The Goodbye People (1986)

PG | 105 mins | Comedy-drama | 31 January 1986

Director:

Herb Gardner

Writer:

Herb Gardner

Producer:

David V. Picker

Cinematographer:

John Lindley

Editor:

Rick Shaine

Production Designer:

Tony Walton

Production Company:

Coney Island Productions
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HISTORY

The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The producer wishes to gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: Connolly Roll-A-Grill Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Gene’s 79th Street Bicycles, Jet Spray Corporation, Pittsburgh Paints, Tourneau Watches, Trader Vic’s, U-Haul,” and “With special thanks to: Ralph Burns, Filmtrucks, General Camera, Joyce Saffir, Beverly Sammartino and Sam Stone of The New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting, The New York City Movie and TV Unit of the Tactical Police Force, James Ryan and William Dougherty of The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and The People of Coney Island.” End credits state: "Originally produced on Broadway by Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin," and “This film is dedicated to Paddy Chayefsky.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files and a 10 Jun 1983 NYT article, playwright-director Herb Gardner spent his childhood in Coney Island, NY, ten blocks from where filming took place and actor Judd Hirsch was raised in nearby Brighton Beach, NY. The hot dog stand in the play and movie was inspired by a similar stand owned by Gardner’s Uncle Benny, known as “Benny’s Busy Bee.” Gardner said he worked for his uncle as a youth. Later, when Gardner and production designer Tony Walton were scouting locations, they selected a portion of the boardwalk thirty yards from where Uncle Benny’s stand had been located.
       A 5 Jan 1973 DV reported that choreographer-writer-director Bob Fosse planned to shoot the film in the winter of 1974. However, Fosse dropped out of the project, and a 10 Jun 1983 NYT article stated that producer David V. Picker admired Gardner’s play, and hired the ... More Less

