Today I started listening to Star Wars: The Radio Drama produced in 1981 by NPR. It’s five hours long, so it includes several original scenes not even hinted at in the movie, including one that prefaces the film’s opening encounter between Princess Leia and the Empire. In it Leia is confronted by Lord Tion, an Impreial Doofus who tries to get into her pants.
I immediately noticed an eerie similarity between the performance of John Considine as Tion and the performance of James Urbaniak as Mr. Wandell in my own sci-fi radio show, Special Relativity. I created a short video with a side-by-side comparison of the two. It’s uncanny. Listen:
As I edited the clips, I realized how strangely alike these two scenes are. Leia (played by Ann Sachs) and Nox (played by Alex Borstein) both confront men they disdain. Wandell gets all smarmy because he’s afraid Nox is going to kill him; Tion gets all smarmy because he wants to boink Leia. Mine ends with an exploding tripe bomb; I think Star Wars does too.
As far as I know, neither James nor I had heard Star Wars: The Radio Drama before, so this isn’t copying. Special Relativity does involve time travel, so I’m obligated to think this might be some sort of pre-copying on the part of the Lucas people. Either way, it’s clearly a sign that I’m sitting on a multi-billion dollar empire. Finally.
Reading Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes before bed last night, as all the swingers do, I was reminded how Klinger’s successful lawsuit that brought Sherlock Holmes fully into the US public domain had prompted a friend and I to debate the proper length of time before creative works become public property. This friend thought 20 years from publication/distribution was plenty long. I, being a working (albeit not working) artist, found that unacceptable to the point of insulting. With it being hotter than livestock interior in LA this week, I then laid awake dripping, giving me time to belatedly formulate this argument as to why creators should retain control of their work during their lifetimes:
Let’s use as an example my radio show, Special Relativity (a comedy starring Alex Borstein, which well over one million people have enjoyed not listening to). I wrote and produced the first episode at my own (significant) expense and released it to the world for free on April 15, 2015. (Click here to listen to it and you will surely appreciate the argument below even more.)
After this morning’s Emmy nominations were announced without a mention of Alex Borstein’s name, I cremated my hospital gown in a small, private ceremony. I laid the ashes to rest on Alex’s porch in a tasteful sarcophagus.
A day of silent prayer, nonetheless lifted by the nomination of Niecy Nash for outstanding supporting actress as nurse Didi Ortley in Getting On.
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