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Bum Date

September 14, 1986|David T. Friendly

Screenwriter Dale Launer ("Ruthless People") says he "won the battle, but lost the war" over screen credit on the comedy "Blind Date," to open in January with Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger.

The real-life scenario, according to Launer:

After he wrote the screenplay, Tri-Star brought in wife-hubby writing partners Leslie Dixon and Tom Ropelewski for revisions. When their version went out to director Blake Edwards, Launer's name had disappeared from the title page--"The studio calls it an oversight, I call it an insult," Launer told us--and then Edwards decided to add his own touch.

So it went to Writer's Guild arbitration (where, among other things, a contributor's work must contain original characterizations and dialogue to garner screen credit). Among Launer's claims, in writing to the WGA: "I know there were scenes added where someone crashes into a bakery and becomes covered with flour and later someone with all of their clothes on jumps or falls into a swimming pool or someone tosses something into a woman's cleavage. . . . Can we really call these original? Weren't these jokes around before sound?"

Apparently, the guild panel agreed--Launer wound up with sole screenwriting credit. Edwards--who was out of town and not immediately available for comment (said his office)--lost again on appeal.

Now Launer's thinking of using a pseudonym--but he's waiting to see the movie before deciding.

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