Radioactive GumThe Seed is Planted
Though Lone Sausage Productions is best known for its most recent projects (Beyond Grandpa I & II and the DR. TRAN series), the company’s earlier endeavors are rarely spoken of in modern society.

Lone Sausage was founded in Scotland in the early 1900’s to sell Radioactive Chewing Gum to women and midgets. While chewing gum had already become popular among tall men and children, the craze had yet to gain support among minority groups. With the world already abuzz about the benefits of radiation therapy, founders Breehn John Burns and Jason James Johnson seized an opportunity that would change the world.

In 1914, the company declared bankruptcy after several bitter lawsuits had stripped the organization bare. Burns and Johnson were to endure a long, painful 40 year period of poverty and failure, unable to regain their good names and labeled with the monikers “Bubonic Burns” and “Bleeding Skin Ulcer Johnson.” The public had spoken, and it would take a miracle to resurrect Lone Sausage.

Factory A New Hope
Comforted only by their love of driving trains, the two searched for another way into the hearts of the people. In 1923, Johnson tried selling Radioactive Sports Bras to women and to morbidly obese men. In 1936, Burns would strike out with Radioactive Kites, and again in ‘38 with the invention of the Midget Gun.
Run out of town in 1955 by the Special Coalition for Midgets and Miniature Horses, the pair took their home grown company across the sea and began anew in Hollywood.

Johnson, now 130 years of age, recalls, “We started off well, and opened a store that sold adhesive nipples to women who were missing a nipple, or that possibly wanted an extra nipple. Everything was grand until that crazy obsession with midgets.” It was the early Seventies now, and success had smiled on the duo. But a dangerous obsession with midgets would send Burns down a dark path of drugs, debauchery, and finally to a tragic shoulder injury, rendering him unable to do the one thing he loved the most: drive trains.

Old Men
Two Men Divided
The incident drove a stake into the heart of the company. “It was sad,” Johnson laments. “Midgets cost him that which he held most sacred.” Though Johnson felt sorrow for his ill-fated partner, he could not help but continue to drive trains himself. “My love for it was just too strong. I was selfish, and I’ll never forgive myself for that.” At the edge of oblivion, it was the crushing sight of Johnson driving by in a train that sent Burns into one final rampage, leaving scores of dead midgets in his wake. It seemed an undeniable truth that Lone Sausage would become a thing of the past.

The Story Gets Kinda Weak

It was not until 1993 that Burns and Johnson would once again join forces, this time communicating via e-mail. While Burns had been spending his days studying Mormon literature in a maximum security prison in Utah, Johnson had retired to Northern California where he’d come upon a hapless elevator operator named Chris Congleton. Congleton, a penniless seventeen year old midget still mourning over the tragic death of his father (also a midget), appeared to be in need of a strong role model.

“I felt I had to take him in. He was a swell kid, and I think those days at my ranch really did him some good.” Unfortunately, Congleton was struck by lightning and killed only two weeks after moving in, leaving Johnson without a clue as to the boy’s origin. “I searched everything. Just a few photos was all he had --no phone numbers, no names, no emergency contacts of any kind.” However, there was one thing of value found among his belongings: the plans for a card game so intricate and creative, it moved Johnson to tears.

Overcome with inspiration, Johnson began e-mailing the boy’s notes and sketches to Utah, where Burns would draft cleaner versions of the concepts. It was through the development of those simple but ingenious ideas that would lead to the creation of the game known as Beyond Grandpa, and finally to the Beyond Grandpa cartoon we know today.
Burns reflects on Congleton’s gift: “For so long I just thought midgets were for hunting. But how wrong I was. I will always remember that fellow, and think fondly of his fleeting but prolific existence. A prayer to you, little Congleton. May your soul finally be at peace.”

Pictured above, a found photo presumed to be the Congleton family on the little bitty porch of their little bitty house.

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