Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bring Me The Head Of The Hulk


Episode 27

SLEAZY PUBLISHER: What makes you think that you can capture the Hulk when everybody else has failed?

ASSASSIN: I said nothing about capture.

* * *
Run, Lou, Run!
It was another emergency call from The Hulk.

The show was usually blessed with excellent ratings, staying well up in the top twenty for most of its five-season run. Near the end, however, when the network started moving the time slot around, the ratings began to sag.

And that, as Al Godfrey was wont to say, "is when they really start to fuck with you."

Meaning, everybody from the network and studio brass to their mistresses' Tantra coaches, think they know how to fix the sucker.

Godfrey opined that the best position to be in was second place. (This was in the day when there were only three networks. Fox was just a gleam in Rupert Murdoch's avaricious eyes.) "First place and they fuck with you so much you break out in hives when the phone rings. Third place and you start feeling as jumpy as an altar boy with a horny a priest. Second place you just keep chugging out the ad money and everybody forgets you are there. Quiet phones. Zip meetings. And you get home in time for a nice dinner and a cuddle."

"Every show you ever worked on was in first place," I pointed out. "Mission: Impossible. Vegas. Baretta. Quincy. All top shows."

Godfrey grinned and ran a hand through his graying hair. "Yeah, and would you believe I'm only 22," he said.

"Maybe twenty-five years ago," Chris teased. "Shit, Godfrey, one of these days you're gonna pass us by. We'll wake up one morning and you'll be younger than us."

Chris' joke proved to be prescient. Godfrey always shaded his age. When we first met at Quincy in 1979, Chris and I were 36. Godfrey was easily ten years our senior, although he claimed he'd just turned forty. Channeling Jack Benny, no doubt.

When I was in town a couple of years ago and had lunch with him, Godfrey looked me up and down, then asked, "How are old you, Allan?"

I told him.

He got a quizzical look and said, "When the hell did you get older than me?"

Meanwhile, back at Panic Pass, the Hulk was calling and they wanted us in soonest with a notebook full of stories to pitch. We were several years into our careers at this point, and our reputations were growing. We'd crept into the secretive "A List" territory and networks were smiling favorably at Show Runners who commissioned Bunch & Cole scripts.

Even so, we were still green enough to worry about foolish things.

"All we're doing is shoot 'em ups," Chris complained to Godfrey. "We don't want to get typecast as writerly knuckle draggers. Guys you go to for Biff, Bam and Pow. But never anything with serious themes."

"Jesus Christ," Godfrey came back. "A few years ago you could barely afford the gas it took for you to ride your motorcycle to the studio. And now you're driving a BMW. Biff, Bam and Pow have been very, very good to you."

"Still," I said. "Still."

Catherine Bach As Daisy Dukes
Godfrey gave one of his pitying sighs, then said, "Look, in case you haven't noticed, there are only two things happening on television. Sitcoms with laugh tracks are number one. Number two: car chases with over-dubbed gunfire and lots of Daisy Dukes' type T&A. Scripts featuring over-dubbed gunfire and Daisy Dukes go for twice the price of half-hour laugh tracks. Take your choice."

"We didn't say we were going boycott the Hulk," Chris pointed out. "We're just saying we want to do something different. A change of pace."

"Just don't say I didn't warn you when Nick Corea quickens your pace with a boot up your ass," Godfrey said.

But we were determined to hang tough. Came up with some sweet change of pace stories about real people with real problems. Social issues shit.

Come meeting day, we got waved through the gates by the ever-smiling Scotty, who shouted "Break a leg, boys," as we sailed by.

The production offices for the Incredible Hulk were in one of the Producer's Buildings, opposite the dreaded Black Tower. The commissary was just across from the Jaws pond, and we could see flocks of pretty secretaries in bright summer dresses flitting by the pond to lunch.

As we turned toward the parking slot we'd been assigned, a tram went slowly by and Bruce The Shark rose out of the depths, snapping his blood-stained fiberglass teeth at the shrieking tourists.

It was good to be alive and in Hollywood and on our way to bag a big fat check imprinted with numerous zeroes, signed by one of Lew Wasserman 's sycophants in Business Affairs.

Ah, Capitalism.

But our mood changed the moment we were ushered into Nick's office. It was a lot like the first meeting we'd had with him several seasons before. The room was crowded: producers and staff people lining either wall with their chairs. There was Karen Harris, her partner Jill Sherman-Donner and guys like Andy Schneider and Reuben Leder. There were pre-production people and post-production people and so on and so forth. The office was dimly lit and there was a buzz of anticipation when we entered.

At the far end, framed by his staff, sat the show's El Segundo, Nick Corea, teeth showing white through his dark goatee.

He waved for us to sit, saying, "What do you have for us, boys?"

Chris and I looked at each other. Here goes nothing.

My partner took point: "We've been working on a change of pace, story, Nick. Something with real meat to it."

