INVENTING THE ABBOTTS
From the Short Story by
March 21, 1996 DRAFT
FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS
1EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET (HALEY, ILLINOIS) - DAY 1
(LATE SPRING, 1957)
OPENING CREDITS ROLL over a TENT MONTAGE -- ASSORTED
ANGLES of a group of men hard at work erecting a large
striped "big-top" style canvas tent, INCLUDING: The long
steel stakes being sledge-hammered into the lawn,
practiced hands rapidly rigging the lines, the tall
center poles being leveraged upright, the heavy rolled-up
sections of canvas being maneuvered into position, and
ENDING WITH the canvas being hoisted up the poles as the
tent assumes its full and finished form.
NEW ANGLE - TENT
-- on the front yard of the Abbott mansion. The
residence is on Main Street, four blocks from where the
commercial district begins. The mature, over-arching
trees makes this street of prosperous houses a grand
2EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - DAY 2
JACEY HOLT and DOUG HOLT walk along the sidewalk on their
way to school. Jacey is seventeen; he's as handsome and
seemingly self-confident as his younger brother is
rumpled and impulsive. Doug is fifteen, a popular
culture chameleon who takes on the colors and
affectations of whomever his "hero" is at the moment
(which presently happens to be Elvis Presley).
Jacey stops and stares with open-faced misery at the tent
on the Abbott's front yard (the installation of the tent
indicates that the Abbott's are having yet another of the
many parties they throw every year).
Didn't get invited, huh?
Go to hell.
Who cares? I'm not going and I
Who invited you?
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 2.
Pam, I guess. I don't know.
Didn't open the envelope. I mean,
come on, every time an Abbott girl
gets her period they have some
Oh, shut up.
Kotex parties, Kotex party hats,
pin the Kotex on the...
Jacey swats Doug's school books out from under his arm --
Doug charges his brother to retaliate but they are rudely
interrupted by a CAR HORN. They scurry out of the way as
LLOYD ABBOTT pulls his 1957 Cadillac out of the driveway
and cruises down the street. Lloyd is a well-dressed-
and-fed man in his mid-forties. A Midwestern burgher, he
exudes the status he enjoys as one of the preeminent
pillars of this community. Doug is embarrassed by
Lloyd's passing, but Jacey evidently experiences a deeper
humiliation -- he gives Doug a glance of betrayal, turns
and walks down the block.
3 OMITTED 3
4INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CORRIDOR - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 4
ELEANOR ABBOTT gathers some books from her locker.
Eleanor is sixteen, outgoing, sarcastic, and very
popular. She is the middle of the three Abbott
daughters. Eleanor closes her locker, turns and
discovers Jacey standing behind her. He follows her down
the busy hall.
I tried to call you last night but
the line was busy.
No it wasn't.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 3.
It was busy all night.
Maybe you had the wrong number?
Are you mad at me?
No. Are you mad at me?
No. Who said I was?
I just wanted to talk to you last
We can talk tonight at the party.
I wasn't invited.
Yes, you were.
No, I wasn't.
Well, now you are. But if you're
mad at me you don't have to come.
She gives him a sultry smile, turns and glides into a
classroom as the BELL RINGS. The corridor is quickly
vacated by all but Jacey -- he savors the aftertaste of
5 EXT. HOLT HOME - EVENING (MAGIC HOUR) 5
ESTABLISHING ANGLE of the modest two-story clapboard
house in a working class neighborhood. A home-made ping-
pong table takes up so much room in the detached garage
that it forced the eviction of the family car, a 1950
Plymouth coupe, which is parked nearby on the driveway.
The garage doors are open and the garage light is on.
We hear (V.O.) DOUG SINGING bits and pieces of
"Heartbreak Hotel" in his best Elvis fashion.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 3A/4.
6 INT. HOLT HOME - BATHROOM - EVENING (MAGIC HOUR) 6
Doug stands in front of the bathroom mirror (wearing a
coat and tie) still singing "Heartbreak Hotel" while he
carefully draws sideburns on his face with a wide-nib pen
and a bottle of India ink. Jacey's reflection appears in
the mirror behind Doug -- he's wearing a coat and tie too.
Jacey does a pained take on Doug's handiwork:
7 INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING (MAGIC HOURMINUTES LATER) 7
HELEN HOLT is seated at the dining table. She was
grading a stack of spelling tests with a red pencil when
Jacey and Doug came in to ask her to adjudicate the
matter at hand. She is an attractive but unostentatious
woman without interest in appearing to be anything other
than what she is: a forty-one-year-old widow raising two
teenage sons on a school teacher's salary. (She teaches
second grade at Haley Elementary School.)
He has to wash it off, Mother.
You cannot let him go to the party
unless he washes it off.
It'll look worse if I wash it.
It's India ink, it'll turn gray,
it'll look like dirt.
He looks like such a clown and he
doesn't even know it! He doesn't
get how things work in this town.
I thought you weren't even going
to the party?
Changed my mind.
Doug, you do understand that you
may be the only person at this
party with artificial sideburns?
You do understand that your
sideburns don't look real?
Doug was hoping they didn't look that phony, but he
conceals his disappointment and nods:
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 5.
That they look, really, as though
you'd drawn them on?
She looks hard at Doug for a beat, then turns to Jacey.
Well, darling, it seems he does
understand. Why don't you just go
on to the party and ignore Doug.
Just have a good time and pretend
you don't even...
Jacey curses under his breath and storms out the front
door before his mother can finish her sermon.
8EXT. ABBOTT HOME/TENT - STREET - LATER THAT NIGHT 8
The curb is lined with parked cars. We hear a dance band
playing "QUE SERA" and the sounds of the party as Doug
lopes up the sidewalk sporting his India ink sideburns
and smoking a cigarette. He flicks the cigarette into
the street with well-rehearsed ease as he turns and walks
up the long driveway towards the glowing "big-top" tent.
Doug trails his hand over Lloyd Abbott's Cadillac,
caressing it from hood-to-trunk as he ambles by.
9INT. ABBOTT HOME/TENT - NIGHT 9
Doug enters the tent and surveys the gathering -- a
tuxedoed ten-piece band plays on the bandstand.
Despite his mother's advice, a nauseated grimace falls
over Jacey's face when he sees that his younger brother
has arrived. He is dancing with Eleanor.
They dance past a group of young men on the sidelines
(Jacey's senior classmates), they are all edgy with envy,
waiting like predators for their chance to dance with
I'm going out to the lake
tomorrow. Sandy wants to show-off
her dad's new boat. Why don't you
I have to work.
Well, I guess you'll just have to
write me a letter.
What do you mean?
You said you wanted to talk to me
I meant... just... we never get a
chance to be together, alone, you
STEVE (one of the envious classmates) makes his move and
cuts in on Jacey and dances away with Eleanor. Jacey
handles it with aplomb but his true irritation at being
separated from the object of his desire reveals itself as
he observes Eleanor flirting with her new dance partner.
10 INT. ABBOTT HOME/TENT - BUFFET TABLE - DOUG 10
-- sampling the hors d'oeuvres. He places the ones he
doesn't like back onto the platter. PAMELA ABBOTT steps
over to Doug. She is his age (fifteen), the youngest of
the Abbott girls, and the least stuck-up.
She points at Doug's chest.
Like your tie.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 7.
10 CONTINUED: 10
Doug glances down at his tie and Pam flips her index
finger up across the tip of his nose. Doug scowls and
points at her bust.
Can I borrow a Kleenex?
(mouth full of
Got any smokes around here?
11 INT. ABBOTT HOME - BACK YARD - NIGHT 11
Doug and Pam smoke their cigarettes in the back yard.
The tent can be seen in the b.g. The band is playing
So, is this Peter guy Alice is
gonna marry rich?
Of course. He's one of the Atlas
Steel Vanlaninghams. Pittsburgh.
He's a bully.
So how come Alice's marrying him?
Because my parents want her to and
Alice is afraid of my parents.
It's practically an arranged
marriage. They think Alice has
peanut shells for brains or
something, so they sort of
suggested that maybe it was time
to tie the old knot and they sort
of suggested that Peter was the
one to do it with.
Jeez, no one can be that much of a
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 8.
11 CONTINUED: 11
Look, Alice is the good daughter,
Eleanor is the bad one, and I'm
the one who sort of gets off the
hook. That's just the way it
works. Which one are you?
You mean, which kind of brother am
I? You got me? The little
brother, I guess.
12 INT. ABBOTT HOME/TENT - NIGHT (SHORT TIME LATER) 12
The band improvises a FANFARE as Lloyd Abbott and his
wife, JOAN ABBOTT, step up onto the bandstand. Joan has
the practiced poise of a former beauty queen (as if her
smile had been surgically sewn onto her face). She has a
tendency to smoke and drink a bit too much and eat and
sleep a bit too little.
Ladies and Gentlemen -- I'd like
to propose a toast in honor of our
cause for celebration tonight --
the engagement of our daughter,
Alice, to Mister Peter
He gestures to ALICE ABBOTT and her fiance PETER
VANLANINGHAM. Alice is nineteen, the eldest and the
prettiest and seemingly most conventional of the three
sisters. Peter is the scion of a wealthy Pittsburgh
family. He and his bride-to-be smile and acknowledge the
applause and AD-LIBBED toasts.
The band strikes up "I Got the World on a String" and
Joan whispers something to Alice -- Alice goes over to
Lloyd and (despite his mock-protest) pulls him out onto
the dance floor.
12 CONTINUED: 12
The guests applaud their uninspired box-step; neither
father nor daughter appear comfortable at such close
13 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - DRIVEWAY & TENT - NIGHT 13
The party is going full swing as Doug wanders out of the
tent and walks down the driveway. He's had enough of
high society for tonight.
14 EXT. SIDEWALK (HALEY) - NIGHT 14
Doug strolls along the sidewalk (in a residential
neighborhood) softly singing "You Ain't Nothin' but a
Hound Dog." He pauses beside a rubbish can on the curb,
strikes a wooden match, and sets the trash on fire. As
he nonchalantly continues down the sidewalk we see
several trash cans on fire in the near distance.
15 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - BACK YARD - NIGHT 15
Eleanor necks with Steve (Jacey's rival) on the glider in
the gazebo in the distant corner of the yard. The sounds
of the PARTY can be heard in the b.g. (the band is
playing "In Old Monterey"). Jacey stands in the shadows
of the shrubbery spying on them with pure heartache.
16 EXT. STREET (HALEY) - NIGHT (SHORT TIME LATER) 16
Jacey walks home with his eyes brimming with bitter tears
-- past the smoldering rubbish cans along the curb.
17 EXT. HOLT HOME - SIDEWALK & GARAGE - NIGHT 17
As Jacey turns up the driveway, a light snaps on in the
garage. The garage doors are open, Doug sits on the edge
of the ping-pong table smoking a cigarette with his hand
still on the light fixture pull chain.
Three out of five?
Two out of three. You serve.
Jacey and Doug pick up their paddles and begin a game of
ping-pong. They are expert players and fierce
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 10.
18 EXT. TEXACO GAS STATION (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NEXT DAY 18
Lloyd Abbott pulls his (1957) Cadillac up to the pumps.
The DING-DING of the BELL HOSE summons Jacey. He wears a
Texaco uniform complete with bow tie and cap.
Fill 'er up. Hi-test.
Jacey sets the pump nozzle on automatic and cleans the
windshield. Lloyd slips the ashtray out of the dash,
climbs out of the car, and empties the ashtray in the
That was a nice party last night.
You were there?
Yes, sir. Eleanor invited me.
Did she? Didn't see you.
You going to be an engineer like
your dad was?
I want to be an architect.
Hmmm... I guess some people care
more about having ideas that they
do about making money.
I care about making money.
Lloyd idly examines the mechanism on the ashtray that
enables it to slide in-and-out of the dash.
That full suspension file drawer
your dad invented is still in
production, did you know that?
We'll ship thirty-maybe-forty
thousand of those file cabinets
this year. Hell, that drawer put
Midwest Steel Desk on the map.
Yes, sir. I know.
18 CONTINUED: 18
An architect, huh?
The GAS NOZZLE CLICKS OFF, Jacey hangs up the nozzle, and
replaces the gas cap. Lloyd pulls out his wallet.
You want some free advice?
Don't waste your life making other
people rich. Keep the change.
He hands Jacey a five-spot and gets into his car. Lloyd
drives away in his Cadillac. Jacey crumbles the five
dollar bill into a ball. As he returns to the office he
catches his reflection in the mirror of the cigarette
machine. He frowns and pulls off his cap and bow tie.
A19 INT. BOATHOUSE (LAKE) - LATER THAT DAY A19
The abandoned boathouse is a dilapidated structure
situated on an isolated shore of the large lake. Doug
strikes a wooden match, shepherds the flame, leans over,
holds the match to his ass and lights a fart. The
amorphous blue flame flares and almost instantly
disappears as the gas is consumed. VICTOR, Doug's
partner in crime and best friend, is impressed. (Victor
is fifteen, too.)
Jeez Louise! How'd you do that?
Intestinal gas -- produced by
bacterial metabolism of food
residues in the colon. A mixture
of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon
dioxide, and methane. That's the
What's so secret about it?
Not everyone can produce methane.
It's genetic, that means it's
inherited. There's a lot of
methane in my family.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 12.
A19 CONTINUED: A19
You're full of shit.
Look it up, it's all in the
They don't got farts in the
Hey, they got 'vagina' in the
dictionary, they got farts in the
The ROAR of a PASSING SPEEDBOAT attracts Doug's interest.
Vagina is in the dictionary?
'A canal leading from the uterus
to the vulva'.
You sure read a lot, man.
B19 EXT. BOATHOUSE DOCK (LAKE) - CONTINUOUS ACTION - DAY B19
Doug steps out of the boathouse onto the sagging dock and
sees a fast speedboat cutting across the lake towing a
male water skier. (Another young man is driving the boat
with two young women in bathing suits as passengers.)
Victor comes out as the speedboat's wake rocks the old
It's Jacey -- that's him skiing.
