Our first screenplay submission! “Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (Scene 1, Havana, February 15th, 1898)

Our first screenplay submission!  “Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (Scene 1, Havana, February 15th, 1898)

A filmed “fake” recreation of the battle of Manilla Bay, circa 1898

Lady Bug, Oil on Canvas, 1957

For those of you new to Talker, we have asked for poetry submissions. And received some. (See Lady Bug”  for all poems.)

And we are expecting some photographic contributions. And our eyes set on serializing a novel.

Now we are asking for screenplay submissions. Much to our delight — even before announcing it! — we received this submission. Below is Scene 1 of Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story.  (To learn more about war films see Filming, faking and propaganda: The origins of the war film, 1897-1902)

and On Spanish-American War Monuments and Rochester. And remembering the Buffalo Soldiers on Veteran’s Day


from 1896 film, Boxing match or Glove Contest

Scene 2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, February 1898

Scene 3: Washington




220px-StephenCraneandCora1899Scene 5: New York, February 1898


Scene 6: The Cuban Countyrside, February 1898


Scene 7: Havana, May 1898


1893 edition

Scene 8: Havana, May 1898

  shafter on cart Scene 10

Scene 11 negro troops

Scene 13 Black_Maria

Scene 15

wash 2

Scene 16




Scene 17lola

Scene 18

Scene 19

All scenes 1 – 24

Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story


Stephen Crane in Greece, 1897

Scene 1

Havana Harbor, February 15th, 1898. Steamy Caribbean evening.  The battleship USS Maine  is moored offshore.   The American officers are dining with the Spanish civilian elite. The harbor is lit up; there is dancing, music, frivolity, etc.  The ship is close enough that toasts are made back and forth. The best families of Havana are entertaining Captain Sigsbey, captain of the of the Maine.  All are white.

Mayor DeLome: Welcome to Havana, Captain Sigsbee (greeting him heartily)

havana 1898

Havana, 1898

Sigsbee: I am very appreciative of your hospitality, your Excellency.  I must admit I was not sure what reception we would receive.

DeLome: Ah, dear Captain I fear you have been reading too many newspapers.  If I read your yellow press I would think we Spaniards were bloodthirsty barbarians left over from The Inquisition.  Not at all, sir.  That is why we welcome the Maine.

(Three cheers to the USS Maine. Toasts go out to ship and are returned)

DeLome: You will see yourself that Havana has no quarrel with the United States. Quite the contrary. Are we not from the same race after all?

(A flash as photographers take a shot)

DeLome: Has not America blessed us with the “Kodak?”  (toasts Sigsbee)

Sigsbee: Very kind of you, sir.  And has not Spain (Sigsbee looks about) blessed us with pictures worth taking.

DeLome: Ah, there I must agree.  400 years ago, God sank the Armada but in return he gave us the Cuban Woman.   One question, what exactly is a Kodak?

Sigsbee: Why nothing at all. George Eastman wanted a word that was in no language.

DeLome: Bravo! The new word for the next century!

Sigsbee: (glancing at the frivolity) I must say that you Havanians know how to enjoy life.  Except for that couple (pointed to two isolated, grim looking figures).

DeLome:   Why they are the Quesadas, the parents of Margharita.  (Sigsbee looks puzzled).  Have you not heard of Margharita Quesadas?

Sigsbee: I’m afraid I spend too much time on that old boat of mine.

fee cuba

Advertisement for Cuban cigars

DeLome: Margharita betrayed her parents by joining the rebel cause.  She has broken their hearts.  (Sigsbee seems to be holding back his thought)

DeLome: Ah, sir I sense what you are thinking.  Victory for the rebels against the Spanish king.  It is those newspapers again. Portraying an outlaw band of thieves and terrorists as if they were George Washington and the Minutemen.


Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros (September 23, 1877 – April 29, 1970) was the focus of events that played out in the years 1896–1898 during the Cuban War of Independence.

I assure you, these rebels are not what they seem. I have seen their pictures in their newspapers. Strange indeed sir.  Your yellow press has turned black men into white.  If the American people knew that the great Cuban patriots were as dark as tonight’s sky, they would not be chanting Cuba Libre.

cuban soldiers

Cuban soldier fighting for Cuban independence from Spain, circa 1898

Sigsbee: (musing) Hmm, actually I do recall the story of Margharita.  Isn’t she called (by those papers) the beautiful brown-skinned Cuban Joan de Arc?  I wouldn’t have guessed from her parents.

DeLome: She got that from that from her grandfather. He was in the last revolution 25 years ago.  Quite the utopian.  It is said that he once visited Karl Marx and that he gave Margharita a signed copy of the Communist Manifesto. Long Live the Proletariat! (facetious toast)

Sigsgbee: Still, I heard she’s having a rough time of it prison.

DeLome: Yes this is true.  Unfortunately, the Casa de Recogidas is the home of every prostitute in Havana.  We will let her out soon.  After she has learnt her lesson.


All scenes 1 – 24


The destruction of the USS Maine, February 15, 1898


USS Maine Tablet (1912), old Rochester City Hall, Fitzhugh Street

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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