Saving Camelot

Marvin J. Wolf and Larry Mintz

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    1960s & '70s,Contemporary,Other











    A 2,000-year-old device is recovered from a first-century Greek shipwreck. When Cal Tech Professor Robert Godwin. 71, realizes its purpose, he heads for 1963 Dallas to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing JFK. But when he arrives in 1963, he's only 12 years old. Again.


    Action,Adventure,Crime,Drama,Fantasy,Political,Historical Fiction,Suspense/Thriller

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54

    Target Gender: Female Leaning


    CalTech campus and 1963 Dallas, Texas

    Based on a True Story


    Starting Description

    Professor Godwin, investigating a 2,000 year old device, learns that he can travel through time. He decides to go back to 1963 and prevent the assassination of JFK in Dallas. Arriving in 1963 with letters to authorities alerting them to Oswald's plan, he discovers that he's a boy of 12. Again.

    Ending Description

    Unable to stop Oswald, Godwin is arrested by cops. When they see that what he warned them of came true, they decide to kill him. He is rescued by a lady cop. Returning to 2022, he suffers a major heart attack. He is saved by the heart surgeon son of a hooker whom he stayed with and rescued in 1963.

    Pitch Adaptation

    After a lifetime of playing it safe, CalTech professor Robert Godwin, a widower, is frustrated and unfulfilled. Hired as a museum consultant to examine a mysterious device found in an ancient Greek shipwreck, he learns that it will allow him to travel through time. Deciding to risk everything, he seeks to change the present world by preventing Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President Kennedy. Arriving in 1963, however, Godwin is shocked to discover that he is again 12 — the same age as the first time he lived through that year. Determined nevertheless to save Kennedy, he mails letters outlining Oswald's threat to police, the Texas Governor's office, and the White House. The letters are intercepted by Texas Rangers, who convince themselves that Robert, a child, is an unwitting and brainwashed pawn in a vast, mysterious conspiracy intended to draw law enforcement away from an actual assassination plot and set the Rangers up for blame if it succeeds. Pursued by Rangers, Robert seeks help from kids his age, from a desperate single mother forced into prostitution, and from a young cop posing as a secretary who resembles his late wife. Leading the Rangers on a desperate chase around Dallas, Robert can’t save Kennedy but nevertheless changes the fate of everyone he encounters.

    WGA Number

    Not presently available

    Mature Audience Themes


    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Quest,Voyage and Return,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Robert Godwin

    Age: 71 and 12

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Charming,Confident,Desperate,Empathetic,Underdog,Patriotic,Selfless,Skillful,Sophisticated,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Colonel (Texas Rangers) Coulton

    Age: 50

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Decisive,Desperate,Masculine,Villainous,Patriotic,Power Hungry,Skillful,Sophisticated,Manipulative

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Debbie Horton

    Age: 23

    Gender: Female

    Role: skeptic

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Engaging,Empathetic,Faithful,Heartthrob,Underdog,Modest,Selfless

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Lucille Schmidlap

    Age: 21

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Clumsy,Desperate,Honorable,Naive,Uneducated,Selfless

    Supplemental Materials

    Information not completed




    A 70-something engineering professor discovers a device capable of traveling through time. Seeking to fix the current state of world affairs, he travels back to 1963 to stop the assassination of JFK. Unfortunately, he’s transported back into his own 12-year-old body at the time, complicating matters as he doesn’t have the freedom an adult would, and history plays out as it always has. Back in the present, Godwin’s life is saved by a doctor who is the son of a woman he helped get out of a dangerous situation back in 1963.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    Unfortunately, no part of the hook is immediately apparent. Godwin doesn’t time travel for the first time until page 11, and the first 10 pages don’t build logically to this moment. Godwin doesn’t go back to 1963 until page 23, which could work, but, again, the build-up isn’t there to set this up. Godwin’s discussion of engineering and the archeological find are both very interesting starts to the script, but they’re only tangentially connected. They could be woven more throughout the story, which would help the beginning to feel necessary. There should be a stronger reason why Godwin is the one who’s studying this device, why he’s even involved in finding it. He’s rather passive right now, and the device sort of just falls into his lap.

    Possible Drawbacks

    As mentioned, the story takes a long time to get going. It makes sense in terms of film structure that Godwin wouldn’t be in Texas in the past until the start of the second act. However, the first act isn’t firmly establishing Godwin as a character and what he aims to do. He’s pretty much told by Wieman to stop Kennedy’s assassination, versus figuring it out for himself. His reasoning isn’t completely clear until an expository conversation with Debbie very late in the script (page 124). We need to understand why he’s undertaking this mission so we can root for him to succeed, and it would be even better if he could have a personal connection to it.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    Time travel is always a great hook for a feature film. It’s something that we, as humans, are endlessly fascinated by. There’s a reason it’s been a popular topic in literature and onscreen since the very first time travel stories; audiences are still drawn in by this sci-fi favorite. John F. Kennedy is also one of the most popular presidents in US history, so it’s easy to get behind the protagonist’s goal to save his life. He’s a world-famous historical figure, too, so it’s a hook not limited to an American audience. The most unique element of the script is that Godwin is put back into a preteen’s body, which complicates his mission.

