John Wilder and Jerry Ziegman, the two American writers, had recently completed several episodes of the leading TV soap drama, Peyton Place.
Their correspondence with Maskelyne gave every impression that a film about his wartime adventures would definitely be made.
In January 1968, Jerry wrote: “It is the year which will most certainly see our project come to completion...we are working on the main body of the screenplay at last...some scenes have been completed...the dialogue comes easily and it is fun to write...we are both having more fun with this than with any writing we have done up till now.’
Jerry then bombarded Maskelyne with detailed questions about animal camouflage expert, Hugh Cott; disruptive coloration and obliterative shading; infra-red camouflage detection; gun flash simulation; concealment techniques; context dependent camouflage; and the strengths and weaknesses of the various British generals involved in the campaign. Jerry even asked for more details on the bullet-catching trick: “It would make a wonderful opening scene for the movie.”
The letter ended with the flattering line: “what a pleasure and morale boost it is to know at all times that we are working with a truly great showman.”
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