JOHNNY B. GOODE
What is it About:
There was part of me that said keep this all to yourself, you may embarrass yourself and others. There is another part, because of many strange events and happenings in my life would suggest that I should relate these events, because it does indeed establish the fact that there are souls on the other side that influence things we do on this earthly plane... make your own judgment after reading this in its entirety.
An eleven-day sail from Tahiti to Am. Samoa should have taken 11 days; I was single handing the vessel, no big deal, often sailed alone. In short I got caught up in very bad weather it took me 34 days alone without seeing land. I took quite a beating. All I can tell you is things happen spiritually we become different. I was lucky to be alive, I knew that, but I made it in one piece.
I really didn’t know much about the Hollywood environment after writing my first Screenplay SOAKED. You sought of grind your way, learning the ropes a bit at a time. A little less than a year later, I had the inspiration to write another screenplay about baseball. The Title came to me immediately even before I wrote it, JOHNNY B. GOODE.
It starts from my own experience of 5 years old. That would be 1948. My life was the N.Y. Yankees. My brother nine years older was beginning High School, Regis High in N.Y., a scholarship school run by the Jesuit Priests on W.86 St off Central Park West. He had this book “Lucky to be a Yankee” written by Joe Di Maggio1946…. I couldn’t read, but I’d look at all the pictures religiously… My favorite player was Lou Gehrig…. he a lefty like me. My brother told me I was getting all the pictures dirty; that unless I learned to read words from a book, I couldn’t read it anymore; I learned to read from that orange covered book, the cover so vivid in my childish mind.
The opening scene is Johnny with his mother, visiting his grandfather. Excited he is carrying a ball, he says to his grandfather throw me the ball grandpa, I want to show you what a good ballplayer I am. Joan carrying the book under her arm.( only later to find out first edition, makes sense 1948). All those years I re-acquainted with that fact about the orange covered book. Joan says, tell Grandpa that you can read… Johnny says oh yeah…Patrick said If I didn’t learn words, I couldn’t read the book… He grabs the book from his mother… ”Grandpa that’s Joe DiMaggio and my favorite player Lou Gehrig, a lefty like me. Lou went to Columbia with Daddy, the same class…He lived right down the street from us.
After that, the story just took off. I had the script written within two weeks… hardly an edit… perfect. The understory Uncle Jack…now a N.Y. Attorney, Johnny’s uncle. During the War an Army Air Corps. bomber pilot B 24’s…In London met up with Joe Kennedy, the elder Kennedy brother who flew the Navy version of the plane… both would discuss the bombings with innocents getting killed over France to extricate the Nazis…The story goes on… Maybe because as an architect I have a very visual mind…but Uncle Jack in my head was George Clooney…a major part…the other story character was a young Bobby Kennedy, close friend of Uncle Jack…The story is about Johnny growing up to be a baseball player…His brother plays ball for Regis High…They take the Broadway Subway down to Central Park, Johnny following his brother practicing; they let him practice with the team… Young Johnny 5 indeed is a good ballplayer… he can catch anything hit. A scene Johnny crying walking to the Subway… Patrick says… “because you can’t hit”… Johnny: “Daddy and Uncle Jack said I was a good hitter”…Patrick: because they throw it slow where you can hit it… Patrick: “Do you know why Ted Williams hit 400..he would be in the batting cage till his hands bled”… Patrick: “Uncle Jack told me long ago anybody can suit up, throw and catch…but the scouts in the big leagues are looking for hitters” Patrick takes Johnny to the batting cages near by their home to give him instructions.. .Patrick … Your job is to Guard the Plate.. Johnny in high school will be, Nationally, the number one prospect. He goes to Columbia like his father and his idol Lou Gehrig. Remy is Johnny’s age. She came from France after the war, surviving the terrible bombings…She has a special place in Uncle Jack’s heart. A pilot in the 8th air Corps, Cardinal Spellman in N.Y. their Chaplain and close personal friend…Remy will grow up… American Ballet School, N.Y Ballet Company… Remy and Johnny soulmates since nine years old…It was effortless writing, it just flowed…I saw the characters as they would appear on screen….I saw George Clooney clear as a bell playing Uncle Jack…As the story progressed…Uncle Jack, close to John Kennedy, was his Presidential campaign Director…his brother in law in real life… (keep this point in mind) . The mythologist Joseph Campbell (My Spiritual mentor)who went to Columbia with Johnny’s father plays a key role in the story. (coincidentally… Jackie. Kennedy would later become the editor of his book relating to his interviews on PBS with Bill Moyers; who again coincidentally, was President Kennedy’s in real life, Press Secretary)….Things I was writing had an unconscious bearing on me as it related to the Kennedy family. Story goes on…
