Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2000 / 27 Elul 5760
Like being with old
friends in places you
TRY TO IMAGINE, if you will, what it would be like if
you discovered dozens of additional scenes that
Shakespeare had written while he was writing
"Hamlet" -- scenes featuring the same characters,
scenes that never made it into the final play.
Or what it would be like if you found hundreds of
additional pages that William Faulkner had written
at the same time he wrote "The Sound and the
Fury" -- chapters featuring the same characters that
populate the rest of the novel, chapters that had not
made the final cut.
Now . . . never having read anything by
Shakespeare or Faulkner, I would not be
particularly excited by finding those lost passages.
I use the example just to set the stage for some
truly thrilling news.
The DVD version of "This Is Spinal Tap" was
released recently. I purchased it on its first day in
stores. My taste in movies is somewhat limited;
virtually the only movies I have seen in recent years
are 1984's "This Is Spinal Tap" and 1996's "That
Thing You Do!" -- I play them both over and over
The DVD version of "This Is Spinal Tap," though,
includes something that I found startling. "Spinal
Tap" itself, in its original form, was only 83 minutes
long. As many of you know, the movie, the first film
directed by Rob Reiner, is a comedy about a
fictional rock band trying to make a comeback tour
of America years after its first successes.
On the DVD, there is more than an hour of scenes
that didn't make it into the movie -- scenes shot by
Reiner as he was filming the original. These aren't
blooper shots -- they're not mistakes. They're parts
of the story that were not able to be included in the
It's like . . . well, it's like seeing old friends in
situations that, as far as you knew, never happened.
It's not like a sequel -- no one is trying to re-create
anything. It's like dropping in on events for which
you weren't present the first time around.
This is significant even for those of you who have
never seen "Spinal Tap" and who never plan to. I'll
get to the reason for that in a few moments. For the
next several paragraphs, though, I will give "Spinal
Tap" fans some examples of what I'm talking about.
Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) and Derek Smalls
(Harry Shearer) try to pick up some women in a
hotel bar after a show, while David St. Hubbins
(Michael McKean) impatiently holds the elevator.
Filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Reiner) conducts a
group interview in a hot tub.
David's girlfriend, Jeanine Pettibone (June
Chadwick), brings in a young guitar player after
Nigel leaves the band -- and not only are there
indications that she has a romantic past with the
young guy, but he clearly is much better on stage
Manager Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) threatens to
make Marty DiBergi stop filming the movie,
because contracts have never been signed with the
Limousine driver Tommy Pischedda (Bruno Kirby)
has many more scenes than the brief one he had in
the original "Spinal Tap" -- including one where he
sings to the band in his underwear.
David has a teenaged son -- who shows up at a
So . . . what does this mean for those of you who
have no interest in "Spinal Tap"?
It means the new technology that has been forced
down all of our throats finally has the potential to
do something useful for us.
One of the things moviegoers seldom think about is
all the material that gets left out -- the scenes that
are shot, and for whatever reason never make it to
DVD technology (I have a feeling that many of you,
rolling your eyes right now, already know this)
makes it possible for movie studios to go through
their vaults, to dig up all the original footage from
some of the best-loved films of all time -- and to let
viewers see those new/old scenes. They're on a
separate track -- you don't have to watch the extra
scenes unless you choose to.
But, if you adore, say, "Casablanca," how would
you like to see Bogart and Bergman just as you
remember them looking and sounding -- but in
scenes you'd never imagined before? If you know
every line in "The Graduate," how would you like to
see Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft together
again, exactly as they were -- in situations you've
It's -- literally -- a whole new world.
I had no idea that Derek Smalls was in the midst of
a divorce. Think how you'd feel if you were to find
that out about Benjamin Braddock's
JWR contributor Bob Greene is a novelist and columnist. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
09/21/00: If the Olympics banished television . . .
09/19/00: As summer ends, have the executives learned any lessons?
09/14/00: The new stardom that doesn't require paying any dues
09/12/00: Leave a light on for us children of the pioneers
09/09/00: River banks? How to turn water into an endless cash flow
09/06/00:Oh, give me a home, where the megabytes roam . . .
09/01/00: If this works, it can literally change young lives
08/30/00: From inside all those screen porches, one more cheer
08/24/00: Who will make your life better by August of 2004?
08/24/00: Four men running -- Why do we have to throw out two?
08/16/00:The certain way to measure the Lieberman factor
08/10/00: Can a library be a library without books?
08/08/00: Can't they spare eight nights every four years?
08/04/00: Cheney, Abe Lincoln and Ricky Martin -- do they add up?
08/02/00: Convention aside, you might want to tune in
07/27/00: How to make a killing
07/25/00: 'If we didn't do it, no one else would'
07/24/00: The executioners who walk among us
07/20/00: On Main Street, signs of the times tell two stories
07/18/00: Have the choices changed, or have we?
07/14/00: Gable, Hepburn, Zanuck--you wouldn't find them at HOJO's
07/13/00: The Great Lie about political conventions
07/06/00: If this is victory, what would defeat feel like?
06/29/00: A bright moon and a missing person on Orange Ave.
06/26/00: They're not singing our song
06/22/00: The name game
06/07/00: It's like knocking on a revolving door
06/06/00: Steven who? A close encounter of mistaken identity
06/02/00: Of summer days, summer nights and pebbles in a jar
05/31/00: The best laughter, the truest voices, will never fade
05/25/00: Of distant visions, close views, and Bobby Knight
05/24/00: 'The luckiest thing that ever happened to me'
05/23/00: 'It's funny how you remember the little things'
05/22/00: 'The whisper of a generation saying goodbye to its children'
05/19/00: The place to find life is not a keyboard
05/18/00: A problem of suds but no duds
05/17/00: Are those lazy, hazy dot-com days fading?
