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                                  "THE HUDSUCKER PROXY"

                                        Written by

                           Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, and Sam Raimi

                                   September 1992 Draft



               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' 

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

                                     NARRATOR (V.O.)

               We hear a SERIES OF POPPING sounds.

                                     NARRATOR (V.O.)
                         ...All over town champagne corks is 

               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.)
                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 

               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 

               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 

               OVER BLACK

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

                                                                    CUT TO:


               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 

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

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:


               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:


               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.


               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.


               He brightens.


               We PAN ALONG the executive entry to EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.


               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 

               OVER Norviille, now alone on the sidewalk:


                                                                    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.

                         -- 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...


               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.

                         ...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.


               He drones on.

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

               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 --


               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 

                         ...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 

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

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

               The newspaper eddies around some more, then plasters against 

               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:


               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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

               He deliberately unstraps his wristwatch and looks at its 

               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.

                         ...we're loaded.

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


               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.

                         ...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 


               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.


               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.


               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.


               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 

               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 

                         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.

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

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

                         He didn't look unhappy!

                         Yeah, well, he didn't look rich.

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

                         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 --

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

                         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.


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

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

               Stillson shrugs.

                         The company bylaws are quite clear.

                         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.

                         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 

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

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

                         January first.

                                     AN EXECUTIVE
                         Thirty days.

                                     ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
                         Four weeks.

                         A month at the most.

                         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.

                              (in unison)
                         Long live the Hud!!

                                     ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
                         We depress the stock --

                                     YET ANOTHER EXECUTIVE
                         -- to the point where we can buy 

                                     PRECISE EXECUTIVE

                                     ELDERLY EXECUTIVE
                         Not counting the mezzanine.

                                     CAUTIOUS EXECUTIVE
                         It could work.

                                     OPTIMISTIC EXECUTIVE
                         It should work.

                                     PRACTICAL EXECUTIVE
                         It would work.

                              (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 

                                     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.

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

                                                                    CUT TO:


               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.

                         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!

                         What's exte --

                         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!

                         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 

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

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

                         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!!

                         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!

                         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 

                                                                    CUT TO:


               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.

                              (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.


               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.


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


               He raises his voice over the mailroom din:

                         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 

               Whisk. Whisk. Whisk.

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

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

               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

                              (talking as he writes)
                         Just got hired today!

                                     ANCIENT SORTER

                         Ya know, entry level!

                                     ANCIENT SORTER
                         Tell me about it.

                         I got big ideas, though!

                                     ANCIENT SORTER
                         I'm sure you do.

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

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

                look like you can keep a 

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

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

               The Ancient Sorter looks questioningly from the circle to 

                         ...You know, for kids!

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

                                     ANCIENT SORTER

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

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

               He resumes his sorting.

                         How long've you been down here?

                                     ANCIENT SORTER
                         Forty-eight years...

               Whisk. Whisk.

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

               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 

               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:


               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.

                         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 

                                     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.


               Norville looks over his shoulder, but the Ancient Sorter has 

                         ...Yeah, you! Barnes!

               As he points, the people around Norville shrink away.

                         ...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.


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


                                                                    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:

                         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 

                         ...I make the elevator do what she 

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

                         ...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.

                         ...What's your pleasure, buddy?

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

                         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?

                         I --

                         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.

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

                                     MR. LEVIN

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

               An obese MAN enters, smoking a cigar:

                                     FAT MAN

               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.

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

                         Well, I --

                         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.

                         ...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.

                         ...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.

                         Good luck, buddy!

               The door sweeps shut. Norville looks nervously around.

               Behind him the elevator doors suddenly open again.

                         -- 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."

                         ...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.

                         Do you have an appointment?

                         Uhh, no, I --

               The filing secretary sneers.

                         Shall we look in the book, hmmmmmmmmm?

               She opens an enormous leather-bound book with yellowed crinkly 

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

                         We don't seem to be in the boooook.

               Norville is groping in his apron pocket.

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

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

                         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.


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


               that Norville holds innocently at his side.


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


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


               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 

               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:

                         -- 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.

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

               He covers the mouth piece.

                         ...Who let you in?

                         I --

               Into the phone:

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

               The INTERCOM BUZZES fiercely.

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

               Mussburger hits the intercom.

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

                         I --

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

                         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.

                         You --

               The INTERCOM SQUAWKS.

