A Dream I Had About My Friend Jason

With Commentary
by T. Mike

The Dream:
In the dream, my good friend Jason and his real-life girlfriend Sally have their own television series where they play lovers and free-lance insurance claims investigators. Their ever-fretful boss is played by a young Richard Pryor, and their comic relief sidekick and fellow investigator is played by Buddy Hackett. They travel the great American Southwest dodging danger and scams and con men, investigating murders, accidents, and rackets to determine the truth. But Jason, an orphan, was raised on the mean streets of the big city, where he learned a thing or two about con games himself. Three card monty? – strictly kindergarten, man.

They go to all the hot spots – Reno, Vegas, Nevada’s legal brothels, L.A., Frisco, wherever they’re needed. They’ve even done a job or two for the Mafia- good for the reputation.

The show is set circa 1980, although the relative youth of Pryor and Hackett would put it in the 1960s. But that’s dreams for you.

In the particular episode I dreamt about, Jason and Sally are called in to determine if the actual Maltese Falcon statuette used in the famous film of the same name has been destroyed, or if only a replica has. The original, being such a noteworthy movie prop was heavily insured, and if the real one was destroyed the insurance company would have to pay a lot of money. The case takes some strange turns as Jason and Sally end up reenacting certain scenes from the Maltese Falcon as they hunt for the truth.

Well, I at least know exactly where the Maltese Falcon came from. My and Jason’s mutual friend and fellow Van Gogh-Gogh Charles actually has one! Yes, you can buy replicas of the famous movie prop! Keen! The insurance claim-investigating thing comes from my grandfather, who actually did that for a living, although not “free-lance.” I have no idea if a “free-lance” insurance investigator is even possible. It just sounds better for television, and gives the characters the freedom to travel where ever the writers want to set that week’s show. My grandfather actually owned a revolver for the job, which he kept in the trunk of his car. So this part of the dream is based on idle speculation that my grandfather had a cool job. If you own a gun as part of your job, your job is automatically cool. At least it is when you’re twelve.

Why Richard Pryor and Buddy Hackett, and why the younger, 1960s incarnations of them? To be frank, this is just casting genius on my part. This series was just MADE with Pryor and Hackett in mind. If we can’t get Pryor, I could settle for Tim Reid. But there’s just no replacing Hackett! Well, maybe Jack Black. Also, for whatever reasons, my strongest impressions/memories of both come from their appearances in 1960s movies. Buddy Hackett from the Herbie films, and Richard Pryor from his appearance in Wild in the Streets, where he doesn’t yet have his trademark mustache. So their ages are wildly off, but this is good, solid casting for television character types in this series, if I do say so myself, and I do.

Jason and Sally could probably pull off this series, especially with Pryor and Hackett to back them up. They’ll need guest stars though. Lot’s of ’em. Every week. And this series is built for it! Each week a new locale and new people to meet- some innocent, some guilty! Somebody call Robert Goulet and George “Goober” Lindsey already! I’m also proud of finding a way to set up a crime series without resorting to such horribly overused cliché occupations as police, lawyers, private eyes, or forensic specialists. Seriously, this is a new twist on an old standard that’s crazy enough to work. Also, the insurance angle leaves plenty of room for battling corruption and evil- people are always trying to pull off insurance fraud. But the crimes aren’t so horrible as to bring down the audience. The series would be a dramedy, following in the footsteps of successful light-hearted crimebusters like The Rockford Files, Moonlighting, and Remington Steele.

My friend Jason in real-life is not really an orphan, of course, and the only streets he grew up on were suburban and safe. But for his character, this is great, because who better to catch a con man, than a former con man? He can be clever and funny when he scams the scammers and gives them their just desserts, and also gives him the ability to be poignant when need be when he recalls his difficult childhood, which makes him sympathetic (and irresistible to the female demographic!). And maybe the orphan thing can be turned into a season ending cliffhanger when maybe one parent turns out to be alive or something. Or if the ratings need spicing, we can make it a multiple-episode plot arc about the terrible secret behind their tragic deaths.

Sally is the hot babe, because you can’t get a television show made without at least one. Period. I’m serious- name me one prime time series without one. All I can think of is the old sitcom Alice, because Alice wasn’t hot, Vera wasn’t hot, and Flo… well, for some reason, we were supposed to THINK she was hot, and all the characters acted like she was the hot one, but c’mon, she WAS NOT HOT. That beehive hairdo?! And she was always chewing gum and when is that EVER attractive? Blech! She probably just put out for anybody, even that nerdy telephone repairman who only ate there so he could insult the food.

Aw crap, I almost forgot the cool car! There is a cool car. Jason and Sally travel around in an iconic, cool, vintage car of some kind. That’s television gold, my friends, TELEVISION GOLD! We’ll work out what type car exactly when we pitch the series to the big three in Detroit for show sponsorship.

What conclusions can be drawn from this dream?
1. Richard Pryor looks kind of cool without the mustache.
2. Hey Hollywood, I gots a series to pitch!
3. Flo from Alice was clearly not hot.
4. Seriously I am gawddamn sick of frickin’ cop shows and frickin’ lawyer shows already.
5. Hollywood, call me, let’s talk! We’ll do lunch, discuss options, whatever!

I thank you for your time.

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