Where were you on July 17, 1981?
Like most Americans, I was standing in line for the premiere of the most awaited film event of the century: Arthur. Dudley Moore had just wowed the critics with his turn in the hit 10, and there was much speculation that this would be an even bigger hit. What an understatement!
Nobody, not even the studio that released Arthur, could've imagined the impact it would have on the world. It was just a simple love story about a drunk millionaire who falls for a poor girl and must choose between following his fortune or his heart. But, oh, the power of that story! Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli and Sir John Gielgud became household names. Christopher Cross' theme song went platinum. And, of course, millions of people imitated Arthur every day by getting blitzed.
And where was I during all this hubbub? Why, waiting in line to see Arthur again, of course! I saw Arthur a grand total of 218 times in the theater and 735 times on video, and I read the novelization 416 times before the cover fell off and the binding turned to dust. I went to the Arthur conventions, dressed like Arthur for Halloween, and wrote a manual that includes schematics of all the rooms in Arthur's mansion. (Attention publishers: The book still hasn't been optioned. Hint! Hint!) I even started my own fan club, King Arthur's Court. Our peak membership was seven Arthurians, but three of them have since died of liver cancer.
Yes, I'm quite proud to say that Arthur has been the guiding force in my life. Though I'm not much of a drinker, I gleaned as much from the film as possible and applied it to my daily life. I hired an acid-tongued butler named Hobson. I started shoplifting like Liza Minnelli's character, Linda. I even wore a top hat in the bathtub!
Imagine my joy in 1988 when the long-awaited sequel, Arthur 2: On The Rocks, finally arrived. At long last, I could see more adventures of my favorite characters. There they were, Arthur and Linda, on screen together again, and they were married! Imagine my surprise when I learned they were trying to adopt a child, even though Arthur had lost his fortune. Even Hobson, who died in the original movie, came back as a ghost. I was in heaven! I saw Arthur 2: On The Rocks about 150 times, then I bought the video and watched it until it burned up in my VCR and, ultimately, reduced my apartment to cinders.
So now it's been more than eight years since Arthur 2, and I haven't heard boo about Arthur 3. Let's get cracking, Hollywood—the teeming masses are waiting!
The other Arthurians and I have done a lot of research, and we've uncovered some incredible facts. Did you know that Steve Gordon, the writer and director of the original Arthur, wrote three complete Arthur trilogies before he died? The one in which Arthur takes place is actually the second of the trilogies. The first covers the story of how Arthur's father acquired his fortune, and details his battles with opium addiction. In the third trilogy, Arthur's son returns to his grandfather's native country to become a fig farmer, only to come face to face with a rival Hobson's great-grandson! Word also has it that the only characters who will appear in all three trilogies are the Droids.
Much ink has been spilled about next year's theatrical re-release of Arthur. Apparently, Warner Brothers has uncovered some lost footage, and is re-incorporating it into the movie. The missing scenes include one in which Arthur drunkenly falls into a swimming pool at a fancy dinner party.
Warner Brothers also plans to replace all the old special effects with fancy new digital effects, claiming that Arthur will seem even more drunk than before. Well, I say, why fix what ain't broken?! Give us what we really want: the final installment of the trilogy!
My fellow Arthurians and I may be a small group, but we're very vocal. We've petitioned Bud Yorkin, the director of Arthur 2, to break the silence on Arthur 3, but he won't return our calls. We've camped out in front of Dudley Moore's mansion and sung Arthur's Theme in all-night vigils, only to be manhandled by Dudley's thuggish security personnel. Even Liza Minnelli, who could use the kind of career boost Arthur 3 would give her, has refused to meet with us to discuss the film.
But, by God, we won't give up! We've just got to know what happens next! Will Arthur be able to stay on the wagon long enough to see his son grow to be a man? Will Linda ever return to the stage to reprise her role in Cabaret? And will Arthur and Linda be able to get Hobson out of the carbonite freeze? Dammit, Warner Brothers, we demand to know!