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

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

               The second PHONE on Mussburger's desk RINGS.

                         ...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)
                              (into both phones)
                              (slams down both 
                              phones, looks at 
                         This better be good. I'm in a bad 

               Norville clears his throat.

                         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.

                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.

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

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

                         ...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 --

                         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, 

               Finally he draws his head back.


               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.


               He steps back, eyes still on Norville.

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


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

                         ...Go ahead. Try it on.

               Norville obeys, reluctantly, stiffly.

                         ...Put your feet up.

               Norville is again reluctant.

                         ...Go ahead.

               Norville obeys. Mussburger studies.

                         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.

                         ...Let's chat!
                         ...Man to man!

               Norville beams.

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

               He waves vaguely towards his head and searches for a 

               , were you?

                         Well, I'm a college graduate --

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

                         Well, I made the dean's list.


               Norville sputters out some more cigar smoke.

                         At the Muncie College of Business 

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

               Norville shakes his head.

                         ...'Shnook'? 'Dope'? 'Dipstick'? 

                         No, sir.

                         Not even behind your back?

                         Sir! They voted me most likely to 

                         You're fired.

                         But, sir! --

                         Get your feet off that desk.

               As he struggles to comply:

                         But --

                         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.

                         My God! The Bumstead contracts!!

                         Oh my God, sir!

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

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

                         Oh my God, sir!

               Norville runs across the office to a large water cooler.

                         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.

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

                         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.

                         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.

                         Not that way! Through the door!

                         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.

                         Right away, buster! Out of my office!

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

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

                         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.

                         Get out of this office, you dithering 

               Norville picks up the flaming trash receptacle.

                         Oh my God, sir!

               He winds up and throws it through the closed window.

               The GLASS SHATTERS and the flaming basket plummets to 

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


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

                         My God! The Bumstead contracts!

                         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 --


                                                                    CUT TO:


               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.

                         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:


               Desperately hanging onto Mussburger by his legs.

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

               Mussburger's screaming abruptly stops.

               SCREEN GOES WATERY):


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

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

                         No! Single stitch is fine.

                         But please-a, Meester Moosaburger, 
                         the dooble stitch she last-a forever --

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

                                                               CUT BACK TO:



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

                                                             QUICK WIPE TO:


                              (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!


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


               sighs with relief.

               He looks up.


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


               Looking. Thinking.


               Struggling to hold on.


               Calm. Contemplating.


               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.


               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 

               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 

               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.


               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 

               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.


               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.


               where the tickertape lands on a pile of previously discharged 

               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.


               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.

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


               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.

                         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!

                         Come on, chief, give us a break.

                         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 --

                         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.

                         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.

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


                                     REPORTER NEXT TO HIM
                         Still waters run deep, chief.

                         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 

               He thrust his face into that of the Reporter.


               No answer.

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

                                     WOMAN (O.S.)



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

                         I tell ya the guy's a phony.

                         Phony, huh?

                         As a three-dollar bill.

                         Sez who?

                         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:

                         Five bucks says she mentions her 

                                     OTHER REPORTER
                         Again? You're on.

                              (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 

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

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

                         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?

                         I filed it yesterday.

                         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!

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

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


               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.

                         I'll stake my Pulitzer on it!

                                                                    CUT TO:

               ELEVATOR DOORS

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

                         Say, buddy! Where'd ya get the new 

               Norville is entering the elevator in his new executive outfit.

                         ...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.

                         ...How're you this fine morning, 

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

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

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

                         Right away, Mr. Mussburger sir.

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

                         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.

                         My pleasure, sir.

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

                         Sure, sure...

               The elevator doors open.

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

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

                         ...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.

                         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.

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

                         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.

                         ...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?

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

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

                         Damnit, where's my car!

                         -- 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.


                         -- 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 --

                         Sure, sure, tell whoever you want...

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

                         ...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.

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

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

                         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 

                                     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.)

                                     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 

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

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

                                     VETERAN #2 (O.S.)

                                     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.)
                         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.)
                         She isn't!

                                     VETERAN #2 (O.S.)
                         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 

                              (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


                                     VETERAN #2

               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 

               Weakly, still cradled in Norville's arms:

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

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

                              (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

                         Just a minute.

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

                         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:

                         Hungry, anyway.

                         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 

                         ...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, 

                         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:

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

               He unbuckles his trousers.

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

               Buzz enters holding a brown paper bag.

