‘Spider-Man’ Saga Continues

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Thanks to your magazine and writer Michael A. Hiltzik for the article on the “Spider-Man” screenplay saga (“Untangling the Web,” Special Hollywood Issue, March 24). One fact seems to get lost in the myriad complications: no one at the Writers Guild has ever read the screenplays concerned. Barney Cohen, Ethan Wiley, Neil Ruttenberg, Frank LaLoggia, several others and I were never afforded a hearing by our peers--that is, other writers. The accepted process of arbitration was circumvented by a toss of a coin in the credits administration, which didn’t read the scripts either. Also, although I thought Hiltzik’s article was terrific, he misquoted me quoting Groucho Marx in “Duck Soup.” The line should be, “It’s too late. I’ve already paid a month’s rent on a battlefield.”

Ted Newsom

Via the Internet


Back in the mid-1980s, when Ted Newsom wrote regularly for magazines I edited, I heard a great deal about his “Spider-Man” script. Although I never saw the script, I figured it had to be at least as good as most scripts in its genre. However, I also figured that it would never be produced. Why? Because it’s always been clear, even to outsiders, that what matters in Hollywood is not talent but power. And while Ted had plenty of the former, he had none of the latter. However, he did have--and apparently still has--another quality that the powerful folks in the industry may not be familiar with: persistence. My money is on him to win in the end.

Kent Rasmussen

Thousand Oaks