“The Butterfly Boy”
A novel by Tony Klinger
Tony Klinger, the writer of the Butterfly Boy, also makes films and occasionally lectures at universities. His current films are “THE MAN WHO GOT CARTER”, “SOLO2DARWIN” and “SISTER”, all in various stages of completion for release in 2019/20.
Asked why he had chosen this complex and controversial character as the hero of this novel he smiled and responded, “Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and for me anyone who was against Hitler has me on his or her side.”
We talked about the book’s central character being disabled and Tony raised a hand to stop me, “It isn’t about his not being able to use his hands because he has polio, it’s about what he does do, his triumph over adversity, over anything that life throws at him, it’s that which makes him heroic. Don’t forget my fictional character was gifted to me by real examples of men and women who, every day, find a way to beat seemingly impossible odds to lead wonderful and productive lives. It so happens that my hero is a brilliant artist doesn’t stop him being a red-blooded man with all the lusts and loves and weaknesses of most people.”
Tony was born in London. At school he won prizes for his writing and with some friends ran a successful underground school magazine. He described it as a cross between an early Private Eye and a school rag that managed to make his schoolmates happy and his headmaster furious.
By the age of 18 Tony was making small professional films that received wide public distribution. This started with The Festival Game about that year’s Cannes Film Festival, and this went on to be one of the most successful documentaries in British cinema history. His next film, Extremes, was selected as an Outstanding Film of the Year at The London Film Festival and this set a pattern for a lifetime of winning awards for his film making and other skills approaching fifty and still counting.
Following this Tony worked on more than 500 media productions of all types and written articles, columns, blogs, screenplays. His film making has taken him and his family around the world, working on films and TV shows like, The Avengers, Gold, Shout at the Devil, Rachel’s Man, The Butterfly Ball, Deep Purple Rises Over Japan and many others, “I have loved many aspects of film making but ultimately find it unfulfilling creatively, that’s because it’s a craft for a group of people and that dilutes any pure ideas you might have had. That’s why I prefer writing books; it’s down to me if it works or if it doesn’t. The reason’s simple, when I make a film, even a small one it costs millions, but if I write a book its comparatively cheap, so publishers are much more prepared to let you have your creative head than film financing can permit. Also it’s a mechanical prerequisite that to make a film you need a big team of people, but to write a book it’s basically just you and a computer screen. I love being a writer, and to allow myself that title means that every day I’m writing I sit down in the morning and write, and I don’t get up until I’ve written between two and three thousand words.”
Over a distinguished career Tony headed several media companies both in the UK and USA. In 2009 the story behind the making of the film he produced about the legendary rock band, the Who, The Kids are Alright, featured in his book, Twilight of the Gods, which was published to acclaim world-wide and in its second edition reclaimed the title “The Who and I”. More recently his second novel, “Under God’s Table” was published on Gonzo and there are more exciting books from the pen of Klinger on route.
Tony now lives in Northampton, England, where he and his wife Avril moved recently to be nearer to family.
ABOUT THE BOOK: “The Butterfly Boy”
The Butterfly Boy is a powerful book that takes the reader on a dramatic, sweeping journey through two World Wars in Germany and races on around the globe throughout the tumultuous twentieth century. The Butterfly Boy is the story of Arnie, who is born to a Jewish woman, Bertha, and a German man before the First World War in the sleepy small town of Darmstadt in Germany.
Arnie’s parents are shunned by their respective communities for daring to try to bridge the great racial divide of the time. Her parents pray for her as if she were dead, and swear never to see her again. Arnie will never know his grand parents or the rich traditions of his true heritage. Arnie is gleefully unaware of this as he seeks the simple pleasures of play and the love of his mother common to small children everywhere. His father, Bertie, is away fighting for the Fatherland in the Great but ultimately fruitless World War 1 when Arnie tragically loses the use of his arms through polio, a paralyzing disease common in the early twentieth century.
