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Book details
  • SubGenre:Personal Memoirs
  • Language:English
  • Pages:192
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781483563091
  • Paperback ISBN:9781483563084

The Traveling Years

A Memoir of Puppets, Porno & Penury

by Leo Eaton

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Leo Eaton is today a respected American documentary filmmaker. THE TRAVELING YEARS, A MEMOIR OF PUPPETS, PORNO & PENURY follows his adventures for 16 years prior to settling in America, during which time he traveled the world as (in chronological order) one of the youngest television directors in Britain, a tequila-soaked lotus eater in Mexico, a boat builder in Canada, a pornographer in Los Angeles, an aspiring novelist back in Mexico, a university instructor in Texas, and a plumber and starving writer in Greece and Portugal. Whether directing iconic British puppet series like CAPTAIN SCARLET & THE MYSTERONS and JOE 90 in the 1960s, living with a beautiful Hollywood starlet, writing adult books with cult filmmaker Ed Wood Jr. (played by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s biopic of the same name), locked up in a Mexican jail or living for years in a small Cretan village where he and his wife were the only foreigners, the experiences of these Traveling Years laid the foundation on which Leo Eaton’s later award-winning documentary career would be built.


THE TRAVELING YEARS, A MEMOIR OF PUPPETS, PORNO & PENURY follows the travels and adventures of respected American documentary filmmaker Leo Eaton between 1964 and 1980, prior to his settling in America.  After escaping from a childhood spent in English boarding schools, Leo joined the British film industry at eighteen on Roger Moore's THE SAINT and within five years was directing iconic 1960s puppet series' produced by Gerry Anderson, including CAPTAIN SCARLET & THE MYSTERONS, JOE 90 and THE SECRET SERVICE. At the time, he was one of the youngest directors in British television.  But after a passionate but ultimately disastrous love affair with a Hollywood starlet that resulted in his dismissal from UFO, Britain's answer to STAR TREK, he sailed by cargo ship to Mexico where he lived until his money ran out. Leo then hitchhiked to Canada where he worked as a boat builder and railroad baggage handler before taking to the road again and hitchhiking to Los Angeles where he wrote for a Mafia-run pornography publishing house and shared an office with cult filmmaker Ed Wood Jr. (played by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s biopic of the same name). Returning to Mexico as an aspiring novelist and promptly falling in love, Leo followed his future wife Jeri back to the University of Texas in Austin where he persuaded them to take him on as an adjunct professor, teaching script writing and film to the same graduate students who made TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. When after two years the University discovered he had no degree, Leo and his wife returned briefly to England before settling in a small Cretan village as the only foreigners. For three years they were part of the village, making their own wine and raki (the fiery local spirit) and helping fellow villagers with everyday tasks like dynamiting septic tanks and shearing sheep. Only when tourism began to intrude on the village did Leo and Jeri, along with their two Cretan dogs, move on to a mountainside in Portugal where they lived through a bitter winter in an old peasant farmhouse with dirt floors and no bathroom, power, running water or glass in the windows. This was the final chapter in the Traveling Years before the desire to return to some semblance of comfort brought Leo and his wife back to America, where he has been making award-winning documentary films ever since.

About the author

Leo Eaton is an American documentary filmmaker responsible for hundreds of hours of prime time and children's television for networks in America and around the world. He has received many of television's top honors, including two News & Documentary Emmy Awards. His many credits as producer and/or executive producer include British historian Michael Wood's STORY OF INDIA and STORY OF CHINA, Bruce Feiler's SACRED JOURNEYS and ARTS & THE MIND with Lisa Kudrow. He produced National Geographic Channel's Emmy Award-winning special CAN THE GULF SURVIVE? about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and co-created and executive produced PBS's award-winning children's series ZOBOOMAFOO with the Kratt Brothers. His 2002 book IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT IRELAND, companion to his American & Irish television series of the same name, remains a popular seller. Before settling in the United States, British-born Leo Eaton spent 16 years traveled widely through Europe and the Americas, at one time sharing an office with cult filmmaker Ed Wood Jr. and directing iconic British puppet series like CAPTAIN SCARLET & THE MYSTERONS and JOE 90. Leo Eaton currently lives in Maryland, USA.

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