I’m noticing that the changes between script and screen (other than the major changes I described at the beginning of my previous post) are generally additions rather than subtractions. More dialogue is spoken, more business is done. What’s on the screen is, quite frankly, much funnier—and not just because the princess is being played by a man.
Moving on to the opening of the first Act, page 8 through the middle of page 11.
Harold, horsemen and horses emerge from the cottage/inn. I have no idea what the horses were doing inside the cottage. (Inn. Whatever.) The word “horsemen” has been crossed out and “Richard” written in by hand, but the horses are still…. horses.
In the script, Harold knocks Peter to the ground as he approaches the carriage with the tray of food. (On the screen, Peter voluntarily drops to the ground, which is definitely funnier.) The exchange about “your/you’re back” is not in the script. Excellent revision, folks!
In the script, Harold steps on Peter and “leaps into the carriage.” No way they could pull that one off with their two-dimensional cardboard carriage.
Gwen’s lusty, “Hold it just a minute, buster!” is rendered in the script simply as, “Wait!” Also, the script’s “Maybe so…” becomes the beloved, “Yes, I’m hip.”
In the script, Gwen says, “Let’s go, Harold!” Once again, I have to give massive credit to whoever it was who changed it to, “Come, Harold. Let’s away!” followed by the echoes, “Richard, let us away!” “Horses, let us away!” and “Yeah, man. Let’s split!” None of that is in the script.
According to the script, “They drive off across Peter’s back, driving him deep into the mud. After a beat, he raises his head.” Seriously? After the earlier instruction for the princess to step on Peter’s head, I start to wonder whether Meyerson had some kind of vendetta on Tork. As it happens, Harold just steps on Peter’s back one more time.
The last line of the scene, in the script, is somewhat more crude. “Keep this up, and I’m gonna find another chick!” (Compare to the final, “Any more of this and I’m gonna get another princess to worship.”)
The next scene opens inside the cottage, which once again has been changed to an Inn. I ask you to carefully consider what the stage directions say: “The boys are cleaning up the mess deposited by Harold’s 17 men and horses.” Let’s just ponder that again, shall we? “The mess deposited by Harold’s 17 men and horses.”
In the script, Peter describes the tower as being protected by “impassable forests, a moat, and a terrifying dragon.” He may have been improvising when he switched it around to “a scary forest, a moat, and an impenetrable dragon,” but I suspect the change-up was done intentionally in order to put the plosive P closer to the end of the sentence. Remember that this episode was filmed in November 1967, and Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky had just been released a few weeks earlier on the Pisces, Aquarius album. (Though the episode would not air until January, and for what it’s worth, PPPPPP had been recorded way back in June.) Needless to say, Peter does not repeat the line in the script, as the joke wasn’t there. Yet.
The next few lines and the arrival of the Fairy of the Locket are pretty faithful to the script. Except, “When the smoke clears, we see the boys cowering in a corner.” This is one spot in which the final episode is simpler than the script.
When the fairy declares that she is having her hair done, the script says, “She starts to disappear.” (A subsequent stage direction says, “reappearing.”) No indication of how this was supposed to be accomplished. I think that the solution, with her starting to tap her own head with her wand, was a good one.
The dialogue about Gwen (“the one who’s always complaining”) is pretty faithful, except of course for the line about the Texas accent. Another brilliant addition.
The fairy gives the guys their orders without them repeating anything back to her. Davy’s inspired bit of confusion (“I’ll sue a soat… I’ll send you a suit… in the mail.”) is missing altogether. We will likely never find out whether that line was written in a subsequent draft or improvised by Jones!
[rends clothes in despair]
Naturally, no mention of a kitchen knife. Micky, who is supposed to be a blacksmith, shall simply forge a sword that can cut through iron.
The bit of business where Peter strokes the magic locket is not mentioned in the script. The Fairy does not say, “And now… farewell.” Her last line is, “Or I’ll be killed!! It’s my home!”
The final stage direction in the scene is, “She dissolves into smoke and is vacummed [sic] into the locket.” Gee, I wonder where Meyerson got THAT idea from?
Coming up next… When Adolescent Fantasies Get Out of Hand
You know, whatever this might be, I’m fairly sure it’s not a forgery after the fact. If it were, I don’t think the forger would have been clever enough to have had it predate the decision to have Gwen be Mike in drag.
Having said that, I’m delighted that it explains the bizarre decision on the fairy’s part to have an inkeeper forge a sword. It makes much more sense if Micky’s character was supposed to have been a blacksmith originally (which itself matches up to Micky’s real-life tinkerer nature).