Transcript: Paul Quarrington | Oct 31, 1999

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads “Dialogue.”

The title of the episode pops up against an image of Richard Ouzounian and a guest sitting in a small living room: “Paul Quarrington. Author.”

Then, Richard appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing rounded glasses, a woollen gray coat, and a black T-shirt.

He says WELCOME TO
DIALOGUE.
I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
QUIRKY, UNPREDICTABLE,
FASCINATING ARE THREE
OF THE WORDS USED TO
DESCRIBE THE NOVELS
AND THE PERSON YOU'RE
ABOUT TO MEET.
WHAT BETTER DESCRIPTION,
BECAUSE THIS
DIALOGUE
IS WITH PAUL
QUARRINGTON.

Paul is in his late thirties, with short brown hair and a goatee. He’s wearing rimless glasses, a gray suit and a black shirt.

Richard continues PAUL, WELCOME.
I WANT TO JUMP
RIGHT IN HERE.
YOU HAVE A NEW NOVEL; IT'S
CALLED
THE SPIRIT CABINET.

He displays a copy of the novel and continues
AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU,
I WAS ABOUT FOUR PAGES INTO
IT AND I SAID, OH, GOD,
THIS IS ONE I'M NOT GOING
TO PUT DOWN 'TIL I FINISH.
AND IT'S TRUE.
IT'S ABOUT MAGIC;
DID YOU MAGIC US
WHEN YOU WERE
WRITING IT?
SERIOUSLY, WERE YOU TRYING
TO CAST A SPELL ON READERS?

Paul says WELL...
I HOPE SO.
I GUESS THAT'S THE KIND
OF THING WRITERS DO.
AND IT IS TRUE THOUGH THAT
AS I WAS WRITING IT - IT'S
ABOUT LAS VEGAS MAGICIANS...
I SORT OF STARTED FINDING
OUT A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
MAGICIANS AND STUFF,
AND THE CRAFT OF MAGIC.
AND I DID ACTUALLY SORT OF
SEE HOW YOU CAN APPLY -
I'M NOT SAYING I DID
THIS CONSCIOUSLY,
BECAUSE IT SOUNDS
A LITTLE PRECIOUS,
IT'S THE SAME
KIND OF THING.
YOU MISDIRECT; YOU POINT
OFF IN ONE DIRECTION
WHILE YOU'RE ACTUALLY
BUSY OVER HERE.
SO, I GUESS IN A SENSE,
THE TWO CRAFTS ARE KIND OF
RELATED, WRITING
AND THIMBLERIGGERY.
BUT IT WAS INTERESTING,
WHEN YOU LEARN ABOUT MAGIC
AND WHAT YOU'RE
REALLY LEARNING ABOUT
IS HOW PEOPLE
KIND OF PERCEIVE.

Richard says THE WHOLE PREMISE OF
THIS BOOK - AND I DON'T
WANT TO GIVE TOO MUCH
AWAY TO THE VIEWERS,
BUT I WANT TO INTRIGUE THEM
ENOUGH - WE HAVE TWO
VERY BIZARRE MAGICIANS
WORKING THE VEGAS SET
NAMED JURGEN
AND RUDOLFO.

Paul says JURGEN AND RUDOLFO.

Richard says AND WHEN WE CATCH THEM
ACTUALLY IN THE FIRST
FULL CHAPTER, AFTER AN
INTERESTING PROLOGUE,
THEY'RE PART OF
THIS HUGE AUCTION,
THAT PEOPLE ARE
ALL BIDDING.
AND THEY'RE BIDDING
ON THE EFFECTS
AND MAGICAL STUFF
OF HARRY HOUDINI.
NOW, WHERE DID THAT
IDEA COME TO YOU?

Paul says A LOT OF MY BOOKS HAVE
THIS LITTLE KERNEL OF TRUTH,
AND SOMETHING LIKE
THAT HAPPENED.
WHAT IT WAS, THERE WAS A
MAN NAMED JOHN MULHOLLAND,
WHO WAS OF THE MULHOLLAND
DRIVE MULHOLLAND FAMILY.
AND HE WAS A VERY AVID
AND KEEN AMATEUR MAGICIAN,
AND BEING A MULHOLLAND
FROM THE MULHOLLAND DRIVE
MULHOLLANDS HAD
A LOT OF MONEY.
SO, HE AMASSED A HUGE
LIBRARY OF BOOKS
RELATING TO MAGIC, MOST OF
WHICH WERE A SEVERANCE
OF HOUDINI'S COLLECTION.
BECAUSE HARRY HOUDINI,
HE'S A REMARKABLE MAN.
HE'S KIND OF ALLUDED
TO A LOT IN MY BOOK,
BUT HE WAS THE SON OF A
RABBI AND HIS FATHER NEVER
REALLY ACCORDED HIM MUCH
RESPECT BECAUSE HE WAS
A VAUDEVILLIAN AND HE WAS
A TRICKSTER AND STUFF.
PART OF HARRY'S DRIVE TO
EARN HIS FATHER'S RESPECT
WAS TO AMASS THIS
INCREDIBLE LIBRARY,
TO IMPRESS HIM WITH
THE LEARNEDNESS
OF BEING A MAGICIAN.
AND HE HAD TO GET RID
OF THAT AT SOME POINT.
ANYWAY, THERE WAS THIS
MULHOLLAND LIBRARY,
AND A MAN NAMED RICKY JAY,
WHO'S A GREAT CLOSE-UP
CARD MAGICIAN, PROBABLY
THE BEST IN THE WORLD,
WAS THE CURATOR.
BUT AT SOME POINT,
FOR WHATEVER REASON,
THEY HAD TO
AUCTION IT OFF.
AND IT WAS BOUGHT BY DAVID
COPPERFIELD, WHO WAS...

