SI Vault
Bob Ottum
November 03, 1980
...otherwise known as Bruce Jenner, Olympic hero, TV personality, rising movie star, enactor of the common man's dreams: he sails, he surfs, he flies planes, he races autos. He's living, baby, really living!
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November 03, 1980

Hey, Mister Fantasy Man

...otherwise known as Bruce Jenner, Olympic hero, TV personality, rising movie star, enactor of the common man's dreams: he sails, he surfs, he flies planes, he races autos. He's living, baby, really living!

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Fade in on the top of Bruce Jenner's head. A tight shot, from the eyebrows up. His caramel-swirl hair is buffeted by winds. Occasionally, the wind stops; when it does the hair falls back perfectly into its sculptured cut as if God's hand had just reached down and patted it into place. Now the camera pulls back slowly, and we see that Jenner is at the wheel of his brandy-colored 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo. The windows are down and the sunroof is open. Between the traffic lights the car hums in third gear with the purr of an engine loafing well under its potential. Jenner is wearing tan terry-cloth running shorts and a white BMW T shirt. A gold chain at his throat bearing the numerals 73076, the date of his triumph in the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics, catches the sunlight. He is barefoot. He is smiling.

The camera continues pulling away, up through the open car roof, rising faster and faster, and now we see that the Porsche is tooling along the Pacific Coast Highway toward Malibu. The million-dollar shanty houses and the ocean are on the left, the towering sandy cliff on the right. At this point we notice that the smog is palpable. The air is thick with smoky haze and metallic gray in hue. The air is so dense that the titles are projected right onto the smog as the tiny Porsche rolls along far below.

Cut to title:


The credits appear in simple white lettering on the smog. Throughout, the sound track is of the Village People humming The Olympic Hymn.

The music ends at the final credit, and on the highway, far below, the Porsche whips into a tight U-turn and scoots into a gap in a long row of parked cars. The camera zooms down to a close-up through the driver's window. On the other side of the Porsche we see an unpainted cedar fence, much like all the other fences that form a ragged wall for miles in either direction. The beach houses in Malibu turn their backsides to the highway, and like most Malibu fences, this one is posted. There is a sign with a drawing of a policeman, and it says: DON'T EVEN THINK OF PARKING HERE!

Jenner uncoils from the Porsche. In this shot, the juxtaposition of car and man serves to emphasize Jenner's stature: he is 6'2" and 190 pounds, with a deep chest and thickset shoulders. As he walks along the fence Jenner passes the open door of his two-car garage. Parked inside are a bone-white 1977 Porsche Turbo Carerra and a 1979 Jeep, open-topped, equipped with new BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires. Jenner traces a line across the roof of the white Porsche with a fingertip. The car is dusty from lack of use. He opens a gate in the fence, the camera following him as he sluffs down the rackety wooden steps to his bachelor apartment.

Like most of the beach shanties here, the house not only faces the ocean, but also looks as though it spends some of its time in the water. The structural woods are all salt-faded to a uniform gray, and there is a fine coating of sand on everything. Lined in a neat row on the porch are four Kawasaki Jet Skis. Beyond, at the corner of the house, is an 18-foot Hobie Cat. Jenner disappears inside for a moment and returns carrying a can of Coors. He sits down on the edge of the porch, pops open the can and swings his legs. He looks around, smiling at the Jet Skis, at his sailboat, at the sparkling Pacific. The camera closes in stealthily until the entire screen is filled with Jenner's big, perfect teeth. These are not the translucent white models that speak of expensive capping at the hands of a Hollywood dentist; they are original-owner, non-reflective, chalk-white, each one in precise alignment with its neighbor.

The cameraman holds this shot while the voice-over is heard for the first time. At times the voice will address Jenner directly; at other times it will merely lurk around making comments. The voice will sound both comforting and believable, blending the tones of, say, George Sanders and Claude Rains.


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