Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer Discuss “The Phantom Tollbooth” in NYC

Posted by The G on October 7, 2013 under Encounters with G, G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster

Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster

From a young age, I’ve been an avid reader.  One of the books that influenced my childhood (and has carried over into my adult life) is “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer.  To celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary, Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer attended the New Yorker Festival to screen the film “The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations” and participated in a Q&A session after the movie.  October 6, 2013 started off with Norton and Jules signing books at McNally Jackson Books in SoHo. At the signing I had the chance to tell them how much this book meant to me (more on that in a few), and several hours later, I went to see a movie about their lives, which is filled with stories of how this classic book came about. What an experience!   By the end of the film, you will be so in love with Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, you will wish you were related to them so you could basque in their presence on a regular basis.

The Phantom Tollbooth signed by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer

The Phantom Tollbooth signed by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer

“The Phantom Tollbooth” is an “Alice In Wonderland” type story that follows the adventures of Milo, a bored, know-it-all kid who doesn’t really see the value of learning.  After he is transported (via tollbooth) into another space and time,  his mission is to return the princesses (Rhyme and Reason) to the Kingdom of Wisdom.  The book is filled with word plays, puns and the message that learning can be fun and that you should want to learn for the sake of acquiring the knowledge instead of feeling forced to learn.  If you read this book during your formative years, you’ve loved it dearly for your whole life and if you are just discovering the book, you’ll wish your teachers would have clued you in sooner!   “Beyond Expectations” goes into the fact that Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer lived in the same building, which is how their collaboration came to be, and you learn about their pre and post-Tollbooth lives (Juster was an architect and Feiffer drew political cartoons).  The banter between the pair will remind you of the uncles you wish you had and your appreciation of this book will grow exponentially by the end of the film.

Norton Juster and Geoffrey Dicker

Norton Juster and Geoffrey Dicker

Earlier in the day, Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer signed copies of “The Phantom Tollbooth” at McNally Jackson Books in SoHo, and it was such a thrill to meet the men behind a book that shaped my life.  As I was taking a picture with Norton, he told me he was in the market for a camera and liked mine, so we talked about cameras for a bit.  By the end of the conversation, he sincerely thanked me for my advice in this matter and shook my hand! I told him that for the advice he gave me in the “Phantom Tollbooth,” it was my absolute pleasure to ‘pay him back’ so to speak.  WOW!

Jules Feiffer and Geoffrey Dicker

Jules Feiffer and Geoffrey Dicker

Jules revealed that the Whether Man is his caricature of Norton and that the character Milo was named after the actor Milo O’ Shea (who played Durand Durand in ‘Barbarella,’ one of my favorite movies!  It all makes sense now!)  A brief video will be coming soon from the Q&A session where someone asked, “who gets the tollbooth next?”  Stay tuned to hear the answer.  Thanks a million to Norton Juster for Jules Feiffer both for being so gracious in person and as well as writing a book that has made such a lasting impact on my life!

RIP Bonnie Franklin, C. Everett Koop, Stan Musial

Posted by The G on March 2, 2013 under Celebrities | Be the First to Comment

Photos and autographs courtesy of my autograph collection.

Bonnie Franklin

Bonnie Franklin

Sad news from all walks of life.  Actress Bonnie Franklin, who is best remembered for her role on the show “One Day At A Time” has died at age 69.  Bonnie was always very nice when I saw her in Los Angeles back when I lived there.  RIP Bonnie.  Earlier this week, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died and also he was very nice.

 

C Everett Koop

C Everett Koop

C. Everett Koop lived to be 96, so that just goes to show once again that health is indeed wealth! RIP Mr. Koop!  Finally, I just learned about the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who passed away earlier in 2013, so I’d like to take this moment to remember a true hero of the game of baseball since now everyone seems to be a juicer who deserves to be forgotten.

Stan Musial

Stan Musial

RIP Stan!

 

Happy Birthday Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross

Posted by The G on June 21, 2011 under Celebrities | Be the First to Comment

Photos and autographs courtesy of the G Archives.

Meredith Baxter

Meredith Baxter

What are the chances that Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross, who were the Keatons on the TV show “Family Ties,” were both born on the same day and are also the same age?  Very high!  There’s some useless trivia that you can spout off today and impress someone.  You’re welcome!

Michael Gross

Michael Gross

Hooked Up! Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran Edition

Posted by The G on April 9, 2011 under The G Spot | Be the First to Comment

Photo by G. 

Signed CDs by Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran

Signed CDs by Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran

I’m very happy to report the latest additions to the G Archives are signed CDs by Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran, two of my favorite bands!

Both Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran offered signed cds to the first couple hundred fans who purchased their new albums, “The Most Incredible Thing” and “All You Need Is Now” (respectively) through their official sites several weeks ago.

The best part about this is now I have one less thing to try and get signed the next time I meet both bands.  I’ll be able to focus on getting rare import singles completed.

Special thanks to BB3 for paying attention and of course thanks to Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran for knowing how to treat their faithful right!

In Memoriam: Celebrities Who Died in 2010

Posted by The G on December 28, 2010 under Celebrities | Be the First to Comment

All autographs obtained in person by me.  It is not ok to reprint any of this story without expressed written consent from me.

Rue McClanahan

So many legends broke on through to the other side in 2010.  I was very fortunate to have met a lot of them when they were still here with us.  Thanks for the joy you’ve brought us all and we’ll be joining you soon!

Gary Coleman

Dennis Hopper

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