As a movie critic, I first became aware of David Chase, the creator of 'The Sopranos,' when my director friend, Lamont Johnson, told me he'd just read a great script called "Off the Minnesota Strip." Under Johnson's direction, this 1980 TV-movie became a revelation, with Mare Winningham, as a teenage hooker, brilliantly conveying the interlocking social and sexual pressures that trap teenagers into self-destructive fantasies of "making it." It won Chase a writing Emmy; you can see a snippet of it in the May 3, 1980 commercial-break footage, above, from a Nashville TV station.

Chase has just written, produced and directed "Twylight Zones," a feature about a fictional New Jersey rock band in the 1960s, starring his "Sopranos" star, James Gandolfini, along with Brad Garrett and Christopher McDonald. (It's due out in 2012.)

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But I really want to know whether Chase is still developing the series that the L.A. Times' Matea Gold reported on in 2009: "A Ribbon of Dreams," with a title taken from Orson Welles and the ambition to tell the story of Hollywood from (as Gold wrote) "the purveyor of silent westerns to the powerhouse global industry of today."

Chase envisioned the series revolving around two heroes: "men with disparate backgrounds who get their start in motion pictures working for director D.W. Griffith. The men — one a college-educated mechanical engineer and the other a cowboy with a violent past — ultimately work with the likes of John Ford, Bette Davis and Billy Wilder as they rise through the nascent film industry."

Hey, Mr. Chase -- if you've stalled and need some inspiration, I wrote this book about a guy named Victor Fleming, who got a broken nose in a fight with a cowboy actor, worked as an a.d. for Griffith on "Intolerance," and went from directing silent Westerns to "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind." Fit the bill?

Come to think of it: didn't you get your idea from the friendship between Howard Hawks, the director who studied engineering at Cornell, and the self-taught, self-made Fleming?

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