More About the Author
Stuart ("Stoo") Hample, chronic self-doubter, writer, 5th to 6th-rate cartoonist, citizen, husband, father, fantasist, and self-styled "Multi-media Failure," has written, edited (and sometimes illustrated) more than 2 dozen books, including the international best-seller "Children's Letters To God" (1,293,000 copies in print). With two songwriters, he adapted "Children's Letters" into a small musical that had a six-month's run off-Broadway and is now touring from sea to shining sea around this great nation, beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain (See www.childrensletterstogod.com).
A produced playwright, Stoo also wrote the books for two Broadway musicals, which he calls "My hit musicals; if you mention them I'll hit you." Back in the early days of television (remember flickering black & white images, Kukla, Fran & Ollie, Jon Gnagy?) he hosted two shows at WBEN-TV in Buffalo, N.Y. Since then he has written TV comedy for the sitcom "Kate & Allie" and sketches for "George Burns Comedy Week" and "Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine." For PBS he created a 90-minute special, "The Great Radio Comedians." Stoo performed on the CBS TV children's show "Captain Kangaroo" as "Mister Artist," sketching cartoons to music, and has been a guest on "The Tonight Show", "Who Do You Trust?," "Oprah," and enough local TV and radio shows to give an entire nation gas.
To keep his unfocussed career sufficiently disparate, for some years he performed as a musical cartoonist at children's and pops concerts with symphony orchestras in the United States and Canada (see Stoo Hample page on Wikipedia). In the newspaper comics field he was co-creator with Woody Allen of a nationally syndicated comic strip, INSIDE WOODY ALLEN, based on the comedian's persona. A collection of some 250 strips appears in his new book DREAD & SUPERFICIALITY (Abrams), with a foreword by Buckminster Fuller, and an introduction by Hample telling how the strip came to be, and what it was like working with Woody Allen.
As an extension of his 2004 book, "Happy Cat Day: A Manifesto For An Official Cat Holiday," he created a monthly humor page that ran in CAT FANCY Magazine in 2005 to 2006, titled TIGER'S TALES, hosted by Tiger, the cartoon cat from Happy Cat Day.(see www.happycatday.org)
Zack Hample, his youngest son, is the author of two baseball books, "How To Snag Major League Baseballs: 100 Tested Tips That Really Work," in which he reveals some of the secrets that account for his phenomenal collection of over 4,000 baseballs (and counting)acquired by attending scores of ballgames in virtually every major league stadium - and WATCHING BASEBALL BETTER, the 8th best-selling sports book of 2008.(See www.zackhample.com).
Naomi Hample, Stoo's wife, is a partner in the renowned antiquarian shop in Manhattan, Argosy Book Store, founded in 1925 by her father, the late Louis Cohen. So while her husband and son write books, Naomi sells them, though hers are essentially rare and out-of-print and are merely part of the store's extensive stock which includes first editions, antique maps and prints, American paintings, and autographs. Security cameras have been placed throughout the building to monitor Stoo's movements by way of precluding his predilection for pocketing interesting items that catch his eye (See www.argosybooks.com). But he claims he amassed his large collection of cartoon art on his own.
Stoo's most recent picture books for children are the minor classic "The Silly Book," "I Will Kiss You Lots & Lots & Lots," and Stoo Hample's Book of Bad Manners.
Among Stoo's heroes (besides E.B. White, J.S. Bach, and Louis Armstrong) is the mid-20th Century humorist and author Fred Allen, radio's lone satirical wit, who fashioned, among other bon mots, these oft-quoted lines: "All the sincerity in Hollywood you can stuff into a flea's navel and still have room left over to conceal eight caraway seeds and an agent's heart" and "The world is a grindstone and life is your nose."(Cf Hample's book "All the Sincerity in Hollywood). He has just finished a play based on Allen, also titled "all the sincerity in hollywood" - yes in lower case because Allen wrote of his penchant for typing without capital letters, "i never learned to shift for myself." The play will feature former talk show host Dick Cavett, and the actress Didi Conn ("Frenchy" in the movie GREASE, and is to be directed by Austin Pendleton.
Hample's project-in-work is a satirical book about the United States Senate. He hopes his barbs will shame the hubristic senators into forsaking their egregiously-partisan obstructionist behavior to begin doing the people's work, as they were instructed by the Founding Fathers. But he has no illusions that his dream will come to fruition.