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Story Evolution

The Wizard of Elm Street

Michael McNab Outline

(NOTE: This is NOT the first episode. The following is one of the original story concepts created by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz & Paul B. Radin on their way to creating The Wizard of Elm Street ~ later to be known as El Dorado)


Pre-credit sequence setting up backstory of series: MICHAEL MCNAB, man of mystery, scientist, creative genius, leaves Government & Industry behind to invent wonderful toys for children of all ages. Government assigns agent to protect him & serve as liaison for times when our country needs him.


1. A scientific laboratory in the basement of the Soviet Embassy. Scientists have failed to figure out how a heat-sensing device on a toy works. It is more sensitive than the device on their missiles. A directive is issued. Get the man who built this at all costs. Get Michael McNab.

2. A warehouse in Los Angeles. Michael McNab has converted it into his home & laboratory/work shop. The work shop is stocked with toys in varying stages of evolution, some wondrous, unlike anything we've seen, others familiar, but assuredly of the next generation of toys.

Michael is being pursued through the warehouse by a man with a gun. Stalked. Shots are fired. Michael moves, hiding here, hiding there.

ALEX LOGAN arrives at the warehouse to replace the operative currently assigned to protect Michael. He's not happy that he was pulled out of Yugoslavia & a beautiful woman's arms to come babysit an eccentric toymaker.

He hears shots, sees the gunman stalking Michael. Being a very competent agent, he gains entry to the warehouse, sneaks up on the gunman, & leaps down to tackle him...only to pass right through the gunman's body & land flat on the floor. The gunman continues on as if nothing happened. Alex is stunned. The gunman turns. Alex fires his weapon but it has no effect. The gunman's face is now that of a frightening creature.

Laughter reveals DARCY QUINN, the agent Alex has come to replace. Michael comes out to introduce himself & we learn that the stalker was a hologram, a toy that can be programmed to play hide & seek, or other games with children or adults. he was testing it.

Darcy loves this assignment. She doesn't want to be replaced. Michael has taught her how to enjoy life while still doing her job. Alex says great, you stay, I'll go. A call is placed to their superior. Darcy convinces him that two people are more effective, allowing offensive pursuit & defensive capability at the same time. They will both remain with Michael.

PHIL EATON appears on the television in the work shop. He's eighteen & he's, well, strange, but very funny. He does little slice-of-life films like the ones Albert Brooks did on "Saturday Night Live", then puts them on the cable running through his apartment complex (next to Michael's warehouse) where people curse his intrusion into their shows, then start laughing & loving him. Michael thinks he's hysterically clever & funny. Alex doesn't appreciate his off-beat humor. Michael is the only person outside the apartment complex to get his feed on a system he's rigged up.

Michael has to go to the neighborhood park. He's late. Alex says he'll go there first & sweep the place, make sure it's safe. Michael assures him it will be alright. Darcy reminds Alex of their directive. They have to protect him, yes, but not by making him a prisoner or denying him his freedom.

3. Michael yells & stomps his feet, rooting for a little league baseball team. Alex is suspicious of everyone. Darcy is aware, but not paranoid.

A little boy, smaller than the others, strikes out. Kids make fun of him. Michael, who's known as the Wizard of Elm Street to the kids in the neighborhood, cheers the boy up. He takes the boy's bat & tells him he's going to work wonders with it. He'll bring it back in time for the next game & guarantees that bat will send the ball rocketing out of the park.

4. Michael plays drums in a band on Sunday afternoons. He's playing for all he's worth when Phil comes in followed by his lights & video camera. The camera is mounted on a homemade, rather crude remote-controlled dolly with a skeletal robotic arms, allowing him to film himself interacting with the people he meets.

Michael becomes one of the people he meets & their senses of humor collide in a madcap interview involving everyone in the club in their eccentricities.

Someone in the club remains in the background. The specter of the Russians assigned to capture Michael has appeared, infusing the scene with suspense.

Michael is impressed by the robotics Phil has put together. It shows promise. Phil tells Michael that he'll 'air' the film of the two of them tomorrow at four. He leaves.

5. Michael, Darcy & Alex leave the club. The Russian agents follow, ready for their assault.


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6. the assault takes place, but Alex & Darcy help foil it. They push Michael into the car & speed away, Darcy driving. The Russians pursue! As the chase escalates, Michael crawls in the trunk from the backseat & emerges with a two-foot-long, remote controlled, toy car with a futuristic design. He drops the car out of the window. as the car pursuing them speeds by , the toy car flips upright & takes off after it! Michael controls the car from the backseat using a remote controller that includes a tv screen in the shape of a windshield. On it, he can see from the POV (Point of View) of the toy car...& it's one hairy view.

