“The Legend of Toilet Seat Charlie”
by Filmmaker Jeremy Kaller
Charlie Deal stated that he “was sitting on a good idea” in 1965, when he envisioned his unique, semi-famous toilet-seat guitar. Charlie would eventually sell his Deal Guitars around the world, with members of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead among his customers, while also rocking out with Huey Lewis and John Cipollina of the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Charlie was the quintessential town character, always spotted riding his old bicycle, with a toilet seat dangling from the handlebars.
This short documentary explores one man’s love of rock ‘n’ roll and his relationship with the community that cherished him.
Director Jeremy Kaller on Charlie Deal
Charlie Deal’s story is a sweet story about a lovable town character. I knew Charlie Deal, when growing up Mill Valley, CA. I knew him as an eccentric maker of toilet-seat guitars whose invention was pictured on the cover of Huey Lewis and the News album “Sports.” I also had heard that Charlie was a lousy guitar player. When thinking about a new documentary, I thought of Charlie, learned of his passing, and what a great story he had. Digging deeper, I learned that Charlie really was a major part of the Bay Area music community. In fact, I learned so much about the history of Bay Area rock n roll itself and how Charlie dreamed of and succeeded in becoming part of it. Most importantly for me, this film project gave me an opportunity to reconnect with the town community that I lost touch with.