Friday, November 16, 2018


Title page to second draft of screenplay for The Princess BrideEven though he wrote many popular screenplays and books, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the Presidents Men, William Goldman, who died today at the age of 87, will probably be best remembered for the adaptation of his book The Princess Bride. The quirky tale of pirates, princesses, giants and the power of love was made into a movie by Rob Reiner in 1987.

However, Goldman’s original adaptation dates to 1973. Several attempts to get the project off the ground were in the works throughout the 1970s and early '80s but the movie wasn't made until Reiner, coming off directorial success in both This is Spinal Tap and Stand by Me, became involved.

Close up of line from screenplay "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoyaa. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
We recently reprocessed the papers of director, screenwriter and producer James Goldstone and among the many scripts in the collection we found the second draft of Goldman’s original adaptation of The Princess Bride, dated December 1974. Unfortunately, there was no supporting material accompanying the script and so it is left to our imagination why Goldstone had a copy in his possessions.

Was he one of the many people involved in trying to get the movie made, back in the day? Maybe he was considering directing it? Or maybe it was just another script making the rounds in Hollywood.

Having read the script, I can report that the final product is pretty close to this original.

If you would like to read the screenplay for yourself, ask for MS-1073, The Papers of James Goldstone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Splendid" Lillard

Page 128 from vol. 25 of the Dartmouth student newspaper that describes Dartmouth's victory over Harvard
Dartmouth's recent football victory over Harvard, after several decades of agonizing defeats, brought to mind another time long ago when Dartmouth was king of the gridiron and its students were scholar-athletes in the truest sense. One of those men was Walter H. Lillard, known as "Cappy" to many, a member of Dartmouth's class of 1905. Among his many exceptional accomplishments, Lillard was on the Dartmouth football team that notched the college's first-ever victory against Harvard in 1903. Lillard, although being a bit small for a football player, still put on a performance in the left end position that the Dartmouth called "splendid." The memory of Dartmouth's stunning shut-out of Harvard that year must have been in the minds of the men who hired Lillard to be the assistant football coach for two years after he graduated. Phillips Academy in Andover soon poached him to serve as their football coach as well as teach English Literature; by doing so, he became the first faculty member at the school also to serve as football coach. Eventually, Dartmouth was able to lure him back to campus in 1908 as the head coach.

After receiving an A. M. from Dartmouth in 1910, Lillard returned to Phillips Academy, Andover, to coach and teach English. Lillard found the hierarchy of American college sports, with its designation of varsity and junior varsity, to be distasteful. He soon instituted a policy at Andover that required all students to participate in athletics of some kind. Six years later, he accepted the position of principal at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, where he served for twenty-six years.

Page from Lillard's passport showing his photograph (and the x'ed out photos of his family)In addition to his  school responsibilities, Lillard was very active in his community, serving as Civil Defense director, chairman of the Red Cross chapter and a member of the board of library trustees and school building committee. In 1945 he was appointed American field representative in Vienna, Austria, where he worked with the Intergovernmental Committee of Refugees. We have his passport from his trip to Europe, and the photo in it suggests that the United States government back then was less stringent about what sorts of photographs were acceptable for official documents.

To look through more of W. H. Lillard's papers, come to Rauner and ask to see MS-1159. The early 20th-century copies of the Dartmouth are on the reading room shelf, if you want to read all about how the football team trounced Harvard for the first time so many years ago.