Alverson, Charles (1935-2020)
NOTE: All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Several days' advance notice is required for retrieval.

The Charles Alverson collection consists of manuscripts, printed material, correspondence, financial material, legal material, diaries and journals, photographs, audio, film reels, personal memorabilia, electronic media, and miscellany. The material presents a comprehensive catalog of Alverson’s work at every stage of his career.

The manuscripts of novels by Alverson include his juvenile novel Bears Don’t Cry (Norton, 1969); and the novels Fighting Back (Bobbs-Merrill, 1974); Goodey’s Last Stand (Houghton, 1975); Not Sleeping, Just Dead (Houghton, 1977); and The Princess and the Mirror (Andersen, 1987); as well as the novelization of his screenplay for Time Bandits (Sparrow, 1981; written with Michael Palin) and The World’s Best Business Jokes (London: Angus and Robertson, 1989). The collection also includes several unpublished novels by Alverson, including Someone is Going to Pay (ca. 1958), The Bilderberg Bust; Cold Revenge; Dear Diary; The Headless Lady; Indian Giver (a “Goody” novel); Johnny Bone; Lost in Austin, written with Russ Eglin (ca. 1977-1978); The Mission (ca. 1975); Mount Rushmore; Packing (ca. 1977); Across the Line; Emily; Goodey III; How Do You Look in Black? written with Dr. Brian Richards (ca. 1987); Life Off the Pyramid, written with G. Ray Funkhauser (ca. 1986); Plastic (ca. 1983); Plonker Handbook (ca. 1989); Temptations of a Temp (ca. 1980); That Hooligan Summer (ca. 1987); The Dream Book; Justice: The Miner’s Strike, 1984-1985; and Looking Out for Number Two.

Manuscripts of screenplays by Alverson include Jabberwocky (1976-1977, with some financial records related to the production); Time Bandits (1981); and the original version of Brazil (1979), written with Terry Gilliam. The Brazil screenplay is especially notable. Gilliam and Alverson wrote it in nine weeks, but were unhappy with the result; when Gilliam revived the project after the success of Time Bandits, Alverson was unhappily bought out of the project, and their script was extensively rewritten (by Tom Stoppard, among others). Also in the collection is a mimeograph copy with corrections of the screenplay for Life of Brian, written by the Monty Python’s Flying Circus comedy troupe (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin) dated 1978, including some cast lists and schedules; Alverson wrote an article on the filming in Tunisia.

Other manuscripts include numerous stories and books for children, short stories, articles, screenplays, song lyrics, sketches, and other writings. Notable items include an interview with Graham Chapman; comedy sketches for comedic actor Marty Feldman (1933-1982); Alverson’s articles for various newspapers and magazines; and a script for an episode of the television comedy Get Smart. Also included are manuscripts, notes, and clippings regarding an unpublished non-fiction book about the Synanon drug rehabilitation center.

The printed material includes Alverson’s articles for the English edition of Rolling Stone, his articles for The Wall Street Journal, his articles for other publications, reviews of Alverson’s books (with numerous items regarding Jabberwocky), and other items.

Correspondence in the collection dates from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. The letters are both personal and professional; the bulk are professional letters regarding the selling, editing and publication of Alverson’s works. Notable correspondents include Michael Palin, Elijah Muhammad, Bernard Levin, Terry Jones, Sir Robin Day, and Victor Navasky.

The other material in the collection consists of: Alverson’s tax, expense, and banking records; diaries and journals, 1959-1987, 1989-1993; photographs of friends and family; 2 film reels of his children; miscellaneous audio cassettes and computer disks; and various awards and personal items. Notable items include: audio cassette of an interview with Janis Joplin in 1968; 8 audio cassettes of Alverson’s travels in West India, 1969; material regarding Alverson’s attempt to stop demolition and development of the “Kite” section of Cambridge, England, 1977-1978.
Notable Figures
1. Alverson, Charles E.
Associated Subjects
1. Mystery and Suspense Fiction Subject Guide
2. Literary Collections Subject Guide
3. Humor, Comedy, and Satire Subject Guide
4. Drug abuse – Treatment – United States
5. Life of Brian (Motion picture)
6. Authors, American
7. Motion picture authorship – United States
8. Audio cassettes
9. Rehabilitation centers – United States
10. Jabberwocky (Motion picture)
11. West Indies – Description and travel
12. Synanon (Foundation)
13. Scripts
14. Comedy sketches.
15. Screenwriters
16. Holographs
17. Proofs (Printing)
18. American literature--20th century
19. Brazil (Motion picture).
20. Photographs
21. Diaries