TV treatment: Yo, Gutenberg!

When it comes to situation comedies, nothing beats the thrill of re-living the real-life experiences of the pioneers of technology we now all take for granted. Witness the successes of shows such as “RocketMan” (Werner von Braun) on CBS, “Ps and Qs” (George Washington Carver) on Fox, and “I Seem to be a Dance” (Charles Lindbergh) on NBC.

In this same vein, I present to you “Yo, Gutenberg!”, stories about the man who invented movable type, Johann Gutenberg. Unfortunately, not much is known about Gutenberg’s life. Fortunately, this means we can make up whatever we want and no one will be able to dispute it.

Premiere Episode

After ten boring years as a diamond polisher, Gutenberg discovers that falling asleep face-down in a pile of diamonds results in a variety of interesting marks on his face, amusing himself by arranging the diamonds in peculiar patterns before dozing off. Then it hits him; why not do the same thing with letters of the alphabet? He tries out his theory on a couple of small printing jobs, and when the trials are successful he takes on the job of printing the now-famous Mazarin Bible.

Episode Two

Gutenberg opens for business. His first customer is a young Latino who wants Gutenberg to print up some broadsides for an upcoming “baile.” Gutenberg accepts the job without realizing he doesn’t yet have the special characters required to print Mexican. Cursing his lack of foresight, Gutenberg stays up for days on end, hand-carving the special type so he can deliver the job can on time. Just as he is about to chalk the whole experience up as a loss, the Queen of Spain calls with a rush order that allows Gutenberg to use his newly-created type!

Episode Three

Hours after delivering a large order to the local newspaper, Gutenberg receives a call from the editor demanding Gutenberg make-good on a page that was inadvertently printed upside-down. Gutenberg points out that the customer did in fact sign off on the bluelines, but instead …

[To be continued …]