Re-Blog: Maurice Sendak Tribute

This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition (I am addicted to this show), they discussed a new book by Maurice Sendak. In many ways, it is his goodbye and is called My Brother’s Book. It’s not often that someone simply reading something on the radio can move me to tears but this did. The book’s illustrations are also gorgeous making me immediately think of William Blake’s work. When Maurice Sendak passed away last year, I wrote this piece in celebration of him. I hope you enjoy it.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

There was always an element of darkness in Maurice Sendak’s stories that I found impossible to avoid.

With his passing, we hear and read again about his rough childhood fighting sicknesses, stuck in a room by himself, with only his imagination for company and the fear of death. His family were immigrants, just luckily avoiding the Holocaust; living with the grief that they were not able to save many of the people on his father’s side of the family. Yes, it was a childhood filled with death and the possibility of it around every corner. So it is not surprising that there is that darkness always someplace in his work, lurking and waiting.

In In the Night Kitchen, Mickey is almost baked in a cake by three heavy set individuals with Hitler mustaches. He emerges when he is put in the oven. When I first shared this book with…

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Jack Benny as My Comfort Food

I first discovered Jack Benny by chance. I was about 11 and while playing with a cheap little radio in my bedroom, I discovered an AM station that was playing old-time radio shows. With my young imagination, I first imagined that I had somehow tuned into the past.

I was hearing the 1940’s!

Right there, on my radio!

I began to wonder if there was a way I could transport more back to then. (On a side note, if I could go back now I would write the screenplay for Casablanca; bad of me, I know) Could I communicate back? Could this mean something more? Was this the start of a wacky adventure starring me…

Naturally, I then remember the disappointment when the first local radio ad played between some episodes. Yet, reality was not enough to deter me from listening more.  I was first fascinated, and then slowly hooked.

I started buying blank tapes, filling them up day after day with anything they were playing. Before I stopped I had almost a hundred tapes with everything from The Lone Ranger to The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to The Jack Benny Show. Continue reading

Notes From THE HONEYMOON, What Would Have Been the Last Part of The Dante 3

While creating the scripts for Time Out Of Mind, the proposed sequel to The Dante Experience, I began to take notes and scribble ideas for the third and final part, which had the working title of The Honeymoon.

I always knew I wanted the series to be a trilogy. Where I saw the first part being the afterlife and the second being time, I wanted the third to be a little more personal, and less large scale.  For some reason I became fascinated by the idea of putting as many of my characters as I could on a boat in the middle of the ocean… and seeing what happens.

After sending Time Out Of Mind to Mind’s Ear and realizing it was not going to happen, my notes and scenes for The Honeymoon became… well… history. Continue reading

Episode Ten: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 10 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The sequel to

The Dante Experience

“Gettysburg”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven

MICHAEL: Hazzah, your stellarness! I have good news for you. The communication link has been set up and I can get our team to fight the dragons!

REPAIR ANGEL: I said, I would fix it… All you had to do was wait.

MICHAEL: Not now! I’m talking to the big guy…Anyway, your infiniteness, I’m about to make contact with our team. Jenkins, can you hear me? Hello?

Scene 2

SOUND: Of Beach.

MICHAEL: Jenkins.

JENKINS: Oh, great, it’s Angel Michael.

ALL: (Sigh) Continue reading

Episode Nine: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 9 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

“Two Roberts for the Price of One”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

REPAIR ANGEL: Best out of three?

KELLII: Ok. You move first.

MICHAEL: Can you two stop playing that game! This is the throne room and I am doing important things. The big guy doesn’t want to see you playing a board game.

KELLII: I don’t hear him complaining.

REPAIR ANGEL: Actually, I haven’t heard him at all since I’ve been here.

MICHAEL: Can you two please stop judging the maker.

KELLII: Is he even awake?… Hello? Anyone there? Continue reading

Episode Eight: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 8 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

“Dinner With the Folks”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of heaven and a computer typing.

