Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 8:52PM
Could a show about time travel actually be from 30 years in the past? In documents obtained by TMZ, producer Anthony Spinner (Baretta, The Man from Uncle) claims he created Lost. Among other things, his lawsuit asserts that the show he was hired to write for ABC was called Lost and was about a group of plane crash survivors stranded on a tropical island.
The producer submitted the script three times to the network, most recently in 1994, so why didn't Spinner sue until now? He did, but there were procedural reasons to dismiss his earlier attempts. He'd like some royalties and a cut of the profits, but first it has to be proven that his script did contain all the elements Spinner says it did, and then it has to be proven that ABC knowingly handed the idea over to J.J. Abrams and company.
The TMZ document, which you can view here, lists way too many similarities to just be a coincidence. The Others in his version were called The Primitives, there was a tough chick character with a criminal past, the flashback technique used for character development, cold weather animals on a tropical island, the time-honored Lost tradition of killing off a leading character, plus several other character types that can't really be ignored.
Maybe Spinner's making the whole thing up; he hasn't had a credit in over a decade and stopped steadily producing shows in the mid-1980s. He's now nearly 80 years old, though, so a decline in his productivity shouldn't be surprising. I would imagine his script would be registered with the Writers Guild somewhere. That would be a big help in sorting this all out. And if Spinner is fabricating a story, the original script would be ironclad evidence against him. It's not the usual case of a security guard at a shoe store in Lisbon, Portugal claiming he wrote The Da Vinci Code. This guy has had a 60-year career. He can't win the suit without the script, but he would lose it if it's way off base.
One curious note: Spinner's lawsuit claims he was hired to write the show in 1977, the same year the Dharma Initiative stuff has been happening on Lost.