RIP, Norton Juster

Norton Juster, ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ Author, Dies at 91

I owe the world to Mr. Juster.

The Phantom Tollbooth is what made me fall in love with wordplay when I was a kid. I still reread it just for the sheer joy of it.

Flags at half mast today.

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8 Responses to RIP, Norton Juster

  1. Jimmy T says:

    Love wordplay as well, though I get a little cross at solving word puzzles. I must have missed out on Mr. Juster’s literary works as a youngster. I was mostly busy with Sciencey nerdy stuff. I’ll have to check him out (if the library has him)…

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  2. beckymaenot says:

    My favorite was The Dot and The Line. RIP sir. Thank you.

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  3. E.A. Blair says:

    I didn’t read the book until after I’d seen the movie, which meant I was a little aged out of its target audience (I was reading at college levels when I was still in grade school, so my reading choices were usually above my age level; hence I missed out on a lot of stuff most of my peers grew up on). The film was directed by the incomparable Chuck Jones, with the admirable talents of Abe Levitow and Dave Monahan as the principal animators. It’s also notable for being one of the few Jones productions that included live action and for the rare opportunity to see Butch Patrict not playing Eddie Munster. Chuck Jones, of course, is the man behind the original animated Grinch (the one narrated by Boris Karloff) and the creator of the Coyote and the Roadrunner. He also gave us the trio of “Duck Season! – Rabbit Season!” cartoons.

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    • Astamari says:

      Didn’t he create most of the original Warner Brothers cartoon characters?

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      • E.A. Blair says:

        Jones was, indeed, a prolific character creator; his principal creations were, in roughly chronological order, Sniffles the Mouse, Inki & the Minah¹ Bird, Charlie Dog, Hubie & Bertie, The Three Bears, Claude Cat, Marc Antony & Pussyfoot, Charlie Dog, Michigan J. Frog, Gossamer, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote & the Road Runner, Ralph Wolf & Sam the Sheepdog. These were all characters that appeared in more than one cartoon. In addition, there were a number of one-shot characters. He did not create Bugs Bunny (Bugs is a synthesis of rabbit characters created by a number of animators, priincipally Tex Avery and Ben Hardaway. Hardaway, whose nickname was “Bugs”, is said to have become the rabbit’s namesake when an artist delivered a sketch of the character which he labelled “Bugs’ Bunny”) but Jones did, however, condribute significantly to the development of Bugs, Daffy Duck (creating the intense rivalry between the two) and Elmer Fudd. Robert McKimson created Foghorn Leghorn & his unnamed dog nemesis and Henery Chickenhawk. Isidore (Friz) Freling created Granny & Tweety, Yosemite Sam and Porky Pig. Jones used an early version of the cat that became Sylvester, but Freling is credited as that character’s creator. Interestingly, most of Jones’ creations were unique to him; only Marvin the Martian, Wile E. and the Roadrunner were used by other directors.

        ¹Not a typo – this is the spelling Jones used.

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  4. Richard Portman says:

    It has been a while. I still remember Sergeant Short Shrift. Also the Which, Faintly Macabre. Also the journey through the Doldrums with Toc the watchdog on our way to Dictionopolis to see king Azaz. I can’t remember the whole story, “but”. Also Dr Chroma. Also the Isle of Conclusions. Also the Humbug. Don’t forget the Senses Taker!
    Anyway, our quest was to rescue Rhyme and Reason! And we did it.

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  5. Nora Lindberg says:

    I love this book. Read it as a kid and enjoyed it, but didn’t really get into it until I read it years later. Suddenly, it made so much more sense. Re-read it every couple of years or so. Got really excited when Mr. Juster came to the local Barnes and Noble, and I stood in a line of kids (I think I was in my 30’s at the time) just to get an autographed copy. He was just as lovely to me as he was to all the 10 year old’s. Rest in peace, Mr. Juster. May you live on forever in your books.

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