Julius Moomer, a talentless self-promoting hack who dreams of becoming a successful television writer, uses a book of magic to summon William Shakespeare to write dramatic teleplays that ...
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Julius Moomer, a talentless self-promoting hack who dreams of becoming a successful television writer, uses a book of magic to summon William Shakespeare to write dramatic teleplays that Moomer will pass off as his own. Shakespeare becomes irritated by Moomer's lack of appreciation and is even more appalled when he discovers the changes wrought on his plays by cynical television executives. Written by
[after knocking out Rocky Rhodes]
Blow, blow thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude.
. That's from As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7
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This was probably more accessible in the 1960's. Jack Weston plays an overbearing man who was once a streetcar conductor and who fancies himself a screenwriter. He has had numerous failed efforts to get the execs to look at his sad, trite imaginings for television series. He has all the lines that were appropriate for the job at the time, but he is an idiot. He talks his agent into allowing him to submit a script for a show based on black magic. Of course, he has no idea what to do. He goes to a bookstore to find a book on the subject, only to be met by its nutty proprietor who is obsessed with baseball. She thinks Weston is some former two-bit ballplayer. While he is talking, a book literally flies off the shelf, into his arms. He takes it home. It is full of spells. Because he has none of the materials called for, he is unable to get anything to work. He is taunted by the middle- school daughter of a woman in his apartment building. At some point, through no effort of his own, William Shakespeare shows up and offers his assistance. What happens is that Weston uses him in such a way to get things done his way. He is boorish and clumsy but using the bard's words, he manages to get hooked up with a commercial enterprise (a soup company CEO). He takes the plots that Shakespeare gives him and totally destroys them, using one of his ridiculous plots. Tension builds. There is a delightful cameo by a very young Burt Reynolds who is studying method acting. He has performed in two Tennessee Williams plays and is annoyed that Shakespeare has never heard of Stanislavsky or the aforementioned Williams. He pouts and prances and really annoys the great poet. This is played strictly for laughs and the Twilight Zone purists were probably annoyed. The episode is too long and often not terribly funny, but take it with a grain of salt.
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