                         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.

                         Thank you, Buzz, just leave it on 
                         the desk.


                         Happy days, buddy...

               As he turns to leave:

                         ...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:

                         What a horrible little person.

                         Oh, Buzz is pretty harmless, really --

                         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.

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

                         I myself --

               He crosses back to the desk.

                         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.


                         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 --


               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:

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

                         Mind if I join you?

               He is pouring himself a drink.

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

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

               HIS POV

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

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

                         Excuse me -- I -- executive 

               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:

                         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.

                         ...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.

                         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:

                         Values... watchwords... uh, tender 
                         -- A little town you've probably 
                         never heard of...

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

                         ...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 

                         You're from Muncie?!

                         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:

                         '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:

                         ...Goooooooo Eagles!

               Amy awkwardly imitates.

               Norville excitedly sits behind his desk.

                         ...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.

                         Oh, no, really, I --

                         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.

                         ...Mail room.

               To Amy:

                         ...This'll only take a moment.

                                     INTERCOM (V.O.)

                         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.

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

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

                         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! 

               CLICK. The intercom goes dead.

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

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

               Norville excitedly smacks a fist into a palm.

                         -- A Muncie girl! Can you beat that!

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

                         Please! Norville!

               As he reaches to shake:

                         ...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.

                         ...Gooooooo Eagles!


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

                         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 

                         ...Once 'The Munce'... Holy...

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

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



               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.

                         That gag's got whiskers on it!

               The PHONE RINGS and Smitty reaches for it.

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

                              (into phone)

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

               Without a break in her typing:

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

               Smitty holds the phone away from his ear.


               Still typing, Amy whistles and nods to her shoulder.

               Smitty tucks the phone into it as she continues typing.

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

               Smitty is looking at his watch.

                         About seven minutes.

                              (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:

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

               Back into phone:

                         -- 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.

                         ...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?

                         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:

                         -- Gnu --

               Into phone:

                         -- who couldn't find --

               To Morris:

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

               Into phone:

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

               To Morris:

                         -- or emu.

               She slams down the phone. To Smitty:

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

               Smitty bursts out laughing.

                         Better off falling for a rattlesnake.

               As she continues to type:

                         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?!

                         He didn't offer you money.

                         A sawbuck!

                         Ten dollars? Let's grab a highball!

                         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:


                                                       DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:


               rolling, churning out great quantities of newsprint.

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

               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:


               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."


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

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

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

               Muttering to himself:

                         ...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.

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

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

                         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 --

                         -- or lack thereof?

                         -- 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 

               He drifts into thought.

                         Is that all, Mr. Barnes?

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

                         I'm sure I --

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

                         Well, I --

                         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.

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

               Amy is bewildered. Norville explains:

                         ...You know! For kids!

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

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

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

                         Well, she probably had a deadline...

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

                         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:

                         ...She's probably just a little 

               Amy turns at the door.


                         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 

                              (through clenched 
                         I'm quite sure I don't know what you 

                         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.

                         Oh, is that it!

                         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...


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

                         Maybe she puts her work ahead of her 
                         personal appearance.

                         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.

                         ...How about Oklahoma?

               As she stalks out of the office:

                         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.

                         Say, what gives?



                                                              SWISH PAN TO:


               Reading five o'clock.

                                                              SWISH PAN TO:


               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.


               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.


               looks around the office -- notices something.


               Set into the wall to one side it is topped by a small plaque: 

               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 

               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.

                         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?


               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.

                         Who are you? How did you know who I 

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

                         But -- who are you -- what d'you do 

                         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 --

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

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

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

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

                         That smart?!

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

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

                         '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.

                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.

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

                         Well, maybe I --

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

                         It's hardly the same --

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

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

                         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.

                         I'm happy enough.

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

                              (calls after him)
                         I'm plenty happy!

               She is answered only by WHIRRING MACHINERY.


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

                                     AMY (O.S.)

                              (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.

                         I can't print this!

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

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

                         Ol' satchel-butt...

                         I know they're gonna buy that stock --

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

                         I don't know...

                         Amy's hunches are usually pretty 
                         good, 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!

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

                         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 --


                         Whatever. That's what sells 

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

                         Watch it, Archer --

                         It's about a dimwitted editor who --

                         Easy, Amy...

               He gives her a companionable goose.

                         ...Let's grab a highball and calm 

               She whirls and slaps him.

