200 Words with Paul Dini #36 – More Trouble with Crumb

October 24, 2008

Well, not with the man himself, but the ordeal I had trying to hire his band for a dance. It went like this:

Once, in the dim reaches of my teen years, while perusing a San Francisco record store for Wagnerian Opera and old Hawaiian music, I found a R. Crumb-rendered handbill announcing that his band, the Cheap Suit Serenaders was available for hire. Taking the notice back to my boarding school, I began pressing the social committee to book the Serenaders for our next dance. What would impress the young ladies at the local Catholic Girl’s School more than entering our gym to see those suave, vintage-suited tunesmiths plunking away on their ukes and mandolins? The committee was up for it until one of the teachers, so taken with the handbill I had shown him, decided to seek out more of Mr. Crumb’s cartoon work. I think it was the panel of the axe-wielding nun about to emasculate Crumb that ultimately tipped the scales. The Serenaders were not called, I was scolded for trying to hire “degenerates,” and when the dance was finally held, the committee just played some ABBA records. The Catholic School Girls really dug them.


Paul Dini is the Emmy and Eisner Award winning writer of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Detective Comics, Countdown among many, many other things. You can find him online at either kingofbreakfast.livejournal.com or http://www.jinglebelle.com/.



  1. It’s quite possible that if this would have come to pass, the Cheap Suit Serenaders would have broke big, and Mama Mia would be based them instead of ABBA.

  2. Of course, it would still be called "Mamma Mia".  Nobody would know why…

  3. Paul, that is a great story. Events like that are a level better than instant street cred.