Nice guy finishes first

Way back in the mists of time, when I pulled an oar in a galley that was part of the Forbes Newspapers flotilla, I interviewed a Metuchen resident named Robert Kaplow who had written a young adult novel. One of the nicest, smartest guys you could ever hope to meet, and midway through the talk he let it drop that he was with The Punsters, a Jersey-spawned band with a line in humorous pop and its own self-produced album, Boardwalk Santa, a copy of which resided in a milk crate in my apartment. They’d even been on Uncle Floyd’s show! (I believe that’s Kaplow slinging the accordion in the clip above.) They actually became semi-regulars on the Floyd show, as the clip below will prove:

Our paths diverged after that: Kaplow went on teaching, I kept on newspapering, and we both kept on writing, though Kaplow’s got a lot more books on the shelf to show for his efforts. And now, a couple of decades later, Kaplow has been tapped by Hollywood: a film version of Kaplow’s novel Me and Orson Welles is going to hit the cineplexes after too long a delay, and I hope to see it sometime soon. Anybody who can work references to Eric Rohmer movies into a novel for teenagers is clearly destined for even bigger things.

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