                         Back off -- smoocher!

               Smitty rubs his cheek, staring as she storms off.

                         Say, what gives?


               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!

                         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?

                         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.

                         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...

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

                         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.


               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.


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

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

               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.

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

                         So I'm yella, am I?!!

               He starts peeling off his tuxedo jacket:

                         ...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:

                         Aww, I wasn't gonna hurt the boy, 


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

                         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.

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

               Norville nervously pumps Findlandsen's hand.

                         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.

                         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.

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

               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 

               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

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


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

                         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:


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

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

               As Mussburger joins them:

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


                                     EXECUTIVE #2

                         But not bad enough.

                                     EXECUTIVE #3
                         Too bad.

                         It could be better, it could be worse.

                                     ALL THREE EXECUTIVES

                         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 


               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.


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


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

                         ...What happened?

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

                         Let me look.

               He does.

                         Sid found me the icepack.

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

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

                         ...I'm sorry.

                         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:

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

                         I know that, Amy.

                         ...You do?

                         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.

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

                         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 --

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

               They gaze out at the city.

                         ...Certain people are --

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


                         You know, on farm route 17.

                         Oh yes! In Muncie!

                         No! In Vidalia! Farm Route 17!

                         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.

                         You don't say.

                         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.

                         Every year?

                         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.

                         ...The people look like ants.

                         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.

                         What a beautiful thought.

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

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

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

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

                         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...

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

                         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.


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

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

               He slaps his fist into his palm.

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


                         Oh, Norville --

                         Kiss me once, Amy! Kiss me once for 

                         Sure, Norville, sure...

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

                         ...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 


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

                         -- 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 


               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.

                         ...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 

                                     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?

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

                         It's brilliant.

               The Board looks at 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.

                         ...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.

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

               As furiously BUSY MUSIC STARTS:

                                                                    CUT TO:


               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.


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


               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.


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

                                                                    CUT TO:


               as a hand ENTERS FRAME and stamps the drawing approved.

                                                                    CUT TO:


               as we hear the CYLINDER ROCKETING by.

                                                              SWISH PAN TO:


               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:


                                                                    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 

               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:


               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:


                                                                    CUT TO:


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

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

                                     AD MAN #2 (O.S.)

                                     AD MAN #1 (O.S.)

                                     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:


               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 

               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:


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

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

                                     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:


               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:


               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, 

               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 

               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: 

               INT. NORVILLE'S OFFICE

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


               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 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.


               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:


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


               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:


               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 

                                     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 

               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 

               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.)

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

               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 (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:


               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.

                         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?

                         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?

                         Well sure, I guess --

                                     REPORTER #4
                         Mr. Barnes, are you thinking of giving 
                         yourself a nice fat raise?

                         Ha-ha-ha-ha. Come on, guys...

               Flash bulb explosion effects a...

                                                                    CUT TO:


               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 

                                     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?

                         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?

                         Jeez, I don't know. An idea like 
                         this sweet baby doesn't just come 

                         Mr. Barnes, are you --

                         -- Although I'll tell you one thing: 
                         I certainly didn't expect all this 

               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:

                         ...And you can quote me on that!

               Flash bulb explosion effects a...

                                                               CUT BACK TO:


                                     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.)
                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:


               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.

                         There's no truth to the rumors; we're 
                         just dear friends...

               He looks to one side.

                         ...Isn't that right, Za-Za?

                                                              SWISH PAN TO:

               ZA-ZA. Standing nearby. Every man's dream, in a tarty sort 
               of way.


               The newsmen react.

                                     REPORTER #2

                                     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.

                         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?

                         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 

                                                           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.

                         -- 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.

                         Pull yourself together, Addison.

               Addison snuffles.

                         Nobody told me! Nobody told me!
                         You sold all of our stock?

                         We dumped the whole load. Now quit 
                         showboating, Addison --

                         I had twenty thousand shares! I'd be 
                         a millionaire now!

                         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 --

                         Cheap! Cheap! It's never been more 
                         valuable! And I'm ruined! Ruined!

               He climbs up onto the board table.

                         I'm getting off this merry-go-round!


                                     ANOTHER EXECUTIVE


               He runs down the length of the table and hurls himself toward 
               the window and:


                                                                    CUT TO:


               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.

                         Plexiglas. Had it installed last 


                         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.

                         Hold it!...

