The Original “Easy Slider”

Posted: April 01, 2013


Easy SliderBack in 2005 Earth Prime cataloged all the rumored season five episodes that never came to pass. Stuff like “Enigma,” a two-parter where Rembrandt suffers from amnesia, or “When Darkness Falls,” where the Sliders encounter a world with werewolves. Some were so dumb we dismissed them as “making Easy Slider sound brilliant.”

Tucked away at the bottom of the list is a small story called “Sleepless in San Francisco.” It’s not small in length but in scope, as it deals almost exclusively with Maggie agonizing over whether to stay on a world where she’s found true love. A nice character moment floating above a sea of sci-fi nonsense and low-budget pastiche, fans definitely wished they could have watched it over Mallory hitting the Bone Zone.

But what if we told you the stories were one in the same, that what we now know as “Easy Slider” almost definitely started as a Maggie romance? That the same episode  birthed when David Peckinpah saw “Kari in tight leathers with motorcycles” is the one fans pine over when reading the fifth season what-if list?

Easy SliderBelow, courtesy of writer Janét Saunders, you can read the original pitch and decide for yourself. For those of you wondering how “Easy Slider” started with Kari in leather but never featured her in anything but the dowdy dungarees you see to the right, Saunders’ pitch about a Maggie romance – complete with polygamy! – might fill in some of the blanks. Who knows? You might even make the same leap that we did.

“We fashioned our pitches around places on the studio lot that we hadn’t shot or with subjects that I felt would appeal to David Peckinpah,” says Saunders. “He had just gotten into motorcycles so I knew he would want to do ‘Easy Slider’ and I was right. He was on the phone with the network for 45 minutes talking them into approving it, and of course the story was changed around.”

Thanks again to Janét Saunders for providing this peek into the production process!

The Pitch

Teaser

EXT CITY STREET/CHANDLER HOTEL – DAY – On their walk over to the Chandler after vortexing in, the Sliders quickly deduce that there must be some sort of oil shortage because of the sea of motorcycles of all sizes, shapes, and colors.  Lots of bikes, lots of leather.  There is still some public transportation and the occasional automobile drives by.

INT. CHANDLER HOTEL – BAR/LOBBY – DAY – They arrive at the Chandler Hotel thirsty and head straight for the bar.  Amidst the other patrons there, Maggie is immediately attracted to a tall, charismatic, blond biker, KYLE MASSINGTON.  They are immediately drawn to one another.  Mallory and the others are a little put off by her flirtatious behavior.  They’ve never seen her take to someone so quickly.  Soon they are left out of the conversation completely.  They decide to go get a room and Mallory grabs a newspaper in the lobby on their way.  As they are about to go upstairs, Kyle asks Maggie if she wants to go for a ride on his Harley and they decide to leave.  Maggie tells the Sliders where she’s going.

INT CHANDLER HOTEL ROOM – DAY – Up in their room, Mallory opens the local newspaper and reads aloud how Governor Jerry Garcia (“He didn’t die on this world?”) appointed the Commissioner of Gas and Oil, Kyle Massington, to another term of office for doing an outstanding job in regulating and rationing gasoline.  Mallory shows the photo of Governor Garcia and Kyle to the Sliders.  “Hey, this is the guy Maggie just took off with!”

Act One

EXT. BEACH – DAY – MONTAGE· Kyle and Maggie riding on his Harley, strolling and laughing on the beach, sitting on a rock talking seriously, that first romantic kiss, and the ride back with her hugging him tight and smiling.  This is that rare, exciting, love at first sight that if you’re lucky, you’ll experience once in your life.

EXT. CHANDLER HOTEL – NIGHT – Kyle and Maggie return to the Chandler, share a passionate kiss good night.  He can’t let her go.  She doesn’t want to leave him either.  Another tender embrace.  Finally, they part.  She watches him drive off in the night.

INT CHANDLER HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT – Maggie bursts through the door all aglow.  The other Sliders are sickened, probably jealous.  Diana and Mallory are practically asleep, but Remmy is all ears.  As Maggie’s getting ready for bed, she has heart-to-heart talk with him.  She’s struggling with her deep feelings for this man.  Could she really fall in love so fast? Should she stay on this world with him? Remmy tells her she has to go with her heart.  Hearing this advice, Mallory pipes up now, trying to talk her out of it.  This is so impulsive.  Diana agrees.  They want her to take some time to think it over.  Perhaps Mallory realizes how much he feels for her and is especially upset. He tries to reason with her.  After all, she doesn’t know this Kyle guy at all.  Maggie remarks how tired she is, but after the lights go out, we see her thinking and smiling in the moonlight.

