Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Closing Doors (Tony Hancock,genius)



STRONG LANGUAGE: THIS IS A SHORT EXCERPT FROM A SCREENPLAY

“ONE BY ONE HE SHUT THE DOOR ON ALL THE PEOPLE HE KNEW, THEN
HE SHUT THE DOOR ON HIMSELF.”
SPIKE MILLIGAN ON TONY HANCOCK

This is just the first few pages of an early script about the last days of Tony Hancock  (British Comedian)
Tony went to Australia to attempt to revive his Television career but without the support of his writers and pals (all of whom he dumped), the revival failed and he took his own life at the age of 44 in the basement of his producer’s house.

This is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Hancock died by suicide, by overdose, in Sydney, on 24 June 1968. He was found dead in his Bellevue Hill apartment with an empty vodka bottle by his right hand and amphetamines by his left.
In one of his suicide notes he wrote: “Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times”.

BLACK SCREEN

TITLES:
“ONE BY ONE HE SHUT THE DOOR ON ALL THE PEOPLE HE KNEW, THEN
HE SHUT THE DOOR ON HIMSELF.”
SPIKE MILLIGAN ON TONY HANCOCK

BLACK SCREEN
DIRECTOR (V.O.)
Okay Tony, can we take that line
again?

HANCOCK (V.O.)
“Oh no, I’ve got the giraffe again,
I’ve got three of these, why can’t
I get the packet with the
hippopotamus?”

Silence.

HANCOCK (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Does that sound funny to you? It
doesn’t sound funny to me.

BELL RINGS.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
Take twenty everyone, there is some
noise on the tape.

TITLES: “June 1968, ATN-7 Studios, Sydney, Australia.”
FADE IN:

INT. TV STUDIO – DAY
TONY HANCOCK, forty four going on sixty.
Tony is walking towards his trailer. His PA hands him a cup
and his PRODUCER walks beside him.

HANCOCK
Well?

PRODUCER
What Tony?

HANCOCK
Does it sound funny? These are no
Galton and Simpson.

PRODUCER
Give them a chance.

HANCOCK
Give them a chance? Give them a
chance? Listen matey, I’m out of
chances. Me.

The producer places his hand on Hancock’s shoulder. Hancock
stops and kills the moment with a look.
The producer’s hand retreats.
Hancock continues walking but the producer stays where he is;
he knows better.
Hancock enters his trailer.
SLAM….a closing door.

INT. TRAILER – DAY
Hancock, life-tired, sits staring into an unforgiving mirror.
He opens a Qantas Airline Bag or should that be
pharmaceutical central?
Some tablets are placed on the table, a bottle of vodka is
retrieved from under the table – it’s been taped there – and
is poured into Hancock’s cup.
He swallows the lot.

KNOCK.

HANCOCK
What?

PA (O.S.)
It’s me.

HANCOCK
Wait.

The airline bag is closed and the bottle taped back under the
table.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Enter.

PA
It’s the sound men; it was a bird
they picked up on the tape.

HANCOCK
So?

PA
Well they’re trying to shoot it out
of its hiding place using a
catapult and some moth balls.

HANCOCK
You couldn’t make this stuff up and
unfortunately neither can my
writers.

PA
It’s just….

HANCOCK
…it’s just what?

The PA turns towards the door and there are some fans waiting
to talk to Hancock.

Hancock gets up and goes over to the door.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Fuck off.

He slams the door shut and then approaches the PA. Their
faces are an inch apart.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
What do you think I am? A tin of
beans.

The PA slides away and out the door.

INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
A TELEVISION is on.
The room is empty and someone is showering in the bathroom.
We will find out that this is Hancock.
On the television is an interview with Hancock and John
Freeman.

TELEVISION HANCOCK
“It’s partly true that I’m a lonely
person. There are times when you’re
desperately lonely, standing in the
wings, at say, the Palladium….”

Going around the room we see the items that reflect his life
at the moment.

TELEVISION HANCOCK (CONT’D)
“….You’re out there alone. To be
shot at, shouted at, booed, have
rivets thrown at you (which I’ve
had) and seven pence ha’penny
thrown at me at Bristol – which I
picked up carefully off the stage
and bought myself a half of
bitter…”

A script lying open on the bed.

TELEVISION HANCOCK (CONT’D)
“How do you make comedy? You don’t
make it with measured ingredients -
it’s not cake. You make comedy with
feeling…..”

The Qantas bag on the bedside table.

TELEVISION HANCOCK (CONT’D)
“What I play on television is an
extension of myself and the
idiosyncrasies of other people
combined…”

Two bottles of brandy and a bottle of vodka.

TELEVISION HANCOCK
“You are, after all involved in
life, and you do certain stupid
things yourself. So if you are
going to stand there and throw
stones, at what point of perfection
do you stand? If one is going to be
critical without any chance of
comeback, it’s like hitting a
child”.