Richard says Mr. MAGIC, Mr. VEGAS.

Paul says MADE MORE MONEY THAN THE
MULHOLLAND DRIVE MULHOLLANDS.
SO, HE BOUGHT IT, AND
RICKY JAY AT THE TIME
MADE KIND OF A
CAUSTIC REMARK.
HE SAID IT WAS LIKE A
CHIMP BOUGHT SOME BOOKS
ABOUT BRAIN SURGERY.
I GUESS THAT'S MORE
THAN CAUSTIC, RIGHT;
THAT'S KIND OF NASTY.

Richard says YOU KIND OF PARAPHRASED THAT, ACTUALLY.

Paul says SO, WHAT GOT
ME THINKING WAS,
WHY WOULD IT BOTHER RICKY
JAY SO MUCH THAT DAVID
COPPERFIELD HAS
THESE BOOKS?
AND THEN I THOUGHT,
AH-HA, BECAUSE THE BOOKS
CONTAIN THE REAL DEAL.
THEY'VE GOT MAGIC.
I'VE SORT OF BEEN
FASCINATED ALL MY LIFE
WITH THE NOTION THAT
THERE IS SOME TRUE MAGIC
DOES EXIST SOMEWHERE
IN OUR WORLD.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, MY
SECOND NOVEL, HOME GAME,
ONE OF THE
CHARACTERS IS -
THEY PLAY A BASEBALL
GAME, AND HE'S A MAGICIAN,
SLEIGHT OF HAND OR
PRESTIDIGITATOR.
BUT HE HAS THAT ONE QUEST,
TO DO SOMETHING REALLY,
TRULY MAGICAL, AND DOES
IT AT THE END OF THE BOOK.
SO, THAT WAS KIND
OF THE KERNEL,
AND I STARTED THINKING ABOUT
THAT STORY AND IMAGINING
THAT THESE BOOKS REALLY
CONTAINED REAL STUFF,
TRUE KNOWLEDGE.
I DIDN'T REALLY WANT TO MAKE
FUN OF DAVID COPPERFIELD
BECAUSE, OH, I
DON'T KNOW -
IT'S TOO EASY.

[laughing]

Richard says YOU CAME UP WITH
CHARACTERS FAR MORE BIZARRE
THAN DAVID COPPERFIELD.

Paul says I HAD TO HAVE
TWO, I FIGURED,
BECAUSE IF ONE GUY - NO
MATTER WHAT HE WAS GOING
THROUGH - I'D SORT OF
HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT.
THIS WAY, I'VE GOT SOMEONE
TO WATCH IT HAPPEN TO HIM.
I'M WITH YOU, IN
THAT I DON'T WANT
TO GIVE TOO
MUCH AWAY.
SO, PROBABLY WHAT I'M
SAYING MAKES NO SENSE,
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT -

Richard says ABSOLUTELY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Paul Quarrington. Author.”

Paul says SO, I NEEDED TWO.
I'VE HAD SORT OF
THIS FASCINATION
WITH SIEGFRIED AND
ROY, IN LAS VEGAS.
WHO COULDN'T HELP BEING
FASCINATED WITH THEM?
IN FACT, IN
WHALE MUSIC,
A NOVEL I WROTE ABOUT
A GUY WHO'S SECLUDED
IN HIS MANSION,
THIS WOMAN ENTERS THIS HOUSE
AND HE THINKS THAT SHE'S
FROM ANOTHER PLANET AND
IS DOING SOME RESEARCH.
AND HE EVEN SAYS, IF YOU WANT
TO LEARN ABOUT THE WORLD,
GO ACROSS THE STREET;
SIEGFRIED AND ROY LIVE THERE.
THEY'RE FRIENDLY
LAS VEGAS MAGICIANS.
THAT'S WHERE I GOT THE
IDEA OF THE TWO MEN.

Richard says BUT JURGEN AND RUDOLFO
ARE NOT AS HARMLESS
AS SIEGFRIED AND
ROY, OR AS INNOCENT.