The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “The producer wishes to gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of: Connolly Roll-A-Grill Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Gene’s 79th Street Bicycles, Jet Spray Corporation, Pittsburgh Paints, Tourneau Watches, Trader Vic’s, U-Haul,” and “With special thanks to: Ralph Burns, Filmtrucks, General Camera, Joyce Saffir, Beverly Sammartino and Sam Stone of The New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting, The New York City Movie and TV Unit of the Tactical Police Force, James Ryan and William Dougherty of The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and The People of Coney Island.” End credits state: "Originally produced on Broadway by Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin," and “This film is dedicated to Paddy Chayefsky.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files and a 10 Jun 1983 NYT article, playwright-director Herb Gardner spent his childhood in Coney Island, NY, ten blocks from where filming took place and actor Judd Hirsch was raised in nearby Brighton Beach, NY. The hot dog stand in the play and movie was inspired by a similar stand owned by Gardner’s Uncle Benny, known as “Benny’s Busy Bee.” Gardner said he worked for his uncle as a youth. Later, when Gardner and production designer Tony Walton were scouting locations, they selected a portion of the boardwalk thirty yards from where Uncle Benny’s stand had been located.
       A 5 Jan 1973 DV reported that choreographer-writer-director Bob Fosse planned to shoot the film in the winter of 1974. However, Fosse dropped out of the project, and a 10 Jun 1983 NYT article stated that producer David V. Picker admired Gardner’s play, and hired the playwright to direct a film adaptation of his work. According to a 12 Nov 1982 DV news item, the original Broadway production starred Milton Berle, Bob Dishy, Tony Lo Bianco and Brenda Vaccaro, but none of the actors reprised their roles on screen. Picker put together a $2 million budget for the picture. Production notes state that the company filmed for eight weeks during one of the worst month of April on record. As stated in the 10 Jun 1983 NYT, Picker said on a given day the weather would run the gamut from sun to snow to rain then sleet. According to production notes, actors and crew battled torrential rains, hail, snow, and nighttime temperatures dropped to eighteen degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy winds caused cameras to fall and blow away. Gardner claimed that in many shots, the actors stood in knee-deep water, and it was necessary to film them from the waist up.
       A 8 Jun 1986 LAHExam news item reported that after the movie was finished, Embassy Films had no plans to release it. A consortium made up of Picker, television writer-producer Norman Lear, Hirsch and actor Martin Balsam bought the film, which enabled them to arrange distribution.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1982.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1986
p. 11.
LAHExam
8 Jan 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 Feb 1986
p. 10, 22.
New York Times
10 Jun 1983.
---
New York Times
31 Jan 1986
p. 5.
Variety
12 Sep 1984
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst prod mgr
D. G. A. trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Unit still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
2d elec
3d elec
Key grip
Key grip
Dolly grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Const coord
Const carpenter
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Des assoc
Master scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Set dec
Set dresser-leadman
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Ward supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Looping ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Post prod facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Loc scout
Asst loc scout
Scr supv
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Asst to the prod
Prod accountant, Production Services, Ltd.
Prod accountant
Loc auditor
Asst auditor
Transportation capt
Driver
Research
AFI intern
AFI intern
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Max's illuminated sign by
STAND INS
No-net stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Goodbye People by Herb Gardner (New York, 3 Dec 1968).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Don’t Anybody Waltz Anymore,” by Shel Silverstein, Evil Eye Music, Inc.
“Careless Love,” as performed by Pete Fountain, appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Over The Waves.” as performed by Pete Fountain, appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
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SONGS
“Don’t Anybody Waltz Anymore,” by Shel Silverstein, Evil Eye Music, Inc.
“Careless Love,” as performed by Pete Fountain, appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Over The Waves.” as performed by Pete Fountain, appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“South Rampart Street Parade,” by Ray Bauduc and Bob Haggart, as performed by Pete Fountain, Leo Feist, Inc. appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“California Here I Come,” by Bud DeSylva, Al Jolson, and Joseph Meyer, as performed by Al Jolson (with orchestra directed by Morris Stoloff) Warner Brothers, Inc. appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
“Is It True What They Say About Dixie,” by Irving Caesar, Sammy Lerner and Gerald Marks, Warner Brothers, Inc.
“Moonlight Becomes You,” by Johnny Burke and James Van Heusen, Famous Music Corporation
“Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye,” by Ernie Erdman, Ted Fiorino and Gus Kahn, Leo Feist, Inc.
“Happy Birthday To You,” by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill, Summy-Birchard Music division of Birch Tree Group Ltd.
“Down Yonder,” by Wolfe Gilbert, LaSalle Music Publishers, Inc. appears courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc., opening title music courtesy of Polygram Records
“Over The Waves,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“Under The Double Eagle,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“After The Ball,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“Pony Boy,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“Tick Tock Polka,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“The Billboard (March),” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“American Patrol,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“The Thunderer,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“The Battle Of The Bird,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“Manhattan Beach,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“El Capitain,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
“Washington Post,” arranged by P. Eakins and S. Frey, Eleventh Avenue Theatricals appear courtesy of Audiofidelity Enterprises, Inc.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
31 January 1986
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 31 January 1986
Los Angeles opening: 14 February 1986
Production Date:
April--May 1983 in Coney Island, New York
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Camera and lenses by General Camera
Prints
Prints by De Luxe®
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In early morning on a winter day, Arthur Korman rides the subway to Coney Island, New York. He strides past the closed concession stands, and opens his folding beach chair on the sand. Wearing a heavy winter coat, he sits in the dark with his newspaper resting on his lap, and his banjo case by his side. He jumps up and calls the New York Times from a nearby pay phone, complaining to the operator that the newspaper has printed an incorrect sunrise time, but she hangs up. Meanwhile, a former concession owner, Max Silverman, arrives, and Arthur complains about the rude operator at the newspaper. Max comments that The Daily News is just as bad. There is pollution, garbage in the river and Manhattan is slowly sinking, but the newspaper never mentions it. As Max introduces himself, he tells Arthur that they actually spoke the previous day. However, Arthur was talking in his sleep, while wearing sunglasses so Max did not realize he was unconscious. Max claims that Arthur said, “Goodbye Bill,” in his sleep. He thinks they can be friends and reveals that he once owned the closed concession named “Max’s Hawaiian Ecstasies.” He takes Arthur inside the establishment, explaining his plans to remodel and reopen after twenty-two years. Entertainers like Al Jolson used to come once a week for Max’s hotdogs, and quite a few of his customers were crime bosses. As the sun rises, he reveals that he recently had serious heart surgery. Even though his family members fear he might die, Max believes reopening the concession will give him a ... +


