In 2008, 12 families set out to accomplish a monumental task: To read all of R.C. Harvey’s biography of Milton Caniff. “What no one knew at the time,” the narrator intones, as a fiddler keens behind him, “is that it was over 900 pages long.” Tom Gammill’s five-minute parody film The Donner Book Party juxtaposes wistful, old-timey music with sepia-toned photos of funny-looking Victorian people as it tells the story of the families’ struggles—the readers’ dismay at the world’s longest sentence, the ill-fated advance party sent ahead to edit the book, the scout who warned some of them off, suggesting they read Milt Caniff: Rembrandt of the Comic Strip, or maybe a book about budgies, instead. There’s even a bit of a twist at the end. The video was presented at the Reuben Awards ceremonies as a preview of an upcoming Ken Burns history of the comic strip, and Mike Lynch says he was actually fooled for the first few seconds.
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