Paul says I GUESS NOT.
I STARTED RESEARCHING -
AND THAT'S KIND OF
A GRAND TERM FOR WHAT I
DO, BUT I POKE IN MY NOSE
AROUND ABOUT
SIEGFRIED AND ROY.
I KIND OF HAD AN INTERESTING
EXPERIENCE WITH AN ETHICAL
THING, BUT SIEGFRIED AND ROY...
OF THE ACTUAL SIEGFRIED
AND ROY - ONE IS A
MAGICIAN AND THE OTHER
WORKS MOSTLY WITH
THE ANIMALS.
SO, I KIND OF
USED THAT.
AND LOOKING FOR
THEIR HISTORIES,
I STARTED READING
ABOUT THEM,
AND THEY WROTE A BOOK WHERE
THEY'RE FAIRLY CANDID.
AND THEIR HISTORY WAS
GREAT FOR MY PURPOSES.
THEY MET ON A CRUISE
SHIP AND STUFF,
AND ONE GUY WAS A
MAGICIAN THERE
AND THE OTHER GUY WORKED
WITH THE ANIMALS.
BUT THEN, I SORT OF HAD THIS
THOUGHT: I DON'T REALLY
HAVE ANY RIGHT TO JUST STEAL
THEIR PERSONAL LIVES.
IT'S ONE THING TO SORT
OF MAKE FUN OF THEIR,
OR HAVE FUN WITH
THEIR, STAGE PERSONA.
BUT THEIR OWN LIVES
ARE THEIR OWN BUSINESS,
SO I SORT OF CHALLENGED
MYSELF NOT TO USE THEIR REAL
LIVES AND TO INVENT MORE
INTERESTING BACKGROUNDS -
OR AS INTERESTING,
ANYWAY.
I TRIED TO GET AS FAR
AWAY FROM THEM AS I COULD.

Richard says WHAT ABOUT THE
WHOLE VEGAS FEEL?
BECAUSE THAT'S ONE OF THE
INTERESTING THINGS TO ME.
WHAT DO YOU CALL ONE OF THE
HOTELS, THE ABRAXAS LOUNGE?
I WAS THINKING BACK TO OLD
ROCK MUSIC ALBUMS IN THE
'70s, AND “BLACK MAGIC
WOMAN” WAS PASSING
THROUGH MY HEAD THERE.
BUT YOU'VE GOT
THE FEEL DOWN.
NOW, I HAVE TO CONFESS,
I'VE NEVER BEEN TO VEGAS,
BUT IF I WERE TO
IMAGINE WHAT WEIRD,
BIZARRE VEGAS MAGIC
SHOWS WOULD BE,
IT SEEMS TO BE
EXACTLY RIGHT.
DID YOU JUST DO WHAT
I WOULD HAVE IMAGINED,
OR DID YOU GO THERE
AND CHECK IT OUT?

Paul says I DID BOTH, BECAUSE AS
I WAS WRITING THE BOOK
AND DOING QUITE FINE,
BECAUSE IT'S LIKE
I CAME TO THE
SAME CONCLUSION:
IT'S PRETTY EASY TO
IMAGINE LAS VEGAS.
AT LEAST, TO DO A KIND OF
REPLICATION OF IT SO THAT
PEOPLE RECOGNIZE IT AS THE
LAS VEGAS THAT THEY SEE
IN
OCEAN'S ELEVEN
OR DAN
TANNA OR WHATEVER.
BUT THEN SORT OF ABOUT
HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK,
IT'S MORE JUST TO SAVE KIND
OF EMBARRASSING QUESTIONS:
DID YOU GO TO VEGAS?
I SAID, I'LL
GO TO VEGAS.
I WENT TO A MAGICIAN'S
CONVENTION IN LAS VEGAS.

Richard says OH, JACKPOT.

Paul says JACKPOT, RIGHT.
AND I SAW A BIT OF LAS
VEGAS AND THEN SAID, WELL -
IT DIDN'T CHANGE
ANYTHING.
BUT IT WAS FUN HANGING
AROUND WITH THE MAGICIANS.

Richard says WHAT IS IT LIKE?
IT'S A GAGGLE OF GEESE
AND A BEVY OF BEAUTIES.
BUT WHAT IS IT WITH
MAGICIANS: A COVEN
OF MAGICIANS OR
SOMETHING?

Paul says PROBABLY, YEAH.

Richard says WHAT ARE THEY LIKE WHEN
THEY GET ALL TOGETHER?
DO THEY SOUND LIKE ANY
OTHER PROFESSIONAL GROUP
HAVING SHOP TALK?

Paul says YEAH, YEAH,
PRETTY MUCH.
THERE'S A FAIRLY
HIGH NERD QUOTIENT.

[laughing]

Richard says YOU'RE GOING TO BE TURNED
INTO A WHITE RABBIT SOON.

Paul says AND THIS FACIAL
HAIR THAT I'VE GOT
IS SORT OF AN
HOMAGE TO MY-

Richard says THE VAN DYKE IS VERY BIG.

Paul says IT'S VERY
BIG, YES.
I'VE GOT THE
LOOK NOW.
IF YOU CAN BE KIND OF
PALE AND A LITTLE PORKY
AND HAVE ONE OF THESE AND
DRESS IN DARK CLOTHING,
YOU'VE GOT IT MADE.

Richard says SO, YOU'RE KIND OF
MOVING INTO THIS.

Paul says YEAH, AND THEY'RE
VERY FRIENDLY.
BUT IT WAS INTERESTING
TOO, THE WHOLE NOTION
OF SECRECY, BECAUSE
IT'S KIND OF -
I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S RIGHT
TO SAY IT'S A POPULAR
MISBELIEF THAT MAGICIANS
ARE VERY SECRETIVE,
BECAUSE THEY'RE
NOT REALLY, ESPECIALLY
IF THEY PERCEIVE YOU AS
A FELLOW MAGICIAN,
THEY'RE USUALLY QUITE OPEN
ABOUT WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Richard says BUT SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN
THE BOOK ARE VERY CAREFUL
TO PAY PEOPLE GREAT
AMOUNTS OF MONEY,
WHOSE WORK DOUBLES IN
COUNTERFEITS AND STUFF
TO KEEP IT SECRET.
IS THAT A QUARRINGTON-ESQUE
INVENTION?

