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Nobody's Perfect

2nd Draft Rough Story Outline ~ July 30, 1986

Written by Rick Mittleman

Originally Aired November 8, 1986


HARRY KRELLMAN is two things:  a brain, & a little nutsy.  He is also a good friend of Simon McKay, one of the few people in the world who both believes in Harry & can identify with his non-conformist outlook on life.  Unfortunately for both Harry & the world-at-large, he has rarely held a job for more than a few months, he is a perpetual dreamer, he delights in sticking needles into windbags no mater what their title or power, & he is given to over-exaggeration when charting the future of his various inventions ~~ which is why he is rarely taken seriously by his colleagues.  Especially at scientific conventions where we are about to meet him.  Somewhere around Simon's age, Harry is a dynamic, twitchy, young Art Carney of a man with the propensity to keep smiling despite the fact that he is ~ it seems ~ eternally doomed to spit into the wind of conformity.

JOSEPH PRANSKI:  a huge bear of a mobster cut from the Lee J. Cobb mold.  For Pranski power is the name of the game & he is willing to kill for it.  Superficially jovial & generous, Pranski's moods change like a chameleon's coat & in an instant he can become a course, cruel man capable of killing anybody standing in his way.  And, at the moment, the one thing he will let nothing stand in his way to obtain is . . . . . Harry's latest invention:  The "GARBAGERATOR",  a weird device that emits two high-intensity sonic beams at different frequencies so that the point at which they meet such as a garbage dump literally vaporizes (based on principle of medical device that pulverizes kidney stones).  Pranski, of course, sees well beyond garbage.  In fact, he is obsessed by this device because it is the only way he can effectively destroy the evidence now held deep in the Federal Prosecutor vaults in L.A. that will seal his fate & send him to the Federal Penitentiary on income tax evasion & racketeering charges for the next 10 to 20 years.



1. (Crossed out after draft was printed)    TIGHT on Simon reflecting on his life . . . pull back to discover he's on a couch talking to a shrink about inventor's block . . . is encouraged to think positive & we CUT TO:

2.  EXT. HOUSE ~ big explosion ~ cut inside to Alex rescuing Simon & carrying him to kitchen where Tillie ministers to him ~ biggest hurt is to his confidence ~ Alex & Tillie convince him he's pushing too hard ~ time to take a break & enjoy life.  How?  Simple, says Tillie.  Just call Am. Technological Assoc. back & accept offer to act as judge in annual Technological Fair competition.    Besides, it'll get he & Alex out from underfoot while she entertains some of her lady friends at an afternoon tea she's been planning.  Fun in the sun while kibitzing with old pals?  Not a bad idea says a weary & battered Simon as he stares woefully at a robotic fire-alarm doll that waddles in crying, "Erif!  Erif!  Erif!" instead of "Fire!  Fire!  Fire!"

3. TIGHT on TELEPHOTO SHOTS of device being demonstrated ~ cut to figure of man operating it with childlike delight ~ ZOOM IN  & FREEZE FRAME on establishing shot of Harry Krellman.  PULL BACK to discover Pranski briefing his heavies:  this is the device they are to procure for him at the Technological convention.

3. POOLSIDE at luxury Palm Springs hotel ~ Simon & co. arrive ~ greeted by several old cronies, last of which is zany Harry Krellman who we sense from condescending attitude of his peers is frequently off on another planet, a fact that doesn't deter Harry who won't tip anybody off about his revolutionary invention until the press unveiling later that day ~ Simon is enjoying himself immensely & says this is just what doctor ordered . . . all play & no work ~ at which point he graciously offers to fix a little kid's life-ring which doesn't work ~ Simon adjusts the air-valve & the child jumps into the pool only to have it deflate causing Alex to jump in fully dressed to keep kid from going under . . . all of which sends Simon back into his blue funk.  PERHAPS WE ALSO ESTABLISH JOE PRANSKI & 3 OF HIS HOODS AT POOLSIDE.  Pranski nods to associates who rise & leave pool area en masse.

