Storyboard Art by Dean Adams Curtis

The trio of storyboards below are from the proposed TV series Rare Orchids created by Dean Adams Curtis, which shares the story, beginning in 1945, of a Vietnamese woman named Lan, who is a propaganda brigade commander of the Vietminh, the Vietnamese freedom fighters led by Ho Chi Minh. The series sizzles as her relationship builds with a U.S. agent of the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, who has parachuted into the northern region of Vietnam to work with the Vietminh in fights with the Japanese who occupied the country during World War Two.

DREAM SEQUENCE - Pastel Party by Dean Adams Curtis

The year was 1991. On the day I turned 35 that year, I announced my candidacy to be the Democratic Party's nominee for president. I ran on a platform I had developed to conserve the liberal agenda that I and many of my family believed in. A main plank of my platform was promotion of what I termed employee democracy within corporations, that being both employee ownership, and democratic employee participation in the choice of one-third of each corporation's board members.

For more, check out the book Running for President on $10 a Day at Amazon.

It is typical of my creative processes to begin them by literally drawing out motion picture or television scenes using pencils to sketch storyboards. I think as a visual artist, fond of pencil, pen, pastels (chalk), and Photoshop. I follow the drawing with freewriting.

Thereafter, I hone, edit, recreate
but it often seems my most creative moments are the first, as I hold pencil in hand and imagine a scene. Here are a few examples of my storyboards. I typically draw motion picture and television series scenes,
using pencils and with plenty of erasing, as a part of my process
of pondering the characters, and the places/situations that
I am depicting them in.

In a scene from the motion picture "Pastel Party", actress Anneka Lucas examines pastel chalk paintings by Dean Adams Curtis, works that offer his honest self-examination of one male's fantasies, his own, and which led directly to his interest in prehistoric goddess worshipping civilizations. You can find out more about this aspect of Dean's interests at a website about the subject he owns and edits.

"Escape From Pleasant Ridge" - Graphic Novel by Dean Adams Curtis

In the late summer of 1972, my buddy Jeff and I hopped freight trains across Canada.

We had been hitch-hiking across British Columbia, Canada, heading back home to Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, for me, and to next door Oak Park for Jeff. Our homeward leg of the journey was after a summer trip through California, Oregon, and Washington, that had begun with us nominally attending an antiwar protest planning conference of the Student Mobilization Committee on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles.

A ride had gotten us off Vancouver Island, through the City of Vancouver, and across highway 1, in French, the Route Transcanadienne, to near the town of Kamloops. There the driver dropped us off. There, over a hundred hitchhikers lined the entrance ramps to, and the edges of, the transcanadian route.

The year before, a documentary on PBS had highlighted hitchhiking across Canada. As a result it seemed that every student on summer break from schools in the eastern U.S. headed westward, planning to head home for the start of the school year by hitching across Canada at exactly the same time as we were doing so. This might not have been a problem, but for the fact that no hitchhikers were getting picked up.

After many hours, Jeff and I withdrew. We crossed over a road and managed to get a ride south, figuring we'd check out the road east that was nearest to the U.S. border through the Canadian Rockies. Maybe there would be fewer hitchhikers. This plan went well for us, until day turned to twilight in the town of Creston, and no cars stopped to pick us up.

We were just about to call it a day, to leave the roadside and find a place to lay out our sleeping bags, when two guys in a car skidded to a stop for us. That should've been a clue, but we were so happy someone had stopped for us, our hazard warning systems were temporaily disabled. It didn't take long, however, before we found out that they were both drunk on moonshine. Astonishingly, they told us that they were off-duty Canadian Customs officers.

The driver drove the mountain roads like a maniac. Jeff begged him to slow down, to let us out, ignoring calls for him to "Shut up!" That was when the drunk passenger in the front seat pulled out a loaded spear fishing gun. As for me, I alternated between asking the passenger to put away the speargun and for the driver to just stop and let us out. The car of the drunk Canadian border patrol agents skidded to a stop on a curve in Yahk. We made it out alive and felt exhausted from the experiences of the day. We found s a large pine with drooping boughs. We unrolled our down sleeping bags and slept under it, feeling protected by it.

