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Story Evolution

The Wizard of Elm Street

Michael McNab Outline - Take Two - October 18, 1985

(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: Little person MICHAEL McNAB, man of mystery, scientist, inventive genius, leaves Government & the Aerospace Industry behind to create wonderful toys for children of all ages. The government assigns agents to protect him & serve as liaisons for times when our country needs his unique talents.


1. ALEX LOGAN is driven to his new assignment by another NSA (National Security Agency) agent. He gripes, complaining about being pulled out of Vienna & a beautiful woman's arms to come babysit some dwarf toymaker. He wonders why he's being punished.

2. MICHAEL McNAB's house, a classic Victorian in a less than classic but charming Pasadena neighborhood. The interior is traditional (no gadgets or toys). The walls are lined with crowded bookshelves & library ladders.

Michael is being stalked through the darkened house by a dangerous looking man. Michael accidentally knocks over a lamp! The Intruder turns toward the noise!

3. Arriving outside, Alex hears the crash & looks in to see the Intruder after Michael. Being an efficient agent, Alex gains entry & stalks the Intruder. Suspense builds. Alex comes up behind the Intruder & leaps too tackle him. . . only to pass right through the man's body & land flat on the floor. The Intruder continues as if nothing's happened, then turns, his face suddenly changed into a hideous monster! Alex's eyes go wide!

A woman's laughter reveals DARCY QUINN, the agent Alex has been assigned to partner with. Michael steps out to introduce himself & we learn that the stalker was a programmable holographic toy Michael was testing to play hide & seek.

Ah! Now Alex understands why he was assigned here. A toymaker is Michael's cover. He's actually working on top secret government projects, right? Darcy assures him that Michael really is a toymaker. Alex doesn't believe her. Technology like this could be invaluable against our enemies. Alex learns that Michael doesn't want his inventions used that way. He will work for our government under certain circumstances, but the agents main job is to make sure our enemies don't get a hold of Michael McNab &/or the advanced technology used in his toys.

4. The MAKE A WISH FOUNDATION arrives with RICKY COLLIER, an eleven year old boy dying of leukemia whose last wish was to meet "The Wizard" who makes the toys Ricky loves. (Alex asks if Darcy's checked these people out. She has.) Ricky is a loveable, precocious boy who hasn't lost his zest for life just because he's dying. Though weak, he's still wide-eyed & full of dreams.

5. Michael brings Ricky to his large, basement workshop. The room is imagination come to life: a wondrous array of advanced technology laced with inspired imagination: Handmade, one-of-a-kind toys (some the next generation of traditional toys, others unlike anything we've ever imagined), next to robotic arms delicately assembling the technology that makes them work.

In the workshop we meet PHIL EATON & Michael's dog, a white husky named BUNSON, who playfully licks Ricky's face. Phil is eighteen, with an Albert Brooks sense of humor & a bit of the sorcerer's apprentice that invades his work as Michael's assistant.

Seeing the workshop through Ricky's eyes makes it that much more enthralling. Seeing it through Alex's eyes makes it that much more impressive. Michael brings Ricky to a locked door, behind which are toys Michael's working on that no one's ever seen. He opens the special lock & escorts the dying boy inside. Alex starts to follow, but is stopped. No one is allowed in Michael's private room. Alex wants to know what the hell this eccentric genius is building in there. Darcy quotes their directive: To protect Michael McNab at all costs, but without inhibiting his freedom as a private citizen. They must respect his privacy.

6. In the closed room Michael says & does things that fill the boy with wonder. He places a small device on Ricky's head & tells the boy to think about flying the toy helicopter in front of him. Soon, by thinking up, down, left, right, the boy is able to control the flight of the helicopter. The smile on Ricky's face is magical. Michael explains that this is in the early, experimental stages & must be kept secret. Ricky agrees. Michael has demonstrated to him the powers of the mind & of the human spirit that can never die.

7. As Ricky is leaving (with Alex trying to find out what was in that room) Michael asks Ricky's mother about a bone marrow transplant that could save the boy's life. Aware that it can only come from a sibling, Michael learns that Ricky only has an older brother, an archeologist, who went to South America four months ago to search for the ancient, golden city of El Dorado, & hasn't been heard from since. The family's tried everything to locate him but failed. And now Ricky only has a short time left before the bone marrow transplant will be too late.

8. Michael decides that he will go to South America to look for Ricky's brother with or without Alex & Darcy. With a boy's life in the balance, the agent's agree to go with Michael.

9. Driving to the airport, Darcy thinks they are being followed. Michael, driving his car (which has been modified to fit his size) turns left, speeds up, turns right, but the car is still behind them! Soon the car, with two men in it, cuts them off & a full-blown chase begins.

Alex switches places with Michael, who jumps into the backseat. Alex has to adjust the driver's seat's reduced dimensions in order to drive it . . . & it ain't easy!