    Fanbase Potential

    Combining the elements of both sci-fi time travel and historical fiction is a smart move, as it’s easy to imagine both genre and history audiences being interested in this. It casts a wide net to draw in a fanbase.

    Awards Potential

    Due to the science fiction genre, it’s unlikely that this would have traditional awards potential. That said, a really strong performance by the lead actor could change this.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    Theoretically the fact that Godwin is trying to stop Kennedy’s assassination could be very original. Unfortunately, it shares its main plot with two other pieces of media: 11/22/63 (novel, miniseries) and The Umbrella Academy (comic book, TV series). Both involve time travel back to 1963 and attempts to stop the assassination, and it’s even a teacher also in 11/22/63. One of the main characters of The Umbrella Academy is an elderly time traveler forced into his childhood body. This isn’t impossible to fix, though. Altering the age Godwin becomes would help avoid Umbrella comparisons, either to younger or even aging him to be a teenager or young adult. Giving him a more personal reason to travel to this time would be very helpful, or even having him accidentally ending up in this time and place and deciding to give it a shot.

    Lead Characters

    The two most interesting things about Godwin as a lead character are that he travels back in time, and that he’s trying to stop an assassination as a 12-year-old kid. These are both elements of the plot, though, not of the character himself. Godwin’s character isn’t fleshed out very much within the script. He’s a lonely professor, who then becomes a loner 12-year-old. Godwin is almost too smart and too capable, so it’s not very enjoyable following him. He’s good at most things, and he’s not an emotional character. He doesn’t freak out that he’s a child again, even. It could be interesting if Godwin actually did try to be a kid a bit, since he shares that his own childhood was less than perfect. There’s a bit of this around page 75, but he’s only playing at being a kid, versus having any type of fun. This relates back to not fully understanding Godwin’s motivation for traveling back in time, as that will help the audience have a better hold on him.

    Uniqueness of Story

    The cause and effect idea of stopping Kennedy’s assassination in order to change things in the present day world is interesting, as it connects back to the opening with Godwin telling his class about engineering building blocks. If this element was pushed even further, it would make this even more of a rare gem. The easiest way to work in this idea would probably to have Godwin travel to more time periods to keep trying to fix things. In lieu of that, it might be more successful if Godwin is shown trying to topple more dominoes than just those that surround the assassination. Even those moments —such as him trying to stop Oswald himself — are great, but they also come very late in the story. The audience needs to be a bit more clued into Godwin’s plans along the way, and having specific events or people he tries to target would be a great way to do this.

    Possible Formats


    Analyst Recommendation



    The chief concern is that the story isn’t wholly original, and it would be difficult if not impossible to avoid comparisons to other media. The lead character is also not very interesting, and he would need to be further built up in order to support this as there are very few subplots. Addressing these elements is necessary for it to move forward,but both are very doable. Much of what’s on the page is successful, and with careful edits, a new draft could be great.

    Tips for Improvement

    With changes to the protagonist’s motivations as well as a more specific and dynamic lead himself, this could be a strong contender. Most time travel stories (and most stories in general) are incredibly personal, and we need that connection to be truly wrapped up in the narrative. A connection will also help the plot itself to feel more unique. It will also help the choice to save one man, versus more in, for example, a terrorist attack or bridge collapse, to become more understandable. The script could also better utilize its “ticking clock” element, as there’s a clear countdown to when Kennedy will be in Dallas. The script is also running a bit long for a feature, and the structure is hampering the pacing as many scenes aren’t advancing the plot. The flashback scenes, for instance, aren’t necessary, as they’re not successfully fleshing out Godwin’s character by showing bits of his backstory. The formatting of the plot is also improper, and crafting any new drafts using screenwriting software (many are available free online) would easily fix this.


    When he comes across a device that will allow him to time travel, an elderly professor decides to go back to 1963 to stop the assassination of President Kennedy and fix the present day world. He’s sent back to his own body at the time, a 12-year-old whose threats no one will take seriously. Though he’s unable to prevent Kennedy’s death, he touches the people he meets in his second childhood.

    What We Liked

    Godwin’s steadfast determination to succeed in saving Kennedy against all odds is a relatable goal, something that virtually any audience could get behind. He’s selflessly doing something dangerous and risky in an attempt to make the world a better place. His journey to the past is an adventure that he’s able to experience late in life, and even in a youthful body. There’s a good deal of wish fulfillment in Godwin’s story, which is something all of us can connect to. This is an entertaining story that puts its own twist on history.