EXT CHANDLER HOTEL – DAY – The Sliders bid Maggie a tearful good-bye for now as she rides off with Kyle.  They will still be on this world for a few more days so she will see them again.

INT. CHANDLER BAR – DAY – After Maggie leaves they head on into the bar where they get info a conversation with the local bikers.  While talking with TIM and DREW, we realize Mallory is a motorcycle affectionado as he reminisces with them about a rare 1929 Cleveland Indian 4-cylinder bike he once saw.  The bikers tell him there’s one in town! It’s owned by a connoisseur collector, AXEL, who’s having a big barbeque cookout and they’re heading over there if the Sliders want to join them.  Why not? Diana is not really thrilled with these biker types, but she agrees to go along.  ROXY, the bartender, remarks to them it’s too bad she’s working.  The guys say they’ll miss her at the festivities.

EXT. CHANDLER HOTEL – DAY – As they all go out front to leave with the bikers, Diana has second thoughts about actually getting on a motorcycle with one of these guys with their leather and tattoos.  But Remmy talks her into it.  She bravely hops on the back of one, and four or five bikes take off for Axel’s.

EXT. KYLE’S HOUSE – DAY – Maggie and Kyle arrive at his little, country house, and go inside arm-in-arm.

INT. KYLE’S LIVING ROOM – DAY – They are laughing and start kissing as he pulls her down on the sofa.  They are so contented with each other.  They kiss tenderly.  Kyle says he was thinking he’d like to be with her forever.  Maggie shares with him that she’s never felt so comfortable with anyone before.  Kyle suggests maybe they should make it a permanent arrangement.  Maggie is so taken by this proposal, she’s amazed, almost high.  They are really enjoying each other, when suddenly, a beautiful girl, SYLVIA, enters, asking if she can get them anything.  Maggie is startled.  Who is this and why is she just walking into his living room? Sylvia reminds Kyle that he has an appointment with SONNY, who will be arriving momentarily, then she leaves.  Maggie is upset, but Kyle sloughs it off saying she is one of the women who takes care of him. He tells her he has to get ready for his appointment and suggests that she go to the guest house next door and get acquainted with everybody.  They’ll take good care of her.

EXT. AXEL’S HOUSE AND YARD – DAY – Meanwhile, Axel’s barbeque is quite a gathering.  Bikers and their chicks, musicians, food.  They meet Axel, messy hair, wire glasses, and discover not only does he have an extensive bike collection, but he’s a quirky, inventor type who’s working on an electric, solar, synthetic fuel, or soybean-powered motorcycle – some alternative to gas – in his garage/lab.  He shows them his amazing motorcycle collection.  Mallory is impressed! They like him a lot and Diana is especially interested in his fuel-saving formulas.

EXT. KYLE’S GUEST HOUSE – DAY – Maggie walks over to the guest house with Sylvia and asks her about this Sonny guy.  Sylvia tells her he’s the leader of a millenium madness group.  “A what?” Maggie asks, “Crazy survivalists who believe when the world’s computers can’t read the year 2000, chaos will prevail.  So they’re up there on Sonny’s land hoarding canned goods, weapons, water, and deisel fuel for their generators”, Sylvia explains.

INT. KYLE’S GUEST HOUSE – DAY – They enter the guest house and Sylvia introduces Maggie to a friendly group of women.  They’re so nice.  They fix her up with sexy biker leathers (vest and tight pants), and she looks great.  But now she realizes what she’s gotten herself into.  Some of the women have children. Kyle is some sort of polygamist! She’s shown around and given a room of her very own.  After they close her door, she sits on the bed stewing with anger at how stupid she’s been!

Act Two

EXT. AXEL’S HOUSE – NIGHT – At the barbeque, Diana and Axel are so into their scientific fuel conversation, Mallory and Remmy say they want to go back to the Chandler.  Axel loans them one of his experimental bikes and tells them to leave the keys with Roxy at the bar.  He’ll get them later when he brings Diana back.  They ride off into the night.

EXT. WOODED ROAD – NIGHT – Down a desolate, wooded road, the bike runs out of power and Mallory and Remmy have to start walking.  “So much for Axel’s solar alternative…”  They leave the bike there and start walking down the road, but Mallory tells Rernmy it would be shorter to cut across the land because town is just over that hill.  Remrny reluctantly agrees and they head off.

