1983 Saturday Night Live Script
In 1997, prominent Hollywood screenwriter and Gulf Coast native David Sheffield donated twenty manuscripts of screenplays and television shows he wrote between 1983 and 1995 to the Special Collections in the McCain Library and Archives of Southern Miss’s University Libraries. Sheffield's gift includes the screenplays of Police Academy II and the Eddie Murphy films Coming to America and The Nutty Professor, which he wrote with Barry Blaustein who is his co-author of many film and television scripts since their time together in the 1980s as writers for Saturday Night Live.
One of the manuscripts is the final script of a 1983 Saturday Night Live show which featured New York City mayor Ed Koch as guest host and Dexys Midnight Runners as the musical guests. The script includes penciled changes and cuts made by Sheffield and Blaustein up until the show went on the air. Sheffield describes the resulting script as "a hieroglyphic guide to the terrors of live television."
Sheffield and Blaustein, working with Eddie Murphy, were responsible for some of Murphy's most memorable characters on Saturday Night Live including Buckwheat, Gumby, and Mr. Robinson. The Eddie Murphy movies for which they wrote the screenplays, Coming to America, The Nutty Professor, and Boomerang, have grossed world-wide more than a half-billion dollars.
Sheffield grew up in Biloxi and graduated from USM in 1972. While attending USM, he worked for WDAM-TV as a reporter and co-anchored the week-end news program. Sheffield remains connected to the University, teaching courses in screenwriting during mini-sessions on the coast campus.
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Text by Andrew Rhodes, Special Collections Specialist