Saturday, July 5, 2008
In the late Sixties, I wrote--on spec--the screenplay for a proposed feature film based on the music by, and few facts known about, great African-American bluesman Robert Johnson, sometimes called "King of the Delta Blues Singers"; the script was titled Hellhound on My Trail.
Around 1970 I copyrighted this with the Library of Congress and registered it with the (then-known as) Writers Guild of America, West, Inc. Over the next couple of decades various people occasionally tried to sell my script and get a production mounted. I even published a portion of it in a Boston-based rock magazine called Fusion, but no further interest resulted.
So time passed. Since it's been nearly 40 years, I've decided to publish it myself now, section by section, a few pages at a time, in this blog. I don't really care about the possibility of its being stolen--after all, there have been other attempts at telling the Johnson story, though no completely fictional film to my knowledge--and even back in the early Seventies I couldn't claim ownership of the man and his history (just my own invented retelling of it).
But I do believe my script to be a creditable piece of work (even though I am white, attempting to capture black language of long ago), fairly well imagined back when almost nothing was known about him--neither his background, nor his death, nor even how old he was--and no photographs had been found; and I'd like to leave it for posterity (maybe).
If you are a fan of Robert Johnson's music, check back regularly as I chase this particular Hellhound.