Paul says OH, NO, NO, NO.
I'VE MET PEOPLE WHO WORK
FOR DAVID COPPERFIELD.
THE CONTRACTS THEY SIGNED
WERE KIND OF BINDING
FOR THE REST OF
THEIR LIVES.
THEY CAN'T
TALK ABOUT IT.

Richard says THIS FIRST CHAPTER
OF THE BOOK,
WHEN EVERYONE IS
BIDDING ON THIS STUFF,
THE NUMBERS GET
ASTRONOMICALLY HIGH.
AND ONE MAGICIAN IS SAYING,
MY ACCOUNTANT TOLD ME I
COULDN'T GO PAST
5 MILLION dollars.
I KNOW DAVID COPPERFIELD
IS ENORMOUS BUSINESS,
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL
THE REST OF THEM?
WOULD THEY HAVE THAT MUCH
MONEY TO THROW AROUND?
OR IS THAT HEIGHTENED
FOR YOUR SAKE?

Paul says IT'S HEIGHTENED A
LITTLE BIT, BUT I THINK
LIKE LANCE BURTON'S
CONTRACT IS FOR LIKE
100 MILLION dollars OR SOMETHING.
AND SOME OF THOSE SHOWS
COST A LOT TO GET IN THERE.

Richard says THEY CAN MAKE THE MONEY.

Paul says THEY CAN MAKE THE MONEY, YEAH.

Richard says THE SPIRIT CABINET
OF THE TITLE REFERS TO ONE
PARTICULAR ILLUSION THAT
I FOUND FASCINATING.
IT'S A PAIR OF
BROTHERS?

Paul says THE DAVENPORT BROTHERS.

Richard says THE DAVENPORT BROTHERS, AND
THEY USED TO TIE THEMSELVES UP
NAKED INSIDE THE CABINET TO
PROVE THERE WAS NO ILLUSION.
AND THEN SUDDENLY, ALL THESE
THINGS WOULD COME OUT
OF THIS CABINET: SNAKES
AND RABBITS AND CLOUDS.
AND THEY'D KEEP OPENING IT
TO PROVE THE DAVENPORTS
WERE STILL TIED UP.
NOW, IS THAT A PURE
QUARRINGTON INVENTION,
OR IS THAT A REAL THING THAT
HOUDINI AND THOSE PEOPLE?

S sats THAT'S AGAIN
BASED ON FACT.
I HOPE AT ONE
POINT YOU'LL SAY,
WAS THAT A
QUARRINGTON INVENTION,
AND I'LL BE ABLE
TO SAY, YES.
[laughing]
FOR THE NEXT TIME,
I'M GOING TO LIE.

Richard says BUT, SEE, IT'S
SUCH GOOD FICTION,
I THINK YOU
INVENTED IT.

Paul says BUT THERE WERE
THESE TWO BROTHERS.
THIS WAS SORT OF THE LATE
19TH CENTURY, I GUESS.
AND THEY WERE QUITE POPULAR,
AND THEY HAD THE SPIRIT
CABINET, AND THE ACT
WAS AS YOU DESCRIBE IT.
IT WASN'T JUST THEM; THEY
WERE SORT OF ONE OF
THE EARLIEST ONES, BUT IT'S
AN ACT, THE SPIRIT CABINET.
DAVID BEN, OUR CANADIAN,
HE DOES A SPIRIT CABINET.

Richard says BUT HE'S NOT NAKED
INSIDE OF IT, NO.

Paul says HE'S NAKED UNDER
HIS CLOTHES THOUGH.
BUT WHAT'S INTERESTING
ABOUT THEM, OF COURSE,
IS THAT THEY
WERE SO POPULAR;
WE HAVE NO
SENSE OF THAT.
BUT THEY WERE PART OF
THAT MOVEMENT LIKE
THE FOX SISTERS - DO
YOU REMEMBER THAT,
THE TWO GIRLS WHO COULD
SUMMON SPIRIT RAPPINGS?
IT'S THE SAME KIND OF THING,
WHERE THEY WOULD JUST
BE STANDING THERE AND THEY
WOULD DO IT NAKED, TOO.
THEY WERE SORT OF FORCED TO
BY PEOPLE WITH PROBABLY
MORE PRURIENT INTERESTS
THAN SCIENTIFIC.
THEY WOULD STAND THERE
AND ALL THESE NOISES
WOULD START TO HAPPEN.
THIS WAS AT A TIME WHEN
PEOPLE REALLY WANTED
TO BELIEVE THAT THERE
WERE SPIRITS, I GUESS.
SAME THING HAPPENED AFTER
THE FIRST WORLD WAR,
BUT I GUESS AFTER
THE CIVIL WAR,
YOU SEEM TO LOSE A
GENERATION OF MEN,
AND THEN SPIRITUALISM
BECOMES QUITE POPULAR.
SO, THE DAVENPORTS
WERE VERY, VERY BIG
AROUND THE TURN
OF THE CENTURY,
AND I SORT OF MADE
UP THAT HOUDINI
WAS OBSESSED
WITH THEIR BOX.
BUT HOUDINI WAS
OBSESSED WITH THE IDEA
OF TALKING BEYOND
THE GRAVE.
NOW, HE'S THOUGHT OF AS THE
GREAT DEBUNKER - AND HE WAS;
HE WOULD GO TO NO END OF
TROUBLE TO MAKE PEOPLE
LOOK FOOLISH AND EXPOSE
THEIR TRICKS AND STUFF.
BUT MOST PEOPLE FEEL THAT
HE WAS DOING THAT BECAUSE
AT SOME LEVEL, HE
WANTED IT TO BE TRUE.
HE WAS VERY ATTACHED
TO HIS MOTHER
AND DEVASTATED
WHEN SHE DIED.
SOMETHING THAT THE BOOK
GETS TO BE ABOUT IN A WAY,
BECAUSE IF THERE IS MAGIC,
FOR IT TO BE OF VALUE TO US
ON A CERTAIN LEVEL, I
IMAGINE THAT THAT'S WHAT
IT WOULD INVOLVE, IS SOME
BRIDGE BETWEEN THE TWO WORLDS.

