DONALD F. GLUT was born on February, 19, 1944 at a US Army base in Pecos, Texas, to Julia B. and 1st Lieutenant Frank C. Glut. He grew up in Chicago, the Gluts’ home town, after his Dad was sent overseas to fight the Nazis. Frank died tragically but heroically co-piloting a B-24 “Liberator” during a bombing mission over Germany, just a month before his son’s first birthday. Sadly, “Donnie” never knew his Father other than from home movies and remembrances by those who knew the man, and his Mother did not remarry.
One of Don’s long-time passions has always been movies, particularly horror, science fiction, Western and fantasy films. From 1953 to 1959, indulging in that passion, he made 41 amateur 16mm movies in the horror, SF and fantasy genres. Subject matter for these short films included dinosaurs, classic creatures such as Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula, teenage horrors, plus superheroes like Spy Smasher, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man. As there were no books or other sources available back that told “how to do it,” Don learned a lot about making films via trial and error, having to figure things out as he went along, “wearing many hats” and just doing it – as producer, writer, actor, director, pyro-technician, cinematographer, set dresser, prop builder, make-up artist, stunt coordinator, editor and doing the special effects. Thanks to the publicity garnered for these films in magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, Castle of Frankenstein, Fantastic Monsters of the Films and Monsters and Heroes, these little productions garnered a modest degree of “cult” status among genre fans, with Don’s name becoming rather well known. And during the late 1960s, some of these “home movies” were shown in Chicago theatres and on local TV stations. (In 2006, all 41 of these films were made available on a two-disc DVD set entitled I Was a Teenage Movie Maker.)
Don had other passions growing up, including drawing. sculpting and playing music. He also loved to write (he wrote his first story, which his Mom saved, at the age of six). finding writing both enjoyable and relatively easy. Don’s writing career unofficially began — on a non-professional level — writing for numerous “fanzines”(amateur magazines published by fans) devoted to movies, comic books and other popular arts. From 1962 to 1964 he published, edited and wrote for (with Chicago friend Dick Andersen) the fanzine Shazam! It was in these early amateur publications that Don learned to write.
Moving to Los Angeles in 1964 to attend the University of Southern California, majoring in Cinema, Don professionally entered show business that same year — as a POW in the 20th Century Fox Frank Sinatra movie Von Ryan’s Express. He began his professional writing career in 1966, writing articles for and eventually editing the genre magazine Modern Monsters. In 1967, after graduating that year from the University of Southern California with a BA degree (for Cinema) in Letters, Arts and Sciences, Don — who had been in a number of rock bands over the years, both in Chicago and LA — worked as a musician, singer and songwriter in The Penny Arkade, a rock band produced by “Monkee” Michael Nesmith.
Shortly after that period ended in 1968 (during which he almost became a rock star), Don briefly pursued a brief acting career, winning a speaking role in a national television commercial starring Dick Clark. That commercial ran a couple years, bringing in some nice residuals money. (In more recent years, Don has made cameo appearances in a number of motion pictures and performed voice-over acting in a couple dozen “anime” films, dubbing Japanese dialogue into English.)
During the 1970s, most of Don’s income came from writing comic books scripts for such mainstream companies as Marvel, Gold Key, Warren, DC and Charlton. Don’s earliest comic-scripting career was for the Warren Publishing Company, usually writing many stories for a single title. Among his earliest comics credits, he wrote all but two stories in the premiere and classic issue of Warren’s Vampirella magazine. The comic book work was fun as well as profitable, as Don, via his writing, got to direct the lives of some of his old heroes, like Tarzan and Captain America. Most of his comic book writing was for Gold Key and Marvel. For Gold Key he created three comic book series — Dagar the Invincible, The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor and Tragg and the Sky Gods.
When Don’s comics career mostly (but not completely) ended — thanks to companies going out of business, titles being canceled and new regimes in the editorial departments, he segued into writing scripts for television, mostly animation but also live action. Again Don found himself writing dialogue and action for characters he had known as a fan – e.g., Spider-Man, Superman, Tarzan, Captain America, many others. Don wrote multiple episodes for a number of series including Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Dino-Riders and Transformers.
Don never lost his love for writing and playing music. In 1990, Don and Pete Von Sholly founded Fossil Records, which produced a half dozen cassette albums including Dinosaur Tracks, More Dinosaur Tracks and Dinosaur Tracks Again, featuring paleontology-related rock music written mostly by Don (Dinodon Music/BMI) and performed by Don and Pete (as the Iridium Band).
Most of Don’s professional life has been as a writer and, more recently, also as a motion picture executive producer and a director (although he has also directed documentaries and music videos). Additionally he has worked as a consultant on other film-makers’ projects, such as being the “Dinosaur Consultant” (Don’s first on-screen motion picture credit) on producer Roger Corman’s movie Carnosaur (1993).
In 1994, Donald F. Glut became president of the independent company Frontline Entertainment, Inc., for which he wrote, directed and co-produced a series of independent horror and fantasy movies beginning with Dinosaur Valley Girls, his first professional, feature-length movie. That film was soon followed by Before La Brea, a dramatic documentary commissioned by the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries in Los Angeles, screening daily in the museum’s “Dinosaur Theater” for a decade.
Don found directing relatively easy, having learned through writing comic books and TV-animation scripts (which are basically directed on paper, calling all the angles, cuts, camera moves, etc. rather than writing master scenes) how to think visually and stage and break-down scenes. Five more Frontline feature-length movies followed, also calling upon what he had learned at USC and from making amateur films. In 2000, Don was hired by Irena Belle Productions to freelance-direct The Vampire Hunters Club; a short film featuring an all-star cast of genre actors. And in 2014 he started his own new and ongoing independent film company Pecosborn Productions LLC, specializing in “traditional” horror movies and “classic monsters,” the company’s first project being Dances With Werewolves, followed shortly thereafter with Tales of Frankenstein.
Aside from his work in entertainment and publishing, Don is known internationally for his involvement with dinosaurs and other things prehistoric, a subject he has been seriously interested in since the age of six. He has lectured on dinosaurs at museums, universities and other major institutions in the USA and Europe.
He often appears on TV and radio talk shows, is a frequent guest at science-fiction, horror and comic-book conventions, and is a familiar “talking head” in video and TV documentaries talking about dinosaurs, as well as monster movies and other topics. Regularly Don speaks at seminars for actors and film-makers. In 1999 and 2000, respectively, he became a volunteer at both The Field Museum (Chicago, Photography Department) and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Paleontology Department and Dinosaur Institute).
Among Don’s many interests are paleontology, movies (especially the older horror films, Westerns, serials and film noir), science fiction and fantasy, music, comic books, motorcycles, live reptiles, stage magic, electric trains, the Three Stooges, Jackie Gleason, old-fashioned amusement parks (with real roller coasters) and side shows and “holy relics.”