INT. KYLE’S GUEST HOUSE – MAGGIE’S ROOM – NIGHT – Still fuming and tired of waiting, Maggie decides to leave.  She cautiously peeks out the door because she doesn’t want to deal with the others.  The coast is clear, so she leaves the room.

EXT. KYLE’S GUEST HOUSE/YARD – NIGHT – It is dark now as she sneaks out of the guest house.  She hears the roar of Harleys as Sonny and two men arrive.  She crosses the yard to the house.  She goes closer to observe.

EXT KYLE’S HOUSE – NIGHT – She listens at an open window, but can’t quite hear everything.  Sonny is loudly demanding more diesel fuel for his group.  “These drops you’re making aren’t big enough”.  Kyle says that’s all he can do right now without looking suspicious.  Sonny tells him he’s gonna look more than suspicious if the press finds out about a certain murder.  This alarms Maggie.

Kyle protests, the death was an accident. Sonny assures him the press will have a field day with that kind of news and Kyle will lose his precious public office.  Maggie can’t hear any more, then a door slams and the bikes start up.

INT. KYLE’S HOUSE – NIGHT – Maggie goes into the house and confronts Kyle.  She’s disgusted at his activities and her own bad judgment.  She would never do the polygamy thing and why is he involved with these millennium freaks? After all, he’s a state commissioner! Kyle is sorry, he truly loves her, and begs her to stay.  No way, she’s going back to her friends.  She storms outside.

EXT. KYLE’S HOUSE – NIGHT Now what does she do? In her anger, she realizes she’s stranded, considers the vehicles there, and starts up one of the smaller motorcycles.  Kyle comes outside as she’s off to a wobbly start.  But she makes it, and drives away.

EXT. WOODED ROAD – NIGHT – Tim, Drew, and Diana are on the way back to town when they come upon Axel’s bike on the side of the road.  They realize the experimental bike must’ve conked out, leaving Mallory and Remmy stranded.  They assume Mallory and Remmy probably walked or hitched a ride back to the hotel.

INT. CHANDLER HOTEL BAR – NIGHT – But when Diana gets back to the Chandler and Roxy says she hasn’t seen them.  Panic sets in.

EXT. SONNY’S OLD MANSION – NIGHT – Remmy and Mallory, now lost, see the mansion’s house lights ahead and enter the property seeking help.  But before they realize it, men from Sonny’s group are closing in on them, calling them government spies.  Remmy and Mallory see they’re in trouble and make a run for it, but they’re outnumbered and are soon captured by these armed men.

Act Three

INT. CHANDLER HOTEL ROOM – DAY – Diana and Maggie are still asleep when they hear knocking at the door.  As they rouse, a quick survey tells them Remmy and Mallory aren’t there.  Maggie answers the door and isn’t thrilled to see Kyle standing there.  Kyle pleads with Maggie to trust him.  There’s a lot he can’t tell her right now, but in time he’ll be able to and then she’ll understand.  She doesn’t want to hear it.  The priority now is finding Remmy and Mallory.  Diana interrupts, says she has a feeling they’re in trouble.  They may have wandered into Sonny’s millennium camp.  Kyle suggests that they could go flirt and play pool at Woody’s Roadhouse, a place they all hang out.  He has an inside man there.  Chances are they’ll get invited up to the camp where they can look for Remmy and Mallory.

Maggie walks him to the door and regretfully tells him she doesn’t know what to think about him.  He could’ve been “it” for her.  She was “this” close.  Kyle asks her to reconsider, but she tells him he has more baggage than a bus stop.  He leaves and she closes the door, saddened by the moment

EXT./INT. WOODY’S ROADHOUSE – NIGHT – Diana and Maggie, all decked out in black leather, play pool, try to fit in, and gain the survivalists’ trust.  These guys are leery of newcomers, but practically stumble over one another to flirt with sexy girls. During this, Diana sees Axel walk in and greet everyone like old buds, including her. She introduces Axel to Maggie and he tells her she’s just as beautiful as Kyle said. Now they’ve got the connection, but still unsure of whether they can trust these guys.

When the others see that Diana and Maggie know Axel, they invite the girls up to the camp for some war games.  They just nabbed a couple spies for the “hunt” in the morning.  This alarms Diana and Maggie.  Could the spies be our guys? Maggie and Diana readily agree to visit the camp.

