE
It would work.

MUSSBURGER
(at ticker tape machine)
It's working already. Waring Hudsucker
is abstract art on Madison Avenue.
All we need now is a new president
who will inspire real panic in our
stockholders.

ENTHUSIASTIC EXECUTIVE
Yeah, a puppet!

ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
A proxy!

YET ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
A pawn!

Mussburger strides across the room from the still CHATTERING
TICKER TAPE MACHINE and lowers himself into Waring Hudsucker's
chair. He takes a last puff from his cigar and slowly exhales
a cloud of smoke.

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure. Some jerk we can really
push around.

CUT TO:

SWINGING STEEL DOORS

that read, "MAILROOM." They burst open as Norville, who wears
a mail clerk's leather apron, imprinted: HUDSUCKER
MAILROOM/The Future is Now. The hellish mailroom is criss-
crossed by pipes that emit HISSING jets of STEAM.

As he wheels a piled-high mail cart down the aisle, Norville
is accompanied by an orientation AGENT who bellows at him
over the clamor and roar of many men laboring in the bowels
of a great corporation.

AGENT
You punch in at 8:30 every morning
except you punch in at 7:30 following
a business holiday unless it's a
Monday and then you punch in at eight
o'clock! You punch in at 7:45
whenever we work extended day and
you punch out at the regular time
unless you've worked through lunch!

NORVILLE
What's exte --

AGENT
Punch in late and they dock ya!

People on either side bellow at Norville and stuff envelopes
and packages under his elbows, into his pockets, under his
chin, between his clenched teeth, etc.

FIRST SCREAMER
This goes to seven! Mr. Mutuszak!
Urgent!

AGENT
Incoming articles, get a voucher!
Outgoing articles, provide a voucher!
Move any article without a voucher
and they dock ya!

SECOND SCREAMER
Take this up to the secretarial pool
on three! Right away! Don't break
it!

AGENT
Letter size a green voucher! Folder
size a yellow voucher! Parcel size a
maroon voucher!

THIRD SCREAMER
This one's for Morgatross! Chop chop!

AGENT
Wrong color voucher and they dock
ya! Six-seven-eight-seven-zero-four-
niner-alpha-slash-six! That is your
employee number! It will not be
repeated! Without your employee number
you cannot cash your paycheck!

FOURTH SCREAMER
This goes up to twenty-seven! If
there's no one there bring it down
to eighteen! Have 'em sign the waiver!
DON'T COME BACK DOWN HERE WITHOUT A
SIGNED WAIVER!!

AGENT
Inter-office mail is code 37! INTRA-
office mail is 37-dash-3! Outside
mail is 3-dash 37! Code it wrong and
they dock ya!

FIFTH SCREAMER
I was supposed to have this on twenty-
eight ten minutes ago! Cover for me!

AGENT
This has been your orientation! Is
there anything you do not understand?
Is there anything you understand
only partially? If you have not been
fully oriented -- if there is
something you do not understand in
all of its particulars you must file
a complaint with personnel! File a
faulty complaint... and they dock
ya!

CUT TO:

NORVILLE

standing in front of a shelf of cubbyholes. As we FOLLOW his
hand drawing an 8 X 10 envelope across the line of
alphabetized mail slots. The envelope is addressed to Max
Kloppitt, Jr.

NORVILLE
(muttering to himself)
...Bring it down to fif(?)...
fifteen... sign the voucher, uh,
waiver... cover for Mr. Anatole...
he's a swell guy... Morgatross...
He was on, uh...

He is COASTING ACROSS the "K" mail slots, finally COMES TO
Max Kloppitt, Sr. His hand moves to the next slot, Max
Kloppitt, Jr. This slot is half the size of all the others.
The envelope will not fit in.

He frowns.

He is about to fold the envelope, but notices something
stamped in red on its face. DO NOT FOLD.

Norville frowns. As he stares at the envelope, we see
envelopes swishing across the f.g., whipping one by one in
rapid succession, left to right.

CLOSEUP - ANCIENT SORTER

An old man sitting at the adjacent shelf, sorting mail.

Without ever even looking up, with a constant high-speed
back and forth flicking of his right hand, he is whisking
pieces of mail one by one out of the pile of mail in his
left hand.

ANCIENT SORTER'S SHELF

As his letters fly furiously but neatly into their mail slots.

NORVILLE

He raises his voice over the mailroom din:

NORVILLE
Say, what do you do when the envelope
is too big for the slot?

The ANCIENT SORTER considers this as he continues whisking
his mail.

ANCIENT SORTER
Well... if ya fold 'em, they fire
ya...

Whisk. Whisk. Whisk.

ANCIENT SORTER
...I usually throw 'em out.

Norville takes out a pencil and writes on the face of the
envelope:

INSERT - LETTER

Dear Mr. Kloppit, Please give this letter to your son. Thank
you, Norville Barnes.

After a moment he adds:

Your friend in the mailroom.

BACK TO SCENE

NORVILLE
(talking as he writes)
Just got hired today!

ANCIENT SORTER
Terrific.

NORVILLE
Ya know, entry level!

ANCIENT SORTER
Tell me about it.

NORVILLE
I got big ideas, though!

ANCIENT SORTER
I'm sure you do.

NORVILLE
For instance, take a look at this
sweet baby...

Norville is taking an envelope from his pocket and handing
it to the Ancient Sorter.

NORVILLE
...you look like you can keep a
secret...

The Ancient Sorter is pulling a ragged piece of paper from
the envelope. On the paper is a crudely-drawn circle.

NORVILLE
...Something I developed myself.
Yessir, this is my ticket upstairs.

The Ancient Sorter looks questioningly from the circle to
Norville.

NORVILLE
(explains)
...You know, for kids!

The Ancient Sorter nods with feigned understanding as Norville
takes the paper back.

ANCIENT SORTER
Terrific.

NORVILLE
So ya see, I won't be in the mailroom
long.

ANCIENT SORTER
(deadpan)
Nooo, I don't guess you will be.

He resumes his sorting.

NORVILLE
How long've you been down here?

ANCIENT SORTER
Forty-eight years...

Whisk. Whisk.

ANCIENT SORTER
...Next year they move me up to
parcels...

Whisk. Whisk. Whisk.

ANCIENT SORTER
...If I'm lucky.

A BELL CLANGS.

The PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM SPUTTERS to life.

PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM (V.O.)
Attention Hudsucker employees. We
regretfully announce that at 12:01
this afternoon, Hudsucker time, Waring
Hudsucker, Founder, President, and
Chairman of the Board of Hudsucker
Industries, merged with the infinite.
To mark this occasion of corporate
loss, we ask that all employees
observe a moment of silent
contemplation.

All HUBBUB ABRUPTLY STOPS and the sounds of HEAVY MACHINERY,
HISSING STEAM PIPES, and GENERATORS WIND DOWN TO leave total
SILENCE. After a moment:

PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM (V.O.)
...Thank you for your kind attention.
This moment has been duly-noted on
your time cards and will be deducted
from your pay. That is all.

The MACHINERY GROANS back INTO ACTION and the people return
to their jobs just as:

A STEAM WHISTLE SCREECHES.

ALARM BELLS go OFF.

From the PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM:

PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM (V.O.)
'Blue letter! Blue letter!'

The mail room is thrown into pandemonium.

VARIOUS VOICES
Blue letter...! It's a blue letter...!
They're bringing down a blue letter!

One MAN spins to face the CAMERA, his hands pressed over his
ears. STEAM JETS and HISSES behind him.

MAN
Blue letter!!

Animated for the first time:

ANCIENT SORTER
Jumpin' Jehosephat, a blue letter!

Mail carts and other paraphernalia are abruptly swept out of
the crowded aisle to form a clear path running down to an
elevator in the b.g.

With a SIREN SOUND, a light above the elevator goes on.

The elevator door sweeps open. It reveals a wall into which
a four-foot high hinged door is set.

This door swings open and an old dwarf emerges: Old man
HUTCHINSON, the boss of the mailroom. He emerges from the
blinding light of the interior of the elevator.

He is holding aloft a letter.

He takes loping drawf strides down the aisle.

CLOSEUP - LETTER

TRACKING ON letter as Hutchinson bears it along. In the b.g.,
the faces that the letter passes are agog.

CROSSCUT the approaching blue letter WITH: Norville and the
Ancient Sorter.

BACK TO SCENE

The Ancient Sorter is leaning over to whisper into Norville's
ear.

ANCIENT SORTER
It's a blue letter... top, top
level... confidential communication
between the brass... usually bad
news... they hate blue letters
upstairs... Hate 'em!

Norville gulps.

HUTCHINSON
You!

Norville looks over his shoulder, but the Ancient Sorter has
disappeared.

HUTCHINSON
...Yeah, you! Barnes!

As he points, the people around Norville shrink away.

HUTCHINSON
...You don't look busy! Think you
can handle a blue letter?
(laughs sadistically)
...This letter was sent down this
morning by the big guy himself! 'At's
right, Waring Hudsucker! It's
addressed to Sid Mussburger!
Hudsucker's right-hand man! It's a
blue letter! That means you put it
right in Mussburger's hand. No
secretaries! No receptionists! No
colleagues! No excuses!

DRAMATIC TRACK IN ON Norville. As Hutchinson talks, he thrusts
the blue letter into Norville's face. Norville looks at it
with terrific apprehension. As Hutchinson's speech ends, we
are TIGHT ON Norville's sweating face.

COMPLEMENTARY TIGHT DUTCH ANGLE ON HUTCHINSON

We can see the veins in his eyes, the veins in his nose, the
hairs in his ears.

HUTCHINSON
Mussburger!!

CUT TO:

ELEVATOR DOORS

ROCKETING OPEN. We MOVE IN ON the young elevator operator
who leers INTO CAMERA. He wears a brass-buttoned uniform,
white gloves and a pillbox hat. The name BUZZ is stitched
onto his breast pocket.

As Norville enters the elevators:

BUZZ
Hiya, buddy! The name is Buzz, I got
the fuzz...

He lifts his pillbox hat to reveal a white crewcut, then
lets the elastic chin strap snap the cap back down onto his
head.

BUZZ
...I make the elevator do what she
duzz!

He holds out his hand but as Norville reaches to shake it he
snaps it away and pats down his crewcut:

BUZZ
...Hang it up to dry.

He cackles and powers the ELEVATOR into GEAR. Norville's
knees buckle under a huge upward surge; Buzz is accustomed
to it.

BUZZ
...What's your pleasure, buddy?

NORVILLE
(regaining his balance)
Forty-fourth floor, and it's very --

BUZZ
Forty-four, the top brass floor say,
buddy! What takes fifty years to get
up to the top floor and thirty seconds
to get down?

NORVILLE
I --

BUZZ
Waring Hudsucker! Na-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Say, buddy!

With a powerful DOWN-SHIFTING SOUND, Buzz brakes the elevator
to a sharp halt. Norville continues upward with the inertia,
painfully smacking his head against a corner of the elevator.

Buzz opens the door and a couple of people enter.

BUZZ
Mr. Kline, up to nine. Mrs. Dell,
personnel. Mr. Levin, thirty-seven.

MR. LEVIN
Thirty-six.

BUZZ
Walk down. Ladies and gentlemen,
step to the rear; here comes
gargantuan Mr. Grier.

An obese MAN enters, smoking a cigar:

FAT MAN
Buzz.

Buzz has already thrown the doors shut and sent the elevator
into its power-rise. Norville, bracing himself now, sinks
only a little under the G-force.

BUZZ
Say, buddy! Who's the most liquid
businessman on the street?

NORVILLE
Well, I --

BUZZ
Waring Hudsucker! Na-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Say, buddy! When is the sidewalk
fully dressed? When it's 'wearing'
Hudsucker! Na-ha-ha-ha!

He turns to look at Norville.

BUZZ
...Ya get it, buddy, it's a pun,
it's a knee-slapper, it's a play on
Jesus, Joseph and Mary, is that a
blue letter?!

All heads in the elevator turn, aghast, to look, and those
near Norville shrink away.

BUZZ
...Cripes a'mighty, whyn't ya tell a
guy?! Hold on, folks, we're express
to the top floor!

The ELEVATOR SCREAMS into overdrive and we:

CUT TO:

ELEVATOR DOORS

Sweeping open. Norville staggers out.

BUZZ
(hissing)
Good luck, buddy!

The door sweeps shut. Norville looks nervously around.

Behind him the elevator doors suddenly open again.

BUZZ
-- You'll need it!

The elevator doors slam shut and we hear its ENGINES SCREAM
as it power-dives away.

Norville turns toward the executive offices.

Plush, thick-carpeted silence.

Norville starts walking.

A SCRAPING SOUND stands out in the high-powered executive
quiet. Norville looks to one side.

A workman in painter's overalls squats in front of a pair of
heavy oak doors. With a razor blade he is scraping off the
name "WARING HUDSUCKER."

NORVILLE
...Mr. Mussburger's office?

The scraper looks sullenly over his shoulder at Norville.

With a jerk of his thumb he indicates the direction.

Norville enters the adjacent office.

OUTER OFFICE

Two secretaries are in Mussburger's outer reception office.
The first is a filing secretary who stands frozen in the
f.g., her hand poised over an open drawer to deposit a folder,
as she stares at Norville with an amused and supercilious
sneer which stays pasted on throughout.

The second secretary -- the RECEPTIONIST -- is seated behind
a desk in the b.g. that flanks the door to Mussburger's
private office. The Receptionist sits with her hands clasped
on the desk, staring at Norville with the hunch-shouldered
down-from-under look of a patient vulture.

RECEPTIONIST
Do you have an appointment?

NORVILLE
Uhh, no, I --

The filing secretary sneers.

RECEPTIONIST
Shall we look in the book, hmmmmmmmmm?

She opens an enormous leather-bound book with yellowed crinkly
pages.

NORVILLE
No, ma'am, ya see, I wouldn't be in
the --

RECEPTIONIST
We don't seem to be in the boooook.

Norville is groping in his apron pocket.

NORVILLE
No, ma'am, ya see I don't have an --

RECEPTIONIST
If we had an appointment we'd be in
the booook.

NORVILLE
I know but ya see I have this --
here it is, this letter --

A low, unearthly WAIL fills the room, the sound of a million
souls moaning in purgatory.

The Receptionist looks up.

FAST TRACK IN ON SNEERING FILE SECRETARY

who is no longer sneering. Her mouth is stretched wide as
she wails and her finger points...

FAST TRACK IN ON BLUE LETTER

that Norville holds innocently at his side.

BACK TO TRACK IN ON WAILING SECRETARY

As her wail becomes deafening and we TRACK INTO her mouth
and the SCREEN GOES BLACK and:

CLICK

The blackness and the wailing are both cut short by the sound
of a DOOR OPENING. We are:

INT. MUSSBURGER'S OFFICE

its door swinging open to admit Norville.

In the b.g., in the outer office, we can see the filing
secretary leaning back motionless in a chair with a damp rag
draped across her forehead. The Receptionist is fanning her
with a towel.

The door closes behind Norville.

We hear a rhythmic CLICK-CLICK-CLICK and the HUM of
VENTILATION.

NORVILLE'S POV

Across miles of carpet is a huge executive desk, behind which
is a large executive chair facing the window. From above the
back of the chair cigar smoke wreathes up. A telephone cord
snakes around to the man sitting in the chair, hidden from
us. On the desktop is a perpetual motion machine of large
swinging ball bearings. Click-click-click.

A TICKERTAPE MACHINE occasionally BURPS information in the
far corner of the office.

A huge MECHANICAL ARM -- the sweep second hand of the
Hudsucker clock on the facade of the building -- RUMBLES by
immediately outside the window, describing an arc that throws
a moving shadow across the office.

His BACK TO us, into the phone:

MUSSBURGER
-- Sure sure, Parkinson's stupid but
he's ambitious, too hard to control...

He swivels around to face Norville, who stands deferentially
at the door. Still listening at the phone, Mussburger waves
Norville forward.

MUSSBURGER
...No! Not McClanahan; sure he bungled
the Teleyard merger, but that means
he's got something to prove...

He covers the mouth piece.

MUSSBURGER
...Who let you in?

NORVILLE
I --

Into the phone:

MUSSBURGER
Atwater? Tremendous. Except I fired
him last week --

The INTERCOM BUZZES fiercely.

VOICE (V.O.)
Mr. Bumstead is waiting downstairs.

Mussburger hits the intercom.

MUSSBURGER
Tell him I'll be right there...
(looks at Norville)
Well, what is it?

NORVILLE
I --

But Mussburger is listening to the TINNY VOICE issuing from
the PHONE.

MUSSBURGER
You, maybe you're the company's
biggest moron. We can't use Morris,
he's been with us too long, he's a
nice guy, too many friends. Matter
of fact, why don't you fire him. No --
scratch that; I'll fire him.
(looks up at Norville)
...Make it fast, make it fast.

NORVILLE
You --

The INTERCOM SQUAWKS.

VOICE (V.O.)
Mr. Bumstead is getting very --

MUSSBURGER
I'll be right there. Give him a
magazine.
(to Norville)
...What're you, a mute?

The second PHONE on Mussburger's desk RINGS.

MUSSBURGER
...Yeah, how's the stock doing?
...Bad, huh? Well it's not bad enough.
(into the first phone)
...Look, chump, either you find me a
grade A ding-dong or you can tender
your key to the executive washroom.
(into the second phone)
And that goes double for you.
(into the first phone)
Ear-clay?
(into both phones)
Ood-gay!
(slams down both
phones, looks at
Norville)
This better be good. I'm in a bad
mood.

Norville clears his throat.

NORVILLE
Well, sir. I've got something for
you from the mailroom, but first if
I could just take a minute or so
from your very busy time...

He reaches into his mailroom apron and hands a scrap of paper
across the desk to Mussburger, who stares, frozen, at
Norville, making no move to take the paper.

NORVILLE
...to show you a, uh...

Norville, undaunted, holds up the paper since Mussburger
will not take it. Mussburger doesn't even look at it; his
eyes are locked on Norville's. Mussburger smolders.

NORVILLE
...a little something I've been
working on for the last two or three
years...

Mussburger's burning eyes finally shift momentarily to look
at the crudely drawn circle; he looks back incredulously at
Norville.