Johnny and Remy are grown. Johnny will be signing a lucrative contract with the Yankees, 1964 upon graduation, and after the Olympics in Japan…Baseball’s first entry into the Olympic venue. Remy now a Solo Ballerina with the N.Y. Ballet Co. After a terrible fight in the Plaza Hotel bar area, Remy storms off. Driving to Uncle Jacks at night to the Hamptons…Car accident she gets killed…Johnny’s soul mate, it kills the spirit in him. He feels responsible…never plays baseball again… He becomes a recluse… He reads and studies following his father’s footsteps attends Law School.. has no interest in anyone, a number one student…a little job in a bookstore…After completing his second year, he runs across at the bookstore, a book given to his brother Patrick by Professor Campbell. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Patrick a West Point Grad…was a Lieut Colonel In President Kennedy’s newly formed Green Berets…Patrick becomes an early casualty in the Viet Nam war…Johnny while on the subway sees a sign ..College Grads.. U.S. Army Officer…He joins up. The story picks up Johnny with a squad are being overrun…they are waiting for helicopters to come to their rescue…Johnny is confused…then he remembers as if Patrick was there.. telling him as a child…”Johnny your job is to Guard the Plate"…He provides cover fire for his squad to the helicopter;. In turn, he gets badly wounded but alive. We pick up at the hospital in the States…His wounds and hospital, have turned him into a drug addict. He returns to Columbia to finish his third year, a broken young man…He becomes a public defender representing war protestors…He passes out in Court, carried out on a stretcher, his law license suspended to practice and sent to AA. There only by chance meets up with Hector who he played ball with in high school, then Hector 5 years as a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals…Hector invites Johnny back and is greeted by Rosita who danced at the Ballet with Remy…They have a little girl….her name Remy…Hector offers to drive Johnny home…It’s late, Johnny said no he wants to take the Subway…limping off with a cane in the dark.. a silhouette of an old man, he stops…we gather probably approached by a drug dealer…he walks on…Johnny found dead in front of a urine soaked wall in a subway station, the N.Y. subway he so loved…The story does not end there… Johnny is in Purgatory…He understands he is there in Purgatory… etc etc…when the fog clears, he is now in heaven a face is staring at him…Johnny says…Lou …Lou Gehrig…Yeah… all your family is here… in the stands, and that young lady, a real major leaguer that one…Johnny replies and a great dancer etc…etc…You are up at bat kid…we heard you can hit… Johnny says Lou how come you are dressed in a Columbia uniform instead of Pinstripes…Lou replies When you see me in pinstripes…you know you made the team and are “Lucky to Be a Yankee”…END
THIS IS THE EXTRAORDINARY PART OF THIS NARRATIVE…I would get off my boat, spend much time at the Library… I a vociferous reader; I wrote there as well…There was this guy whom I’d see quite often while I took the bus to the store…He’d hike everyday maybe 10 miles along the road by the sea…Before colliding into him.. at the library entrance, he obviously from the lower 48…we began a conversation…He didn’t look it…something was obviously wrong on appearance…Well educated, a Choate grad, from N.Y. well bred fine manners, good sense of humor, a reader like myself…between the two of us read everything in the library…as both of us were known…I told him I completed a screenplay about Baseball two days ago and gave him access to the script over the net… get an opinion. A couple of days later we met again, he was leaving the library with an armful of books…I was anxious what he thought. He glared at me and was evasive…telling me he had trouble with the library computer…he didn’t have a computer… said something to be polite…I was disappointed…Oh yeah.. it was good with a distant stare…I found out a little later in real like UNCLE JACK WAS HIS FATHER, President Kennedy’s brother-in-Law who I believe committed suicide in front of him. Shot himself. (What is that one in a billion?) He lived at Mrs. Scanlan’s… rooming house…the rent money was sent to her directly…Michael had no money… (probably