Monday, March 7, 2022

The Gift Shop

This story is one of our favorites as it is action packed, has some interesting characters and a lot of human interest. The property was purchased several years after it was published in 1966, by Raystar Productions (formed by successful producer, Ray Stark). Regrettably, they never moved past writing a script, for reasons totally unknown to us or our agents. We believe that  the rights to the property may have reverted to us.

The plot: Bernie staggers off the airplane from Honolulu, a lei around his neck and blood seeping from the wound in his chest. He stumbles to the terminal gift shop, and demands the cashier point him to a payphone. . He surreptitiously inserts a small piece of paper into the slot of a ceramic piggy bank on display. As his life seeps away, Bernie calls Harry Fairchild, his old fraternity brother. Dying or not, he has a job to do.

Harry is a playboy, the scion of an oil-rich family known throughout California. Bernie was in Honolulu working for Harry’s father, and he has a message to give the old man before he expires. Baffled, Harry races to the airport, arriving just as Bernie is being taken to the hospital, where he dies on the operating table. Somehow Harry’s father is mixed up in the murder, and Harry is going to find out how, even if it means risking a knife to his own gut.

"At the core of the suspense is the fate of a little girl of seven, who has never known her biological father, widowed and ailing, who has also sired the hero and his two very successful brothers (a physician and the Governor of his state). While the plot has its complications, it essentially revolves about the quest by different groups to find the youngster before the other group does. Murder, mayhem and intrigue are the tools of the nasty side, with both members of the Romantic Pair, being at different times, searchers and victims of the hostility of the other group."*

Harry befriends the gift shop worker and gets her to go along on several trips to track down the mystery. Not surprising, a little romance seems inevitable.

We always envisioned a movie that, with many wild trips to multiple locations in Europe and the US involving a series of characters, would make a wonderful saga involving well-known actors in cameo performances, ala Around the World in 80 Days.

Personal note of coincidence: Many years later, Jerry and his wife found themselves managing a gift shop at their local performing arts center.

*Review on Amazon: 5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best of Her Generation

  Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2013