Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blast from the Past #621: June 10, 2003: Re: FW: Notes on 39, June 11, 2003: Re: "City at War" confusion, and June 13, 2003: Re: Kirby fix and Ep. 38/"What A Croc!" first draft script

Subj: Re: FW: Notes on 39
Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 11:48:38 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 6/10/03 4:27:18 PM, Lloyd writes:

"Return to the Underground"

Pete -

Below please find ROUGH NOTES to the writer for episode 39 "Return to the
Underground."  This isn't a full outline or anything, just the gist of what
we want him to fix to ensure that this underground adventure is different
from the last underground adventure.

Please look it over and send me your comments asap.



PS - Really need to go over "City at War" with you, I've just been stuck in
edits and mixes 24/7 lately!  Maybe tomorrow 12:30?


<<The cure.  It's all about the cure.

What is the rush?  Why does Donatello start off in such a rush?  What you
need is a CURE.

Donatello should be working on a cure and he finds it:

He discovers a way to actually liquefy the crystal creating a vaccination
(using sonic vibrations as heat does nothing to it).  Regarding the glowing
serum in its vial, you'll be able to use a Star Trek elaborate hypo-gun so
it won't look like a needle. 

Start with the cure.  Don discovers what he thinks will work.  It's only a
theory because he can't actually test it.  But, all the simulations in his
computer point to a physical transference and adhesion of the liquid crystal
to the bone structure, which would cure the monsters/friends and permanently
keep them from reverting back.

So, do a series of dissolves with Donatello working for a cure right off the
bat; he's working feverishly while the others spar, meditate, watch TV.  The
only constant is Donatello hard at work in his lab.  Then, Splinter could be
watching TV about the news (in prep for City at War) as Donatello bursts out
of his lab.  Eureka.  He's found it.  Etc.

So, you won't need the dream sequence.  Don't have it.  We think all is
well.  All is sweet.  It's going to be easy.  (That way motivation isn't
really an issue.  We made a promise.  We're going to keep it.  It's no big
deal.  Now that I have the cure, it'll be easy).  Plus, that way, they're
also not really prepared for monsters.>>


I think from the beginning I've had a little bit of a problem with how Don is able to find/create a cure for these mutants to turn them back into human beings. As smart as Don is, it seems REALLY amazing for him to understand how to counteract the effects of the genetic mutations performed by the Foot scientists on these unfortunate people. All he has to go on is that (a) something the Entity did to them turned them back into humans, and (b) something about a particular proximity to the "crystal moon" keeps them that way. The level of knowledge of and expertise in genetics, biology, physiology and essentially alien technology required for Don to successfully come up with a cure is staggering, and I think really is quite beyond him.

That's why I think we need to keep the "crystal dream". To use another example from "Star Trek" -- remember the episode where McCoy is able to put Spock's brain back into his body through the assistance of the alien teaching machine? Well, in SORT of the same way, what if the crystal next to Don's head as he's snoozing acts as some kind of conduit from a vast storehouse of knowledge from the ancient underground race, and essentially works on Don's subconscious and causes him to wake up with the idea for the cure fully formed in his mind? This approach might also allow us some good character moments earlier where Don can be obsessing about the cure and his inability to find one, where he's beating himself up and berating himself as a "glorified gadget-maker", frustrated by one failed experiment and dead-end theory after another.

<<The guys could try to see if the Entity knows anything. Exiting the
tunneler, they strap on the backpacks.  Inside, they find the Entity in

The amulet could activate/trigger a doorway in Don's hands and the guys find
a new hallway ... a giant hall where all the ashen bodies of all the
inhabitants of the underworld are on pedestals in a huge row.  (So we'll go
someplace new and eerie and cool).>>

It sounds like a cool visual, but I don't really understand the reasoning behind the Entity being turned into ashes. Why does this happen? Is it really necessary?

-- Pete


Subj: Re: "City at War" confusion
Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 11:40:52 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 6/11/03 7:32:21 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hey Pete-

Thanks for the e-mail re: City of War.  However, you seem to have forgotten
a few pertinent details (again!)!  You forget the part where Leo decides he
can take on the entire city single-handedly, Raph finally comes out of the
closet, and Splinter does a whole speech about the evils of Segway riding.

Don't you remember?

Lloyd >>


Oh, man -- that's going to be an AWESOME episode!

-- Pete


Subj: Re: Kirby fix
Date: Friday, June 13, 2003 1:25:18 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 6/12/03 11:38:15 AM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hey Pete -

Here's the script for the fix at the end of the Kirby show.

Lemme know.



The fix is in!

In all seriousness, it (as reproduced below) is perfect. Thanks!

One comment (NOT a problem): I suspect that near the end when Don walks by Raph, there will be a medium closeup of Raph with the towel wrapped around him and his "clothes" (bandanna, kneespads, elbow pads, etc.) off. The fans would LOVE it if they can see Raph's actual beautiful brown eyes in this shot.

-- Pete

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(show # 1488-016)


On Don as he leans against the wall, unfolds the plane, and looks at the note.

CLOSE ON DON - his somewhat sad react to the note.



Don comes slowly up the stairs(NOTE: he has the note from Kirby tucked into his belt until he takes it out later).  



A naked-except-for-a-towel Raph meets Don in the hall as Don reaches the top of the stairs.  Don continues on his way, ignoring Raph, until…
So what’s the scoop?  You’ve been gone for ages – we got hot water or what?!
Don gives Raph a cold, withering stare then EXITS FRAME.  Raph scratches his head, confused at his brother’s reaction.
Geez… what’s eatin’ him?
Don enters, closes the door behind him, leans his staff against the wall, pulls the note from his belt and takes a seat near the window.  He unfolds the note and stares at it.
CLOSE ON DON as he stares at the note.
CLOSE ON NOTE –It is a drawing of Don (see original comic) with the words "Don, Life at best is bitter sweet.  See ya around pal, Kirby," written on it.
WIDE ON DON – He looks up from the note as camera slowly TRUCKS OUT.


