The 'Baby Richard' saga is paying off for father


It's wonderful the way problems seem to work themselves out.

Only a few days days ago, Otakar "Otto" Kirchner, the proud sperm-father of "Baby Richard," took legal possession of the sobbing boy.

But Otto didn't have a job, which meant that the family would have to scrape by on wife Daniela's earnings from giving facials.

Suddenly that's changed. Otto still doesn't have a job, but the money is beginning to roll in.

By a strange coincidence, Otto and Daniela have a $20,000 deal to appear on one of those TV tattle-tabloid shows.

I say it is a coincidence because they received half of the fee shortly before yanking Richard from the arms of his adoptive parents.

Now I understand why Otto was miffed that cameras and reporters were on hand for that poignant scene. All that drama, and it was being given away absolutely free.

Well, that freebie stuff is clearly going to change. We don't know how long Richard will be a hot media commodity, but the $20,000 indicates that Otto won't come cheap.

So far, Hollywood hasn't nibbled, according to their lawyer, Loren Heinemann.

But it hasn't been because Otto and Heinemann haven't been trying for a deal.

I have obtained a copy of what appears to be an outline for a movie script, prepared by a Chicago production company that was retained months ago by Otto and Heinemann to peddle the story.

If some studio would look closely at the outline, it would see that the story has terrific movie possibilities.

L Believe it or not, it even has some potential comedy scenes.

For example, there was that pivotal period when Daniela was pregnant, the baby was almost due, but Otto was in Europe visiting relatives, and Daniela didn't know if he was serious about marrying her.

As the outline put it:

"The events that take place during this trip will forever change his and Daniela's life. Otto arrives in Czechoslovakia and fails to call Daniela from the airport as she requested. He finally phones her two days later but sounds cold, distant and emotionally removed. Daniela continues to worry about Otto's motives and commitment to her."

Why was she worried?

As the outline says: "At the same time Otto is in Czechoslovakia, so is Maria."

Ah, the beautiful gypsy woman Maria, Otto's not-so-old flame from Chicago, who just happens to be in Europe too.

And what is going on between Otto and Maria while Daniela, her tummy distended, worries and frets back in Chicago?

This is how the outline tells it: "Maria asks Otto to come to her house and act like her boyfriend since she still has not told her parents they broke up.

"As a favor to an old friend he agrees."

What a guy. What a favor. What a story.

You don't have to be Steve Martin to see the potential in that


"Otto, this is Daniela, your pregnant girlfriend, calling. What you do there with Maria?"

"What I do? I do a favor, that is what I do."

"What kind of favor you do?"

"I move in house and act like I am boyfriend, that is what I do."

"You move in house and act like you her boyfriend?"

"Sure. I am old friend. She is old friend. What are friends for, huh?"

The outline goes on: "Daniela would buy none of Otto's excuses . . . Daniela hangs up the phone and refuses to answer any of Otto's repeated calls."

And that was when Daniela figured that Otto might be a wild and crazy guy who wasn't eager to get married. Which their very own story outline virtually concedes.

". . . Otto is in no hurry because according to their culture, %J marriage is defined by a personal commitment and not by a legal certificate."

Their culture? They say they are Catholics, and the last I heard the pope thought highly of people getting hitched.

But all's well that ends well. And now they are married and Otto has regained title to Richard and will bank $20,000 for starters.

So Hollywood could have a happy ending, assuming the little boy doesn't sob hysterically in any paid TV appearances.

But don't be surprised if Otto and his storefront lawyer come up with something themselves. As lawyer Heinemann has said:

"There is no book deal pending, there is no movie deal pending. But I wish that there were because I'd like to get paid."

Of course. Isn't that what it's all about?

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