Arnie struggles with both the normal tribulations of growing up, his mixed parentage, the nascent racism of the rise of Germany’s early Nazism and his attempts to turn his natural artistic ability and sharp mind into fully realized artistic accomplishment.
During Arnie’s early boyish battles at home his father returns from the War, defeated and bitter at the enemies of the Fatherland. Now he discovers that Arnie, the son he’d never seen is, in his mind, a cripple! He rejects his son and his wife for defending the boy. The once passionate love between mother and father degenerates into a bitter war of attrition and spite. Despite this, as an adolescent Arnie negotiates a path through life, finding a method to demonstrate his burgeoning talent as an artiste despite his handicap and his appeal to girls who find his handsome face, growing physique, ready smile and easy charm irresistible.
A boyhood enemy, Ratwerller, nurtures an undying hatred for Arnie, and he is to haunt the young artiste’s life as their battles become epic and in time, tragic. He is jealous of Arnie even though he seems to have the upper hand being his senior at school, able bodied and the Head Boy.
Arnie’s boyish journey through life takes a different turn when he discovers how wonderful and delightful girls can be. Women are drawn to Arnie, they want to look after him, to succour him and then it seems natural for them to bed him. His powers as a painter echo his appreciation for all that is beautiful.
Arnie qualifies to enter the finest art school in Hamburg where he meets Helmut, the son of Prussian aristocrats, who becomes his best friend. Together they party through the decadence of Germany’s Weimar Republic but the thuggish realities of the looming Nazis begin to haunt their blissful, fun filled existence.
They realize that they need to make money from their art if they want to be independent of their families. Together with a determined young woman they start to exhibit Arnie’s paintings and he begins to find fame. But he soon realizes that the buying public wants his art because they think he’s like a circus freak, rather than because he’s a good painter. This discovery nearly destroys Arnie and he has to harden his heart or go under emotionally.
By a process of trial and error the small group of artistes stumble on the idea of giving postcards depicting Arnie’s paintings to people in their homes and suggesting that they might like to make a donation to the mouth painting association, another name for Arnie and his business. This small enterprise blossoms into a hugely successful national commercial organization.
The Nazis win power and with this everything changes. Arnie, fast becoming rich and successful, rises to become one of Hitler's favourite artistes despite his handicap and his Jewish mother. Arnie risks his like to undertake covert activities for the allies and the Christian resistance movement. In a dramatic twist of fate Arnie kills his own father because he believes he has no choice.
Arnie matures into a great handsome bull of a man, who, despite not having the use of his arms still manages to be a great womanizer and hell raiser. The conflict between Arnie and his childhood nemesis, now senior Nazi officer, Ratwerller, is a battle to the death that slashes through their lives like a sharpened razor. They stop at nothing to seek the destruction of one another. Ratwerller even blackmails Arnie, forcing him to give the Nazi his wife to enjoy as his plaything.
Arnie never reconciles himself to this loss but discovers some respite when he marries another woman who makes him happy, they have twin boys together but before they can enjoy this she is killed in an Allied bombing raid. Arnie manages to smuggle his children and friends out of the country just in time to avoid them joining some of his mother’s family in the Nazi death camps.
After the war Arnie, The Butterfly Boy builds the Mouth Painting Charity around the world from which he makes tens of millions of dollars whilst destroying anyone that stands in his way. Arnie’s final commercial and moral test comes when a Congressional Committee of Enquiry into whether his business qualifies as a charity or is a giant fraudulent enterprise nearly tears his life apart.
As an older man, satiated by every indulgence and excess Arnie finally understands that his life is empty and vacuous. When his mother dies in Israel Arnie is too late to be with her at the end. But in his rush to be with her he reconnects with his sons, now handsome young Israeli men. This experience humanizes Arnie, and it rounds the circle of his tempestuous life; but not before he finds Ratwerller in a most unlikely hiding place and finally gains his revenge on the Nazi.
