tony

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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