Hey editors!

Maybe Jack Helbig, who wrote a story for the Reader several years ago on the disappearance of Chicago filmmaker Allen Ross, does deserve more than a cursory mention in the end credits of Christian Bauer’s new documentary on the same subject. But Deanna Isaacs’s column on the, er, controversy [Culture Club, December 14] seems to suggest that the film is little more than “the article illustrated,” and that Helbig deserves, I don’t know, some sort of screenwriter credit (or maybe a nice fat royalty check) because his story “introduced” “all the major characters” who appear in Bauer’s documentary. Of course, the “characters” Isaacs mentions–the late Ross, his wife, his father, his brother, and other Chicago filmmakers–aren’t fictional characters but, you know, actual people. They are, in fact, the very first people any documentarian would think to interview in doing a story on the subject, and Helbig has no more claim to their stories than Bauer does–or, for that matter, than I do.

Still, if anyone is interested, I’d be happy to sell the film rights to this letter to the editor for a reasonable sum. Contact my agent.

David Futrelle