Original Screenplay by
Paul Golding & Zalman King

I met Zalman King's house several years before I met him. I was a student at USC's cinema departtment. One evening I was visiting with some friends who lived in a tiny apartment in the basement of an old beach house on Third Street in Santa Monica, California. After a pleasant dinner they suggested a trip upstairs to meet Zal and his wife, Pat. So we climbed the back stairs and knocked, but no one was home. Undeterred, my frends opened the back door and said, "They won't mind. But you have to see their place."

And so, in the streetlamps' glow through lacy curtains, I did.

It was a bit like getting stoned for the very first time, but better, because I wasn't stoned. Everthing I saw was real: the extraordinary antiques, the carousel animals, but most amazingly of all, Pat's sculptures. In fired clay, slightly larger than full-sized, unbelievably powerful...

A few years passed. I graduated, edited a film for Haskell Wexler ("Medium Cool"), emigrated briefly to San Francisco in the footsteps of my friend, George Lucas, then returned to L.A. and moved into the house right next door to the beach house where I'd first seen Pat's sculptures.

Zal and Pat, in the meanwhile, had moved to a big old house a few miles away. It was originally a house of "ill repute" and its upstairs ballroom was a great showplace for Pat's work. Zal had co-starred in a TV series ("The Young Lawyers") and written his first screenplay, "Bakersfield Blues."

I'd also started writing and had just completed a piece called "House" that I would go on to rewrite (and sell options on) eleven times before I finally got to direct it (as "Pulse").

We finally met one summer afternoon in the back yard that the two old houses shared, decided we enjoyed each other's company, and exchanged screenplays.

It was to be the beginning of a collaboration that lasted for years, made us both a fair amount of money, and never resulted in a single film that got produced -- and the start of a friendship that ended only with Zal's death earlier this year.

Our first script together was "Power." The title page said a screenplay by Zalman King and Paul Golding. Thereafter we would swap whose name came first on each script. ("Sykes" was our second; that's the only reason my name is first).

We pitched "Power" to the Robert Stigwood organization. Zal's veins pulsed with the passion of his presentation; my voice was calm as I read the assembled executives the first few (and only!) pages we had already written. And we got a deal.

The woman in whose office we met, Deanne Barklay, had been president of NBC. She would become the model for Elizabeth in "Sykes," just as Zal would inspire Sykes against my own Lastie MoJoe. Our other inspirations included Nikola Tesla, J.P.Morgan and the Gospel group, "The Mighty Clouds of Joy," one of whose lyrics graces the first page of the screenplay:

You gotta huff and puff
Your own
Mighty Cloud of Joy

Of all the screenplays Zal and I wrote together, "Sykes" was the only one we never sold. We came close to converting it to a Broadway musical but our collaboration with the proposed songwriter, Lamont Dozier, just didn't click. It is also the only screenplay we never rewrote -- and the one I most enjoyed writing..

Here it is: