Midnight in Paris was a batch of fresh cookies for Woody Allen fans waiting for the jittery heeb to get back in winning mode after a few decades of on-again, off-again success. But did you know the idea for the movie may have come before anyone even knew who he was, way back in the swinging ’60s? The Nerdist’s Jake Kroeger calls attention to a track called "Lost Generation" from a compilation of Allen’s stand-up material, recorded almost 50 years ago. In it, Allen describes getting critiqued by Gertrude Stein, getting punched in the face by Hemingway, meeting Dali, looking over Picasso’s paintings and running into F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald on the back end of a bender — a rough handful of plot details included in Midnight in Paris, but without the formal structure. Listen to it after the click, via Vulture.
They’re not really "jokes" so much as "a smart guy talking about how much he’s read," but it’s interesting to consider how long the idea may have taken to turn over in Allen’s febrile mind before it became a movie that would sweep every screenplay award a lifetime later. Almost all of the jokes are contextual, as Kroeger points out, which means that Allen’s had the benefit of playing to English majors for almost his entire life. It also makes you realize that Owen Wilson’s character in the movie was certainly a role Allen himself would’ve played were he a younger man.