IndustryCentral ScreenWriters Exchange: Action/Adventure: Windows
On a secret, military listening post in the arctic area in January of 1987, the Russians stump the US government at what appears to be a new, secret code. Sent, by the White House and Pentagon, is Dr. Andrew James, the foremost linguist and think tank minds in the country. After hard work, he deciphers the code but discovers that the two men responsible for catching the new code have also found something else. While "playing" around with the radioscope, Lyle and Dobrinsky came upon an old Jack Benny radio program that's been bouncing around the universe for 68 years. They recorded it and let James hear it. James asks the two to take him to the radioscope. They do so and this time they capture an old "Wolfman Jack" show from the 60's. James has them tape the show and takes it back home with him.
Three years later, James has amassed a formidable group of scientist. He needs one last man to join the team. His old friend from college, Professor Baxter, the "Godfather of Mathematics". Inviting him to New York City, James lays out his hypothesis to Freddy. James has surmised that if we can capture radio waves from space, why not images? James believes, with the help of Professor Habeeb, an Indian scientist who has developed the science of vibration, and the rest of his staff that he can open up a "Window" to the past. James wants Freddy to join because they need precise calculations as to where these "vibrations" could be. Freddy is intrigued by the hypothesis and will come on board with one concession. He wants the first demonstration of "The Window" to be, Los Angeles on August 4th1963. The night Marilyn Monroe died. Barring no objection from James, Freddy gets his wish and the team begins to work feverishly on the night Monroe died.
James wants the use of "The Window" for purely scientific reasons. But, unknown to James, behind the scenes, Tanner, an industrialist and the man who holds the purse strings for "The Window", has sold James out to a ruthless criminal, Abdul Zacar. James came to Tanner, as his empire was about to collapse. Tanner seeing the opportunity that "The Window" could provide for his company enlisted Zacar. But, Zacar has another plan for the use of "The Window". He wants to use it as a blackmailing device. He wants to find out any dirt he can on anybody that's important, so he can extract whatever he wants from him or her. Zacar seeks power and Tanner, money. The two set up a second laboratory and have a hacker hot wire all the computer terminals to download all the information to this secret lab, if the experiment works out. Their plan is to kill everyone associated with "The Window", when the time comes.
Hidden deeper in the background is an obscure government agency known as "The Security Council", that has spies in James' group. They have been reporting to Colonel Camper, The Security Council's hit man. Camper has reasons of his own for keeping the Monroe case closed. The Security Council wants "The Window" because, if it works, there will be no more secrets. They would be able to monitor everyone, all the time. Including the scientists who developed "The Window".
Deeper yet, is a spy in Tanner's camp that teams up with James and Baxter. Another old college friend and reporter, Sandy Baxter, no relations. She helps them uncover the two plots working against them. But, does so, because she works for a man who wants the world to know the truth about Marilyn Monroe's death.
Can they open "The Window" to the past? If they do, what will they find? Are the Kennedy's, the Mafia, the CIA or the FBI involved with Monroe's death? Will Zacar and Tanner blackmail prominent figures? Will the Security Council take "The Window" away from James and become a modern day "Big Brother"? Who's behind Sandy Baxter and why does he want the world to know what really happened to Monroe?
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An imaginative concept. The Jack Benny show at first seemed like a revisit to the novel/movie "Contact" in which aliens had picked up an old "Lucy" show and sent it back to earth.
Two possible problems. I believe that compressing the time frame in most stories adds pressure and that extending your story over a period of three years dissipates that pressure. I'm betting you can shorten the time frame.
More importantly, the heavies' plot seems weak and pulls down the classy quality of your premise. Abdul Zacar and Tanner are straight out of television. Their plot to use Windows as a blackmailing device cheapens your good story.
As you know, the best drama is about people and relationships. Richard, how might this offbeat and marvelous discovery change the lives and relationships betwen your central characters?
Alfred Hitchcock once said that the better your heavy, the better your show. Let's try to do better than Zacar and Tanner.
Really intriguing material. Good luck with it.
Critique by Alan A. Armer
Great premise in the beginning (novel and original idea about a means to look into the past), but I think the whole "conspiracy bit" is a little shallow and overused. Consider the true political and, yes, religious implications such a device may have upon the world.
How far back can you go? See what? Roswell in the '50s and Area 51. Kennedy's assassination and the grassy knoll. Or better yet. The creation of the Pyramids, Stonehenge, or the crucifiction of a little known religious leader some 2000 years ago?
Who really gives a damn about Marilyn Monroe when you can see for yourself the death of Christ?
How about going back to the beginning? Of EVERYTHING.
That is what the government would want to control.
There's your story.
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