MICHAEL: Ok, I have some bad news…

SOUND: Of computer stops typing.

MICHAEL: I’ve been searching for three hours now and I can’t find our group of heroes. Ever since Adam threw that rock and hit the time machine, our team has been lost in time… They could be anywhere.

KELLII: Can we play another game now?

REPAIR ANGEL: I have Stratego.

KELLII: Yeah, get that one. Anything better than Monopoly. Monopoly just doesn’t work for two people.

MICHAEL: Can you two please leave?

KELLII: I want to wait and see what happens next?

MICHAEL: What happens next? I’ll tell you what happens next! Your father shows up and kicks my…

REPAIR ANGEL: Hey, let’s watch the language.

KELLII: So he is a little protective.

MICHAEL: He threatened me for just taking you on a date!

KELLII: See, protective.

REPAIR ANGEL: Wait until he sees the website you created. Continue reading

Episode Seven: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 7 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

“In the Garden of Eden”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

MICHAEL: The trick is not to panic.

REPAIR ANGEL: You’ve been saying that for twenty minutes.

MICHAEL: Just remember that, your great glorious one. Remember that. Here you might need this brown paper bag. I find breathing into it can be soothing. Are you ready? The three remaining dragons have arrived in the Garden of Eden and they have found Adam and Eve.

REPAIR ANGEL: This is exciting stuff! Continue reading

That Damn Blank Piece of Paper: A May Writing Update

That Dante Thang

I’ve really loved re-discovering the world of The Dante Experience (You can hear the original production of the first part and the first scripts for the unproduced sequel, Time Out Of Mind, here). Maybe I am the only one reading the scripts for its sequel Time Out Of Mind, or listening to the original radio episodes; but, hey, it makes me happy, so there (Try to be nice Scott, the post has just started).

And because of this, I’ve started really thinking about how this comedy series can come back to life again; because, I truly think with the right cast and production it can have a following like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That is a thought that is always at the back of mind.

Well, I have an idea to bring it back to life finally, but the idea of how to move forward with it is the sticky point. See, I know who I want as my entire cast. Continue reading

Episode Six: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 6 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

 “The Hunt”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

REPAIR ANGEL: Here is your problem right here. Look at all the memory you have used on your computer. No wonder it’s bombed.

MICHAEL: Oh, hi your great holiness. I didn’t know you were listening in. The computer repair angel here is just trying to get the computer up and running again.

REPAIR ANGEL: What are all these pictures?

MICHAEL: Oh, nothing! Just delete that!

REPAIR ANGEL: Who is she?

MICHAEL: Nothing, nothing… Anyway…

REPAIR ANGEL: She certainly is flexible whoever she is… Continue reading

Episode Five: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 5 of

Time Out Of Mind,

the sequel to

The Dante Experience

“A Night at the Theater”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

MICHAEL: Hello, your holiness, I have returned. I’m sorry about all that and my date. I’m so red. I mean, if angels could blush I would be red, not red like a devil or anything. Red just doesn’t work for me. Tried dressing up as a devil once for Halloween. I had this little tail and pitchfork and I was poking people with it and you probably don’t want to hear about that. Anyway, I brought some paradise cleaner that should help the mess and… Ok, I’ll just put it here.

SOUND: Putting cleaning supplies down.

MICHAEL: Ok, let me boot up my computer and the surveillance equipment and the video players and see what I have missed. Let’s see… Well, at least some good news since we know that one of the dragons is in Camelot. Of course, you can’t help but wonder what the other dragons have gone and what they are planning and… Do you wonder things like that? I mean… Nevermind. So the group is in the right spot. The group, now including Benjamin Franklin, are in the court of King Arthur. Our team of General Joseph, Jenkins and Dante are… Hmmm… Oh, here they are.

SOUND: Computer Beep.

MICHAEL: They have escaped France after having their heads chopped off and have been transported by the Angel Transportation League to a small village near Camelot. Continue reading