Apt Pupil - Novel

Remember The 1987 Apt Pupil Film…Wait, What?!

At first you might be thinking I’m joking about an Apt Pupil movie from 1987. In this case though I certainly am not. While there was of course the 1998 feature film by Bryan Singer. Starring the late Brad Renfro as well as Sir Ian McKellen. The fact of the matter is we came very close to a 1987 adaptation of Stephen King’s Apt Pupil.
Apt Pupil

Apt Pupil was a 1982 novella by King. Published in Different Seasons. The story concerns a young man named Todd Bowden, who has realized the terrible secret of Arthur Denker. This secret turns out to be that Arthur is in fact a Nazi war criminal known as Kurt Dussander. Soon Kurt and Todd’s friendship results in murder.

Both unknown to the other are stalking the homeless community in an attempt to rid themselves of nightmares. Things spiral out of control for both Todd and Kurt, thanks to not just the homicide but the web of lies and distrust the two spin.

Bryan Singer’s film in my opinion does a remarkable job of capturing the feel of the novella. The darkness of Kurt’s past of course as well as Todd’s acceptance and desire to feel the same. Some critics even made note that Singer’s adaptation managed to make King’s story even more darker by changing the ending. Having said that, I am in the camp that feels the ending doesn’t live up to the source material.

I was working at the Razorback Theatre back when Apt Pupil was released. I can tell you that it played to mostly empty auditoriums. It seems to have been mirrored in it’s theatrical run elsewhere as well. Regardless, as I’ve already mentioned in spite of the ending, I do like the film.

So imagine to my great surprise yesterday when I learned that there was a 1987 film adaptation. As much as I wish I could point you to a finished product at the present time there is none. Bear in mind, Apt Pupil wasn’t scuttled in the pre-production phase. Quite the contrary, as Director Alan Bridges had already been filming for ten weeks. I have read that nearly 40 minutes of footage had been shot.

So I’m guessing at this point you must be wondering why the film was never finished. It turns out the production company ran out of finances. And when after a year had passed Apt Pupil was ready to resume production, the actor who was chosen as Todd had aged too much to match the previous footage. Now who might you ask was the young man who becomes seduced by Kurt’s evil? Would you believe me if I told you it was Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons?

I tell you it’s all true, friends. Now what about the role of Kurt Dussander? Before production began Apt Pupil had an embarrassment of riches in regards to the actors approached to the play the part. Salem’s Lot James Mason was asked to play the role but passed away from a heart attack before filming. Then you had the likes of Richard Burton, who I believe would have been amazing, but he died from a cerebral hemorrhage before signing on.

The actor who in fact played the role of the escaped Nazi war criminal was Nicol Williamson. Who I bet you film fans know best from his role as Merlin in 1981’s Excalibur!

So I will leave you with this. That 40 minutes of footage is of course not readily available. Although it has been said that Stephen King once saw the footage and thought highly of it. Perhaps in the future we shall be lucky enough to see what was filmed for 1987’s Apt Pupil?

1st Annual NBC Yummy Awards (1983)

I remember watching the Yummy Awards and being very excited that they finally were making an award show that I could get behind. Sadly the Yummys did not catch on like they should have and all we are left with are vague memories and poor VHS copies. The show was really just a clever promo for the upcoming NBC Saturday Morning lineup, but I did not pick up on that at the time. I was too blinded by the Star Power and the glitz and glamour that was the Yummys.

If you happened to miss the show and are wondering, what kind of show would appeal to a younger me in 1983, get a load of the impressive star power that was promised via this scan by Darryl Heine.

I found the distinction between Emcee and Host a bit confusing back then and even watching it now. Which is made even odder because during the show Dwight is referred to as the co-host on multiple occasions. Am I crazy for trying to find logic in this show? Well I don’t care! We live in reality and the Yummy Awards need to adhere to some logic. So I just want to stay that I am not sure why Ricky and Dwight were been labeled as co-hosts in the ad! They both bring a distinctive flavor to the program. Especially Dwight…

Now that is what I call red carpet. I have yet to see an Oscars or Emmy awards where both the Hulk and Spider-Man are in attendance. If you are wondering if Hulk got his Yummy, wonder no further.

I collect preview shows for Saturday Morning cartoons and each one is a gem, but the Yummy Awards are by far my favorite of the programs made in the 1980s. I loved the premise at the time (and now) and was firmly entrenched in the NBC entertainment camp and watching it as an adult I get to enjoy it on a whole new level. Now I can appreciated watching Schultz earn his paycheck (did he blow off rehearsals? did they send him a script to review?) and trying to figure out how the creative people behind the show arrived at their decisions for the program.

I only wish the show was made more widely available and in better format so that younger generations can marvel at this high water mark in Saturday Morning cultural domination.

TV Thursday: Silver Spoons (1982)

Okay, let me start by saying how extremely envious I was of Ricky Stratton (Ricky Schroeder) every week as my Father and I watched this show. The kid ended up with his own Dragon’s Lair machine in his living room, his living room! But he always had some awesome arcade game within reach no matter what.

Ahem. Silver Spoons aired on NBC from September 25th, 1982 to May 11th, 1986. Besides Rick ‘Ricky” Schroeder the series starred Joel Higgins as Edward Stratton III, Erin Gray as Kate Summers (Though Joel and Kate eventually marry), Leonard Lightfood as Leonard Rollins, Jason Bateman as Derek Taylor, and John Houseman as Edward Stratton II.

The series dealt with a single father, Edward Stratton III, not only having to grow up enough to raise a son he never knew existed but to take control of his toy company empire as well, which we learn in the first season that his business associate has embezzled some of the companies money. Kate Summers acts as the voice of reason for Edward…sometimes unheeded…like the time he hires Mr. T to be a bodyguard for Ricky at school.