NORVILLE
...You know, for kids! Which is
perfect for Hudsucker -- not that I
claim to be any great genius; like
they say, inspiration is 99 percent
perspiration, and in my case I'd say
it's at least twice that, but I gotta
tell ya, Mr. Mussburger, sir, this
sweet baby --

MUSSBURGER
Wait a minute!

Sudden quiet.

With one last click the perpetual motion ball bearings
abruptly stop.

As Mussburger's eyes burn in on him, Norville stands mute
and paralyzed.

His eyes locked on Norville's, Mussburger circles the desk.
He stands toe-to-toe with Norville.

He thrusts his face into Norville's, whose head moves
reflexively back. Mussburger's nose is almost touching
Norville's, his eyes are burning, searching, studying,
evaluating.

Finally he draws his head back.

MUSSBURGER
Hmmm...

With one hand he thrusts his cigar into Norville's gaping
mouth. With his other hand he raises Norville's chin so that
his teeth clench it.

MUSSBURGER
Umm-hmm...

He steps back, eyes still on Norville.

He jerks his thumb over his shoulder, indicating his chair
behind the desk.

MUSSBURGER
Siddown.

Norville, his lips puckered around the unaccustomed ciger,
looks bemusedly from the chair to Mussburger.

MUSSBURGER
...Go ahead. Try it on.

Norville obeys, reluctantly, stiffly.

MUSSBURGER
...Put your feet up.

Norville is again reluctant.

MUSSBURGER
...Go ahead.

Norville obeys. Mussburger studies.

MUSSBURGER
Hmmmm... Let's get to know one
another, shall we?

Norville's eyes squint against the cigar smoke wreathing
from between his teeth. Mussburger seems to relax.

MUSSBURGER
...Let's chat!
(beams)
...Man to man!

Norville beams.

MUSSBURGER
...You weren't blessed with much...

He waves vaguely towards his head and searches for a
euphemism.

MUSSBURGER
...education, were you?

NORVILLE
Well, I'm a college graduate --

MUSSBURGER
All right, but you didn't excel in
your studies...?

NORVILLE
Well, I made the dean's list.

MUSSBURGER
(worried)
Hmmm.

Norville sputters out some more cigar smoke.

NORVILLE
At the Muncie College of Business
Administration.

MUSSBURGER
(relieved)
Sure, sure. And did your classmates
there call you 'jerk' or...
(searches again)
...'schmoe'?

Norville shakes his head.

MUSSBURGER
...'Shnook'? 'Dope'? 'Dipstick'?
'Lamebrain'?

NORVILLE
No, sir.

MUSSBURGER
Not even behind your back?

NORVILLE
Sir! They voted me most likely to
succeed!

MUSSBURGER
(curtly)
You're fired.

NORVILLE
But, sir! --

MUSSBURGER
Get your feet off that desk.

As he struggles to comply:

NORVILLE
But --

MUSSBURGER
Get out of my sight.

Norville, squinting against the cigar smoke, pulls the cigar
out of his mouth as he doubles forward, feet still up, groping
for a place to set down the cigar. He sets it blindly on a
loose stack of papers.

MUSSBURGER
My God! The Bumstead contracts!!

NORVILLE
Oh my God, sir!

The top page radiates a circle of incipient flame from the
cigar's live end.

MUSSBURGER
You nitwit! I worked for three years
on this deal!

NORVILLE
Oh my God, sir!

Norville runs across the office to a large water cooler.

MUSSBURGER
I'll take care of it. Just get out!

Mussburger plucks the cigar off the contract and tosses it
into a wastebasket. He pats the fingertips of one hand against
his tongue and then efficiently pats out the crinkling orange
circle on the top sheet of the contract.

At the other end of the office, Norville is wrapping his
arms around the glass water tank, which he pulls off its
base. He runs back across the vast expanse of office toward
the desk, hugging the water tank whose WATER GLOOB-GLOOBS
out its open bottom and splashes down onto his pumping knees.

As he reaches the desk, the near-empty tank is now light
enough for him to hoist with one arm, which he does, and
cups his other hand under it to catch its last glub of water.
He tosses the TANK to the floor where --

CRASH -- it SHATTERS, and stands looking about for a place
to dump his handful of water.

MUSSBURGER
Why you nitwit. You almost destroyed
the most sensitive deal of my career!

NORVILLE
Oh my God, sir!

He is reacting to the wastebasket on his side of the desk,
which Mussburger cannot see.

It is sprouting flame, at which Norville ineffectually flecks
his remaining drops of water.

MUSSBURGER
Now out of here! Out!

Norville is already running to the window, which he runs
both palms over, desperately seeking a way to open it.

MUSSBURGER
Not that way! Through the door!

NORVILLE
But, sir!

The windows do not open. Norville furiously stomps on the
flames in the wastebasket and -- his foot sticks.

Further stomping only makes the flaming wastebasket roar up
and down with his foot.

MUSSBURGER
Right away, buster! Out of my office!

Norville has dropped to the floor, trying to wrench the
flaming wastebasket off his leg.

MUSSBURGER
Up on your feet! We don't crawl at
Hudsucker Industries!

NORVILLE
Sir, my leg is on fire!

Norville finally succeeds in getting the flaming wastebasket
off his foot. Now the problem is what to do with it.

MUSSBURGER
Get out of this office, you dithering
nincompoop!

Norville picks up the flaming trash receptacle.

NORVILLE
Oh my God, sir!

He winds up and throws it through the closed window.

The GLASS SHATTERS and the flaming basket plummets to
oblivion.

With the picture window broken a FEROCIOUS DRAFT ROARS through
the penthouse office.

CLOSE SHOT - BUMSTEAD CONTRACTS

On the desk. The pages are sucked away by the draft.

MUSSBURGER
My God! The Bumstead contracts!

NORVILLE
Oh my God, sir!

Mussburger lunges for the contracts as they are sucked out
the window.

He runs, jumps onto the sill, grabs -- his fist clenches
around one wafting page -- he is about to fall --

MUSSBURGER
Eeeeeeaaaahhhhh!

CUT TO:

INT. EXECUTIVE WAITING ROOM

BUMSTEAD, a short, fat, heavily perspiring executive, is
screaming at an O.S. secretary. He holds a pot of coffee in
one hand and a copy of Boy's Life in the other.

BUMSTEAD
No magazine. No coffee. Mussburger!
I wanna see Mussburger! Or did he
jump out a window too?!

In the window behind him we see loose sheets of paper
fluttering down.

CUT TO:

NORVILLE

Desperately hanging onto Mussburger by his legs.

NORVILLE
Don't worry, Mr. Mussburger! I gotcha.
I gotcha by your pants!

Mussburger's screaming abruptly stops.

CLOSEUP - MUSSBURGER'S HORROR-STRICKEN FACE REMEMBERING (THE
SCREEN GOES WATERY):

MUSSBURGER

is in a basement tailor shop. LUIGI, an old Italian tailor,
is just running his tape up Mussburger's inseam.

LUIGI
Meester Moosaburger, I give-a you
pants a nice-a dooble stitch. Make
'em strong, and they look-a real
sharp.

MUSSBURGER
(barking)
No! Single stitch is fine.

LUIGI
(begging)
But please-a, Meester Moosaburger,
the dooble stitch she last-a forever --

MUSSBURGER
Why on earth would I need a double
stitch? To pad your bill? Single
stitch is fine!

CUT BACK TO:

CLOSEUP OF PANICKED MUSSBURGER

MUSSBURGER
Damn!

We hear a LOUD TEARING sound O.S. Mussburger drops a few
inches.

QUICK WIPE TO:

LUIGI AT HIS SEWING MACHINE

LUIGI
(musing to himself)
What the heck. Meester Moosaburger
such a nice-a guy, I give him dooble
steech-a anyway. Assa some-a strong-
a steech-a, you bet!

BACK TO MUSSBURGER'S PANTS

The tearing fabric abruptly catches and stops; the rest of
the pants hold intact.

MUSSBURGER

sighs with relief.

He looks up.

NORVILLE

Norville's arms are wrapped around Mussburger's ankles; the
heels of Mussburger's shoes are digging into his face.

MUSSBURGER

Looking. Thinking.

NORVILLE

Struggling to hold on.

MUSSBURGER

Calm. Contemplating.

MUSSBURGER
Hmmm...

He absently removes a cigar from his breast pocket and sticks
it in his mouth. He holds his lighter under the cigar, not
noticing that the flame is pointing the wrong way.

He looks at Norville.

NORVILLE

His face drawn with effort, still struggling to hang on.

A PULL BACK FROM the EXTREME CLOSE SHOT REVEALS, however,
that Norville's arms are now wrapped around -- emptiness.

Mussburger's legs are gone.

Norville throws his head back and laughs, it seems, insanely --
but CONTINUED PULL BACK REVEALS that Norville is merely
pantomiming the adventure for the benefit of the board
members, including Mussburger. They stand around Mussburger's
office, laughing gaily. All safe now, no harm done. This
inaugurates:

LAUGHING MONTAGE

Montage silent but for MUSIC.

A) Norville is entertaining the board with his depiction of
the near-disaster. Mussburger is slapping him merrily on the
back.

B) CLOSE SHOT - Board member laughing.

C) Another board member. Laughing.

D) Mussburger. Laughing.

E) Norville laughing.

F) FREEZE FRAME ON Norville's laughing face.

ANGLE

PULL BACK to reveal that the frozen picture is the newspaper
photo on the front page of the Manhattan Argus.

Its headline reads: UNTRIED YOUTH TO HELM HUDSUCKER.

The subhead reads: Stockholders Wary. The sub-subhead reads:
Meteoric Rise From Mailroom.

The article is under the byline of Amy Archer.

CONTINUED PULL BACK REVEALS that we are looking at the
newspaper OVER someone's SHOULDER. The person swivels around
and away -- his face now TO us, we see that it is Norville
looking at the newspaper. He throws his head back and laughs
merrily.

As he laughs -- thwock -- a steaming towel is thrown onto
his face and he continues to swivel. CONTINUED PULL BACK
REVEALS that he is in a barber chair.

His head drops back and OUT OF FRAME as the swiveling chair
is cranked down, but immediately -- still spinning --

-- his head reappears as the chair is cranked up again.

Still laughing, Norville is now freshly shaven and has a
slicked-back haircut, heavy with pomade.

FREEZE ON Norville's laughing face.

ANGLE

PULL BACK to reveal it is another front page photo next to
the headline: Hud Board To Street: GIVE MAN FROM MUNCIE A
CHANCE. Subhead: Has Fresh Ideas.

CONTINUED PULL BACK REVEALS that the paper is lying on a
chair. Norville's mailroom apron is tossed onto the chair to
cover it.

PAN TO where the apron was tossed from. Norville stands on a
tailor's stage, laughing, as the tailor, also laughing, takes
his measurements. Norville in shirtsleeves, boxer shorts,
hose stockings and garters.

The tailor rises, laughing merrily, throwing up his arms and
spreading them wide with hands stretching the measuring tape.

Norville laughs merrily and also throws his arms up wide.

BOARD MEMBER

laughs merrily, his arms thrown wide, tickertape stretching
between his hands. He joyously tosses away the tickertape.

FLOOR

where the tickertape lands on a pile of previously discharged
tape.

PAN UP to reveal that the tickertape continues to burp its
disastrous tale of good news for the board.

PAN UP FURTHER to reveal that the machine is in Mussburger's
office. At the far end of the room, behind his desk,
Mussburger laughs as he looks at a newspaper.

TRACK IN TOWARDS him.

On his desk the perpetual ballbearings swing; outside his
window the sweep second hand of the Hudsucker clock rumbles
by, sweeping a shadow across the floor. Evil prevails.

As Mussburger opens the newspaper, the CONTINUED TRACK IN
shows its front page headline: HUD STOCK DIPS. Subhead: Just
Good Is He?

TRACK IN ON the front page photo: Norville laughing, his
chin propped in his hand.

PHOTOGRAPH

COMES TO LIFE and Norville unfreezes, laughing.

We are now TRACKING BACK FROM him. He sits behind a huge oak
desk, newly coifed and tailored.

The brass plaque on the desk confirms that he is in the OFFICE
OF THE PRESIDENT.

TRACK BACK CONTINUES THROUGH the large elegant office, leaving
Norville looking quite small IN LONG SHOT.

His LAUGHTER ECHOES in the bright bare office.

Norville's laughter is just winding down, leaving him
exhausted, as if he has been laughing nonstop for several
days. He finally sighs and wipes a tear from his eye.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

NEW YORK SKYLINE - DAY

In the skyline we can see the Hudsucker building topped by
the Hudsucker clock.

A cigar ENTERS FRAME in the f.g., then the face of the man
smoking it. Staring contemplatively at the Hudsucker building,
he takes a puff from the cigar and then plucks it from his
mouth and waves it, as if painting a headline.

EDITOR
'The Einstein of Enterprise.' 'The
Edison of Industry.' 'The Billion-
Dollar Cranium'... 'Idea Man'!
(exploding)
And not one of you mugs has given me
a story on him!!

REVERSE

shows the Editors glassed-in office filled with REPORTERS
for the staff meeting. Although they listen quietly, they
are more bored than attentive.

THROUGH the glass walls we can see the furious activity of
an army of reporters, editors, and copy boys waging the never-
ending battle to put out a quality daily newspaper.

The Editor slams a newspaper down onto his desk in disgust.

EDITOR
Facts, figures, charts! They never
sold a newspaper! I read this
morning's edition of the Argus and
let me tell you something: I'd wrap
a fish in it! I'd use it as kindling!
Hell, I'd even train my poodle with
it if he wasn't a French poodle and
more partial to the pages of Paree
Soir! But I sure wouldn't shell out
a hard-earned nickel to read the
dadblamed thing!

REPORTER
Come on, chief, give us a break.

EDITOR
Suuuure, Tibbs, take a break! Go to
Florida! Lie in the sun! Wait for a
coconut to drop, file a story on it --
it'll be more of a grabber than your
piece on the commie grain surplus!
The human angle! That's what sells
papers! We need a front page with
heart and the whole idea of the 'Idea
Man' idea can put it there!

REPORTER #2
Chief, if we had more access --

EDITOR
Yeah, and if a frog had wings he
wouldn't bump his ass a-hoppin'! I
don't want excuses, I want results!

Whack! --

Without even looking in its direction, the Editor has slammed
down the lid of the cigar box on his desk, towards which one
Reporter's hand had been idly reaching.

The Reporter jerks his fingers away as the Editor spares the
briefest moment to glare at him.

EDITOR
I wanna know what makes the Idea Man
tick! Where is he from? Where is he
going? I wanna know everything about
this guy! Has he got a girl? Has he
got parents?

REPORTER #3
Everybody has parents.

EDITOR
All right, how many? How 'bout it,
Parkinson, you've been awful quiet
over there.

PARKINSON
Uhhh...

REPORTER NEXT TO HIM
Still waters run deep, chief.

EDITOR
The only thing that runs deep with
Parkinson is the holes in his ears.
Yes, the Idea Man! What're his hopes
and dreams, his desires and
aspirations? Does he think all the
time or does he set aside a certain
portion of the day? How tall is he
and what's his shoe size? Where does
he sleep and what does he eat for
breakfast? Does he put jam on his
toast or doesn't he put jam on his
toast, and if not why not and since
when?

He thrust his face into that of the Reporter.

EDITOR
...Well?!!

No answer.

EDITOR
...Ahh, you're useless. Yes, Idea
Man! Creator! Innovator! Cerebrator!
Tycoon!--

WOMAN (O.S.)
Fake.

EDITOR
Huhh!!

WOMAN

Star reporter AMY ARCHER -- attractive, smartly-dressed.

AMY
I tell ya the guy's a phony.

EDITOR
Phony, huh?

AMY
As a three-dollar bill.

EDITOR
Sez who?

AMY
Sez me! Amy Archer. Why is he an
Idea Man -- because Hudsucker says
he is? What're his ideas? Why won't
they let anyone interview him?...

One Reporter is leaning into another to keep his voice low:

REPORTER
Five bucks says she mentions her
Pulitzer.

OTHER REPORTER
Again? You're on.

AMY
(as she picks up the
morning paper)
...And just take a look at the mug
on this guy -- the jutting eyebrows,
the simian forehead, the idiotic
grin. Why he has a face only a mother
could love --

Whack! The Editor has slammed down the cigar box lid again
but: Amy, smiling, raises a cigar INTO FRAME having beaten
him.

She tosses it to the Reporter who failed to get one.

AMY
...On payday! The only story here is
how this guy made a monkey out of
you, Al.

EDITOR
Yeah, well, monkey or not I'm still
editor of this rag. Amy, I thought
you were doing that piece on the
F.B.I. -- J. Edgar Hoover: When Will
He Marry?

AMY
I filed it yesterday.

EDITOR
Well, do a follow-up: Hoover: Hero
or Mama's Boy? The rest of you bums
get up off your brains and get me
that Idea Man story!

REPORTERS
All right, chief... We'll do our
best, chief... I'll give it a shot,
chief...

AMY
(at the door)
Al, he's the bunk.

Slam!

One of the wagering Reporters grins at the other, who is
taking out a five dollar bill.

The door bursts open and Amy sticks her head in.

AMY
I'll stake my Pulitzer on it!

CUT TO:

ELEVATOR DOORS

Sweeping open to reveal the leering face of Buzz, the elevator
gnat.

BUZZ
Say, buddy! Where'd ya get the new
duds?

Norville is entering the elevator in his new executive outfit.

BUZZ
...and say, buddy! How'd old
bucketbutt like his blue letter?
Na-ha-ha-ha-ha! Did he bust a gut?
Did he die? Did he -- Well, hello,
Mr. Mussburger, sir...

Buzz is instant decorum as Mussburger enters the elevator.

BUZZ
...How're you this fine morning,
sir?

Norville has been worriedly patting at his pockets since the
mention of the blue letter.

NORVILLE
That reminds me, Mr. Mu... uh, Sid.
I never did give you that--

MUSSBURGER
(to Buzz)
Lobby. We haven't got all day.

BUZZ
Right away, Mr. Mussburger sir.

