Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Remembering names

Don't know about you, but I've got to the age where I find it difficult to remember names. Anyway, there I was, a week or two ago, reading a book called Prey by Michael Crichton. It's a pretty forgettable sort of book (sorry, Michael), but professionally enough done, in a Crichtonish sort of way, and there was one character in it who kind of sounded familiar: Bobby Lembeck.

As I sat there reading the book I would occasionally ask myself why I knew this name. Was it someone who lived next door? A former agent? The tax man? Couldn't quite figure it out.

Eventually I decided that Bobby L was a fictional character. He was probably, I thought, the platoon baby in Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. And since it is about 47 years since I read that book I thought it was pretty damn clever of me to remember.

Today I checked on the internet. And of course I had it slightly wrong. Bobby Lembeck was indeed the platoon baby, a sixteen-year-old kid. But it wasn't in The Naked and the Dead. It was in The Manchurian Candidate, that great and timeless movie masterpiece which you can now get on DVD I believe. And also, of course, don't forget the original Richard Condon novel on which the movie was based. Condon is one of the old masters who seems to have dropped out of view.

But the best news of all is that in doing a Google search for young Bobby I came across the whole script of the movie, available for free! Now is that cool or what?

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