Advertisement

Man signs deal to write nostalgic entertainment biographies

September 03, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

Hagerstown resident Fred Wiebel Jr., author of several self-published books about The Firesign Theatre, has inked a deal with BearManor Media, a Georgia-based publisher that specializes in nostalgic entertainment biographies.

The publishing house has picked up Wiebel's "Backwards into the Future: The Recorded History of The Firesign Theatre," a nonfiction book that Wiebel has spent more than a decade revising and self-publishing in updated editions. The book was published in May. Roughly 1,000 copies have been printed, said Ben Ohmart, owner of BearManor Media.

Under the publishing deal, Ohmart said, Wiebel will write two more books, one on the 1910 silent film version of "Frankenstein" and the other about the making of "The King of Jazz," the 1930s film about Paul Whiteman.

The Firesign Theatre was a Los Angeles-based comedy troupe that performed on the radio during the '60s and '70s. Wiebel recalled listening to its recordings on eight-track tapes as a college student.

Advertisement

He said part of Firesign's appeal was that its performers went against the standard in comedy records - a live recording of a standup routine (think Bill Cosby or Lenny Bruce). Firesign's recordings were produced in a studio.

"Some of it's just stupid-silly," said Wiebel, 55, describing Firesign's brand of comedy. "What these guys did was take the style from radio shows and put it into the studio and combined it with rock 'n' roll techniques."

The Firesign Theatre recordings, Wiebel said, were the precursors to the more contemporary comedy records, such as those done by Jeff Foxworthy and the Jerky Boys in the '90s, and cartoons such as "The Tick" and those featured on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Wiebel's book, "Backwards into the Future: The Recorded History of The Firesign Theatre," is available online at BearManor Media, bearmanormedia.bizland.com for $29.95 (not including $3 postage fee), Amazon.com and Wiebel's Web site, FireZine.net.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|