               The musicians' playing dribbles away to silence.

                         ...Nobody move, nobody breathe...

               All sit frozen. You could hear a pin drop.

                         ...An idea... is coming...

               Eyes narrowed, he gazes off into space, squinting for his 

               CLOSE ON TAILOR'S KIT

               A straight pin is rolling across the top -- it drops off --


               Where the PIN -- PING! -- hits.

                         Deflates. He glares at the tailor.

                         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.

                         Is she in the book? --

               The door bursts open and Amy storms in.

                         For Pete's sake, Norville!

                         Oh! Hello, Amy -- was it -- I thought 
                         she said, Mamie --

                         Never mind about that...

               She shakes a piece of paper at Norville.

                         ...You know what those nincompoops 
                         in the boardroom are doing?

                         Well, I wouldn't call them nincom --

                         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 --

                         Well yes, we're pruning away some of 
                         the dead wood, but if --

                         You mean you know about this?

                         Know about it? You think the Board 
                         would do anything like this without 
                         my authorization? No, this was my 
                         idea from the start.

                         Your i --

                         We have to be realistic, Amy. You 
                         know things have slowed down a little 
                         here at Hudsucker --

                         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.

                         ...I've been watching you, Norville 
                         Barnes, even though you've been trying 
                         to avoid me --

                         Now, Aim --

                         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 --

                         Now, Aim --

                         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 --

                         Now, Aim --

                         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...

                         Worked in a watch factory?

               The Goon looks up from his funnies.


                              (to the Goon)
                              (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!

                         Now, Amy --

                         Consider this my resignation --

               Thwock -- She slaps him.

               The bodyguard is on his feet.


               Crack -- Amy kicks him hard in the shin.


                         -- 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.

                         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?


               He opens his eyes and looks stuporously about.

               Buzz is grinning down at him in his little pillbox elevator 

                         Looks like ya nodded off there, buddy! 
                         Say, ya got a minute?

               Norville clears his throat.

                         Oh, uh... Buzz... Is it important?

                         I like to think so! It's this little 
                         idea I been working on!

               He turns an easel to face the desk.

                         ...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.

                         ...Ya get it, buddy? Incredibly 
                         convenient, isn't it? Ya see --

               He produces a tall glass of lemonade with a straw sitting in 

                         -- 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 

                         -- Now you can drink like this --

               He bends the straw to drink from it at the horizontal.

                         ...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:

                         Wait a minute!

               He grabs the lemonade glass, looks at it, sneering.

                         ...Why, this is worthless.

                         Huh?! But, buddy --

               Norville yanks the straw out and crumples it up.

                         This is the most idiotic thing I've 
                         ever seen in my life!

                         Yeah, but, buddy --

                         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.

                         ...say, the hula hoop such a success.

                         But, buddy --

                         And what do you mean barging in here 
                         and taking up my valuable time! I've 
                         got a company to run here --

                         But, buddy, you were --

                         -- I can't have every deadbeat on 
                         the Hudsucker payroll pestering me 
                         with their idiotic brainwaves!

                         Geez, I'm sorry, buddy --

                         An example must be made!

               Buzz looks over his shoulder, turns back to Norville.

                         Wuddya mean, buddy?

                         Fired! You're fired! Is that plain 
                         enough for you, buster!

               Buzz's jaw drops. His elastic chin strap snaps under the 

                         Awwww, buddy --

                         And don't call me buddy! Out of here! 

               Buzz sinks to his knees, weeping. He clutches pathetically 
               at Norville's pants legs.

                         Aw, please, sir -- this job, it's 
                         all I got!

                         Get up!

                         I understand if ya don't like the 
                         Buzz-Sucker! Just lemme keep my job, 
                         I'm prayin' to ya!

                         We don't crawl at Hudsucker 
                         Industries! Get out of my office!
                         Leave your uniform in the locker 

               Buzz stumbles away, still weeping.

                         I'm sorry, buddy... I'm sorry...

                         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:


               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.

                         Sorry I'm late, Sid. That back nine 
                         at Riverdale is really murder.

                         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.

                         Ya don't say.

                         Mm. Ordinarily I wouldn't bother you 
                         with it, but -- this is embarrassing, 
                         kid -- it seems to concern you 

                         How's that, Sid?

                         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 --

                         Huh?! He -- no, I -- he's just -- 
                         maybe I was a little rough on the 
                         boy, ya see I --

                         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.

