The Disenchanted

The Disenchanted

The Disenchanted

The Disenchanted


It's the waiting, Shep was thinking. You wait to get inside the gate, you wait outside the great man's office, you wait for your agent to make the deal, you wait for the assignment, you wait for instructions on how to write what they want you to write, and then, when you finish your treatment and turn it in, you wait for that unique contribution to art, the story conference.

Older Hollywood writers knew how to get the most out of this three- or four-week lag. They caught up on their mail or did a little proselytizing for the Guild or wrote an original against the rainy season or went in for matinees or worked out the bugs in their tennis game (with secretaries trained to page them promptly at the Club if the call should come).

Shep just waited. At first he had brought in a couple of books, Re d Star Over China , Malraux' Man's Hope , but it was no use. Not with that phone at his elbow about to ring any moment. For over three weeks now Shep had arrived at his cubicle on the top floor of the Writers' Building at nine-thirty and departed at six: 105 hours. He had kept track of them with the desperate patience of a prisoner in solitary -- with nothing to do but await the verdict of Victor Milgrim, known on the lot as "The Czar of All the Rushes."

Six months before, young Shep had come home to Hollywood from the hills of New England and the ivy-covered walls of Webster with a summa cum laude in English and the conviction that movies, as the great new folk art, needed young men with his combination of talent and ideals.

But nobody had been deceived. As his agent had explained, somewhat petulantly, "Look, kid, they won't even make It Can't Happen Here when they bought it already and that's got a name behind it. So if you wanna put yourself in a selling position, go write yourself a hunk a pure entertainment."

Shep had a girl he was interested in marrying and his old man . . .

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