Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Killed Vaudeville.

In a commercial sense, perhaps, it could be said that diversity has been my enemy.  Careers in the past were constructed for the specialist.  Expert in your field, as such.  I foolishly yearned to visit many fields.  Life is too short.  And not being six foot, so was I.  Curiosity killed the cat.  Well, this cat was curious.  Curious Yellow.  Curious Blue.  Sometimes, Curious Slightly Beige, definitely Curious Grey.  And it feels I've used up my nine lives, but what the Heck?  Variety is the Spice of Life.  And I am a Spice Trader.  "Spice Parrot!  I like that!"

"Right."

Being of the Bi-polar persuasion...*COUGH! COUGH!*  I mean... having a multi-faceted disposition (or multi-fauceted, which helps not getting tapped out), one choose many paths rather then a single road.  Again, financially this is courting danger.  But to experience Life's Rich Tapestry.  Essential.

In High School, I could have been content to be an English Literature teacher, or Drama instructor.  But no.  Forces of conformity in the Administration soon battered that peaceful option out of me.  In radio, if I only focused on introducing new music, rather than experimenting with sound, comedy and philosophy, I could have been content to be an American John Peel.  But even John Peel wrote Doctor Who stories.

I am slightly amazed, in this hyped world of Marvel Comics movie mentality and as I watch Mark Ruffalo promote his role as the Hulk, that in the recesses of memory, I was once offered to write scripts for The Incredible Hulk TV series.  And I TURNED IT DOWN.  Why?  Simply because...I hated The Incredible Hulk and Marvel Comics.  I thought they were crap!

Do I regret this?  No.  And I sincerely mean No.  If I had been a driven, wannabe script writer, eager to hone and master my craft, taking servile jobs to learn the form, ultimately becoming a yeoman of the craft....perhaps.  But I sincerely disliked the content, and believing in an honesty and integrity, felt, that the writer of such material should truly love the material.  Or else it would ring false.  Labour of love, rather than being a hack.  Silly man.

Now if it would have been for Rod Serling...Or Hammer Films...Or Mad Magazine.

I actually got hired on a comedy pilot that was connected to Mad Magazine by certain artists.  After auditioning at the Comedy Store with what I thought was a far less than stellar collection of conceptual bits, I found myself working in a Melrose Studio with a company so disorganized, I was baffled.  Come to find out, it was a pilot film meant to fail.  A tax write-off by a pair of well-known entertainers against their more lucrative production company and television affiliates.  I walked out, dumfounded.  Never paid.  More reasons to become hermetic.

This hasn't spoiled my love for Mad Magazine humour, however.  Other events have tried. 

An article on SPACE PIRATE RADIO, particularly on my album from the show, got me a wonderful write up in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar section.  I mentioned my comedy influences.  Ernie Kovacs, Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Mad Magazine, among others.  Mentioning those names got both Steve Allen and Carl Reiner's office to contact me.  I was on air.
 
But I will save that story for another time.  I see this bit is going off on a course of obstacles to the Guden Experience in Hollywood and I'm not in the mood for Angst.  Remind me later.  Just mention my comedic encounters with Steve Martin and Robin Williams and Steve Allen's office and maybe I'll dish dirt, or grime petit in a tapas style. 
 
Before this went Ayn Rant, or ATLAS BUGGED, I was thinking of all the various subjects and areas of interest that get the proverbial juices flowing.  I've been recapturing my early love for satire and Mad Magazine with the new Harvey Kurtzman biography.  Also reading the collected reprints of Kurtzman's Humbug Magazine.  How I love the art and comedy of Will Elder.  And Wally Wood.  And Frank Kelley Freas.
 
I never considered myself a cartoonist or had talents good enough in that field.  More a writer/editor, which is why I enjoyed the talents of my artistic friends and collaborators.  David Fontana, Mike Merenbach and Autumn Turkel, for instance.  Fontana, the most talented of the trio, is still my friend 40 years later.  This is probably because we are on similar wavelengths.  Like myself, he's not satisfied with doing just one thing in life.  Or placing his entire bet on Success Black.  Life is too exciting for that.  The search for, and appreciation of, the Cosmic Giggle.  The Exhaled OOOHHH!!!
 
I've been going back to my days working on Horror Host TV show Jeepers' Creepers, thanks to a letter from Jim Fetters, author of the book Creatures of the Night That We Loved So Well.  Jim's the leading authority on the subject and he found my previous entry here about the show.
 
Passions rise.  Tastes vary.  And mood swings.  I know it only too well.  Musically, the map is all over the place.  I've been going back to old psychedelic music of California from the '60s and '70s, obscure folk and psych-folk from Britain, opera, classical, Italian soundtracks, brand new shoegaze, electronica, crime jazz, jazz fusion and Buffy Saint-Marie.  A typical week.
 
Films included a relook at Wim Wenders stuff, Nastassja Kinski films, early '50s sci-fi, classic Doctor Who, '70s American cinema, marathons of T.H.E. Cat, The Baron, and Peter Gunn, the Welsh National Opera doing Debussy, Cronenberg, Surrealist films of the '20s and '30s, English thingees, and stuff with Anton Differing.  Nothing out of the normal here.  Next week it may be Westerns, more Charlie Chan, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Columbo and Lupe Valez.  Or Jacques Tati, Josephine Baker, '60s spy movies, Italian giallos, Pussycat Theatre flashbacks or dystopian anime.
 
So many influences.  And there's work to be done too.  :)

Stay tuned.  And cheers!