                         ...Sure, sure, we tried to kill the 
                         story. But her newspaper won't play 
                         ball... Looks like her story's coming 

               We TRACK DOWN the length of the board room table TOWARD 
               Norville, who stares horrified at the file.

                         ...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:


               We PULL BACK to show that it is on the front page of the 
               Manhattan Argus.

               The headline, in screaming nine-point type:


               Next to the picture of Norville is the subhead: Idea Man a 

               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!

                         He grins wolfishly.

                         We are printing it! She's hittin'
                         the streets this evening --

                                                              SWISH PAN TO:

                         -- and she's dynamite!

                         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!

                         Archer, you're a broken record. Fact 
                         is Gunderson did design it -- 
                         apparently he's some kind of prodigy --

                         Says who?!

                         You're not the only one with sources, 
                         Amy --

                         Smith has a source on the Hud board -- 
                         very senior, very hushhush --

                         Yeah, and I'll bet his initials are 
                         Sidney J. Mussburger!

                         You've lost it, Aim. You've gone 
                         soft by the looks of it -- soft on 
                         the dummy from Dubuque --


                         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' --

                         You're fools, both of you! It's 
                         obvious they're out to crucify 
                         Norville! They're trying to destroy 

                         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.

                         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 --

                         -- effective immediately!

               -- and swings -- but he catches her before contact, holds 
               her by the wrist, and sneers:


               Amy swings her free arm to -- thwack -- blindside his other 


               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.)
                         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.

                         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.

                         ...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.

                         ...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."

                         -- 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.


               Casually puffing on a cigar.

                         Diagnosis, Dr. Bromfenbrenner?

                                     BROMFENBRENNER (ANALYST)
                         Patient is eine manic-depressive 
                         paranoid type B, mit acute schizoid 

                         So patient is...?

               He interrogatively twirls a finger 'round his temple.

                         Prezizely. Knots.

               The board murmurs.


                         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.

                         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 

                         I want a martini! It's New Year's 
                         Eve and I want a Martini!

                         Daddy, it's like I been tellin' ya --

                         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.

                         Yeah, daddy, that's a roger, but we 
                         don't sell alcohol.

                         What kind of bar is it if ya can't 
                         get a martini?!

                         It's a juice and coffee bar, man, 
                         like I been tellin' ya --

                         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 --

                         Martinis are for squares, man.

               Suddenly enraged:

                         What'd you call me?!

               He starts awkwardly peeling off his suit coat.

                         ...You son of a --

                                     AMY (O.S.)


               He looks stupidly about, the shoulders of his coat down around 
               his elbows. He sees Amy rushing up.

                         ...Oh, it's you! Lookin' for a nitwit 
                         to buy your lunch?!

                         Oh Norville, I --

               Norville's attention has already left her. He looks for the 
               missing bartender.

                         Barman! Set'm up, fella!

                         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 --

                         Hey! Where's that martini?!

                         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 --

                         Aww, what's the difference. I'm all 
                         washed up... When you're dead, ya 
                         stay dead... Hey, fella!

                         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.

                         ...Fight on, fight on, dear old 

               She steps back off the stool. Norville watches her dully, 
               his head swaying.

                         ...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:

                         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.

                         But Norville... I...

               She realizes that, though shattered, he is still the simple 
               innocent she loved --

                         ... 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.:


               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 

               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 

               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 

                         ...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 

               The board murmurs appreciatively.

                         ...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.

                         Well, if that's all...

               With an unnatural rumble he straightens his papers and we...

                                                                JUMP UP TO:


               of the assembled around the table.

                         Long live the Hud!


               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.

                         -- 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 --

                         Aw, buddy, I don't care about that.

               Norville is stunned.

                         ...You don't?

                         Nah, that's all forgotten.

                         ...It is?

                         Sure, Mr. Muss -- uh, Sid said I 
                         could have the job back.

                         Absolutely, Buzz, I'm glad he --

                         But he told me you stole that swell 
                         hoop idea from me. What gives!

                         But, Buzz --

                         Say, that was a swell idea!

                         But, Buzz, you know I never --

                         And Sid says you stole it!

                         But Buzz --

                         Well wuddya waiting for, Clarence --
                         ? Pop him one!


               Buzz swings and Norville hits the snow hard.

                         Think about that, idea man!!

               Norville groggily raises his head.

