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21st Century Edition!

 

 

scroll down beyond the ad to get to it


 

The Occasional Deitch

What’s  in it for you:   

Page 1 = NEW TERR’BLE THOMPSON! BOOK  ↓ Scroll Down

Page 2 = FOR THE LOVE OF PRAGUE 5th Edition

Page 3 =Your Home in Prague, The New Yorker finally discovers Gene Deitch!

Page 4 = FUNNY MONEY, Czechoslovak communist currency was not much more than a set of mini propaganda posters. Then scroll down to "Teeeeee-rific!" How my tough little Tom made the hit list in TV-Guide.

Page 5 = The Return of The King, Prague memorial to the victims of communism + How Germany and Austria try to rewrite history + the Minnie Mouse cartoon

Page 6 = News of Our Film Doings + Kim & I on the radio from New York. Listen in!

Page 7 = A video greeting from Pete Seeger, 90 years old!

Page 8 = The Mystery & Magic of Song and Story by Connie Converse
Page 9 = The absolutely believable “Explain Everything Book.
Page 10 =
The amazing but true John Lee Hooker story
Page 11 = JLH story continued – with photo documentation
Page 12 = JLH story continued – more photos.
Page 13 = After 50 years I meet John Lee Hooker again!
Page 14 =
Play tantalizing samples of this rarest of all his recordings.

For all this you pay nothing but your patience, tolerance, good mood, valuable time, and phone bill/internet charges .

 

 


After a 50-year coma,

“TERR’BLE THOMPSON!”

is revived by Fantagraphics Books!

(Go to amazon.com, “Books,” and search the title..)

 

 

It was something I probably should have called “Little Awesome Andy”

but “awesome” was not a teenage in-word in the 1950s, and it was easier to draw a

TT logo on his T-shirt, so “Terr’ble,” it was, in the sense of awesome..

.

It was my boyhood dream to do a newspaper comic strip, and after working up ideas for a comic-satiric adventure strip for several years, my dream came true in 1955 when United Features Syndicate gave me a contract.  Amazingly, there I was, in the same nationwide newspaper syndicate that starred Al Capp’sLi’l Abner,” and where Charles Schulz was just five years into “Peanuts.” Big Time at that time!  It was at the time when I was already doing just fine as creative director of the New York UPA animation studio, and that was exactly the connection and the dilemma..   A client of our studio was Arthur Shimkin,  producer of Little Golden Records, the kiddie disc division of Simon & Shuster publishers.  Shimkin had us animate some little ditties as a test to expand Little Golden Records to TV.. So I had a chance to show Arthur some of my development strips of “Terr’ble Thompson“.  He was excited with the idea, and declared he would produce an episode of TT as a Little Golden Record musical production!  Arthur Shimkin was not a person to do things half-way.  Working from a script I worked up with my studio colleague and close friend Bill Bernal, Shimkin brought in the Broadway song writing team of Alec Wilder and Marshall Barer, a cast of star actors including Art Carney, and all backed up by Mitch Miller’s full orchestra & chorus, and a band of sound effects men.   It was a thrill for me to sit in at this fabulous recording session. I received a souvenir acetate disc of the production, and it clinched the contract for me from United Features. They assumed that if a record of that quality was made of my creation, it surely would be worth syndication.  Thus the nationally syndicated daily and Sunday comic strip, “Terr’ble Thompson”.was born, and I felt I was on my way to fame and fortune!  Click to hear it!

 

BUT: The strip was already causing conflict in my family life. Every comic strip creator knew that it took years before a strip could gain enough newspapers to become economically viable.   PEANUTS, five years old at the time, was just beginning to really take off.

 

So with two sons already, I couldn’t immediately quit my well paying job as creative chief of UPA New York.  I was simultaneously working nights and weekends on the strip.  I was under tremendous pressure from my wife to give it up, as I had little time to devote to her or my sons.   I was pleading for patience – that golden days lay ahead.   Then, out of the blue came the animation offer I couldn’t refuse.  CBS television had just bought the Terrytoons animation studio and wanted me to be the new creative chief as Paul Terry retired.  The moment of bitter-sweet truth for me arrived.  I had to give up my comic strip dream, and.the Little Golden Record was never issued.   50 years later, “Terr’ble Thompson was completely forgotten.  It ran too briefly and in too few newspapers to establish a fan base.  I did transmogrophy some elements of the idea into  Tom Terrific, and that TT did fly.  But was just a shadow of my comic strip TT, and all I had of that was the scratchy acetate disc and a few tattered and faded newsprint samples of my strip.

 

But suddenly, Fantagraphics publishers of Seattle, and comics historian Dan Nadel got wind of it, and a project to find and restore the long comatose strip was set in motion.  I still had a few old faded newspapers with some of it, and also some Syndicate proofs, and six other noble and diligent collectors of the ultra rare came up piece by piece with the rest.  With the wonders of today’s computer-graphics technology, and modern sound engineers, you can soon see it all, and also hear the restored recording. You can now look at the samples of the strip here, or order the book from Amazon or Fantagraphics, the complete meticulously restored strip as it was meant to be seen, but which primitive 1950s newpaper printing technology could not approach. A full year of restoration work!  Decide for yourself whether it coulda or couldn’ta been a contendah!. .

 

Of course, in 50 years American culture and perceptions have radically changed.  Terr’ble Thompson would have radically changed also.  For now, as with “Terr’ble” himself, it is at best, just a “Hero of Hist’ry!.