Michael crawls into the trunk from the backseat & emerges with a futuristic-looking two foot long, remote-controlled, toy car. He drops the toy out of the window. As the car pursuing them speeds by, the toy car flips upright & takes off after it! Michael controls the toy from the backseat using a remote-controlled steering wheel on a dashboard that includes a TV screen in the shape of a windshield. On it, we see from the POV (point of view) of the toy car . . . & it is one wild ride . . . the toy is FAST! It darts around & under other cars, flies over potholes, takes corners at breakneck speed, & causes pedestrians to jump for their lives.

Michael is finally able to steer the toy car under the car pursuing them & using the toy's "accessories", is able to cause the pursuers' car to spin out.

10. Having lost Michael's car, the pursuers, using a scrambling device, contact their superior at the Soviet Embassy in Washington. The KGB operative there reiterates how important it is to get Michael McNab.

In the basement of the embassy a team of Soviet scientists uses their advanced technology to analyze a child's toy. They cannot figure out how its heat-sensing device works, or how it could be more sensitive than the one on their guided missiles. They need the toy's designer. They need Michael McNab!

11. Darcy pilots a mid-sized prop plane (that Michael has borrowed from one of his many friends) to South America. On the way, Michael tells them about the lost city of El Dorado. Since 1513 dozens of expeditions have searched for it, all ending in tragedy. The city has never been found. Legend indicates any who disturb El Dorado will perish.

Michael, an infomaniac, has his suspicions where El Dorado might be.

12. In the South American jungles we find DOUGLAS COLLIER, Ricky's twenty-seven year old brother. The archeological prodigy has found El Dorado, but the dig site has been forcibly taken over by American heavies who have no intention of turning over the historical treasurers to the country's museum. they don't care about its historical significance, only its priceless gold & jewels. They hold Douglas prisoner, his life is in jeopardy.

13. Michael, Darcy, & Alex land in a clearing & the three begin a difficult, dangerous trek through the jungle. In a montage, we see them encounter & overcome various perils while following ancient clues toward the lost city of El Dorado. The adventurous trek ends on a mountaintop.

14. Below, on the shore of a lake, they spot the archeological dig. Sizing up the situation, Michael using his unique brand of creativity, formulates a plan to rescue Douglas Collier.

15. The ingenious plan works to perfection (although not without moments where it seems they may fail), & they rescue Douglas. But they're spotted trying to get away & a chase ensues through an underground cavern. They reach a dead end! The entrance is blown up by the heavies, entombing our heroes in a cavern with no way out.

16. While the others try to dig their way out, Michael fashions a makeshift divining rod & begins walking through the cavern with it. Alex can't believe he's witching for water (which Alex doesn't believe in anyway) when they don't even have enough air to breathe!

The divining rod arches downward. Michael "drills" a hole in the rock floor & inserts a tiny toy duck made of a foam material he has invented. There's no water in the cavern, so Michael instructs everyone to spit on the toy duck. It isn't the most cultivated of methods, but soon the foam duck begins to expand. Like a weed able to crack cement, this powerful expanding foam begins to crack the cavern floor. Water starts to seep up from underneath, making the toy swell even more while enlarging the cracks. When the duck, now one hundred times its original size, is pulled out, the foursome begins pounding on the cracked floor. Soon part of it gives way revealing an underground tributary to the lake.

17. In a suspense packed sequence, Michael, Darcy, Alex, & Douglas have to swim through the underground tributary to the lake. Gasping for breath, they make it to the surface of the lake just in time!

18. The heavies load a helicopter with the archeological treasures. Now, in an action packed sequence, Michael, Alex, Darcy, & Douglas commandeer the helicopter & not only get away, but get away with the treasures of El Dorado.

19. They land the helicopter next to the plane, load the ancient artifact, & take off for home.

20. Back in the States, Ricky is in bad shape. His spirit is strong, but his body is growing weaker. His mother gives him the good news. Michael has radioed. They've found Douglas & are flying him back for the transplant. Now, the question is, can Ricky hang on long enough.

21. The plane lands in Los Angeles. But before they can get Douglas to the hospital, they're captured by the Russians (of course not without an "action packed" struggle). Michael implores them to let Douglas go to the hospital, but they refuse.

22. The Russians bring everyone back to Michael's house. As well as Michael, they want his latest technology from the locked room. Bunson, Michael's dog, comes to the rescue. He leaps on one of the agents, which begins a fight scene in the workshop. At a critical moment, Bunson freezes in mid-growl, topples over to the floor, & we learn that he is a robotic toy pet (designed for people who can't have real pets). But Darcy & Alex fight well, & Michael, using a toy, delivers the coup de gras that captures the Soviet agents.

23. Douglas gets to the hospital in time to give Ricky the bone marrow transplant.


Michael plays the drums with a band in a club while Alex & Darcy evolve their "relationship". Ricky comes in with Douglas. The artifacts have been given to the country's museum, & Ricky is on the road to recovery, thanks to Alex, Darcy, & the Wizard of Elm Street.

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Page property of Michael Berk & Douglas Schwartz

Story from The Michael Berk Collection



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