Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nurturing a Dream

Every published writer wants their books to succeed.  Depending on the era they publish in, a published author can hope for anything from a barely known book that at least bears your name, to the present mother lode of having the story made into a movie.

In 1955 John Fitzgerald's Papa Married a Mormon had been promised the world. Radio, T.V., movie.  These were heady ideals for his family memoir.  Unfortunately a decade later John's hopes were fleeting.  In a letter to Mr. Charles Whitman, drama director at Brigham Young University, John wrote, "The motion picture rights to Papa Married a Mormon were sold in 1955 although the movie has never been made....I have no way of knowing when or if the movie will ever be made."

Mr. Whitman had written John in February of 1969. He was hoping to create a play based on the three adult books.  The idea appealed to John but there were legal loopholes and contracts that must be maintained.  All of these John outlined in his two page response to Whitman.  However, more important than any of these was the purpose of the story.  John's closing paragraph outlined his dream, "It is a shame that motion picture of Papa Married a Mormon was never made because it would have done more to build up good will toward the Mormons in this country than anything else.  Maybe your play could do the same thing if you adhere to the story line and don't let any propoganda (sic) work its way into it."  John closed "with every good wish".

By March the authorization to adapt had been given.  There was only one caveat and John didn't think it would be a problem.  Mr. Whitman had his dream.  John did, too.

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