He must've skipped out on work.
19 EXT. LAKE - ANGLE ON SPEEDBOAT 19
-- with Jacey skiing behind it. STEVE is at the helm.
Eleanor and SANDY lounge in their bathing suits.
19 CONTINUED: 19
As they pass a ski ramp Steve points to it. Jacey gives
him a thumb's up gesture and Steve circles the boat
around for the approach.
No way! He's never done the ramp.
He wants to do it.
Steve lines up the approach and pushes the throttle open.
Jacey swings out on the end of the tow-rope and pops over
Eleanor leans over to Steve.
You know you're going too fast?
Yeah, I know.
The boat zips by the ramp and Jacey's skis contact the
slippery surface and his skis go out from under him. He
takes a hard bounce, loses hold of the tow-rope, and goes
tumbling over the apex of the ramp into the water.
20 INT. HOLT HOME - BATHROOM - THAT NIGHT 20
Jacey is soaking in the bathtub. Doug enters without
Time to eat.
Doug washes his hands. Jacey climbs out of the tub and
fetches a towel. And Doug reacts to...
Jacey's back and buttocks are severely bruised. Jacey
wraps the towel around his waist and turns to his
Don't tell Mom.
20 CONTINUED: 20
(cutting him off)
Just don't tell Mom. All right?
Yeah, okay, all right.
Jacey walks out of the bathroom.
21 EXT. TEXACO STATION (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - DAY (SUMMER 1957) 21
Lloyd Abbott's 1957 Cadillac pulls up to the pumps.
Lloyd is behind the wheel, Joan sits next to him, Eleanor
and Pamela are in the back seat. The DING-DING of the
BELL HOSE summons...
22 INT. TEXACO STATION - JACEY 22
-- sticks the mop he's been using into a pail and goes to
answer the bell. He hesitates as he sees the Abbotts and
lets another attendant wait on them. He retreats into
the garage and resumes mopping the floor.
Jacey finds Eleanor standing in the garage doorway.
I heard you got accepted to Penn.
Oh. Yeah. Thanks.
How'd you swing an Ivy League
school like that?
My grandfather went there. I had
the grades, so...
It stinks in here.
I dropped something.
22 CONTINUED: 22
I just thought you and Steve...
Well, that's what you thought. I
think Steve is... I don't even
know what I think about Steve, I
never think about him. I just do
things. And let other people
figure them out. That's what
parents are for. They're real
good at doing all the thinking.
Why should I?
Alice is going to have a baby.
She and Kilroy didn't waste any
time. He's already talking about
having another, and Alice is up-
chucking every hour on the hour.
She's got morning-noon-and-night
sickness. I've got the feeling
she'll be barefoot and puking for
years to come. Wallpaper patterns
-- that's all she talks about.
She and my mother spend hours
looking at wallpaper pattern
books. That's another thing I
never think about... wallpaper.
Well, I think this is called the
silent treatment. I get enough of
that from my father, I don't need
it from you. Good luck at Penn.
She starts to walk away, but Jacey pulls her back and
kisses her fiercely -- Eleanor responds with equal heat.
They don't see Pamela enter the garage. Pam studies them
for an imperturbable beat, then:
Come on, Eleanor -- Dad's waiting.
23 EXT. TEXACO STATION - DAY (MOMENTS LATER) 23
The Abbotts drive away. Jacey stands in the garage in
the b.g. He watches the Cadillac disappear into traffic.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 16.
24 EXT. DOWNTOWN HALEY - INSIDE CADILLAC 24
-- with Lloyd behind the wheel, Joan in the front
passenger seat, and Eleanor and Pam in the back seat.
Lloyd says to Eleanor:
Stay away from him.
Because I said so.
25 OMITTED 25
26 EXT. IRON SKILLET RESTAURANT - DAY (TWO WEEKS LATER) 26
A family-style restaurant in the center of town. It's
a sweltering, hot July day. Heat shimmers off the
27 INT. IRON SKILLET RESTAURANT - DAY 27
The decor is mock-Colonial. Victor and Doug (in their
bus boy uniforms) are stocking a waitress station with
silverware, coffee cups, and water glasses.
We should have a party out at the
boathouse, man. That's what we
You know, invite some girls.
Get some beer, go swimming. Look
up a few words in the dictionary.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 17.
27 CONTINUED: 27
Yeah, like 'boring' or 'eunuch.'
Eunuch? What's that?
It's Latin for bus boy.
WEBB CROSBY, the proprietor of the restaurant, steps
Business is a little light today,
too damn hot. Which one of you
knuckle-heads wants to get off
DOUG & VICTOR
Me... I do.
(takes out a coin)
Call it in the air...
28 EXT. IRON SKILLET RESTAURANT - DAY (MINUTES LATER) 28
Doug bicycles away (he won the coin toss).
29 INT. HOLT HOME - KITCHEN - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 29
Doug sails through the back door. He gets a bowl out of
the cupboard and fetches the ice cream scoop from a
30 INT. HOLT HOME - GARAGE - CONTINUOUS ACTION - DAY 30
Doug enters with the bowl and ice cream scoop in hand.
He lifts the lid of the freezer, reaches for a carton of
ice cream and something startles him. He cocks his head
to listen and slowly lowers the freezer lid.
He peers into the silvery, dim light and sees Jacey and
Eleanor naked on an old daybed near the coal bin in the
back of the garage. She is on top of Jacey, riding him
rhythmically. Eleanor is facing Doug. She reacts without
alarm or shame when she notices Doug staring at her. She
coolly returns his stare. Doug tries, but he's unable to
avert his eyes.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 18.
30 CONTINUED: 30
Eleanor only shifts her gaze when distracted by her
orgasm, which triggers Jacey's -- as she recovers her
composure she says:
Jacey bolts upright, throwing her off of him, and shouts:
Doug drops the bowl and scoop and charges out of the
31 EXT. HOLT HOME - STREET - DAY (SECONDS LATER) 31
Doug races away from the house on his bicycle -- pumping
furiously and sweating profusely.
32 EXT. LAKE - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 32
Doug dives into the lake in his underpants, then
surfaces. The water has cooled his body, but not his
33 OMITTED 33
34 INT. HOLT HOME - JACEY'S BEDROOM - DAY (EARLY FALL 1957) 34
Helen assists Jacey as he packs his bags in preparation
for his departure to college the next day.
Oh, we forgot an umbrella.
I'll buy a new one in
And don't forget your sport coat.
Yeah, I'll go pick it up.
Take Doug with you.
I'm just going to the cleaners.
34 CONTINUED: 34
Take him along for the ride. Go
have a root beer at the
I gotta finish packing.
I'll finish up. Doug's going to
I think he will.
Oh, dammit, Jacey, please -- take
your brother with you.
35 EXT. STREETS OF HALEY - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 35
Jacey (behind the wheel) and Doug drive into town in the
Plymouth coupe. After a long silence:
If Mom starts having problems with
the car stalling just change the
fuel filter. It gets clogged up
when she lets the gas tank get too
And every-once-in-a-while take her
to the movies so she doesn't just
sit around the house all the time
She likes to read.
She reads too much.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 20.
35 CONTINUED: 35
Okay, I'll take her to the movies.
You want to go have a beer?
No, a beer.
A beer beer?
Where are we gonna get beer?
The bait shop. If you go in alone
and nobody else is in the store,
Ernie'll sell you a couple of
36 EXT. DIRT ROAD (COUNTRYSIDE) - DAY 36
The Plymouth is parked on a dirt lane separating two
cornfields. Jacey sits on the fender of the car nursing
on a bottle of beer. Doug urinates between two rows of
Remember that time I got my dick
caught in my zipper?
Jacey gives Doug a quizzical look.
You know, when I was in first
grade. At school? In the boys'
room? Remember I wouldn't let
Mrs. Horton help me, so she went
and got Mom out of her classroom,
but I wouldn't let Mom help me
either. I told her to go get you.
Yeah, I remember.
36 CONTINUED: 36
Doug retrieves his beer from the roof of the car. A
semi-trailer drives past with "Midwest Steel Desk, Inc.
-- Haley, Illinois" painted on its sides.
We should own that company.
What do you mean?
Midwest Steel Desk. Dad's file
cabinet drawer. Lloyd Abbott
screwed mom out of Dad's patent
after he died.
Mom's not stupid.
I didn't say she was stupid.
Lloyd's pretty smooth. That's why
he owns the company.
He owns the company 'cause he
married the boss's daughter.
He owns the company 'cause that
patent saved the company's ass
after the war, when all the war
contracts dried up.
Well, maybe Mom sold it 'cause we
needed the money.
What money? We never had any
money. Money had nothing to do
Then why did she sell the patent?
36 CONTINUED: (2) 36
She just did, that's all that
matters. And that's why we're
driving this car and not that one.
Jacey gestures to '57 Thunderbird convertible speeding
past them. He finishes off his beer, then:
I guess you'll just have to be
real careful zipping up your pants
while I'm gone.
37 EXT. BUS DEPOT (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NEXT DAY 37
Helen stands on the curb waving good-bye as the Greyhound
bus carrying Jacey away to Philadelphia departs. Doug
hangs back, leaning against the Plymouth's fender.
38 INT. HIGH SCHOOL - LIBRARY - DAY (SPRING, 1958) 38
Doug steals lustful looks at Eleanor from behind his
book. She is seated across the table from him. The
library is filled with students poring over their
assignments. Eleanor is seemingly oblivious to Doug's
Doug allows his pencil to roll off the edge of the table.
He ducks under the table to retrieve his pencil and his
ruse is revealed as he stares up Eleanor's skirt at the
soft triangle that her white panties cover between her
parted legs. Eleanor's hand lowers a piece of notebook
paper beneath the table, on it she has written: "Hi
Doug starts with panic, rears back, cracks his head on
the bottom of the table, and then, as his head rebounds
from the blow, he accidentally impales himself in his
chin with the sharp pencil. Doug scrambles up from under
the table with the pencil dangling from his chin,
knocking over his chair in the process. The tranquility
of the library is destroyed by the flabbergasted
reactions of the students. Eleanor is momentarily
concerned about his welfare, but she cannot help but
39 EXT. STREETS OF HALEY - LATER THAT DAY 39
Doug morosely slouches along the sidewalk on his way home
from school. He sports a Band-aid on his chin. Pamela
Abbott pulls up alongside Doug and tails him in her 1958
Dodge Custom Royal Lancer convertible (with the top
How's your chin?
You want a ride?
You can drive.
I don't have my license yet.
I don't care.
40 EXT. ROAD - COUNTRYSIDE - DAY 40
The convertible speeds along the two-lane blacktop with
Doug behind the wheel and Pamela sitting next to him.
How come you never ask me out?
For like a date, block-head.
I see you all the time.
I don't mean hanging out.
You scared of me or something?
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 24.
40 CONTINUED: 40
Hell, no. I gotta job, I got
school, I don't have time for
dates and all that stuff.
Then forget it.
It's not like we're... you know...
like I'm your boyfriend or...
(cutting him off)
I said forget it, so forget it.
41 INT. HOLT HOME - GARAGE - LATER THAT NIGHT 41
Doug sits on the ping pong table gazing at the daybed as
he smokes a cigarette. His reverie is broken by Helen's
voice calling him:
42 INT. HOLT HOME - DINING ROOM - NIGHT 42
Helen and Doug are at the dinner table.
I wish you wouldn't smoke in the
I don't smoke in the garage.
There's lots of old stuff out
there, I don't want anything to
catch on fire.
I don't smoke, Mom.
Well, just the same, I'd prefer it
if you'd smoke in the backyard.
I gotta go, gonna be late.
42 CONTINUED: 42
He rises from the table and fidgets with his napkin.
I... have a date, kind of. It's
Friday night, you know?
Yes, I know. Well, have fun.
Doug walks out of the dining room.
43 EXT. ABBOTT HOUSE - FRONT DOOR - NIGHT 43
Doug waits nervously for the doorbell to be answered.
He's wearing a jacket and tie. Pamela opens the door and
reacts with surprise.
Jesus... what do you want?
What are you doing tonight? You
want to go out?
I don't believe you. You're
crazy. I'm baby-sitting. My
folks went out to dinner with
Peter and Alice and I got tricked
into watching the baby.
Oh. Where's Eleanor?
I thought you came over to ask me
Good, 'cause Eleanor isn't here.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 26.
43 CONTINUED: 43
Can I come in?
Because, you know, my parents
Well... maybe some other time...
Alice's BABY starts CRYING O.S. and Pamela grimaces.
Oh, hell. Okay, but just for a
44 INT. ABBOTT HOME - DEN - NIGHT (SHORT TIME LATER) 44
An episode of "Death Valley Days" with commercials for 29
Mule Team Borax AIRS on the deluxe console TV. Doug sits
on the sofa smoking a cigarette. Pamela sits at the
opposite end of the sofa.
You're not like Jacey.
He's so... so trig and polished.
What's 'trig' mean?
You know... handsome, sexy,
Oh. I don't think Jacey smokes a
Well, you don't have to smoke a
pipe to be trig.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 26A.
44 CONTINUED: 44
You think I'm... different than
Like... you're smarter.
Yeah, real smart, that's why I'm
baby-sitting and she's out having
So how come she flunked biology?
44 CONTINUED: 44
Well, you're no Albert Einstein.
I got a three-point-two average.
Doesn't mean you know my sister.
Oh yeah? You might be surprised.
About what? What? What?
Why are we talking about Eleanor?
I didn't bring her up.
Look, either you're mad at me
'cause you're mad at me -- or
you're mad at me 'cause you like
me. 'Cause that's how girls act.
I don't know much, but I know
that. So like which is it?
Doug exhales with bewilderment, stubs out his cigarette,
then awkwardly slides down the sofa to Pamela. She holds
perfectly still as Doug slowly moves his mouth to hers
and kisses her. Then he concludes the kiss to check her
reaction; she timidly smiles. He kisses her again with
greater fervor. Doug creeps his hand up her blouse and
massages her breast. Pamela struggles to suppress her
surprise, which he mistakes as a sign of her approval.
