William Karl Thomas

William Karl Thomas was Lenny Bruce' only writing collaborator, co-authoring three screenplays and the comedy material in the first three comedy albums in a ten year collaboration lasting until Bruce’s death, as told in Thomas' memoir, "Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet." His checkered background includes being a cocktail pianist in New Orleans French Quarter, serving a year of combat in the Air Force during the Korean War, being a photographer, a journalist, a feature/documentary cinematographer, a screen writer, an industrial film producer, a public relations executive, and  ...See more >


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"He aptly conveys the heights and depths of human capability. An emotionally challenging but rewarding war novel."

Kirkus Reviews

BOOKS REVIEWED BY KIRKUS:

FICTION & LITERATURE
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1-62768-001-1
Page count: 246pp

A fictional memoir, based on true events of love and horror during the Korean War.

Drawing upon his own experience as a soldier stationed in Korea in 1953, Thomas (The Genteel Poor, 2014, etc.) paints a ghastly picture of the ravages of war. The story begins with Sook Cha, a 12-year-old girl, witnessing the murder of her father and rape of her best friend at the hands of ruthless North Korean soldiers. Now alone in the world, she heads south in search of the means to survive. The world she inhabits is a perilous one, and even her fellow countrymen prove opportunistic and brutal. The threat of rape is omnipresent; she attempts to disguise herself as a boy, hoping it will deter potential attackers. She joins forces with an older woman traveling with a young girl and her child, and the four form a kind of impromptu family, eventually establishing a brothel in a notoriously tough neighborhood. Meanwhile, in a parallel narrative, Max, an American soldier stationed in Korea, wrestles with his own disillusionment and estrangement from his wife. He finds himself in a brothel and is introduced to a young, beautiful prostitute—Sook Cha. Immediately attracted to each other, the two take solace from the darkness that surrounds them. They fall deeply in love, but everything seems to conspire against their union. Even Max’s vindictive lieutenant attempts to draw them apart. Max desperately tries to make it work, investigating all of the ways he could manage to take Sook Cha with him back to the United States. While this is an achingly sorrowful tale filled with gritty depictions of human degradation and fear, it doesn’t gratuitously batter the reader with hopelessness. In fact, through all the austerity, glimmers of real love shine through. The author’s experience in Korea shines through as well, particularly in his historically astute depiction of the country and era. He aptly conveys the heights and depths of human capability.  

An emotionally challenging but rewarding war novel.

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE:

A NOTE ABOUT SCREENPLAYS (Unpublished)

This author has completed or has in progress screenplays of all the following books.


A PLACE FOR US
Biography

Wendy Wolf entered an iron lung at the age of four and emerged a polio survivor whose life illustrates the challenges of opportunity and acceptance people with disabilities face and the triumphs and successes this extraordinary woman achieved. Though she came close to death, she survived the iron lung and 7 subsequent surgeries, ultimately suffering almost total loss of use of all four limbs. She went on to earn 3 degrees, improve the lives of hundreds of children through her services as a Speech Therapist in New York and Mexico and Arizona, found the first Independent Living Center in Arizona, found a unique introductory service for people with disabilities, raise two foreign born special needs children largely as a single parent, advocate for many issues to improve the lives of people with disabilities, and become Ms. Wheelchair Arizona 2006 and, at the Ms. Wheelchair America 2007 Pageant, win the Nicki Arde Award for her lifelong history of advocacy. More than the story of an extraordinary woman overcoming a severe disability, this is the honest portrayal of a girl with self esteem issues accepting an abusive relationship out of desperation, and battling for her own and her children's survival. It is the story of a girl whose maternal instincts lead her to accept the challenges of adopting a Brazilian boy from an abusive background and a Korean girl with cerebral palsy, and raising them to become self sufficient contributing members of society. It is the story of a girl with limitless hope and courage who survived countless rejections and still sought to help others and still believed that love conquers all. If you have a disability, or a family member or friend or co-worker with a disability, they will recognize parallels with their life in this biography of Wendy Wolf. They will feel her angst and empathize with her struggles that echo in their own lives. If you are a caregiver or health care professional, you will find this biography of Wendy Wolf a doorway to understanding that will improve your communication and performance in dealing with people with disabilities.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1627680042
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CLEO
Literary fiction

