The Internet: What a concept.
I'm a movie producer. I've been around movie studios all
my life. I used to be a studio head, but that goes back a few years.
Anyway, a couple of months ago two of these slovenly, unkept guys walked into my
office asking for money - screenwriters. Of course they needed money. God only
knows what screenwriters do with all the money we throw at them. But no mater
how much it is, screenwriters always manage to piss it all away and come running
back with their hand out. I mean, seriously, don't get me started. These fees
are spiraling way outta control here. This whole industry's gotta wake up and…
(Transcribers Note: at this point on the tape Mr. Edelman
receives a phone call from another producer - they exchange old stories,
talk about restaurants, and say some extremely degrading things about women.
I did not feel it was relevant to include the conversation here)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, these two guys started
yammering on, and on, about this new thing that all the teenie boppers were into
called the "Internet". How it's all done with computers. How you
wiz-bang mail him, and you wham-jam chat with her, and the web sites are here
and they're over there and the -- "who the frekin' hell cares? What else
you got?" I mean I’m a studio head turned movie producer…you got an
idea for Mr. Bean 2? I'm all ears. Computers? I don't know from computers. I got
people for that. I haven't dialed a phone in something like 20 years.
Before moving on to my production deal I ran three major studios in this
town. I'd show up, make three or four careers, and be over to the Polo Lounge by
Three o'clock to have myself a little Angie Dickinson and Ann Margaret sandwich.
My point is this: no matter if it's making movies or putting the make on movie
stars, one thing's always the same -- I damn sure know what people like. It's a
And this Internet thing they were talking about? I hadn't heard so much
gibberish since some guy wearing a bunch of tin foil on his head attacked me one
time as I was coming out of the Bistro Gardens.
This Internet mumbo jumbo, with the modems, and the computer, and blinking
lights, and the noises, and the carpal tunnel keyboards, and the -- it's Atari
for a new millennium. "They'll be out of business in two years tops,"
I told them.
"No Marvin, the Internet's not a business, it's every computer on the
planet connected together with every other computer, all communicating, all
sharing information." They just wouldn't let up.
It was just like when I ran Columbia all over again. Nobody listened to me
there either. I'd say, "Get Raquel Welch, she's good," and they'd cast
Eartha Kitt. I'd say "Paul Newman" and they'd send me Paul Lynn.
Nobody listened. And these two were no different. They whipped out some charts
and graphs, I don't remember what they were now, but I think they had some
visual aids. They explained this idea for a web site, which of course they
wanted to launch with my money, that would be devoted to feeding people a
steady dose humor, satire, characters, and general entertainment.
"So, how do people pay for this thing? It's like HBO, right?"
They explained it would be free…
"Free? Get the hell outta my office with this free
nonsense. I want you to walk outside and take a good hard look at the sign on
the side of the bungalow. Go, seriously, get up and go. Because unless some
graffiti artist has wandered by, I'm reasonably certain it says 'Marvin Edelman, Producer',
not Marvin Edelman Schmuck. Not Marvin Edelman putz. Not Marvin
Edelman, horse's ass. 'Marvin Edelman, Producer'"
Then a miracle happened that I knew I couldn't say no to -- they
told me they would write my next two movies for scale plus 10%. And that got me
to thinking… the Internet: hey, what a concept.
M.E. Marvin Edelman