Emboldened by her lack of resistance, he slips his hand
under her bra. Pam is shocked by the pleasure of the
sensation, then alarmed by the pace of their passion.
Doug kisses her again and as they kiss he stares at a
framed photograph of Eleanor amongst an assortment of
family photos on the long table behind the sofa. It is
Eleanor that he is thinking of -- in his mind's eye it is
Eleanor's breast that he is fondling. Pamela pulls her
lips from his:
44 CONTINUED: (2) 44
Do you love me, Doug? Do you?
He kisses her with such ardor that she interprets his
answer to be yes, when in reality Doug is only trying to
silence her. He pulls his hand out of her blouse and
slips it under her skirt. Pam lurches back into the
He tries to kiss her again but she twists her head away.
Stop it... stop it!
She shoves him away and jumps off the sofa. Doug looks
at her with breathless confusion. She turns away from
him and tries to button her blouse, but she can't see the
buttons for her tears. She begins to sob and runs out of
45 INT. ABBOTT HOME - ENTRY HALL AND STAIRCASE - CONTINUOUS 45
Pamela dashes up the stairs. Doug comes out of the den
looking for her. He is quite shaken:
(under his breath)
He slowly mounts the stairs, wary of invading Pamela's
privacy anymore than he already has.
46 INT. ABBOTT HOME - SECOND-FLOOR HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS 46
Doug finds Pamela weeping in the dark hallway, still
fastening the buttons on her blouse.
I'm sorry... I'm really sorry...
I'm not Eleanor... I can't go so
46 CONTINUED: 46
They are both seized with fright as they hear the front
DOOR OPEN below and Peter's angry voice:
Every time we go out you have to
tell that same goddamn story!
Pam pushes Doug down the hall away from the front stairs
and whispers urgently:
Get out of here! Get out!
47 INT. ABBOTT HOME - ENTRY HALL AND STAIRS - CONTINUOUS 47
Peter and Alice are taking off their coats.
Accidentally brushing your teeth
with Brylcreme is a funny story.
Will you shut up about the fucking
It comes in a red-and-white tube
just like a tube of Pepsodent.
Do you hear me, Alice?! Shut up!
Their BABY begins to CRY (O.S.) and they find Pamela
standing at the top of the stairs.
The baby's crying.
48 INT. ABBOTT HOME - BACK STAIRWAY AND KITCHEN - NIGHT 48
Doug sneaks down the back stairs and enters the kitchen
as Lloyd and Joan enter from the garage pulling off their
coats. Doug ducks back into the stair landing unseen.
Just stay out of it, Joan.
Alice meant no harm, I think...
48 CONTINUED: 48
(cutting her off)
It doesn't matter what you think,
it's their business. Alice is a
spoiled brat, but she's Peter's
problem now. So just take one of
your pills and go watch Jack Paar,
see what he's crying about
49 INT. ABBOTT HOME - SECOND FLOOR HALLWAY - NIGHT 49
Doug sticks his head out of the back stairwell and spots
Peter pounding on a locked bedroom door.
I'm warning you, Alice! Open the
damn door! Alice?! Dammit!
50 INT. ABBOTT HOME - STAIRWELL - DOUG 50
Trapped in the stairwell. He hisses under his breath:
Oh, shit! Let me out of here...
He notices a small window in the stairwell.
51 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - WINDOW - NIGHT 51
Doug squeezes out of the small window, his legs dangling
six feet above a large rose bush directly under him.
52 INT. HIGH SCHOOL - CORRIDOR - DAYS LATER 52
Doug makes his way along the crowded corridor showing a
few of his wounds from his emergency landing in the rose
bush. He slows as he nears Pamela at her locker. She's
aware of him, but pretends that she isn't. Doug
hesitates as if he might say something to her, but loses
his nerve and continues to mope along the hallway. Pam's
disappointment is plain to see.
Doug doesn't notice Eleanor and a few of her girl friends
approaching in the opposite direction. As they pass him
Eleanor smiles brightly and says:
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 31.
52 CONTINUED: 52
The girls giggle, "Hi, Doug!" has become a running
punchline to them. Doug is so undone by their laughter
that he walks into an open door.
53 EXT. BUS DEPOT (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - DAY (SUMMER, 1958) 53
Jacey collects his suitcase from the bus driver. He's
become very much the Ivy League man. Doug waits for him
beside the Plymouth across the street. As Jacey starts
across the street a CAR full of young women, including
Eleanor and Sandy, HONKS, and stops beside him. Jacey
hops into the car and calls out to Doug:
Hey, Doug! Get my suitcase!
The car pulls away and Doug irritably fetches Jacey's
54 EXT. HOLT HOME - DRIVEWAY - DAY 54
The hood on the Plymouth is propped open. Doug assists
Jacey as he replaces the fuel filter.
How do you know when a girl's...
What do you mean, `ready'? Ready
for what... sex?
They're all ready for sex.
They might not be willing but
they're ready. Just have to make
them think you're the only one
around who has what they need.
How do you do that?
54 CONTINUED: 54
Find out what's making them itch
and scratch it. If they're
scared, be dependable. If they're
bored, be exciting. If they're on
the rebound, catch them.
What if you're not very dependable
or exciting, you know?
Pretend you are.
You mean, it's all just fake?
The sex is real. They pretend
they don't want it. You pretend
that you care. Everybody gets
what they want.
But what if you really feel
something for someone? Really
care for them?
I thought you were talking about
I guess. I don't know what I'm
55 EXT. MOVIE THEATER (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NIGHT 55
The marquee reads: TONY CURTIS -- JANET LEIGH -- "THE
PERFECT FURLOUGH" -- CINEMASCOPE -- AIR-CONDITIONED.
It's Friday night -- a long queue has formed at the box
office window, mostly teenagers, but some adults, too.
Jacey cruises past the theater in the Plymouth, looking
for... Eleanor. She chats with a group of friends
standing in line. She sees Jacey, skips over, and gets
into the car.
56 EXT. TEXACO GAS STATION (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NIGHT 56
Lloyd Abbott opens a bottle of Coke that he just
purchased from the vending machine. His (1958) Cadillac
is being fueled at the gas pumps. As he returns to his
car he sees Eleanor and Jacey drive by the station in the
57 EXT. RIVER POINT PARK - WOODS (HALEY) - NIGHT 57
Jacey and Eleanor are copulating on a blanket beneath a
canopy of tall trees near the river. Jacey is on top,
Eleanor has her legs clenched around his hips.
Come on, come on, come on...
Her encouragement inspires their mutual orgasms.
58 EXT. RIVER POINT PARK - ROAD - LATER THAT NIGHT 58
Jacey and Eleanor approach the parked Plymouth. Jacey
has the blanket rolled up under his arm. Suddenly they
are captured by a pair of headlights. Lloyd Abbott
climbs out of his parked (1958) Cadillac.
What are you doing out here?
Lloyd absorbs this information without surrendering his
composure -- but Jacey cannot conceal his shock.
Get in the car.
Jacey doesn't respond to the kiss Eleanor gives him, but
when she places her hand on his crotch, he yanks her hand
off. Eleanor walks over and gets into the car. Lloyd
gazes at Jacey for a beat, then gets in the car and
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 34.
59 INT. HOLT HOME - DINING ROOM - NEXT AFTERNOON 59
Doug is at the table doing homework. The DOORBELL RINGS.
Doug starts to get up as Helen comes out of the kitchen.
I'll get it.
60 INT./EXT. HOLT FRONT DOOR/FRONT YARD - CONTINUOUS ACTION - 60
Helen opens the screen door and finds a well-dressed
woman standing in the yard with her face turned away.
The woman turns -- it is Joan Abbott. Helen is
momentarily caught off balance by Joan's bristling
Joan. How are you?
May I have a word with you, Helen?
Of course, come in.
No... no, I don't have time...
61 INT. HOLT DINING ROOM AND FRONT DOOR - CONTINUOUS ACTION 61
Doug spies on Joan and Helen and their curious exchange
through a dining room window. Unable to hear their words
he can only witness how their words are spoken.
62 EXT. HOLT HOME - DOUG'S POV 62
Helen steps off the porch and approaches Joan, who is
doing most of the talking -- but Joan seems to require a
certain distance from Helen and works her way to her
Chrysler Town & Country station wagon parked at the curb.
Joan grows more and more agitated as she talks.
63 INT. HOLT HOME - ENTRYWAY 63
Eager to hear what is being said, Doug dashes through the
living room to the front door.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 35.
64 EXT. STREET - HOLT HOME - DAY 64
Joan has the driver's door to her station wagon open now.
Helen is on the sidewalk. Her demeanor is measured,
I don't think that's necessary.
Well, if I were you I would talk
to him and tell him...
(cutting her off)
No, I'm sorry, Joan, I will not do
that. If you have something to
say to my son, then you'll have to
say it to him yourself.
I just thought you would like to
know what he's done.
And why on earth should I believe
anything you say, Joan?
Joan is unable to find a quick retort, she gets into her
station wagon and drives away.
Helen notices a baseball lying in the gutter, she picks
it up and cleans it off with her apron. As she turns to
go back to the house, she finds Doug standing on the
porch steps. Without warning, she expertly pitches the
baseball across the yard to Doug -- it makes his hand
sting when he catches it. Helen walks up to the porch.
I'm going to ask you one question,
Doug, and if you have no idea, or
don't want to answer, just tell
Is there any sense, you think, in
which Jacey has... oh, I don't
know, it sounds ridiculous...
corrupted Eleanor Abbott? Led her
Doug's mind works in several directions at once as he
tries to figure out how much he should or could tell her.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 36.
64 CONTINUED: 64
Well... jeez... I know that
he's... that he's slept with her.
But not because he's talked about
it. I mean... Eleanor has lots of
boyfriends. I think Jacey likes
her more than she likes him.
Go finish your homework.
Doug lobs the baseball back to her and goes inside.
Helen sits on the porch steps and now the true toll that
Joan's visit has taken on Helen becomes apparent -- a
bone-weary sadness falls over her. Her "tranquility" is
not borne of happiness, it is only a means of coping with
the sadness that is at the core of her being.
65 EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - ROAD - DAY (ONE WEEK LATER) 65
A drab, four-door Chevrolet sedan with Wisconsin license
plates speeds away from town.
Incongruously, the unassuming vehicle is chauffeured by
an African-American DRIVER. There are two passengers in
the back seat: a conservatively-dressed, middle-aged
WOMAN and Eleanor Abbott. There is nothing telling about
Eleanor's countenance, neither happiness nor sadness can
be found on her face.
66 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - DAY (WEEKS LATER) 66
Doug walks home from summer school. He pauses to watch
the workmen erecting the party tent in the Abbott's front
How come you're going to summer
Doug turns to find Pam at the driveway gate.
I got an incomplete in U.S.
How did you manage to do that?
66 CONTINUED: 66
Mrs. Bates caught me drawing boobs
on a picture of Mamie Eisenhower.
Why do you do things like that?
I wish I knew. I just can't seem
to help it sometimes.
Are you coming to the party?
Doug shakes his head no.
It's my birthday, you know?
Everybody's going to be here.
I don't know. Maybe.
Just come, okay? Please.
67 EXT. TEXACO STATION (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - THAT NIGHT 67
Doug pulls the Plymouth up to the pumps. He's neatly
dressed in a jacket and tie. Jacey comes out of the
office and leans in the car window.
Fill 'er up.
Oh -- mind if I borrow it?
Jacey puts the nozzle in the car as Doug climbs out.
I thought you didn't like those
parties at the Abbott's?
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 38.
67 CONTINUED: 67
Then why are you going?
Just doing someone a favor. How
come you're not going?
I'm persona non grata.
What's that mean?
You know what it means.
What happened with you and
Nothing. I just outlived my
usefulness, that's all.
How were you `useful' to her?
Christ, use your imagination.
Doug has no reply to that.
Eleanor was just looking for a way
out. A way out of the whole
Abbott world. And it turns out
that it takes a lot to get away.
It's not enough that you sleep
around with boys from your world,
you have to fuck boys from the
wrong side of the tracks.
What do you mean? Like guys from
No, I mean me. She was fucking
67 CONTINUED: (2) 67
We're not from the wrong side of
Jacey hangs up the nozzle and screws the gas cap back on.
I wouldn't go to that party if I
Well, you're not me. We're just
as good as the Abbotts.
Doug hands Jacey a few dollars. Jacey heads for the
You still don't know, do you?
68 INT. TEXACO STATION (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - OFFICE - 68
Doug follows Jacey inside as he rings up the sale.
After Dad died... Mom... had an
affair with Lloyd Abbott. That's
how he got Dad's patent away from
I don't believe you.
Believe it or not. I don't care.
You're full of shit.
Then why don't you go ask Mom?
Ask her what happened -- ask her
why she doesn't have any friends
-- ask her why she's never invited
to the Abbott's -- ask her which
side of the tracks we live on?
Jacey shoves the cash register drawer shut.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 40.
69 INT. ABBOTT HOME - TENT - NIGHT 69
The party is well underway, it's a younger crowd tonight.
The band plays "Fly Me To The Moon." Doug stands apart
from the others. He's ill-at-ease. His conversation
with Jacey resonates within him. As he looks over the
gathering, he's pained to discover how easy it is to see
things the way Jacey does: Lloyd holding court with a
group of men in tuxedos... Joan Abbott propelling a
reluctant Alice towards a group of guests Alice's age
(Alice and Peter have separated)... and, finally, Pamela
dancing with a handsome young man (TED). She is the
belle of the ball, radiant and suddenly mature in her
beautiful gown. She smiles as she sees Doug, excuses
herself, and comes over to him.
How long have you been here?
Are you okay?
I'm fine. Having fun?
Yes, I am. Come on, dance with
She pulls him towards the dance floor.
You didn't tell me I had to dance.
Just one dance and we'll be even.
I won't have to be mad at you
anymore and you won't have to be
What am I supposed to be so sorry
Oh, you're not sorry?
All right, yeah, I'm sorry.
