Nine More Feature Screenplays Written by Future TV Creators

Pretty Maids All in a Row, written by Gene Roddenberry

This is the promised follow-up to my previous list; the concept is the same, except that this time I'll be focusing on an older crop of small-screen moguls.

  1. SKATEBOARD, written by Dick Wolf. Grand Vizier of the Law & Order empire, Wolf had a humble start with this 1978 teen flick, cowritten with its director. Then came a dreadful comedy called Gas, then brat pack noirs like No Man's Land (starring Charlie Sheen) and Masquerade (starring Rob Lowe), then a very, very big TV career. Wolf did write one film during his early L&O years: 1992's School Ties. It was his last gig as a screenwriter.
  2. GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE, written by David Chase. This 1972 drive-in stinker was written when Chase was 26. In a few years, he would write for and produce The Rockford Files, though he really made his name two decades later with The Sopranos. After this landmark series, Chase returned to film, writing and directing the ho-hum rock drama Not Fade Away.
  3. SILENT RUNNING, written by Steven Bochco. "Steve" Bochco shared screenplay credit with Deric Washburn and a pre-Deer Hunter Michael Cimino for this flawed but unique sci fi drama, starring Bruce Dern and directed by Douglas Trumbull. Bochco, of course, would rule over 1980s TV with his shows Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law. He later created Doogie Howser, M.D. and NYPD Blue. And Cop Rock.
  4. FROM THE HIP, written by David E. Kelley. Kelley, a Bochco protege, worked as a writer on Doogie and L.A. Law, but before all that he wrote the middling Judd Nelson legal drama From the Hip back in 1987. Legal dramas obviously were Kelley's forte, for he went on to create Ally McBeal, The Practice, and Boston Legal. He also scripted the 1999 movies Lake Placid and Mystery, Alaska.
  5. COLD TURKEY, written by Norman Lear, 1971. The king of 1970s sitcoms, Lear directed, coproduced, and cowrote this 1971 Dick Van Dyke vehicle. (Remember when Dick Van Dyke was a movie star?) He wrote a handful of '60s movies before turning to network television in 1972. Among Lear's many hit series: All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons.
  6. HOW SWEET IT IS!, written by Garry Marshall. Marshall became a go-to TV writer in the 1960s thanks to his work on Gomer Pyle, Dick Van Dyke, and others. In 1968 he penned this forgettable Debbie Reynolds/James Garner rom-com, followed by 1970's even lesser-seen The Grasshopper, then beat a retreat to television. The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley (starring his sister Penny), and Mork & Mindy would follow. After this blockbuster run of sitcoms, Marshall penned two more screenplays, for Matt Dillon's The Flamingo Kid and for, uh, The Other Sister, both of which he directed. He's also directed a ton of features over the last 30 years, from Beaches to Pretty Woman to The Princess Diaries to a recent series of terrible holiday-themed ensemble comedies (Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day).
  7. ONE SPY TOO MANY, written by Dean Hargrove. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was adapted into a movie long before the 2015 big-screen reboot fizzled. It was called One Spy Too Many and it was written by Dean Hargrove. Unlike these other impresarios, you may not recognize his name. But your parents have watched his shows, including Matlock, Diagnosis Murder, Father Dowling Mysteries, and various Jane Doe and McBride TV movies.
  8. PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW, written by Gene Roddenberry. The once and future Star Trek mastermind had already said goodbye to his first Trek series when he produced and wrote this 1971 comedy/mystery, starring Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson, and Telly Savalas. Roddenberry managed to slip James "Scotty" Doohan a small role in the film, but shut out the rest of the Enterprise crew.
  9. ONE FOOT IN HELL, written by Aaron Spelling. Years before giving us guilty pleasures like Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Charmed, and 7th Heaven, Spelling wrote the screenplays for not one but two 1960 Alan Ladd Westerns: Guns of the Timberland and this neatly-titled programmer. He was already writing and producing for TV at the time, and he quickly returned to the medium.