This toy goes fast! It darts around & under other cars, flies over potholes, takes corners at breakneck speed, causes pedestrians to jump for their lives, & we SEE the chase from it's POV as well.

Finally Michael is able to steer it under the car pursuing them &, using the toy's 'accessories', is able to cause the car with the Russians in it to spin out, allowing them to get away.

7. Back at the work shop, Alex & Darcy go into action, trying to find out who was pursuing Michael & why. It becomes a personal scene in which we get to know our people better.

8. Phil is in his apartment getting ready for his 'telecast' when the doorbell rings. As he opens the door, the Russian agents push their way inside. (They saw & overheard Phil & Michael at the club.) They disconnect the cable to the rest of the apartment complex.

9. When the telecast comes on in the lab, it's not the tape Michael & Phil did at the club, but a direct communication from the Russian agents to Michael. They have the boy. They want Michael. They will exchange one for the other at a rendezvous in two hours. He's to come alone to a house on a cliff overlooking the beach.

10. As soon as the agents appear on screen, Alex takes off to Phil's apartment next door. Tension mounts as he breaks in, only to find that the transmission is on a prerecorded video tape. Phil is gone.


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11. Michael is set on going to Phil's rescue, & on going alone as they demanded. Alex refuses to let him. Darcy understands his concern (& is aware of his abilities) but agrees with Alex. It is much too dangerous & he is much too valuable. Alex places a call to the local FBI office apprising them of the situation.

12. Phil is brought into the lavish, rented house near the beach & locked in the wine cellar.

13. At the lab, Michael is at his drum set in the corner taking out his frustration. Alex & Darcy argue about who will go meet the FBI & coordinate the rescue, & who will stay with Michael. His drumming is starting to drive Alex nuts, the same beat, over & over. Finally he goes to Michael, but Michael is not there, even though the drumming continues. The fact is, he hasn't been there for the past hour. But Alex swears he saw him! The holograms! But Darcy finds the prototype of the holographic toy turned off in the other room. It wasn't a hologram. But he was there? Or was he? Was it an illusion created by Michael, or is it something else unexplainable? Darcy tells Alex he'd better get used to being baffled. It happens alot around Michael McNab. They take off for the house at the beach.

14. Michael sneaks up toward the house, a knapsack over his shoulder & his dog at his side. (We neglected to mention, Michael has a dog named Pal who's as big as he is. The dog is beautifully trained, obeying every command Michael gives.)

Michael begins his rescue plan. The house is well-guarded & tension mounts. At a critical point, however, Pal suddenly freezes, & topples over. Michael rushes to him, opens a panel in his stomach & we realize that Pal is a computerized toy pet (these are actually on the drawing board at a major toy manufacturer, filed under 'someday'.) You see, Michael McNab has a chink in his brilliance. He's absent minded & a bit bumbly. he forgot to charge Pal's batteries long enough.

The mistake costs him. Michael does everything he can to avoid capture, but is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the enemy. (As brilliant & inventive as Mr. McNab is, he is not infallible.)

15. Michael is locked in the wine cellar with Phil. He's unable to negotiate Phil's release. The Russian agent wants to be sure that Michael will cooperate after he's removed from the country.


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16. Darcy & Alex sneak up on the house. They begin a plan to rescue Michael.

17. Inside, Michael has his own plan for escaping. He takes a tiny toy duck made out of foam from his shoe. Using a broken wine bottle & an old cork screw he makes a hole in the wall. He shoves the tiny foam duck in it... then adds water. The foam toy begins to expand to one hundred times its original size. In doing so it cracks the wall. When the large foam duck is pulled out, the start of an escape tunnel is underway. (During this, the rapport between Michael & Phil continues, as does their senses of humor.)

18. A helicopter arrives to take Michael & Phil away. Alex & Darcy focus on their target.

19/20. Intercut Michael & Phil's escape with Alex & Darcy's assault. The action escalates! Confrontation! Imagination! Extrication! Michael, Phil, Darcy & Alex take over the helicopter & use it to round up the Russian agents as the FBI arrives to put them away.


At the park. Michael has given the small boy his bat & assured him it's now the best bat in the world. as they wait for the boy to come to bat, Michael offers Phil a job, working in his lab as an apprentice. Phil accepts.

The boy comes up & hits a monster homerun. Alex is impressed. He asks if the bat meets the legal standards. He's assured it does. He begs Michael to provide these bats for his beloved Phillies. Darcy laughs, for she & Michael both know what we now learn. Michael did nothing to the bat. It's what he did to the boy that caused the homerun. And that wasn't technology or magic. It was the belief that anything is possible, anything the mind can imagine.


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Page property of Michael Berk & Douglas Schwartz

Story from The Michael Berk Collection



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