As he talks, Mussburger pats at his suit pocket, takes out a
cigar, inspects it.

MUSSBURGER
Well I'm starved. I understand it'll
be quite an affair this afternoon,
and the executive roast tom turkey
at the Bohemian Grove redefines the
word superb.

He puts the cigar in his mouth and Buzz's hand is right there
with a lighter.

BUZZ
My pleasure, sir.

NORVILLE
Roast tom turkey. Gee, I'm hungry
too --

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure...

The elevator doors open.

BUZZ
It's been a pleasure serving you,
Mr. Mussburger.

Buzz turns to Norville. He is puzzled but trying to hide it:

BUZZ
...and it's been a pleasure serving
you too, uh... buddy.

MR. MUSSBURGER

is already striding through the lobby; Norville has to lope
to catch up.

NORVILLE
Say, Mr. Muss -- uh, Sid! Shouldn't
we be a little bit concerned with
the downward spiral of our stock
these last few days? I mean, you're
the expert, but at the Muncie College
of Business Administration they told
us --

Mussburger gives an artificially hearty laugh and claps
Norville on the shoulder.

MUSSBURGER
Relax, Norville. It's only natural
in a period of transition for the
more nervous element to run for cover.

NORVILLE
Okay, Sid. Like I said, you're the
expert, but --

EXT. SIDEWALK

Norville is still loping behind Mussburger, trying to keep
up with his long strides.

NORVILLE
...You don't happen to remember the
plan I outlined to you the day I set
fire to your off -- uh, the day I
was promoted?

MUSSBURGER
I do remember and I was impressed.
Anyway, that's all forgotten now.
Driver!

NORVILLE
Thank you, Sid, but the reason I
mention it is, it would require such
a small capital investment -- again,
you're the expert here --

MUSSBURGER
Damnit, where's my car!

NORVILLE
-- But there's such an enormous
potential profit-wise given the
demographics -- baby boom --
discretionary income in the burgeoning
middle class --

A black limousine pulls up to the curb.

MUSSBURGER
Finally.

NORVILLE
-- So if you think it's appropriate,
I'd like to bounce the idea off a
few people at lunch --

Mussburger is getting into the back seat --

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure, tell whoever you want...

And, to Norville's surprise, slamming the door shut behind
him.

MUSSBURGER
...And I'd like to hear more about
it at some point, too.

SCREEEECH -- the CAR pulls away. Norville is left talking to
himself on the empty sidewalk.

NORVILLE
But, Sid, I thought you and I were...

DOORMAN
Say, bud, could you keep the sidewalk
clear here?

NORVILLE
But I'm the president of this --
aww, forget it.

CUT TO:

INT. COFFEE SHOP

A cheap coffee shop a half-flight down from the street.

We are LOOKING ACROSS an elbow of the coffee shop counter.
In the middle b.g., Norville sits dejectedly stirring a cup
of coffee.

Behind him, THROUGH the window wells, we see the back and
forth feet of pedestrians bustling by on the sidewalk.

In the extreme f.g. sit two steaming mugs of coffee.

They belong to two VETERANS of the coffee shop, who, from
O.S., narrate the scene.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
I got gas, Bennie.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
Yeah, tell me about it.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
No kiddin', Bennie. I got gas.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
Ya get the special?

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
Fah from it...

He gives a low whistle under his breath as a woman enters
from the street and hesitates by the door, looking around.
Still attractive but looking somewhat down-at-the-heels, it
is Amy Archer.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
...Enter the dame.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
There's one in every story.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
Ten bucks says she's looking for a
handout.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
Twenty bucks says not here she don't
find one.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
She's looking for her mark.

The woman's eyes settle on Norville, and she heads for the
empty stool next to his.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
She finds him.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
She sits down.

The woman says something to the counter waitress, who exits.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
...and awduhs a light lunch.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
She looks in her purse...

She is holding her wallet upside down.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
...No money.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
The mark notices.

Beat. Norville, however, is not noticing: He is staring
intently at his coffee spoon, his hat pushed back on his
head, his other hand propping up a cheekbone; the woman's
presence does not seem to have registered yet.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
...He's not noticing, Benny.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
Maybe he's wise.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
He don't look wise.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
Plan two: Here come the waterworks.

The woman starts crying.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
Yellowstone.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
Old Faithful.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
Hello, Niagara.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
He notices.

As the woman cries, she accidentally-on-purpose jostles
Norville and he finally does indeed notice.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
He's concerned.

The woman mouths words at Norville who reacts sympathetically
and waves his hands at the waitress.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
She explains her perdicament, and...

VETERAN #1 & #2 (O.S.)
(in unison)
...entuh the light lunch.

The waitress is entering to set a plate in front of the woman.

The woman continues to talk to Norville, smiling wanly at
him.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
She's got other problems, of course...

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
...Her mother needs an operation...

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
...adenoids.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
No, Bennie: Lumbago.

Veteran #1's enunciation of "lumbago" falls into perfect
sync with the woman's moving lips.

Norville is listening sympathetically, but he suddenly notices
his watch.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
(alarmed)
She's losing him, Bennie.

Norville is rising to his feet.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
Maybe he's wise.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
He don't look wise.

As Norville turns to leave:

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
How does she pull this out?

She puts the back of her hand dramatically to her forehead.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
(disbelieving)
She isn't!

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
(thrilled)
She is!

And indeed she does: Faint dead away, falling backwards on
the stool, so that Norville has no choice but to catch her.

Norville holds her awkwardly, looking around for help.

VETERAN #1 (O.S.)
She's good, Bennie.

VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
She's damn good, Lou.

A WAITRESS enters extreme f.g. to BLOCK OUR VIEW of the
swooned woman and the embarrassed Norville. The Waitress is
FACING the CAMERA and the two O.S. Veterans; the CROPPING
gives us only her torso and the steaming pot of coffee she
holds.

WAITRESS
(bored, nasal voice)
Can I get you boys anything else?

REVERSE ANGLE

Back of the Waitress's torso in f.g.; on either side beyond
her, the two Veterans are looking up at her O.S. face. They
sport extremely bored expressions, topped by "cabbie" caps.

VETERAN #1
Bromo.

Beat.

VETERAN #2
...Bromo.

INT. NORVILLE'S OFFICE

Looking at its frosted-glass door; the sign painter is just
finishing lettering in: NORVILLE BARNES, President.

The sign painter makes way as we see Norville's shadow
approaching; even from inside the room we can hear that he
is WHEEZING HEAVILY. He is apparently carrying the girl,
cradled in his arms. He tries to reach down to get the
doorknob; can't manage it; turns to press his back against
the door and get the knob with his other hand.

The door opens as Norville swings around to enter. He is
wheezing like a gas pipe about to explode.

He swings around to kick the door shut. We see that the
lettering on the door is now terribly smudged; we also see,
in wet ink, on the seat of Norville's pants: senraB ellivroN
tnediserP.

Weakly, still cradled in Norville's arms:

AMY
I'm sorry we had to take the stairs.
It was just that horrible little
elevator boy...

NORVILLE
Not at all. You're light as a feather.

AMY
(pointing languorously)
The couch, please.

Still wheezing horribly, Norville staggers over to the couch
and deposits her gently on it. He straightens up and looks
at her.

NORVILLE'S POV

She is smiling wanly AT the CAMERA. The entire IMAGE PULSATES
as the blood pounds behind Norville's eyeballs.

We hear the LOUD, RASPING of his BREATH, resonating inside
his head. Amy is talking but her voice is barely audible, as
if coming from a long way away.

BACK TO SCENE

NORVILLE
Just a minute.

He perches drunkenly on the edge of the couch and puts his
head between his knees, still fighting for breath.

AMY
I don't know what came over me. I
suppose it was the shock of eating
after so long without; the enzymes
kicking in after so long, or whatever.
But then you couldn't possibly know
what it is to be tired and hungry...

Speaking into his knees as he wheezes:

NORVILLE
Hungry, anyway.

AMY
I don't want to bore you with all
the sordid details of my life; it's
not a happy story...

Norville rises and starts putting throw pillows behind her
head.

AMY
...Suffice it to say that I'm jobless --
though not for want of trying, that
I'm friendless, with no one to --
thank you -- take care of me; and
that had you not come along at just
exactly the moment that you did --

She screams, staring down at the couch.

Norville jumps, startled, then looks where she is looking.

On the white sofa cushion where he had been sitting is
printed, in wet ink, right side around: NORVILLE BARNES,
President.

AMY
Norville, I didn't know you were
president here!

Norville stares dumbfounded at the sofa cushion. When the
nickel finally drops, he spins around to try to look at the
seat of his pants.

Distracted but still modest:

NORVILLE
Oh, it's nothing really. Just
determination and hard work...

He unbuckles his trousers.

NORVILLE
...Of course, when I started in the
mailroom last Tuesday I thought it
might take more time --

Buzz enters holding a brown paper bag.

BUZZ
Say, buddy, here's the whiskey you
asked f --

He freezes, taking in the scene: Amy reclining on the couch;
Norville standing in front of her with his pants around his
ankles, still breathing heavily; the bottle of whiskey in
his own hand.

NORVILLE
(flustered)
Thank you, Buzz, just leave it on
the desk.

Leering:

BUZZ
Happy days, buddy...

As he turns to leave:

BUZZ
...and I'll tell your secretary you're
not to be disturbed. Yowzuh!!

He snaps the elastic strap under his chin.

After the doors shut behind Buzz:

AMY
(shuddering)
What a horrible little person.

NORVILLE
Oh, Buzz is pretty harmless, really --

AMY
At any rate I arrived in town not
ten days ago, full of dreams and
aspirations, anxious to make my way
in the world --

Norville pours a glass of whiskey and brings it over to her.

AMY
A little naive perhaps but -- thank
you -- armed with determination, a
solid work ethic, and an indomitable
belief in the future --

NORVILLE
I myself --

He crosses back to the desk.

AMY
Only to have that belief, that
unsullied optimism, dashed against
the marble and mortar of the modern
work place --

Norville takes a cigarette from a large wood cigarette box
on the desk and sticks it in his mouth.

NORVILLE
Cigarette?

AMY
No thank you. Seek and ye shall find,
work and ye shall prosper -- these
were the watch words of my education,
the ethics of my tender years --

OVER NORVILLE'S SHOULDER

He has been pushing the box towards her. The box tilts lazily
forward and then disappears over the far lip of the desk. We
hear the THUD of the BOX landing amid the pitter-patter of
cigarettes raining onto the carpet.

Amy's brow crinkles. Continuing:

AMY
-- these were the values that were
instilled in me while I was growing
up in a little town you've probably
never heard of --

NORVILLE
Mind if I join you?

He is pouring himself a drink.

AMY
Be my guest. A little town you've
probably --

He tosses back his drink, gags, looks at Amy with his eyes
bulging.

HIS POV

Once again her IMAGE PULSATES. There is a ROARING SOUND and
an AIRY STEAM WHISTLE as she silently moves her lips.

NORVILLE
He waves his arms and talks with a
thick rasp as he staggers to his
feet.

NORVILLE
Excuse me -- I -- executive
washroom...

He staggers out a side door.

On his exit Amy leaps to her feet and scurries over to his
desk. At the top of her voice:

AMY
Are you all right?...

She throws open the top desk drawer. Inside two lonely lead
pencils roll through the otherwise empty drawer.

Amy expertly flips a cigarette into her mouth and strikes a
match off the desktop.

AMY
...Is it your lunch? The chicken a
la king?

From the washroom:

NORVILLE (O.S.)
No, I --

Amy throws open another drawer, empty except for an
appointment book. As she hurriedly flips through page after
blank page an arctic WIND WHISTLES emptiness. One page only
has a notation: 11:45. Address Wilkie Grammar School Junior
Achievers Club.

AMY
Is the a la king repeating on you?

Amy shoves the appointment book back into the drawer.

NORVILLE (O.S.)
...I'm fine, I... You were saying?

She mutters:

AMY
Values... watchwords... uh, tender
years...
(aloud)
-- A little town you've probably
never heard of...

She hastily stubs out her cigarette and waves her hand to
disperse the smoke.

AMY
...Muncie, Indiana.

She scurries back across the room as we hear the FAUCET BEING
TURNED OFF: she re-strikes her languid pose on the couch
just as the washroom door opens.

Norville gapes, one hand pressing a dripping rag to his
forehead.

NORVILLE
You're from Muncie?!

AMY
Why yes, do you know it?

Norville starts making pumping motions with his fists and
loud syncopated grunting noises. Amy gapes at him.

He starts singing, off-key:

NORVILLE
'Fight on fight on dear old Muncie
Fight on -- Hoist the gold and blue
You'll be tattered, torn and hurtin'
Once 'The Munce' is done with you!'

Amy lamely fakes singing along, coming in louder on the last,
obvious rhyme. Norville jumps an octave on it; she quickly
follows sit, also pumping her fists.

As Norville crosses his hands and locks thumbs in front of
his nose to make bird wings of his extended fingers:

NORVILLE
...Goooooooo Eagles!

Amy awkwardly imitates.

Norville excitedly sits behind his desk.

NORVILLE
...A Muncie girl! Talk about the
cat's pyjamas! Tell you what, Amy.
I'm gonna cancel the rest of my
appointments this afternoon and get
you a job here at the Hud.

AMY
Oh, no, really, I --

NORVILLE
Don't bother to thank me, it's the
easiest thing in the world. Matter
of fact, I know where a vacancy just
came up.

He hits the intercom.

NORVILLE
...Mail room.

To Amy:

NORVILLE
...This'll only take a moment.

INTERCOM (V.O.)
Yeah?

NORVILLE
Good afternoon to ya, this is Norville
Barnes --

INTERCOM (V.O.)
Barnes! Where the hell have you been!
And where's my voucher?!

Norville thumps at his pockets.

NORVILLE
...Well, I'm not sure where I --

INTERCOM (V.O.)
I need that voucher! I told you a
week ago it was important!

NORVILLE
But look, I'm president of the company
now and I --

INTERCOM (V.O.)
I don't care if you're president of
the company! I need that voucher!
Now!

CLICK. The intercom goes dead.

NORVILLE
Oh, of all the foolish... Listen, do
you take shorthand? Are you familiar
with the mimeograph machine?

AMY
Of course -- I went to the Muncie,
uh, Secretarial Polytechnic!

Norville excitedly smacks a fist into a palm.

NORVILLE
-- A Muncie girl! Can you beat that!

AMY
Well, I just don't know how to thank
you, Mr. Barnes --

NORVILLE
Please! Norville!

As he reaches to shake:

NORVILLE
...It's my pleasure!

She reaches for his hand but Norville snatches it away and,
winking at her, hooks thumbs in front of his nose and makes
wings of his fingers.

NORVILLE
...Gooooooo Eagles!

AMY

likewise hooks her thumbs in front of her nose, makes wings,
and, winking back:

AMY
Gooooooooo Eagles!

But we PULL BACK to reveal that the girl is now in a newspaper
office, demonstrating the fight sign to SMITTY, a reporter
wearing a fedora with a bent-back brim. Smitty howls with
laughter.

SMITTY
(wheezing)
...Once 'The Munce'... Holy...

Amy sits down behind a typewriter and, as she starts typing
at 80 words per minute:

AMY
And is this guy from chumpsville?!
I pulled the old mother routine --

SMITTY
Adenoids?

AMY
Lumbago.

Behind her an ancient man wearing an inksman's visor and
sleeve garters toils over a large checkerboarded surface
over which he shuffles letter blocks and black spaces.

Smitty gives a low whistle.

SMITTY
That gag's got whiskers on it!

The PHONE RINGS and Smitty reaches for it.

AMY
I'm telling you, Smitty, the board
of Hudsucker is up to something --

SMITTY
(into phone)
Yeah.

ANCIENT PUZZLER
Say, Amy, what's a six-letter word
for an affliction of the hypothalmus?

Without a break in her typing:

AMY
-- And it's a cinch -- Goiter --
it's a cinch this guy isn't in on
it. How much time to make the Late
Final?

Smitty holds the phone away from his ear.

SMITTY
Chief.

Still typing, Amy whistles and nods to her shoulder.

Smitty tucks the phone into it as she continues typing.

AMY
Hiya, Chief, just the person I wanted
to apologize to...

Smitty is looking at his watch.

SMITTY
About seven minutes.

AMY
(still typing)
Yeah, I was all wet about your idea
man... Well, thanks for being so
generous... It is human, and you are
divine... No, he's no faker. He's
the 100% real McCoy beware-of-
imitations genuine article: the guy
is a real moron --

To the Ancient Puzzler:

AMY
-- as in a five-letter word for
imbecile --

Back into phone:

AMY
-- as pure a specimen as I've ever
run across... Am I sure he's a nitwit?
Heck, if working at the Argus doesn't
make me an expert then my name isn't
Amy Archer and I've never won the
Pulitzer Prize...

Her eyes narrow.

AMY
...In 1957... My series on the
reunited triplets -- come on down
here, hammerhead, and I'll show it
to ya...

ANCIENT PUZZLER
Amy, what's a three-letter word for
a flightless bird?

AMY
Not now, Morris, I'm busy -- That's
right, I said hammerhead, as in a
ten-letter word for a smug bullying
self-important newspaperman --

To Morris:

AMY
-- Gnu --

Into phone:

AMY
-- who couldn't find --

To Morris:

AMY
-- That's G-N-U --

Into phone:

AMY
-- couldn't find the Empire State
Building with a compass, a road map
and a native guide.

To Morris:

AMY
-- or emu.

She slams down the phone. To Smitty:

AMY
...And that's just the potatoes,
Smitty, here comes the gravy: The
chump really likes me. A Muncie girl!

Smitty bursts out laughing.

SMITTY
Better off falling for a rattlesnake.

As she continues to type:

AMY
I'm tellin' ya, this guy's just the
patsy and I'm gonna find out what
for. There's a real story, Smitty,
some kind of plot, a setup, a cabal,
a -- oh, and say, did I tell ya?!

SMITTY
He didn't offer you money.

AMY
A sawbuck!

SMITTY
Ten dollars? Let's grab a highball!

AMY
On Norville Barnes!

She rips the page out of the typewriter, swivels in her chair
to FACE CAMERA as we TRACK IN CLOSE and she hollers:

AMY
...Copy!

DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:

PRESSES

rolling, churning out great quantities of newsprint.

Papers piling up one on top of the other, very many, very
quickly.

DELIVERY MAN

throwing a baled stack of papers off the back of his truck.

BALED PAPER

rolling into the f.g. A hand ENTERS FRAME to snip its wires
and wipe off the top paper.

PAPER BOY

wearing an apron and a little paper boy cap, mouthing "Extra!
Extra!" as he holds one of the papers aloft.

PAN UP his arm TO the newspaper and, BEYOND it, the towering
Hudsucker Building.

All of the above --

DISSOLVING WITH:

NEWSPAPER

spinning TOWARDS the CAMERA and STOPPING FULL FRAME.

Its headline, over a picture of Norville smiling, is "IMBECILE
HEADS HUDSUCKER." The subheadline: "Not a Brain in his Head."

ANOTHER ANGLE - NEWSPAPER

is angrily slammed down to reveal that Norville has been
reading the inside.

His face twisting with fury, he leans forward and hits the
intercom.

NORVILLE
Miss Smith, can you come in please
to take a letter...

Muttering to himself:

NORVILLE
...of all the cockamamie...

Amy is bustling in holding a steno pad and a pencil.

As she seats herself in front of his desk, he rises to pace
behind it.

NORVILLE
...Did you happen to see the front
page of today's Manhattan Argus?

AMY
Well, I... didn't bother to read the
article. I didn't think the picture
did you justice.

NORVILLE
The picture was fine! It's what that
knuckle-headed dame wrote underneath!
Of all the irresponsible... Amy,
take this down: Dear Miss Archer. I
call you 'Miss' because you seem to
have 'missed' the boat completely on
this one! How on earth would you
know whether I'm an imbecile when
you don't even have the guts to come
in here and interview me man to man!
No, change 'guts' to 'courage.' No,
make it 'common decency.' These wild
speculations about my intelligence --

AMY
-- or lack thereof?

NORVILLE
(nodding)
-- these preposterous inventions,
would be better suited to the pages
of Amazing Tales Magazine. If the
editors of the Manhattan Argus see
fit to publish the rantings of a
disordered mind, perhaps they will
see fit to publish this letter! But
I doubt it. I most seriously doubt
it. As I doubt also that you could
find a home at Amazing Tales, a
periodical which I have enjoyed for
many years. Yours sincerely, et
cetera.

He drifts into thought.

AMY
Is that all, Mr. Barnes?

NORVILLE
...Well, you know me, Amy, at least
better than that that dame does. Do
you think I'm an imbecile?

AMY
I'm sure I --

NORVILLE
Go on, tell the truth; I trust you
and I put a lot of stock in your
opinion.

AMY
Well, I --

NORVILLE
Oh sure, you're biased -- you're a
fellow Muncian. But would an imbecile
come up with this?

He whips the cover sheet off a display pad resting on an
easel to reveal a large piece of graph paper with a circle
rendered onto it.

Amy looks, puzzled, from the circle to Norville's proudly
beaming face.

NORVILLE
...I designed it myself and this is
just the sweet baby that can put
Hudsucker right back on top.

Amy is bewildered. Norville explains:

NORVILLE
...You know! For kids!

AMY
...Why don't I just type this up...

NORVILLE
Aww, naw, Amy, that won't be
necessary. I shouldn't send it; she's
just doing her job, I guess.

AMY
Well, I don't know; maybe she does
deserve it. Maybe she should've come
in to face you man to man.

NORVILLE
Well, she probably had a deadline...

AMY
Sure, but -- she could still have
gotten your side for the record!

NORVILLE
Well, it's done now -- what's the
use of grousing about it. Forget the
letter, Amy, I just had to blow off
some steam...

She gets up to leave, and is heading for the door when
Norville adds:

NORVILLE
...She's probably just a little
confused.

Amy turns at the door.

AMY
Confused?

NORVILLE
Yeah, you know, probably one of these
fast-talking career gals, thinks
she's one of the boys. Probably is
one of the boys, if you know what I
mean.

AMY
(through clenched
teeth)
I'm quite sure I don't know what you
mean.

NORVILLE
Yeah, you know. Suffers from one of
these complexes they have nowadays.
Seems pretty obvious, doesn't it?
She's probably very unattractive and
bitter about it.

AMY
Oh, is that it!

NORVILLE
Yeah, you know. Probably dresses in
men's clothing, swaps drinks with
the guys at the local watering hole,
and hobnobs with some smooth talking
heel in the newsroom named Biff or
Smoocher or...

AMY
Smitty.

NORVILLE
Exactly. And I bet she's ugly.
Real ugly. Otherwise, why wouldn't
they print her picture next to her
byline?

AMY
Maybe she puts her work ahead of her
personal appearance.

NORVILLE
I bet that's exactly what she tells
herself! But you and I both know
she's just a dried-up bitter old
maid. Say, how about you and I grab
a little dinner and a show after
work? I was thinking maybe The King
and I --

Whap! Amy slaps him.

He stares.

NORVILLE
...How about Oklahoma?

As she stalks out of the office:

AMY
Norville Barnes, you don't know a
thing about that woman! You don't
know who she really is! And only a
numbskull thinks he knows things
about things he knows nothing about!

He stares, rubbing his cheek.

NORVILLE
Say, what gives?

WHISTLE

SHRIEKING.

SWISH PAN TO:

CLOCK

Reading five o'clock.

SWISH PAN TO:

WORKERS

Rising from their desks, collecting personal effects, putting
on their hats and coats.

TIME CLOCK

Busy hands punch out.

INT. EMPTY HALLWAY

Of the executive floor. A security man walks down the hall,
whistling, swinging a ring of keys. After he passes the door
to the ladies' room it opens, Amy peeks out, emerges, goes
into Norville's office.

INT. NORVILLE'S OFFICE

She goes to the desk, takes out the appointment book, flips
through it.

BOOK

Still empty except for the one date with the Wilkie Grammer
School Junior Achievers Club, which now has a red line drawn
across it with the notation CANCELED.

AMY

looks around the office -- notices something.

DOOR

Set into the wall to one side it is topped by a small plaque:
AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.

Amy tries the knob, which turns, and enters.

INT. ROOM

It is big and dim, several stories high, with spiral
staircases reaching into, and catwalks criss-crossing, the
gloom above. It is filled with contraptions -- works, cogs,
gears. There is no window, but on what would be the window
wall there is an enormous iron ring with a metal rod sweeping
an interior circle. It is the backside of the great Hudsucker
clock.

Amy gazes about. She crosses to a door opposite the one she
entered from.

She stoops to peek through its keyhole.

HER POV

We are LOOKING INTO Sidney J. Mussburger's office.

Mussburger sits at his desk barking into a Dictaphone.

CLICK-CLICK-CLICK -- the PERPETUAL MOTION BALLS on his desk
are going full-tilt; THRUMMMMMMM -- the CLOCK'S exterior
second hand sweeps a shadow across the office.

Mussburger, it seems, never sleeps.

MUSSBURGER
Memo. From the desk of Sidney J.
Mussburger. Executive order number
530 slash A49. To: Director of the
Jacksonville Facility. Copies to:
Legal Affairs, Business Affairs,
Central Files. Re: Movement of Raw
Materials from the Huron Facility.
Due to unfavorable news in the slag
markets, Jacksonville inventory must
be reduced by 15 percent with overflow
diverted to the Waukegan Stamping
Facility. Memo. From the desk of
Sidney J. Mussburger. Executive order
number 530 slash A50. To: Director
of --

BACK TO SCENE

VOICE (O.S.)
Watchoo doin' down they, Miss Archuh?

AMY
Huh?!

She straightens and turns.

Facing her is a very old BLACK MAN in a janitor's jumpsuit
with HUDSUCKER INDUSTRIES/The Future Is Now emblazoned across
it. We might recognize his voice as that of the narrator who
opened the movie.

AMY
Who are you? How did you know who I
am?

MOSES (BLACK MAN)
Ah guess ole Moses knows jes about
ever'thing, leastways if it concerns
Hudsuckuh.

AMY
But -- who are you -- what d'you do
here?

MOSES
Ah keeps the ol' circle turning --
this ol' clock needs plenty o' care.
Time is money, Miss Archuh, and money --
it drives that ol' global economy
and keeps big Daddy Earth a-spinnin'
on 'roun'. Ya see, without that
capital fo'mation --

AMY
Yeah, yeah. Say, you won't tell anyone
about me, will you?

MOSES
I don't tell no one nothin' lessen
they ask. Thatches ain't ole Moses'
way.

AMY
So if you know everything about
Hudsucker, tell me why the Board
decided to make Norville Barnes
president.

MOSES
Well, that even surprised ole Moses
at fust. I didn't think the Board
was that smart.

AMY
That smart?!

MOSES
But then I figured it out: they did
it 'cause they figured young Norville
for an imbecile. Like some othuh
people ah know.

AMY
Why on earth would they want a nitwit
to be president?

MOSES
'Cause they's little pigglies!
They's tryin' to inspire panic, make
that stock git cheap so's they can
snitch it all up fo' themselves! But
Norville, he's got some tricks up
his sleeve, he does...

He draws a circle with his finger in the air.

MOSES
...you know, fo' kids? Yeah, he's a
smart one, that Norville, heh-heh,
he's a caution. Wal, some folks is
square, an' some is hip --

To punctuate, he gives a little jerk of his hips.

MOSES
...But I guess you don't really know
him any better than that board does,
do ya, Miss Archuh?

AMY
Well, maybe I --

MOSES
An' only some kind a knucklehead
thinks she knows things 'bout things
she, uh -- when she don't, uh --
How'd that go?

AMY
(bristling)
It's hardly the same --

MOSES
Why you don't even know y'own self --
you ain't exactly the genuine article
are you, Miss Archuh?

AMY
Well, in connection with my job,
sometimes I have to go undercover as
it were --

MOSES
I don't mean that! Why you pretendin'
to be such a hard ol' sourpuss! Ain't
never gonna make you happy! Never
made Warin' happy.

AMY
(uncomfortably)
I'm happy enough.

MOSES
(chuckles)
Okay, Miss Archuh.
(turns and walks away)
...I got gears to see to.

AMY
(calls after him)
I'm plenty happy!

She is answered only by WHIRRING MACHINERY.

MOSES

Elsewhere in the great room, he is hunkered down next to a
catchment which he buffs with a greasy rag. Amy's VOICE ECHOES
UP:

AMY (O.S.)
...Hello?

MOSES
(muttering to himself)
Them po' young folks. Looks like
Norville's in fo' the same kind o'
heartache ol' Warin' had. But then,
she never axed me 'bout dat...

As OMINOUS MUSIC SWELLS, we --

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

INT. CHIEF'S OFFICE

He slams down a typescript.

CHIEF
I can't print this!

AMY
Why not, it's all true! The board is
using this poor guy! They're
depressing the stock so they can buy
it cheap!

CHIEF
It's pure speculation! Why, they'd
have my butt in a satchel!

SMITTY
(chuckling)
Ol' satchel-butt...

AMY
I know they're gonna buy that stock --

CHIEF
You don't know anything! Fact is
they haven't bought it! The stock is
cheap, Archer! What're they waiting
for?

AMY
I don't know...

SMITTY
Amy's hunches are usually pretty
good, Chief.

CHIEF
You don't accuse someone of stock
manipulation on a hunch, Ignatz!
The readers of the Manhattan Argus
aren't interested in sensationalism,
gossip and unsupported speculation.
Facts, figures -- those are the tools
of the newspaper trade! Why it's
almost as if you're trying to take
the heat off this Barnes numbskull --
like you've gone all soft on him!

SMITTY
Come on, Chief, that's a low blow.
Archer's not gonna go goey for a
corn-fed idiot.

CHIEF
All right, I was out of line. But
you're out of line with this stock
swindle story. Gimme some more of
that Moron-from-Sheboygan stuff --

AMY
Muncie.

CHIEF
Whatever. That's what sells
newspapers.

AMY
I've got an even hotter story --
The Sap from the City Desk.

CHIEF
Watch it, Archer --

AMY
It's about a dimwitted editor who --

SMITTY
Easy, Amy...

He gives her a companionable goose.

SMITTY
...Let's grab a highball and calm
down.

She whirls and slaps him.

AMY
Back off -- smoocher!

Smitty rubs his cheek, staring as she storms off.

SMITTY
(angry)
Say, what gives?

ENGRAVED INVITATION

IT READS:

Sidney J. Mussburger President Norville Barnes and The Board
of Hudsucker Industries CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO The Annual
Fancy-Dress Hudsucker Christmas Gala Music, Dancing,
Refreshments (Dainties) Formal Evening Attire de Rigeuer.

The MUSIC OVER the invitation -- "WE WISH YOU A MERRY
CHRISTMAS" -- SEGUES INTO the dance music of the Hudsucker
Chamber Orchestra.

DANCING COUPLES

FILL the SCREEN; we GLIDE AMONG them and FINALLY COME to
follow one couple: Norville and MRS. MUSSBURGER, a large
middle-aged woman of the Margaret Dumont-mold in an
elaborately flowered and old-fashioned evening gown, low-cut
in spite of her overly-heavy figure. She wears a large
flowered hat with a rolled-up veil.

MRS. MUSSBURGER
-- So we'd gone out to the Hamptons
and the garden was in positive ruins!

NORVILLE
That must have been quite a
disappointment, Mrs. Mussburger.

MRS. MUSSBURGER
Disappointment? J'etais destroyee! I
was in bed for a week! Positively
sick with fury! I called in the
gardener and said, 'Monsieur Gonzalez,
either those azaleas come up next
spring or you are terminee!

She throws her head back and roars with laughter.

ANGLE - THEIR FEET

As the large woman leans back to laugh, her feet stay planted
on the ground and Norville's rise to be dragged with his
toes scraping the floor through the continuing dance.

MRS. MUSSBURGER
I'm brushing up on my French with
the most charming man, Pierre of
Fifth Avenue. Do you know him?

NORVILLE
I haven't had --

MRS. MUSSBURGER
Sidney and I are planning a trip to
Paris and points continental --
Aren't we, dear?

Mussburger has ENTERED FRAME.

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure. I'm going to borrow
Norville for a while, if you don't
mind, dear.

MIXING DOWN as they leave her:

MRS. MUSSBURGER
Well, frankly, I...

NORVILLE
You have a charming wife, Mr.
Muss -- uh, Sid.

MUSSBURGER
So they tell me. Norville, let me
shepherd you through some of the
introductions here. Try not to talk
too much; some of our biggest
stockholders are, uh -- scratch that:
Say whatever you want.

ENTRYWAY

As Amy enters in a simple yet stunning evening gown. She
looks around the room, then starts across the crowded floor
towards the punch bowl.

NORVILLE

As Mussburger introduces him to a tall, imposing BUSINESSMAN
in a tuxedo and a ten-gallon hat.

MUSSBURGER
Norville Barnes, allow me to introduce
Mr. Zebulon Cardozo, one of Hudsucker
Industries largest and most loyal
stockholders.

Ignoring Norville's proffered hand:

CARDOZO (BUSINESSMAN)
Dammit boy, what's this I hear about
you bein' an embecile? What the hell
is ailin' ya?! A week ago my stock
was worth twice what it is now! I'm
considering dumping the whole shootin'
match, unless I see some vast
improvement! Dammit, boy, It's a
range war! Either you pull our wagons
into a circle or I'm pullin' out of
the wagon train!

Norville gives him a forced but hearty laugh of reassurance.

NORVILLE
No need for concern, sir; it's only
natural in a period of transition
for the more timid element to run
for cover --

CARDOZO
So I'm yella, am I?!!

He starts peeling off his tuxedo jacket:

CARDOZO
...We'll see who's yella!!

His WIFE, a small wiry woman, steps in as Mussburger starts
dragging Norville away.

MRS. CARDOZO
Zebulon, you mind now and quit bein'
sech an ole grizzly.

As he reluctantly starts shrugging back into the jacket:

CARDOZO
Aww, I wasn't gonna hurt the boy,
Lorelei...

MUSSBURGER AND NORVILLE

As they make their way through the room Norville is mopping
at his brow with a handkerchief.

NORVILLE
I'm sorry, Sid, I thought maybe if I
showed him the long view we might --

Thump! Dabbing at his brow, Norville has walked square into
the back of a debonaire man holding a martini.

The drink sloshes and the man turns testily to face him.

MUSSBURGER
Norville, this is Thorstensen
Finlandsen, who heads a radical
splinter group of disgruntled
investors.

Norville nervously pumps Findlandsen's hand.

NORVILLE
Hello, Mr. Finlandsen, so sorry to
meet you -- uh, happy to walk into y --
uh, pleased to make your --

Findlandsen raises his hand to look quizzically at Norville's
handkerchief which he now holds himself, apparently having
been given it during the handshake.

He hands it back to Norville.

NORVILLE
Thank you, sir...

He stuffs it nervously into his outside breast pocket as
Findlandsen stares at him. Mussburger stands watching in the
executive at-ease, hands dug into his pockets.

NORVILLE
...I understand your concern about
the down-ward, you know, but I think
you'll find under our strong new
leadership...

As Norville's hand drops from his breast pocket the
handkerchief, perhaps caught on his sleeve, whips out of the
pocket and follows his hand down.

Findlandsen looks down and Norville follows his look, and
stoops BELOW FRAME to retrieve the hanky.

Findlandsen leans quizzically forward and peers down at
Norville, who continues, O.S.

NORVILLE (O.S.)
We anticipate, in short order, an
upward...

In rapid fire, Norville straightens up into -- crunch --
Findlandsen, whose head snaps back, eyes rolling, a hand
pressed to his nose, drink sloshing; Norville, one hand
pressed to the back of his own head and the other wildly
waving his hanky for balance, takes a staggering step forward
onto the toe of an elegantly-gowned MRS. FINDLANDSEN.

MRS. FINDLANDSEN
Ahhh!

There is a drum roll and, as the lights dim:

EMCEE

grabs the large old-fashioned microphone in front of the
band and grins.

EMCEE
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished
members of the Hudsucker board. I
give you the king of swing, the rajah
of romance, the incredible, the
unforgettable Mister Vic... Tenetta!