4. INT. BALLROOM is a maze of scientific devices competing for Grand Prize including robots, lasers, space-age vehicles ~ Simon & Alex with press corps as Simon rubs elbows with more peers ~ move to shrouded invention which Krellman proudly unveils to reveal nothing but a pile of garbage ~ in shock, he claims his revolutionary "Garbage-a-Rator" has been stolen ~ amid derisive laughter of colleagues, the distraught Krellman pleads to no avail that everybody must believe him . . . his invention is the answer to mankind's need to get out from under the Mt. Everest of non-biodegradable waste that piles up yearly & will eventually inundate us all! ~ but the laughter drowns him out & Harry rushes from the room with Simon & Alex in pursuit.

5.  EXT./INT. HOTEL ~ Simon & Alex looking everywhere for Harry ~ Simon worried about Harry, especially since he believes Harry was telling the truth ~ suddenly a hue & cry ~ there's a man standing on the edge of a roof!  ~  Simon reacts.  Oh no!  Harry!  ~  rush outside & we see it is Harry Krellman . . . apparently on the verge of jumping . . . at which point we FADE OUT.




1. EXT. HOTEL ROOF ~ While Simon distracts Harry, Alex makes a heroic tackle.  Simon rushes up to explain they're just trying to keep him from jumping.  Harry says who's jumping?  He was handling his frustration the same way Simon would:  by busying himself with another invention, this one he proudly proclaims will revolutionize the parachute industry & which he calls the Pocket Parachute, at which point he demonstrates it by heaving a pocket-parachute equipped manikin off the roof to prove his point.  Simon hugs Harry & reiterates his belief in Harry's story about the Garbage-a-Rator & promises he won't rest until they solve the mystery.

2. EXT./INT. DESERT HIDEAWAY ~ inside a beehive of activity as Pranski's henchmen prepare to test Harry's machine.  Pranski tells his ASSOCIATE how this machine will allow him to get out from under an income-tax evasion rap due to go to trial in a few days by virtue of its ability to destroy all the evidence currently held in the Federal Courthouse pending his trial date.  Pranski tries to control his fury when his chief TECHNICIAN can't get the Garbag-a-Rator to operate.  Pranski explodes & orders his men to get that machine working whatever it takes or they're dead meat!

3. EXT. POOL AREA ~  Simon, in pool attire, weaves his way among a bevy of beauties & finds Harry on poolside phone to local police trying to report a stolen garbage disintegrator (a la Bob Newhart doing his Abner Doubleday-describing-baseball bit) ~ Simon tells the disgruntled Harry that Alex is checking out hotel security re: any odd movements, unauthorized trucks, etc. ~ next thing to do is for two of them to sit down & analyze who what & whys as to who might want machine in their possession ~ Simon tries to adjust a complicated chaise & can't figure it out until a young kid comes up & adjusts it for him ~ embarrassed, Simon confides in Harry & asks him if he ever suffers from inventor's block ~ Harry says of course & confides in how he deals with it:  He plays his kazoo which he whips out of his pocket.  Simon ponders.  Music!  Of course!  SMASH CUT TO:


Simon playing the drums with hotel jazz combo ~ sees Harry crossing & tells him it's working ~ feels much better ~ Harry turns away & crosses to a nearby empty table, enduring the indignity of being kidded by fellow inventors as he goes.  Simon takes his bow as the set ends & sees his friend is distraught.  Turning the drums back to their owner, Simon joins Harry.  He's been thinking.  Does Harry have any enemies who want to do him harm?  No.  Then why wouldn't somebody make him an offer to buy a harmless item like the garbag-a-rator rather than risk jail?  Harry has no answers, but he does know one thing:  Simon is a prince of a friend ~ is only one who believes him ~ Simon says nonsense ~ everybody knows Harry is a bit eccentric, but a man to be respected ~ Alex appears & Simon asks him what Hotel Security had to say ~ Alex forced to admit security chief referred to Harry as "that crackpot" & is not about to waste time investigating crime they question ever took place.  Big fanfare & director of Technological competition grabs the mike & invites the incomparable Simon McKay up to stage to do his famous parlor stunt ~ as Simon find himself forced to build a robot from a box of parts, two of Pranski's men enter the lounge & take a seat ~ meanwhile Simon has assembled a reasonable facsimile of a working robot & gives Alex & Harry a thumbs up . . . . . only to have it collapse into a pile of junk to everybody's delight except Simon's ~ A bit testy after admitting it wasn't supposed to fall apart, Simon says he needs time by himself & goes off, perhaps rejecting Harry's attempts to reach Simon & talk (if Simon wants to) about what's bothering him.  Simon refuses & goes off.  Harry shrugs & says fine ~ he can certainly understand a man needing his space & indicates he's going back to his room.

