The DeMille screen play was based on Green Bar Bill Hillcourt's Book,
BADEN-POWELL: Two Lives of a Hero. A copy of the screenplay is in the
Hillcourt estate personal papers. Our Publisher, Terry Howerton, is one of
the estate's trustees and I have looked through his copy of the old screen
play. (Thus, it is not lost and long forgotten, a preserved copy still exist
at the Scouter's Journal office). Hillcourt's riveting account of B-P's
life would make for a fantastic story and, as many have pointed out, Steve
Spielburg would be by far the best choice of Hollywood's Producers to take up
the banner, revise the DeMille screen play, and produce the film.
Relations between Spielburg & the BSA have cooled somewhat from the mid
1980's when Spielburg was involved with Cimematography Merit Badge's roll out
and produced the three Tenderfoot - 1st Class Videos through Paramount
primarily over a difference of opinion on some of BSA's policy positions.
Never the less, Steve Spielburg continues to be an Eagle Scout, a honor he is
quite proud of and from an organization he still regards as central to his
life. He gave us the Indiana Jones character with his Scouting background.
He has helped some of the west coast councils with their summer camps, in
dozens of different ways he has been so very helpful to our movement.
Producing the life work of our founder & greatest hero would give the
millions of people involved in our movement a new prespective on a man who
has been reduced to a few pages of history in the Scout Handbook.
I wish Jere Radcliffe was on the next plane to Los Angelas to make the case
with Spielburg for at least looking at this movie. With the passage of Green
Bar Bill in 1992, we are now as a movement, berift of nationally recognized
Scouting heros. Yes, there continue to be Eagle Scouts who do great things
but when the average public citizen sees a Neil Armstrong or Gerald Ford they
don't always make the scouting connection with their achievements.
There was a time in our organization when practically every member, adult &
youth knew who James West, Ernest Seaton, Daniel Beard, and Bill Hillcourt
was. Today most youth probably don't know any national scouting leaders.
Certainly there is no national scouting heros on the public stage. At least
the Red Cross has Elizabeth Dole!
Hollywood need not look to fiction to create great epic stories of heros.
The life story of Baden-Powell is hero enough for anyone. B-P was a
Reniassance man of many talents, yet there has never been a major work on his
life. B-P, throughout his entire life, kept detailed notes and diary's and
letters to his mother. Even after his passing in 1941, Olaive - Lady Baden
Powell, preserved his memory, his writings, and his papers.
If Hollywood were to produce a really good movie, as we all know Spielburg
can, think of the troops who would go in mass to see it, all of the older
veteran scouters who would see it, all of the videos that would find their
way into troop libraries. A good chunk of the public might even decide to
Anyone who has never read B-P Two lives of a hero should get a copy of the
book, it is available from the 1-800-SCOUTER catalog. Many of his writings
are also being reprinted today by a number of scouters who do not want to see
this man's life become just a page of history. I will make an effort to get,
if not his E-Mail address, certainly Spielburg's snail mail address in
Hollywood so interested scouters can write and petition him to look at
producing this movie. I will post it to Scouts-L after I have located it.
National BSA frets over Public Relations and image all the time. Producing
this one positive movie would do more to create awareness and positive
feelings for scouting than all of their press releases have done for the past
10 years. Even when the liberal press and the movie critics snear at the
film (that crowd has never understood Scouting Values anyway...and Scouting
has always been politically incorrect, at least by Hollywood standards) I
feel the public will flock to this film.
The time has come for Baden-Powell's life work to be presented on the big