Those of you who have thrilled to the successful 2011 Disney financed, British-American, 3D computer-animated, fantasy, romantic-comedy family film: Gnomeo & Juliet may not know that it is loosely based on an obscure little American musical called West Side Story, which in turn uses as its foundation a little-known play by someone called William Shakespeare.

Will named his scrappy little play Romeo and Juliet – obviously a blatant rip-off of Disney’s brilliant title. But before you start thinking that we should salute Will for his small contribution to our modern times you should know that he, in turn, ripped his characters from the Roman poet Ovid, whose story Metamorphoses features Pyramus and Thisbē – a pair of ill-fated lovers. Does that plot ring a bell? Yep – straight outta Disney!

But seriously – look at how these themes are reincarnated over and over again. Just when you think a story is dead – its ghost breathes life into a ‘new’ tale.

Here’s how you can climb on board the metempsychosis gravy train:

  • Death. Make sure the original author is long dead
  • Money. Ensure that the prototype made loads of moolah
  • Fame. It’s fab if lots and lots of people liked the story you’re copying.

And that’s it really. So long as you follow these simple rules – the town’s your oyster (or something like that)!

Write on!!




50 thoughts on “Reincarnation

  1. This is wonderful Robert! Ha-ha, not at all what I was expecting when you originally mentioned reincarnation, fabulously clever spin and the gravy train, where can I buy my ticket? I don’t recall “Gnomeo & Juliet” being a box office hit, actually I don’t even recall the movie at all! Maybe I’m out of the demographic, Disney didn’t have me in mind, how thoughtless. Robert, a very enjoyable read, you certainly made me smile! Have a terrific week. ~ Mia

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Kevin. 🙂
      How’s life going for you. I’m in Scotland with the wife at the moment – typing this from one of the suites in the Hilton Grand Vacations Club. And all we had to do to experience this delight was sit through a 3 hour presentation on why we should commit to paying x amount per year for the next 34 (yes – thirty four) years towards a scheme that lets us stay in Hilton Hotel suites for the rest of this half of the century. My wife was completely sold on the idea and it took me blooming ages to talk her down. Sigh – such is life! 🙂
      You got any holidays planned so far this year?


      • I went to something similar a few years back. It wasn’t about a hotel though. It was about Internet Marketing. My best friend went with me and she was totally sold a well. I rolled my eyes at her. “You have GOT to be kidding!!” I told her. Those people were slick hucksters indeed. They had some stuff for sale and they would offer it. At once several people would run up to buy and then others would follow. I wonder if anyone else ever figured out that those people who ran up first were actually a part of the whole scheme and worked for the guy who was doing the spiel? Bah! I’m happy that I didn’t get involved with that as the thing there were promoting failed miserably not too long after.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Aw your poor wife. Surely 34 years of repayment isn’t so much to keep your loved ones happy. They’ll try anything from any angle. Glad you had your wits about you.
        No holiday plans as yet. Being a holiday destination there are plenty of people visiting so I’ll still have time to have fun.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Now, Robert…. you know William didn’t copy that Disney movie. I think it looks a bit silly but that’s just my opinion. I have read the original Romeo and Juliet and watched a movie made from the original script. I rather like Shakespeare and I had several of the plays available in my father’s book collection. I’ve seen West Side Story as well. My opinion of Romeo and Juliet is those two young people didn’t solve their problem very well. And who knows… maybe this dude, Ovid, ripped his story from someone else as well. OH, and I had never heard of Gnomeo and Juliet either until now so I suppose it didn’t do that well.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was in high school and the principal of the school owned the local theater. It was a very small, sleepy kind of town but had the County High School and the County Library as well. Anyway, our English class (and perhaps other English classes… it’s been a very long time) went on a field trip to see Romeo and Juliet. I don’t KNOW what version it was though. After all, this was back in the late 1950s as I graduated from High School in 1959. On another outing we went to see Julius Caesar. That was fun as well.. well I like it. Some of the others were bored silly and, I think, some of them fell asleep. Their loss. My father had a book called “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and I have read many of his plays. I wonder if I could find a copy of that today. After all, Shakespeare is timeless. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have the same volume (or one very like it) on my shelves, Orpha. 🙂
        Some of those school trips were the best things I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine anyone being bored! A teenager has just sat opposite me on the train and – so much energy and life! She’s just a wee, skinny thing but the speed at which her fingers are flying over that laptop keyboard makes me feel rather pedestrian as I tap away on my smartphone. On a train from Scotland to York, just in case you were wondering. 🙂


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