                         Say, isn't he that lunatic?

               Norville looks dopily up at the people in furs and party 
               hats starting to gather.

                         ...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.

                         ...He's on his feet... We can take 

               Norville bursts through the crowd, running.

               Buzz starts giving chase, followed by the braver souls, 
               followed by the entire mob.


               runs, gasping, turning a corner.

                         ...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.

                         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, 

               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 

               It is the heroic statue of Norville that we earlier saw him 
               posing for.

               Norville reels over to it, stares dumbly.


               Mutely -- mockingly -- dignified.


               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. 
               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:


               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...


               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 

               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.


               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 

                                     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 

                                     VOICES (V.O.)

               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!


               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 

               BACK TO SCENE

               Norville waves.

                         No --


               His gesticulation and a shuffle step upset his balance -- he 
               trips -- falls -- catches the ledge --

                         -- No, please!

               He is hanging onto the icy ledge by his fingertips. His feet 
               dangle away. Snow falls.

               HIS POV

               Looking STEEPLY UP.


               Its second hand is making its descent.





               SECOND HAND



               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.


               In his office, frozen with an idiotic laugh pasted to his 


               Frozen, one ball swung out but suspended, hanging at the 
               apex of its arc. Outside the great arched window, snow falls.


               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.

                         Strictly speakin', I'm never spozed 
                         to do this but... have you got a 
                         better idea?


               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...


               He gapes.


               -- 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.

                         Love that tune. How ya doin', kid?

                         Mr... Mr. Hudsucker?

                                     HUDSUCKER (ANGEL)

               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.


               He rights himself. The halo spinning lazily over his head 
               has been jarred askew. With a flick of his forefinger he 
               rights it.

                         ...How d'ya like this thing? They're 
                         all wearin' em upstairs now.

               He blows a dismissive raspberry.

                         ...It's a fad.

               He pats at his robe, produces a white cigar.

                         ...Anyway. I hear you've been having, 

               He casually flicks his thumb out of his fist, lighting it. 
               He lights the cigar off his thumb, takes a puff.

                         ...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.

                         ...Jesus Christopher -- That smarts... 
                         Where was I? Oh yeah, the board. I 
                         guess Sidney's been puttin' the screws 
                         to ya, huh, Norman?


                         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.

                         Yes sir...

                         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 

                         Huh? Oh, geez, Mr. Hudsucker, I 
                         apologize, there was an awful lot of 
                         excitement and I guess I must've 
                         mislaid --

                         It's sittin' in your apron pocket, 
                         right where you left it. Imbecile.

               Norville reaches in and -- pulls out the wrinkled Blue Letter.

                         Oh, geez.

                         Failure to deliver a Blue Letter is 
                         grounds for dismissal.

                         Geez, I --

                         Ah, it's New Year's, I'm not gonna 
                         add to your woes. I'm just saying.


                         Well, why don't ya read it.


                         Yeah, go ahead. Might learn somethin'.

                         Yes sir...

               He tears open the envelope, reads:

                         '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 --

                         Yeah, yeah, it's the standard 
                         resignation boilerplate -- go down 
                         to the second paragraph.

                         '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.

                         '...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:

                         Skip this part...

               He waves his hankie in get-on-with-it circles.

                         ...Last paragraph, last paragraph.

               Norville looks down the page.

                         '...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 --'

                         -- tough titty toenails!

               He roars with laughter.

                         ...That'll show the bastard!

               He merrily wipes his eyes.

                         ...Yeah, go ahead.

                         '...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 

               Norville gives a musingly appreciative nod.


               Pleased with himself:

                         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 

                         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.

                         ...Ridin' six white horses, She'll 
                         be ridin' six white horses She'll be 
                         ridin' six white horses When she 

               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 --


               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 

                                     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 (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.)

                                     BENNY (O.S.)

               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 

               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.

                         You cats comin' from a party?

                         Cabbies' affair.

                         Hacks' New Year's gala.

                         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.


               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.


               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.


                                                                    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...


               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:


               As it floats out the boardroom window.

                                     MOSES (V.O.)
               ' then fell all the way down, 
                         but didn't quite squish hisself.

               We BOOM UP, AWAY FROM the boardroom, to the great Hudsucker 

                                     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

Hudsucker Proxy, The

Writers :   Joel Coen  Ethan Coen  Sam Raimi
Genres :   Comedy  Fantasy  Romance

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