Ever wonder what it’s like to be the proud author of a book that fails?
Hey, it happened to me. Turning Points inTelevision, my second nonfiction book (Television Writing from the Inside Outwas first) was published as a trade paperback by Citadel in 2005. It’s just what the name implies, my pick of the most important developments in the history of TV up to that time.
With one major difference: I was part of all those developments, either as a viewer, a writer, or a producer.
I thought that was pretty cool because by writing about my participation I could also write about my feelings about the various events and include inside stories – war stories mostly – that not only hadn’t been told by anyone else but couldn’t be told by anyone but me.
Unfortunately, the market for thinly disguised Larry Brody memoirs turned out to be smaller than the publisher thought. Turning Points pretty much bombed. Didn’t make back my advance, and awhile ago my editor e-mailed to tell me itwas going out of print and how many copies did I want to buy before everything got pulped?
I was saddened by this development but not depressed and bought a couple of boxes, thinking I’d give them away as contest prizes and such. And if I ever think of a suitable contest for such a prize, you’ll all get a crack at them.
But for now, here’s the important thing:
Turning Points in Television has a foreword by a friend of mine named Stan Lee.
And in all likelihood, that foreword is the least-read piece of published verbiage Stan has ever written. Which is a wrong that must be righted, as Stan might say. (But more grandiloquently, of course, because he’s Stan Lee.) So to rectify that situation – and give TVWriter™ visitors and Marvel True Believers an edge over the poor, sad, ignoranti (also as Stan might say), here ya go – Stan Lee’s Lost Words on my for all practical purposes Lost Book:
TURNING POINTS IN TELEVISION
by Stan Lee
When comic books first started those of us toiling away at them had a luxury we weren’t aware of. We were operating beneath the radar. Our employers, the guys with the money, scrutinized the sales figures but pretty much left the magical process of creation alone. The good news is that my cohorts and I got to sneak Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, and a ton of other characters out to the public when no one was looking.
Television, though, hasn’t been so lucky. Although younger than comics, TV quickly grabbed a much larger audience, and has gotten more attention from commentators, critics, and pundits. After all, kids and the adults they grew up into have always had to get on their bikes or into their cars and go off to the store to buy comic books, but once you’ve plunked your money down for a TV set it’s there, staring at you and all you’ve got to do is turn it on.
In spite of all this attention, Turning Points in Television is the first time I’ve seen both TV shows and the business that creates them analyzed in terms of their contributions to contemporary culture by someone who has actually been around when all the shenanigans have been going on.
This book is up close and personal, giving all of us who read it a behind-the-scenes account of the shows and people who have influenced how millions of viewers dress and talk and work and play and buy and look at ourselves and each other, maybe even how we think. (Although I’d rather believe that in the days when Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and other talented artists and I came up with the Marvel superheroes it was divine inspiration that led the way and not Bonanza.)
Award-winning television writer and producer and bigtime viewer Larry Brody surprised me on almost every page of this book. Was I aware that Desi Arnaz, Jr. is the reason we’ve got reruns–and that he caused it before he was born? Absolutely not.
Was I in on the fact that the reason I see big city neighborhoods and people with big city problems every time I channel surf isn’t because the whole world is really like that? (I’m from New York. What do I know?)
Did I know that decisions made by a very smart man named Fred Silverman in the ‘70s are why Suzanne Summers gets to sell us all that jewelry and exercise equipment over the airwaves today? That a brilliant writer named Steven Bochco could very well be the reason that so many other terrific TV writers are out of work? And that Larry Brody loved a puppet named Howdy Doody so much that, just like the Who he also wanted to “die before I get old?”
Not only is Turning Points in Television filled with revelations, it’s also loaded with passion, and even some Deep Thought. That’s because Larry can’t help himself. He’s a passionate man, and probably every bit as smart as Fred Silverman.
Larry Brody and I first met in the early 1990s, when he was writing for one of the animated television versions of Spider-Man, and I knew he had to be a wise man after he told me what an influence my work had had on him. One thing he modestly leaves out of this book is the fact that he became responsible for another major Turning Point in TV when we worked together again in 1998. That’s when we developed and he ramrodded an animated series about my comic book character the Silver Surfer.
