AuthorHouse are proud to announce the launch of Moose Chapters From My Life, the autobiography of Robert B. Sherman. Bob Sherman, with his brother Richard, wrote more film musicals than any other songwriter or team of songwriters in history. They won two Oscars and were subsequently nominated nine more times. They also won 2 Grammys and a host of other awards, including becoming in 2008, only the second theatre or film musical songwriters to be honored with the National Medal of Arts. This is the highest award conferred by the US Govt. on artists or patrons of the arts. The Sherman Brothers are the only songwriters (as opposed to composers) ever brought on to work for Walt Disney. They worked for Walt during the last six years of his life and created an iconic library of songs under his aegis including the songs for Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, It’s A Small World After All, The Parent Trap, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and many many others. Other (non-Disney) musical movies and theatre titles include: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Charlotte’s Web, Tom Sawyer and The Slipper and the Rose. So read on to find out more about the life of a true legend of Hollywood and musical films.
Bob Sherman’s son, Robert J. Sherman, who edited the book talks to AuthorHouse
Authorhouse asked Robert why his father wrote this book?
Writing always held an important place in my father’s life. He had written short stories since his mid-teens, one or two of them have made it into this compendium. These are life-stories however, so in reading them, one really gets a sense of who my father really was. My father was a famous songwriter but writing had always held an important place in his life – writing short stories in particular. This autobiography is indeed just that, a collection of short stories, About his love of Walt Disney the man, and the making of Mary Poppins, yes, but it’s also about his experiences during the War (WWII). And then, it’s also about his sojourns through Mexico. Just like Jack Keroac, in the early 1950s, my father explored the country by foot and found himself in the bargain. Moose is a story about heroism, told by a real life hero, my father.
Where did the title come from?
Moose was the nickname given to my father while he was attending Bard College in the late 1940s but also serves as a metaphor for many seemingly disparate parts coming together as a whole. To paraphrase the introduction: The pieces of a moose do not make sense separately. It’s large awkward antlers, its narrow bony legs, goofy eyes or bulbous snout might prove interesting but viewed separately, these pieces fail to give you a sense of what the animal is really all about. It’s only when you can put the pieces together that you really understand the majesty of the animal. Moose allows the reader to finally get that full picture of who Robert Sherman was as well as the magnificence of all he achieved. The different sections cover various parts of the author’s life including his experiences during WWII and his days of triumph working for and with the great Walt Disney.
AuthorHouse asked what are the key messages you want the reader to take away?
You already know his words and music by heart, now read the heroic and fascinating autobiography of Robert Sherman, the man Walt Disney called, “The Poet”, including for the first time read the true account of the making of Walt Disney’s musical masterpiece, Mary Poppins. Not only did he write the soundtrack to all our childhoods; he was also one of the first liberators of Dachau Concentration Camp during the final months of World War II. He was a warrior, a poet, a petitioner for peace and when he wrote, It’s A Small World (After All), it was the first time in history that a secular world anthem had been written.
AuthorHouse asked if there is anything controversial?
With the premiere of Disney’s new movie, Saving Mr. Banks (starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell) coinciding with the release of this book, this book should prove particularly interesting to audiences. Moose sets the record straight about the making of Mary Poppins, Pamela Travers, Walt Disney and the Sherman Brothers. For this reason it’s a bit controversial. However Moose receives an acknowledgment in the credits as being source material used by the writers in the making of this movie.
AuthorHouse asked about the characters in the book
Well, I think that there are some wonderful characters whom you meet, through my father’s eyes. He introduces us to his entire family, and all sorts of other motley characters along the way. His admiration for his father and for Walt Disney is tremendous and all the more admirable once you’ve read a few chapters and know the veracity of the man behind the pen. Your really get the sense that you’re reading something honestly told. We also get a glimpse of the real Roald Dahl in this book too. So much in Hollywood is fake – you know, “put on”. This book is refreshingly and uncompromisingly honest. I know that there are a few people at least who are afraid to read it! That’s probably its best endorsement yet!
What was the most challenging part about editing the book?
It was very difficult to spend several months (after my father died) finishing the photo pages. Suddenly all the joy was out of it. Still there was a sense of real satisfaction when I would finish the layout for each of the photo pages. There are an aggregate 86 photo pages in the My Time sections. It was a complete coincidence that that turned out to be the same number of years of my father’s life. So there was something very profound when I would finish a page. I would have a moment of clarity about whatever issue was being dealt with on the photo pages. I do hope people will look at these sections closely. There’s a lot revealed in them as well.
AuthorHouse Moose Chapters From My Life-the memoirs of a true Hollywood icon
AuthorHouse thanks the son and editor, Robert J. Sherman for his time and we would like to conclude with an extract from the remarkable opening passage, which is taken from a letter (written in the author’s own handwriting) that was put in a sealed envelope only to be opened (by his parents) in the event of his death while fighting overseas in WWII.
“If God placed my mission in this world as writing – I would have written for the benefit of my fellow man, and for his pleasure and observance of himself and his actions (his injustices.) I would have spent my life devoted to showing man to himself in all his truth.”
Robert B. Sherman
More about Robert J. Sherman, son and editor:
Robert is a songwriter himself and is part of the Sherman musical dynasty; a notable work being Bumblescratch: The Musical. As a songwriter, Robert is following in his father’s and family’s footsteps. Notwithstanding the achievements of his father, his grandfather, Al Sherman was also a successful songwriter on Tin Pan Alley, writing for singers including Bing Crosby, Maurice Chevalier, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra and Al’s father (Robert’s great-Grandfather), “Samuel” was the court composer and conductor for Emperor Franz Josef of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So the songwriter history really does go all the way back!
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