Friday, August 26, 2011

One More Time with Salt & Pepper

                                          Ah, the Swingin' Sixties!

1968: Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford starring as "London's hippest spies" in "Salt & Pepper", Sammy as Salt, Peter as Pepper, (ironic), directed by Richard Donner, poster art by the one and only Jack Davis

                                                Salt & Pepper trailer
the Soundtrack album cover...
and back cover

the Belgian poster, art also by Jack Davis

Mexican lobby card

a spanish version LP cover: "SUPER-SPIE HIPPY"

the Japanese poster

the movie novelization 

1969: Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford RETURN as Salt & Pepper in "One More Time" (released in 1970), poster art again by Jack Davis, this time directed by Jerry Lewis, the only film he would direct that he didn't also star in.
"One More Time" stars Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., director Jerry Lewis

One More Time Trailer

the novelization
recent DVD box set: Salt & Pepper...

One More Time

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Hipsters O-Bandon Obama!"

"Get Back-Packin'!!" (click to enlarge)
For the lead story in the latest issue of the New York Observer, the youth vote potentially abandoning Barack Obama, I depicted Williamsburg, ("hipster" capitol) skateboard toting "hipsters", donning their patented "hipster" look of fedoras, fake glasses and tight jeans, telling their former "hipster" leader to get lost. Art director, Lauren Draper. 

double click to enlarge
This issue marks the NY Observer returning to their Broadsheet roots, after several years as a tabloid. Newspapers are not dead! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Basil Wolverton and PLOP!

PLOP! # 1 (click to enlarge)

PLOP! "The New Magazine of Weird Humor" was a 20 cent comic book published by DC comics starting in 1973 (original intended title: ZANY). I remember being totally thrilled to see the strange cover of issue #1 on the newsstand because it featured one of my all time favorite artists, Basil Wolverton, who created the cover art and title lettering. It would turn out to be one of his last steady, high profile assignments.

At first glance to a casual reader, It looked to be a throwback to the original Harvey Kurtzman edited EC/MAD comics, as well as having an underground comix feel to it. It didn't take me long to realize that the covers were basically the only thing worthwhile or actually funny about this comic book, which was neither Weird nor had much Humor.

Edited by Joe Orlando of EC comics fame, it was clearly aimed at (sub-mental) children, and the "humor", mainly lame, obvious DC superhero parodies (Batman/Superman/Wonderwoman...) and reprints of 1960's/70's unfunny humor/cartoon magazine gag cartoons, featuring an abundance of "prisoners hanging on ancient castle prison walls making droll comments" cartoons. The only other saving graces were the inclusion of artwork by the great Sergio Aragones of MAD fame who contributed the cover borders as well as some interior art and stories, and, some comics by the great Bernie Wrightson. Still, I continued buying it, mainly for the covers, most rendered by Wolverton, with some later issues featuring covers by Wally Wood. PLOP! Plopped along for 24 issues until it was finally put to rest in 1976. Here are the covers by Basil Wolverton, with three by Wally Wood:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Recent Assignments

These are some recent and fairly recent illustration assignments for various publications, and one privately commissioned piece. enjoy...
Keith Richards for Readers Digest, Art director (AD) Marti Golon
The Beastie Boys for Rolling Stone, AD: Steven Charny
Jimmy Fallen, George Lopez, David letterman, Conan O'Brien as the Late Night Beatles, for  Billboard, AD: Greg Grabowy

Anthony Weiner/The NY Observer, AD Ivylise Simones

Mayor of London Boris Johnson & British PM David Cameron posed as the "British Gothic" couple, for British GQ 
My Uncle Irving, posed as Superman, commissioned by my two cousins (apologies to Alex Ross)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


designed by Lawrence Ratzkin

In 1967, my dad Bruce Jay Friedman's play SCUBA DUBA, (A Tense Comedy), opened to rave reviews at the Off-Broadway New Theatre on E. 54th St, and became a huge hit. It was inevitable that the show would spawn a softball team that would play in the then popular "Broadway Show League" on Thursdays in Central Park, two games per field, popularized by then Mayor Lindsay.

On my The MAD Show blog, I posted a photo of "The MAD Show" team of 1967, (The MAD show had been the previous tenant at the "New" New Theatre), featuring among others, Woody Allen, George C. Scott and Jason Robards. There were no future superstars on the "Scuba Duba" team of 1968, but it still featured some interesting players:

Scuba Duba team photo (click to enlarge)

Top row, L to R: Alan Wolfson (IBM engineer), author George Plimpton, New York Yankees president Michael Burke (CBS then owned the Yankees), MAD show writer Stan Hart, The show's star Jerry Orbach, author Bruce Jay Friedman, unknown, Bernard (Buzz) Farber. Kneeling, LtoR: Harry Ufland (William Morris agent, Hollywood producer), Jay Rosenblatt (publisher of Showbill), Bobby Kampf (NJ real estate mogul), Artie Kaplow, unknown. Front: The MAD Show and Scuba Duba general manager Michael Brandman, now an independent film producer and author.

Opening night ticket

Learn more about "Scuba Duba" on my brother Josh's blog about the show:
                                       special thanks to Michael Brandman

Sunday, August 7, 2011


with Jerry Lewis

In Sept 2009, Jerry Lewis invited my wife Kathy and I to be among his personal guests at the annual MDA labor day telethon at the South Point hotel/casino in Las Vegas. I had first spoken with Jerry in 2006 when my book of Old Jewish Comedians was sent to him and he called to tell me how much he enjoyed it. Jerry had also enjoyed a visual tribute I created for the NY Observer, in which I had suggested that the motion picture academy give him a special career Oscar, and he again called me to thank me and requested a large print of the piece to hang in his home. I brought the print along to Las Vegas and presented it to Jerry that weekend, along with a copy he inscribed to me. We were  granted full access to Jerry and the show's backstage rehearsals. Jerry was incredibly generous with his time and couldn't have been kinder to both my wife and I.

This would be Jerry's second to last telethon before he was let go by the MDA.

Meeting Jerry. That's his longtime secretary, Penny to my right
Jerry in his Jazzy. Presenting the print to him
Jerry and I talk comedy and art
Jerry signs a print for me
The King of Comedy and me
I took some backstage photos. Jerry rehearses his Jolson medley with the orchestra
Jerry conducts as his pal Richard Belzer looks on

This is the piece that originally appeared in the NY Observer (Jerry has since been awarded a "Humanitarian" Oscar, for his charitable work on behalf of the MDA). It can be ordered as a large print here:

My illustration of Jerry Lewis created for my first book of "Old Jewish Comedians" (2006)