A Baywatch Anecdote, pre-Pamala, or, what happens to Homeless people on network television

By Glenn A. Bruce

As for Baywatch– well!

 

I was working with the wife of one of the creator/EXPs and was asked to be on the original staff – attended that meeting, etc.
At the time, the show didn’t exist, but they had an order– so it hadn’t taken shape, yet. No Pamela Anderson, yet.
Unfortunately, their budget got cut – as always – and (as always) I got cut – along with 1-2 other writers.

 

A few seasons later, I was asked to pitch an idea. I did– a cool surfing idea (I had always surfed) and my “friend” the producer gave a glassy-eyed listen.
I.e., he didn’t listen – because, of course, he had his own idea. Not being a writer, he needed one to execute his precious idea, which was:
An old homeless guy appears on the beach and one of the lifeguard babes helps him out.
I added a robbery subplot, the homeless guy having witnessed it and becoming a target of the bad guy robbers– all of which they kept.
We worked long and hard and the producer “loved” my final script. It was very sweet and humane, presenting the guard-babe in a better light: she cared about the homeless and helped – all with the robbery action stuff.

 

I didn’t hear anything.

 

Finally, I found out that when he presented the script to his partners, they all said: “You can’t have an old homeless guy on Baywatch!”

 

Babe-watch.

 

Apparently, they were so put-out with their partner that, when I offered to do the rewrite, they declined and turned it over to in-house guy.
The result was that the old homeless man was turned into a dashing, young, super-handsome…homeless guy – who also happened to be an incredible sculptor.
Before the show was over, he had created a lifeguard tower sculpture for the babe, she had fallen in love with him, he had almost gotten killed by the robbers, and, best of all:
They had a dream sequence in which he showed up in a tux, she in a gown, and they danced under a shower of rose petals on a dance floor on the beach.

 

Seriously.

 

As with Walker, writing for TV was excruciating for me. But it got me my WGA card and lots of great residuals!

 
 
more Musings
 
read Glenn A. Bruce’s two finalist stories from the 2015 !Short Story Contest! and the 2016 !Short Story Contest!

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