Thursday, August 31, 2006

Psycho scriptwriter, songwriter

Adam Bernstein's Aug. 30, 2006, obit for
Joseph Stefano gives the dead writer's scriptography, enhanced by details of what influenced Stefano's decisions in crafting his stories.

Stefano wrote the script for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" based on the novel of the same name. The first shock of the film is the killing off of the leading lady, played by then mega-movie-star Janet Leigh, in the first 20 minutes. Adam explains how the script craftsman's introduction of Leigh's character brilliantly differed from the novel.

Adam also pointed out early in the obit that Stefano, who also wrote for the science fiction TV series "The Outer Limits," had begun his entertainment career as a minor Greenwich Village showman and penned songs for Las Vegas showman Donn Arden.

Just before the obit's closing credits, a.k.a. list of surviving relatives, Adam throws in this gem:

Mr. Stefano had an enormous sheet-music collection and once spent five hours challenging pianist Michael Feinstein about who could name increasingly obscure Tin Pan Alley songs.

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