A spirited conversation between Hunter S. Thompson and John Wilcock. From John Wilcock, New York Years, by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall.
Look for a holiday follow-up to this story in December, detailing "How the Freaks Almost Took the Town".
Open Culture collected videos of the four times Hunter S. Thompson appeared on David Letterman, ranging from 1987 to 1997. I saw Thompson speak at live events a few times during this era, and he was usually mumbling and incoherent. He's much sharper and funnier in the videos.
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In the clips here, you can see many of those appearances, first, at the top, from 1987, then below it, from 1988. Further up, see Letterman interview Thompson in an ‘87 episode inexplicably conducted in a Times Square hotel room. The show was “a strange beast,” writes Vulture’s Ramsey Ess. “For most of the episode it feels unruly, nerve-wracking, and a little dangerous,” all adjectives Thompson could have trademarked. Just above, Thompson meets Letterman to discuss his just-published The Rum Diary, the novel he worked on for forty years, “a hard-bitten story,” writes Kunzru, “of love, journalism and heavy drinking.”
All of Thompson’s appearances are unpredictable and slightly unnerving, and become more so in later years. “Thompson would become more dramatic and more twisted,” writes Jason Nawara. “Whatever led up to the moment Thompson stepped on stage was probably far more astonishing (or terrifying) than anything caught on camera. Why is his hand bandaged? Why is he so paranoid? What is happening? When have you slept last, Hunter?” If late night television has become safe and boring, full of pandering patter largely devoid of true surprises, perhaps it is because Hunter S. Thompson has passed on. And perhaps, as Nawara seems to suggest, every generation gets the late-night TV it deserves.
In 1970, journalist Hunter S. Thompson, 32, and artist Ralph Steadman were assigned to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's Monthly magazine. The resulting article, "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" (PDF) was the birth of the good doctor's gonzo journalism and changed first-person reporting forever.
Jesse Walker says: "In 1970, Hunter Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, on a Freak Power ticket, promising to sod the streets, put dishonest drug dealers in stocks, and change Aspen's name to "Fat City." His campaign caught the attention of the British TV show This Week, which sent a crew to make a documentary about it." Read the rest
Anyone who's read Hunter S. Thompson's iconic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas knows that the technicolored, bug-eyed, meth-fueled craziness of that narrative is hard to capture in another medium. The Tim Burton movie did an admirable job of conveying the “savage journey” of the book, if sometimes overdosing on the goofballs in the process.
When it comes down to it, the madness of Fear and Loathing is probably best expressed in comic book form (as Ralph Steadman showed in the original illustrations, Gary Trudeau hinted at with Uncle Duke, and Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson's Transmetropolitan paid impressive homage). If Hunter S. Thompson didn't exist, it would be necessary for comics to invent him. And I can't think of anyone better suited to fully render Thompson's warped vision of the American dream (aka 70s Vegas) than Eisner Award-nominated Troy Little. His 176-page comic adaptation manages to effectively distill the roman à clef gonzo masterpiece into a form that feels completely natural, managing to retain and celebrate inspired moments of Thompson's brilliant prose-poetry.
Little's art has the right kind of energy and violence to effectively convey Thompson's unusual subject matter. He knows how to render the drug-amped fear, anger, outrage, and surprise on Raoul Duke's face, his beady eyes forever burning behind gigantic amber-tinted aviator glasses. The book itself is beautifully produced, with a spot varnish hard cover and brilliant, vividly printed interiors that reproduce the colors of crazy in a way that would do Ralph Steadman proud. Read the rest
Troy Little, creator of the graphic novel adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, has been keeping a diary of his book signing tour. This week: Hollywood, complete with unexpected celebrity cameos (Dan Harmon, Aubrey Plaza) and, of course, Singapore slings at the Polo Lounge, to begin our reenactment of the Fear & Loathing journey. (Previous installments: One | Two)
Troy Little, creator of the graphic novel adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, has been keeping a diary of his book signing tour. Here's the latest installments:
Troy Little created a graphic novel version of Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo memoir, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and he is keeping a comic book diary of his book tour. Here are a couple of pages.
Here's the first seven pages:
"The Crazy Never Die" is a 30-minute, straight-to-video documentary from the late 1980s about Hunter S. Thompson in which we see the good Doctor on the loose at several speaking engagements, The Examiner newspaper, the infamous Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell Theater strip club where he was night manager, Tommy's Mexican Restaurant, and inside the old Survival Research Laboratories compound! Read the rest
“I keep my mouth shut now. I’ve turned into a professional coward.” - Hunter S. Thompson in 1967. This is from PBS's excellent "Blank on Blank" series of animated interviews. It is nice to hear Thompson annunciate his words so clearly and crisply. The times I attended his speaking events in the 1980s, he sounded like his mouth was full of pebbles.
"Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH." Read the rest
"If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin." -- from Hunter S. Thompson's 1994 Rolling Stone obituary for Richard Nixon Read the rest
I hope those onion rings weren't fried in transfat! From Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson, by E. Jean Carroll.