Samuel Beckett: avant-garde dramatist, brooding Nobel Prize winner, poet, and…gritty television detective?
Sadly, no, but he had the makings of a great one, at least as cut together by playwright Danny Thompson, cofounder of Chicago’s Theater Oobleck.
Some twenty five years after Beckett’s death, Thompson—whose credits include the Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in a Dustbin in Paris in an Envelope (Partially Burned) Labeled: Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. Ever! Or I’ll Sue! I’ll Sue From the Grave!!!—repurposed Rosa Veim and Daniel Schmid’s footage of the moody genius wandering around 1969 Berlin into the opening credits of a nonexistent, 70s era Quinn Martin police procedural.
The title sequence hits all the right period notes, from the jazzy graphics to the presentation of its supporting cast: Andre the Giant, Jean Paul Sartre, and Jean “Huggy Bear” Cocteau. (Did you know that Beckett drove a young Andre the Giant to school in real life?)
Thompson ups the verisimilitude by copping Pat Williams’ theme for The Streets of San Francisco and naming the imaginary pilot episode after a collection of Beckett’s short stories.
He also notes that a DVD release of the first, only and, again, entirely non-existent season has been held up by the notoriously litigious Beckett estate. Alas.
Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site in 2015.
The Books That Samuel Beckett Read and Really Liked (1941-1956)
An Animated Introduction to Samuel Beckett, Absurdist Playwright, Novelist & Poet
Watch Samuel Beckett Walk the Streets of Berlin Like a Boss, 1969
When Samuel Beckett Drove Young André the Giant to School: A True Story
Samuel Beckett Directs His Absurdist Play Waiting for Godot (1985)
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday
Leave a Reply