Richard says YOU JUST BRIDGED WHAT
I WAS GOING TO GET INTO.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
THE LOGISTICS OF MAGIC,
BUT ONE OF THE THINGS -
WITHOUT GIVING AWAY, AGAIN,
TOO MUCH OF THE PLOT - THAT
HAPPENS IS THAT OF THIS TEAM,
ONE OF THEM GRADUALLY
BECOMES INVOLVED
WITH THE REAL SPIRITS,
AND THE REAL POSSESSION.
AND IT'S NOT NECESSARILY
A SALUBRIOUS THING,
WHAT HAPPENS.
AND I GUESS ONE OF THE
QUESTIONS I HAD FOR YOU IS,
DID YOU COME TO BELIEVE
OR DID YOU BELIEVE
THAT REAL MAGIC IS
A POSSIBLE THING?

Paul says IT'S A VERY
INTERESTING QUESTION.
PROBABLY, TO BE HONEST,
IN MY HEART OF HEARTS,
DON'T THINK
IT'S POSSIBLE.
IT'S MAYBE POSSIBLE IN
THE FICTION OF THE BOOK,
BUT I THINK MY OWN KIND
OF BELIEFS ARE SORT OF -
THERE'S ANOTHER CHARACTER,
PRESTON - PRESTON THE
ADEQUATE, HE CALLS
HIMSELF, THE SON
OF PRESTON THE
MAGNIFICENT.

Richard says IT'S GREAT.

Paul says AND HE HAD THE BOOKS AT ONE
POINT AND NEVER LOOKED
IN THEM, BECAUSE I
THINK IT'S HIS OPINION,
THAT'S KIND OF EXPRESSED
MOSTLY THROUGH HIS ACTIONS,
THAT IT'S NOT REALLY
IMPORTANT WHETHER OR NOT
TRUE MAGIC EXISTS.
WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS KIND
OF OUR BELIEF THAT IT DOES,
OR WHAT HE'S FINALLY
ON ABOUT IS WONDER.
I THINK THE KIND OF POINT
THE BOOK FINALLY COMES TO
ON ONE LEVEL IS THAT THAT'S
WHAT HUMAN BEINGS NEED,
AS SUSTENANCE, ON SOME PRETTY
PROFOUND LEVEL, IS WONDER.

Richard says SO, PAUL IS LOOKING MORE
FOR WONDER THAN MAGIC.

Paul says YEAH, YEAH, I
WOULD THINK SO.

Richard says WHAT ABOUT THE
WORLD OUTSIDE?
IN DOING THE
RESEARCH YOU DID DO,
YOU MUST HAVE SEEN PEOPLE
INTERACTING AND WATCHING
ALL THESE MAGICIANS,
OR, AT LEAST,
DID SOME
HOMEWORK ON IT.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO
YOU THINK, AGAIN,
REALLY BELIEVE OR ARE
JUST LOOKING FOR A KICK?

Paul says YEAH, IT'S INTERESTING,
PEOPLE'S REACTIONS TO TRICKS.
EVEN THE FEW LITTLE
TRICKS I WOULD SAY ARE -
NOT MANY PEOPLE REALLY
BELIEVE THAT I'M
GOING TO DO
ANYTHING MAGICAL.
THEY'RE ALWAYS GRABBING
THE CARDS OUT OF MY HANDS:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
COME ON, ANYONE
CAN DO THAT.
I HAVE TO ADMIT IT'S
PROBABLY SYMPTOMATIC
OF OUR SOCIETY THAT MOST
PEOPLE'S ATTITUDE IS,
WHAT THE HELL
ARE YOU DOING?
LEMME SEE; I
CAN DO THAT.

Richard says THAT'S THE LINE; WHENEVER
YOU PRESENT SOMEONE
WITH THE DISPLAY OF
MAGIC, THEY ALWAYS SAY,
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
NOT, IS IT REAL, BECAUSE
YOU ASSUME IT ISN'T, RIGHT?

