George Adam Herman, Junior And the Great Depression were born at approximately the same time. The Great Depression was born on Wall Street, and George was born in a small house in Norfolk, Virginia. No one ever convincingly demonstrated a cause and effect.
He was also born the same year Walt Disney gave birth to a mouse named Mickey. The mouse went on to a successful career in film, literature and history.
George went on.
The date was April 12, 1928. His birth was originally intended for April Fools' Day, but fate was distracted when ATT shares dropped 100 points in two minutes. His mother died soon after his birth and his father's older brother swept the child away to Baltimore, Maryland, thus thoroughly confusing George as to whether he was a Southern gentleman or a damned Yankee.
Here the boy grew progressed from childhood to permanent adolescents.
George attended the local parochial school where he was awarded 17 holy cards and set a national record for having his hands threaded by 5 foot nuns yielding six-foot rulers. Holy cards (for those unacquainted with Catholic ways) were similar to baseball cards: one St. Francis of Assisi was worth to St. Sebastian's or four Teresa of Avala. Nevertheless here he had his first play, a Christmas Choice," produced in the classroom. Here too he first appeared on stage, playing the lead role of Be Poe in the magic whistle which enjoyed a highly successful run of 45 minutes.
He spent four years in Mount St. Joseph high school in Baltimore where he won writing awards and edited the school newspaper. He also took first prize in a four state newswriting competition sponsored by Temple University by applying the now unfashionable method of putting who, what, where, when and how in the lead paragraph. This was about the time he looked up from his writing desk and discovered girls which – as Robert Frost put it – "made all the difference" for the next few years.
Still a year too young for the World War II draft, he was rescued from juvenile delinquency by Jesuits who offered him a chance at Loyola University. Here he wrote and directed the musical called Marilyn which was the way everyone pronounced the state's name. This led to a three summer theatrical scholarship to Boston College, so he was able to complete college in 3 1/2 years with a degree in philosophy. This prompted his father to ask, "you can make a living at this?" He couldn't, but the point was moot, because the United States Army decided it was his turn. He served two years during a conflict which was never resolved and which was considered so inferior they did not even label it as a "war" but as a "police action."
Using the G.I. bill he matriculated at Catholic University. "Matriculated" refers to attendance and does not necessarily indicate a transfer of knowledge. Here he won the Hartke Playwriting award for his one act comedy, the Pygmalion effect, and his musical version of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn was produced on the main stage and described by one local critic as "the students prance." In 1954 he wrote and directed the musical production which was performed before President Eisenhower and several drunken celebrants of the friendly sons of Saint Patrick. A year later he received his Masters degree in fine arts, again arousing the same question from his father, "you can make a living at this?" Again the answer was obvious, so George spent a year touring with the theatrical company playing Shakespeare and Molière and seldom winning – even in overtime.
He became a college professor and "artist in residence." During this period his play, A Company of Wayward Saints, won the McKnight Foundation and the Humanities award in drama in 1963. It has remained in print for more than 50 years which is more than you can say for "getting Gertie's garter."
Following 12 years of corrupting the young, George took his growing family, fled the cold of Minnesota and Montana and moved to Hawaii. During this period he won two international playwriting competitions co-sponsored by the University of Southern Illinois for his play on Lincoln, Mr. High Pockets in 1968 and his play on Gandhi, A Stone for Either Hand, which for some inexplicable reason was also translated into Hungarian in 1970, promptly causing an uprising of the people.
In 1981 his play on Henry of Navarre, The King has Gone to Tenebrae, one the Roberts Theatre Institute award from the University of Northern Michigan, and he won two Julie Harris Beverly Hills Theater writing awards, the first in 1974 for his play on Picasso, The Man in the Cordoban Hat, and in 1993 for, Pious Nine is Falling Down. He won 8, Kuma Kahua (new stages) awards from the University of Hawaii from 1971 to 1980, because he was one of the few who could pronounce the Hawaiian words without grunting. Two of these plays, Nine Dragons, in 1976 and The Hidden Place, in 1980 also won awards from the Ayling Foundation award for new plays for children. (Please note this was the a AYLING foundation, not the AILING foundation.) While in the islands he was a staff specialist for the Hawaii State Board of Education, served as artistic director of the commedia theater troupe playing in the, Kamaaina Room of the Ala Moana Hotel and was senior drama critic for the Honolulu Advertiser. He also played the villain in 19 episodes of the original Hawaii 5-0. He starred in TV commercials for CBS-TV, Finance Factors, the Space Place, Kirin beer, Frito-Lay potato chips, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaiian Telephone and Loves Bread.
These are specifically named here, because they paid his product placement fees.
Worn out and having severely diminished the liquor supply of the Kaamaina Room bar, he retired in 1983, whereupon the Hawaii State House of Representatives passed resolution 834 commending him for "16 years of enhancing the quality of theater through his skillful efforts as an actor, director, playwright and as a perceptive, candid drama critic." They then held a three-day luau to pre-celebrate his finally leaving the islands.
He moved with his family to Portland, Oregon, in order to remind himself what seasons were, and in 1994 wrote his first novel Carnival of Saints, which was published by Ballantyne, was a finalist in the Oregon Book Awards and the national finalist in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. Nevertheless it never became a movie – or even a TV reality show. His ballet for children, Fraidy Cat, was premiered by the Oregon Festival ballet, and for three seasons he appeared as Drosselmeyer in their annual Nutcracker, receiving recognition as the first man to play the role as a humpback, deaf mute zombie. Soon after they changed their name to the Pacific Festival ballet and denied everything
He has written over a dozen novels; three ballets and more than 200 poems. In April 1990 the Oregonian newspaper profiled him as a "moralist who likes a good joke," and Wikipedia – despite protests – bestowed upon him an extra wife he did not earn.
George passed his final years in a what he called his "Tree House" in Oregon surrounded by 12 children, 17 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and his wife and partner Tricia. He continued to write into his 90's.