Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BLACK HUMOR


Black Humor Aug, 1965
BLACK HUMOR was a 1965 Bantam paperback anthology of short stories and excerpts from novels by celebrated "black humorists" of the day, including Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Edward Albee and many others,  edited by my father Bruce Jay Friedman, and including his short story "Black Angels". I've always loved this cover, although, first subjected to it at age of six, I had no idea what the hell was going on. A couple talking via word balloons inside a closed coffin? A bra hanging out?? What could this mean? This was not MAD magazine! Actually, It still confuses me.

From the books opening page:

"THE WICKEDEST COMEDY EVER PERPETRATED ON THE AMERICAN SCENE!"

 the phrase "Black Humor" (Not BJF's title, the book was already titled when he was hired as it's editor) evolved from "black comedy" and "gallows humor", a "dark humor provoking discomfort". From BJF's foreword attempting to describe this new literary genre: "A nervousness, a tempo, a near hysterical new beat in the air, a punishing isolation and loneliness of a strange, frenzied new kind".

BJF was never comfortable with the possibly misleading literary label "Black Humor", preferring "Tense Comedy", a phrase he later used in 1967 as a subtitle for his off- Broadway play "Scuba Duba".  Here he discusses Black Humor and other topics with Mike Sacks for his book of interviews with celebrated humor authors "And Here's the Kicker":

http://www.andheresthekicker.com/ex_bruce_jay_friedman.php


The invitation to the books publication party at the Ginger Man restaurant in the summer of 1965. The (1792!) illustration used is titled: "Fashionable Contrasts" by James Gillray. Sadly, my 2 brothers and I did not attend the party.


                 Part two of the party invitation, listing the book's table of contents.


The supplement BOOKWEEK in the now long-gone New York Herald Tribune reprinted BJF's foreword to the book, accompanied by this illustration by renowned cartoonist Stan Mack.

In the late sixties, the short story anthology "Nelson Algren's Own Book of Lonesome Monsters" was reprinted with a new title to capitalize on the "Black Humor" craze.
Black Humor, Sept, 1969
In 1969, Bantam reprinted Black Humor as a "Bantam Modern Classic" with this new, even more disturbing (to a 10 year old) cover, based on a portion of "Hure Und Kriegskrupper" by Otto Dix. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

THE LITERARY THREE STOOGES

Oh, a wise-guy, huh?
Norman Mailer (Larry), John Updike (Moe) and John Irving (Curly), drawn for a cover of the NY Observer when all three were still alive. Tom Wolfe had just dubbed the three authors "The 3 Stooges".

Monday, May 23, 2011

HEY BOB DYLAN... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Like a Rolling Kidney Stone
Music legend/radio host Bob Dylan officially becomes a septuagenarian on Tuesday, May 24th. To help celebrate this milestone, here's a few of my recent Bob Dylan images. This portrait of Dylan, retired in Florida, appeared in The Wall Street Journal illustrating an article titled: "When to leave the stage".

Art director, David Bamundo

You've Got A Lot Of Nerve, To say You Where Depends
From MOJO magazine, illustrating a review of Bob Dylan's album "Modern Times". This appears in my recent book "TOO SOON?"

Forever... Young?
Bob Dylan, "Winner of the Week" for making a "pleasantly coherent" speech at the Grammys, from Entertainment Weekly.

My favorite Dylan quote: "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know". Heppy, Heppy Birthday Bob!

(Thanks to Barry Kestin)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

THE LATE NIGHT BEATLES

click to enlarge
My illustration for an article in the latest BILLBOARD magazine about late night talk shows competing for musical guests, re-casting the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Left to right: Paul (Jimmy Fallon), Ringo (George Lopez), George (David Letterman), John (Conan O'Brien).

Art director, Gregory Grabowy

Friday, May 20, 2011

COVERING ALBUMS

Delicacy & Nourishment
Over the years I've been hired to illustrate a number of album & CD covers for various clients & friends. Now that illustrated CD covers, like illustrated record album covers before them are disappearing from existence, here's a look back at all my record/CD covers, as well as some other album related items.

Most of these CD's are still available via amazon (yes, send them even more  of your hard earned $) and a number of images are included in my recent anthologies "The Fun Never Stops!" & "Too Soon?" (both Fantagraphics books).

Ernest Noyes Brookings (above) was a resident of the Duplex Nursing home. This is his third collection of his words, set to music by various musicians, produced by David Greenberger for ESD records.

