Cronauer mined this “materiel” to conceive, in 1979, a plot for
a TV sitcom. No bites. The war was barely over and the wounds
too fresh. He then rewrote the script as a TV movie of the week.
This time, Robin Williams read the treatment and saw a star
turn and an opportunity to improvise as a wisecracking, truthtelling
disc jockey in a story filled with pathos. Five rewrites
and several years later, Cronauer found himself, unbelievably,
in a darkened room in Hollywood watching a rough cut of the
movie, thinking to himself, "Son of a gun, they actually made
a movie out of this."
And not just any movie, but one with legs. “Good Morning,
Vietnam” has become a staple on the rental market and a
cable television evergreen, extending, Cronauer jokes, “my 15
minutes of fame went well beyond 15 years.”
By the time of the movie’s release in 1987, Cronauer
was in law school. He entered in his late 40s, seeing an opportunity
to shed his static broadcasting career and use his background to advise clients about emerging technologies
such as satellites and fiber optics.