05/16/00: The truest things in life require not a single word
05/15/00: 'Evidently he didn't like the way she dusted the house'
05/12/00: Why news executives are hoping this 'woman' is a hit
05/11/00: Ted Koppel, Hitler, Mellencamp . . . and words of love
05/10/00: Maybe it's time for the right people to hear our cheers
05/09/00: The lesson that they always learn late
05/05/00: 'Excuse me, but there seems to be something in my water'
05/05/00: When your first dream turns out to be your best dream
05/04/00: Even baseball couldn't make light of this superstition
05/03/00: The ringmaster who looks back from your mirror
05/02/00: There they go, just a-yappin' down the street . . .
05/01/00: You must remember this (Unless you don't)
04/24/00: Now that casino ads are allowed to tell the truth . . .
04/13/00: The man in the seat across the airplane aisle
04/11/00: A star is born, but do you know where it's @?
04/06/00: Through the eyes of Norman Rockwell
03/21/00: 10 good reasons to avoid making this list
03/21/00: 'I tell myself that they've gone on vacation'
03/21/00: Monday Night Football memories
03/02/00: This report card deserves an 'A' in every subject
02/29/00: What really happened on New Year's eve
02/23/00: Of paste pots, Denver sandwiches and finding Dr. Sam
02/17/00: What would you like to stay exactly the same?
02/04/00: Politics: When did the stagehands step onto the stage?
02/01/00: An awesome idea to make you sound better
01/26/00: Y3K already? We haven't yet recovered from Y2K
01/21/00: Watching the pot that always boils
01/19/00:The story behind the men on the museum steps
01/13/00: Here's to the students who never hear a cheer
01/11/00: The oh-so-sweet sound of modems in the morning
01/04/00: The person in your mirror just got wiser
12/31/99: A lesson -- and a memory -- to last a millennium
12/29/99: Racing the clock, even when it's running backwards
12/13/99: The right to bear coffee
12/08/99: From teen idol to ink-stained wretch: Can you Dig it?
12/02/99: Human 'search engines'
11/30/99: Here's looking at you -- now hand over the cash
11/23/99: Who'll say 'I'm sorry' to the other Decatur students?
11/18/99: "From bad things, good can come"
11/16/99: The man who didn't know the meaning of 'whatever'
11/12/99: Is this progress? We have made the weekend obsolete
11/09/99: Today he would probably be called Kyle Kramden
11/04/99: And you thought the IRS was heartless
11/02/99: When it's free, what will the real price be?
10/29/99: The tissue-thin decisions that define who we are
10/26/99: One way to cut road rage down to size
10/22/99: Asking all the right questions takes a special pitch
10/18/99: The signs are talking to you; Are you listening?
10/12/99: Even Capone would be disgusted
10/08/99: Don't ever look your neighborhood bear in the eye
10/06/99: Land of the free and marketplace of the brave
10/04/99: German warplanes in
09/30/99: While you fret, something is sneaking up on you
09/28/99: In these busy times, why not bring back a certain buzz?
09/24/99: The storms whose paths no one can track
09/21/99: Who's minding the store? Oh . . . never mind
09/17/99:Here's another place where you can't smoke
09/14/99: As certainly as `lovely Rita' follows `when I'm 64' . . .
09/09/99: Why is patience no longer a virtue?
09/07/99: Once upon a time, in an airport close to you . . .
09/03/99: The answers? They are right in front of us
09/01/99: Up the creek with a paddle--and cussing up a storm
08/30/99: $1 Million Question: How'd we get to be so stup-d?
08/27/99: Fun and games at Camp Umbilical Cord
08/25/99: How life has been changed by the woodpecker effect
08/23/99: If you don't like this story, blame the robot who wrote it
08/20/99: A four-letter word that has helped both Bob and Rhonda
08/18/99: They have picked the wrong country
08/16/99: From paperboy to stalker--how the news has changed
08/12/99: Why wasn't anyone watching his brothers?
08/10/99: Come to think of it, stars seldom are the retiring type
08/05/99: The national gaper's block is always jammed
07/29/99: 'Can you imagine the gift you gave me?'
07/27/99: A view to a kill -- but is this really necessary?
07/23/99: Some cream and sugar with your turbulence?
07/21/99: When your name is JFK jr., how do you choose to use it?
07/19/99: The real world is declared not real enough
07/15/99: The real victims of cruel and unusual punishment
07/13/99: A 21st Century idea for schools: log off and learn
07/09/99: Are life's sweetest mysteries still around the bend?
07/07/99: Of great minds, cream cheese and Freddy Cannon
07/02/99: The perfect spokesman for the American way
06/30/99: 'He's 9 years old . . . he trusts people'
06/28/99: A $581 million jackpot in the courthouse casino
06/25/99: A nighttime walk to a House that feels like a cage
06/23/99: At least give men credit for being more morose
06/18/99: On Father's Day, a few words about mothers
06/16/99: If work is a dance, how's
your partner doing?
06/14/99: Should a dictionary ever tell you to keep quiet?
06/10/99: A story of Sex, the SuperBowl and your wife
06/07/99: Take a guess where "California Sun" is from
06/03/99: Of summer days, summer nights and pebbles in a jar
06/01/99: Putting your money where their mouths are
05/27/99: Pressed between wooden covers, the summer of her life
05/25/99:The lingering song of a certain summer
05/24/99:We could all use a return to the Buddy system
05/20/99: Now, this is enough to make James Bond double-0 depressed
05/17/99: It's midnight -- do you know where your parents are?
05/13/99: And now even saying "thank you" creates a problem
05/11/99: The answer was standing at the front door
©1999, Tribune Media Services