The next morning we awoke to the sound of a train, whose locomotives stopped very near us.

What happened next is revealed in a short story I wrote later that year for a high school writing assignment. It was called "Running Jump." It was included in the school's writing anthology that year. While the train remained stopped beside us, we stealthfully climbed aboard the third of three locomotives pulling the train. There are always at least three engines on cross-country trains, as they are necessary to haul the long lines of cars up grades that slowly span mountain ranges. A good thing about there always being three locomotives, is that the crew was operating the train from up in the first. We hid inside a tool stowage compartment until the train got underway. After we climbed out of the compartment and sat in the two cushioned seats, one on each side of the locomotive's cab, we were treated to a glorious ride through the Canadian Rockies.

A couple days later, we'd hopped other locomotives and a boxcar, and had crossed the majority of the great Canadian plain provences. We spent a big chunk of our remaining money on an Italian dinner near the Winnepeg train yard, then, within the yard, were able to pick what looked like ideal luxury accomodations in an open-topped trailer for a truck being piggy-backed on one of the train's flatcars.

The trailer was filled with prefabricated home portions. They had collectively seemed as though they we would provide us with great shelter, protecting us from the wind. Onto beautiful wood beams, all pushed against one another for their transport east, we laid out our down sleeping bags. The train gained speed out of Winnepeg. The repetive rafter and wall modules that we had climbed in with, when the train obtained and maintained full speed, became wind tunnels. Even fully clothed within our bags, we were freezing. After shaking all night in our bags, with dawn we climbed on top of the prefab home sections, and fell asleep. The train arrived in Thunder Bay. We slept through our passing colorfully in my bright blue and Jeff's bright orange sleeping bags under the tower of the Canadian Pacific Railway police.

We woke up and each of us noted the lack of a train at our either end of the truck trailer, or train tracks. We had slept through our trailer being unloaded from the train's flat car.

A call came up to us from the truck's driver. "You'd better hurry up, the Canadian Pacific police are on their way." We quickly stuffed our sleeping bags into their sacks and rapidly strapped them back on our backpacks. We were arrested upon climbing down the ladder at the back of the trailer. Luckily, we were arraigned later that day. We told the judge the truth as I just told you. And that we were high school students without any money who were just trying to get back home to Detroit for school. He let us go, admonishing us to hitchhike out of town. No more train hopping. He recommended a school gym nearby that had been turned into sleeping quarters for all the stranded U.S. and Canadian hitchhikers.

That night our story got around the stranded community of hitchhikers in the gym. Avid questioners came by to get details. A story was going around that one of the stranded hitchhikers had met a Thunder Bay woman and had gotten married, such was the length of the wait!

The next morning we led a dozen stranded hitchhikers who had heard our story and had asked us to help them get out of town, to a place near the tracks, just outside the Thunder Bay trainyard. There, we shared with them final words about how to climb aboard a slow-moving train. Then, when a train rolled out of the yard to Toronto, I waved to the engineer. He waved us aboard. I ran toward the third locomotive. The others followed. I grabbed the ladder leading up at the back of the locomotive. After a couple more running steps, I jumped and my feet landed securely on the ladder's lowest rung. I quickly climbed to the back deck of the locomotive, Jeff coming up after me, both of us now well practiced at this. We then helped encourage the others. Those that didn't make the third power unit, ended up climbing aboard a flatcar behind it, that had a closed truck upon it.

Only one of the group fell behind, running fast, but not fast enough as the train gained speed. Even he made it, we found out later. He had climbed aboard a flatcar back in the middle of the train and had been sheltering there all during a rain shower that duluged us in the north woods above Lake Huron. Somewhere near French River he came running up to the third locomotive during a stop, saying that a member of the train's crew had found him and asked, "What are you doing back here when all your friends are up front in the locomotive." The rest of the ride to Toronto was a time of feasting and festivity, as all who had come aboard celebrated their immenent return to eastern homes and schools by consuming all remaining freeze dried hiking foods and hashish.

In the scene depicted in the art frame that leads this short trip down memory rail, Jeff and I hop off a train moving through the Toronto, Canada yard, before heading back to high school near 8 Mile, Detroit's border.

See Dean's book "Escape From Pleasant Ridge"