It’s 1982 and I’m living in L.A. To put food on the table I’m writing commercials for the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service (AFRTS). Easy work, lousy pay. Adding to that, thanks to cashing in on my modest retirement fund from my parents’ clothing business, which I will have to pay a penalty on, I’ve got a bit of cash in the bank. So I rent a nice condo in a building in Studio City filled with entertainment industry types – a locations manager, a make-up artist, a soap star and Bob Eubanks, host of The Newlyweds Game. Nice guy, great poker player.
There’s also this young Frenchman – Jean Chalopin, who bears a strong resemblance to John Lennon – who lives in the building. A quiet type, but friendly. One evening at a party in the building, he tells me he heard I’m a published novelist. I nod, happy to hear my ‘fame’ is spreading. Jean says he’s started animation studio here in Studio City and asks if I’d like to take a shot at writing for children’s television. I explain my novels deal with murder mysteries and the occult, so I’m not sure writing for children’s television is for me. I tell him I’ll think about it and get back to him.
Later, it’s three-thirty in the morning and I’m sound asleep. Suddenly my eyes pop open, I sit bolt upright in my bed and shout, “What am I, crazy?!”
The next morning I knock on Jean’s door. He opens it and I say, “Ok. I
thought about it. How about we have lunch and talk?”
And that’s how I became animated.