This is the story of Arnie, an extraordinary man, taking an extraordinary journey during extraordinary times. You will love and fear for Arnie, and be hypnotized by him. Arnie conquered all adversity to become the "greatest mouth painter in the world,” but he never eliminated all his demons until he had painted one more picture, bedded his last woman, took a reluctant last breath, smiled, and was free to dance with the butterflies.
Tony had one request when we were ending our discussion, “I hope anyone who reads my book, will, if nothing else, remember to think about what everyone does, their contribution to our society, rather than focus on the things they can’t do.”
TONY KLINGER COMES ON BOARD JEENI AS AMBASSADOR
JEENI is proud to announce their new Ambassador, the award winning film maker and writer, Tony Klinger.
Klinger has made several internationally acclaimed documentaries such as THE FESTIVAL GAME, EXTREMS both currently in re-release by distributors Gonzo Media alongside his book ( and DVD film package) of THE WHO AND I about his exploits producing THE WHO movie, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT. He has made many other feature films around the globe. Prior this, with his father, Michael who was also a world famous film producer making iconic films like GET CARTER, REPULSION and the CONFESSIONS series of films he worked on GOLD and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL with Roger Moore and Lee Marvin.
Tony said, “ I was thrilled to be invited to become an Ambassador with and for JEENI, I applaud and echo their ethical approach, and I was equally excited to engage with their amazing team so when they offered me the opportunity to share my knowledge of the music business, film making and creativity.”
Klinger’s fascination with ways of sharing the creative processes with business and commercial know how has seen him create initiatives like his own https://www.give-get-go.com and before that with Artists United and bCreaive. “I discovered this need for sharing and spreading knowledge when I was a university academic.” His outstanding success led to his students winning many awards and their success continued when they graduated leading to illustrious professional careers.
Klinger had already made it clear, “I wanted to be involved in projects that continue and grow my dream that enables everyone to enjoy their creativity. JEENI is another big step in this seemingly endless search without me being sanctimonious or unreal, it still excites me, but also enables our audience to fully enjoy and think about the world we share.”
Our users of JEENI will be three dimensional and complex. Their projects might not be obvious but are, nevertheless understandable, In effect the JEENI community are the project. Above all they are individuals who can overcome their personal battles because they’re so empathetic, energetic and enthusiastic that you’ll want to engage with this emotional and creative roller coaster ride while their audience becomes fully engaged.”
Shena Mitchell, Founder Director of JEENI said, “We are hugely excited to have brought Tony into our family. He has an amazing track record and this experience and success in both the film and music industry proves he is a huge plus for us and we are already enjoying our work with him.”
Further information about JEENI can be found in the link below!
NEW GIVE GET GO VIDEO
'The Man Who Got Carter' Selected for the Chichester Film Festival
I hope to see you at the Chichester Film Festival on August 11 to see my film, "The Man Who Got Carter"
Give-Get-Go’s Tony Klinger Proud To Introduce 'Sisters' | Now In Post Production
This special, heartwarming and eye opening film is now in post production, moving one step closer to being released. This is a film by Dan Blackwell, whom Give-Get=Go are honoured to be working with
"It is incredibly exciting to be able to collaborate with Dan Blackwell, and telling a remarkable story. In some of the most difficult parts of the world. Dan is the composer and film maker who had the vision and guts to get this ball rolling and we at Give-Get-Go aim to share his vision. From some of the most difficult trouble spots in the world we witness the greatest stories of success. What Dan achieved by reaching out through music is both uplifting and will inspire.”
Music has a special power, and set against the volatile environment of Kabul the first female orchestra in the country are achieving peace through music.
In some of the most difficult parts of the world comes some of the greatest stories of success.
Solo2Darwin to temporarily return to the UK to await permissions and new weather window. Following on from detailed discussions around some of the barriers currently holding up Amanda Harrison in Beirut, it has been decided that Amanda will fly G-AXAN back to the UK temporarily and await the clearing of airspace and the next weather window to fly safely through India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. There are two weather windows to get down to Australia, May/June and Sept/Oct. With the delay in opening the Airspace in Pakistan Solo2Darwin has lost the May/June window. Amanda will fly a shorter route back to the UK flying from Beirut to Cyprus then on through Greece, Italy and France. The route is shorter and less problematic as it isn't Amy's route.
