ASCII by Jason Scott

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Gorp: A Little More —

A couple people joked with me and said “Hells YEAH I’d be in a remake of Gorp!” For fun, I started playing “What if” with the whole thing, just to see who owned it, what they thought of it, and so on.

I found this snippet of an interview with the author of the screenplay of Gorp (Jeffrey Konvitz) on a site called Red Hot Planet. It actually explains a bit:

You also wrote a “coming of age” comedy called GORP. The 1980 movie is memorable for two reasons: it was the final film released by drive-in purveyor, American International Pictures, and the cast included then-unknown actors Dennis Quaid, Rosanne Arquette, Michael Lembeck, Debi Richter and Fran Drescher.

GORP was based on my own experiences as a waiter at a camp in the Catskill mountains though, of course, most of it was fictionalized. I was a waiter at the camp and a lot of my co-waiters are now very famous people in the arts, sports, politics, etcetera-but they shall remain nameless. Anyway, I sold the spec screenplay-written right after ANIMAL HOUSE had opened to “hitdom”-to (AIP prez) San Arkoff. His son, Lou, and I produced it and it had a lot of ANIMAL HOUSE humor to say the least. We were also lucky to get a lot of actors at the dawn of their careers. Just to show you what I know, I told Fran Drescher, sometime during the shoot-all shot at a work camp in Georgia in February of, I think, 1978-that she had to get rid of her accent or she’d never make it. What a genius, eh?

Joe Ruben was the director and he had a lot of success later. Chuck Russell was our first AD and Chuck went on to do THE MASK and so much more. Virtually all the characters were based on composites of real people I had known at the camp. The budget was about two million and, of course, the second day of the shoot-exteriors at a summer camp-we had a blizzard that dumped two feet of snow on our heads. But that’s movie making, The film had as very successful pre-release screening history, but then ran into trouble in its distribution. Just as we finished the answer print, Sam Arkoff sold the company to Filmways and the owner of Filmways, an orthodox Jew and UJA chairman I believe, did not like the raunchy humor, particularly where it concerned the camp rabbi and he ordered the film buried. Now I am a pretty serious Jew myself and virtually everyone involved with the film was Jewish, but we all knew and still know how to laugh at what’s funny…and the film is funny. It did not receive th fate it received. But so be it.

Jeffrey Konvitz wrote it, but he based it at least in some part on a short story by Martin Zweiback. I wouldn’t mind reading that short story. You know, to get the literary background.

Zweiback, to be fair, probably didn’t recognize his short story in what the final work came out as. (He actually has a rather storied history of his own, including the legend of how he got a film made by Katharine Hepburn by throwing his screenplay over her walled garden.)

A couple things at this juncture:

  • Hey, there’s actually a little bit of a neat backstory to this thing.

Anyway, it’d be fun to do a remake, like I said. But a lot would have to happen for this to be the case. And in the meantime, I have this other little film I’m working on….

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