Sorry about what?
69 CONTINUED: 69
You always do this to me.
You said you weren't sorry and now
you say you are. So maybe I'm not
sure what you're sorry about?
I'm sorry for what I'm supposed to
be sorry about. Okay?
You're sorry for feeling me up?
Oh, shit, come on, Pam. Dammit.
For crying out loud. Forget it.
I accept your apology. Let's
Doug allows Pam to pull him out onto the dance floor. He
feels like a dolt, but she arranges his hands on her and
they begin to dance. She gazes into his eyes and smiles:
Pam is in love with Doug, she has been since they were
children. Doug is mellowed by his tender feelings for
her. For a golden minute they are in pleasurable bubble
of true affinity. But their bubble begins to deflate as
Doug sees Joan Abbott staring at them. Her disapproval
is unmistakable. Doug steers Pam around the dance floor
to avoid Joan's eyes, but then he sees Lloyd Abbott.
Lloyd's stare is even more discomforting. Pamela senses
the change in Doug's mood, but she is unaware of the
Is Jacey home for the summer or is
he just here for a visit?
The mention of his brother's name at this exact moment
sends a chill down Doug's spine.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 42.
69 CONTINUED: (2) 69
Home for the summer.
It's cheaper if he stays here for
the summer. He can save more
money for school, 'cause he
doesn't have to pay rent. Money's
tight, you know, we're sort of
You're not poor, are you?
Hell -- you kidding? Even with
Jacey working summers, my mom had
to borrow against the house so he
could go to Penn. I don't know
where the money'll come from for
me to go to college.
Doug sees Joan Abbott prompting Ted to cut in on his
dance with Pamela. Doug's bitterness swells.
I hear Alice and Peter are getting
They're just separated.
What's the difference?
I don't know, you'll have to ask
So, where's Eleanor tonight?
Eleanor's... just not here.
Is she pregnant?
No! Who said that?
69 CONTINUED: (3) 69
I don't know, everybody in town is
saying something different -- she
got knocked up, she ran away, your
old man kicked her out. So, which
Ted steps over and taps Doug on the shoulder.
Ted is taken aback. Pamela's eyes fill with tears.
Why do you hate me so much?
Excuse me, asshole, but...
Doug spins and slugs Ted in the jaw -- sending him
reeling into the other dancers. Everyone pulls away from
Doug and Pam. Doug massages his fist and looks
helplessly at Pamela:
I don't hate you.
70 INT. HOLT HOME - DOUG'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT 70
The hall light is on but the bedroom is dark. Doug lies
on his bed (still dressed). Jacey appears in the
71 EXT. HOLT HOME - GARAGE - NIGHT (SHORT TIME LATER) 71
Doug and Jacey play another hard fought game of ping-pong
in the garage. In the midst of a volley Doug says:
I'm gonna go to Penn like you.
Jacey snorts with incredulous laughter.
You're gonna what?
71 CONTINUED: 71
I'm going to the University of
Pennsylvania. I think I'm going
to be an architect, too.
Like hell you are.
Why not? Maybe we can be
roommates in Philadelphia?
You're nuts. You'll never get
accepted to Penn. Besides, Mom
couldn't afford it anyway.
I'll get a scholarship.
I had a four-point-0 grade average
and I couldn't get a scholarship
-- so, I say you got your head up
Jacey skillfully manipulates the volley and wins the game
with a savage return that Doug is unable to counter.
Jacey smiles, puts his paddle down, and walks out of the
garage. Doug quickly picks up a ping-pong ball and hits
it into the back of Jacey's head. Jacey turns and shoots
a perturbed look at Doug -- Doug smiles:
72 INT. WOMEN'S APPAREL STORE (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - DAY 72
Helen looks over the merchandise. Doug absent-mindedly
trails after his mother as he studies a large brochure
about the University of Pennsylvania.
What's 'scenic design'?
In what context?
What a minute -- it's theatre.
72 CONTINUED: 72
'The Howard Lambert Scholarship in
Scenic Design for the Theatre.'
It's a full ride, four years.
Pays everything almost. Hell, I
could do that. Just have to
figure out what scenic design is.
Doug looks up from the brochure and comes face-to-face
with a mannequin wearing a bra, girdle, and stockings.
He almost flinches with surprise and blushes profusely:
I'll wait for you outside, Ma.
73 EXT. LADIES APPAREL STORE (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - MOVIE 73
THEATER - SIDEWALK - DAY (MINUTES LATER)
It's snowing -- Doug paces to keep warm. He momentarily
forgets the cold as he sees Pam and three of her girl
friends come out of the drugstore across the street. The
girls are in high spirits as they get into Pam's car.
Two well-dressed townswomen (MURIEL and DORIS) encounter
Helen on their way into the apparel shop as she steps out
onto the sidewalk.
Hello, Muriel... Doris.
The women pass by Helen with obvious reserve. Helen is
seemingly unruffled by their distant responses. She
observes Doug as he watches Pam and her friends drive
Helen and Doug walk up sidewalk (towards the movie
theater -- the marquee reads: KIM NOVAK -- JEFF CHANDLER
-- JEANNE EAGELS):
Why don't you drop me off at home
and take the car and go out with
your friends. Go have some fun.
Why don't you?
Why don't I what? Go hang out at
73 CONTINUED: 73
No, go out -- play bridge or
whatever adults do for fun.
I read for fun.
You read too much.
You sound like your brother.
Come on -- let's go see a movie.
74 INT. MOVIE THEATER (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - DAY 74
Doug and Helen share a bag of popcorn as they wait for
the feature to begin.
Came here on my very first date
with Charlie. Saw Rosalie with
Nelson Eddy and... not Jeanette
MacDonald... oh... Eleanor Powell.
Did Dad kiss you?
(gives Doug a "look")
I kissed him.
All right, Mom.
75 OMITTED 75
76 EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - PLAYING FIELD - GYMNASIUM - DAY 76
The commencement exercises are being held in the
sweltering gym to accommodate the large crowd of proud
parents and family members. Doug, hot and uncomfortable
in his cap and gown, is seated among his fellow graduates
behind the podium. The PRINCIPAL (at the podium)
announces the names of the graduates as he calls them
forward to receive their diplomas.
76 CONTINUED: 76
Pamela Louise Abbott...
Pamela rises from her seat and takes her diploma.
Lloyd and Joan Abbott applaud their daughter. Joan
stands to take a snapshot. Alice is occupied with her
restless and fussy eighteen-month-old daughter, Susan.
Doug watches Pam return to her seat; she avoids his eyes.
Helen is all smiles, this is a very special day for her.
The chair next to her is empty. She glances behind her
and sees Jacey standing in the back of the gym.
Jacey idly surveys the gathering with irritable boredom.
He is only there at his mother's insistence. His eyes
settle on... Alice Abbott.
Alice tries to quiet her CRYING eighteen-month-old
daughter (SUSAN). Lloyd makes a reprimanding aside to
Alice and she rises and carries Susan up the aisle.
Jacey's eyes follow Alice -- she notices his stare as she
passes by with Susan in her arms.
77 EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - PARKING LOT - LATER THAT DAY 77
Commencement is over -- the parking lot is a sea of cars
slowly negotiating through the mob of celebrating
graduates, beaming parents, and rambunctious siblings.
As Helen slips through the crowd she is pleasantly
ambushed by three (second grade) students of hers. She
has a brief exchange with the children and then moves on.
Helen finds herself face-to-face with Lloyd Abbott as
they both attempt to pass through a narrow space between
two parked vehicles. They are both caught off-guard --
there is no graceful way for them to squeeze past each
Thank you. Congratulations to
you, too. Where's Pam going to
Hmm... Christ, I forgot.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 48.
77 CONTINUED: 77
Bryn Mawr. I should be able to
remember that. It costs enough.
She'll do well there -- a very
And Doug -- he's going to...?
He got a scholarship to the
University of Pennsylvania --
scenic design -- theater.
Same school as...
(filling in blank)
Right. Well. Congratulations.
Thank you, Lloyd.
They pass each other and head their separate ways. Their
chance meeting has not gone unobserved:
Joan Abbott has been watching them from the front seat of
Lloyd's brand-new 1959 Cadillac. She pretends to repair
her lipstick with her compact mirror as Lloyd slips
behind the wheel.
And Helen finds Jacey frowning at her. He opens the door
so that she can get into the Plymouth (Doug is already in
the back seat). Jacey glares at Lloyd as he walks around
the car and gets in behind the wheel.
Lloyd flips down his sun visor (to block Jacey's glare)
and pulls out of his parking spot.
78 INT. IRON SKILLET RESTAURANT - THAT NIGHT 78
A waitress walks across the busy diner to Helen, Jacey,
and Doug at their table. Helen and Doug are eating
their desserts -- Jacey is content to brood over his
cup of coffee. The waitress puts their bill on the
table and steps away.
78 CONTINUED: 78
As Helen starts to open her purse Webb Crosby appears and
picks up the bill.
It's on the house.
Oh, Webb, really -- that's not
How many restaurants got an Ivy
League busboy? That's worth a
free meal. Charlie'd be real
proud of these two highbrows.
Yes, he would. He'd be extremely
You take good care of your little
brother in Philadelphia, you hear
79 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - NIGHT (SHORT TIME LATER) 79
The Holt family drives home from the restaurant -- Jacey
driving, Helen in front, and Doug in the back seat.
What a wonderful night. What a
wonderful day. My two Ivy League
This is torture for Jacey. Doug looks out the window at
the striped tent in the Abbott's front yard as they pass
by. A party for the "Class of 1959" is underway (as a
banner on the tent proclaims). The street is lined with
parked cars and busy with late-coming guests.
Doug checks the rearview mirror for Jacey's reaction, but
his brother keeps his eyes on the road.
I never understood that tent. I
wonder if they own it? I'm
surprised they don't just leave it
up all year long.
79 CONTINUED: 79
Lloyd's mother was a tough old
bird. She sold eggs. They had a
place way out on Ditch Road near
County Line. That was ages ago.
Poor Lloyd had to walk all that
way in to school and then back
everyday. Charlie used to call
Lloyd 'Egg-head' and he didn't
I'm in the mood for ice cream.
80 EXT. HOLT HOME - FRONT PORCH - LATER THAT NIGHT 80
Jacey and Doug sit on the porch steps eating bowls of ice
cream. Helen rises from the porch swing and takes her
empty bowl inside the house.
I think I'll have one more scoop.
You want to go out to the lake and
get a couple beers?
No, I don't want to go out to
Goddammit. Goddammit! Look, I
don't want you in Philadelphia. I
don't need you around to remind
everybody that I come from
Hicksville, U.S.A. So if you're
going to go to Philadelphia,
you're on your own, dip shit. I
don't need you riding my coat
tails. Christ -- why don't you
get your own life? Stop being my
Doug digests Jacey's insult, then scoops a ball of ice
cream out of his bowl with his spoon and flings the gooey
ice cream into the side of Jacey's face. Doug rises and
goes to the front door.
80 CONTINUED: 80
You little prick!
Jacey hurls his BOWL at Doug -- it misses and SHATTERS on
Missed me, peckerhead.
As Doug opens the screen door Jacey dives into him --
they fall into the porch swing with such force that its
chains rip out of the porch ceiling and Doug, Jacey, and
the swing go overboard off the end of the porch into the
Doug? Jacey? What was that?
Doug and Jacey scramble to their feet, their clothes are
ripped and disheveled.
You're dead, dip shit!
You gotta catch me first, asshole!
Doug takes off with Jacey in hot pursuit. A few beats
later, Helen steps out onto the front porch and discovers
her sons and the porch swing missing.
81 EXT. HOLT HOME AND STREET - NIGHT 81
Jacey races up a driveway -- Doug is nowhere to be seen.
Come on, weasel dick! Come on
out, you chicken shit!
A collection of GARBAGE CANS EXPLODE in all directions as
Doug pops up from behind them and bolts down the
driveway. Jacey chases after him, following him across
the street. They pay no heed to Helen (in the b.g.)
standing in their front yard, calling out to them:
Douglas Lee! John Charles!
82 NEIGHBORHOOD - HOLT HOME 82
Porch lights are turning on up and down the block and the
neighborhood DOGS begin to HOWL as Doug leads Jacey
between two houses.
83 NEIGHBORHOOD - HOLT HOME 83
Doug jumps up onto a tall wooden fence. He gets halfway
over when Jacey leaps up and grabs him and the fence
collapses, dumping them into a back yard vegetable
84 NEIGHBORHOOD - HOLT HOME 84
Doug and Jacey wrestle and grapple in the muddy soil,
cursing each other and crushing the rows of green crops.
MRS. PORTER appears at her back door brandishing a broom.
Git! Stop that! You two git!
She sails into combat with her broom swinging. But Doug
and Jacey are unwilling to give up the fight -- they are
finally separated by a strong blast of water. They
sputter for breath and discover that Helen is holding the
85 EXT. MRS. PORTER'S HOUSE - DAY (NEXT DAY) 85
Helen sits in a lawn chair in the back yard wearing a
large straw hat and reading a book. Doug and Jacey are
repairing and painting the fence. Helen looks up from
That board doesn't look straight,
Jacey. Come on, Doug, you've been
painting the same spot for the
last five minutes.
86 EXT. HOLT HOME - GARAGE - NIGHT 86
Doug and Jacey clean their hands with turpentine. Doug
picks up a ping-pong paddle and bounces the ball on it,
trying to see how long he can keep it bouncing. Jacey
finishes cleaning up, picks up a paddle, and then,
without a word, Doug serves the ball and they begin to
87 EXT. ROAD (COUNTRYSIDE) - DAY 87
The Plymouth drives along the two-lane blacktop past the
fields of tall, green corn. Doug is driving, Helen sits
beside him. She reacts to something in the distance:
Isn't that Pamela Abbott?
In the distance Pamela struggles with a jack as she tries
to remove a flat tire on her convertible.
Doug grimaces as he recognizes her.
It is Pam. Pull over.
Doug reluctantly pulls over beside Pam's car. She's no
more pleased to see Doug than he is to see her.
