By George W.S. Trow
George Trow sent us the following squib lampooning Tina Brown and her circle as he was composing “Is Dan Mad?” for First back in 1999. It shouldn’t be confused with his more serious “media studies,” but it’s not quite a throwaway either. Trow’s New York Times obituary gave Tina Brown the last word when it invoked his feud with her over the celeb-mongering turn at The New Yorker during her editorial tenure. This gives Trow a chance to talk back...
Memo To: Bob Gottlieb
From: GWS Trow III
Re: Our Pitch to Miramax
Diana, The People’s ‘Incess is a film of sweep and grandeur. We open several years in the future, at the Rota in Rome. Here, the Pope (played by you, Bob; we want Ann Sheridan for Diana) is confronting riotous rebellion. The Ultra Conservatives among the Cardinals are insisting that the ‘Incess be given ordinary Sainthood, while the Ultras, led by Elton John, now Duke of Norfolk, are suggesting Parity with the Holy Mother. Tina Brown, now older, wiser, and as fat as Gertrude Stein, is a wistful observer. She remembers…and we
Flash Back: to Osbaldiston Hall, traditional home of the aristocratic ‘Pencer family, long dominant in the cosmetics industry. A Childhood Grouping around some traditional English children’s game like chemin de fer. The group includes you, the future Pope – a sensitive child – Elton John, Tina and Diana. Diana, seeing beyond the tawdry values of playing “chemmy” for hot jewelry, is quietly picking the wings off butterflies.
Voice Over: “Even then we knew,” Tina says and we follow the four through an “English Twilight Childhood,” centering around alcohol as it relates to the cosmetics industry, and we Cut To:
Balliol, a famous English girls school, where Diana is standing up for “Gay Rights,” by which she means to right to be gloomy her way.
Music Cue: Elton sings “Crocodile Rock,” during our Viet Nam Sequence, where Elton discovers that the Empire is not as he thought it was.
Cut To: The Rota, where you, Bob, are trying to come up with a formula to mollify the Wicked Serbs who have announced that they will sack the Parthenon if Diana (who has been Titular Head of the Serbian State,) is not given Full Parity with God.
Voice Over: “Chuck was always trying to crash our group,” Tina says, as she delicately steps over the corpse of the Croatian Envoy who has foolishly declared that “the Incess belongs to the Fully Sovereign People of Croatia,” before taking a roscoe straight through the kisser. Flash Back to The Glamour Days, Tina is on a whirlwind book tour, “Head’s Up To Hedda,” her ground-breaking re-evaluation of the life and times of Hedda Hopper, has Donoghue swooning. Elton flies into town on his “Philadelphia Freedom,” tour. Juxtapose: Tina in front of a “Philadelphia Freedom” poster with Elton watching Tina on “Donoghue.” They reunite in the Pump Room only to discover Chuck Windsor, a flopola in the cosmetics industry, always stealing other people’s tints and hues, listening in at the next table. “Get Lost, Has Been,” Elton confides, and Chuck shrinks off humiliated.
Cut To: The Rota, where you, Bob, have come up with an ingenious formula, by which the ‘Incess has “Full-ish” parity with the Holy Mother except on holidays. The Mexicans prove surprisingly recalcitrant, and Tina steps over the corpse of the head of the League of Nations who has objected to the Resuscitation of the Holy Roman Empire, with the ‘Incess at the head. “Diana married Chuck on the rebound, because Elton and I wouldn’t touch him Dorothy Kilgallen,” Tina confides, as St. Peter’s takes a roscoe straight in the kisser.
Cut To: Dysfunctional Marriage Sequence. Chuck’s corny parents, trying to use Diana for publicity in a last ditch effort to save their cosmetics industry, stage a big Long Island style wedding. “That corny dress,” Tina confides, V.O. “That stupid church. And of course she was in love with Elton, and Elton was in love with me. And me, what was I in love with?” As we go into Tina’s Reverie Sequence, a montage of “Spicey Screen Stories” covers from the late 40’s, the Serbian Envoy announces that the ‘Incess is alive and well, re-incarnated as a zoftig peasant in the Gloria Grahamme Mode. This overlaps with a picture of Gloria on the June 25, 1948 issue of “Spicey Screen Stories,” in Tina’s head which fulfills an ancient prophecy: that one of Tina’s thoughts would, one day, coincide with reality, bringing about the end of the world. The World does end, except for a small Papal Enclave near Naples.
Only Orson Welles can direct this Bob. Hunt Stromberg to Produce.
From June, 2007