Adam Kurtzman was born on January 19, 1957 in Brooklyn, and raised in Long Island and New Jersey. His father was an electrical engineer and brother of renowned MAD magazine cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman. His mother was a housewife and substitute teacher. He recalls, "Back then, I had the luxury of lots of unsupervised play and pretend time, something sorely lacking for kids today." Kurtzman had an imaginary playmate that was "tall, blue, with wings and blonde hair that was superior to human beings. I was obsessed with his planet, Kafadious." At five, he pounded hundreds of nails into a wooden board, drew crayon circuits, and wrapped the nails with string and copper wire. Convinced it would light a bulb, he asked his teacher to light a match that would then create electricity. She complied, but his first experiment failed. "I liked sci-fi, not so much the reading, because I was dyslexic, but the pictures that promised no confinement to this planet." He spent a lot of time exploring nearby suburban construction lots, building clubhouses, and drawing with his two best friends. When he was 18, Kurtzman took three weeks to assemble 1,000 wooden matches into a roller coaster form, "just to light them and watch the fire spread at various speeds." He later designed and built windows for fashionable stores in New York, and made costumes and props for theater. Today, Adam Kurtzman continues to create from his home on the top of Mount Washington in Los Angeles with his partner, who is an actor.
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