would drink it up I presumed) This I found out months later. I went to great lengths to find a fax machine on the Island in order to send a fax about the script, and about the part to Mr. Clooney…also added his wife would probably enjoy, maybe teaching a semester at Columbia Law School…while making the movie in N.Y. I was fairly new in Hollywood protocols…figuring I should have sent the script to his agent first… I in fact apologized for my clumsiness…His agent the biggest in Hollywood Kevin Huvaine… said nothing when I emailed him…He still doesn’t acknowledge me after six screenplays….Kevin and I are alumni I found out. the same college Fordham University…Uncle Jack unlike his brother Peter who went to Columbia and Columbia law like Johnny and his father Peter…Uncle Jack went to Fordham and Fordham Law…Johnny’s Father said, if it wasn’t for the war.. Jack might have played professional ball. Kevin I believe went to Regis where Patrick went…where Johnny at five would tag along chasing foul balls. Kevin also was involved with the Yankee Organization Brand.. I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THIS STUFF…after I found out much later, I could never understand why not produced? Yankees could have financed it …made a ton of money in addition elevating the sport of baseball in the public eye…evaluating it later on; in addition, aiding the N.Y. Ballet...so much joy and inspiration to young girls. I never intended anything like that...but that's the way it is...when you are more than likely cancelled by a political party for having decent conservative value. I'm not angry but sad... "Keep Reading"
Can you imagine the significance of making a new friend in American Samoa having a chat…making it possible to read my new screenplay on Baseball finding out that the main character Uncle Jack in real life, his father “That must be one billion to one…unless all influenced on the other side… coupled with facts surrounding the script presentation to Mr. Clooney. I did get a reply from Mr. Clooney’s office… from an intern something to do with timing.?
Personally, taking account of everything, a very sad ending to this link about this story, and many of the coincidences of life. Not coincidences at all something much higher is directing things.
Many years before as a boat designer I had an office in Florida six years…Late afternoons, I would go, as a recovering alcoholic, to volunteer at this low bottom treatment center…I would lead AA meetings, talk to the clients…knew everything about them… but what I particularly enjoyed was playing softball, supervising the game as well as participating…the patients de-toxing on the field were something else…One patient, I later became his sponsor, in AA when he came out and moved permanently to the area… a problem with both alcohol and drugs…arrested several times, throughout the years for possession… He played both football as 3rd string quarterback and baseball while at Syracuse University…went on to Harvard for his MBA…Joined up Viet Nam War… Major in the 173rd paratroopers…got wounded went on drugs at the hospital and never came off…He told me the only thing he wanted to do in life was pitch for the Red Sox. He was a batboy for a minor league club growing up. The only time I ever saw any life was when I threw him a football at the treatment center…later when he drove me all night to Sunny Point, the Marine Corps Ammunition depot…Persian Gulf War (I had gotten a call needed Merchant Seaman for the six ships they broke out)…Ammunition ship, special operation…for me though a positive experience, changed me for the better….He was my best friend…Influenced the ending to the story… Like Johnny died in the gutter more or less drugs. Much later did I realize the connection…. His name “Sean Kennedy”.. He looked just like President Kennedy but thin and emaciated from drugs…although as friends and as his sponsor he was clean and sober…I would close down the office… go back to sea to continue my career at sea. 120 days at a time. Sean left the area I called No. Carolina only to find he passed away. Viet Nam killed a generation. I was lucky I guess…Due to athletic injuries…and operations done to my legs…in 1964, I was rejected by the services…an Honorable Medical from the Marine Corps, joined a week after college graduation 1965… That was not to be my war. It destroyed many of my college mates
The Treatment of this future production is rather long and well detailed…just activate the Green button PRESS. Draw your own conclusions. MINE our lives are guided through inspiration when and only when we are receptive…more about Michael as it applied to Screenplay Sins of John Hughes DD… again a remarkable story of events as you may well read.
NEW YORK YANKEE :WHAT IT MEANS - JULY 4th 1939