EXT./INT. SONNY’S OLD MANSION HOUSE – NIGHT – Ever gracious, Maggie and Diana are ushered into the old mansion by a couple of love-starved geeks and introduced to Sonny who tells the guys to give them a room upstairs for the night.  The girls say they’re looking forward to the war games and thank him for his hospitality. Once inside their room, they finally relax their act.  But there’s still no sign of Remmy and Mallory, Where could they be?

EXT. SONNY’S MANSION – DOG KENNELS – NIGHT – Outside there are a few chainlink dog kennels.  In one of them we see Remmy and Mallory, cold and angry, “Shall we toy it again?” Remmy asks Mallory.  They start climbing the chainlink fence, but the dogs start barking and someone yells out of the darkness that they’d better stay put.  They climb back down the fence, chagrined.

INT. SONNY’S MANSION – DAY – The next morning at a group breakfast, the war game is explained that they have two fed spies who will have five minutes head start before they hunt them down and shoot them.  This makes Maggie and Diana nervous, but Axel sidles up to them with comforting assurance.  They are still reluctant to trust him.

EXT SONNY’S MANSION – DAY – Outside, in the light of day, Diana and Maggie see that Remmy and Mallory, still in the kennel, are to be the hunted! They exchange terrified looks with them.

Act Four

EXT SONNY’S MANSION – DAY – The guns are handed out and explained.  Most of the guns are ordinary paint guns, except for two, which contain a deadly poison that kills its victim within 12 hours – or lazer guns which temporarily immobilize the victim –or tranquilizer guns, This really alarms Maggie and Diana and they now regard their guns with fear.  They don’t want to play this game.  They don’t want their friends to be the targets.  Near them, they hear Axel call someone on his cellular phone.  ‘We’re heading northwest through the woods.’ The girls exchange a curious look.

EXT. WOODS – DAY – The games begin.  A horn is blown and Remmy and Mallory take off running into the woods.  They are panicked, racing through the woods for their lives, picking up sticks and rocks as their only ammunition.

After five minutes Sonny’s group member are off chasing them down.  Diana and Maggie run as fast as they can, hoping somehow to protect their friends.  Lots of action.  Near misses.  Rocks thrown.  Maggie and Diana turn their guns on the survivalists.  Axel is on their side.  With paint in their eyes, it’s hard to run.  Sonny gets it right in the face.  This gives Remmy and Mallory the opportunity to hit the hunters’ shins with
sticks.  But then Mallory is hit with the poison and immediately feels it.  Struggling, Remmy and Axel help him as they continue on, with Maggie and Diana covering their backs.

EXT. CLEARING – DAY· They reach a clearing and think they’re doomed when they see a dunebuggy approaching them.  But Axel tells them it’s okay, it’s Kyle.  Kyle tells them to jump on.  They look back for Maggie and Diana, who are coming out of the woods.  They all jump on Kyle’s dunebuggy and Kyle goes racing off away from the pack, talking on a cell phone.

EXT. WOODS – DAY – Meanwhile the remaining survivalists are trying like hell to catch them.

EXT. CLEARING – DAY – When they reach the same clearing, they wonder what happened to their prey.  Before they know it, they are surrounded by police officers in off-road vehicles.  An officer on a bullhorn tells them they’re surrounded, to remain where they are, that they’re under arrest for illegal possession of dangerous weapons and ammunition.  Officers move in to apprehend them.

INT. CHANDLER HOTEL BAR – DAY – Safely back at the Chandler Hotel bar, the Sliders relax and have a drink.  Mallory is feeling better now, although a little woozy, Maggie is picking paint out of Remmy’s hair.  Axel walks in and joins them, Diana apologizes for misjudging him and Axel says he would’ve felt the same way because he has to be discreet when he’s helping Kyle get information,

EXT. CHANDLER HOTEL – DAY – When the Sliders come outside the Chandler to vortex out of this world, Kyle drives up on his Harley to say good-bye, Axel comes outside now and he and Kyle exchange a sincere “brother” handshake, The Sliders thank them again and Maggie playfully asks Kyle if he’s ever been in a vortex before… “because you could come with us you know…”  Kyle is so tempted, and their eyes follow each other, as she walks off down the street with her friends.

The End

Download the pitch

Want to save this for posterity? “Easy Slider” is also available to download as a PDF:

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