The desk set. Master copy of the original screenplay, with annotations
by Ephron, Phoebe; Henry Ephron; Walter Lang
Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox, 1957. The First Feature Film to Depict Electronic Computing in the Workplace; Extensively Revised Shooting ScriptEphron, Phoebe (1914-71) and Henry Ephron (1911-92). The desk set. Shooting final. Typescript (mostly mimeograph) on various paper stocks, with numerous emendations in pencil. 154ff., pages numbered 1-146 with several additions. Los Angeles: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 1957. 283 x 221 mm. Original printed folder with brad fasteners, a little sunned, edges a bit frayed. Very good. Preserved in a cloth folding box. Original Screenplay for the 1957 romantic comedy directed by Walter Lang and starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy; it was one of the first major motion pictures to feature an electronic computer, and the first film to dramatize and satirize the disruptive role of electronic computing in the workplace. The film takes place at the “Federal Broadcasting Network” where Bunny Watson (Hepburn) is the head of the network’s reference library. After the network purchases two “Electro-Magnetic Memory and Research Arithmetical Calculators,” it brings in Richard Sumner (Tracy), the EMMERAC’S inventor, to help the network’s employees adjust to the new “electronic brains.” “When they find out the computers are coming, the employees jump to the conclusion the machines are going to replace them. Their fears seem to be confirmed when everyone on the staff receives a pink slip printed out by the new payroll computer. Fortunately, it turns out to be a mistake; the machine fired everyone in the company, including the president” (Wikipedia). IBM, the leading computer manufacturer of the time, assisted in the production of “The Desk Set,” and the movie’s fictional “EMMERAC” is an obvious play on UNIVAC, EDVAC and other early computer names. (Inventory #: 43803)
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