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Curious George Writer Possibly Murdered

News reports coming out of Florida are reporting that the death of CURIOUS GEORGE writer Alan J. Shalleck is being investigated as a homicide.

THE PALM BEACH POST writes that Shalleck's bloodied body lay under garbage bags in his driveway for more 24 hours until it was found early Tuesday morning. He lived in a mobile home at the Royal Manor Estates, a senior citizen retirement village. He had worked at a local outlet of Borders Books & Music, but had not showed up for work in two days.

Neighbors had seen a trash bag in the driveway Monday morning, but assumed it was just garbage. Police received a call from maintenance supervisor Burt Venturelli, who was taking out bags of trash from residents' front lawns as usual.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Gladys Cannon would not disclose the details of how Shalleck died.

The body was naked from the waist up with one black plastic garbage bag covering Shalleck's lower half and another his top. A trail of blood stained the terra cotta driveway in front of Shalleck's mobile home, where his body lay outstretched behind a blue Honda Civic parked under a carport.

Shalleck co-wrote a series of books with Margret Rey, who created CURIOUS GEORGE along with her husband, H.A. Rey, more than 60 years ago. He worked with her to bring the mischievous monkey to TV.

A native of Westchester County, New York, Shalleck was well-known locally as "Gramps," the persona he used when reading books to school children. He created a company, Reading By GRAMPS, making public appearances at bookstores and local events.

A drama major at Syracuse University, Shalleck began working in the CBS mailroom in 1950. He rose to the post of associate producer for WINKY DINK AND YOU, a morning show where children drew on a plastic film placed on the TV screen.

Shalleck would go on to produce children's films via his own company. He approached Margret Rey in 1977 about bringing CURIOUS GEORGE to film and TV.

Shalleck produced a children's film, PEPITO'S DREAM, in conjunction with the United Nations in 1988. The story followed a small boy who wanted to make a speech at the UN.

Shalleck was not involved in the forthcoming CURIOUS GEORGE animated feature from Universal.

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Rick DeMott
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