FILM #4: Time Gate (1979)
Directed by John Broderick
Story by William Stout
While I was working on what would become The Warrior and the Sorceress, John Broderick pitched me on another project. He called it Time Gate. It sounded a lot like a variation on the classic Ray Bradbury short story “A Sound of Thunder” with a near movie-length chase (spurred by what we in The Biz call a “ticking clock”) thrown in. John wanted me to be involved in the design of the film and he wanted me to write the script. He was going to direct. He told me the project had already begun but that it was temporarily stuck in limbo until a proper script could be written. He showed me some creatures that had been fabricated for the movie. He called them “wolf lizards”; I recognized them as Cynognathus.
I actually don’t recall what I did on Time Gate. I may have written an outline or treatment to solidify or pump up what John told me about the story’s structure and I may have produced a painting or some drawings. I’m pretty sure I didn’t write an entire screenplay. I do recall that what I did wasn’t much, and that I was quickly on to something else.
Not too long after my Time Gate experience with Broderick, I discovered the true story — something John never told me. Time Gate was a film project being spearheaded by my friend, the talented stop motion animator and effects expert Jim Danforth.
Jim had written the story and was slated to direct the film and do all of the effects and stop motion animation. John Broderick was attempting to steal the movie away from Jim. I was mortified. When I rewrote the film, I had no idea Jim was involved. I confronted John. He lied to me and told me it was originally a Danforth project but that Jim was currently off the picture.
After I found out what John was trying to pull, I called Jim and explained to him what had happened. Understandably, Jim thought I had tried to stab him in the back and steal his picture. Knowing Broderick, though, Danforth totally understood how I’d been duped. Jim told me he didn’t think it was in my character to treat him like that. He was relieved to hear that this whole sordid mess was actually none of my making but due to John Broderick’s unethical conniving.
I’m sorry that Time Gate never made it to the screen. I would still love to see Jim’s movie!