Turban Renewal
A 2 disc album tribute to the 60's band Sam The Sham & the Pharaohs, from Norton Records.
The early eighties soundtrack album from something called "Hippo Records" to the cult classic "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and an example of me being ripped -off (my artwork used without permission). Now how did they EVER think this would come out and escape my notice? Ironically, this would happen a second time, again involving Plan 9 (see below). In both cases, I was finally, fully  compensated.
My artwork was even used (without permission) on the back cover!
Deja Vu! And yet a second Plan 9 soundtrack album, this one using my drawing of Tor Johnson's head without permission
Golden Throats volume 2/More Celebrity Rock Oddities
The second "Golden Throats" album from Rhino Records (the first was a cartoon parody cover of Sgt. Pepper), and my first cover for this popular album series of celebrities singing popular songs. The cover image was based on the cover for The Rolling Stones' "Their Satanic Majesties Request" and features, left to right: Cassius Clay, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy.

A limited 3-D edition of the cover art was also released.

THE WORST!
THE WORST! was a musical based on the life of Ed Wood, Jr., declared "The Worst Director of all Time", with words and music by Josh Alan Friedman, released by Black Cracker records. Ed Wood Jr. "pulls the strings" of Bela, Tor & Vampira.

from 1984, "SHEMP Records" logo

The first album from SHEMP records, produced by Hal Willner, cover art by Ralph Steadman (click to enlarge)
SHEMP Records, "A Dubious Concept"

TUBE TUNES, Volume One
TUBE TUNES (Volume One), was a collection of original TV theme songs, released by Rhino Records. Seated on the couch L to R:  Fonzie, Edith & Archie Bunker, J. J. Evans, Keith Partridge. Left foreground: Drooper

TUBE TUNES, Volume Two
TUBE TUNES, Volume Two. L to R, seated on the couch: Wonder Woman, Mr. Kotter, Thomas Magnum, Punky Brewster, Jill Munroe

TUBE TUNES, Volume Three
TUBE TUNES, Volume Three. L to R, seated on the couch: Jennifer Marlowe, Sam Malone, Captain Stubing, Sonny Crockett, Alexis Carrington

Golden Throats 3/Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive
"Golden Throats 3, Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive" was the third Golden Throats collection released by Rhino, this time featuring clueless celebrities warbling country songs. The cover image was based on the cover of the Byrd's country-rock album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo", and features Goldie Hawn sporting her Laugh-In tattoos.

Golden Throats 4/Celebrities Butcher songs of the Beatles
"Golden Throats 4, Celebrities Butcher Songs of the Beatles", from Rhino. Based on the notorious 1966 rejected Beatles butcher cover photo. L to R: Joe Pesci, Telly Savalas, George Burns, & William Shatner, grinding & decapitating Beatle dolls.

"Hot Cakes & Hot Mamas"
The Old Codger (Courtney T. Edison), legendary WFMU D.J.  Sings: Hotcakes & Hot Mamas! (a suppressed 2004 album), produced by Irwin Chuisid & R. Stevie Moore

Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield/The Lost Concert Tapes
"Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield, The Lost Concert Tapes", from Sony Classics, a concert by the 2 legendary musicians recorded in late 1968 at New York's Fillmore East (on 6th St & 2nd Ave). Al Kooper commissioned this cover from me, and the last time Al Kooper & the late Mike Bloomfield had been  painted together for an album cover was for "The Live Adventures of Michael Bloomfield & Al Kooper" by Norman Rockwell

Rays
"Rays", music written, produced, arranged & sung by former hat-wearing Monkee & musical genius Michael Nesmith, released by Videoranch. A large, fold-out poster of my comic strip cover art, co-written by K. Bidus, was included within the package.

Dark Dark Dark Tales and other Dark Tales
"Dark Dark Dark Tales and other Dark Tales", Radio Dramas by Judson Fountain, featuring Sandor Weisberger, produced by Irwin Chusid & Barbara Economon for Innova Records.

Judson Fountain has been called "The Ed Wood of Radio Dramas." He enthusiastically produced original, gothic-tinged dramas in the style of old-time radio theatre. That he lacked training, technology, staff and a budget never deterred him.

