Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Roxanne of the Islands

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, kids of all ages...

It is with a great deal of pride and pleasure that introduce to the world, the latest love of my life.
Her name...
ROXANNE OF THE ISLANDS.

Roxanne is the lead character in what I am calling a tropical adventure comedy melodrama, the full title of which is:

ROXANNE OF THE ISLANDS
OR
THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SARONG

The story revolves around the brave and beautiful Roxanne on her home of Ooaheek Island in the South Pacific after World War II. Not only must she contend with a lovesick witch doctor named Zhivago and a 1000 year old goddess who's after her ship-wrecked sea captain boyfriend but also a volcano that just won't give a poor girl a break.

ROXANNE is based on a sub-genre of films from the late thirties-early forties set in far off islands in the South Seas, the more exotic, the better and accuracy be damned. Titles ranged from John Ford's THE HURRICANE to what became the norm, B-programmers like ALOMA OF THE SOUTH SEAS.

Both of this movies had another thing in common besides their theme and locale. They starred the enchanting and drop dead gorgeous Dorothy Lamour. Known mostly today as the foil of Hope and Crosby ROAD pictures, Lamour had quite a career prior to meeting the boys beginning as a big band singer in the 1930s. After moving to Hollywood, it wasn't long before she donned her first sarong in THE JUNGLE PRINCESS, which was such a hit for Paramount at the time, it type-cast from there on in. Dotty was major pin-up girl during WWII and sold so many war bonds she was nicknamed The Bombshell of Bombs.

I wanted to write a melodrama with a strong heroine, deviating from the damsel in distress normally seen in this type of show and one not dependent on being rescued by the handsome hero. Dorothy Lamour fit the bill for me.

While this is the first melodrama script I've completed since SONG OF THE CANYON KID (aka LONE PRAIRIE), it began its life back in the 1980s. Where the idea came from originally, I haven't a clue What I recall is that after I wrote LEGEND OF THE ROGUE, I had a series of ideas for melos set in various genres and locations. It always started with the title: DESMOND OF THE DESERT OR AN OASIS IN THE HOLE. STAN OF THE SEVEN SEAS OR 20,000 LEAKS UNDER THE SEA and MIKE OF THE MISSISSIPPI OR YOUNG MAN RIVER. (Yes, they all have subtitles) But initially, the script I leaned toward was JUNGLE FEVER OR B'WANA BUY A DUCK featuring the pith helmeted hero Congo Ted. It didn't fly, as much as I struggled with it and eventually went on to the next, that being ROXANNE. Besides, I wanted a strong female protagonist that could carry the whole story. I got about half way into it and...the engine stalled out. It ended up sitting in the front yard with the tires off, obviously going nowhere. Fortunately, I saved it because when I unearthed it over the years, I liked what I wrote so much that I couldn't dispose of it completely. While I considered placing Congo Ted into the mix, I resisted since he would have detracted the true main character, the brave and lovely Roxanne. It took quite a few years, but after my recent success with my other melos, I felt a moral imperative to complete this sucker after all this time and finally, I done did.

I drew a lot of inspiration, as I always do with my melos, from the cartoons of Jay Ward Productions, most famously the creators of Rocky and Bullwinkle, among others along with my own personal fave, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE. Much of my humor stems from this deep well of brilliant absurdity. My penchant for titles and su-titles is straight out of a Rocky and Bullwinkle cliffhanger, many times my favorite part of an episode. ROXANNE itself is chock full o' references from the villain's name (Witch Doctor Zhivago) to Roxanne's sister,Fred  ("Papa wanted a boy." "Close, but no cigar.") and the setting, Ooaheek Island, which is the sound a bird makes when it flies to close to the volcano.

What really fueled my muse was when I decided to add a couple of musical numbers including a swing dance number to open ACT II. I couldn't think of a better tune in the world than Benny Goodman's Big Band classic "Sing Sing Sing" with the incomparable Gene Krupa on the drums. I listened to this constantly and found that it really drove the project home.



So there you have it, kitty cats. That's the origin of ROXANNE OF THE ISLANDS. The cast size is
5 men and 3  women with a running time of about 75 minutes w/musical numbers, 60 w/o. Performance rights are of course now available. Royalties are $30 per performance. For more info, write to me at:
writtenbysc@gmail.com

To read a copy of the script, ROXANNE OF THE ISLANDS is available for download right this very moment at: SCOTT CHERNEY'S STORE (What did ya expect-ChernMart?) Check out my other titles on that thar page and I'll be glad you did. Maybe you will too.

So it is with great pride and pleasure that I present to the world, ROXANNE OF THE ISLANDS.

Take a bow, Roxanne.