Paul says YEAH, BUT I THINK A GOOD
TRICK - I GUESS THAT'S WHAT
I'M SAYING - A GOOD TRICK,
YOU CAN NEVER REALLY BE SURE.
YOU WONDER, RIGHT, NO, HE
COULDN'T; BUT MAYBE HE DID.
I THINK THAT'S
THE BEAUTY OF IT,
AND THAT'S WHY MAGICIANS,
I THINK, ARE IMPORTANT.
I GUESS THEY HAVEN'T
BEEN HISTORICALLY
AND MAYBE ARE
BECOMING MORE SO.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE
TALKING ABOUT KIND OF
A MAGIC RENAISSANCE
THESE DAYS.
THAT'LL BE GOOD.

Richard says YEAH!
NOW, OUTSIDE THE ACTUAL
LOGISTICS OF THE BOOK,
AS USUAL WITH A PAUL
QUARRINGTON BOOK,
THERE'S REALLY
INTERESTING PEOPLE.
AND THEY'RE ODD, BUT
THEY'RE ALL LOOKING
FOR THINGS FROM
EACH OTHER.
AND THERE'S ONE SECTION NEAR
THE VERY END - AND AGAIN,
I WON'T SAY WHO'S SAYING IT
TO EACH OTHER BECAUSE
IT'LL GIVE STUFF AWAY -
BUT SOMEBODY PICKS UP
THE PHRASE, SO-AND-SO
IS DAMAGED GOODS.
AND ANOTHER CHARACTER
REITERATES AND SAYS,
EVERYBODY'S
DAMAGED GOODS.
AND THERE IS THIS SENSE
THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE
IN THIS BOOK ARE FROM
THE DAY-OLD FRUIT
AND VEGETABLE
SECTION OF LIFE.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO
ZERO IN ON ALL THESE GUYS
THIS TIME OUT?

Paul says AGAIN, I GUESS IT WAS
BECAUSE ON ANOTHER LEVEL,
IF WHEN WE TALK ABOUT MAGIC
AND YOU TALK ABOUT LIFE,
WITHOUT PUTTING TOO
CORNY A SPIN ON IT,
ONE OF THE GREAT
MAGICAL THINGS IS LOVE.
AND ON ONE LEVEL, THE BOOK
IS A COUPLE OF LOVE STORIES,
AND I THINK IT'S MY CONCEPT
THAT IT'S LIKE THE SAME GUY
WHO SAID, EVERYONE
IS DAMAGED GOODS.
HIS ENGLISH IS
IMPERFECT.

Richard says YES, THAT'LL
GIVE YOU AN IDEA.
WHEN TWO LEADING
CHARACTERS ARE NAMED
JURGEN AND RUDOLFO,
YOU SUSPECT THAT.

Paul says HIS ENGLISH IS IMPERFECT,
BUT HE'S SAYING
AT ONE POINT, EVERYONE'S
LUMPY LIKE A POTATO,
BUT SOMETIMES PEOPLE HAVE
LUMPS AND DENTS THAT FIT
TOGETHER AND THEN MAKE ONE
WHOLE POTATO, OR WHATEVER.
SO, I THINK THAT
PEOPLE ARE IMPERFECT,
AND MAYBE IN FINDING
THEIR MATE CAN DO MUCH
TO SMOOTH OVER SOME
OF THE ROUGH SPOTS.
AND IT'S CERTAINLY TRUE
OF JURGEN AND RUDOLFO.
THEY REALLY ARE A SINGLE
UNIT, WHEN THEY WERE HAPPY.
I GUESS THEY WERE HAPPY
AS YOUNG MEN AND THEN
HAVE BECOME RATHER BLASE
ABOUT SUCCESS AND I GUESS
INCREDIBLE I TRY TO
DEPICT A CERTAIN ENNUI
THEY LIVE IN; THEY'RE
IN A DESERT IN LAS VEGAS.

Richard says WITH THE LIMOUSINE
TAKING THEM EVERYWHERE.
WAS THE GREAT PHRASE,
WHICH ONE OF THE FEW
SELECTED DESTINATIONS -
WHEN SOMEONE SAYS,
WHERE WILL YOU TAKE
ME, WHERE SHOULD WE GO?
THERE AREN'T THAT MANY
DESTINATIONS THEY CAN GO.
IT'S EITHER THE HOTEL OR
THE HOUSE OR THIS OR THAT.
SO, IT'S KIND OF A
LITTLE PRISON, RIGHT?

Paul says YEAH, YEAH.

Richard says THERE'S SOMETHING ELSE -
I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF YOU'RE
AWARE, BUT THERE'S A VERY
STRONG EMPHASIS ON SMELLS -
IN PARTICULAR, BAD
SMELLS IN THE BOOK.
I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF
YOU'RE CONSCIOUS OF THAT.
THE FIRST SCENE, A
ROTTEN PIECE OF MEAT
IS BEING FED
TO AN ANIMAL.
ONE OF THE FIRST INTERESTING
SUBSIDIARY CHARACTERS
WHO APPEARS IS A MAGICIAN
WHO IS KNOWN FOR
HIS FOUL, FOUL BREATH.
THERE'S THE SMELL OF SMOKE,
THE SMELL OF BURNING
LATER ON IN THE BOOK.
IT'S ALL THESE KIND
OF SMELLS SURROUNDING,
IRONICALLY, THIS LAS VEGAS
AREA WHICH YOU THINK
IS SO CLEAN AND HAS
NO SMELLS IN IT.
ANY REASON WHY?