My Judson Fountain limited edition print can be ordered here:

The upcoming second volume of "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" from Shanachie Entertainment. The first volume from 2006 featured cover art by R. Crumb

Thursday, May 19, 2011

LEO GORCEY, PROPHET

"Alliteration" by Leo Gorcey. Click to Enlarge
Harold Egbert Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster and president of "Family Radio" has declared that this Sat, May 21st, will be the "Rapture", "Judgement Day", the prelude to the "End of the World, when God will completely destroy the Earth exactly 5 months later, on Oct 21st".

Of course, to anyone who has read & admired the poetry of the late Bowery Boy/Prophet Leo Gorcey, this is old news. Gorcey predicted the end of the world in his poem "Alliteration", written in 1967 for his autobiography "Dead End Yells, Wedding Bells, Cockle Shells, and Dizzy Spells" (Vantage Press, New York).

The autobiography of Leo Gorcey, Vantage Press, 1967

My illustration, depicting Gorcey's prophetic poem originally appeared in the graphics publication RAW in 1986, the lead illustration for an article titled "The Beginning of the End" by Paul Boyer.

RAW #8. Cover by Kaz
 The Gorcey illustration and his epic poem are also included in the book "Warts & All".

Harold Egbert Camping, Leo Gorcey follower

Monday, May 16, 2011

Al KILGORE: KING OF CARTOONS



AL KILGORE (1927-1983) was a cartoonist, comic book & comic strip writer,  sometimes actor, sometimes screenwriter, but mostly remembered as a renowned caricaturist.


 Growing up in the sixties and a rabid old film comedy buff, I constantly sought out and coveted seeing AK's always delightful, effortless, lighthearted artwork, mainly on the covers of film magazines, books and record albums. I thought it obvious that here was an artist who clearly loved what he was drawing, an early inspiration for me. AK sadly died fairly young, and aside from fellow traveler-old movie buffs, his work has become either under appreciated or largely forgotten. I hope this helps to rectify that situation and restore the name Al Kilgore to it's rightful place among great caricaturists and cartoonists of the late 20th century.

A two record comedy compilation set from "Evolution records", 1972. Cover art by Al Kilgore.
The art was used on the front and back covers.

Some samples of early Kilgore work:

From 1954, cover and illustrations by AK

also from 1954, cover and art by AK

and an alternate cover by AK

and another book cover by AK from 1954

a 1958 Children's book written and drawn by AK



Some examples of AK's Bullwinkle syndicated newspaper comic strip from the early sixties (1962-65), the first featuring Bullwinkle flirting with current cinema queen Cleopatra (Liz Taylor) click to enlarge:

one of the printed strips with color added.

Christmas Card by AK

cover art by AK

Some more early sixties AK comic book covers:










AK was also the art director of SCREEN FACTS, a sporadically published, digest sized film magazine edited by Alan G. Barbour in the sixties. This is Al's cover illustration of Shirley Temple riding the stars from 1965.

All of AK's SCREEN FACTS  covers:

Bette Davis
Dick Powell & Ruby Keeler

Ann Sheridan

Rudolph Valentino

Raymond Walburn
Donald O'Connor
A more realistic AK Deborah Kerr

a later logo designed by AK
Great AK crosshatching cover art for "The Serials of Republic" by Alan G. Barbour, 1965.

AK logo for Entertainment Films, Inc.

in 1965, AK created the art for these Quisp & Quake Cereal adventure mini premium comics 


click to enlarge
This incredible, panoramic, Hirschfeld-like illustration drawn for the National Cartoonist Society depicts an assemblage of famous comic strip & pulp magazine characters that wound up in the movies. Here's the key to who's who:
ious serial fans, this 4-chapter silent mini-serial is an amazinglywell done b/w tribute to the mvie serials of the '30s and '
1966: CAPTAIN CELLULOID VS. THE FILM PIRATES was a short made by a group of film historians as an homage to 1940's movie serials and featured Al Kilgore as "Vance". Poster by artist Gray Morrowup




"Liddle Wolfgang" a 4 page comic by AK from 1966, possibly channeling Eddie Munster (Eddie Wolfgang Munster)?:
m for himself using his "Instant Transmission
LLimi
44










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A more provocative cover drawn by AK from 1968, for Leonard Maltin's essential film magazine "Film Fan Monthly", depicting a crucified Mickey Mouse on the occasion of the release of Richard Schickel's controversial Disney biography "The Disney Version".

       Wallace Beery cover by AK for Film Fan Monthly's 6th Anniversary Issue.

