Tuesday, February 5, 2008

LITERARY ADVENTURE: Failed Pseudonyms of Great Authors

Comic Vs. Audience is proud to present a scintillating bi-weekly column, Literary Adventure, written by bookish gadabout Doogie Horner. Everything written in Literary Adventure has been vigorously fact-checked by a team of ten graduate students, so don't second guess any of the outrageous claims made within.

Dr. Seuss
Failed Pseudonym: Dr. Disaster, the Love Master

During his college years, Dr. Disaster was fond of stalking the halls of the girls’ dormitories, stethoscope in hand. He would open a door at random, and if a young lady was inside, he would say in a professional tone, “Take your clothes off and I’ll back in a couple minutes.”

He also slept on a sheet of wax paper and was addicted to morphine.

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Elmore Leonard
Failed Pseudonym: Elmo Scribbles

Elmore Leonard originally began his career writing gritty, violent children’s board books under the pen name Elmo Scribbles. Some of these books included The Littlest Stool Pigeon, First Graders Don’t Float, and Get Shorty, which he later reworked into an adult novel. The original Get Shorty was about a fourth-grader who has to baby-sit his little brother, and all the wacky trouble they get into. After accidentally murdering the babysitter by shoving a crayon in her ear, they have to make it look like a drunk driving accident—before Mom gets home!

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A. A. Milne
Failed Pseudonym: Pooh Man

Incredibly, the author of the beloved Winnie the Pooh series didn’t see the humor in christening himself Pooh Man, and had to have it gently pointed out by friends.

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Stephen King
Failed Pseudonym: The King

As hard as he tried, the master of the modern horror thriller couldn’t get anyone, even his own damn WIFE, to call him The King (and then bow). During the wild days of his youth he was commonly seen carousing around the streets of sleepy Orono, Maine, wearing a cardboard crown and yelling at anyone in sight, “Who’s the King baby?!”

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F. Scott Fitzgerald
Failed Pseudonym: Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald toiled in obscurity for years writing sales copy for canned peas under the name Scott Fitzgerald. He fruitlessly sent his manuscript The Great Gatsby to every publisher in New York, but was turned down flat by every one.

Finally, a kind editor took a moment to give him some advice. “Look, your novel is great. It might even be the defining novel of this generation. But your name . . . it needs a letter before it. A letter, and then a period.”

“What letter? What letter?!” Fitzgerald beseeched him.

“Scott, I don’t know. Now get the fuck out of my office, you bum.”

Fitzgerald worked in reverse alphabetical order, resending his manuscript out twenty times under the names Z. Scott Fitzgerald through G. Scott Fitzgerald before finding the nom de plume that finally secured his legacy in the literary canon.

Doogie Horner will be performing this Wednesday at Bedtime Stories at the Shubin Theatre (407 Bainbridge St.), 8PM, $5. and this Sunday at Unwashed Comics at the Walking Fish Theatre (2509 Frankford Ave.), 8PM, $10


Kent said...


Anonymous said...

First Graders Don't Float is pure genius.

Dave (1/2 of AP)

Anonymous said...

This fucker needs to do some research. I checked up on his "facts" and none of them are true except for the bit about F. Scott Fitzgerald getting his start by writing canned pea copy.

da biznass said...

Please talk more about Black Knight.

Judd Apatow said...

Hey, why don't you write your next Literary Adventure about the Field Guide to North American Birds? I heard the guys who made Superbad are teaming up with that old guy in Rambo (Bruce Willis?) to make a film version of that book. You should cash in.