Vic Tenetta takes the microphone from the Emcee who backs
away, applauding as Tenetta starts to croon. He wears a white
dinner jacket. His jet black hair sweeps out over his forehead
in a roguishly pompadoured mat; one forelock droops and
bounces across his forehead.

CUT TO:

SEVERAL BOARD MEMBERS

Clustered in a dim corner of the room, smoking cigars.

In the b.g., brilliantly spotlit, Vic Tenetta continues his
song.

As Mussburger joins them:

EXECUTIVE #1
How's it going, Mr. Mussburger?

MUSSBURGER
Bad.

EXECUTIVE #2
Good.

MUSSBURGER
But not bad enough.

EXECUTIVE #3
Too bad.

MUSSBURGER
It could be better, it could be worse.

ALL THREE EXECUTIVES
Hmmmmmm.

MUSSBURGER
The stock's got to drop another five
points if we expect to get controlling
interest. Norville tells me he's got
some hot idea. Can't be good.

EXECUTIVE #1
Then it can't be bad!

EXECUTIVE #2
Couldn't be better if it couldn't be
worse.

ALL
Hmmmmmm.

EXT. PENTHOUSE - TERRACE

where the PARTY NOISE is DISTANT, TENETTA'S SONG just
FILTERING OUT.

We are on a FULL SHOT of the back of a man who stands facing
the twinkling cityscape, but in an odd, leanedback posture,
with one hand reaching up to his hidden face, his other hand
pressed against the small of his back, like a man with a
stiff neck tossing back a drink.

REVERSE

Amy, having just emerged onto the terrace, squints at him.

AMY
...Norville?

He turns and we see that it is indeed Norville, holding a
dripping icepack against one eye.

AMY
...What happened?

NORVILLE
Oh. Nothing, really, just... the
more timid investors are no longer
running for cover.

AMY
Let me look.

He does.

NORVILLE
Sid found me the icepack.

AMY
Let me hold it, or you'll have a
real shiner.

NORVILLE
Thanks. People seem to be pretty hot
over this imbecile story.

AMY
...I'm sorry.

NORVILLE
Oh, it isn't your fault, Amy.
You're the one person who's been
standing by me through all this.

As she rolls the pack gently across his eye:

AMY
Norville... there's something I have
to tell you. You see, I'm not really
a secretary.

NORVILLE
I know that, Amy.

AMY
...You do?

NORVILLE
I understand that you're not very
skilled yet in the secretarial arts.
I'm not that skilled as president.
Oh sure, I put up a big front --
(massages his eye)
-- not that everyone's buying it.

AMY
I believe in you, Norville --
At least I believe in your...
intentions --

NORVILLE
Oh, I don't blame them, really. I
guess I have sort of made a mess of
things. These folks have to protect
their investment. Most of them are
very nice people --

AMY
Norville, you can't trust people
here like you did in Muncie...

They gaze out at the city.

AMY
...Certain people are --

NORVILLE
Didja ever go to the top of old man
Larson's feed tower and look out
over the town?

AMY
...Huh?

NORVILLE
You know, on farm route 17.

AMY
Oh yes! In Muncie!

NORVILLE
No! In Vidalia! Farm Route 17!

AMY
Uh -- Yes. Seventeen. Yes, I -- well
no, I -- I never really... There's a
place I go now, the cutest little
place near my apartment in Greenwich
Village. It's called Ann's 440. It's
a beatnik bar.

NORVILLE
You don't say.

AMY
Yes, you can get carrot juice or
Italian coffee, and the people there --
well, none of them quite fit in.
You'd love it -- why don't you come
there with me -- they're having a
marathon poetry reading on New Year's
Eve. I go every year.

NORVILLE
(puzzled)
Every year?

AMY
Well -- this year -- if it's good I
plan to make it a tradition. Uh, my
it certainly is beautiful --

She nods out at the city to avoid Norville's quizzical look.

AMY
...The people look like ants.

NORVILLE
Well, the Hindus say -- and the
beatniks also -- that in the next
life some of us will come back as
ants. Some will be butterflies.
Others will be elephants or creatures
of the sea.

AMY
What a beautiful thought.

NORVILLE
What do you think you were in your
previous life, Amy?

AMY
Oh, I don't know. Maybe I was just a
fast-talking career gal who thought
she was one of the boys --

NORVILLE
Oh no, Amy, pardon me for saying so
but I find that very farfetched.

AMY
Norville, there really is something
I have to tell you --

NORVILLE
That kind of person would come back
as a wildebeest, or a warthog. No, I
think it more likely that you were a
gazelle, with long, graceful legs,
gamboling through the underbrush.
Perhaps we met once, a chance
encounter in a forest glade. I must
have been an antelope or an ibex.
What times we must have had --
foraging together for sustenance,
picking the grubs and burrs from one
another's coats. Or perhaps we simply
touched our horns briefly and went
our separate ways...

AMY
I wish it were that simple, Norville.
I wish I was still a gazelle, and
you were an antelope or an ibex.

NORVILLE
Well, can I at least call you deer?
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Seriously, Amy, the
whole thing is what your beatnik
friends call 'karma' -- the great
circle of life, death and rebirth.

Morosely:

AMY
Yeah, I think I've heard of that.
What goes around comes around.

NORVILLE
That's it. A great wheel that gives
us each what we deserve...

He slaps his fist into his palm.

NORVILLE
...Tomorrow's my big presentation to
the board. I've gotta show Sidney
and the guys that I deserve all their
confidence!

Sadly:

AMY
Oh, Norville --

NORVILLE
Kiss me once, Amy! Kiss me once for
luck!

AMY
Sure, Norville, sure...

She gives him a peck. They look at each other.

AMY
...Oh, Norville!

She embraces him. They kiss again.

Norville's eyes widen.

VIC TENETTA

Crooning the end of his song.

DANCING COUPLES

Turn to the bandstand and applaud.

NORVILLE AND AMY

In the midst of a passionate kiss.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

DOUBLE OAK DOORS

Labeled "Executive Conference Room." A secretary is hanging
up a sign that reads: "Quiet Please! Board Meeting in
Session."

INT. BOARDROOM - CLOSE ON NORVILLE

Chest and up. His upper torso is swaying, his shoulders
rhythmically rolling as he talks. We hear a WHOOSH WHOOSH
sound from O.S.

NORVILLE
-- So we have economy, simplicity,
low production cost and the potential
for mass appeal, and all that spells
out great profitability...

CLOSE ON MUSSBURGER

Staring. Holding a just-lighted but forgotten cigar in one
hand, and a still burning match in the other.

NORVILLE (O.S.)
...I had the boys down at R & D throw
together this prototype so that our
discussion here could have some
focus...

BOARD

Staring, mouths hanging open, in arrested motion much like
when Waring Hudsucker jumped out the window at the previous
board meeting.

NORVILLE (O.S.)
...and to give you gentlemen of the
Board a first-hand look at just how
exciting this gizmo is...

WIDER ON NORVILLE

Still gyrating. We now see that he has accelerated the hula
hoop around his waist to quite a good speed.

NORVILLE
...It's fun, it's healthy, it's good
exercise; kids'll just love it, and
we put a little sand inside to make
the whole experience more pleasant.
And the great part is we won't have
to charge an arm and a leg!

Mussburger's forgotten match has burned down to his
fingertips. With a wince, he shakes it out.

The Board is staring.

ELDERLY EXECUTIVE
Yeah but... What is it?

EXECUTIVE #2
Does it have rules?

EXECUTIVE #3
Can more than one play?

EXECUTIVE #4
(to #3)
What makes you think it's a game?

EXECUTIVE #3
Is it a game?

EXECUTIVE #5
Will it break?

EXECUTIVE #6
It better break eventually!

EXECUTIVE #2
Is there an object?

EXECUTIVE #3
Are you supposed to make it fly off?

EXECUTIVE #5
Does it come with batteries?

EXECUTIVE #4
Could we charge extra for them?

EXECUTIVE #7
Is it safe for toddlers?

EXECUTIVE #3
How can you tell when you're done?

EXECUTIVE #2
How do you make it stop?

EXECUTIVE #1
Is that a girl's model or a boy's?

EXECUTIVE #3
Can a parent assemble it??

EXECUTIVE #7
What if you get tired before it's
done?

EXECUTIVE #6
Is there a larger model for the obese?

EXECUTIVE #4
Can you do it around your neck?

ELDERLY EXECUTIVE
And finally... what is it?

NORVILLE
You know, for kids! It's... it's ...
well, it's...

MUSSBURGER
It's brilliant.

The Board looks at Mussburger.

MUSSBURGER
...It's genius. It's just exactly
what Hudsucker needs at this juncture.
Sure, sure, a blind man could tell
you that there's an enormous demand
for this, uh...

He smiles weakly at Norville.

MUSSBURGER
...Congratulations, kid, you've really
outdone yourself. Reinvented the
wheel. I'm going to recommend to the
Board that we proceed immediately
with this, uh... with the, uh...
that the dingus be mass-produced
with all deliberate speed. Of course,
as president of the company the
ultimate decision is yours.

NORVILLE
Well... I'm for it...

As furiously BUSY MUSIC STARTS:

CUT TO:

TELETYPE

Furiously PRINTING out "EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE #37451-JL7.

A hand ENTERS FRAME and rips the directive from the teletype,
then hurriedly rolls it into a cylinder and slips it into a
cylindrical metal capsule.

The capsule is popped into a pneumatic tube.

ANGLE - LENGTH OF PNEUMATIC PIPING

somewhere in the labyrinthine substructure of the Hudsucker
Building. We hear a MISSILE furiously HURTLING towards us,
inside the pipe, and ROCKETING by.

ANGLE ON ANOTHER LENGTH OF PIPING

Once again we hear the CAPSULE APPROACH and ROCKET past.

BLINDING RED LIGHTS

as a SIREN BLARES. On a huge board that says HUDSUCKER DESIGN
DEPARTMENT, flashing red letters announce: INCOMING DIRECTIVE!

The pneumatic tube spout shoots out a cylinder, and a hand
eagerly picks it up and yanks it OUT OF FRAME.

A technician in white laboratory smock is reading the
directive as several other white-jacketed technicians crowd
their heads around his shoulders, also reading.

All of their eye and head motions synchronize as they eagerly
read, devouring the document line by line.

A large sheet of graph paper is whipped down on top of a
drafting table. Under the caption OVERHEAD ANGLE is a perfect
circle. Under the caption HORIZONTAL is a horizontal line.
Under the caption VERTICAL SIDE ANGLE is a vertical line.

EXTREME LOW ANGLE - SEVERAL TECHNICIANS

looking thoughtfully down at the rendering. The head
technician is stroking his beard and nodding.

CUT TO:

RENDERING

as a hand ENTERS FRAME and stamps the drawing approved.

CUT TO:

TWO MORE LENGTHS OF PNEUMATIC PIPE

as we hear the CYLINDER ROCKETING by.

SWISH PAN TO:

FROSTED DOUBLE GLASS DOORS

Lettered on the frosted glass is: "ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT
Creative Bullpen." In sharp silhouette on the frosted glass
we can see the three admen working inside.

Two pace back and forth, smoking cigarettes, as they toss
out ideas. The third sits slumped in front of a silhouette
typewriter, his head resting on one hand, his other hand
resting on a half-empty bottle of whiskey.

In the f.g., outside the frosted glass and so not in
silhouette, sits a bored secretary reading War and Peace,
Volume One.

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
We'll call it the Flying Donut!

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
The Dancing Dingus!

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
The Jerky Circle!

SWISH PAN TO:

PNEUMATIC PIPING

With the cylinder rocketing by.

SWISH PAN TO:

"ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT" WALL PLAQUE

CUT TO:

HUGE POSTER

Up on the wall of the accounting floor is an enormous
reproduction of the design department's rendering of the
hula hoop. Over the poster is an enormous banner: "WHAT WILL
THIS COST?"

PAN FROM the poster TO a HIGH ANGLE SHOT of a floor full of
accountants sitting at their rows and rows of desks; all are
looking up at the wall poster as they operate their manual
adding machines to the same beat.

All accountants wear identical vests, shirtsleeves, garters,
visors and spectacles.

The head accountant stands in front of the room overseeing
their efforts. He wears a full three-piece suit, a visor and
a pince-nez.

CUT TO:

HUGE BOOK

Being dropped onto a desk. Its cover reads: SUMMARY OF COST
ANALYSIS.

The book is opened and its pages, filled with rows of numbers,
are flipped to the last page where we QUICKLY PAN DOWN TO
the bottom line: Unit Cost... $0.59 Suggested Retail... $0.79

CUT TO:

EXECUTIVE

Looking down at the book as the head accountant hovers over
his shoulder, waiting for his reaction.

The executive grimly shakes his head.

BACK TO BOOK

As the accountant's hand ENTERS FRAME to scratch in "$1" in
front of the suggested retail of $0.79.

A hand ENTERS FRAME to stamp the bottom line: APPROVED.

CUT TO:

ROCKETING PNEUMATIC PIPES

CUT TO:

ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT CREATIVE BULLPEN

The secretary in the f.g. is now reading War and Peace, Volume
Two.

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
Something short.

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
Sharp.

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
Snappy.

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
With a little jazz.

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
The Shazzammeter!

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
The Hipster!

Drawing a circle in the air:

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
The Daddy-Oh!

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
The Circle-o'-Gaiety!

CUT TO:

ROCKETING PIPES

CUT TO:

MEN

in asbestos suits throwing down their visors as they scurry
and dive for cover behind banks of sandbags. A fierce
EXPLOSION harshly illuminates the sandbags. As the EXPLOSION
SUBSIDES:

The workmen cautiously peek out over the sandbags, then flip
back their visors and rise to their feet.

THEIR POV

Bouncing among the flaming debris of the explosion is a hula
hoop, still intact.

CUT TO:

ROCKETING PIPES

CUT TO:

ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT CREATIVE BULLPEN

The secretary in the f.g. is now reading Anna Karenina.

The silhouetted ad men, frustrated and hoarse, are still at
it.

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
The Hoopsucker!

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
The Hudswinger!

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
The Hoop-dee-doo!

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
The Hudsucker Hoop!

The third ad man, slouched motionless at the typewriter up
until now, finally raises his head.

AD MAN #3 (O.S.)
Fellas. Fellas!

AD MAN #1 (O.S.)
Ya got somethin'?

AD MAN #2 (O.S.)
Ya got somethin'?!

AD MAN #3 (O.S.)
Fellas! I got somethin'!

CUT TO:

PIECE OF ART PAPER

Printed at the top: Hudsucker Industries Proudly Presents

PAN DOWN to reveal: THE HULA HOOP

PAN DOWN to reveal:

An artist's hand working in fast motion to render the hula
hoop logo: A grinning, healthy 1950s boy with a spray of
freckles, one fist thrown forward, the other behind, as if
doing an athletic frug, a hula hoop spinning with action
lines around his waist.

In seconds the artist has completed the logo and now, also
in fast motion, he writes the slogan on either side of the
boy: "You know... For Kids!"

As the page is ripped off the art pad:

MATCH CUT TO:

PAGE

being carried away in a continuous motion by an engineer who
looks at it, nodding. We see that we are now in an enormous
plant area. The engineer, grimy from his labors in this sweaty
industrial realm, reaches up to pull an enormous lever.

CUT TO:

MACHINES

GRINDING into motion.

CUT TO:

DONUT SPOUT

As it begins to spit hula hoops in massive numbers.

The hoops are spit onto a long metal arm where they rest,
hanging.

A bale of hula hoops is loaded into a Hudsucker truck to
complete its load. The truck door is slammed shut.

IRON GRILL

is thrown up to reveal the display window of a shop just
opening for the day.

In the window is an enormous hula hoop display, with various
hoops strung up on wire in front of a large cardboard diorama --
"You know... for Kids!"

Reflected in the display window we see crowds of people
scurrying by, indifferent to the display. Inside the shop we
see the proprietor by the cash register, his chin propped
glumly in his hands.

INT. NORVILLE'S OFFICE

Norville sits anxiously awaiting the verdict of Amy who sits
hunched over the ticker-tape machine, studying the emerging
tape. Amy finally looks up at Norville and sadly shakes her
head.

BACK TO SHOP WINDOW

Crowds still scurry indifferently by. The shopkeeper stands
idly in his doorway, smoking a cigarette.

We TRACK IN ON the cardboard display. The displayed price of
$1.79 has been crossed out. Underneath it, inked in: "Reduced:
$1.59."

INT. NORVILLE'S OFFICE

Norville is nervously pacing. Amy still studies the ticker-
tape. Once again she is forced to shake her head sadly.

BACK TO SHOP'S PRICE DISPLAY

The old $1.59 is suddenly covered as the hand ENTERS FRAME
to slap on a sticker: $1.49. A beat. The hand ENTERS FRAME
to slap on a new sticker: $1.29. Then in rapid-fire
succession: $0.99. $0.79. $0.49. Two for $0.25. Free with
any purchase.

ALLEY BEHIND SHOP

where garbage and garbage cans sit waiting for collection:

Hands appear at the back door of a shop hurling a clutch of
hoops towards the trash heap. One errant hoop rolls towards
the mouth of the alley.

The mouth of the alley. The escaped hula hoop emerges and
starts rolling down the street.

HULA HOOP

It rolls across the street. CARS VIOLENTLY BRAKE to avoid
it.

It rounds a corner and rolls up to a little boy, rolls in a
circle around him, and finally wobbles to the pavement.

The little boy looks at it, steps inside it, raises it to
his hips and starts hula hooping. Somewhere a BELL is RINGING.

INT. NEARBY SCHOOLHOUSE

where the BELL is RINGING, the front doors fly open and
hundreds of schoolchildren run out, screaming, heading home,
but all in a dense pack.

The screaming pack of schoolchildren round a corner and --
stop short, their screams abruptly halting.

They are staring, fascinated, at the hula-hooping youngster.

The children are dumbfounded. It is a moment the likes of
which they have never dreamed.

CUT TO:

SCREAMING PACK

once again running, maniacal, possessed. We don't know where
they are running, but we can guess.

CUT TO:

STORE

Jam-packed with screaming children, grabbing hula hoops off
the shelves.

