And here we have the spark that led to Robert Fielding coming together as a character: he doesn’t drink scotch.
Yep. That simple.
John Bray and I exchanged a couple of comments on Facebook about the fact that all private eyes drank scotch. This got me to thinking — why not have my private eye hate scotch — like me? Because I really, really can’t drink scotch.
And I’ve tried. Lord knows, I’ve tried.
I’ve had friends explain how to drink it, I’ve had experts explain how to drink it. I’ve even gone to scotch tastings and learned about putting in a drop of water for the Tail of the Dragon (or something).
But no amount of explanation or knowledge about the drink makes it palatable to me.
When I worked at the advertising agency I had my own office and desk and everything. It only seemed fitting that as an ad man, or at least a man in an ad agency, I should have a bottle of scotch in my desk drawer. So I bought one. Like Fielding, however, I couldn’t drink it.
Those visiting my office, on the other hand, thought it was a great idea, so it didn’t go to waste.
I guess that’s it. Nothing else to say about this chapter.
Oh, right. Will Robinson.
At first the client was called Mr. Robertson. But then I was editing this chapter and thought, “Damn, I wish I’d called him Robinson so I could throw in a line about “Danger, Will Robinson.” So I changed his name from John Robertson to the more convenient name William Robinson.
I’m sure pretty well everyone knows the reference here. Will Robinson was the youngest son of the Robinson family in the TV show, Lost in Space. The essential plot line of the series was that the Robinsons went into space and promptly got lost. Each episode revolved around meeting some alien life form or another whom Mrs. Robinson (June Lockhart, previously the mother in Lassie), would then invite for dinner. Will’s only real friend was his robot who, whenever danger was imminent, would wave his arms and say, “Danger, Will Robinson.” That was about all the robot could do since its arms were pretty useless.
The Robinson’s robot was based upon a more serious robot called Robbie from the surprisingly good sci-fi film, Forbidden Planet. It starred a non-funny Leslie Nielson and the stunning Anne Francis (who also played a private eye, now that I think of it, in the TV show Honey West). The film was a modernisation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. (The Tempest was also redone in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation).
(What is it about writing this story that makes me ramble so much between chapters? I really think this is a kind of mental aberration.)
And did I mention Anne Francis was in the TV show Honey West?
I’m going to be expecting a photo of a beautiful woman in each of your story notes from now on.
That said, you are absolutely right, there is no way you could’ve had an office and desk and everything at an ad agency and not have a bottle of scotch in the drawer, regardless of whether or not you actually drank it. Surely that would’ve been to tempt fate.
Alcohol played a large (but not incapacitating) role at the agency. On some Fridays the president would even wheel a portable bar from office to office and fix whatever we wanted (well, within reason — it was a small bar). I generally had a screwdriver.
As for beautiful women, you’ll be happy to know that I’d already decided to make it a regular feature in the notes, and I’ll be happy to know that you’re dropping in to look. My decision was partly influenced by the fact they’ve already popped up consistently to this point, and partly because — beautiful women!