Candice Bergen will tell the story of her legendary ventriloquist father Edgar Bergen on the big screen – Deadline


Before she is Murphy Brown and the star of films such as carnal knowledge, Candice Bergen grew up watching her father Edgar Bergen navigate his way to stardom with his arm behind the back of wooden puppet Charlie McCarthy. She teamed up with James Francis Trezza and Pam Widener to produce a feature film based on her father, based on his bestselling 1984 memoir. knock on wood. Barbara Turner, who was recently nominated for the WGA awards for the screenplay of the HBO film Hemingway and Gelhorn, will write the script. She finds Trezza and Widener after their collaboration on Pollock.

Putting an innovative spin on the biographical form, the image will take Charlie McCarthy’s POV as Edgar Bergen grew up in early showbiz in America, from vaudeville to the golden age of radio, to feature films and the birth of television. The three-foot-tall wooden puppet has become a household name, with fame that has eclipsed his straight partner, Bergen. In fact, when the latter tried to branch out with other sidekicks like Effie Klinker’s Mortimer Snerd, audiences rebelled. They wanted Charlie.

“This creation took over,” says Ms. Bergen, “and eclipsed the creator. She was the dummy who wouldn’t die. All fan mail went to Charlie first. And Edgar wasn’t really welcome at parties at first unless Charlie was with him. It was totally surreal.

The puppet seemed to get away with much more racy stuff than was common at the time. A famous flirtatious exchange between Charlie and Mae West in 1938 prompted NBC to ban Mae West for nearly a decade. Bergen and McCarthy were back on the air a week later, their ratings up two points.

“To my knowledge, no one has created a biopic out of a piece of wood, but Charlie was no ordinary piece of wood,” Widener said. “He was truly Bergen’s alter ego – and, perhaps more interestingly, he was America’s alter ego. In an era when morals and norms ruled the airwaves, Charlie said the unspeakable – and got away with it.

Says Bergen: “I find it infinitely fascinating that a reserved man, a man who had trouble expressing his feelings, fell into the profession of ventriloquist on the radio. And that the person he created was this carefree model, without restraint, without prisoner.

Bergen and McCarthy remained together until 1978, when Bergen died and McCarthy moved to the Smithsonian. “Telling the story through Charlie’s eyes is a magical opportunity to bring one of America’s greatest talents to life,” says Widener. “And to introduce a new generation of viewers to the enchanting early days of American show business.”


Comments are closed.