5. EXT. GROUNDS ~ SIMON SOLILOQUY SCENE ~ tries to talk self into happier state of mind using old homilies ~ no sir, no reason to talk about it because hey! nothing wrong . . . . . right?  Happens to everybody.  Besides, he can't let it affect him.  Friends like Harry depend on him for support.  Has to be strong for them.


Harry turns corner & runs into Pranski's henchmen ~ you're coming with us!  FADE OUT.




FADE IN on Alex catching up to Simon ~ shows concern, asks if everything okay ~ Simon says everything's peachy ~ look up to see apparent struggle as tow men shove a third into a four-wheel drive vehicle ~ realize it's Harry in the process of being kidnapped ~ car roars off ~ Simon spots a car rental kiosk & jumps into it, yelling to the pretty girl attendant to "Charge it!  Room 241!"  Simon jumps in & yells "I'm with him!".


Simon & Alex track the kidnappers to an isolated ranch house where they see Harry rudely shoved inside.


Harry sees his machine ~ Pranski appears & compliments him on it & orders him to fix it ~ Harry not so sure he can do that ~ admits that he only got it to work the way it was supposed to once.


Alex & Simon confer ~ no way to call the cops so they'll just have to rescue Harry themselves.  Alex cold cocks an armed guard posted at the farmhouse door & takes his gun, then bursts into:


Alex bursts inside & gets the drop on Pranski & his cohorts (& perhaps recognizes & identifies Pranski from Crime Commission mug shots as a top level mobster) ~ Alex has Harry collect their guns & drop them into a pot of chili cooking on the stove, then orders Harry out the window where Simon is waiting with the rental car.  Making the hoods lie face down on the floor, Alex beats a quick retreat to the getaway car.


Unfortunately, poor Simon can't start the car.  Not knowing what to do, Simon spots two Quad-Runners parked in a shed behind the ranch house.  Making a run for it as Pranski & his cohorts come running in pursuit, Alex & Simon fire up the Quad-Runners & take off across the desert with Harry hanging onto Simon for dear life ~ but just as they reach the apparent safety of the open desert . . . . . 3 four-wheel drive vehicles fly over the sand dunes from three different directions, penning the two Quad-Runners in.  Employing some exciting stunt work, we see Simon deftly avoid being cut off & eventually lead Alex up & over a sand dune in a bid to escape.  Both Quad-Runners soar into space . . . . . & plunge down into a desert sinkhole (or whatever) where they are penned in by the huge four-wheel drives.


Pranski stands before Simon as Alex & Harry look on ~ what could be more perfect!  The genius everybody at the Technological Convention has been talking about has decided to pay him a personal visit!  And the timing couldn't be better.  Leading Simon & the others to the Garbag-a-rator, Pranski tells Simon he's not about to let himself get sent to the joint for 10-20 years so Simon better make his buddy's machine operational or Harry dies.  ON Simon's pained reaction, we FADE OUT.



1. Alex checks the room they are locked up in & finds there is no possible avenue of escape ~ Simon rolls up his sleeves & says they better get to work, asks Harry what exactly is wrong with it.  Harry says tood question.  Simon gives himself a pep talk about thinking positive, then adjusts several wires & is immediately buried under a shower of sparks.  Harry offers Simon his kazoo.  Simon says it's going to take a lot more than a kazoo to save their skins ~ Harry shrugs & begins playing it ~ Alex, inspecting the barred windows, mutters "If only I had a simple nail file . . . .".  Simon brightens.  "That's it!  Alex, you're a genius!" ~ Simon pounds on the door & brings Pranski running.  Yes, he can fix the Garbag-a-rator, but he has to go back to his workshop since the very special tools needed to make the repairs are not readily available in the local hardware stores . . . . . in fact ~ Pranski senses some kind of trick, but Alex picking up on Simon's scheme, says no tools, no repair ~ Having no alternative, Pranski says okay, but no tricks or everybody buys it!


