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Coal for Christmas

anthracite coal


Jean Lorrah and Lois June Wickstrom are happy to announce that their screenplay "Coal for Christmas" has been recommended by Barb Doyon of  We'll keep you posted as we make more progress bringing this to the big screen.



logline:  During WWII, an innocent 7-year-old boy with a sick sister in a freezing home, tries to be bad so Santa will bring him coal for Christmas.


 Sample Scene:


Victor, leaning heavily on his cane, stands by the mimeograph machine. The floor beneath the machine is covered with blue-stained newspapers. His hands, stained blue from the mimeo fluid, tighten some screws.

Emma leads Jimmy (whose face is now clean) to the worktable. She pours fluid into the mimeo machine, while Victor bends down, watching for drips.


All set ma'am.


Oh, thank you, Mr. Schneider.


My pleasure, ma'am. I'll just have a look at that radiator now.

Victor nods his head at Jimmy in greeting, and starts to work on a nearby radiator. As he works he hums some familiar snappy WWII hit tune (examples: "Swinging on a Star," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Mairsie Doats"). Emma smiles at him.

Emma begins cranking out War Bond flyers.

The flyers feature a combination of typed and hand-drawn text all in blue ink. They are on the same color paper as the poster on the wall behind her, which shows a baby who looks a great deal like Betsy [Jimmy's sick little sister]. The caption on the poster reads "To have and to hold. Buy War Bonds."

Another poster features a cartoon Parrot and the caption: "Free Speech doesn't mean Careless Talk."


Stack the flyers in piles of twenty. Can you count that high, Jimmy?


I know how.

As the flyers stack up on the out tray, Jimmy takes the stack to a worktable near the radiator where Victor is tinkering.

An "Order Coal Now! Keep Warm Next Winter" poster hangs over the radiator. Victor is watching curiously as Jimmy looks longingly up at that poster.

Victor's cane leans against the wall. He sits beside the radiator holding a knob assembly in one hand and some piping in the other.


Are you a repairman?


Am I a repairman?! I am the Merlin of the monkey wrench, the Svengali of the screwdriver.

He juggles the two items for a moment. Jimmy giggles. Victor fumbles the awkward items, but manages to catch them and set them down.


Glad to see you helping with the war effort, son. We all have to do what we can to win!


Jimmy is a very good helper, Mr. Schneider.

Jimmy looks disappointed, and gives another look at the coal poster. Again Victor notes the boy's response.

Jimmy stacks the war bond flyers into neat, even piles.


Your heart's in the right place. But sometimes it's better not to draw attention to yourself. You could have waited until Marty put the lunch sack down and then snitched it back when he wasn't looking.


Then I'd feel like a thief.


It's not stealing to take what's yours. Look -- you're a smart lad. Marty's bigger and stronger than you are. You have to use your brains if you're going to beat him.

Jimmy's mom Carol walks into the room.


Oh, Jimmy--what have you done? You've never been in a fight before, Honey.


Marty was bullying Andy. Jimmy stopped him.


(to Jimmy)

You should have called a teacher, Sugar, not hit Marty. You can't afford to be so hotheaded.


I'm sorry, Mama.


Forgive me, ma'am, but sounds to me like your son was defending the weak and protecting the good, like a knight of old. Sometimes a man has to do things that the womenfolk don't understand.

Victor winks at Jimmy.




Stay right where you are Jimmy. You can finish stacking those flyers before the second bell.

Carol and Emma converse quietly together, smiling frequently. Victor returns to his repair job, limping badly.

The way Carol and Emma are standing, Emma is close enough to hear what Victor and Jimmy are saying, although she is involved in her own conversation with Carol.

Victor presses the center of the radiator valve handle, causing steam and water to spray out with a hissing sound.


It's obvious you're not a fighter. This is no time of the year to be bad.


My little sister's really sick. The doctor says we have to warm the house up. We need coal for that.


So you literally do want coal for Christmas.




Cartoon posted by permission of Dan Piraro, who hopes to have a role in the movie.

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