Scott Stuckey

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Scott Stuckey (born March 23, 1964) is a filmmaker and record producer from Washington D.C.. Stuckey is best known as the creator of the cult TV show Pancake Mountain as well as his work with singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt.

Career[edit]

Stuckey was born in Eastman, GA in 1964. His mother was an English teacher and father a Congressman from Georgia’s 8th district.[1] His grandfather started Stuckey’s, a chain of restaurant’s on the highway.[2] The family moved to DC in 1966. Stuckey had trouble in school due to a learning disability which made him feel like an outcast. In high school he was placed in a small creative school where he met like-minded people and discovered DC’s fledging Punk Scene.[3] He recalled how important this was in a Time Magazine profile “The DC scene and Dischord (records) showed me that music could be created outside of traditional systems. There were no record companies or lawyers, just a bunch of teenage kids pressing vinyl in a basement, it was beautiful”. For the next few years he taught himself filmmaking.[4]

In 1984 he moved to NY City where he became friends with musician Ned Ebn and photographer Chris Makos. Both would heavily influence his passion for combining sound and motion images.[5]

In 1989 he began recording bands at his home studio in Athens, Ga. where he worked on projects with R.E.M. and Vic Chesnutt. Chesnutt recorded four albums there including 1991’s West of Rome. Stuckey and Chesnutt became close friends and worked on dozens of film and music projects that continued up until Chesnutt’s suicide in 2009. At the time of Chesnutt’s death he and Stuckey were working on a film and a rap album. Neither have been released.[6][7]

While working on an R.E.M video with director Jem Cohen in the early 1990s Stuckey began to move back to filmmaking. He would go on to direct music videos and documentaries for Thievery Corporation,[8] Widespread Panic, Vic Chesnutt, Bob Mould, Minor Threat,[9] Garbage, and others.[10] [11] [12] [13]

Through Pancake Mountain he has directed and worked with artist such as Katy Perry, The White Stripes, M.I.A., and Eddie Vedder.[14] As a songwriter Stuckey has written original songs for the show. Many of the contacts he made as a producer/engineer became early guests on Pancake Mountain.

Work with Pancake Mountain[edit]

Pancake Mountain was created by Stuckey as an homage to local TV as well as his fondness for DIY community-based art movements like DC's Dischord Records Scene and The Factory.[15]

In 2003 Stuckey created Pancake Mountain, a music based children’s show that paid homage to local 1960s and 1970s programing. He also credits the DIY community-based art movements like DC's Dischord Records Scene and Warhol’s Factory [4] as inspirations. Stuckey met Warhol through mutual friend Christopher Makos, and became fascinated by Warhol’s experimental films “I’d always wanted to make a kids show the way Warhol or Fellini might have approached it, more like an art project then typical programming”.

His friendship and work with Dischord founder, Ian Mackaye led to Ian's group, The Evens, writing a song for the first episode of Pancake Mountain.[16] The song, "Vowel Movements", was controversial in the punk scene, as Mackaye had never embraced music videos or lip-syncing. Despite initial trepidation from the punk community the song was well received and helped launch the show to a greater audience.[17][18]

The show has been credited as influencing a whole new genre of kid-based television, most notably the show Yo Gabba Gabba!, which began airing three years after "Pancake Mountain".[19]

In 2009 he found an unlikely fan in producer/director J. J. Abrams who wanted to produce the show. Abrams and Stuckey spent two years pitching the show, but every network either passed or wanted to make changes that Stuckey and Abrams were not willing to make.

In February 2012, Stuckey and Abrams decided to stop pitching the show. The last skit was with Garbage’s Shirley Manson and talking dogs.[20]

On February 28, 2012, the Pancake Mountain website put up an announcement that the show was ending until a network would give them full creative control.[21]

Production halted until April 2014, when The New York Times reported that PBS was going to bring Pancake Mountain back as part of their PBS Digital Studios with Stuckey having full creative control.[22]

The first episode premiered on June 9, 2014. and is expected to end in September 2016.

Critical response[edit]

He was named a pioneer of children’s television by Time magazine and the show was listed as one of the 10 best of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times.[23]

CNN's Chuck Roberts credited Stuckey with creating a new genre for television.[24]

Inspiration[edit]

The Rufus Leaking character (puppet) is loosely based on Ignatius Riley, the protagonist from A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

Stuckey took the name Rufus Leaking from Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools, who used the name as his alias when checking into hotels.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "8th District of Georgia". Library of Congress. 
  2. ^ "How Stuckey's took over the interstate". Legends of America. 
  3. ^ "Youth Brigade The creators of Pancake Mountain hope to bring their old-school-punk aesthetic to the kid-vid set". Washington City Paper. 
  4. ^ "Scott Stuckey created a show that's fun and smart--and even a bit ironic". Time Magazine. Retrieved December 19, 2003. 
  5. ^ "Talking with Scott Stuckey, the man behind Pancake Mountain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Vic Chesnutt: When the Bottom Fell Out". Spin Magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ "What Doesn't Kill Me... The Life and Music of Vic Chesnutt Premieres at Ciné". Flagpole. 
  8. ^ "On TV's 'Pancake Mountain,' Hot Bands Playing With Hip Tots". Washington Post. Retrieved March 14, 2005. 
  9. ^ http://www.splendidezine.com/features/evens/
  10. ^ "Pancake Mountain". StereoGum. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Credits Scott Stuckey". All Music. 
  12. ^ "Tubes: Knockin' 'Round Pancake Mountain". Glide Magazine. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Nightlife Agenda". Washington Post. 
  14. ^ "'Pancake Mountain,' Kid-Friendly and Music-Centric Series, Returns with New Season of (Weird) Programming". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Dischord distributing "Pancake Mountain"". Punk News. 
  17. ^ "Scott Stuckey in Attendance". Aurora Picture Show. 
  18. ^ "It's All Happening on Pancake Mountain!". LAist. Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. 
  19. ^ "Pancake Mountain: With a mix of puppets and rock bands, Scott Stuckey created a show that's fun and smart--and even a bit ironic". Time Magazine. 
  20. ^ "ACHTUNG KULTUR! Shirley Manson Teaches Tots about the Musik of Germany". Dangerous Minds. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  21. ^ "D.C. show 'Pancake Mountain' launches Monday on PBS". WTOP News. 
  22. ^ "PBS Seeks Web Sponsors, but Big Bird Still Won't Sing Jingles". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  23. ^ "TV Picks: 'Pancake Mountain". Los Angeles Times. 
  24. ^ "SUNDAY MORNING TRANSCRIPTS March 14, 2004". CNN. 

External links[edit]