The other day, I posted a long video of Mike Nichols and Elaine May in a two-hour conversation. It's only appropriate therefore to follow-up with this. At last Saturday's Writers Guild Awards, Elaine May received the Guild's Laurel Award for Screenwriting. Here's her acceptance speech.
It's present by the great screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown, among many others...), who gives a somewhat rambling, but affectionate speech that's intruded a few times by technical glitches. I should also mention that there is a montage from Elaine May's films that is cut out, which I assume is because they only have the rights to show them at the awards shows itself, not for other uses.
Also, a word about a story she tells. It refers to Frank Capra's screenwriter, who (all too ironically, given the point of the story...) she doesn't name. But I will -- it's Robert Riskin, who is the father of my friend, former Guild president Vicki Riskin. I once asked if the story was “really true” (as Elaine May says in her speech…), and Vicki didn’t know for sure. She’d heard the story, but didn’t know if it was apocryphal or not. But...it should be.
And here's a bonus video.
In his presentation speech, Robert Towne quotes a line from Elaine May at the Emmy Awards years ago. He makes it sound as if it was in an acceptance speech, but in fact it's a sketch she did with Nichols, and the thing is much longer than the few lines Towne quotes -- and a whole lot funnier.
Here is that full comedy sketch, from the 11th Emmy Awards in 1959. And making it all the more of note -- and oh-so-whimsical, indeed even a bit ironic (again) given the point of the bit -- it is led into by a short, oddly-patriotic speech by the then-Vice President, Richard Nixon.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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