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CAMPAIGN 2000 / THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

By Gore, I Think They've Got It

A Scenario for Al to Lighten Up, and Triumph Over Godzilla

August 14, 2000|MARTIN MILLER and ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Critics dismissed the Republican convention as a horribly scripted affair. The Democrats don't intend to make the same mistake. Their convention will be a perfectly scripted affair.

They hired Hollywood's best and brightest to produce a blockbuster convention script guaranteed to land Al Gore in the Oval Office. The Times has obtained copies of the Democratic script as it progressed through various studio executives, screenwriters and test audiences:

Draft 1

In a riveting 27-hour acceptance speech, a no-nonsense Al Gore rebuts the Republican platform point by point and offers a detailed Democratic vision for America's future.

Draft 2

Gore's speech is trimmed by 26 hours and 58 minutes. Instead, he chants, "Democrats good, Republicans bad!" for two minutes. To fill the subsequent dead time, delegates are treated to big-screen flashbacks of Gore inventing the Internet, vulcanized rubber and the Clapper.

Draft 3

Gore still not testing well. To show his vulnerable side, he talks poignantly about his lifetime struggle with acid reflux syndrome. Later, exhibiting more playfulness, he roams the hall wearing a "crazy" Hawaiian shirt and sings "Margaritaville" to the Florida delegation.

Draft 4

Gore hopeless. Kevin Kline will play him from here on out, and Dustin Hoffman will be cast as Joseph Lieberman (Dusty is a little less "Jewish"). New plot element: A mishap at the Los Alamos nuclear lab gives Gore super environmental powers that enable him to restore the ozone layer, reverse global warming and stop Robin Williams from making any more movies.

Draft 7

The proceedings need a villain to make Gore seem heroic. Alan Rickman leads the evil Shadow Convention forces in a plot to drill a tunnel underneath the convention floor so they can release a biochemical weapon that destroys the part of the brain that believes big government is a force for good. Gore (Kline) foils the plan, and brings Rickman to justice before 15,000 screaming Democrats.

Draft 9

Africanized honeybees surround Staples Center and demand year-round access to greenhouse flowers in Southern California. Demonstrating his diplomatic skills, Gore steps in and hammers out a peace accord. Then, showing he has what it takes to be commander in chief, he uses his super environmental powers to kill all the bees.

Draft 11

Script not tracking with female audiences. Lieberman (Hoffman) reprises "Tootsie" role.

Draft 25

Float rumor that Tipper has terminal disease. In a tearful televised address, Gore (Kline) admits he told his delirious wife that he'd already won the White House, and warns voters that if they don't elect him, it'll kill her.

Draft 36

Forget all the pathos and cheap plot devices. In an homage to Andy Warhol, Gore is now an aimless drifter, cruising Pacific Coast Highway in a '65 Thunderbird convertible, wearing Ray-Bans, digging on America. A new leader for a new millennium.

Draft 42

Godzilla attacks Staples Center, lays eggs in sky boxes, then terrorizes downtown Los Angeles. Gore, aboard Air Force Two, directs "Top Gun" pilot Tom Cruise and a squadron of Stealth bombers in a successful counterattack.

Draft 58

Godzilla now a good guy. Becomes Gore's running mate and protects West Coast from deadly attack by Mothra and Rodan.

Draft 61

Convention way over budget. Shooting relocated to Vancouver. Kline and Hoffman fired. Gore's role goes to Tony Danza; Lieberman's to Eugene Levy.

Draft 93

Giant asteroid threatens global annihilation. Gore (Danza) volunteers for a daring space mission to blow the asteroid out of the sky by beaming an episode of "Who's the Boss?" into the heart of the killer space rock.

Draft 112

Escalating production costs force Gore and Lieberman to be played by Jim Henson Muppets Bert and Ernie. (Note: It's imperative that puppeteers be kept out of sight!) Godzilla replaced by Cookie Monster.

Draft 149

Studio execs worried that Ernie will seem "too Jewish." Replaced with more Nordic Big Bird.

Final Draft

Execs decide to can the script, put Gore out there in a suit, and let "the magic" happen.

*

E-mail Martin Miller and Roy Rivenburg at socalliving@latimes.com.

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