BACK TO NORVILLE'S OFFICE

Norville sits slumped behind his desk, his head resting on
the desktop, utterly dejected.

Suddenly the TICKER-TAPE HUMS to life and starts spitting
tape. Amy looks at it with mounting excitement. Finally she
looks breathlessly up:

AMY
...Norville!

Norville lifts his head from the desktop. A piece of scrap
paper is sticking to his cheek. Dramatic FANFARE MUSIC STARTS
TO SWELL.

We HOLD ON Norville's expectant face. We HOLD. The MUSIC
BUILDS. We HOLD. We:

CUT TO:

NEWSREEL TITLE

We can see the "Tidbits of Time" logo as a solemn-voiced
announcer intones:

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
Rockwell News presents... 'Tidbits
of Time!' World news in pictures, we
kid you not.

ANOTHER ANGLE

Picture dissolves to a pan up the Hudsucker Building.

Cut to candid film of Norville getting out of a car, noticing
the camera, grinning and waving as he walks, and taking a
pratfall.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
...What began as the brainchild of
this Madison Avenue whiz kid is now
a craze sweeping the nation. The
'hula hoop,' product of Hudsucker
Industries, is a recreational device
that some experts predict may eclipse
the television as a means of
entertainment...

ANOTHER ANGLE

A television sits against a neutral b.g. A hula hoop rolls
into frame and bumps the TV, pushing it out of frame.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
...This dancing dingus of delight,
this jerky circle of gaiety, is
proving to be the toy of choice of
most American youngsters. -- Whoa-
ho! Did I say youngsters?! Here's
mom, taking a break from her household
chores...

ANOTHER ANGLE

A woman switches off her vacuum cleaner, takes a hula hoop
that is conveniently leaning against a nearby wall, and starts
hula hooping.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
...and even dad is 'swinging' into
the act!

ANOTHER ANGLE

In the office, dad, smoking a pipe, is also hula hooping.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
...and so the congratulations pour
in for up-and-comer Norville Barnes,
inventor of the hoop -- including
one very special call!

ANOTHER ANGLE

In jerky cinema-verite footage, a woman is excitedly sticking
her head in Norville's door.

WOMAN (V.O.)
He's on! He's on the line!

Swish over to Norville, agog, who picks up his phone and,
voice breaking:

NORVILLE (V.O.)
...Hello?

CRACKLING VOICE (V.O.)
Hello, Norville. This is the
President...

A half-wipe leaves a split screen with half of the screen
remaining Norville, the other half becoming a still of Ike
standing in a tank turret, pointing commandingly.

Under the photo: VOICE OF GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER.

NORVILLE (V.O.)
Oh my God, sir!

IKE (V.O.)
...I just wanted to congratulate
you. I'm very proud of you,
Norville...

NORVILLE (V.O.)
Oh my God, sir!

IKE (V.O.)
...Mrs. Eisenhower is very proud of
you. The American people are very
proud of you.

Flash bulb explosion effects a...

CUT TO:

NORVILLE

Facing a battery of REPORTERS at a news conference.

REPORTER #1
Mr. Barnes, how'd ya come up with
the idea for the hula hoop?

Norville is holding one hand up to shield his eyes from the
unaccustomed light. Amy stands next to him, beaming.

NORVILLE
Well, it was no great idea, really.
A thing like this, it takes a whole
company to put it together, and I'm
just grateful for the opportunity --

REPORTER #2
Mr. Barnes, did you have any idea
there'd be such a huge response?

NORVILLE
Well, frankly, I don't think anybody
expected this much hoopla --

He is surprised by a burst of laughter.

REPORTER #3
'Hoopla on the hula hoop' -- can we
quote you on that, Mr. Barnes?

NORVILLE
Well sure, I guess --

REPORTER #4
Mr. Barnes, are you thinking of giving
yourself a nice fat raise?

NORVILLE
Ha-ha-ha-ha. Come on, guys...

Flash bulb explosion effects a...

CUT TO:

NEWSREEL

A scientist with a Van Dyke beard, wearing a laboratory smock,
is facing the camera. Behind him we see other scientists
studying a hoop that has been hooked up to a gyroscopic-
looking device that analyzes its various movements and
properties.

NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
What scientific principle explains
the mind-bending motion of this
whipping wheel of wonder?

A title supered over the Scientist's chest identifies him as
Professor Erwin Schweide.

SCIENTIST (V.O.)
Ze dinkus is kvite zimple, really.
It operates on ze same principle zat
keeps ze earth spinning 'round ze
sun, and zat keeps you from flying
off ze earth into ze coldest reaches
of outer space vere you vood die
like a miserable shvine! Yes, ze
principle is ze same, except for ze
piece of grrrit zey put in to make
ze whole experience more pleasant --

TRACKING IN TO:

INT. NORVILLE'S OFFICE

The mean laugh. Norville, behind his desk in LONG SHOT,
laughing, as we begin to TRACK IN. There is something
disconcerting about his laugh -- it is harder, more
businesslike, colder than the dopey laugh that accompanied
his elevation to the presidency. Or perhaps it is only our
imagination, for while still some distance away from him:

Flash bulb explosion effects a...

CUT BACK TO:

NEWS CONFERENCE

Newsmen follow Norville as he walks through the lobby of the
Hudsucker Building.

REPORTER #1
Mr. Barnes, did the board consider
you an 'idea man' when they promoted
you from the mail room?

NORVILLE
Well, I guess so -- I don't think
they promoted me because they thought
I was a jerk.

REPORTER #2
Mr. Barnes, what's the next big idea
for you and Hudsucker Industries?

NORVILLE
Jeez, I don't know. An idea like
this sweet baby doesn't just come
overnight...

REPORTER
Mr. Barnes, are you --

NORVILLE
-- Although I'll tell you one thing:
I certainly didn't expect all this
'hoopla'!

This TIRED old joke brings some polite laughter.

Norville is smiling as he enters the elevator. As its doors
start to close, leaving Amy behind:

NORVILLE
...And you can quote me on that!

Flash bulb explosion effects a...

CUT BACK TO:

NEWSREEL

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
Yes, it's hula hula everywhere! From
the cocktail parties of the Park
Avenue smart set...

ANOTHER ANGLE

A group of people in formal evening wear are sipping highballs
and chatting as they keep hoops in motion 'round their waists.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
...to sweethearts who want to be
married in the 'swing' of things...

ANOTHER ANGLE

A young couple stands before the altar hula hooping.

ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
...To our friend the Negro, in the
heart of the dark continent.

ANOTHER ANGLE

Pan down from elephant to two natives hula hooping as they
grin into the newsreel camera.

TRACKING IN ON:

ANOTHER ANGLE

The mean laugh. Yes, as we draw closer, it seems clear that
his laugh is colder than before.

Flash bulb explosion effects a...

CUT TO:

NORVILLE

Sitting in a barber chair, face lathered up, as Reporters
crowd in.

REPORTER #1
Mr. Barnes, Mr. Barnes, Rumpus
magazine has called you the most
eligible bachelor of the year, and
the society pages have been linking
you with high-fashion model Za-Za.
Would you care to comment?

A burning cigar emerges from the lather around Norville's
face. It waggles as he talks.

NORVILLE
There's no truth to the rumors; we're
just dear friends...

He looks to one side.

NORVILLE
...Isn't that right, Za-Za?

SWISH PAN TO:

ZA-ZA. Standing nearby. Every man's dream, in a tarty sort
of way.

ZA-ZA
(sexily)
Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r-oww!

The newsmen react.

REPORTER #2
Ho-leeee!

REPORTER #3
Mr. Barnes, whither Hudsucker?
Whither Norville Barnes?

REPORTER #4
How do you respond to the charges
that you're out of ideas? Has Norville
Barnes run dry?

The barber is periodically pinching Norville's nose to shave
under it; as he alternately pinches and releases, Norville's
voice breaks from nasal to normal and back.

NORVILLE
Not at all. Why, just this week I
came up with several new sweet ideas.
A larger model hula hoop for the
portly. A battery option for the
lazy and handicapped. A model with
more sand for hard-of-hearing. I'm
earning my keep.

REPORTER #5
Speaking of that, Mr. Barnes, do you
expect to get a raise?

NORVILLE
Well, by anyone's account I've saved
Hudsucker Industries; our stock is
worth more than it's ever been. So,
yes, I expect to be compensated for
that.

END TRACK IN ON:

ANOTHER ANGLE

The mean laugh. FURTHER TRACK IN ON Norville ENDS in CLOSE
SHOT, his hands clasped on the desktop in front of him, as
he finishes his hard, square-jawed, man-on-top laugh, gazing
flintily INTO the CAMERA.

NORVILLE
-- ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

PULL BACK FROM:

WEEPING EXECUTIVE

The PULL BACK FROM a blubbering executive REVEALS that we
are at a Board meeting. All of the Board members sit around
the table except for Mussburger, who, a towel around his
waist, is receiving a choppity-chop massage on a padded table
from a muscular man in a bulging T-shirt.

MUSSBURGER
Pull yourself together, Addison.

Addison snuffles.

ADDISON
Nobody told me! Nobody told me!
You sold all of our stock?

MUSSBURGER
We dumped the whole load. Now quit
showboating, Addison --

ADDISON
I had twenty thousand shares! I'd be
a millionaire now!

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure, we'd all be millionaires.
There's no point in looking back. At
the time, Stilson thought dumping
our position would panic the market,
further depress the stock -- then
we'd buy it all back, and more of
course, once it got cheap --

ADDISON
Cheap! Cheap! It's never been more
valuable! And I'm ruined! Ruined!

He climbs up onto the board table.

ADDISON
I'm getting off this merry-go-round!

EXECUTIVE
Addison!

ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
Myron!

ADDISON
Aaaaahhh!

He runs down the length of the table and hurls himself toward
the window and:

Thwok!

CUT TO:

MUSSBURGER'S OFFICE - ANGLE FROM OUTSIDE

LOOKING IN, as Addison flattens against the f.g. glass, his
face squushing, his outflung hands likewise.

All stare in horror for a long silent beat.

With the sound of a SQUEEGEE being drawn across glass,
Addison, still frozen, slides down the window, hits the floor,
and falls stiffly back like a fallen tree.

Mussburger sits up and sticks a cigar into his mouth.

MUSSBURGER
Plexiglas. Had it installed last
week.

EXECUTIVE
...Myron?

MUSSBURGER
All right, so the kid caught a wave.
So right now he and his dingus are
on top. Well, this too shall pass.
Myrtle J. Mussburger didn't raise
her boy to go knockkneed at the first
sign of adversity. I say, we made
this kid and we can break him. I
say, the higher he climbs, the harder
he drops. I say, yes, the kid has a
future, and in it I see shame,
dishonor, ignominy and disgrace.

Sure, sure, the wheel turns, the music plays, and our spin
ain't over yet.

NORVILLE'S OFFICE

A small chamber orchestra, the musicians in tails, sit playing
"Eine Kleine Nachtmusik". Norville, eyes closed, reclines in
his desk chair, one uniformed woman stooping in front of
him, manicuring his nails, another, behind, massaging his
temples. A tailor is pinning up his pant cuffs.

A French sculptor wearing a white smock, a beret, and a goatee
squints at Norville and chisels at a block of marble with a
stone chisel and hammer.

A GOON sits off to one side, hat insolently atop his head,
reading the funny papers.

At length Norville stirs, opens his eyes, sits bolt upright,
batting away the hands of the manicurist and temple-massager.

NORVILLE
Hold it!...

The musicians' playing dribbles away to silence.

NORVILLE
...Nobody move, nobody breathe...

All sit frozen. You could hear a pin drop.

NORVILLE
...An idea... is coming...

Eyes narrowed, he gazes off into space, squinting for his
idea.

CLOSE ON TAILOR'S KIT

A straight pin is rolling across the top -- it drops off --

EXTREME CLOSE ON FLOOR

Where the PIN -- PING! -- hits.

NORVILLE
Deflates. He glares at the tailor.

NORVILLE
It's gone now.

The musicians resume playing. Everyone else resumes work.
The INTERCOM BUZZES and a female voice announces:

FEMALE (V.O.)
Miss Amy here to see you.

Norville leans forward to hit his intercom.

NORVILLE
Is she in the book? --

The door bursts open and Amy storms in.

AMY
For Pete's sake, Norville!

NORVILLE
Oh! Hello, Amy -- was it -- I thought
she said, Mamie --

AMY
Never mind about that...

She shakes a piece of paper at Norville.

AMY
...You know what those nincompoops
in the boardroom are doing?

NORVILLE
Well, I wouldn't call them nincom --

AMY
They're going to discharge eight
percent of the work force here at
Hudsucker. Why, in New York alone
that means eighteen hundred people
out of work, people with wives and
children and families --

NORVILLE
Well yes, we're pruning away some of
the dead wood, but if --

AMY
You mean you know about this?

NORVILLE
Know about it? You think the Board
would do anything like this without
my authorization? No, this was my
idea from the start.

AMY
Your i --

NORVILLE
We have to be realistic, Amy. You
know things have slowed down a little
here at Hudsucker --

AMY
You're awful kind to yourself,
Norville Barnes -- the fact is you've
slowed down, sitting up here like a
sultan, not doing a lick of work!
Why you know it's ideas that are the
lifeblood of industry and you haven't
come up with one since the hoop and
the reason's plain to see! You've
forgotten what made your ideas
exciting for you in the first place --
it wasn't for the fame and the wealth
and the mindless adulation of --
would you get out of here?!

This was addressed to the chamber orchestra, whose playing
dribbles off. They look inquisitively at Norville, then rise
to pack up their instruments and sheepishly leave the office.

AMY
...I've been watching you, Norville
Barnes, even though you've been trying
to avoid me --

NORVILLE
Now, Aim --

AMY
Shutup! -- and don't think I haven't
noticed how you've changed. I used
to think you were a swell guy --
well, to be honest I thought you
were an imbecile --

NORVILLE
Now, Aim --

AMY
Shutup! -- but then I figured out
you were a swell guy, a little slow
maybe, but a swell guy! Well, maybe
you're not so slow, but you're not
so swell either and it looks like
you're an imbecile after --

NORVILLE
Now, Aim --

AMY
Shutup! -- after all! You haven't
talked to me for a week and now I'm
going to say my piece. I've got a
prediction for you, Norville Barnes:
I predict that since you've decided
to dedicate yourself to greed and
sloth and everything bad, you're
going to lose all the good things
that your good ideas brought you.
You're going to throw them all away
chasing after money and ease and the
respect of a Board that wouldn't
give you the time of day if you...
if you...

NORVILLE
Worked in a watch factory?

The Goon looks up from his funnies.

GOON
Huh-huh-huh!

AMY
(to the Goon)
Shutup!
(to Norville)
Exactly! Don't you remember how you
used to feel about the hoop? You
told me you were gonna bring a smile
to the hips of everyone in America,
regardless of race, creed or color.
Finally there'd be a thingamajig
that would bring everyone together --
even if it kept 'em apart, spacially --
you know, for kids? Your words,
Norville, not mine. I used to love
Norville Barnes -- yes, love him! --
when he was just a swell kid with
hot ideas who was in over his head,
but now your head is too big to be
in over!

NORVILLE
Now, Amy --

AMY
Consider this my resignation --

Thwock -- She slaps him.

The bodyguard is on his feet.

GOON
Hey!!

Crack -- Amy kicks him hard in the shin.

GOON
...Awooooo!

AMY
-- Effective immediately!!

She strides to the door, leaving Norville rubbing his cheek
and the Goon hopping around on one leg.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

CLOSE SHOT - PICTURE OF AMY

PULL BACK SHOWS it to be her identification in her Hudsucker
personnel file.

A hand brings INTO FRAME another picture of her -- this one
a newspaper clipping. She stands on a podium accepting an
award; standing behind her are middle-aged identical triplets.
The caption says, "Amy Archer of the Manhattan Argus Receives
Pulitzer Prize."

WIDER ANGLE

We are in Mussburger's office. Mussburger is seated at his
desk looking at the file picture and clipping; the sign
letterer/scraper is leaning over his shoulder, having just
put them down.

MUSSBURGER
Hmmm... Thank you, Aloysius. This
may be useful.

Aloysious nods wordlessly and turns to leave.

As we TRACK IN ON the picture of Amy, we:

FADE OUT:

FADE UP TO:

PERFECT WHITE

After a beat, a woman ENTERS against the unblemished white
background, dressed in a flowing white dance robe, trailing
a long, diaphanous veil. She performs a flowingly sensuous
dance moderne; the MUSIC is a sensuous saxophone solo with
lasciviously bending blue notes.

After the woman has been dancing for several beats Norville
enters, dancing after her, pursuing her. He is wearing a
coatless suit, his sleeves rolled up, his thin tie loosened.

The woman dances around him, letting her diaphanous veil
trail sinuously around his body.

We hear an ECHOING voice:

VOICE (O.S.)
Buddy... Say, buddy...

CLOSE SHOT - NORVILLE

Sitting in his desk chair, sheened with sweat, eyes closed,
licking his lips.

CLOSER NOW:

VOICE (O.S.)
Buddy... Ya busy?

NORVILLE
Huh-whuh?

He opens his eyes and looks stuporously about.

Buzz is grinning down at him in his little pillbox elevator
cap.

BUZZ
Looks like ya nodded off there, buddy!
Say, ya got a minute?

Norville clears his throat.

NORVILLE
Oh, uh... Buzz... Is it important?

BUZZ
I like to think so! It's this little
idea I been working on!

He turns an easel to face the desk.

BUZZ
...Ya see, I don't intend to be an
elevator boy forever! Take a look at
this sweet baby!

The easel displays an oversized sheet of graph paper.

Onto it has been rendered a top view, which is a perfect
circle, and a side view, which is a vertical line.

Norville gazes stupidly at the circle.

BUZZ
...Ya get it, buddy? Incredibly
convenient, isn't it? Ya see --

He produces a tall glass of lemonade with a straw sitting in
it.

BUZZ
-- this is how it works, it's these
little ridges on the side that give
it its whammy! See, ya don't have to
drink like this anymore --

He holds his head over the glass to drink from the vertical
straw.

