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Inconceivable

November 16, 2018

Two storytellers died last week. No, I’m not going to talk about Stan Lee. There’s been plenty written, and while I, like many people, will miss him, his death isn’t the one that touched me.

The second storyteller, you might not have heard of. Or, perhaps you have. He was famous in his own right, although not Stan Lee famous. He was 87 years old. He won an Oscar. . .twice. And no doubt, you’ve heard of the works for which he was rewarded.

He was my favorite novelist and I only read one of his books.

I’d buy tickets for the following movie without knowing what it was even about.

Producer: George Lucas
Director: Steve Spielberg
Writer: William Goldman

Whatever it was, it would be awesome.

Lucas and Spielberg are, as far as I know, both healthy and very much alive.

William Goldman passed away this week. I was introduced to him before I knew who he was. Years later, I can remember specific lines from his amazing novel “A Princess Bride.” As brilliant as the movie is, (also written by Goldman) the book was even better.

Did you know that in the book, during the famous fight with Inigo, the Man in Black’s mask covered the lower half of his face? I know that because the line from the book is,

Although you cannot see it behind this mask, I’m smiling also.

When Fezzik and Indigo enter the Pit of Dispare, they do it by fighting through levels of deadly dangers and traps. The final trap. . .well, I won’t spoil it, in case I’ve inspired you to read the book.

And most remarkable of all is the how S Morgenstern figures into the story. See, he is credited with writing the original story of the Princess Bride. Goldman only claims to have edited Morgenstern’s longer work that contained such gems as “After the invention of matches, but before the invention of fire.” It’s a wonderful book, but takes a much darker turn at the end than the movie.

Goldman, won an Oscar for writing Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. It remains my all time favorite movie. I bought a VHS copy of it before I owned a VCR. Goldman said that he wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as a screenplay rather than a book, “Because I didn’t want to learn the proper technique for saddling a horse.”

Goldman also won an Oscar for the screenplay “All The President’s Men,” staring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford as Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein. They broke the Watergate story and brought down a president.

Goldman said of his work,

I [don’t] like my writing. I wrote a movie called “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and I wrote a novel called “The Princess Bride” and those are teh only two things I’ve ever written, not that I’m proud of, but that I can look at without humiliation.

Fortunately for us Goldman wrote that book and those screenplays. And while he may have been less than happy with the results, millions of fans around the world have enjoyed his work. We will miss him. But, so long as we have his words and stories, he will never be truly gone.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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