The Biggest Thing In Town
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"Yeah, he's a punk all right, and he's crazy.
Crazy like a fox." . . .
BEAU L'AMOUR'S COMMENTS: This is a fragment of a movie treatment. A "treatment" is the description of a story, rather than the story itself and it is used as a sales tool when a writer hopes to get a motion picture company to purchase an idea or concept rather than a finished script.
Sgt. Steve Brennan drops on a stool at a lunch-counter beside his Lieutenant, Van Holt. He pushes a folded newspaper toward him, indicating an item. "See that?"
It is a small item of only three or four inches on an inside page. "Suds" Merrick has been released from prison after only two years of a seven year sentence.
"I'd like to put a tail on him. I think he's trouble."
"Suds? You must be out of your mind. He's nothing but a punk, and a crazy one at that."
"Yeah, he's a punk all right, and he's crazy. Crazy like a fox."
"Steve," Holt is friendly and tolerant, "you need a vacation. Merrick is a nobody, a never will be. Forget him."
"I arrested him...remember? I traced him down and picked him up."
"Over in Barstow, wasn't it? Sure, I remember. What about it?"
"He talked. All the way back in the car, he talked. Thinks he's a big man, Suds does, thinks he's smarter than anybody, and he wants to be bigger than anybody. He told me 'you got me now. But you just wait. You wait.'"
"Talk ... they all talk big. Suds is a punk, and besides, we've got too much to do. The chief would never stand for it even if I did think it was a good idea, and I don't."
Holt rises. Puts a hand on Brennan's shoulder. "You're a good man, Steve. Forget Suds. Just do your job."
Kozinsky drops on the vacated stool. "Coffee," he says to the girl.
"Steve? You can forget about Suds. He's got a job. He's working in a car-wash out near the San Diego freeway."
"For how long? I don't like it, Koz. I don't like it at all." He turns around on his stool. "Look, Koz, Suds is a talker ... a damn good talker. Do you know who he was in with? Who his cell-mate was?"
"All right ... who?"
"So? He's in with a first-class heist-man. I remember when Shay went up ... almost a year after Merrick went in. Shay, Tom Bonner ... they nailed them when a traffic light went on the blink and they got into a three car smash up."
"Right ... and when they put Bonner in a cell with Merrick, I began to get worried.
"Holt is right. Suds Merrick is a punk. But who wouldn't listen to Tommy Shay?"
He finishes his coffee. "You know the last thing Suds said to me? 'You wait, Sergeant, you just wait. One of these days I'll pull the biggest thing in town. The biggest!"
Days pass. Suds stays on the job. Both Brennan and Kozinsky drive by occasionally, but each time Suds is working hard.
News comes. Shay is out.
Suds suddenly blossoms with a new car, new clothes. He is seen with a wealthy young widow.
When Brennan comments on the car, the widow replies, "I gave it to him, Sergeant. I gave him the clothes, too. He's a friend of mine and he deserves a chance. Mr. Merrick deserves better than a job at a car-wash."
"Your business, ma'am. But be careful?"
"What's the matter, Sergeant? Jealous?"
Suds continues to work. Nobody has seen Shay. A tipster informs Brennan that Sam McCracken is in town. Tom Bonner is out of prison. Both seem to have money. The word is that something big is cooking.
Kozinsky sees McCracken near a truck-stop cafe.
COMMENTS: Like many examples of the more extensive material that can be found in the Lost Treasures books this fragment had some notes attached to it. As in many of those cases it is only after examining the notes that the entire concept and how Louis intended it to function as a part of his career becomes clear.
The Biggest Thing In Town:
Crook wants to pull a job that will make him a big man. He wants to pull the biggest heist on record.
He secretly plans a dinner; He takes over an entire restaurant; He invites, after carefully spread rumors, the most prominent people in the film colony.
The rumors --
Howard Hughes is giving the party to announce his return to production.
Princess Grace has announcement.
Feisal is giving the party.
One of the Royal Family is moving to Hollywood.
Once all are present, eating drinking, etc.. The crooks move in with vans and strip their homes of furs, jewels, paintings, etc..
A thorough job. The biggest job.
Cop is worried. He knows crook. Knows he has delusions of grandeur, cop is wary. Others skeptical.
Cop encounters movie star who has made police pictures. All dressed up [to go to the party]. They talk. Cop gets worried.
- End of Fragment -
BEAU L'AMOUR'S ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: The mention of the San Diego Freeway and some of the celebrities suggests the date of its creation was likely the late 1950s. Because of competition from television, films in the late '50's on into the 1970s occasionally indulged in the casting of cameo roles, big stars playing small parts to increase the marquee value of a movie. I'm guessing that this project was designed to take advantage of that trend; to create a situation where a film could be made with a great number of celebrities actually playing themselves.