BUZZ
-- Now you can drink like this --

He bends the straw to drink from it at the horizontal.

BUZZ
...I call it the Buzz-Sucker, get
it, buddy? -- After me! Buzz! Why,
people are just dyin' for a product
like this, and the great thing is we
won't have to charge an arm and a --

Norville, who has been stewing, finally barks:

NORVILLE
Wait a minute!

He grabs the lemonade glass, looks at it, sneering.

NORVILLE
...Why, this is worthless.

BUZZ
Huh?! But, buddy --

Norville yanks the straw out and crumples it up.

NORVILLE
This is the most idiotic thing I've
ever seen in my life!

BUZZ
Yeah, but, buddy --

NORVILLE
Nobody wants a hare-brained product
like this! Ya see, Buzz, it lacks
the creative spark, the unalloyed
genius that made, uh...

He pauses to belch.

NORVILLE
...say, the hula hoop such a success.

BUZZ
But, buddy --

NORVILLE
And what do you mean barging in here
and taking up my valuable time! I've
got a company to run here --

BUZZ
But, buddy, you were --

NORVILLE
-- I can't have every deadbeat on
the Hudsucker payroll pestering me
with their idiotic brainwaves!

BUZZ
Geez, I'm sorry, buddy --

NORVILLE
An example must be made!

Buzz looks over his shoulder, turns back to Norville.

BUZZ
Wuddya mean, buddy?

NORVILLE
Fired! You're fired! Is that plain
enough for you, buster!

Buzz's jaw drops. His elastic chin strap snaps under the
pressure.

BUZZ
Awwww, buddy --

NORVILLE
And don't call me buddy! Out of here!
Out!

Buzz sinks to his knees, weeping. He clutches pathetically
at Norville's pants legs.

BUZZ
Aw, please, sir -- this job, it's
all I got!

NORVILLE
Get up!

BUZZ
I understand if ya don't like the
Buzz-Sucker! Just lemme keep my job,
I'm prayin' to ya!

NORVILLE
We don't crawl at Hudsucker
Industries! Get out of my office!
Leave your uniform in the locker
room!

Buzz stumbles away, still weeping.

BUZZ
I'm sorry, buddy... I'm sorry...

NORVILLE
Buzz... off! Ha-ha-ha-ha!

As we TRACK IN ON Norville, laughing, there is a low,
unearthly RUMBLE, and his face seems to DISSOLVE INTO:

FLAMES

We PULL BACK FROM the flame of Sid Mussburger's oversized
lighter as he finishes lighting a cigar.

He is sitting alone in the boardroom, but its door swings
open and Norville enters wearing plaid knickers, a little
cap, and a knit shirt that shows his waist starting to bulge.
He has a full golf bag over his shoulder.

NORVILLE
Sorry I'm late, Sid. That back nine
at Riverdale is really murder.

MUSSBURGER
Sure, sure, it's a tough course.
Well thanks for coming, kid. I thought
the board room would be a swell place
to chat undisturbed -- it seems we're
having some security problems here
at the Hud.

NORVILLE
Ya don't say.

MUSSBURGER
Mm. Ordinarily I wouldn't bother you
with it, but -- this is embarrassing,
kid -- it seems to concern you
directly.

NORVILLE
How's that, Sid?

MUSSBURGER
It's not important in itself --
some elevator boy you fired came to
me claiming you'd stolen the idea
for the, uh, the hoop dingus from
him --

NORVILLE
Huh?! He -- no, I -- he's just --
maybe I was a little rough on the
boy, ya see I --

MUSSBURGER
Ah forget it, kid, ya don't have to
explain to me. He's a little person.
He's nothing. Like I say, ordinarily
it would just be a nuisance. But it
seems -- well, there was a spy in
the company...

He is shoving a file towards Norville, who opens it.

MUSSBURGER
...Sure, sure, we tried to kill the
story. But her newspaper won't play
ball... Looks like her story's coming
out...

We TRACK DOWN the length of the board room table TOWARD
Norville, who stares horrified at the file.

MUSSBURGER
...See, kid, the problem the Board'll
have... you hired this woman. Kept
her on, while she made a chump out
of you. Serious error of judgment...
I mean, business is war, kid -- ya
take no prisoners, ya get no second
chances. And a boner like this...
I'm afraid when the Board meets,
after New Year's, your position...
well, it looks like you're finished...
stick a fork in ya, you're done...
washed up...

We LOSE Mussburger FROM FRAME as we TIGHTEN FURTHER ON
Norville, Mussburger continuing off:

MUSSBURGER (O.S.)
...I'm sorry, kid. I understand this
dolly who betrayed you, she used to
be a friend of yours...

Norville is slowly dragging the golf cap off his head.

MUSSBURGER (O.S.)
...And this elevator dope used to be
a friend, too...

Norville stares, perfectly still.

MUSSBURGER (O.S.)
...Well, they've got your throat
pretty well slit. And when you're
dead, ya stay dead. Ya don't believe
me, ask Waring Hudsucker... Yeah,
looks like curtains. Well,
condolences, kid...

Norville's IMAGE TURNS TO:

BLACK-AND-WHITE IMAGE OF NORVILLE

We PULL BACK to show that it is on the front page of the
Manhattan Argus.

The headline, in screaming nine-point type:

FAKE!

Next to the picture of Norville is the subhead: Idea Man a
Fraud.

Next to the sub-subhead is a picture of Buzz in his elevator-
operator's pillbox hat: Stole Hoop Idea from Genius Elevator
Jockey Clarence "Buzz" Gunderson.

AMY (O.S.)
You can't print that!

CHIEF
He grins wolfishly.

CHIEF
We are printing it! She's hittin'
the streets this evening --

SWISH PAN TO:

SMITTY
-- and she's dynamite!

AMY
But, Al, it's the bunk! Norville
showed me his design for the whatsit
the day I met him! Why Buzz couldn't
have invented it -- look at the man --
he's an imbecile!

CHIEF
Archer, you're a broken record. Fact
is Gunderson did design it --
apparently he's some kind of prodigy --

AMY
Says who?!

SMITTY
You're not the only one with sources,
Amy --

CHIEF
Smith has a source on the Hud board --
very senior, very hushhush --

AMY
Yeah, and I'll bet his initials are
Sidney J. Mussburger!

SMITTY
You've lost it, Aim. You've gone
soft by the looks of it -- soft on
the dummy from Dubuque --

AMY
Muncie!

CHIEF
Whatever! It's no dig on you, Archer,
but this story is hot and you're no
longer on top of it. Why, it's the
scoop of the century -- the other
papers won't have the Gunderson dope
'til tomorrow -- The Allemeinischer
Zeitung, Le Figaro, they'll be choking
on our dust come mornin' --

AMY
You're fools, both of you! It's
obvious they're out to crucify
Norville! They're trying to destroy
him!

CHIEF
(gently)
Amy -- take a break. You've worked
hard on this story -- heck, you broke
it for us! But it's passed you by
and Smith here has taken up the slack.

She is near tears.

AMY
You want slack, I'll give you slack.
You're not putting me out to pasture,
Al, I quit! Consider this my
resignation --

She turns to Smitty --

AMY
-- effective immediately!

-- and swings -- but he catches her before contact, holds
her by the wrist, and sneers:

SMITTY
...Soft.

Amy swings her free arm to -- thwack -- blindside his other
cheek.

NORVILLE

In flickering black-and-white, he is lying on a couch that
has been brought into his office, gazing listlessly at a
bend straw, being interviewed by someone O.S. The footage is
rough, taking a moment to find focus; the sound is TINNY.

GERMAN VOICE (V.O.)
Dell me vat is first zing droppensie
head ven I menzhon ze vord... Zex?

NORVILLE (V.O.)
(listlessly)
Aww, what's the difference.

BOARD MEMBER

Sitting in a darkened board room, gazing off at a screen
that sends flickering light onto his face.

GERMAN VOICE (V.O.)
Und ven I zpeak of authority?

NORVILLE (V.O.)
Awww, I dunno.

BACK TO SCREEN

GERMAN VOICE (V.O.)
Eggzplain please ze zignifikanz of
ze straw.

NORVILLE (V.O.)
Nuthin', really.

ANOTHER ANGLE

A shadow is thrown across the screen as a figure steps into
the beam. He throws the sharp silhouette of a strict Freudian
ANALYST: Van Dyke beard, pince-nez with chain trailing down
to his vest, one thumb hooked into the vest, the other hand
holding a cigar wreathing smoke, which he waves for emphasis.

ANALYST
Patient dizplayed liztlessness,
apathy, gloomy indifference und vas
blue und mopey.

The image on screen cuts to four inkblots. The Analyst sweeps
in a pointer and thwoks each image as he comments on it.

ANALYST
...Ven asked vut four Rhorschach
stains reprezented, patient replied,
'Nussink much,' 'I don't know,' 'Chust
a blotch,' und 'Sure beats me.'

ANOTHER ANGLE

The image onscreen cuts to a close shot of Norville on the
couch, mouth listlessly agape.

ANALYST
...Patient shows no ambition, no get-
up-und-go, no vim. He is riding ze
grand loopen-ze-loop --

Image cuts to a sine wave on a graph, the top of which is
labeled "Euphoria," the bottom of which is labeled "Despair,"
and a reference line through the middle labeled "Normal."
There is an X on the declining side of the wave, near but
not yet at the bottom, which is labeled "Patient."

ANALYST
-- zat goes from ze peak of delusional
gaiety to ze trrrroff of dezbair.
Patient is now near -- but not yet
at! -- ze lowest point; ven he
reachensies bottom he may errrrrupt
und pose danger to himself und uzzers.

MUSSBURGER

Casually puffing on a cigar.

MUSSBURGER
Diagnosis, Dr. Bromfenbrenner?

BROMFENBRENNER (ANALYST)
Patient is eine manic-depressive
paranoid type B, mit acute schizoid
tendencies.

MUSSBURGER
So patient is...?

He interrogatively twirls a finger 'round his temple.

BROMFENBRENNER
Prezizely. Knots.

The board murmurs.

MUSSBURGER
Prescription?

BROMFENBRENNER
Sree sinks! Kommitment.
Electroconfulsif therapy. Maintenance
in eine zecure wazility.

As he scores each point it is illustrated on the screen behind
him: A patient is forced into a straitjacket by two brawny,
unshaven attendants; electricity arcs between two leads on a
wire cap being wielded by a technician; and lastly, a steel-
barred door is slammed shut behind a stooped and broken
patient who is led, shuffling, away.

Here the FILM runs out, CHATTERING, and the screen goes white.

The projector is shut off and the lights go on.

The board politely applauds.

INT. BAR - CLOSE ON BARMAN

He has a Vandyke beard and wears a cut-off sweatshirt and
dungarees and dark glasses, and has the phone wedged into
his shoulder as he tears open a large cardboard box.

BARMAN
Yeah, just get down here -- he says
he's a friend of yours... He won't
say, but man, is he from squaresville.

He hangs up and we HINGE WITH him to bring the length of the
bar into view. Norville dishevelled, is on the other side
bellowing.

NORVILLE
I want a martini! It's New Year's
Eve and I want a Martini!

BARMAN
Daddy, it's like I been tellin' ya --

NORVILLE
I thought you served misfits here!

The barman is taking rolled-up blow-beepers out of the
cardboard box and loading them into tumblers to set along
the bar.

BARMAN
Yeah, daddy, that's a roger, but we
don't sell alcohol.

NORVILLE
What kind of bar is it if ya can't
get a martini?!

BARMAN
It's a juice and coffee bar, man,
like I been tellin' ya --

NORVILLE
I want a martini! On this bar, right
now! I've had a martini in every bar
on the way down here, and I'm not
about to --

BARMAN
Martinis are for squares, man.

Suddenly enraged:

NORVILLE
What'd you call me?!

He starts awkwardly peeling off his suit coat.

NORVILLE
...You son of a --

AMY (O.S.)
Norville!

NORVILLE
Huh?!

He looks stupidly about, the shoulders of his coat down around
his elbows. He sees Amy rushing up.

NORVILLE
...Oh, it's you! Lookin' for a nitwit
to buy your lunch?!

AMY
Oh Norville, I --

Norville's attention has already left her. He looks for the
missing bartender.

NORVILLE
(swaying)
Barman! Set'm up, fella!

AMY
Norville, I'm sorry, I... I tried to
tell you... so many times... It's
hard to admit when you've been wrong.
If you could just... find it in your
heart to -- to give me another chance --

NORVILLE
Hey! Where's that martini?!

AMY
Just give me another chance, Norville --
I can help you fight this thing. I
know this last story was a lie! We
can prove it! We can --

NORVILLE
Aww, what's the difference. I'm all
washed up... When you're dead, ya
stay dead... Hey, fella!

AMY
Well that just about does it! I've
seen Norville Barnes, the young man
in a big hurry, and I've seen Norville
Barnes the self-important heel, but
I've never seen Norville Barnes the
quitter, and I don't like it!

She starts pumping her arms, slowly chanting.

AMY
...Fight on, fight on, dear old
Muncie.

She steps back off the stool. Norville watches her dully,
his head swaying.

AMY
...Fight on, hoist the gold and blue;
You'll be tattered, torn and hurtin'
Once 'The Munce' is done with you!
Goooooo Eagles!

She looks hopefully for some effect, but after staring at
her for a slack-jawed beat Norville can only bring out:

NORVILLE
You lied to me! I can't believe you
lied to me! a Muncie girl!

He lurches off his stool toward the door. Watching him,
despair fights with confusion on Amy's face.

AMY
But Norville... I...

She realizes that, though shattered, he is still the simple
innocent she loved --

AMY
... Oh, Norville!

-- and bursts into tears.

Two loud REVELERS reel INTO FRAME, one of them uncurling a
blow-beeper at the weeping Amy.

REVELER #1
Happy Newby-Newby-New!

REVELER #2
1959 we dig you the most!

EXT. ANNE'S

As Norville exits. It is night, snowing.

We PAN WITH Norville OFF the bar facade and, ENDING the PAN
in the f.g.:

NEWSPAPER

WIPES UP INTO FRAME. Next to a picture of Norville is the
headline "MUNCIE MENTAL CASE." The subhead: "Hud Chief to
Tend Daisies." Sub-subhead: "Headshrinker Calls Him Walking
Time Bomb."

NEWSIE (O.S.)
Extra! Extra! New Year's Eve Edition!

Norville's hand ENTERS FRAME to push the newspaper away and
leave us looking up the empty street. Norville's back ENTERS
as he stumbles off alone up the street, pulling up his coat
collar as he recedes, the NEWSIE's VOICE continuing:

NEWSIE (O.S.)
...Ring out the old! Ring in the
new!

CLOSE ON NORVILLE

trudging. VOICES WELL UP, ECHOING. A face looms with each
voice, hellishly lit, superimposed over the walking Norville:

VOICES (V.O.)
...You're not so slow but you're not
so swell either and it looks like
you're an imbecile after all!...
Noooo, I don't guess you will be
here long... Sure, sure, but even
there they called you dipstick...
lamebrain... dope... schmoe... And
is this sap from chumpsville?!...
imbecile after all... Norville, you
let me down... You let Mrs. Eisenhower
down... You let the American people
down... imbecile after all...
imbecile... I predict you're going
to lose all the good things your
ideas brought you... Please, buddy...!
When you're dead, ya stay dead...
Sure, sure, the kid's screwy -- it's
official...

This last voice and supered face is Mussburger's.

Norville DISSOLVES away to leave us ON Sidney in the:

INT. BOARDROOM

Hellishly bottom-lit board members sit around the table,
conical New Year's hats on their heads. Mussburger, the only
one not wearing a cap, waves his cigar as he continues to
talk:

MUSSBURGER
...The barred-window boys are out
looking for him now, and we'll see
how Wall Street likes the news that
the President of Hudsucker Industries
is headed for the booby-hatch. Why,
when the doc gets through with him
he'll need diapers and a dribble
cup...

The board murmurs appreciatively.

MUSSBURGER
...Let me remind you that our secret
post-New Year's party will be held
in the office of the President shortly
after midnight tonight. Remember,
it's strictly stag, so leave the
wives at home; we'll be showing some
films and, yes, gentlemen, there
will be exotic dancers.

Louder murmuring. One board member leers, a trace of spittle
at the corner of his mouth.

MUSSBURGER
Well, if that's all...

With an unnatural rumble he straightens his papers and we...

JUMP UP TO:

HIGH NIGHTMARISH DUTCH ANGLE

of the assembled around the table.

ALL
Long live the Hud!

NORVILLE

Norville trudges on, faster, sweatier.

VOICE (O.S.)
Ring out the old! Ring in the new...!

People come and go, laughing, talking, blowing noisemakers,
making merry.

VOICE (O.S.)
...Ring out the old! Ring in the
new! Ring out the --

Thoomp!! Norville has run into someone. He looks up, dazed.

VOICE (O.S.)
Hey, watch where you're -- Say, buddy!

It is Buzz, the elevator boy, dressed in an ill-fitting tuxedo
and a conical party hat. Za-Za is on his arm, towering over
him, leering at Norville.

NORVILLE
-- Uh... Buzz, I'm sorry, I -- Buzz,
you gotta forgive me! I shouldn't a
fired you, I didn't know what I was
doing! I was a little funny in the
head, I --

BUZZ
Aw, buddy, I don't care about that.

Norville is stunned.

NORVILLE
...You don't?

BUZZ
Nah, that's all forgotten.

NORVILLE
...It is?

BUZZ
Sure, Mr. Muss -- uh, Sid said I
could have the job back.

NORVILLE
Absolutely, Buzz, I'm glad he --

BUZZ
But he told me you stole that swell
hoop idea from me. What gives!

NORVILLE
But, Buzz --

BUZZ
Say, that was a swell idea!

NORVILLE
But, Buzz, you know I never --

BUZZ
And Sid says you stole it!

NORVILLE
But Buzz --

ZA-ZA
Well wuddya waiting for, Clarence --
? Pop him one!

Boffo!

Buzz swings and Norville hits the snow hard.

BUZZ
Think about that, idea man!!

Norville groggily raises his head.

PASSERBY
Say, isn't he that lunatic?

Norville looks dopily up at the people in furs and party
hats starting to gather.