Pranski & 3 accomplices pull up in two vehicles & direct Alex & Harry in unloading the Garbag-a-rator & carrying it inside.  Simon pauses at his mailbox to pick up the mail & starts putting all the junk mail into an instant shredder attached to his mailbox.  Annoyed, Pranski shoves Simon toward the house.


The procession of hoods plus Simon, Alex & Harry interrupts Tillie's "tea party" which turns out to be an all-woman poker game.  Simon hates to be a wet blanket, but he has some important business to transact & suggests Tillie's lady-friends call it a day ~ Tillie is confused but quickly gets the picture when, after her guests leave, she is rudely shoved down to the basement with the others.


TIGHT ON Simon setting up with Harry ~ in private moment, Simon mutters, "Well!  This is it!  The moment of truth!"  Harry looks at Simon & tells him to relax.  "Relax?!  At a time like this?!", asks Simon.  Harry smiles & tells Simon he doesn't have to be strong for him.  Just being his friend is enough.  Trying to take care of the whole world is too much responsibility for anybody! ~ An impatient Pranski interrupts them, but we see a smile come over Simon's face as he makes an adjustment on the machine.  "Relax . . . yes . . . just like I tell everybody else while I'm beating my brans out . . .".  Simon winks at Alex, an obvious cue, & says he needs just one more tool which Pranski's armed associate can get for him out of the closet behind him.  The hood opens the door & CRASH!, he is buried under a n avalanche of toys pouring out of the closet.  Tillie, leaping into the fray, polishes him off with an exotic toy.  Alex, meantime disarms henchman #2 & gets into a knockdown fistfight which Harry brings to a close by activating his pocket parachute which explodes from his pocket & envelopes the hood setting him up for a knockout punch from Alex.  However, henchman #3 is able to train his weapon on Alex & Harry which prompts Simon to throw a remote switch on his workbench which activates a mechanical monster.  Working the controls in a frenzy, Simon gets the beast to advance on the hood & envelope him in a spine-rattling bearhug, forcing the hood to drop his gun.

Angle on Pranski ~ avoiding the action, Pranski picks up the fallen gun &, well aware that his grand scheme has unraveled, he makes a run for it.  Alex starts to give chase but has to take cover as Pranski fires a shot in his direction.  Simon yells to Alex to let him go, then turns to Harry for instruction on how to work the range finder.  Why?  Because he knows the mailbox is exactly 40 paces from the house, & pranski's car is another 4 paces across the sidewalk . . . . . plus another 40 feet to reach the middle of the street on a diagonal course, etc. etc. ~ Alex asks what the devil is he talking about!  Simon smiles & sets the range-finder.  Alex says to each his own & rushes up the stairs in pursuit while Tillie dials the workshop phone to summon the police.

5. INTERCUT Pranski running for his truck ~ Alex appears in pursuit as we hear Harry yell "Fire One!" from inside ~ a huge, high-pitched HUM forcing Alex to cover his ears ~ &, finally, as Pranski burns rubber away from the curb in his truck, we see all four tires disintegrate leaving Pranski driving on his rims & going out of control into a fence where Alex rushes over to pull him from the wreckage.  CUT BACK TO THE WORKSHOP where Harry thanks Simon for all his help.  Simon hugs Harry & thanks Harry for all his help as we FADE OUT.


Page property of Rick Mittleman, Michael Berk & Douglas Schwartz

Draft from The Michael Berk Collection

(Note from The MGT:  This page was transcribed from the original copy.  I've attempted to stay as true to the original format as possible.  This is how a brilliant Rough Draft is written, kidz.  Take note, but please don't plagiarize.  Thank you!!)



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