A beautiful and talented black female journalist is an intimate friend of black entertainment and political celebrities during the turbulent civil rights era in the 1950's and 1960's. Her professional and private life takes a quantum leap when she crosses paths with a cynical but equally talented white male publicist. Sparks fly from their first meeting and throughout a stormy passionate affair that survives their independent assignments to foreign countries. The drama of this turning point in history includes contact and comments with Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Billie Holiday, Brock Peters, James Baldwin, Red Foxx, Tom Bradley, Dorothy Height, Golda Meir, Tefawa Belawa, and other civil rights pioneers.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1627680028
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HOLLYWOOD TALES FROM THE OUTER FRINGE
Short stories

This anthology of twelve short stories deals with the intimate relationships that develop between Hollywood’s ‘A’ list celebrities and the army of little people (the ‘outer fringe’) who serve them in their everyday lives. William Karl Thomas’ career brought him in contact with ‘A’ list celebrities during Hollywood’s ‘Golden Era’ in the 1950's and 1960's, which explains the historical accuracy of this collection and the wealth of detail about the celebrities mentioned and their back stories. For those who love Hollywood, and particularly its down and dirty side, this collection of torrid twisted “Hollywood Tales From The Outer Fringe” is sure to please.

Published:
ISBN: 978-0979947735
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LENNY BRUCE: THE MAKING OF A PROPHET
Memoir

A memoir of the author's 10 year collaboration with the most controversial comic of the twentieth century from before Bruce's rise to fame until the night Bruce died of an overdose. The collaboration included co-authoring three screenplays, that never got into distribution, co-authoring the comedy material on Bruce's first three comedy albums, photographing Bruce's first and last album covers during his lifetime, being the Director of Cinematography on the first film ("The Leather Jacket"), booking Bruce into The Slate Brothers nightclub where he made his first headlines being "fired for blue material," booking him into Cosmo Alley where he first identified with a 'beatnik' audience, and acting as his principal photographer and publicist through the last 10 years of Bruce's life. This first person memoir is told in a philosophical prose style and filled with anecdotes of adventures with and without Bruce, some from Thomas' perspective of Bruce's career during an 18 month hiatus when they fought over mismanagement of film funding and Thomas worked as a PR executive in Jamaica, West Indies. Their last collaboration was an unfinished documentary film about Bruce's milestone First Amendment cases titled "The Law Is A Vending Machine."

Published:
ISBN: 978-1627680035
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PIANO LOVER: THE MOVIE (3RD BOOK OF TRILOGY)
Literary fiction

Pianist David Wales and his merry band of New Orleans French Quarter entertainers take their successful musical to Hollywood where a film adaptation proves as controversial and difficult at it was on Broadway. David is saddled with a screen writing team who attempt to destroy the musical by morphing it into past stereotypical film plots and contemporary sensational themes. The professional schism between David and Dimitri widens as Dimitri opens his new marionette show at Finnochios in San Francisco, and female impersonator Princess Pocahontas attempts to act as peacemaker while also trying to keep her older alcoholic husband from self destructing. David, Julienne, and Aurora continue their menage a trois in exotic locales such as Malibu, Matzatlan, and Jamaica, West Indies, while the New Orleans contingent cruise and schmooze with film celebrities of the day including Steve Allen, Noel Coward, Errol Flynn, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Anna Magnanni, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rosselini, Dorothy Lamour, Ed Nelson, Louella Parsons, Hedda Hopper, Richmond Barthe, and others. In the decade covered by the trilogy, some characters enter and exit the mortal realm, and some teeter on the brink.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1-62768-013-4
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PIANO LOVER: THE MUSICAL (2ND BOOK OF TRILOGY)
Literary fiction

In the mid 1950's, a New Orleans French Quarter young male cocktail pianist collaborates with a collection of fellow entertainers to create an original new musical, the premise of which is that God is a woman, she's unhappy with human behavior, and she's sent an angel, who looks and sounds like Louis Armstrong, to recruit the cocktail pianist to save the world with his songs. The script and score of this original new musical and its fifteen original new songs is incorporated into chapters two and four of the novel. Partly through the support of four women in his life, the musical opens successfully on Broadway, creates a religious backlash, and leads them to pioneer the Off Broadway movement. They experience professional and romantic adventures with Broadway celebrities of that era in Manhattan's theater district, the Hampton's, and Fire Island. with both people and places rendered with historical accuracy. The pianist's associates in the musical include a beautiful young female impersonator, a bi-racial gay choreographer, and a gay Russian puppeteer who originated the book for the musical. The pianists life is complicated by two young women; a wealthy Creole owner of a French Quarter art gallery, and a Mexican folk singer/guitarist with a horrific childhood history, both of whom love and eventually share him. His life is further complicated by two beautiful middle aged women whose past histories create a web of intrigue that involves them all.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1-62768-011-0
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THE CANDY BUTCHER
Biography