Paul says I HADN'T REALLY
NOTICED THAT,
BUT I DON'T KNOW
WHY THAT WOULD BE,
EXCEPT THAT I WAS
ALWAYS IMAGINING
THE ONE CHARACTER'S
NOSE WRINKLING.
HE'S VERY SUSCEPTIBLE
TO SMELLS.
IT WAS INTERESTING,
BUT OFTEN MY BOOKS
HAVE SOMETHING
LIKE THAT.
IN MY LAST ONE,
CIVILIZATION, SOMEONE SAID,
HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW
EVERYONE HAS BAD SKIN?

Richard says AND YOU HADN'T NOTICED THAT.

Paul says I HADN'T NOTICED,
NO, BUT IT'S TRUE.
AND SO, I HADN'T
NOTICED ALL THE SMELLS.

Richard says THIS IS THE
BAD SMELL BOOK.
I DON'T MEAN TO SAY THAT;
THAT'S THE WRONG THING
TO REMEMBER IT BY.
AGAIN, ONE OF THE LEADING
FEMALE CHARACTERS - AGAIN,
I DON'T KNOW IF I'M REACHING
HERE - IS NAMED MIRANDA,
AND SHE'S REALLY
INTERESTING.
AND SHE'S ONE OF THE PEOPLE
WHO I THINK HAS SOME GOOD
STUFF GOING ON FOR HER.
AND I COULDN'T HELP BUT
THINK OF SHAKESPEARE AGAIN:
PROSPERO, THE
GREAT MAGICIAN,
AND HIS DAUGHTER,
MIRANDA.
AND I STARTED TO WONDER
IF THERE WAS ANYTHING
LIKE THAT GOING ON IN
YOUR HEAD AS WELL.

Paul says YEAH, I MEAN, ONLY
BECAUSE PROSPERO
SEEMED TO HAVE
THESE BOOKS.
I GUESS IN MY HEAD, IT'S
THE SAME COLLECTION,
AT LEAST SOME OF HIS.
SO, I WANTED
THAT ASSOCIATION.
AND I'M NOT ENOUGH OF A
SHAKESPEAREAN TO MAKE MANY
CLEVER CONNECTIONS, BUT I
WAS AWARE I WAS AT LEAST
POINTING IN SORT OF
A GENERAL DIRECTION.
I GUESS SHE HAS A KIND
OF ATTITUDE TOWARDS MAGIC
THAT'S A LITTLE BIT LIKE
THE SHAKESPEAREAN,
BUT I'VE BEEN HAVING
TROUBLE ENUNCIATING
WHAT HER ATTITUDE IS.
SHE'S THE ONE WHO
FINALLY ENUNCIATES
THAT IT'S WONDER
THAT'S IMPORTANT.
SHE DOES SOMETHING
AT THE END, ACTUALLY,
SORT OF TO ENSURE THAT.

Richard says RIGHT, AGAIN, NOT
TO GIVE IT AWAY.
IT'S FUNNY, SHE KIND
OF BECAME MY PERSONAL
COMFORT ZONE
IN THE BOOK.
THAT WHEN I WAS FEELING SOME
OF THE REST WAS GETTING
A LITTLE TOO WEIRD -
AND AGAIN, THE READER
WILL DISCOVER THIS,
BUT WITH THESE BIZARRE
MEN AND THEIR BIZARRE ACT,
AND ALL OF THIS,
IT'S RIVETING;
YOU CAN'T HELP BUT
KEEP READING IT.
BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN
YOU KIND OF WANT TO GO OUT
AND BREATHE FRESH AIR,
AND SHE'S KIND OF LIKE
THE FRESH AIR A
LOT OF THE TIME.
DO YOU TRY TO PROVIDE
SOMEONE LIKE THAT?
BECAUSE I WAS THINKING BACK,
IN
WHALE MUSIC
AND SOME
OF YOUR OTHER BOOKS, THERE'S
ALWAYS THE ECCENTRICS,
BUT THEN THERE'S ALWAYS
THE REAL PEOPLE
WHO THE ECCENTRICS
ARE CONNECTING WITH.
I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S A
THING YOU TRY TO DO FOR US.

Paul says I GUESS I DO
TRY TO DO IT.
HAVING WORKED A BIT AS A
SCREENWRITER ON TELEVISION,
WE'RE MORE
CONSCIOUS OF THAT.
YOU ALWAYS TALK ABOUT,
THE VIEWER NEEDS A WAY IN,
SOMEONE THEY CAN SORT
OF GO TO A PLACE
OF WEIRDNESS WITH.
BUT I DON'T THINK IN A NOVEL
ONE IS QUITE CONNIVING
ABOUT IT, BUT I THINK I
WAS MORE - LIKE YOU,
I WOULD OFTEN WRITE HER -
BECAUSE IT'S NOT THAT
SHE'S NECESSARILY A WAY IN,
BUT SHE'S OFTEN
QUITE TRANQUIL,
AND SHE IS THIS LITTLE POOL
OF TRANQUILITY THAT YOU
CAN SORT OF GO
TO, AS YOU SAY.
AND MAYBE I WAS SORT OF
SENSING WHEN READERS
MIGHT WANT TO GO THERE.