Hi, Pam. Do you need some help?
Hi, Mrs. Holt. It's so darn hot
the stupid jack just keeps sinking
into the pavement.
Well, maybe Doug can give you a
Doug frowns and slowly climbs out of the Plymouth.
Where's the thing that goes on the
bottom of the jack?
The thing, the base that the jack
(finds it in her
Oh, I thought that was just the
Read your manual.
Pamela would slug him if his mother wasn't present.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 54.
87 CONTINUED: 87
Doug releases the load on the jack and strains to extract
it from the molten pavement.
Pam, would you mind running Doug
home? I'd like to get to the bank
before they close.
Sure, Mrs. Holt, I'll drive him
home. Thanks for stopping.
Of course. Bye-bye.
Helen slides over behind the wheel and drives away.
Doug fumes silently while he reassembles the jack.
88 INT. IRON SKILLET RESTAURANT - DAY 88
Jacey sits at the counter at the rear of the busy diner
sipping an iced tea. He sees Alice Abbott enter -- she
pulls a dollar bill out of her purse as she approaches
the cash register near the front door. She calls out
to a waitress who is fetching an order from the grill.
Excuse me -- could I get change
for a dollar?
The waitress is too distracted to take notice of Alice
and Alice herself doesn't notice Jacey as he steps up
Can I help you?
Yes, I need change for...
(turns to him)
Oh... you don't work here, do you?
No. I was just thinking about
you. I was going to call you
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 55.
88 CONTINUED: 88
There's a picnic out at River
Point on Sunday -- I wanted to
Bring Susan, kids love picnics.
(re: the dollar bill)
I need change for the parking
Jacey opens his palm and reveals the correct change.
Alice nervously exchanges the dollar bill for the
Do you have time for an ice tea?
My mother's waiting by the car
so I won't get a ticket.
Maybe she'd like an ice tea, too?
No harm asking.
No. Don't do that.
You know why.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 56.
88 CONTINUED: (2) 88
Then I'll make you a deal.
I just came in to get some change.
Come to the picnic on Sunday and
I'll wait here and let you leave
first, so your mother won't see me.
I don't care if my mother sees
(heads for the door)
Then you won't care if I ask her
if she'd like to join us for an
Jacey turns to her.
I don't know if I can. I'll try.
It just depends.
Alice goes out the door -- as she passes by Jacey he
Sunday. River Point. Around
Jacey watches through the window as Alice returns to
the Town & Country station wagon and puts a few coins
into the meter. Joan waits impatiently beside the car
with Susan in hand. As the Abbott women walk down the
sidewalk (away from the diner), Alice glances back and
sees Jacey smiling at her from the diner window.
89 EXT. ROAD (COUNTRYSIDE) - DAY 89
Pamela sits behind the wheel of her convertible listening
to PAT BOONE sing "April Love" on the car RADIO. Doug
drips with sweat as he tightens the lugs on the spare
tire. Pamela climbs out and inspects his progress.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 56A.
89 CONTINUED: (A1) 89
You think you'll finish sometime
today? I'm getting sun stroke.
Put the top up.
Stop acting like Jacey. What
makes you think you're so... cool?
Because -- I know all the answers
on 'The $64,000 Question,' because
I have X-ray vision and I can sing
better than Pat Boone. And
because I'm really a negro, but
don't tell anyone around here,
'cause you know what would happen
God, I can't even talk to you.
She starts to get back into the car, then turns to him:
89 CONTINUED: 89
Name one bad thing I've ever done
Go on, name one bad thing.
What's the point?
You tell me, because I don't get
it! Look, I'm not rich, my father
is. And I didn't pick my father.
And if I had a choice between
having tons of money or having
another father, I'd be absolutely
delighted to be poor! But
unfortunately life is not a
Life is not a cafeteria?
You know what I mean!
Shit, I'm supposed to feel sorry
for you 'cause you're rich?
Well, am I supposed to feel sorry
for you 'cause you're so poor?
So then just stop it!
Stop treating me like an Abbott!
Well, how am I supposed to treat
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 58.
89 CONTINUED: (2) 89
Like you used to. Like just plain
Doug exhales as if he's winding up to apologize.
And you don't have to say you're
sorry, and you don't have to look
like somebody just ran over your
dog. You just make me want to
Doug stares at her as if he's never seen her before.
What are you looking at?
90 EXT. RIVER POINT PARK - DAY (FOLLOWING SUNDAY) 90
Jacey lounges on top of a blanket beside a cooler.
Where is everyone?
Jacey sits up and finds Alice standing behind him. She
carries a picnic basket. Other than a few children
skipping rock into the river they are alone.
We are everyone.
But you said...
No, I didn't. I just said a
picnic. I didn't say if anyone
else was coming.
Alice walks away. Jacey jumps up and runs after her.
Where are you going?
I'm sorry... I thought...
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 59.
90 CONTINUED: 90
(blocking her way)
You didn't come here to see
everybody else. You came here to
see me. Didn't you? That's why
you didn't bring Susan along.
I thought you were getting a
I am, but it's not final yet.
Besides, I'm two years older than
Good, if the cops come around we'll
tell 'em you bought the beers in
91 EXT. RIVERPOINT PARK - ANOTHER PART OF PARK - 91
LATER THAT DAY
Jacey and Alice wander along a path on the riverbank.
I knew he would hit me. Peter's a
real hot-head. I knew if he hit
me hard enough, hurt me enough,
that even my father wouldn't stand
for it. Then one night I put too
much soap in the washing machine
and it overflowed. That did it.
He punched me. Broke my front
So... what do you hear from
I don't. Do you?
No. Did you love her?
91 CONTINUED: 91
We weren't in love, we were in
Did you love Peter?
Then why did you marry him?
92 EXT. RIVERPOINT PARK - ROAD - LATER THAT DAY 92
Jacey holds open the driver's door as Alice climbs in
behind the wheel (of her mother's Town & Country station
wagon). He closes the door.
Which tooth was it?
She points to a front tooth. He leans over to look at
This one. I had it capped. You
can't really tell, can you?
No. It's a beautiful mouth.
Are you going to kiss me?
I don't want to scare you.
I can't see you again, Jacey.
Sure you can. There are ways.
Oh, God... why you? Why am I
telling all these things to you?
92 CONTINUED: 92
Because there's no one else you
can tell them to. Because I'm the
only person you know who will
admit to your face that your
father's a bag of shit. The
biggest bag of shit in this town.
Better head home. Shouldn't be
gone too long.
Alice drives away. Jacey smiles -- he's won.
93 EXT. ROAD (OUTSIDE HALEY) - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 93
The Plymouth cruises back toward town. Jacey drinks a
bottle of beer and happily contemplates the possibilities
of a relationship with Alice. He approaches a billboard
that reads: "MIDWEST STEEL DESK, INC. -- Welcomes You to
Jacey drains the last of the beer and hurls the empty
bottle at the billboard as he drives past it.
94 EXT. ABANDONED FARMHOUSE - DAY (WEEKS LATER - 94
Pam's convertible is parked in a weed-choked yard. Pam
and Doug hurl rocks at the windows, trying to break what
is left of the shattered windows on the weather-beaten,
Who do you look like more, your
father or your mother?
Hell, I don't know.
Well, what did your father look
Like a photograph. I never knew
him. He died like a month before
I was even born. Jacey probably
looks more like him than I do.
Jacey's named after him. That's
how he got to be called 'Jacey,'
after his initials, John Charles,
94 CONTINUED: 94
He died in a car wreck, right?
You never heard about that?
Well, it was sort of a car wreck.
He drowned, or froze to death, or
both, I don't know. He was trying
to drive out to Mud Island.
Mud Island's in the middle of the
It was winter time, the lake was
Jesus, that's pretty stupid.
It's all right, it is stupid.
Real stupid. He did it on a bet.
He bet someone twenty bucks that
he could do it. He made it all
the way out there, too. He went
through the ice on his way back.
95 EXT. ABANDONED FARMHOUSE - ROOF - SUNSET 95
Doug and Pamela sit on the ridge of the farmhouse roof
(they climbed out of a dormer window from the attic).
I think my dad was like Jacey is.
Some guys are just dare-devils. I
bet Jacey once that he couldn't do
a back-flip off the garage roof
into a big pile of leaves. And he
One time Eleanor and I snuck out
and walked around the yard naked.
95 CONTINUED: 95
Yeah. It was sort of a dare, too.
She dared me, I dared her, so we
both did it.
Was this day or night?
Was there a full moon?
I don't remember.
You walked around the yard or did
you like run from tree to tree?
We just walked around the yard.
Front yard or back yard?
Does it matter?
Yeah. Back yard nudity is
hypocritical. It's insincere.
People should do and say exactly
what they feel or think and not
try to hide things.
Their conversation is stifled by this new standard of
95 CONTINUED: (2) 95
The sunset provides a convenient excuse for their
silence. But then Pam realizes he is staring at her.
You look pretty.
Pamela takes his hand, gently unfolds it, and with her
index finger she writes on his palm, "I love you."
Telling him took all the nerve she could muster, she
hasn't the stamina for a disappointing response -- she
places her fingers on his lips to silence him. Doug
leans over and kisses her, sweetly and tenderly, and for
a long time. They will always remember this kiss.
96 EXT. MOVIE THEATRE (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NIGHT 96
The marquee reads: "FRANK SINATRA -- EDW. G. ROBINSON --
'A HOLE IN THE HEAD' -- CINEMASCOPE -- AIR CONDITIONED."
Alice Abbott buys a ticket at the box office.
97 INT. MOVIE THEATRE - NIGHT (MINUTES LATER) 97
The movie has already begun. Alice enters the sparsely
peopled theatre and pauses to allow her eyes to adjust to
the darkness. A hand reaches out and takes her hand --
it is Jacey. He's seated beside the door. He rises and
leads her across the row of empty seats to the exit.
98 INT. MOVIE THEATRE - BALCONY - NIGHT (MOMENTS LATER) 98
Jacey guides Alice to two seats deep in the shadows of
the otherwise unoccupied balcony. They gaze at the
screen for a few moments, then he moves his mouth to her
ear and nibbles on her lobe. She turns her lips to his
and they kiss passionately. Jacey slides his hand under
her skirt. Alice presses herself against his hand and
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 65/66.
98 CONTINUED: 98
Don't tell... don't tell anyone
what we're doing... don't tell
anyone... no one can know,
Jacey... no one...
99 INT. TEXACO STATION (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NIGHT 99
The station is closed and locked up for the night. Jacey
and Alice are naked in the back seat of a car parked
inside the dark service bay. It is a hot and humid
night. They are slippery with sweat.
100 OMITTED 100
C102 EXT. BUS DEPOT (HALEY) - DAY C102
Helen leans out a bus window and calls to Doug, who is
perched on the front fender of the Plymouth, which is
parked nearby with Jacey behind the wheel.
Don't forget to water my tomatoes!
Okay, Mom, okay.
The bus pulls away. Doug waves as the bus goes down the
street -- then he leaps with surprise as an impatient
Jacey leans on the CAR HORN.
102 INT. HOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT (WEEKS LATER) 102
Doug and Pamela lounge on opposite ends of the sofa with
his bare feet pressed against hers in a gentle shoving
match. They are watching an episode of "Sea Hunt" on the
How long is your mom gone?
Two weeks. She goes up every
summer to see this friend she went
to college with.
Eleanor lives in Chicago.
Yeah. She's going to stewardess
What do they teach you at
I don't know. How to wiggle your
Maybe you should go there instead
of Bryn Mawr?
She pushes harder against his feet and her foot slips off
his and clobbers him in the crotch. He moans and sits
It was an accident. Don't be
She pulls him down on top of her. She kisses the tip of
his nose then blows his bangs off his forehead.
102 CONTINUED: 102
You want to... go upstairs?
I just thought maybe you were
tired of just kissing?
I'm not tired of kissing. Are
No, but touching is nice.
We are touching.
I just... you know... would like
to see what you look like without
any clothes on.
Aren't you curious?
No, I know what I look like
without any clothes on -- I look
Can I touch your breasts?
Just on the outside?
No. You can kiss me. I like
You like lips?
102 CONTINUED: (2) 102
I like your lips, block-head. I
like being here like this. But
I'm not taking my clothes off,
'cause if we do that, you know
what we'll do. And I'm too... I
don't want to be like my sisters.
Not if I can help it.
They kiss but are almost instantly interrupted by the
SLAM of the SCREEN DOOR. Doug looks up and does a
surprised take as he sees Alice going up the stairs
followed by Jacey.
Who is it?
My brother. He just went upstairs
with your sister.
103 EXT. HOLT HOME - STREET - NIGHT 103
Pamela rushes out of the house with her shoes in her
hand. Doug chases after her in his bare feet.
Hey... hold up!
Why didn't you tell me?
Hell, I didn't know. What does
this got to do with us?
My God... what is she doing?
Why is it okay for you to sneak
around with me, but it's not all
right for Alice to sneak around
103 CONTINUED: 103
Because I'm not Alice! And you're
not Jacey! Alice is... is like my
mom, they both get hurt so easy,
they're like turtles without
Come on, take it easy.
You don't know my father. You
don't know how he is about Jacey.
He blames him for everything that
happened with Eleanor.
Eleanor fooled around with lots of
guys, it's not Jacey's fault your
dad kicked her out.
Oh, Jesus! He didn't kick her
out, he put her in a nut house!
He shipped her off to this clinic
But... I thought you said she's in
She is now. They let her out a
104 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - LATER THAT NIGHT 104
The Plymouth approaches -- Jacey turns off the headlights
and KILLS the MOTOR and coasts to a stop in front of the
house next door to the Abbotts'. Alice gets out of the
car, Jacey hurries after her, following her into her
104 CONTINUED: 104
It's the truth, you know it is.
No, no, it's all just... screwing.
It's called making love.
Don't follow me.
He grabs her arm and stops her.