Nicked nodded - go on.

Chris drew a breath, then said, "What we'd like to do is 'Lilies Of The Field.' You know, that classic movie with Sydney Poitier? Except, instead of a black guy with a bunch of nuns, we'll have a big green guy with a bunch of nuns."

The air left the room as everyone in it sucked in deep breaths of Disappointment.

In a flash, I saw all their faces. Smiling and welcoming moments before. Now dark and somber with hurt looks of betrayal.

After a very long moment, Nick said, "Ah... guys. We were thinking of something a little different from you two. You know?"

Indeed we did. Fucking Godfrey had been right.

Immediately, I said, "Try this: A mercenary with a bazooka is stalking the Hulk. We call it 'Bring Me The Head Of The Hulk.'"

The air whooshed back into the room.

"Go write it," Nick said, gleaming teeth splitting his beard once again.

"Don't you want to hear the rest of the story?" Chris asked.

"No, just go write the fucker," Nick ordered.

And so we did.

Bixby To The Rescue
EPILOGUE: Everybody loved the script. So much so, that the episode was directed by our star, Bill Bixby. He was known as an excellent director, and we were told that he'd long wanted to helm an episode of the Hulk. Problem being, he had to spend so many hours in makeup - for the David Banner To Hulk transition scenes - that he never had the time.

But with the show in its last season, he picked our script to direct. Not only that, but the full transitions were shown, from beginning to end. 

To save money and time, they cut in stock art of the Hulkout from the original two-hour pilot into those scenes. (Usually, there were two Hulkouts in every show. In the First Act, trailing over into the second act. And then the Fourth and final Act.)

Finally - and best of all - when the show aired it not only took its hour, but came in way at the top of the weekly Neilson ratings.




Can't wait to read the blog each week to find out what happens next? No problem. Click the following link and buy the book. 

Tales Sometimes Tall, but always true, of Allan Cole's years in Hollywood with his late partner, Chris Bunch. How a naked lady almost became our first agent. How we survived La-La Land with only the loss of half our brain cells. How Bunch & Cole became the ultimate Fix-It Boys. How an alleged Mafia Don was very, very good to us. The guy who cornered the market on movie rocks. Andy Warhol's Fire Extinguisher. The Real Stars Of Hollywood. Why they don't make million dollar movies. See The Seven Pi$$ing Dwarfs. Learn: how to kill a "difficult" actor… And much, much more.

Here's where you can buy it worldwide in both paperback and Kindle editions:

U.S. .............................................France
United Kingdom ...........................Spain
Canada ........................................ Italy
Germany ..................................... Japan
Brazil .......................................... India

Hear voice artist Colin Hussey's 
Bring all the stories and people 
To life in the audiobook version
Of My Hollywood MisAdventures.


Ever since my British publisher put all eight novels in the Sten series in three omnibus editions, American readers have been clamoring for equal treatment. 

Well, my American publisher – Wildside Books – was listening and has issued all three omnibus volumes on this side of the Atlantic. Here are the links to buy the books:

THE TIMURA TRILOGY: When The Gods Slept, Wolves Of The Gods and The Gods Awaken. This best selling fantasy series now available as trade paperbacks, e-books (in all varieties) and as audiobooks. Visit The Timura Trilogy page for links to all the editions. 

NEWLY REVISED KINDLE EDITIONS OF THE TIMURA TRILOGY NOW AVAILABLE. (1) When The Gods Slept;(2) Wolves Of The Gods; (3) The Gods Awaken.


A NATION AT WAR WITH ITSELF: In Book Three Of The Shannon Trilogy, young Patrick Shannon is the heir-apparent to the Shannon fortune, but murder and betrayal at a family gathering send him fleeing into the American frontier, with only the last words of a wise old woman to arm him against what would come. And when the outbreak of the Civil War comes he finds himself fighting on the opposite side of those he loves the most. In The Wars Of The Shannons we see the conflict, both on the battlefield and the homefront, through the eyes of Patrick and the members of his extended Irish-American family as they struggle to survive the conflict that ripped the new nation apart, and yet, offered a dim beacon of hope.



A True Story About A Boy,
A Teacher, And Earthquake,
Some Terrorists And The CIA

LUCKY IN CYPRUS is a coming-of-age story set in the Middle East during the height of the Cold War. An American teenager – son of a CIA operative – is inspired by grand events and a Greek Cypriot teacher. 

He witnesses earthquakes and riots and terrorist attacks, but in the end it is his teacher’s gentle lessons that keep him whole.

Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide: 

Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
  • "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
  • "Lucky In Cyprus brought back many memories... A wonderful book. So many shadows blown away!" - Freddy & Maureen Smart, Episkopi,Cyprus. 
  • "... (Reading) Lucky In Cyprus has been a humbling, haunting, sobering and enlightening experience..." - J.A. Locke,



What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)


A novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan

After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm- ravaged night.

BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization. 



Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.

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