Stories of Sturgeon

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This page contains several stories of Ted Sturgeon (as opposed to a story by Sturgeon). I invite anybody who knew Ted to email me if you'd like to contribute anything to this page - stories or pictures or whatever. In fact, even if you didn't know Ted but you have something that would be appropriate you're welcome to email me. Thanks! (My email address is: weeks(at)

Interview with Ted Alvy

W. Sturgeon relates the story of her and Ted watching the first moon landing.

(Contributed by Michael Reaves)

In LA, in the late 70s, Ted was a good friend of mine -- I found him the apartment he lived in when he left W. and moved from Echo Park, before he relocated to Eugene with J. It was in Silverlake, in a small court of apartments on Vendome Street where I was living at the time. (It became something of a writers' colony -- among those who lived there at one time or another were Gustav Hasford, Scott Bradfield, and several other Clarion graduates.)

The apartment was a basement studio (formerly the laundry room for the building). It had a recessed Hobbit-sized door painted lurid orange; one had to go down about three steps and duck to enter. My apartment was a one bedroom directly across the court. One day I was doing fix-up work in my place, which included tearing away some rather hideous artificial brick wallpaper in the kitchen. I knew Ted was in his Hobbit-hole, so I took a large swatch of the wallpaper and taped it over his doorway, so that when he opened the door it would appear that he had been bricked in. Then I sat on my porch and waited.

After about an hour Ted had reason to leave. I heard him open his door, and there was a moment of stunned silence. Then he shouted, loud enough for the entire place to hear, "For the love of God, Montressor!"

The man was quick. You had to give him that.

(Contributed by Mike Roberts)

Ted had such an overwhelming love for kids and the things that kids do that he'd often find himself doing things that few parents would ever consider. One of the episodes that stands out in my mind involved Ted's love of insane winter driving. Once he dropped off Tandy, Noel, my sister Tara and I at a high school dance and after getting out of the car we shouted "Do a doughnut!" Ted happily abliged us with several 360's in the parking lot without so much as a second thought to the shock and horror this caused the dance chaperones.

(Contributed by Teddi Pomaika'i Stransky)

In the late 70's and early 80's, when Ted was travelling, he would often stop over with us for a few days of relaxation and gafiation. He preferred my library to any other room in the house, and I would rise at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning, to find him crouched in my old desk chair, absorbed in whatever book had caught his eye. (He never sat in that chair; somehow he would manage to be in the chair, but sitting on his heels, fanny braced against the chair back.)

One afternoon, over a month after Ted and Jayne had passed through the midwest and stopped with us, I picked up one of his books from my shelf and flipped it open, to find it autographed. I looked at the others in my collection, and sure enough, he had signed each one ... "Ted Loves Teddi" on every title page.

The enormous love, generosity and goodness of Ted Sturgeon had a lot of impact on my life. A lot of the things he had to tell me I was not ready to understand ... and still sometimes, when comprehension glimmers, I wish I could call him up and tell him "I think I get it now." I still miss him very much.

(Contributed by Rich Buhler)

Ted was the greatest punster I've ever met. He was a brilliant person and a wordsmith and came up with very elaborate puns.

In the late 1960's I was a writer and editor at KFWB in Los Angeles and every now and again an anonymous person would call the newsroom and tell the person who answered a horrific pun, usually inspired by something that had been on the air within the previous few minutes. The caller came to be known to us as "the mad punster" and we always looked forward to his latest. They were choice, spontaneous puns. I remember one of the nights I was the one who answered the phone. It had been brush fire season in Southern California and the authorities had announced that helicopters were going to start combing the burned hillsides and dropping seeds so they could be refoliated. When I picked up the phone a soft voice on the other end of the line said, "You know those helicopters that are are being used to plant new trees and shrubs in the burn areas?" I said, "Yeah." The voice said, "Could that be referred to as a re-seeding airline?" I laughed and passed the word to the rest of the staff and everybody enjoyed it. The punster was, of course, Ted Sturgeon but none of us knew it at the time.

A few years later after Ted and I had met and become friends we were talking one evening when he used the "re-seeding airline" pun and I looked at him accusingly and said, "So YOU'RE the one. You're the Mad Punster." I explained what I meant and he chuckled and 'fessed up.

Ted loved puns and was brilliant with them. He once made a birthday cake for me and to express my appreciation I decided to give him a visual pun. It was a round Morton salt container wearing a toy holster and gun. On the top I wrote, "Thanks for the cake. Sincerely, Rich."

He smiled at it and put it on the shelf in his office. Several weeks went by and one night he called me in mock anger and said the darned thing was interfering with his work. At the time he was mostly doing book reviews for the New York Times. He said he would sit at his desk to write then would look at the salt container and get distracted trying to figure out what the pun was.

It was finally his wife who figured it out, much to his disappointment. The solution: It was "a salt with a deadly weapon."

(contributed by Bill Seabrook)

On the month Sturgeon died, 'Fantasy Review' (vol 8 no 5) contained a number of reminiscences from his friends:

(contributed by a reader)

A story about Sturgeon, which comes directly from the mouth of Ray Bradbury:

"Mister Bradbury, did you know Sturgeon at all?"

"I only met him once, in New York, in the forties. We spent a day together. I remember he had the floor of his appartment covered in mattresses, so when he would take a girl up there, she'd trip, and it'd be all over for her."

Bradbury actually makes a reference to this, not by Sturgeon's name however, in a short story called "Dorian in Excelsus".

Current address:
Eric R. Weeks
Department of Physics
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322-2430