Catherine Lutz

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February 23, 2005
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Hunter Thompson's death feeds frenzy for merchandise

If you're looking for Hunter S. Thompson memorabilia, don't go to the Woody Creek Store.

The small general store, next to the Woody Creek Tavern and about a mile-and-a-half down the road from the late author's home, removed all of its Hunter Thompson books, T-shirts and other items bearing the stamp of the Good Doctor from the shelves by Tuesday morning.

"We've pulled everything because it got to be too much of a frenzy," a clerk at the store said Tuesday.

Many who worked there were close to Thompson; its owners, George and Patti Stranahan, were neighbors. On Monday, after the word got out about Thompson's death by self-inflicted gunshot wound the night before, the store and neighboring tavern became a magnet for tourists, journalists and curiosity seekers. Everyone, it seemed, wanted a piece of Thompson's story.

It was just too much for a small country store that has become as much a gathering place for a small, tight-knit community, as a place to stock up on necessities. So the decision was made out of respect for the privacy of the late author and cultural icon's family and friends.

Over in Aspen, few Hunter Thompson titles are available at the Pitkin County Library these days. Librarians estimate that four or five copies remain on the shelves out of the 60 or so Thompson books normally stocked. Out of 15 copies of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," none remain.

"There's always interest in Hunter Thompson's books, he's like a cult figure," librarian Liz Frazier said. "Bu most of the books now are out."

Many Thompson books are taken out but never returned, Frazier noted " a problem that's more pronounced with his work than other authors'.

Those hankering to read the late Dr. Thompson's work, however, can stock up at Explore Booksellers, where a table with several Thompson titles has been set up at the front of the store.

"We had a lot of people coming in and asking for his stuff, so we decided to put it out front," bookseller Mark Billingsley said.

Billingsley estimated that 20 or so books have sold in the last couple of days. Some of the newer titles are sold out, but copies of Thompson's earlier work are still available. Explore is trying to obtain limited edition copies of Thompson's most recent book, "The Curse of Lomo" " the store had planned an event with the author upon its release.


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The Aspen Times Updated Feb 23, 2005 10:02AM Published Feb 23, 2005 09:02AM Copyright 2005 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.