Thursday, March 24, 2005


Once upon a time there was a clever young writer. His job was to write funny jokes for a famous comedian.

But one day, the famous comedian fired him.

(People say that the famous comedian fired all his cleverest colleagues, because he wanted everyone to see that he could be funny all by himself without any help from anyone else. When he died, a few years later, some people feared that he might have taken his own life.)

The clever young writer phoned his agent, to see if he could find him a new job. And the agent said "Would you like to write stories for children's TV?" At first, the clever young writer thought that this was a bit beneath him, but then he decided that any work is better than no work at all. So he agreed. But he asked for a clause in his contract that said that he would own all his stories forever and ever and ever. And the children's TV people agreed.

So the clever young writer hammered out a TV script. It wasn't very original. It was a fairy tale about land populated by beautiful people who were good but had once been bad; and ugly people who were bad but had once been good. But it was quite a good story. And the children's TV people liked it.

They gave the script to a clever young designer, and told him to make costumes for the evil ugly monsters to wear. But he said "I am sorry, I am much too busy today." He got on a boat to a place called Hollywood where he made movies and lived happily ever after. (Years later, he made a movie about a monster with acid for blood that popped out of people's chests and said "boo". It was very, very evil and very, very ugly.)

So they gave the script to a different clever young designer. And he went away, and read the clever young writer's descriptions, and used some imagination, and made some costumes.

And they were very good. Children all over the country loved the evil ugly monsters and ran up and down the playground saying "We are evil ugly monsters! We are evil ugly monsters!" So the children's TV people went back to the clever young writer and said "Write us some more stories about the evil ugly monsters." And at first he said "That's a bit of problem, because they all died at the end of the story" and then he said "Oh, what the heck," and he wrote a new evil ugly monster story, that wasn't as good as the first one, and third one which wasn't as good as that, and then some more which were really very bad indeed. But provided they had evil ugly monsters in them, the kids didn't mind, so the clever young writer kept himself in work for the rest of his life.

One day, a toymaker, who may or may not have been celestial, came to the children's TV people and said: if I made toys that looked like the evil ugly monsters, I am sure that all the children in the world would by them, and play with them, and be happy, except for the ones who leave them in their original packaging and sell them on ebay at a fat profit in twenty years time. So the children's TV people signed a contract with the Toymaker, and he kept himself in work for the rest of his life making evil ugly monster toys. And because the clever young writer had a piece of paper that said he owned all his stories for ever and ever, every time the Toymaker sold an evil ugly monster toy, a shiny sixpence magically dropped into the clever young writer's piggy bank.

The years rolled on, and the clever young writer died of old age, and the children’s TV people stopped making the children’s TV programme. And the years rolled on some more, and the children’s TV people decided to start making it again. And they decided that the evil ugly monsters should be even eviller, and even uglier and even more monstrous than before. But the family of the clever dead writer waved their magic piece of paper at them and said "You can't redesign the ugly monsters without our permission. And if you don't let us approve the new designs, we won't let you use the ugly monsters at all." And the children's TV people thought about it, and said "Get stuffed." And then they thought about it some more and said "Oh, all right then." And a funny newspaper that was full of pictures of naked ladies claimed the credit for this, which no-one quite understood.

So the family of the the clever young writer got a say in what the evil ugly monsters looked like; and every time the Toymaker sold a toy, a shiny new sixpence dropped in their piggy banks, which were by now very fat indeed. And the clever young designer, who had decided what the evil ugly monsters looked like, sometimes wondered why silver pennies never dropped into his piggy bank. And they all lived happily ever after.


Anonymous said...

To elaborate:
1. The comedian is definitely Tony Hancock.
2. The clever writer is probably Terry Nation.
3. The Hollywood bound designer is definitely Ridley Scott who made Alien.
4. Provided 5 is correct the second designer is Raymond Cusick.
5. Provided 2 is correct the evil, ugly monsters are Daleks.

Hope that's taken some of the mud out of the water.

Yours, Colin S

Nick Mazonowicz said...

And apparently, after a drunken evening with TN which ended up wtih turning shuttlecocks upside down, Tony Hancock claimed the credit for inventing the Daleks