A HAND turns off the television. It’s Hancock’s. He slumps on
the bed in a towel , pours a vodka into a glass and smiles to
himself.
He picks up the ‘phone.

HANCOCK
Get me Mrs Sennett in Bournemouth,
England. (Pause) That’s right, my
Mum.

While he waits, he picks up a couple of tablets from the
bedside table.
He washes them down with vodka.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Mum. Guess who?

INT. TV STUDIO – DAY
PEOPLE doing things. Carrying cables, scenery. People
painting.
The PA exits from Hancock’s trailer.

PRODUCER
How is he?

The PA crosses his fingers and moves on.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)
Come on now people. We have a show
to put on.

The producer spots some of the team, watching.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)
I thought it was your day off?

STAGE HAND
Tony Hancock is in town.

PRODUCER
Hope he’s worth it.

The producer claps his hands.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)
Move. Someone get Tony. You.

A YOUNG GIRL is selected.
She nervously goes over to the trailer and knocks the door.
There is no response. She knocks again.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)
Just leave it. I’ll get him.

The girl runs off.
The producer loudly knocks the trailer door.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)
(shouting)
Coming in.

INT. TRAILER – DAY
The producer enters.
Tony is somewhere between Sydney and the moon.

PRODUCER
For fuck sake, what did you take?

HANCOCK
(slurred)
You know….what Sid said about me?
He said….what was I talking
about? Oh yes, Sid. He said….that
I have the best timing in the
business. The best.

Hancock is not in charge of moving his head; it has its own
life.

INT. TV STUDIO – DAY
There are many EXPECTANT FACES as Hancock and the producer
emerge. However this turns to disappointment as the producer
supports Hancock from the trailer. He carries him to the set.

PRODUCER
Come on people. We have episode six
to put in the can.

The enthusiasm has eroded in the studio, everyone is going
through the motions.

STUDIO LATER
Hancock stands ready, however his face shows that although
the light may be on, nobody is home.

DIRECTOR
All you have to do is pick up the
‘phone.

Hancock nods like a drunk.

DIRECTOR (CONT’D)
And action.

Hancock lifts the receiver, dials very badly then ‘speaks in
tongues’ into the phone.

DIRECTOR (CONT’D)
Cut. That’s the sixteenth take and
that bastard is incapable of saying
a line.

Hancock stands lost and sweating from head to foot.

DIRECTOR (CONT’D)
Hancock, you c*nt. Get out there
and act.

Hancock is in turmoil. He is practising ‘Chinese burns’ on
his wrists.

DIRECTOR (CONT’D)
(to producer)
Are you going to fucking call
someone?

The producer nods. A PA hands him a phone.

PRODUCER
(into phone)
Get me the Managing Director.

INT. HOTEL ROOM – DAY
This is another time and another place. Hancock is shaved,
dressed and sober.
He sits reading the paper and drinking coffee.
A KNOCK at the door.

HANCOCK
(with gusto)
Enter.

The producer enters.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Coffee?

PRODUCER
Please.

The producer sits as he pours him a cup.

HANCOCK
So, did you see yesterday’s rushes?

PRODUCER
Ehm…no, not yet.

HANCOCK
Well, we can look at them today.
I thought yesterday went well.

These two guys are remembering different days.

PRODUCER
If you say so.

HANCOCK
Of course, I say so.

Hancock gets up.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Well, come on. Let’s get a move on.
Hancock is already out the door.

HANCOCK (O.S.) (CONT’D)
Come on.

INT. CAR – DAY
The producer looks at Hancock, not sure who is riding in his
car.
Hancock is happy and smoking.

HANCOCK
I’ve got to get me Mum something.

Silence.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
I hear the contract is for 26
shows. I was thinking I might do it
in three batches and head home. See
Mum and Joan. What do you think?
Silence.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Have I upset you?

PRODUCER
No. The Managing Director wants to
speak to you when we get in.

HANCOCK
Any idea, about what?

The producer looks at Hancock. Then shakes his head.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
Can’t be too serious then.

There is a look on Hancock’s face as if he may know what the
talk is about.

HANCOCK (CONT’D)
We could always take the whole
thing back to England.

PRODUCER
If you don’t do it here, it’s all
over. If you fuck up in Australia,
there’s no where else to go.

The car pulls into the studio gate.

INT. PRODUCER’S HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
The producer sits going through some paper work.

The phone RINGS.

PRODUCER
Hello.

HANCOCK (V.O.)
Evening.

PRODUCER
Tony.

HANCOCK (V.O.)
I’ve decided. I’m going to take the
cure.

PRODUCER
Where are you?

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – NIGHT
Hancock sits in a hospital gown.

HANCOCK
Cavell House Private Hospital at
Rose Bay. That bastard said it was
this or the first bloody ‘plane
back to Blighty

...........to be continued

bobby stevenson 2016




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