I don’t even know how to title this one…

January 29th, 2013 by

So I’m bumping around Facebook yesterday when I see something from Susan Cartsonis that caught my eye. Susan is an established movie producer with many credits including What Women Want and No Reservations. When I was introduced to Susan, she was an executive at 20th Century Fox. How did I meet her? The spec script K-9. Susan was one of the very first people to read the script and was present at a fateful Fox Monday morning staff meeting when Scott Rudin, then head of production, and crew decided they wanted to make an offer on K-9.

[Universal ended up buying the script, but that’s another story.]

Two things you need to know. First my writing partner on K-9 was Steve Siegel, who at the time was working at 20th Century Fox. Second that fateful meeting where they decided they wanted the script? That was on Monday, January 19, 1987.

Okay, armed with those salient facts, check out this memo Susan posted on her Facebook page:


Yes, friends, the year was 1987 and a major movie studio had its executives working on typewriters! And it wasn’t just Fox. I remember making the rounds to all of the studios that year and many of them didn’t have much in the way of computers. In fact as I recall, Warner Bros. used to receive scripts from writers, then have people on their staff re-type them on typewriters per their own script format for internal use.

But beyond that, check out my old writing partner’s name in the memo: Steve Siegel. And why is his computer suddenly available? Because at the end of January, the spec script K-9 sold to Universal for $750K. Then Steve bid a fond farewell to Fox leaving behind said “old computer,” which presented an opportunity for Susan, showing the instinct and acumen of a future movie producer, to swoop in and snare Steve’s PC with its 5 1/4″ floppy disc drive and monochrome monitory.

How bizarre to see that memo. I’m sure there are levels of irony here I can’t even begin to fathom — a 26 year-old memo about not having a computer posted on Facebook?!?! — but I guess the main thing is it brings back memories of that crazy few weeks when the Hollywood gods decided to pluck K-9 out of obscurity and create a path for a starving comedian, musician and screenwriter wannabe that has led me here today.

Thanks, Susan, for posting that memo. Good for some laughs… and a quick trip down memory lane.

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5 thoughts on “I don’t even know how to title this one…

  1. Seems like the stone ages. Please tell me the typewriters were electric.

  2. WOW! That is flat out amazing, funny, and ironic…and something else!

    You must have snorted coffee out your nose when you read that and ruined your laptop.

    Too funny. Stranger than fiction.

  3. All those moments that should have been lost in time, like tears in the rain, now frozen for eternity on the internet.

  4. Same year – 1987. My wife and I had just recently moved to Washington, D.C. I was out looking for a job. Interviewed at one of “The Big 8” CPA firms (now called “Big 4”) downtown. I won’t name which exact one, but they had orange shag carpeting in the reception area that even went up one wall, and brass everywhere. (Hey – it was still the ’80’s. A little weird, but not a deal breaker).

    The interview went well. They they paraded me around the office, both for my benefit, and for others to see me. We sat back down, and the guy asked if I had any final questions.

    “Just one”, I offered. “I noticed that there was a computer (the IBM XT or AT model, I think) on every third desk. Why is that?”

    “Oh, yes”, the hiring manager explained, “You have to earn your computer when you first start out. If you show that you’re a hard worker, you’re quick, and show promise, then you’ll get one. Don’t worry.”

    I did worry.

    John A

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