In early morning on a winter day, Arthur Korman rides the subway to Coney Island, New York. He strides past the closed concession stands, and opens his folding beach chair on the sand. Wearing a heavy winter coat, he sits in the dark with his newspaper resting on his lap, and his banjo case by his side. He jumps up and calls the New York Times from a nearby pay phone, complaining to the operator that the newspaper has printed an incorrect sunrise time, but she hangs up. Meanwhile, a former concession owner, Max Silverman, arrives, and Arthur complains about the rude operator at the newspaper. Max comments that The Daily News is just as bad. There is pollution, garbage in the river and Manhattan is slowly sinking, but the newspaper never mentions it. As Max introduces himself, he tells Arthur that they actually spoke the previous day. However, Arthur was talking in his sleep, while wearing sunglasses so Max did not realize he was unconscious. Max claims that Arthur said, “Goodbye Bill,” in his sleep. He thinks they can be friends and reveals that he once owned the closed concession named “Max’s Hawaiian Ecstasies.” He takes Arthur inside the establishment, explaining his plans to remodel and reopen after twenty-two years. Entertainers like Al Jolson used to come once a week for Max’s hotdogs, and quite a few of his customers were crime bosses. As the sun rises, he reveals that he recently had serious heart surgery. Even though his family members fear he might die, Max believes reopening the concession will give him a reason to live. Meanwhile, Arthur is asleep, his only response is “Goodbye Bill.” As Max leaves to turn his plan into a reality, his daughter, an aspiring actress who now goes by the name Nancie Scot, rides her bicycle on the boardwalk, and sits beside the sleeping Arthur to watch the sunrise. When the pay phone rings, Nancie answers it, and speaks to Arthur’s boss, Bill. On a whim, Nancie tells Bill that Arthur is quitting his job. Soon, Nancy’s estranged husband, Eddie Bergson, arrives but does not recognize his wife because she is twenty pounds thinner, and has had plastic surgery on her nose. As the couple discuss their impending divorce, Eddie wants to remain together, but Nancie feels trapped, and is eager to move on. Eddie thinks she is searching for something that does not exist, and leaves. Nancie rests her head on the arm of Arthur’s chair and falls asleep. Later, Arthur wakes up and discovers Nancie. He thinks she is beautiful, and makes awkward conversation. She says she is Max’s daughter, and he shows her his banjo. He gives Nancie his coat and starts to leave, but changes his mind. He tells her about his awful job designing pixie and elf holiday decorations, which he wants to quit after eighteen years. Nancie confesses she told his boss, Bill, that he was leaving the company. However, Arthur is not too worried Bill will take Nancie’s message seriously. Yet, he realizes the years have passed too quickly. He once had a dream to be a sculptor, and make statues like the ones in the park. When he graduated from art school, the parks did not need any more sculptures so he took an awful job instead and cannot bear it any longer. He convinces himself it is time to quit, and tell Bill goodbye. The telephone rings, but Arthur ignores it. He tells Nancie at 7:30 a.m. he can dream, but at nine he goes to work. Nancie tells him people can change, but he is afraid and thinks he cannot be any more than he is now. Max returns, and ignores his daughter. He says all of his former partners are dead and none of their offspring want to give him start up money. He asks Arthur to invest $20,000 in his business. When Arthur hesitates, Max keeps lowering the price until he offers him a full partnership for $5,000. Arthur remains unconvinced so Max stops bargaining with him. Meanwhile, Max is angry that Nancie did not visit him in the hospital. She apologizes, and claims she did not know he was ill. Max forgives his daughter and they embrace. When she tells him he is too ill to run the concession, he believes his former partner, Marcus Soloway, will return. Meanwhile, Arthur decides that Max is a worthy cause, and becomes an investor. Later, Arthur builds a plaster palm tree on the beach to celebrate Max’s Hawaiian-themed store. Nancie thinks he has gone mad and thrown away his money, while Max admires Arthur’s renderings for the stand’s design. Soon, Max gets a visit from his son, Michael, and pretends not to recognize him. Previously, Max dropped a partnership contract at Michael’s office, but now his son makes him believe that the property was sold to a big hotdog chain while he was in hospital. Max still thinks he can open and turn a profit. If the new owners sue him, he expects Michael to tie them up in court. He asks Michael to buy him some time because the store represents something tangible about him as a person, and he is not going to surrender without a fight. Michael warns that if Max opens the store it will be the death of him. Soon, Michael informs Nancie of the latest developments, and she tells Arthur that Marcus Soloway is in negotiations to sell his part of the business. In response, Max moves up the store’s opening, and Arthur agrees to it. Nancie is too upset with her father to continue. Arthur calms her and notes that it is because of Max’s enthusiasm he built a palm tree, and can laugh again. Arthur tells Nancie he loves her and they hug. Max appears in a red and pink-striped jacket and straw hat for the opening. He carries a sign and stumbles on the step while carrying it. Nancie is concerned he is having another heart attack, but he laughs off the moment. Max hangs the news sign and swells with pride. Later, Nancie and Arthur hand out fliers for the opening. The old concession gets a makeover with bamboo siding, palm trees, and plenty of neon. Max proposes a toast with his Hawaiian coconut drink, and reveals Soloway will soon pay them a visit to make a decision about renewing his partnership. Max also contacts The Dixieland Devils, a musical group, to head the parade for the store’s opening. When Soloway arrives, he is impressed with Max’s efforts, but the buyout from the big chain is too attractive, and he urges Max to close the stand and take the money. He argues the business was always a struggle, and nobody is going to come to the boardwalk in winter for hotdogs. Soloway says at seventy-two-years-old, he is content to sit and be an old man. He wishes Max good luck and leaves. Arthur arrives and says with all the lights on the stand can easily be seen from a mile away. Max informs him that Soloway is selling his share to the big chain. They have until June to turn a profit. If they do not, the other company will assume the business. Max sits down on the stairs and announces he is having a heart attack. When he stands, he wobbles, and Arthur catches him as he collapses. Arthur gently lowers him to the sand, and Max dies in his arms. The next day, as Arthur and Nancie sadly discuss which vendors to cancel, the pay phone rings. Bill is on the line and wants to know when Arthur is coming back to work. Suddenly, The Dixieland Devils, a troupe of eighty-something musicians, can be heard playing on the boardwalk because they forgot to cancel the parade. It is a testament to Max that these elderly musicians agreed to do the parade, and Arthur is so moved he tells Bill he is quitting his job. Nancie says the concession is a monument to hopelessness, but Arthur will not be swayed. When he climbs on a parade float, Nancie joins him, and they hug.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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