On December 6, 1991, KCRW broadcast an original radio production of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor. To honor Pekar's memory, KCRW will reprise the radio production on Friday, July 16 from 7:30-8 pm. (This broadcast, which pre-empts the regularly scheduled Says You, will appear on air and KCRW.com Live stream only. It will not be available on demand or via podcast.)
Pekar, who died this week at the age of 70, was a cult phenomenon and considered Cleveland's favorite dark, dysfunctional and curmudgeonly son. American Splendor was one of his most popular auto-biographical comics, and the one that brought him to the attention of Hollywood.
In 1990, American Splendor was adapted for stage and featured Dan Castellaneta — the voice-over actor now best known as the voice of Homer Simpson — as Harvey Pekar. The Instant Theatre Production opened in Hollywood in 1990 and ran for a full year. The stage production was then adapted the for radio station KCRW, with Castellaneta again embodying Pekar. In 2003, American Splendor was made into a film starring Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis, which was later nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
Banner image of Harvey Pekar, courtesy of New Line Cinema
Michael G. Rhode