"The Candy Butcher" is an old fashioned term for the guy with a basket full of candy, fruits, magazines, and newspapers he sells walking through your train to make your journey more enjoyable. Frank Ray Perilli’s first job was as a Candy Butcher, and his show biz career began in his teens as a nightclub comedian in mob controlled Chicago nightclubs, and continued through Hollywood as a character actor and a screenwriter or film producer of twenty films and four plays.. Almost all of his offbeat Felliniesque films cross the threshold of bizarre and are richly flavored with comedy: "The Doberman Gang," "Little Cigars," "The Other Cinderella," "Adult Fairy Tales," "Dracula’s Dog," "The End of the World," "Laserblast," "Alligator," "Invasion of the Star Creatures," but to name a few. Even his more serious films, such as "Harlow," and his plays, such as "Stompin’ at he Oval Office," touch upon aspects of history uncharted by others. With a weird offbeat perspective, Frank Ray Perilli enriches our journey through life with the sweetness of comedy and the challenge of thinking outside the box.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1627680196
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THE GENTEEL POOR
Childhood memoir

The fourteen year old girl who appears on the cover of this book was Katherine, the person around whom all the other characters in this book revolve. Born at the turn of the 20th century, she faced the transition of being the daughter of a wealthy News Orleans doctor to being the single mother of three children at the height of the Great Depression. This memoir is told by the youngest child. Raised in a cultured environment, but driven by hunger to go to work at the age of eight, his world was shaped before he was born by Mimi, his witchcraft practicing maternal grandmother, and Dr. William J. Schmidt, his wealthy and talented grandfather. His survival was in part made possible by Dr. Horton, the cranky country doctor who played God and Robin Hood in this small coastal town; his Aunt Thelma who left the nunnery to become a successful executive in New York; his Grandmother Lola who lost the family fortune but gave refuge to her daughter and her children; and his millionaire Godfather, H. Grady Meador, whose wife prevented her husband from adopting his Godchild. This story of four generations of a colorful and talented family spanning the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II, deals with the social and ethnic evolution of this unique and colorful era of Americana, and culminates with the narrator marrying his high school teacher. Set in Bay St. Louis and News Orleans a half century before these areas were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, William Karl Thomas has written this memoir of his childhood with the same classic American prose style as his first memoir, Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet, about his ten year collaboration with the most controversial comic of the 20th century. With it he has offered another very intimate and revealing slice of American history with all the good and bad, the agony and ecstasy of growing up among The Genteel Poor.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1627680004
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THE PIANO LOVER (1ST BOOK OF TRILOGY)
Literary fiction

In New Orleans French Quarter during the 1950's, a young male cocktail pianist's life is complicated by four beautiful women: two young women from opposite poles of society who love him in diverse ways, and two middle aged women who seek to control him for their own secret reasons. Art dealer Julienne deVille is from wealthy Louisiana aristocracy, while folk guitarist Aurora Alonzo endured a horrific childhood in Mexico. Their love for pianist David Wales involves their professions and their passions. His boss, Valentina, Siciliana also has a dark past, as does her nemesis, Parisian expatriate Justine. Add to this a gay Russian puppeteer whose satirical puppet show seeds a Broadway musical, a bi-racial gay choreographer who aspires to Broadway, a beautiful petite female impersonator of Choctaw Indian descent, an aging British alcoholic pianist who falls in love with the impersonator, a menage-a-troi who live across from a bordello, and a whole coterie of hedonistic fun lovers who populate New Orleans famous and colorful restaurants and nightclubs. When the choreographer recruits David to score the puppeteers play and promote a Broadway production whose concept is that God is a woman, it sets in motion a series of events that unravel the lives of all.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1-62768-005-9
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ONLINE:

Brandeis Lenny Bruce Archive Dedication