Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stone Mountain, GA


Well here we are on top of Stone Mountain (GA) with Mayumi's parents who flew in just for 2 days. We went up the day before their flight back for a day trip to Stone Mountain. Great view at the top, as you can tell, and you can walk around the whole thing. I was surprised. You can see eagles or hawks circling. Just too bad that most of the stuff there is only open on the weekend. No train or boat tour around the mountain, just the skylift up. Still, it was fun.


Then we took a drive around the mountain and came upon a nice covered bridge, so we got out an fed the ducks. Mayumi and I have always liked doing that - we've got pictures of ducks from Boalsburg, PA (where we lived previous to being in GA) and Disneyworld (of course!).

Well, I wanted to put up more pictures, but it's not letting me, so I'll save more for another post!

Friday, August 24, 2007

favorite place on Earth

Those of you who know me, know I love Disney stuff. Especially pre-Little Mermaid, before body humor and stage musical music invaded the Disney cannon. Since marrying, I've had a Lot more tolerance for modern Disney stuff (but not the farting, burping stuff, sorry), and by and large, I love it all equally. True, my 3 favorite Disney films are still
Alice in Wonderland
Gus
Pete's Dragon

which aren't at the top of everyone's lists, but I think they are great. Gus is Supremely underrated. And I count the creator of that story, Ted Key, as a good friend of mine. At 90+ he's still going strong. We'll be publishing his autobiography next year.

Of course that means that Disneyworld is my favorite place on earth. I've only been to Disneyland in CA once, but Disneyworld is the best of course since there is So much room for everything. I like Epcot just as much as the Magic Kingdom; just as much to do at both. Even though nothing beats Epcot if you want to get fat!

One of my wife's favorite character is Stitch, mostly because he reminds her of small, cute dogs. And the Japanese people do love their "cute" things! She got a cute Stitch cookie jar, which she refuses to use. Just decoration, of course. But her favorite ride is Pooh's Honey Hunt. Pooh might be her favorite character, because of the personality as well. But the Honey Hunt in Tokyo Disneyland is Much better - what other place has a bouncing Tigger room? I mean it Really bounces, not just rolls like in DW.

I'm really hoping DW will agree to carry Charles Tranberg's Fred MacMurray book. For some reason they passed on my Paul Frees book. But since Fred is more of an icon, here's hoping. Anyone reading this have pull with Disney? :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

running outa things to say!

Wow, I'm impressed with people who manage to update their blogs daily. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to do it Too often. We must live boring lives. I could talk about the ins and outs of the book biz, but I'm afraid of putting you all to sleep. It's hardly glamorous stuff. It's mostly sitting at the computer and typing in text, answering emails, reading book copy, etc., etc. That's why I like to get up from the desk as much and Often as possible. And when the phone rings, I'll walk and talk at the same time. Mayumi and I also go to the gym a couple times a week, because it's important to keep the body, as well as the mind, healthy. The Japanese are especially good at practical matters like this.

Oh, I just got a great review in Classic Images for my biography of The Bickersons. And also Phil Rapp's Joke File which I put together from Phil's huge files. He typed one joke per index card, arranged alphabetically. The man had Thousands of jokes. I tried to pull the ones I thought best. Good ol' Laura Wagner from Classic Images thought there were some hot yuks in there too!

By the way, the new Jimmy Stewart stamp is out now. The woman who sold me the stamps, who is probably my age (I'm 36), had no idea who he was. Then again, sometimes it's cool to claim ignorance of the old stuff, isn't it? I did it myself way back when!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Judy Canova!


I was going to wait and post this picture when I put the Judy Canova book out, but I figured - why not show it here first.






Mayumi and I drove to Connecticut to visit Diana Canova, star of Soap, to borrow lots of stuff on her mother, Judy Canova, as I'm slowly winding down research on a book on Judy. Diana and her sister have been SO helpful answering All the many questions I have about the real Judy Canova. There may be as much of Their talk in the book as my own writing! And pictures galore. An amazing number. Including some nice stills I got from the ever-helpful Kevin Minton, who lives in the town where Judy was born - Starke, Florida.

Well, the Canova book won't be out until next year sometime, but without the gracious help of Diana and her sister, there wouldn't be a book at All. I was very lucky to get their go ahead - or else I wouldn't've attempted one in the first place.

Writers have to get lucky in their research!

Monday, August 13, 2007

convention earlier this year


Well, not much to report today, so I thought I'd post a few pictures of Mayumi and I when we went down to Orlando to check out a grand nostalgia convention. We met a few celebrities like Peter Graves ("Surely you can't be serious.")




And the man I came to meet - Lance Henriksen! I love this guy! He is Cool. I've been a fan of his ever since I saw Near Dark - which I still consider the best vampire movie I've ever seen (they don't even mention the word vampire in the movie, which makes extra points with me). Of course he was also great in the Alien films, including the Very good Alien vs. Predator (yes, I'm a horror movie fan). You know, when I took a picture of my wife with Lance, my hands were shaking. He noticed, I'm afraid, but we made a joke out of it. :) Well, this Was the first "working" film legend I've ever met in person.

Of course, Mayumi got to meet someone she wanted to also: Sam Huntington, fresh off of Superman Returns. She liked the film more than I did (I wish there'd been more action). But I think we both liked the Spiderman series better.

Anyway, I gave Lance and Peter both a copy of Son of Harpo Speaks, which had arrived just that week, urging them both to write their autobiographies. Lance doesn't seem to think people will be interested, while Peter has seriously considered it, but has found it difficult to get mainstream publishers interested. I haven't heard from either actor since the convention, though I've written once to Lance. Let's hope they both realize that an autobiography is more valuable than a biography written later!

I try to urge as many people as possible to write books, because there are So many great people - not just actors, but writers, production people, etc. - who are valuable to film history. True, there isn't great money in it. But it Is important to preserve this history while we still can.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Great news! This morning I received a signed contract from Buckwheat's son, Bill Thomas. He will supply the material on his dad, and I'll be writing the book on one of the true icons of film. This is very exciting for me. Bill and I talked about getting Eddie Murphy to do the foreword - who knows if we can get to him, but Bill is all for the idea. I'm really looking forward to doing this book!

Only last month I made an agreement with Allan Reed's son to do a book on his dad, the voice of Fred Flintstone. Reed wrote about 60 pages worth of autobiography, which I've been typing up. It's going to be a more slender book than some of my others, but if I can get it to the size of Joan Davis, I'll be very happy.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

1st post!


Hello, all. This here's the place where I'll be airing my thoughts on the world of books, publishing, movies, people, etc. I've been meaning to do this for a long time, but I just haven't had the time. I'm hoping, as I learn this blogging thing more, I'll be able to post more pictures and info daily, if possible.

I hate to start all this on a sour note, but just last night I learned of the passing of one of our authors, the great writer Mel Shavelson.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070809/ap_en_mo/obit_shavelson;_ylt=AlI.MSpxiw8IgaAbeHf6oyhxFb8C

He was one of the great Hollywood people and he's going to be missed.

I am, however, very glad he had a lot of time with his book. One of my major regrets is that Tony Toran, author of our massive Russ Columbo biography, never had a chance to hold the book in his hands. I was told he even asked about it in the hospital in his last days, but we just couldn't get it out in time. I believe his author copies shipped out to him on the very day we learned of his death. :(

Tony was a fine man, though, and his book meant the world to him. I still miss his excited phone conversations. :)