I spend all day, every day, just
waiting and waiting to be with
you, waiting to forget everything,
you make me forget... but then
when I get dressed and I come
home, you... just... leak out of
me. Leak away. I go into the
bathroom and I wash you off of me
and I remember everything.
Alice?! Is that you?
Lloyd's voice paralyzes them.
Alice steps out of the shadows and finds Lloyd standing
at the front door.
104 CONTINUED: (2) 104
Who are you talking to?
She's talking to me, Daddy.
Pamela rises from a wrought iron bench in another part of
the yard -- she strolls over to Alice.
Just girl talk.
You can talk inside. It's late.
Pamela and Alice go inside the house.
Jacey exhales, he is ashen.
105 EXT. IRON SKILLET RESTAURANT - NEXT DAY 105
Doug hoses down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
Pamela pulls up in her car and gets out.
I've been thinking -- maybe we
shouldn't see each other right
Oh, yeah? Why?
Well... if my father... I don't
really care what would happen to
me if he found out I was seeing
you, but I have to take care of
Alice and my mother and Eleanor,
and... well, it would be hard for
me to do that if I were in the
doghouse, too. You know?
Christ, why do you have to take
care of them?
105 CONTINUED: 105
No one else will.
He struggles to hold his anger and frustration in check.
Okay. Sure. See you around.
Pam's composure begins to weaken, but she quickly returns
to the car before she can lose control. Doug turns the
hose back on. He doesn't look up as she drives away.
106 INT. HOLT HOME - KITCHEN - DAY (TWO WEEKS LATER) 106
Helen rinses off some just-picked vegetables. She turns
off the faucet, then pauses in reaction to something.
107 INT./EXT. HOLT HOME - STAIRS/FRONT PORCH - DAY 107
Helen approaches the foot of the stairs drying her hands
with a dish towel. She listens for a beat, then steps
out on the front porch. Doug is brushing a coat of green
enamel on the repaired porch swing.
Who's upstairs with Jacey?
How long is she likely to stay?
I don't know, but I wouldn't hold
108 INT. HOLT HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT (EARLY EVENING) 108
Doug rinses the dirty dinner dishes in the sink.
109 INT. HOLT HOME - DINING ROOM - NIGHT 109
Helen hears the SCREEN DOOR SLAM as she fetches a clean
tablecloth from the buffet. She puts the tablecloth on
the table, starts for the kitchen, then hesitates.
110 EXT. HOLT HOME - FRONT PORCH - NIGHT 110
Jacey stands on the porch watching the taillights of
Alice's car disappear into the night. Helen appears
behind the screen door.
Do you want dinner?
Don't sit on the swing -- Doug
just painted it.
I had to bring her here today.
She couldn't see me tonight and
there was nowhere else we could
I can appreciate that, Jacey,
I love her, Mother. I'm going to
Do her parents know about this?
Of course not.
Don't you think they should?
I don't give a damn about them.
Does Alice feel the same as you
She loves me.
Has she agreed to marry you?
110 CONTINUED: 110
She will. She needs time. She's
frightened. It's not easy for
How does hiding it from her family
make it any easier?
We don't have any choice.
Alice is a grown woman, she's a
mother with a child of her own; if
she really loves you then she
(cutting her off)
All that matters is that I get her
away from them before they find
I can't be a party to that, Jacey.
I don't need your help. I'm not
asking for it.
You'll have to find somewhere else
to take Alice -- I can't have you
bringing her here again. I'm
She steps away from the screen door.
111 INT. ABBOTT HOME - ENTRY HALL AND STAIRCASE - NIGHT 111
Alice comes in the front door and goes up the stairs.
Alice? Where have you been?
Susie cut her finger on the piano
pedal. They're as sharp as razor
Joan steps into the entry hall.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 76.
111 CONTINUED: 111
Alice? Did you hear me? Susan
cut her finger on the piano pedal.
Alice disappears at the top of the stairs.
112 INT. HOLT HOME - ENTRYWAY - LATE THAT NIGHT 112
It is almost two o'clock in the morning. Helen has dozed
off in her chair with a book on her lap. She is startled
awake by a loud BANGING at the front door. Helen hurries
to the door and opens it. Pamela is on the porch. She
is out of breath and very distraught. Her CAR is parked
in the middle of the street with its lights on and MOTOR
Pamela, are you all right?
I need to talk to...
Jacey comes down the stairs, pulling on his bathrobe.
Doug appears on the stairs behind him.
Alice took some pills, some of my
Oh, Jesus, no...
She's all right, we took her to
I'll get dressed...
I have to see her.
No. That's why she sent me, she
doesn't want you to come, she was
afraid you would if you heard from
someone else. She's all right.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 77.
112 CONTINUED: 112
They just want her to rest
tonight, they said they might let
her come home in a day or two.
She just needs to rest. I've got
to go, I'm supposed to be on my
way home from the hospital.
But I have to see her.
Dammit, no! I'm warning you, just
wait! I'll let you know just as
soon as she can see you. Please,
don't make things worse. Don't.
113 EXT. HOLT HOME 113
Pamela dashes back to her car.
112 CONTINUED: 112
as Jacey walks down the remainder of the stairs and
watches Pamela speed away.
Helen closes the front door and turns to say something
to Jacey, but he cuts her off:
Leave me alone, just leave me
Helen climbs the stairs, collects Doug at the top
landing, and leads him away.
Jacey punches his fist through a glass pane of the sheer-
curtained sidelight beside the front door.
114 EXT. HOLT HOME - STREET - YARD - DAY (FIVE DAYS LATER) 114
Doug is mowing the front lawn.
115 INT. HOLT HOME - JACEY'S BEDROOM - DAY 115
The DRONE of the LAWN MOWER accompanies Jacey's pacing.
His face is haggard and unshaven. He glances out the
window and sees something that sends him bolting out of
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 78.
116 EXT. HOLT HOME - STREET - FRONT YARD - DAY (MOMENTS 116
Pam's convertible barely comes to a halt at the curb
before Jacey comes charging out of the house to Pam.
Doug is occupied with the lawn mower; he doesn't notice
Pam and Jacey at first. (Jacey and Pam have to speak
over the din of the LAWN MOWER.)
How is she?
She's all right.
Can I see her?
At the boathouse -- at the lake.
Jacey turns and dashes up the driveway.
Doug watches Jacey jump into the Plymouth and speed down
the driveway and then up the street.
Doug SHUTS OFF the LAWN MOWER and walks over to Pam.
What's going on?
She looks at Doug with tears in her eyes.
I had to... for Alice's sake.
Had to what? What?
Tell Jacey I'm sorry.
Pam drives away.
117 EXT. BOATHOUSE (LAKE) - DAY 117
The PLYMOUTH SKIDS to a stop behind the Abbott's Town &
Country station wagon. Jacey jumps out of his car and
rushes into the boathouse.
118 INT. BOATHOUSE - DAY 118
Jacey discovers Lloyd Abbott waiting for him.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 79.
118 CONTINUED: 118
I have plans for my daughters, Mr.
Holt, and they don't include you.
I know you. I know you better
than you know me. I know all
there is to know about screwing
your way into a wealthy family.
I'll never let you screw your way
Where is she? Where's Alice?
Jacey turns and rushes out of the boathouse.
119 EXT. BOATHOUSE - PLYMOUTH - DAY 119
Jacey hops into the PLYMOUTH and PEELS OUT as he speeds
away. Lloyd Abbott steps out of the boathouse and
approaches the station wagon.
120 EXT. PLYMOUTH (STREETS OF HALEY) - DAY 120
Jacey speeds recklessly back into town.
121 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - DRIVEWAY - DAY (MINUTES LATER) 121
Jacey skids into the driveway and leaps out of the car.
122 INT. ABBOTT HOME - ENTRY HALL AND STAIRS - DAY 122
Jacey bursts through the front door and cries out.
Joan Abbott rushes into the entry hall.
Where is she?! Alice! Alice!
Who do you think you are?
Dammit, where is she?!
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 80.
122 CONTINUED: 122
Get out of here!
Lloyd Abbott steps in the front door and drops his car
keys into the silver bowl on the hall table.
Call the police, Joan.
Joan hurries away.
You son-of-a-bitch! Where is
Behind you, Mr. Holt...
Jacey turns and sees Alice standing at the top of the
stairs. She is pale and drawn and wearing a bathrobe.
Come with me. Please, Alice, just
come with me now, right now.
I told you... I can't...
She walks OUT OF VIEW. Lloyd steps up behind Jacey and
says softly but with piercing intensity:
Now, get out of here, you runt
stud. And keep your poor-boy dick
out of my daughters.
Jacey turns and stares at Lloyd -- then brushes past him
on his way out the door.
123 INT. HOLT HOME - JACEY'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT DAY 123
Jacey haphazardly packs his suitcases. His emotions have
been spent. Helen stands in the doorway.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 81.
123 CONTINUED: 123
Why spend all night and half the
day tomorrow waiting in Chicago
for the Philadelphia bus? Why not
just wait and take the morning bus
Because... the sooner I get out of
this fucking town the better.
(slight beat; stung)
124 OMITTED 124
125 EXT./INT. ROAD/BUS (OUTSIDE HALEY) - EVENING (MAGIC 125
HOURSHORT TIME LATER)
Jacey doesn't look out the window as the bus (on its way
out of town) drives past the illuminated billboard that
reads: "MIDWEST STEEL DESK, INC. -- Welcomes You to
126 INT. HOLT HOME - DINING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT 126
Doug and Helen sit across from each other, neither one
has much of an appetite. They eat in silence for a few
Dammit... why can't he just leave
The Abbotts. I don't know why...
why couldn't he just forget 'em?
Just pretend they didn't even
If the Abbotts didn't exist, Jacey
would've had to invent them, one
way or another. There are no ends
of Abbotts in the world, if that's
what you need.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 82.
126 CONTINUED: 126
And he just needs that somehow.
Well, actually, I know how.
She rises and picks up her plate.
127 INT. HOLT HOME - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS ACTION - NIGHT 127
Helen carries her plate to the sink. Doug follows her
What do you mean, how do you know?
She sits at the kitchen table and sighs as if coming
around to some central, hard truth.
I was just a wreck when Charlie
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 83.
127 CONTINUED: 127
Jacey was almost two and I was
eight months pregnant with you
and... well, some mornings I'd be
crying before I even woke up.
Then you were born. And Jacey
just got lost in there. I didn't
have anything for him. Mother
took him over. He'd cry or call
for me, and then I'd hear Mother
answer him, and I'd go back to
I should've taken us away from
here, gone somewhere else.
After Charlie died Lloyd Abbott
started dropping by on his way
home from work. He felt so bad
about that bet Charlie made with
him at the lake. That foolish,
idiotic bet. Poor Lloyd -- I felt
sorry for him. He'd have a cup of
coffee with Mother and me. If a
doorknob had come off he'd fix it.
He'd carry the garbage cans to the
curb. Someone dies, people try to
be helpful. But he was by here so
often that people started to talk.
It was fairly obvious that he
wanted something more from me than
just a cup of coffee. I suggested
that he didn't need to stop by
here so often, but... then one
afternoon I was at Woolworth's,
having lunch at the counter. All
of sudden Joan Abbott was standing
there -- screaming and yelling at
me to stop sleeping with her
husband, with Lloyd. I was
speechless. She was gone before I
could find my tongue.
127 CONTINUED: (2) 127
I went to see Joan, I tried to
talk to her, to put her mind at
Dammit, why didn't Lloyd tell her
that nothing had happened?
I'm sure he did, but men always
say that, darling. Besides, Lloyd
was always having affairs. He's
that type of man.
Ahhh, Jesus... but why? Why did
everyone in town believe Joan
Because she's Joan Abbott. If you
cross Joan you don't get invited
to her parties -- and the Abbotts
have the best parties in town.
The only parties.
I hate this town. I hate the
He slaps the back of a chair and knocks it over.
I'm sorry, Doug, I shouldn't have
I already knew.
People still talk about it?
No, I've never heard anyone talk
about it. Not to me.
Then how did...?
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 85.
127 CONTINUED: (3) 127
Oh, Lord... he knows too?
Yeah. But he thinks it really
Helen is overcome with tears. Doug stares at her
helplessly. He's never seen his mother weep before.
128 OMITTED 128
130 EXT. COUNTRYSIDE ROAD - DAY 130
The bus cruises along the two-lane blacktop. Doug stares
out the window.
A131 EXT. PHILADELPHIA STREET - NIGHT (EARLY FALL 1959) A131
Partygoers enter building.
131 INT. JACEY'S APARTMENT 131
A vintage, third-floor, railroad flat -- sparsely
furnished and neat as a pin. Jacey is hosting a party.
A TONY BENNETT record ("When Somebody Breaks Your Heart")
plays on the hi-fi. The apartment is elbow-to-elbow with
Penn men and attractive coeds from Radcliffe, Mt.
Hollyoke, and Byrn Mawr. Doug sits in the middle of the
sofa wedged between two coeds having separate, but
equally animated conversations with two of Jacey's
classmates (who are perched on the arms of the sofa).
Doug wears a jacket and tie but his knack at looking out
of place is intact.
Jacey is apart from the others wooing a gorgeous CO-ED in
a tight cashmere sweater.
Airplanes, bridges, skyscrapers,
bras, all utilize the same
fundamentals of structural
With his finger he traces the back strap of her bra
beneath her sweater...
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 86.
131 CONTINUED: 131
A stable foundation that resists
His finger trails the shoulder strap of her bra...
Carefully calculated suspension...
He draws his fingertip around the outside of her breast
to the lower front of her bra...
And cantilevered elements to
The Co-ed is bothered but none-the-less bewitched.
Ahh... you know, I'm engaged.
So am I.
I'm engaged in conversation with
Jacey smiles and then kisses her. Doug is spying on them
from the safety of the crowd. Jacey winks at Doug. Doug
shakes his head in wonder.
132 EXT. CAMPUS - SIDEWALK (UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, 132
PHILADELPHIA) - DAY (MONTHS LATERLATE FALL, 1959)
Doug walks along the sidewalk towards the entrance of the
theater carrying some rolled-up plans under his arm. He
reacts as he sees:
Hey! Hey! Pam!