Before the Surfer, Saturday morning animation was all about the action. Characters grunted and groaned and said, “Hey!” and “Stop!” and “Get him!” The Silver Surfer on Fox Kids changed all that. Larry’s Surfer was articulate and thoughtful and always looking for a way to stay out of a fight. He soliloquized and philosophized and talked just the way he did in the comic, like an adult. The show became a cult classic, and the next time you watch an animated show on TV you’ll see other characters talking more than they punch, thinking, even caring once in awhile.
You’re going to like this book. Would two guys who who wrote Spidey and the Hulk and the Silver Surfer steer you wrong?
One of our favorite human beings shows us the meaning of keeping on. Shakespeare said it best:
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety
Okay, he was talking about Cleopatra. Still…
by TeamTVWriter Press Service
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Vuguru and POW! Entertainment today officially announced the programming lineup for the highly anticipated premium YouTube channel, Stan Lee’s World of Heroes. The comic book icon will showcase a slate of original digital programming on Thursday, July 12th at Comic-Con with a panel of pop culture experts and enthusiasts, including Mark Hamill, Adrianne Curry, Peter David, Jace Hall, Bonnie Burton and America Young.
Every story has a hero. Stan Lee’s World of Heroes is the premiere destination for all things related to heroes, villains and the world of fandom. With both scripted and unscripted shows, the channel offers something for everyone from comic book fans to pop culture enthusiasts looking for Stan’s opinions, hero pop culture, the geek universe and beyond. All flavored with Stan’s unique brand of humor.
“Stan Lee is a master story teller who has created iconic characters loved by people of all ages. We are excited to offer a new way for Stan to connect directly with fans, create new stories and characters and inspire a new generation of creators,” said Scott Nocas, Head of Distribution and Marketing at Vuguru.
“It’s an absolute thrill to be unveiling World of Heroes alongside Vuguru at Comic-Con this week. To unveil fun, scripted and unscripted shows around new characters that fans globally can enjoy, converse with and participate in everyday has been such a reward for me. The channel is a great extension of our company’s exciting, ever-growing lineup of franchises,” saidStan Lee, Chairman and co-Founder of POW! Entertainment.
The programming schedule includes:
Stan Lee’s Super.Model (scripted action comedy) From the mind of Stan Lee, two aspiring models Bree and Sera and blogger friend Lizzie, are accidentally exposed to a mysterious serum that grants them super powers. Their newfound powers wreak havoc on their quest to become top models and pull them into a world of danger and intrigue. From Executive Producer Heath Corson (Aim High) and writer Taryn O’Neill (BlackBoxTV)
Head Cases (scripted comedy) You know those classic superhero battles where good and evil clash in epic fashion? This isn’t one of those. Set at the local bar frequented by super powered heroes and villains, the comedy Head Cases is what happens before, after, and in between those battles. From the minds of Eisner Award winner Peter David (Babylon 5, Ben 10, The Incredible Hulk) and Producer David M. Uslan.
Bad Days (animated parody) From Junaid Chundrigar, the creator of the animated viral sensation Disassembled, Bad Days shows us heroes and villains on their worst days. Whether Green Lantern is wasting time with an emerald Yo-Yo or Batman has locked himself out of the Bat-Mobile, Bad Days lets us laugh at epic super failure.
FanWars (courtroom reality) Ever wonder who would do better with the ladies, Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne? How about who is the most intelligent Super Villain of all time? FanWars gives opinionated fans a chance to go toe to toe on the most pressing issues in the World of Heroes. Producer and host Jace Hall (The Jace Hall Show, V, The Morning After) and his panel of celebrity experts pit fan against fan as they debate topics from the realms of comic books, superheroes, science fiction and more.
Stan Lee’s Academy of Heroes (makeover reality) From Emmy Award winning producer Jon Kroll (Amazing Race, Blade), Stan Lee’s Academy of Heroes takes real life aspiring heroes from all over the country and gives them the mentoring and training they need to take their fight for good to the next level. The nuts and bolts training includes financial planning, public relations, and of course the Zen of heroism from Stan himself.
Stan’s Rants (opinion) The spirit of the classic Stan’s Soap Box comic column is finally back in Stan’s Rants, which explores the complex inner workings of the brilliantly unique mind of Stan Lee. From behind his desk, Stan, tongue firmly in cheek, explains his thoughts on pop culture, upcoming films, the general state of the world and more, in this weekly series.