2015-02-24 / Front Page

‘Dr. Fuddle’ A Growing Franchise For Former Cataract Area Resident, Dr. Warren Woodruff

by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

Dr. Warren Woodruff is in the process of finishing his second book in the Dr. Fuddle series, with plans for feature films and much more. (Courtesy Photo) Dr. Warren Woodruff is in the process of finishing his second book in the Dr. Fuddle series, with plans for feature films and much more. (Courtesy Photo) From the creative musical mind of Dr. Warren Woodruff, a former Cloverdale student and Cataract area resident comes “Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton,” an adaptation of a 1998 play, “The Magic Piano.” The first book in the franchise is now more than a screenplay for a feature film, as the franchise will include at least three full feature films.

The tale follows five junior high student musicians to the mystical land of Orphea under the leadership of Dr. Fuddle. The journey is highlighted by their effort to restore harmony to the universe through the return of the Gold Baton from ‘dark musician’ Jedermann.

The author, pianist and doctor of musicology resides in Atlanta, while his father, Jack Woodruff, is a wellknown employee at Babbs SuperValu whose simple Ford Ranger pickup truck can be spotted throughout town on most days, emblazed with ‘Dr. Fuddle.com’ and ‘Support The Arts,’ lettering among other messages in support of his son.

“Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton” is available through www.Dr.Fuddle.com or on www.Amazon.com. (Courtesy Image) “Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton” is available through www.Dr.Fuddle.com or on www.Amazon.com. (Courtesy Image) “My only connection to Spencer is that my father lives there, but I have very fond memories of driving through the town once a month from Indianapolis to Washington, Indiana. It marked the halfway point and we always got excited to enter Spencer,” Warren said.

He does still keep in touch with Jackie Swope, his longtime friend from his days as a student at Cloverdale.

Speaking with the Spencer Evening World, Jack said he purchased his son’s first piano from Walmart for $19.95 when Warren was a young boy, after Jack’s mother had given him $20 each to spend on he and his brother for Christmas.

“It wasn’t long and he was playing that like a professional, then I bought an organ that had a broken leg for $38. It wasn’t long and he was playing that really well,” Jack said.

“Dr. Fuddle” stemmed from the 1998 play, which Woodruff wrote for a summer camp in an effort to introduce classical music to children. Warren himself has long been drawn to the beautiful sounds of stringed instruments.

“From very early childhood, classical music struck me like a bolt of lightning. My mother played classical albums non-stop as I grew up and the first time I ever heard a great pianist, around age 12, I announced to my parents: ‘This is it! This is what I’ll do for the rest of my life.’ The passion for the music led me to go to college and major in music,” he explained. “Through teaching, I wanted to spread this wanted passion, but the only question was how? – other than teaching children one on one. So in 1998 I wrote a play entitled ‘The Magic Piano’ and ‘invented’ Dr. Fuddle based on the combination of my three main college professors. Dr. Fuddle’s mission was to bring joy and harmony and purpose to the lives of children through introducing them to the Masters and some of their most famous works. The play was performed two summers in a row at Music Camps then placed in a drawer for several years, but Dr. Fuddle refused to stay in there for long.”

Dr. Benjamine Eraspus Fuddle’s character was developed from Warren’s fond memories of former music professors at three separate collegiate stops. His personality is largely based on Tennessee Temple University (TTU) Professor Ellen Hermann, who was influential during Warren’s stint at TTU to obtain his bachelor’s degree in piano performance. The influence of Earl Miller from Warren’s time earning a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, and mentor Ivan Davis from the University of Miami, where Woodruff obtained his doctorate.

By the age of 28, Warren earned his Ph.D. from the University of Miami School of Music in Musicology with a concentration in piano performance.

“I knew Dr. Fuddle had a greater purpose for the world at large, to bring joy and harmony to the world, so I learned of a writing coach named Mardeene Mitchell, who read the play and guided me what to do with it,” he recalled. “She immediately saw the potential to expand the play into a novel. It took a total of fourteen re-writes until I had it where it needed to be to take it to someone even more important.”

Mitchell introduced Warren to writing coach and producer Ken Atchity, Ph.D., at the Write-the- World conference in Atlanta.

“Nearly one hundred writers had five minutes each on a stopwatch to pitch their story to Dr. Kenneth Atchity, the keynote speaker,” Warren noted. He gets 17,000 pitches a year and chooses only one or two for development. He chose Dr. Fuddle and it was the happiest day of my life.”

Atchity’s Los Angelesbased production company Story Merchant boasts credits for 30 films, including “Joe Somebody,” “Life or Something Like It,” “Hysteria,” and the Emmynominated “The Kennedy Detail,” which aired on the Discovery Channel. Along with his development project for Dr. Fuddle, Atchity is also working on “Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not!” through Paramount and starring Jim Carrey.

A development deal was struck in 2010 for an undisclosed monetary contract to include the feature films, books and merchandise that has profoundly altered Warren’s life.

“Professionally, the impact is beyond description. Since 2010, I’ve mention under Hollywood Management developing a full franchise of novels, films, picture books, merchandise, an interactive website, and so much more. The first film with over a $100 million dollar budget is set to go into production this year with a worldwide release date aimed at Christmas Day 2016,” Warren said. “My global film broker and my manager have both said they’ve never seen a project of this magnitude in their combined 70 years in Hollywood.

The visual effects will be created in Seoul, Korea using technology never before seen in the world. The audio and live action will be created in Hollywood.”

Warren said the first film based on his screenplay for the book is nearing production, with the release of film funding.

“The second novel is in its second draft and I’ll immediately adapt it into the second screenplay,” he said. “The first picture book, ‘Dr. Fuddle’s Epic Journey to Earth,’ will be published this spring, detailing Dr. Fuddle’s journey from a star to bring hope and peace to the earth. How he had to ‘inhabit’ three teachers to get to me, live in a drawer and be set free by an angel, my writing coach, Mardeene Mitchel.”

Warren said the personal impact has been greater, saying a ‘divine mission’ is fueling his desire to unite the world through Dr. Fuddle and great music.

“Music is edifying, transformational, inspirational and once a child is introduced properly to it their life is never the same,” he emphasized. “It gives them purpose, self-esteem and a lifelong challenge,” he said. “My long-term goal is to create the Fuddle Foundation for the Arts to bring music to third world countries and create scholarships around the world for those children who would otherwise never have the opportunity to study music.”

He says nothing on earth can bring the joy and harmony to the world like wonderful melodies of music, and hopes to convey his love to readers and viewers.

“(I hope) that music can change their lives, bringing them the type of joy that nothing else can and a never ending challenge to excel and achieve greatness,” Warren noted.

“Dr. Fuddle And The Gold Baton” is available in hardback, paperback and as an e-book for the Kindle e-reader at www.Dr.Fuddle.com or Amazon.com. The franchise can be followed on Facebook.com.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2015-02-24 digital edition