The King of Marvin Gardens

Synopsis: 'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer who asks his brother, David, a radio personality from Philadelphia to help him build a paradise on a Pacific Island - asking him to believe in yet another of his dreams, yet another of his get-rich-quick schemes. But luck is against them both and the game ends badly - real life reduced to radio drama.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Bob Rafelson
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Rotten Tomatoes:
103 min

I promised that I would tell you...

why I never eat fish.

When we all moved in

to my grandfather's house, it...

somehow fell to me...

to keep the old man's mind off of things.

We would play casino

over an old card table.

He never let me win.

One time he put one

of those tiny model trains...

into my hamburger.

He was a practical joker.

I broke my tooth on it.

On Friday evenings

we had fish at our house.

Every Friday.

Not on religious grounds...

but because Grandpa was a fish enthusiast.

"Keeps you from going blind,"

he would say...

even though the bones

always got caught in his throat.

My brother and I would sit

next to one another...

waiting for his terrible coughing to begin.

Then one of us would be

dispatched to the kitchen...

to get a flat heel of bread

to clear the bones.

He'd gulp it down, and slowly

his coughing would diminish...

and then everything would be quiet again...

and we would go on with the meal

as though nothing had happened.

One Friday my parents went out...

leaving my brother and I alone...

to serve ourselves and Grandfather.

Mom left the fish warming on the stove -

breaded sole.

The bread crumbs only helped

to conceal the bones.

When the inevitable coughing began...

my brother and I just sat...

and looked at each other...

not moving.

Grandfather's eyes got wide.

His face became contorted and red...

his arms flailing about.

I raced to the kitchen and back...

with a flat heel of pumpernickel.

Grandfather reached out for it




handed it to my brother instead...

and... he...

back to me.

Grandfather pitched...

face forward onto the dining room table

and then... back...

knocking his chair over...

pulling the tablecloth...

silverware, mashed potatoes...

fish, stewed tomatoes

with peppers and onions -

all of it -

on top of him.

Heaped on the floor...

behind the table, he...

looked like the... remains...

of some chaotic dinner party.

My brother took the incriminating

pumpernickel from my hand...

and, uh -

- [Quiet Clicking]

- stuck it...

into Grandpa's fingers.

[Clicking Continues]

I think at that moment...

my brother and I

became accomplices forever.

"Don't ever say a word about this," he said.

"Just go to bed and pretend...

that you're asleep."

The next morning...

my parents explained to me that, uh...

Grandpa had gone away on business...

and had left me a very special...

kiss good-bye.

[Switch Clicks]

- [Classical]

- Are you out of your mind?

I'm sorry, Dave.

The guy said it was an emergency.

I don't care what the story is.

I'm on the air.

Anything you say. I'm sorry.

- [Stops]

- Enough talk.

Let's hear our theme

all the way through tonight.

Until Wednesday, then,

this has been Etcetera...

and I have been your host,

David Staebler.

- [Resumes]

- [No Audible Dialogue]


- Eight minutes of theme?

- Who called?

I don't know. He said he'd call back.

I'm gonna tape at home for Wednesday.

Maybe for from now on.

Blinking lights, urgent telephone calls.

I'll mail you the cassette.

Hey, Dave, you know

nothing gets past me when you're live.

The guy said it was an emergency.

There is no emergency

can't wait till I've signed off.

Yeah, I know. I know.

- [Sighs] What's the difference?

- I know.

If you don't mind hanging around,

I'll buy you coffee.

I've got another appointment.

Some other time, okay?

Okay, Dave.

[Coughs, Sniffles]


It's not your fault. Sorry.

[No Audible Dialogue]

Hey, Dave!

Are you comin' in Wednesday?

Are you gonna mail in the show or what?


[Chattering, Laughing]

[Coughing Continues]



Next! Ho!

[Train Approaching]




[Woman On TV]

And up and down.

Down, down, up and down.

Two, three, and bring it back.

...helps strengthen the arch and our butt.

[Continues, Indistinct]

[Mimicking Coughing]

Ready. And up. Down.

There are 39 stations to choose from -

A.M. and F.M. -

plus television.

If you don't like my stories,

you don't have to listen to my program.

Jason called.

Person to person, after midnight.

I gave the operator

your number at the station.

Well, he didn't get through.

Oh, he'll get through.


He'll get through.

[Woman On TV]

Bend up and down.

And I never stuck a model train

in your hamburger.

It was a cricket from a Cracker Jack box.

Up and bounce, bounce.

[Children Chattering]

What's going on?

- It's your brother again.

- Jason?

- [Coughing]

- He made me wake you.

- What's he want?

- He says, uh -

He made me write it down.

Let me see it.

"Get your" -

What's it say?

It says, "Get your ass down here fast.

Our kingdom has come."

Where's he calling -

Geez, I got pins and needles.

- Where's he calling from?

- Oh, blood's not circulating.

- Jersey.

- Jersey.

- Down at the shore.

- Okay.

What time is it?

Let me see.

- 1:

- Damn it.

You woke me up, Jason.

[Train Horn Blowing]

[Man Over P.A.] Train arriving

from Philadelphia, track one.

Train arriving from Philadelphia,

track one.

[Steam Hissing]

Welcome, Davey!

We're not really ready yet.

I mean, it was supposed

to be a whole lot better, you know...

but things don't always work out

as you plan, right?

And if you love Jason -

I'm Sally.

I would tell you that I've

heard so much about you...

but I absolutely detest clichs.

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Jacob Brackman

Jacob Brackman (born 1943) is an American journalist, writer, and musical lyricist. After graduating from Harvard University in 1965, he went to work for Newsweek as a journalist. He remained there for six months and was then hired by The New Yorker. He subsequently worked as a film critic at Esquire magazine from 1969 until 1972. He met Carly Simon in 1968 when they were both working as counselors at a summer camp in the Berkshires. The two became close friends. Most of Simon's albums include one or two songs co-written with Brackman; typically, Simon writes the music and Brackman writes the lyrics. Among the dozens of songs they have written together are the top ten hits, "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" (1971) and "Haven't Got Time for the Pain" (1974), both of which were sung by Simon. The lyrics to the Broadway musical King of Hearts were also written by Brackman, and so, too, were the screenplays for The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) and Times Square (1980). He has also collaborated musically with James Taylor, Steve Winwood, Dr. John, Fred Astaire, Michel Polnareff and Dionne Warwick. He was the executive producer for the acclaimed Terrence Malick film, Days of Heaven (1978). He married the late Mindy Jostyn, and co-authored the lyrics on her CDs. Jacob Brackman has been an influence to many other artists, including Welsh rock group the Manic Street Preachers. See article on the film Times Square for more. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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