Subj: Ep. 38/"What A Croc!" first draft script
Date: Friday, June 13, 2003 1:29:13 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I read the first draft script for Ep. 38 ("What A Croc!") and for the most part liked it. Of course, I have a few comments/suggestions:

1.) Minor point -- why is the title "What A Croc?" (with a question mark) instead of "What A Croc!" (with an exclamation point)?

2.) Leatherhead wearing a white lab coat -- while this is a neat visual, does it make any sense? Should we (through the Turtles) comment on it? Does Leatherhead actually LIKE the feel of a cold wet clammy thing on his skin after he's been swimming in it?
Something that just occurred to me -- didn't "The Lizard" in the old Spider-Man comics look almost exactly like this (big reptile in a white lab coat)? Could this be a problem?

3.) Mike's line 38 ("What the shell?") is described as "to self", like his line 41. I assume this means it's supposed to be the audio equivalent of a comic book "thought balloon" -- his lips won't move, but we'll hear him speaking the line. That's fine, but I thought it would be funnier if that first line (#38) is one he actually speaks underwater (shock and surprise just makes it pop out of his mouth), with the resultant burbly distortion.

4.) Right after Leo's line 50, Mike is seen to be "banging the water out of his ears". Our Turtles don't have ears.
In this scene, it would seem to make more sense if Mike at least tries to get one or more of the other guys to come with him. Also, it seems silly that he would say he going to try to lead "it right back here so you can all see it". That's kind of dangerous -- why doesn't he just try to take a picture or video of it?

5.) Back out in the tunnels looking for Leatherhead by himself, Mike inspects a "long shining set of silver claw scratches", then says into his shell call in line 56 "Check it out, guys". Why's he saying this? Can they see what he's looking at?

6.) After Mikey's line 58, he "skitters across the circular walls of the tunnel like a beetle". This sounds more like Spider-Man than a Turtle, even if he is wearing a pair of climbing claws.

7.) After line 71, Mike ducks through a manhole that Leatherhead "crashes against... with his snout". If it's big enough for Mike to fit through with his shell and everything, shouldn't at least PART of Leatherhead (like his whole head) fit though the manhole?

8.) I don't like Raph's line 101 at all ("I'm Rubber Nose...").

9.) In line 109, Leatherhead says "It was against the Utroms' beliefs to tamper with life forms, and so it was decided that day that I was no longer a reptile, and was adopted as an Utrom." I read this one half a dozen times, and it STILL made no sense to me. 
Perhaps a better line would be something like "The mutagen greatly accelerated my ineffectual development, and when the Utroms realized I had become a sentient being, they adopted me."

10.) In Leatherhead's line 112, I suggest changing the word "debris" to "components".

11.) In line 119, the Turtles all say "Baxter Stockman?!" Shouldn't this line come AFTER they (and the audience) see his head in the Utrom exoskeleton?

12.) Line 122 ("What was wrong? That spider thing not cutting it with the ladies?") sounds more like a Mikey line than a Leo line.

13.) Line 126 -- I suggest changing Leatherhead's line "The Utroms must have trusted you well to teach you of this transport." to "The Utroms must have trusted you well to share knowledge of this, their most secret and precious technology."

14.) Line 127 -- I suggest changing Stockman's line "Not trusted, my friend, deceived!" to "The Utroms were trustful, my friend -- but were also deceived!"

15.) Line 128 -- There are two "these turtles" phrases in Baxter's line. I suggest changing the second one to just "they".

16.) The battle with the Turtlebot ends kind of weakly. Are we trying to save the Turtlebot for a  future reappearance? If not, then I think it should suffer serious damage, perhaps even be trashed, instead of just reverting to its sphere, pyramid and cube shapes.

The ending is very cool!

That's it from me!

-- Pete


  1. i didn't care for the ending myself...mikey's friend is crushed by bricks, seemingly dead, if not trapped, and mike walks away on a joke. seemed kind of cold hear ted after all the emotion...would have been a downer to end on a downer, but might have been better!

  2. Neil, here's the last scene as it appeared in the final draft of the script for that episode:


    WIDE – The turtles dive out of the old lair as there is a and CAMERA SHAKE, and a cloud of dust out, filling the FRAME.

    CLOSER - The dust from the rubble clears to REVEAL the turtles as they pick themselves up from the floor.

    CLOSE ON – Michelangelo stares at the entrance to the old lair which is now filled with broken rubble.

    Poor Leather Head.

    Can you imagine being that alone?

    WIDER – Donatello puts his arms around the other turtles’ shoulders and pull them together in a loose hug.

    You know, things may get rough at times, but at least we have each other…

    Yeah, but do we have to have Raph?

    Come here, knucklehead.

    PULL OUT – Raphael playfully grabs Michelangelo and holds him in a loose headlock as he rubs his head with his knuckles and we…



    I think it was one of those times when there just wasn't enough time to properly express all of the appropriate emotional content, and what was one the page -- specifically this bit:

    CLOSE ON – Michelangelo stares at the entrance to the old lair which is now filled with broken rubble.
    Poor Leather Head.
    Can you imagine being that alone?
    WIDER – Donatello puts his arms around the other turtles’ shoulders and pull them together in a loose hug.

    ... was an attempt to get across some of that feeling. And I think it could be argued that Mike's making a joke is a classic defense mechanism to avoid -- or deny -- feeling really sad. -- PL

  3. OK, I'd buy that explanation :). seems a little less cold hearted ;o)..