Solo2darwin will re-plan a start from Beirut at an achievable weather window. It will also give Amanda an opportunity to be in the UK in time for planned appointments with her oncologist, which were at risk as delays got longer. Solo2Darwin will still complete and the energy and momentum generated around the adventure will continue and grow.
See the thoughts of Amanda and
the team here
Follow the link below to read
an excellent blog by Amanda,
covering her incredible adventure so far,
and how she has already overcome
a myriad of hurdles and disasters!
GIVE-GET=GO BLAZING A TRAIL
Welcome to our new project - Solo2Darwin
We at Give-Get=Go were filming yesterday at Duxford for Solo2Darwin with heroine pilot Amanda Harrison and Paul Martin my fellow film maker. It is our first film project for the company and we couldn't have asked for a more important store
We launch Amanda on her epic trip from the UK to Australia next month.
Amanda lives to fly and you can soar with her.
Tony went on GONZO Radio recently to talk about this project and our heroine pilot:
OUR SPECIAL EVENT IN BRISTOL
We were delighted to be a part of a brilliant event at Bristol's Watershed Cinemas to enjoy Professor Andrew Spicer present on The Jewish Influence on the British film industry. To follow this talk we were able to screen our feature documentary The Man Who Got Carter to a great audience who participated in a Q&A session with Andrew and Tony.
This event, part of the Jewish Historical Society’s Jewish History Month, jointly hosted by JHSE, Watershed, UWE and DAVAR. It provided a unique insight into the potent influence of Jewish entrepreneurs and film-makers on the UK’s film industry.
Professor Andrew Spicer (UWE) spoke wonderfully of how Jewish exhibitors, distributors and producers shaped the evolution of the British film industry from its beginning to the present. It proved to be a fitting introduction to the showing of the film, and gave the audience an opportunity to view the film from with an alternate lens. It prompted a busy Q&A session afterwards as the audience were able to field questions to both Prof. Spicer and Tony as they offered great insight with both their expertise.
TONY IN THE NEWS
Tony has been featured in both the East London Enquirer and the Writers' Forum Magazine.
The East London Enquirer had a fantastical article detailing the launch of the exciting Give-Get-Go Community Outreach programme, and the Writers' Forum Magazine featured Tony sharing his writing expertise.
We are pleased to announce that Tony is working on developing the feature film "Navegator". It is the story of family love set against tremendous odds as the world is threatened by terror, war and destruction.
We have written the script, chosen the locations and started the casting for this studio sized picture.
By the way, Navegator is the correct spelling. For more information
More news will follow in the new year about this exciting project and in the meantime everyone at SAM Films sends you all Season's Greetings!
THE MAN WHO GOT CARTER
Q&A WITH COLIN VAINES AND JAMES WHALE
Listen to the brilliant live Q&A session with Colin Vaines and Tony Klinger, hosted by James Whale.
This event was kindly hosted by the Romford Film Foundation and recorded by Alan Taylor-Shearer following the showing of "The Man Who Got Carter" at the world premiere in Romford's Premiere Cinema.
Photograph by Alan Taylor-Shearer
FROM THE PREMIERE
A display of my books and other paraphernalia at the premiere of my film "The Man Who Got Carter" kindly hosted by Joe Sultana for the Romford Film Foundation. It was a great day, many kind things were said, and I even sold some books!
New Novel Published
Today's headlines and tomorrow's.
Two boyhood friends, an Arab and a Jew from Iraq grow up to become deadly enemies living, loving and fighting across the globe.
June 1st saw the publication of Tony Klinger's new novel, "Under God's Table" by Gonzo Multimedia.
It's available on Amazon and various other platforms.
MORE IN THE PIPELINE
Many projects are in various stages of development and production, in addition to the exciting work of the Give Get Go community outreach organisation.