VOICES
...that big-shot faker... the Wall
Street fraud guy... nuttier than a
fruitcake... they say he's a menace...
wuddya waitin' for, call a cop!...

We hear SIRENS.

Norville staggers to his feet. The crowd cringes.

VOICES
...He's on his feet... We can take
him!

Norville bursts through the crowd, running.

Buzz starts giving chase, followed by the braver souls,
followed by the entire mob.

NORVILLE

runs, gasping, turning a corner.

VOICES
...Down here! He went down here!

Behind Norville, the crowd rounds the corner, led by Buzz.

A VAN is SCREECHING to a halt and out jump two burly unshaven
men in white, one of them holding open a straitjacket, the
other carrying a large butterfly net. They join in the chase.

Norville turns down an alley. A DRUNK drooping off a lamppost
gaily waves a bottle at him.

DRUNK
Ring out the old! Ring in the new!

The crowd is running past the mouth of the alley, missing
the turn-off.

LIMESTONE FLOOR

Norville, gasping, crashes down INTO FRAME, his hands breaking
his fall against the limestone. The CAMERA SPINS NINETY
DEGREES to reveal that it is not floor but wall he has run
into and is now leaning against. Norville looks up, sweating,
gasping.

HIS POV

The massive Hudsucker Building looms dizzily up towards the
stars, capped by the huge Hudsucker Clock.

DISTANT VOICES (O.S.)
Ring out the old! Ring in the new!

HUDSUCKER LOBBY

Norville staggers in. A gust of icy air that comes in with
him flaps a dropcloth off a huge shape that dominates the
lobby:

It is the heroic statue of Norville that we earlier saw him
posing for.

Norville reels over to it, stares dumbly.

STATUE

Mutely -- mockingly -- dignified.

NORVILLE

He staggers off to the elevators.

MUSSBURGER'S OFFICE

We are TRACKING ACROSS the office TOWARD Mussburger, his
feet up on his desk, laughing demonically, smoking his cigar.
CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK -- the PERPETUAL MOTION BALLS swing
on his desk; THRUMMMMM -- the SWEEP SECOND HAND of the clock,
illuminated now, casts a moving shadow that rolls across the
floor. Evil prevails.

A piece of paper and a pencil lie on his desk; as we APPROACH
WE PAN DOWN and SWING AROUND to read it, LOSING Mussburger
but still hearing his LAUGHTER.

MOVING IN ON THE PAPER:

Musssucker Industries. Hudberger Industries. Sidsucker
Industries. This last alternative has been circled in red.
Below it has been scribbled:

Sidney J. Mussburger, President.

Evil LAUGHTER. Sweeping shadows.

CUT TO:

NORVILLE'S OFFICE DOOR

We are TRACKING IN TOWARD the back of Aloysius, the sign
painter, who is stooped in front of the door. He looks back
over his shoulder, leering PAST the CAMERA, to reveal his
work: Under PRESIDENT Norville's name has been scraped away,
and painted in is SIDNEY J. MUSSBUR...

NORVILLE

He pushes past the sign painter.

INT. OFFICE

Dark and empty. Norville is peeling off his coat as he
staggers over to the closet.

We can hear DISTANT REVELRY and the STRAINS of "AULD LANG
SYNE."

Norville has pulled his old mailroom apron from the closet
and is putting it on: HUDSUCKER MAIL ROOM/The Future Is Now.

Norville looks at the door.

THROUGH the glass we see the tail of the last R of
"Mussburger" being painted into place.

Norville throws open the window.

WIND WHISTLES.

He climbs out.

LEDGE

Norville, back against the wall, looks cautiously down.

We hear DISTANT CHANTING:

VOICES (V.O.)
Ten... nine... eight... seven...

HIS POV

A sickening drop. Receding snowflakes. On the street far,
far below, a lone car's headlights cut through the falling
snow.

VOICES (V.O.)
Six... five... four...

WIDER ON NORVILLE

We are FLOATING IN; it is the SHOT with which the movie began.
The sweep second hand of the Hudsucker Clock is approaching
the 12 of midnight, the New Year. In sync with the clock the
CHANTING continues:

VOICES (V.O.)
Three... two...

We have COME IN CLOSE ON Norville. A lone tear runs down his
cheek.

VOICES (V.O.)
...One...

BONG! The toll is right at Norville's ear. Startled, he
reaches up to press hands against his ears. Distantly:

VOICES (V.O.)
Happy New Year!

BONG!!

He can't stand it. Whimpering, hands to his ears, he edges
his way back toward the window.

HIS POV

The open window at a steep angle. Someone inside slides it
shut.

BACK TO SCENE

Norville waves.

NORVILLE
No --

BONG!!

His gesticulation and a shuffle step upset his balance -- he
trips -- falls -- catches the ledge --

NORVILLE
-- No, please!

He is hanging onto the icy ledge by his fingertips. His feet
dangle away. Snow falls.

HIS POV

Looking STEEPLY UP.

CLOCK

Its second hand is making its descent.

NORVILLE

Falling.

MUSSBURGER

Laughing.

SECOND HAND

Descending.

NORVILLE

Falling, turning lazily in the air -- and suddenly, with a
great moaning sound -- he stops, suspended in mid-air, head
down, feet in the air.

It is much like the freeze frame on Waring Hudsucker that
the title of the film was supered over.

He waves his arms, to no effect, looks around.

PEOPLE IN STREET

Frozen in attitudes of laughter, celebration. Snow sifts
silently down around their motionless bodies.

MUSSBURGER

In his office, frozen with an idiotic laugh pasted to his
face.

HIS PERPETUAL MOTION BALLS

Frozen, one ball swung out but suspended, hanging at the
apex of its arc. Outside the great arched window, snow falls.

NORVILLE

He alone can move, but doesn't fall. He looks awkwardly about,
his body in a dive-bomber attitude, canted steeply down.

EXT. HUDSUCKER CLOCK

Its sweep second hand is arrested on its downward sweep.

WHINING NOISES emanate from within.

CLOSE SHOT - GREAT GEAR

The broom handle has been jammed between two cogs, stopping
them. We PULL BACK ALONG the handle to reveal Moses, who has
thrust it there, and who now TURNS back over his shoulder to
address the CAMERA.

MOSES
Strictly speakin', I'm never spozed
to do this but... have you got a
better idea?

NORVILLE

Twisting back to look up over his shoulder; there is a DISTANT --
very distant -- SINGING.

HIS POV

Looking up the length of the Hudsucker Building. Someone or
something wrapped in white is flying toward us, coming down
from the stars.

We can make out a male voice, accompanied by STRUMMING:

VOICE (V.O.)
She'll be comin' around the mountain
when she comes, She'll be comin'
around the mountain when she comes...

NORVILLE

He gapes.

ANGEL

-- For it is an Angel, arrives. He is a balding man, wearing
rimless glasses, in a white robe, large feathery wings
sprouting from his back and beating heavily until he comes
to rest, in midair. He puts aside the harp he has been
strumming on a nearby windowsill.

ANGEL
Love that tune. How ya doin', kid?

NORVILLE
Mr... Mr. Hudsucker?

HUDSUCKER (ANGEL)
Ta-daaaa!

Presenting himself, he spreads his arms and stamps his forward
foot, forgetting that there is nothing beneath his foot to
stamp. He lurches forward, momentarily losing his balance.

HUDSUCKER
...Wooooo!

He rights himself. The halo spinning lazily over his head
has been jarred askew. With a flick of his forefinger he
rights it.

HUDSUCKER
...How d'ya like this thing? They're
all wearin' em upstairs now.

He blows a dismissive raspberry.

HUDSUCKER
...It's a fad.

He pats at his robe, produces a white cigar.

HUDSUCKER
...Anyway. I hear you've been having,
uh...

He casually flicks his thumb out of his fist, lighting it.
He lights the cigar off his thumb, takes a puff.

HUDSUCKER
...Been having some problems with
the board. The more things change,
know what Iyayayeeeeee...

Pain reminds him that he has forgotten to extinguish his
flaming thumb, which he now waves frantically about.

HUDSUCKER
...Jesus Christopher -- That smarts...
Where was I? Oh yeah, the board. I
guess Sidney's been puttin' the screws
to ya, huh, Norman?

NORVILLE
Norville.

HUDSUCKER
Mm. Well, say what you like about
the man's ethics, he's a balls-to-
the-wall businessman. Beat ya any
way he can. Straight for the jugular.
Very effective.

NORVILLE
Yes sir...

HUDSUCKER
Anyway. Any particular reason you
didn't give him my Blue Letter? I
mean, Jesus, Norman, just a dying
man's last words and wishes, no big
deal.

NORVILLE
Huh? Oh, geez, Mr. Hudsucker, I
apologize, there was an awful lot of
excitement and I guess I must've
mislaid --

HUDSUCKER
It's sittin' in your apron pocket,
right where you left it. Imbecile.

Norville reaches in and -- pulls out the wrinkled Blue Letter.

NORVILLE
Oh, geez.

HUDSUCKER
Failure to deliver a Blue Letter is
grounds for dismissal.

NORVILLE
Geez, I --

HUDSUCKER
Ah, it's New Year's, I'm not gonna
add to your woes. I'm just saying.

NORVILLE
Yessir.

HUDSUCKER
Well, why don't ya read it.

NORVILLE
Sir?

HUDSUCKER
Yeah, go ahead. Might learn somethin'.

NORVILLE
Yes sir...

He tears open the envelope, reads:

NORVILLE
'From the desk of Waring Hudsucker.
To. Sidney J. Mussburger. Regarding.
My demise. Dear Sid. By the time you
read this, I will have joined the
organization upstairs -- an exciting
new beginning. I will retain fond
memories of the many years you and I --
'

HUDSUCKER
Yeah, yeah, it's the standard
resignation boilerplate -- go down
to the second paragraph.

NORVILLE
'Many years, uh... I know that you
will be wondering why I have decided
to move on, ending my tenure at
Hudsucker, and here on Earth. You
will be thinking, Why now, when things
are going so well? Granted, from the
standpoint of our balance sheet and
financials, sure, sure, we're doing
fine. However, Sid. These things
have long since ceased to give me
pleasure. I look at myself now and
no longer see the idealistic young
man who started this company. Now I
see only an empty shell whom others
call a 'success.' How has this come
to pass? When and why did I trade
all of my hopes, dreams and
aspirations, for the emptiness of
power and wealth? What the heck have
I done?

As Norville reads Hudsucker casually examines his fingernails,
then pats down a yawn.

NORVILLE
'...Looking back now, Sid, I see
that I allowed time and age to corrupt
my dreams. Instead of fiercely
guarding what was timeless inside of
myself, I let the hubbub of earthly
commerce erode my character, and
dissolve my better self. How is it
that some manage to preserve
themselves where I have failed?
Sidney, I do not know. Perhaps if
others love you, you may more securely
love yourself -- but I am alone. I
loved a woman once, Sid, as you well
know -- a beautiful, vibrant lady,
an angel who in her wisdom saw fit
to choose you instead of I...'

Norville is interrupted by loud blubbering. He looks up.

Hudsucker is weeping loudly into a white handkerchief.

He saws at his nose, gives it a loud honk, and urgently
quavers in a voice strangled with emotion:

HUDSUCKER
Skip this part...

He waves his hankie in get-on-with-it circles.

HUDSUCKER
...Last paragraph, last paragraph.

Norville looks down the page.

NORVILLE
'...And so, Sid, the future does not
belong to such as I -- nor even you.
We have made our compromises with
time. The future belongs to the young,
who may more energetically wage the
battle against corruption.
Accordingly, in the spirit of hope,
and the ringing in of the new, I
hereby bequeath my entire interest
in the company, and my seat on the
board, to whomever is Hudsucker's
most recent employee at the time of
my demise. I know this will disappoint
you -- you, Sid, who have served so
diligently and for so long. But --'

HUDSUCKER
-- tough titty toenails!

He roars with laughter.

HUDSUCKER
...That'll show the bastard!

He merrily wipes his eyes.

HUDSUCKER
...Yeah, go ahead.

NORVILLE
'...But Sid, let me urge you to work
closely with the new president, and
to keep giving Hudsucker Industries
all your energies -- but not your
soul. For while we must strive for
success, we must not worship it.
Long live the Hud. Waring
Hudsucker...'

Norville gives a musingly appreciative nod.

HUDSUCKER
...Geez.

Pleased with himself:

HUDSUCKER
Yup. It's all there. Well, see that
it gets delivered in the morning.

Hudsucker picks up his lyre and heads back up toward the
stars.

HUDSUCKER
Sheeel beeee...

MUSSBURGER'S OFFICE

Mussburger still sits frozen in his chair. Outside the great
arched window Hudsucker rises, through the falling snow, on
his way back to the heavens.

HUDSUCKER
...Ridin' six white horses, She'll
be ridin' six white horses She'll be
ridin' six white horses When she
comes...

We hear a great WRENCHING SOUND from the GEAR ROOM next door.

GEAR ROOM

Moses pries the broom handle loose from the Great Gear.

With a LOW MOAN the CLOCKWORKS start to shudder and turn --

SWEEP SECOND HAND

Lurching forward --

PERPETUAL MOTION BALL

Swinging down --

EXT. PAVEMENT

As Norville falls the last few feet and lands on his face
with one last mighty BONG of the HUDSUCKER CLOCK.

BOOM DOWN

FROM a tavern sign that says ANN'S 440, DOWN TO the front
door, which Norville is entering.

INT. ANN'S

Sitting halfway down the bar is Amy, staring morosely into a
coffee cup. AT the CUT we are TRACKING BACK, PULLING AWAY
FROM her.

Norville enters, comes up next to her and makes the Go Eagles
sign, hooking his thumbs in front of his nose and spreading
his fingers.

Two familiar voices narrate the scene, sounding a little
tipsy:

LOU (O.S.)
What the heck's he doin', Benny?

Amy looks at Norville, startled. After a moment she
reciprocates the sign.

BENNY (O.S.)
What the heck's she doin', Lou?

LOU (O.S.)
What the heck they doin'?

Norville and Amy embrace.

BENNY (O.S.)
You know what they're doin' now,
Lou.

LOU (O.S.)
This I know, Benny.

BENNY (O.S.)
This you're familia' with.

Our PULL BACK ENDS LOOKING ACROSS an elbow of the bar, TOWARDS
Norville and Amy, now in WIDE SHOT. Resting on the bar in
the extreme f.g. are two champagne glasses, half-full of
fizzing champagne.

Norville and Amy kiss.

LOU (O.S.)
...Geez.

BENNY (O.S.)
...Geez.

We hear LABORED, RASPY BREATHING.

LOU (O.S.)
...Y'all right, Benny?

In a quavering voice:

BENNY (O.S.)
...Yeah, I'm... It's just... It's
beautiful, Lou!

Lou also is beginning to sound choked up:

LOU (O.S.)
It is beautiful, Benny.

Almost weeping as Norville and Amy continue their embrace:

BENNY (O.S.)
...It's the most beautiful t'ing I
ever saw.

LOU (O.S.)
It's the most beautiful t'ing I ever
saw.

A BARTENDER ENTERS to BLOCK our VIEW of Norville and Amy.

He is youngish, with a beat goatee, wearing dungarees and a
sweatshirt with cut-off sleeves. He looks to either side at
Benny and Lou.

BARTENDER
You cats comin' from a party?

BENNY
Cabbies' affair.

LOU
Hacks' New Year's gala.

BARTENDER
Crazy. Get you anything else? Sangria?
Carrot juice? Herbal tea?

REVERSE ANGLE

We see Benny and Lou are sitting side by side at the bar.

Lou wears a fake whispy beard and white eyebrows and a long
flowing robe; he holds a fake scythe. On the bar next to him
sits a large hourglass.

LOU
Bromo.

Benny is wearing nothing but an oversized diaper, a baby
bonnett and a sash across his hairy chest and thick belly
that says "1959."

He chucks himself in the heart, cocks his head and sucks in
air, then blows it back out.

BENNY
...Bromo.

BLUE LETTER

Lying on the boardroom table. As a hand enters to lay a
wristwatch on the table next to it, we hear the voice of
Moses, the old maintenance man.

MOSES (V.O.)
And so began 1959. The new year...

The hand reenters to lay down a wallet, and then to deposit
a burning cigar in an ashtray.

MOSES (V.O.)
...And the start of a new business
cycle. When he learned that Norville
owned the comp'ny, ol' Sidney was
upset at first.

We TILT UP to show that Mussburger is walking toward the
boardroom window. Board members silently remonstrate with
him as he tries to wrench it open.

MOSES (V.O.)
...It's a good thing Doc
Bromfenbrenner was there...

Doctor Bromfenbrenner stands to one side watching, brow
furrowed, a pencil pressed to his lips.

MOSES (V.O.)
...'cause he was able to keep Sidney
from harmin' his ol' self.

We...

CUT TO:

BARRED DOOR

being slammed behind Sidney who, straight-jacketed, is puffing
on a cigar as he is led away.

MOSES (V.O.)
...Now Norville, he went on an' ruled
with wisdom and compassion...

BOARDROOM

Again. Norville is eagerly pointing at a design he has up on
an easel: Under the heading BRAND NEW is a large circle. The
side view is a flat line.

MOSES (V.O.)
...and started dreamin' up them
excitin' new ideas again. You know,
for kids!

The board members look at the design, puzzled.

Norville takes a drop cloth off of a piece of plastic on a
pedestal. He has the board's complete attention.

MOSES (V.O.)
...An' that's the story of how
Norville Barnes climbed away up to
the forty-fourth floor of the
Hudsucker Buildin'...

He picks up the plastic disc and as he sails it we...

CUT TO:

OUTSIDE

As it floats out the boardroom window.

MOSES (V.O.)
...an' then fell all the way down,
but didn't quite squish hisself.

We BOOM UP, AWAY FROM the boardroom, to the great Hudsucker
Clock.

MOSES (V.O.)
...Ya know, they say there was a man
who jumped from the fortyfifth
floor... but that's another story.
Heh-heh-heh! Ya-heh-heh-heh!

We FADE OUT on the clock as Moses' LAUGHTER grows distant
and END MUSIC SWELLS.

THE END

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