Pamela Abbott walks across the quad. Pam is 19 years old
now, her beauty in full bloom. Doug jogs over to her.
132 CONTINUED: 132
What are you up to?
I come down to use the library
sometimes or go shopping.
How's Bryn Mawr?
Very... Bryn. I got to catch the
Just have to drop off these set
designs -- you want to go get
something to eat?
I can't. Sorry.
Why not? It's been a long time.
You seem taller.
(re: her figure)
And you seem... not so plain.
So, dinner, okay?
I can't. I have to go to this
The traffic light changes and the other pedestrians cross
Just a party I got roped into
going. Maybe some other time,
okay? I mean it, really.
Just call -- I'm at Reed Hall.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 88.
132 CONTINUED: 132
Doug watches her cross the street.
133 INT. REED HALL - DOUG'S DORM ROOM - THAT NIGHT 133
Doug is revising a set design -- deeply concentrating on
his task. He's startled by a KNOCK on the door.
MALE STUDENT (O.S.)
Hey, Holt! You got a visitor
134 INT. REED HALL - LOBBY - NIGHT (MINUTES LATER) 134
Doug comes down the wide stairs with a puzzled look on
his face. He stops at the front desk and the student
clerk points to another part of the lobby. Doug walks
across the cavernous lobby and finds Pamela Abbott
slumped in a chair.
Did you miss the bus?
Pam laughs and Doug suddenly realizes:
Damn, you're drunk. Awww, man...
I better get you out of here before
the Puritans tar-and-feather you.
Can you walk?
Pam awkwardly rises and Doug guides her to the door.
Listen to me -- go out the front
door, turn right, go around to the
side of the building and wait for
me by the fire escape. Okay?
135 EXT. REED HALL - FIRE ESCAPE - NIGHT (MINUTES LATER) 135
Pamela leans against the side of the building as the fire
escape ladder descends to the pavement. Doug climbs
135 CONTINUED: 135
Come on -- up we go. Pam?
Pam keels over and vomits.
136 INT. REED HALL - DOUG'S DORM ROOM - NIGHT 136
Pam sits on the bed as Doug pulls her stained turtleneck
sweater off over her head (she's wearing a bra).
What were you drinking, Sterno?
Hold on, we got to get your pants
too. Can you stand up.
(as she collapses on
No, you can't stand up. All
He undoes the waist of her pants and tugs on her pant
legs, but her panties start to slide off along with her
Nope, nope, let's keep the panties
on, okay? Pam? Can you hold on
to your underpants?
I'll hold on to your underpants.
He holds her panties in place while he struggles to get
her pants over her hips.
137 INT. REED HALL - RESTROOM - NIGHT 137
Doug rinses out Pam's clothes in a sink.
138 INT. REED HALL - DOUG'S DORM ROOM - NIGHT 138
Pam's wet clothes have been draped over the radiator.
Pam is passed out, tucked in under the covers. Doug sits
on the edge of the bed gently cleaning her face with a
139 INT. DOUG'S DORM ROOM - NEXT MORNING 139
Doug stirs from his sleeping spot on the floor (he slept
with his clothes on). He notices that Pam's clothes have
been removed from the radiator. He sits up and finds
that the bed is empty. She's gone.
140 EXT. BRYN MAWR - DORMITORY - TWO DAYS LATER 140
Pamela approaches her dorm carrying an armload of books.
She starts up the steps then stops when she sees Doug.
I'm sorry, Doug.
Shit. That's it? You're sorry?
Oh Jesus... did we?
Did we... do it?
What do you think?
I... don't... remember...
Goddammit. Well, I know you might
find this hard to believe, but I
don't sleep with drunks.
He walks away. She calls after him.
141 INT./EXT. DOUG'S DORM ROOM/FIRE ESCAPE - THAT NIGHT 141
Doug lounges on his bed reading a textbook. It is
raining outside. He is startled by a TAPPING on the
windowpane. Pamela is outside on the fire escape. He
141 CONTINUED: 141
Doug! Open the window! Come on,
I'm freezing. Doug...!
He gets out of bed, unlatches the window, then returns to
the bed and his book. Pamela opens the window (with
difficulty) and climbs in. She drapes her wet coat over
the radiator and sits in the desk chair.
If you feel like you're gonna puke
use the wastebasket there.
I'm sorry. I am so sorry. I was
embarrassed. I didn't know where
I was when I woke up. I felt like
I was dying, so, I just... I was
going to call you.
Doug doesn't respond -- he turns the page of his book.
I don't know... I was blotto. I
mean, I was so happy to see you.
Then I just got sad. I got sad.
And stupid. It happens, you know?
Doug snaps his book shut.
You want to hear something stupid?
When I was cleaning you up, wiping
the puke off your face, I suddenly
realized how much I miss you --
how much I love you. How's that
Pam is stung by his flippancy, she begins to cry.
What are you crying for?
I love you. But it's too late.
141 CONTINUED: (2) 141
Everything's too screwed up.
Doug kneels in front of her and anxiously tries to
No, no, it's not too late. It's
perfect timing. We're on our own
now. No Jacey and Eleanor or
Jacey and Alice. That's what
stinks about being the youngest,
we have to sweep up after
everybody else. But now it's just
us. It's our turn.
How can you be in love with me?
How can you be in love with me?
'Cause I've always have been.
He kisses her, then he gazes at her and strokes her hair.
You want to see something?
142 EXT. THEATER - SIDEWALK (UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, 142
PHILADELPHIA) - NIGHT
Doug and Pam hurry along the rain-swept sidewalk towards
143 INT. THEATER - NIGHT (MOMENTS LATER) 143
The large theater is dark except for a single work light
standing on the bare stage.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 93.
143 CONTINUED: 143
Doug leads Pam by the hand down the aisle from the lobby.
What are we doing here?
I want to show you something.
He escorts her up a short flight of steps and positions
her center stage near the footlights.
Just stand right there.
He takes the work light with him as he walks off stage.
Then with a METALLIC CLANK everything goes dark.
It's all right -- don't move!
There's the RUMBLE and SQUEAK of a piece of SCENERY being
rolled onto stage -- then the SWOOSH of a backdrop being
lowered from the fly loft.
Almost, almost... hold on.
We hear Doug RUNNING somewhere backstage then a beautiful
sunset slowly illuminates the stage -- creating the
perfect mood for the modestly scaled stylized set that
Doug has put into place: It is the roof of a weathered
farmhouse with a dormer window and a tall brick chimney.
Doug steps on stage, he's a bit winded from his quick-
Oh, Doug, it's beautiful.
The senior acting class does
scenes from different plays, they
invite everybody, it's a real big
deal. So, there's this
competition among all the theater
design students to do the sets.
And -- anyway -- I'm the one
whose design got picked.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 94.
143 CONTINUED: (2) 143
What scene is it for? What play?
(a tad embarrassed)
Umm... Romeo and Juliet. It's
something different, I think
that's why they picked it.
Everybody else was doing castles
and stuff. Rooftop Romeo and
Juliet by Douglas L. Holt.
You're really good at this.
It's like building models when I
was a kid. It's fun. It's...
You know, they tore that old
Oh, no. Did they?
They always tear down the wrong
Oh, Jesus, I missed you -- so
Missed you, too.
They kiss -- then Pamela pulls away. Doug studies her,
You have a boyfriend, right?
Well, what? You worried what your
old man would think?
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 95.
143 CONTINUED: (3) 143
He doesn't care what I do, as long
as I don't do it in Haley.
Then what's the problem?
I can't... do this.
Why not? I mean... okay. We
don't have to go so fast. Shit,
I'm sorry. I blew it again, huh?
No, I did.
Pam climbs down off the stage and starts up the aisle.
I'm on probation. They pulled a
bed-check the night I was here. I
have to be back in the dorm by
ten. Gotta go.
What about tomorrow? I could come
up in the afternoon and...
No! It's just too late. It's all
messed up. I can't seem to make
things all right. The more I try
the worse everything gets. I'm
Pam walks up the aisle and disappears through a door to
Pam! It's not too late!
144 OMITTED 144
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 96.
146 OMITTED 146
A148 INT. BRYN MAWR DORMITORY - LOBBY - LATER THAT NIGHT A148
Pam enters the lobby. A female student CLERK (#1)
displays a message as Pam passes by the front desk.
Pam -- some guy named Doug keeps
calling for you.
Pam ignores the Clerk and the message and goes upstairs.
148 EXT. BRYN MAWR DORMITORY - DAY 148
Pamela approaches her dorm. She stops as she sees Doug
waiting beside the entrance. She turns and walks away.
A149 EXT. BRYN MAWR DORMITORY - NIGHT A149
Doug still waiting beside the entrance for some sign of
Pam. He's tired, cold, and hungry. He grinds out his
cigarette with his heel and walks away.
B149 EXT. JACEY'S APT. (PHILADELPHIA STREET) - DAY (SUNDAY) B149
149 INT. JACEY'S APARTMENT 149
Jacey sits in his favorite armchair reading the Sunday
newspaper. Doug sits in the middle of the sofa. Jacey
scrutinizes his brooding younger brother.
What's wrong with you?
A boiling water KETTLE starts to WHISTLE (O.S.) -- Jacey
goes into the kitchen to tend to it. There is a soft
KNOCK on the front door. Doug goes to answer it. He
opens the door and finds Pamela standing there with her
coat in her hand. He is pleasantly surprised; Pam is
distant, slightly off-balance.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 97.
149 CONTINUED: 149
How did you know I was here?
You want another cup of...
Jacey steps out of the kitchen and frowns when he sees
I told you not to come by on
The breath goes out of Doug as if he'd been struck in the
Dammit, why didn't you call first?
Didn't have any nickels.
Well, I didn't expect to see you
again. You want to fuck? I mean,
that's why you came over, right?
Then take off your clothes.
Pamela drops her coat on the floor. She pulls her
sweater off over her head. Doug's anguish is as great
as Pamela's humiliation. He cannot bear any more if
this -- he walks out the door.
150 EXT. JACEY'S APARTMENT (PHILADELPHIA) - SIDEWALK - DAY 150
Doug comes out of the apartment house and walks up the
sidewalk. Tears begins to stream down his face. He
begins to run and run as fast as he can.
151 INT. REED HALL (PHILADELPHIA) - LOBBY AND STAIRS - 151
Doug enters the dormitory and starts up the stairs.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 98.
151 CONTINUED: 151
Doug turns and finds Jacey at the foot of the stairs.
Doug continues up the stairs -- Jacey pursues him.
I didn't know.
You didn't know what?!
How you felt about Pam.
Apologize to her, you asshole!
I ran into her a few weeks ago at
a party. She was drinking and
I... it was easy. She felt guilty
about telling her father about
Alice and me. Actually, I made
her feel guilty, I made her feel
like she had betrayed Alice.
She didn't betray Alice! She was
just trying to get rid of you so
Alice wouldn't try to kill herself
again. Jesus Christ, you shit-
head, Alice couldn't marry you!
I know. I mean, I do now.
Then what the hell did Pam ever do
to deserve your revenge?
151 CONTINUED: (2) 151
Just your way of evening the score
with Lloyd Abbott, right?
Doug spins and delivers a wild, roundhouse punch that
lands brutally on the side of Jacey's face -- the impact
knocks him down onto the steps. Jacey's eyebrow has
split open, he is blinded by blood.
I don't know you! I don't know
who the fuck you are! You fuck
everything. You fuck everything
up! Why did you have to fuck Pam,
Doug walks away, leaving Jacey sitting on the steps,
clutching a banister for support. He presses his palm to
his eyebrow to squelch the flow of blood.
152 EXT. BRYN MAWR DORMITORY - DAY 152
Doug approaches Pam's dormitory.
153 INT. BRYN MAWR DORMITORY - LOBBY - DAY 153
Doug steps up to the female student CLERK (#2) at the
Pamela Abbott, please. Tell her
Doug is here.
She's not here.
But she left.
What do you mean?
She left... last night.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 100.
153 CONTINUED: 153
Where did she go?
I don't know.
Well, did she go home?
No one seems to know. She just
took some clothes and left.
Oh, God... no...
His pain is so clear that it spurs the Clerk's sympathy.
Look, I'm not supposed to do this,
but... well, I can give you her
(explodes with irony)
Shit! Yeah, right...
I mean... thanks. Thanks anyway.
I know her home address.
154 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - DAY (DECEMBER, 1959) 154
The Abbott house is decked with snow. Doug sits behind
the wheel of the Plymouth. He's parked down the street.
He smokes a cigarette and stares at the house -- the
pavement outside the driver's window is littered with
155 EXT. SHOP (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - DAY 155
Alice comes out on the street laden with packages and
shopping bags. She's startled by Doug when he falls in
beside her and follows her down the sidewalk.
I don't know.
Is she with Eleanor?
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 101.
155 CONTINUED: 155
I don't know.
I don't know.
I couldn't find Eleanor's name in
the Chicago phone book.
Maybe it's unlisted.
Well, do you know Eleanor's
No. I don't know her address, I
don't know her phone number.
You'd have to ask my father for
it. All right?
Alice turns and steps into another shop -- leaving Doug
behind on the sidewalk.
156 INT. HOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT (CHRISTMAS, 1959) 156
PERRY COMO SINGS "The Little Drummer Boy" ON the
TELEVISION. Doug rises from the sofa.
157 INT. HOLT HOME - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS ACTION - NIGHT 157
Helen is peeling apples to make a pie. Doug enters and
studies her for a beat.
Are you okay?
You look... tired.
Just a cold.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 102.
157 CONTINUED: 157
I do wish Jacey had come home for
Christmas. Maybe that's what's
wrong with me.
I guess that free-lance drafting
job was too good for him to turn
I don't think that's why he didn't
come home. I wrote him a letter,
you know. About Lloyd and me.
Has he mentioned it to you?
Doug wants to avoid the topic of Jacey. He opens the
When did you start drinking beer?