Richard says BUT SHE COMES BACK IN
EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME,
SO THAT'S GOOD.
NOW, HAVING HAD THE
EXPERIENCE OF
WHALE MUSIC
HAVING BEEN MADE INTO A
REALLY SUCCESSFUL MOVIE,
DID YOU EVER, AT ANY POINT,
STOP YOURSELF AND SAY,
OH, I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE
THE MOVIE OF THIS?
BECAUSE IT SEEMS
SO CINEMATIC, TOO.

Paul says I SORT OF WOULD LIKE TO
SEE THE MOVIE OF IT, YEAH.

[chuckling]

Richard says ANY IDEA WHO YOU'D WANT TO
HAVE AS JURGEN AND RUDOLFO?

Paul says OH, YEAH, I'VE SORT
OF GOT MY DREAM.
AS LONG AS YOU'RE JUST
LYING IN YOUR BED OR
IN YOUR BATHROOM FANTASIZING,
I THOUGHT YOU COULD
GET ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
TO PLAY JURGEN
BECAUSE HE'S
JURGEN-LIKE, ANYWAY.
I THOUGHT JEREMY IRONS
COULD DO A GOOD RUDOLFO.
AND THEN MIRANDA,
WHO, OF COURSE,
WE'D HAVE TO AUDITION.

Richard says YES, TO LOOK FOR THE
RIGHT PERSON, RIGHT.

Paul says TO LOOK FOR THE
RIGHT PERSON.

Richard says AND THEN YOU COULD HAVE ANY
ONE OF 50 MILLION CANADIAN
ACTORS PLAY PRESTON
THE ADEQUATE.

Paul says THAT'S RIGHT, YEAH, YEAH.

Richard says NOW, AGAIN, YOU DO
FILM, YOU DO TELEVISION.
YOU'VE ALSO JUST WRITTEN A
PLAY ABOUT WHAT IT'S LIKE
TO HAVE TO COPE WITH TELEVISION
TREATING WRITERS THAT WAY.
IS THERE A FAVOURITE
WRITER'S MEDIA,
OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP
IN ALL OF THEM: THEATRE,
TELEVISION, MOVIES?

Paul says WELL, NOVELS IS THE BEST.

Richard says WHY?

Paul says THERE'S MORE FREEDOM; YOU
CAN SORT OF DO ANYTHING.
YOU ALSO DON'T NEED PEOPLE'S
PERMISSION TO DO IT,
WHICH YOU ACTUALLY KIND
OF DO WITH TELEVISION
AND SCREENWRITING.
I HAVE THE MIDGETS
ON CAMEL RULE.

Richard says WHAT?

Paul says IT HAS TO DO WITH HOW
MANY MIDGETS ON CAMELS
YOU CAN HAVE, AND IN
A NOVEL, YOU COULD
HAVE INFINITE NUMBER.
A MOVIE, DEPENDING ON THE
BUDGET, YOU MIGHT HAVE 100.
AND ON TELEVISION,
YOU MIGHT HAVE 10.
AND YOU MIGHT BE ABLE
TO GET ONE IN A PLAY.

Richard says IT'S LIKE PAUL GROSS
SAID WHEN HE WAS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
OF
DUE SOUTH.
WHEN HE STARTED WRITING
IT, HE WOULD SAY, NO,
I CANNOT WRITE THAT
EXTERIOR CHASE SCENE UNLESS
EVERYTHING ELSE TAKES
PLACE IN ONE ROOM.

Paul says THAT'S RIGHT, YEAH.

Richard says BUT THERE CAN BE AS
MANY MIDGETS HERE - AGAIN,
THERE'S AN INCREDIBLE
SEQUENCE AT THE VERY END
THAT WE WON'T
GIVE AWAY.
I KEEP SAYING I
WON'T GIVE IT AWAY,
AND IT'S A LOT LIKE
ASKING IF IT'S
A QUARRINGTON
INVENTION.
BUT WHERE YOU COULD
ONLY WAIT TO SEE THIS
ON SCREEN BECAUSE IT WOULD
COST A FORTUNE TO DO.

Paul says OH, YEAH, YEAH.

Richard says BUT IT WOULD
BE WORTH DOING.
ANYWAY, PAUL, I
HAVE TO THANK YOU
FOR
THE SPIRIT CABINET.
I WOULD SUGGEST THAT
ANYBODY WHO'S INTERESTED
NOT JUST IN MAGIC BUT IN A
GOOD BOOK OPEN IT AS WELL.
ANY IDEA WHAT'S NEXT?

Paul says I'VE BEEN READING
ABOUT WALT DISNEY.
THERE YOU GO.

Richard says OH, MY GOD,
OKAY.
HE'LL BE A RECLUSE,
HE'LL LIVE FAR AWAY,
AND HE'LL HAVE A GREAT BIG
LEOPARD - I CAN SEE IT NOW.
PAUL, THANKS A LOT.

Paul says THANK YOU.

Richard turns to the screen and says
FOR
DIALOGUE,
I'M
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
GOODBYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1999, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Paul Quarrington