Russell Thorburn

About Russell

Happy Birthday, James Joyce

The Playback

Growing Up Irish

The Long Labor of Seamus Murphy's Wife

Dylan Thomas in
New York

The Adventures of
Big Daddy and
Ned Nuclear

Drama Home


The Adventures of Big Daddy and Ned Nuclear

There’s only one man who can save the world from the year 2018; and that’s Big Daddy, a middle-aged nuclear power plant operator, who, with Ned Nuclear, a college-age cinephile, and a mutant squirrel resembling Buster Keaton, wants to remake Citizen Kane into a cult favorite despite black and white films being banned.

A screenplay by Russell Thorburn.



Face down on the control panel, Big Daddy dreams of radiation leaking through the building and into the neighborhood. He doesn’t stir, his coffee cup already spilled onto the floor, and his book of classic films opened on the panel to Buster Keaton. In his dream he watches his dream double sitting in the screening room and watching Sherlock Jr. This time Buster Keaton Squirrel sits with him, smoking a cigarette. His dream double does a double take when he looks over at Buster Keaton Squirrel and sees him taking notes on his own film.

The alarm system wakes up Big Daddy, who sees the panel flashing red lights. He quickly plays the panel like a pianist, with dramatic flourishes and waits for the results: less noise and red lights turning green. Once again he senses a furtive scurrying behind him. He looks and sees nothing. He shrugs his shoulders, steps into his spilled coffee on the floor, and walks around the control room.