Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What do these two trophies have in common?

The Oscar and the World Series Trophy are connected.  In 1944, Casablanca won three Oscars -- Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. It was written by Julius and Philip Epstein. In 2004 and 2007, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series Trophy and in 2016, my beloved Chicago Cubs won their first World Series Trophy in 108 years. The 2004/2007 Sox and the 2016 Cubs were led by baseball executive Theo Epstein.

Julius and Philip Epstein were brothers. They began their career as well-paid "script doctors," brought in by Warner Bros. to punch up the dialog on dozens of scripts, usually without credit.When they got an opportunity to actually work on their own stuff, they did it with relish. When Howard Koch approached them to adapt a short story called, "Everyone Comes to Rick's," they came up with some of the most-quoted dialog in film history:

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

We'll always have Paris.

Round up the usual suspects.

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."

Here's looking at you, kid.

Philip Epstein had a grandson (meaning Julius had a grand nephew). His name is Theo. First, as Red Sox general manager and then (fabulously) here with the Cubs, Theo ended baseball's two longest droughts by bringing the World Series to two victory-starved cities.

Unfortunately, Philip and Julius had passed away by the time Theo brought new millennium glory to the family name. But isn't theirs just the most fantastic gene pool?

All of this is top of mind because my movie group took a field trip to see a special TCM-sponsored screening of the restored Casablanca. In a special video intro, Ben Mankiewicz reminded us of the Epstein connection. (He know what he's talking about, as the Mankiewicz clan is pretty impressive, too.)