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On September 11, 1975, Melvin Dummar took his seat on the trading floor for a taping of Let's Make A Deal.  He didn't fare too well on the show ... but in 1977, when Melvin claimed to be an heir to the Howard Hughes estate, this self-effacing young man attained a notoriety far beyond anything he gained from an appearance on a game show.  In 1980 Universal Pictures produced a film based on Melvin's life - written by Bo Goldman and directed by Jonathan Demme - MELVIN AND HOWARD.

When the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes died, the only will that could be found was from a man named Melvin Dummar -- a stranger who, he claims, gave Hughes a lift once.  One provision of the will (which became known as "The Mormon Will") was that a 1/16th share of the estate ($156,000,000) would go to Melvin Dummar of Gabbs, Nevada.  Melvin Dummar and his wife owned and operated a small gas station in Willard, Utah at the time this information came to light.

At the time, Dummar had no idea it was actually Howard Hughes, in spite of the fact that he claimed to be -- what would a millionaire be doing looking all grizzly and conked out in the desert?  No one could prove or disprove the claim.

Melvin and Howard tells that story with the supposition that Dummar's claim was true.  Paul Le Mat plays Melvin Dummar; Jason Robards plays Howard Hughes.  The title is a little misleading -- this is Melvin's story and has very little to do with Howard Hughes himself, although Robards' small performance is a scene-stealer.  Alternately comedic and dramatic, Melvin and Howard is an entertaining, well-crafted, simple, and elegant film.    

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