Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not-So-Obsessional Schizophrenia? Nyet!

Ann Arbor Sun, August 4, 1972
The more that I research the previous post the less inclined I am to believe that a mental patient produced the record*. In fact, I believe that Charles L. Schneider was part of the staff as a researcher.

The first clue was uncovered when researching Brough Schamp, the photographer credited on the album. J. Brough Schamp as he's known now, is a professional photographer working in Baltimore, Maryland. In his biography he lists a degree from the fine arts school at University of Michigan. Which made me think that Schneider probably knew him from there and was either a student or part of the faculty.

The Memoir of Dr. J. Robert Willson, page 3
Sure enough, in the late 1960s the University of Michigan sent associate professor Charles Schneider to Eloise for the express purpose of setting up a research lab and program, in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for which Dr. Willson was the head at Michigan. 

The Memoir of Dr. J. Robert Willson, page 49
A cursory Google search provides several studies by Dr. Schneider.  The one possible kink in this chain of rationale is that on the patent records for the LP he is listed as Charles L. Schneider, Jr. and the scientific studies were done as early as 1959, presenting the possibility that there was a father-son connection here.  Or a complete coincidence. Then again, if Schneider was already part of the staff at Eloise why would he need to be appointed again? The likelihood is that they were related and neither was a mental patient. Unless, of course, both were rain men with genius abilities in broken brains. You never know when dealing with Eloise.


*Postscript:

I'm wrong! Well... half-wrong anyway.

Albuquerque Journal, March 25, 2004 (enlarge)
An obit from a Facebook user for Charles L. Schneider, Jr. seems to confirm that he was a patient and his father the lab researcher. The fact that donations should be sent to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill pretty much confirms that supposition.

1 comment:

Charles Schneider said...

What an amazing and fascinating story and what a discovery you made! I would LOVE to know more about the circumstances that lead to the recording of Charles' album. I would also like to know more about his personality, the locale of the graveyard in the photo and the symbolism of the TV antennae in BOTH LP photos. Seems the idea was to suggest a surreal way of getting "in touch" beyond the grave.

I wanted to share this photo I found online which seems to be the grave of the very same man who cut the album. It is significant that he was buried with his mother, for one of his song lyrics subtly, amusingly but darkly hint at the ultimate staying power of the mother figure. I will visit his grave some day soon and leave flowers, and I'll play a copy of his one of a kind piano music on the drive up the California coast!

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=90317359

Sincerely,

(Another filmmaker also named) CHARLES SCHNEIDER