Another cover for Film Fan Monthly from 1971, AK's drawing of Beloved film comedienne Patsy Kelly, still performing.
AK enjoyed nothing more than drawing Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy. These caricatures of Stan & Ollie appeared on the set of Chuck McCann's early 1960's weekend TV show "Laurel & Hardy and Chuck", where AK was a sometimes guest, along with fellow Sons of the Desert founder, John McCabe.

Chuck McCann by AK

a TV Guide ad for the show

AK was a founding member of the Laurel & Hardy international appreciation society "The Son's of the Desert", creating their crest, drawn to the specifications suggested by Stan Laurel.


"Mr. Laurel & Mr. Hardy" by John McCabe, cover art and design by AK


AK created the covers and artwork for several hardcover Pink Panther books in the late sixties.


Underdog sketch 
AK drew this campaign cartoon mocking Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace for the National Cartoonist Society in 1968

a Boris Karloff tribute magazine from 1969, cover art by AK

A fun image by AK for Film Facts, what if Warner brothers had made "Frankenstein"?:  James Cagney as the monster, Humphrey Bogart as Dr. Frankenstein, Edward G. Robinson as Fritz

also from Film Facts, reprinted in Castle of Frankenstein magazine

in 1969, AK drew the cover art and interior caricatures for this book edited by Bill Adler

Some of the drawings from the book:

Eddie Cantor

Will Rogers

Robert Benchley

Fred Allen

Groucho Marx

Teddy Roosevelt

Harry Truman


A detail for the promotion art AK drew for "The Projectionist" in 1971
The full image...AK created this fun promotional handout art or "slick" for the 1971 Chuck McCann cult classic "The Projectionist", directed by Harry Hurwitz. For some reason, a different photographic image was used for the actual poster and film advertisement, although...

The British poster for the film DID use the AK art
AK lettered & drew the diagram illustrations for this 1973 magic handbook

AK's delightful Laurel & Hardy illustration and lettering adorned the cover for this paperback book from 1973, collecting articles from Film Fan Monthly, the "Official book of the Sons of the Desert", edited by Leonard Maltin.


AK compiled this comprehensive book on Laurel & Hardy in 1975
Beautiful, Hirschfeld inspired line work. Marlene Dietrich from The Blue Angel, seductively perched atop film cans.

Mario Lanza
AK's cover art for Joe Adamson's excellent biography of the legendary Warner Bros & MGM cartoon director Tex Avery,  published by Popular Library in 1975.

AK cover for this 1977 mystery novel about a murder at the "Son's of the Desert" convention published by Dutton

AK's handwritten bio and a Chaplin image that ran as the cover of "Applause" magazine
in 1971, from the 1980 National Cartoonist Society Album
AK created the flyer lettering & art for this NY film retrospective at the school of visual arts in 1980. I was a student at SVA at the time where Al was then playing sometime host to the "Son's of the Desert" meetings in the SVA film department. My unruly fellow student friends and I (We were dubbed "The Kotter Kids", although Al was amused by our "antics") would frequently sit in and enjoy the L&H screenings, as well as Al's always witty, clever and sarcastic banter.

AK poster art for this 1981 documentary:

 BURT'S BIKERS. Roy Frumkes-Director. (54 min.) Original music by Frederick Hand. Glenda Jackson-Narrator. Uplifting docudrama about children with Down Syndrome preparing for a bike race. CINE Golden Eagle. Best Documentary, Houston Film Festival. Broadcast on NBC 5/84. 
In the early eighties, AK created the art for this popular "Paper Doll & Cut-Out book", mainly illustrations of Ronald & Nancy Reagan and their 2 "children" (Patty &... (gulp) Ron Jr.) in their patriotic underwears. Actually, Nancy never looked sexier. 
back cover
AK also created the cover and art for "The Elvis Paperdoll Book" in 1983, which won him an award from the National Cartoonist Society, but was sadly one of his final projects.


When AK was honored by the National Cartoonist Society, he created this mini-bio that ran in the NCS program.
photo by Allen Hefner

Al Kilore tragically died from an Embolism in 1983, but his charming, wonderful artwork will hopefully live on to delight future classic film, cartoon, & caricature fans.

 Special thanks to Mike Lynch, Richard Sala, Jerry Beck, Ben Fentington, Allen Hefner, Jim Engel, Craig Marin, Zach Trenholm, Mark Newgarden, Bobby London & Leonard Maltin.