Oh... I bought those for you. I
had them in the basement; I kept
forgetting to bring them up.
He does a bemused take on her.
Good heavens, I know you drink
Doug takes out two bottles of beer and opens them.
Here. Have one with me.
I bought those for you, honey.
It's not good to drink alone, Mom.
Don't be silly.
Come on. Sit down. Have a beer.
157 CONTINUED: (2) 157
He pulls out a chair for her. She reluctantly comes over
and sits down. Doug sits and proposes a toast.
(takes a sip)
Let's drink 'em all.
Helen laughs girlishly.
Charlie was always trying to get
me to drink beer.
Why do you always call him
That was his name.
Why don't you ever say 'your
Sometimes I do, don't I? I don't
know. When I think of him, I
think of 'Charlie.'
Did you ever... meet anybody else?
You mean another man?
Well, everyone always thinks
things are more possible than they
are. I mean, single men don't
stay in Haley if they have any
starch. The only eligible man
around was Drew Carter, but he
smells like his dog.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 2/16/96 104.
157 CONTINUED: (3) 157
Her remark cracks Doug up -- Helen laughs, too.
I wish I'd remembered the beers
sooner. It's nice to see you
Don't be. Everyone has sad times.
Doug dissolves into tears. He lowers his head and
shields his eyes with his hand. Helen leans over and
strokes his hair. After a few moments, he rises and
wipes away his tears with a dish towel.
I'll tell you a secret. I did
have a friend. A man in Chicago.
I used to see him when I went up
to Chicago to visit Bea during
'Used to see him' -- you don't see
Did you like him?
He was a wonderful man. A little
boring, but really, very
How long did this go on?
About eight years or so, it was
when you boys were still at home.
That's a long time. Did you ever
think about marrying him?
He proposed. But, well, obviously,
I said no.
157 CONTINUED: (4) 157
Because I'm in love with... your
father. With my memory of him.
He was the one for me. Oh, I
don't know... there's different
kinds of love, darling. Some
people you love no matter what.
Other people you love if the
situation is right. To me the
best kind of love is the 'no
matter what' kind.
Well, I am a cheap drunk, aren't
158 EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - ROAD - DAYS LATER 158
The bus cruises along the narrow ribbon of pavement.
159 INSIDE BUS - ANGLE ON DOUG 159
-- sitting by himself; there's not many passengers today.
We hear the VOICES of rambunctious CHILDREN...
160 INT. HALEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - DAY 160
(LATE SPRING, 1960)
The second-grade students are in the midst of an art
project where they make a design by gluing various sorts
of dried beans to colored paper -- but the beans are
being thrown about the room and other beans have been
spilled on the floor. Helen wearily attempts to rein in
the unruly children:
Too much noise, please. Let's
finish up. Keep the glue on the
paper. Sam, Lillian, Jack -- in
your seats, please...
Helen suddenly loses her energy and interest in policing
the children. Their hijinks continue as she steps out of
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 106.
161 INT. HALEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS 161
Helen steps over to a window and stares out -- lost in
her own thoughts and oblivious to the NOISE from her
162 INT. UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - THEATER - DAY (LATE 162
Doug is on a cat-walk in the fly loft high over the stage
floor. He strains as he drops 20 pound slabs of pig-iron
onto a counterweight carriage, then he releases the line
and flies a canvas backdrop up into the loft. He locks
off the line, wipes his brow, turns, and finds Jacey
standing behind him.
What-the-hell do you want?
163 INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL (PHILADELPHIA) - THAT NIGHT 163
Doug sits in an almost empty terminal waiting to catch a
red-eye flight to Chicago. A group of just arrived
stewardesses pass by chatting with a captain and other
flight officers. Eleanor Abbott does a take on Doug,
steps away from her co-workers, and doubles back to him.
Doug almost doesn't recognize her. She is twenty years
old now and very grown-up, very stylish in her stewardess
uniform. She smiles at him.
How's your chin?
(as he doesn't respond)
Remember... the pencil?
Yeah. I have a little scar.
You going home? Back to Hole-in- the-Ground,
My mother died.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 107.
163 CONTINUED: 163
Oh God. Oh no. Oh, Doug, I'm
She had cancer. I just saw her
Christmas. She was tired, but I
thought she just had the flu or
something. She didn't tell us.
The hospital told Jacey when they
How is Jacey?
He had to stay to take his state
board exams. He's coming back the
day after tomorrow.
He's an architect?
If he passes his exams. He will.
I'm so sorry, Doug.
You know, I tried to find your
phone number a couple of months
It's in my roommate's name, I've got
to fix that.
I was wondering if you knew where
No. I don't.
She left school.
I know. My father called me.
163 CONTINUED: (2) 163
He was looking for her. I don't
know where she is. I gotta run --
I'll miss my ride to the hotel.
Tell Pam I love her.
Eleanor looks at him.
Tell her... just tell her that.
Eleanor doesn't reply. She turns and walks away.
164 EXT. FUNERAL HOME (HALEY) - ALLEY - DAYS LATER 164
The distance between Jacey and Doug is telling, as is the
difference in their behavior. Doug leans against a wall
with his hands in his pockets, his eyes cast down on his
shoes. Jacey roams the alley unable to stand still for
grief. He lights a fresh cigarette off the butt of
Why? Why didn't she tell us?
The FUNERAL DIRECTOR appears in the back door:
165 INT. FUNERAL HOME (HALEY) - DAY (MINUTES LATER) 165
Helen's closed casket is surrounded by floral tributes.
Doug and Jacey enter from a door near the casket -- they
pause in reaction to the crowded parlor, it overflows
with mourners. Jacey explodes under his breath, so that
only Doug can hear:
Fucking hypocrites -- every one of
Jacey turns and walks out through the door they came in.
Doug walks over to his seat in the front row -- he
hesitates when he sees Lloyd Abbott standing in the back
of the parlor.
166 INT. HOLT HOME - DINING ROOM - NEXT DAY 166
Doug sits at the table wrapping dishes in newspaper.
Jacey comes in with a framed photograph of their
Do you want this picture of
You can have it.
Jacey steps out of the dining room.
167 INT. HOLT HOME - HELEN'S BEDROOM - DAY (SHORT 167
Jacey is packing Helen's things. Doug steps in the
I'm starving. You want to go get
something to eat?
Jacey is caught a bit off-guard by Doug's invitation,
168 INT. IRON SKILLET - NIGHT 168
Jacey and Doug are seated in a window booth. They eat in
You don't have to stick around. I
can handle things here.
What about school?
I hate Penn. Always have. You
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 110.
168 CONTINUED: 168
I should live my own life. Stop
being your shadow. I'm not like
you, Jacey -- I don't want to be
You going to stay here? In Haley?
No. I was thinking New York. If
I'm going to really learn how to
design sets, that's the place to
I know you are.
Did you have to get stitches?
My eyebrow -- yeah, ten stitches.
Doug takes an envelope out of his coat pocket and puts it
on the table.
Found this in one of the boxes in
What is it?
A letter of agreement between
Lloyd Abbott and Dad. Dad sold
him the file drawer patent -- not
168 CONTINUED: (2) 168
Jacey opens the envelope and studies the yellowed
Jesus Christ... he sold the patent
for a used car?
Used cars were the only kind of
cars around. The war was on --
everything was mobilized. They
stopped making new cars, they were
making tanks and bombers in
Detroit. And even Midwest Steel
wasn't making desks, they were
making ammo boxes and mortar
How did you get to be such an
expert on World War Two?
U.S. History -- high school. I
should be an expert, I had to take
the damn class twice. I guess Dad
needed a car and he figured who-
the-hell needed a full-suspension
'1937 Desoto coupe convertible as
Wonder whatever happened to it?
He parked it at the bottom of the
169 EXT. BUS DEPOT (DOWNTOWN HALEY) - NEXT DAY 169
Doug follows Jacey to the door of the bus. Neither one
of them knows how to say good-bye, after an awkward beat:
169 CONTINUED: 169
(fighting back tears)
Do me a favor. Don't stand here
and wave good-bye... it makes me
think of Mom.
Okay. See you.
Doug turns and walks away. Jacey climbs onto the bus.
170 EXT. ABBOTT HOME - STREET - DAY 170
Doug drives home from the bus depot in the old Plymouth.
He slows as he sees... the party tent in the Abbotts'
front yard (with its canvas sides rolled up).
Susan's third birthday party is underway, dozens of well-
dressed children and their parents are in attendance.
Alice (who is very pregnant) and Peter Vanlaningham and
Lloyd and Joan Abbott watch Susan riding her new pony, a
gift from her grandparents. A new generation of Abbott
parties has begun.
171 EXT. HOLT HOME - DRIVEWAY - DAY 171
A "For Sale" sign has been placed on the front yard.
Doug pulls up the driveway in the Plymouth. He turns OFF
the ENGINE but doesn't get out of the car. Then he
STARTS the CAR again and backs out of the driveway.
172 INT. ABBOTT HOME - TENT - DAY (SHORT TIME LATER) 172
Despite it being a birthday party for a three-year-old,
this is very much a grown-up affair. The band is
playing, the adults are dancing, Joan Abbott is flitting
from guest-to-guest, Alice is dutifully silent while
Peter dominates the talk at their table, Lloyd is with
his cronies. Doug enters the tent -- one-by-one the
guests take notice of him as he works his way across the
tent -- and all are very aware of his uninvited presence
by the time he reaches Lloyd Abbott. Lloyd scrutinizes
What do you want?
I want to talk to you.
173 INT. ABBOTT HOUSE - DEN - DAY 173
Doug follows Lloyd into the dark-paneled room.
Shut the door.
Doug closes the door. Lloyd lights a cigarette.
I don't want to.
I'm sorry about your mother.
Sorry about what?
You didn't know your mother at all
if you think someone like me
would've ever stood a chance with
someone like her. That just goes
to show you how stupid this town
is -- that they'd believe she
slept with me. That'd make
Charlie laugh. Your old man was
my best friend. He used to call
me 'Egg-head' -- hell, everybody
did. And back then everybody knew
that Egg-head Abbott didn't stand
a snowball's chance in hell with
Helen Riley. Of course, that was
all before I became Lloyd Abbott
-- Mr. Abbott. That was back when
I still had chicken shit on my
shoes and twelve cents in my
pocket. Charlie Holt was the only
one good enough for Helen. I used
to spy on 'em -- yup, I did.
(fixes a drink)
Used to watch them sit on the
front porch of her house -- your
house -- and watch 'em talk.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 114.
173 CONTINUED: 173
And talk. I never knew what to
say to a girl. Never could just
talk. Could dance, could listen
to the radio. But I couldn't
talk... except with your mother,
except with Helen. I talked more
to her after your dad died than
I'd ever talked to any woman
before then -- or since then.
Jesus, I talked. Just like this.
Just like right now. Just pouring
out. Helen would listen and
whatever I said, she'd never make
me feel bad or ignorant or guilty.
I mean... for Christ's sake, she
never blamed me for what happened
at the lake, for letting Charlie
drive out on that ice. She never
did anything but try to make me
hurt less and I...
Lloyd is startled by Joan as she opens the door.
Get out of here!
It's time for Susie's birthday
Goddammit, Joan, go way! Get the
hell out of here! Leave me alone!
He hurls his GLASS at her and it SHATTERS on the door
jamb. Joan recoils in dumb-founded shock and backs out
of the doorway. Lloyd fumes over and slams the door shut
in her face. He leans against the door and catches his
I wanted sons -- isn't that funny?
I wanted sons and I got three
daughters. I wanted a woman I
could talk to and I got a woman
whose ears are stuffed full of
money and Percodan. But I got the
chicken shit off my shoes.
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 115.
173 CONTINUED: (2) 173
My shoes are clean.
I know that's what Jacey thinks.
I could always tell by the way he
looked at me -- even when he was a
little boy -- like I owed him
something. But, goddammit, he's
wrong. That bet was your father's
idea and I never meant your mother
any harm. I would've done
anything for her -- anything. I
loved her. But the only thing she
ever wanted from me was just for
me to leave her alone.
He pours himself a fresh drink, then turns to Doug:
So, what do you want?
I want to find Pam -- and you're
going to tell me where she is.
174 EXT. BROWNSTONE APARTMENT BUILDING (CHICAGO) - THAT 174
Doug navigates the busy sidewalk to the entrance of the
building. He checks the number over the door to the
address on the scrap of paper in his hand.
175 EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING DOORWAY - ELEANOR'S APARTMENT - 175
NIGHT (MINUTES LATER)
Doug knocks on the door. Eleanor opens it, she's dressed
for work in her stewardess uniform. She's obviously
surprised to find Doug on her doorstep, but she greets
him with a warm smile.
Where is she?
176 EXT. DEPARTMENT STORE DISPLAY WINDOW (CHICAGO) - 176
SIDEWALK - NIGHT (SHORT TIME LATER)
Pamela dresses a mannequin in the display window. As she
moves behind the mannequin to fasten a garment she sees
Doug standing on the other side of the glass watching her
from the sidewalk. Doug writes a message on the plate
glass window with his index finger (printing the letters
in reverse so that the message is legible from Pam's
POV); his message reads: "I love you."
INVENTING THE ABBOTTS - Rev. 3/20/96 116.
177 EXT. DEPARTMENT STORE ENTRANCE - SIDEWALK - NIGHT 177
Pamela comes out of the store via the revolving door and
finds Doug waiting for her on the sidewalk.
How can you...?
How can I what?
Ever... forgive me?
You always loved me no matter what
I did, right?
Maybe that's how I love you -- no
matter what. That's the best kind
of love, you know?
But... oh, Jesus... how do we
start all over again?
Pam's eyes fill with tears. Doug steps over to her and
embraces her tenderly, holding her close.
There. We're doing it.
(through her tears)
Starting over. So, what are you
doing tonight? You want to go
Some people never change.
He wipes her tears from her cheeks with his fingers, then
gives a short, but sweet, kiss. Then he smiles:
177 CONTINUED: 177
Inventing the Abbotts
Writers : Ken Hixon
Genres : Drama Romance