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Grand Forks Daily, November 28, 1909. Okay, every robber baron has a certain percentage of Mr. Burns in his genomic profile, but OMFG! How many others could boast a canine torture chamber on their rural estates?
This whole thing would make such a terrific T.C. Boyle novel. Hey, T.C., are you out there? I don’t time to write this sucker for you, you know? Lately I barely have time to keep up with this frickin’ blog.

It’d make a pretty good little feature film too. You got your plucky little band of anti-vivisectionists planning their strategies and skulking around the darkened Jersey countryside with kerosene bombs. I guess they’re probably led by some eminence grise, perhaps a grizzled ex-abolitionist. (Anthony Hopkins? He gives pretty good moral indignation.) And you got the Rockefeller’s wily security chief (Ian McShane?) and his men playing cat-and-mouse games with the anti-vivs. Then of course you have ol’ John D. himself (Francis X. Bushman?) as the heavyweight counterpoise to the Hopkins character.Now when it came time to make the movie adaptation, you’d need to go pretty light on the actual representations of serial medical torture and infinite canine agony. I reckon you’d leave most of this to a monologue from Hopkins. Yes, that might be best.


  1. One of Wilkie Collins’ later novels, Heart and Science, is an anti-vivisectionist screed. It’s as fresh as a PETA flyer–although he had a lot more material to spread himself on, since the “surgeries” were conducted without anesthesia.

    I see the film going more in the “Herbert West, Re-Animator” direction, with Hopkins himself vivisected by Francis X. (ably assisted by Lionel Barrymore), while his lovely daughter Angelina Jolie and the scientist she’s charmed–[insert your choice of masculine beefcake]release the dogs and escape.

    • [insert your choice of masculine beefcake]

      Scott Caan. That guy’s the next big thing.

      You got something for Lionel Atwill in there? His agent has been bugging me. Maybe that’s too many Lionels.

  2. Well, let’s bag Barrymore (he’s pricy anyway) in favor of Atwill, and have him use a pseudonym. . .after that orgy conviction, we don’t really need his name on the picture. And for awkward not-very-comic relief, Ellen DeGeneres as the kennel girl.

  3. I forgot about the orgy stuff. Hmm. What’s George Zucco up to these days?

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