    Film: In part to avoid comparisons to similar media, the project would be best suited for a feature film. It’s easy to see this as a tight, two-hour long story filled with twists and turns as the audience waits on the edge of their seats to see if Godwin will be successful. The amount of both plot and characters is logical for a feature, and accelerating the story slightly would fit the format well. The button at the end of the script, that Godwin is saved by a boy he in turn saved, is perfect for a film, too.
    Godwin has the bones of a great lead, and strengthening him will make for a compelling film.

    Key points:
    1. Time travel narrative
    2. Character getting a second chance at childhood
    3. Protagonist has a widely relatable goal
    4. Time in history that audience is very familiar with
    5. Enjoyable twist at the end


    Following an archeological dive in the Aegean Sea, a strange device is found in an ancient amphora. While examining the device, engineering professor ROBERT GODWIN (70s) notices it has space for what seems to be a small battery, the same type used in old 35mm cameras.
    Godwin puts a new battery in it on a whim and moves the gears, landing himself eleven days in the past. He figures out which gears and levels mean months, days, and years. He keeps his discovery to himself and experiments with it, and asks Professor WIEMAN for advice under the guise of writing a book about traveling through time. Wieman points out that he’d have more historical impact if he stopped an assassination, versus killing Hitler, for instance.
    Godwin decides that he’ll go back to 1963 to stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He prepares in the present as much as he can, getting the right clothes and money for the trip. However, when he crosses time in San Antonio, Texas, he realizes he’s been transported into the body of a 12-year-old boy, his age in June 1963.
    He escapes being questioned by the police, losing the device’s battery in the process. He also has to leave behind the typewritten letters he’d brought along to warn everyone involved in the Warren Commission of the coming assassination. Godwin struggles to get by given he looks like a preteen, and he has to fight against adults not taking him seriously, or even trying to turn him in for truancy. He travels from San Antonio to Dallas, dodging the continued attention of the police. He meets DEBBIE, a young woman, on the bus, and she pushes him to reach out if he needs anything while in Dallas. When the device is stolen from the seedy motel he’s staying in, Godwin meets LUCILLE, a young sex worker struggling to make ends meet and provide for her young son AUSTIN. Godwin gets the device back and lives with Lucille and Austin for a time, and he’s eventually able to outsmart her abusive pimp TRAVIS and get both of them out of the city for good.

    Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers are confused by the letters, not only due to their content and the agencies they’re addressed to, but because the composition of the paper and ink is like nothing they’ve seen before. COLONEL COULTER and his TEAM surmise that this kid must be some kind of Russian or Chinese spy. Godwin is taking any means he can to try to stop JFK’s assassination, including stalking LEE HARVEY OSWALD, sneaking in his house and attempting to disable his rifle, and typing up new letters to send to the various alphabet agencies. He also picks up a new battery. When he’s arrested for truancy, Godwin calls Debbie, and he slowly spills the whole story to her. She’s supportive, and encourages him to meet with her UNCLE. He can’t really trust anyone, so he declines. When he runs into Coulter, he keeps trying to convince the man of the truth. The more things he predicts that come true, the more Coulter and his team don’t know what to believe. Godwin advises Debbie that someone needs to get Oswald out of town, but no one is acting on it.
    Debbie’s uncle is actually Coulter, and she’s a police officer whom Coulter recruited to help them track down Godwin since she’d already met him. She relays everything Godwin tells her to the Rangers. November 22 arrives, and Godwin confronts Oswald. Oswald locks him in a closet, so the assassination is carried out. Godwin tries to prevent Oswald from killing a
    POLICE OFFICER, but the Rangers ignore the warning. He then tries to get them to stop Jack Ruby from killing Oswald, so that history can at least find out why Oswald did it, but they drop the ball on that, too. Debbie has started to believe that Godwin must be telling the truth, and she overhears Coulter is planning on killing Godwin so no one will ever know they had advance warning of the assassination and were unable to stop it. Godwin is able to fully convince her by having her look at his school records, which prove he’s been in two places at once since traveling back to 1963.
    She conspires with Godwin and brings him clothes that will fit him in the future as well as his time-traveling device. Coulter’s men are closing in, and the device will not fit between the bars. Godwin travels them both forward a day so Debbie has time to get him out. He tells Debbie that saving Kennedy would have prevented Lyndon Johnson from ever taking over as president, thus avoiding the Vietnam War and eventually the Iraq War. With Debbie’s help, Godwin returns to the present day. Debbie races to try to stop Jack Ruby, but she’s too late.
    In the present, Wieman asks how Godwin’s novel is going. Godwin has a heart attack, and his life is barely saved. He meets the doctor who saved his life, who’s Austin as a grown man.
    Because Godwin was able to help him get a better life back in 1963 when he was only a small child, Austin has now become a world-class cardiologist.

    About The Author

    Marvin J. Wolf and Larry Mintz wrote "Ladies Night" for USA Network. Wolf is the author of more than 20 books, including eight novels. Mintz has produced and written upwards of 20 episodes for such sitcoms as Going Places (1990), Tough Guys (1986) and Angie (1979), and co-wrote "Angels In The Infield.