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BLAST FROM THE PAST

Adam's Origins
Where does one find a total innocent in the hypermedia information age of the ‘90s

Where does one find a total innocent in the hypermedia information age of the '90s? To relate the story of Adam Webber, Blast From The Past first goes back to a time of relatively ignorant bliss: a time of paranoid and vigilant guarding of the polite American lifestyle, a time when everyone thought the world as we know it might end at any moment and was prepared for the worst. For Adam Webber is a true product of the Atomic Age - a boy raised in a bomb shelter.

Adam's story was conceived by screenwriter Bill Kelly, who wondered what a man might be like if he was raised without any of the hyper-modern influences that changed life so radically in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Thus, he came up with the idea of a family literally 'sheltered" since 1962. Explains Kelly: '1 was fascinated by the idea of someone frozen in time, like the isolated Japanese who didn't know the war was over. With no other influence than the principles of his parents -- no friends, no current events, no MTV -- Adam is raised in a bubble, but not a vacuum."

In fact, Adam is raised to be something that has almost been lost in today's society: a gentleman. Devoid of any input other than his parents, Perry Como and '50s sit-coins, Adam grows up truly believing a man should have manners, speak politely, and seduce with subtle charm and panache. When Hugh Wilson first read Kelly's script, he was drawn to the idea of a perfect '60s gentleman colliding headlong with the manic and cynical '90s dating world. He explains: "Adam is the true definition of a gentleman: someone who endeavors to make the people around him as comfortable and charmed as possible. And that's the most important thing in the world in romance. All the houses and cars and clothes in the world make no difference if you don't have that."

Confronted with this character who is as pure as the driven snow, Wilson was struck by the idea of turning the conventional comedy-of-manners structure on its head. He notes: "This script is a comedy-of-manners that breaks the formula. Normally, the hero is an anti-hero, breaking the rules, getting laughs from being physically offensive, often at the expense of someone polite, sensitive, well-educated. But in this case the hero is the polite and sensitive one, the one who proves himself to be what people secretly want."

While working on the script, Wilson also wanted to strongly convey the atmosphere of Atomic Terror amidst which the Webbers descended into their shelter. "It's hard to remember how deep the paranoia was," he says, "with people talking annihilation all the time. If you lived in or near a big city in the

United States, you knew you were a target. That's why Calvin Webber builds the mother of all fallout shelters in his back yard. When the blast comes, Calvin is in hog heaven. He predicted nuclear war, prepared for it, and thinks he saved his family. His underground home works. He actually doesn't mind the isolation; he's got his wife, his son, his books. He thinks, if only they could stay..."

But eventually, Adam must emerge and when he does it is a prime opportunity to reveal the wacky and wondrous reality of today's world through an unjaded pair of eyes. "Adam reacts to everything you and I take for granted," points out Wilson. "He sees it all, he takes it in. The sky blows his mind. The ocean moves him to tears. He sees a dog and it knocks him out. And then, he meets Eve, who is unlike anything he's experienced or imagined."

Adam's deeply<

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