Friday, September 28, 2012

Jack Davis and A Guide for the Married Man

Newspaper ad for A Guide for the Married Man/art by Jack Davis

"A Guide for the Married Man" was a 1967 "Sex Comedy/"Bedroom Farce", based on a popular book by Frank Tarloff,  directed by Gene Kelly and starring Walter Matthau and Robert Morse, featuring cameos by an amazing line-up of comedians (and Jayne Mansfield in her final role)

The prolific cartoonist/illustrator Jack Davis was originally commissioned to create the poster art but for some reason his artwork wasn't used on the poster but instead used for the newspaper ads

This is Jack Davis's (rare) original poster pencil sketch featuring the entire cast:
Click to enlarge
The Davis art was used
on a Spanish poster for the film

another Spanish poster

Yet another poster
And yet another poster, this time drawn by Playboy artist Dink Siegel and also used for some foreign posters for the film. Seems the producers just couldn't make up their minds.
Click to enlarge
Finally, this was the poster used for the film's initial American release

The Turtles perform the film's theme song:


  1. It's great to see the Jack Davis pencil art. I would have guessed that he worked much looser, but he's very precise with the faces and there's a lot of rendering in the sketch. Nice find!

  2. Another amazing, informative post -- thanks for this. It's hard to believe Hollywood was once so deep in talent that a movie could boast a cast of geniuses - like Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, Carl Reiner, Jack Benny, Art Carney and Lucille Ball - all in throwaway roles. And the producers could commission some of the greatest cartoon illustrators for the poster, and not even use the final artwork! I have to admit, though, that I've had a bone to pick with GUIDE For The MARRIED MAN my whole life, because of a disastrous (in my opinion) last-minute casting change involving both leads.

    During the initial Broadway run of The ODD COUPLE, Matthau begged Neil Simon to let him play Felix! (True story – I heard it from Neil's brother, Danny Simon.) Matthau felt that he could “phone-in” Oscar, but playing Felix would actually require him to act. Simon, to his credit, said "Do me a favor, Walter, 'act' in someone else's play. I wrote Oscar with you in mind." So Matthau played Oscar, memorably, on stage and film, and his desire to play Felix went unfulfilled. It's no reflection on his megawatt talent to suggest that this was a good thing.

    Like ODD COUPLE, GUIDE is also about a pair of opposites. During production, Billy Wilder (reportedly) convinced the director (Gene Kelly) to switch the roles. Matthau, who was originally cast as the philanderer, swapped roles with Robert Morse, originally the wide-eyed innocent – and the picture is (again, imho) a misfire; a textbook example of why you shouldn’t mess with perfect visual archetypes. It's impossible not to speculate whether or not Wilder knowinlgy sabotaged the film. I hope not, because I like Wilder, but it's revealing that he entertained no such experimental casting notions when it came to his own The FORTUNE COOKIE.

    Golden Age Hollywood used to understand the concept of visual archetypes. The 1930’s and ‘40’s were the heyday of the American character actor, who specialized in portraying specific "types." Today that’s known by a derogatory term: type-casting. Only cartoonists still use and understand this concept; everyone else either consciously casts against type or, worse, casts from a generic A-list according to whatever (or whoever) the flavor-of-the-month trend happens to be.

    The all-time king of weird casting choices is revisionist director Tim Burton, an admittedly talented production designer, but a nut at casting. (This is ONLY my opinion, so feel free to shoot me down any time.) Who else would cast a 5-foot-8 Michael Keaton as BATMAN - in a film that contains pivotal lines about a “6-foot bat terrorizing Gotham"? Probably the same guy who’d cast Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane!) Charlton Heston was cast in the original 1968 PLANET Of The APES for the precise reason that his aquiline features don’t remotely resemble an ape. So what does Burton do for the [crummy] remake? He casts Marky Mark – who could get mistaken for a chimpanzee 6 days out of the week. (Again, my opinion. Sorry, ladies.)

    The epitome of typecasting is the The WIZARD Of OZ. Try imagining anyone replacing Margaret Hamilton or Bert Lahr, for starters. Today, Hamilton’s name wouldn’t be considered a big enough draw, and her part would go to Whoopie Goldberg or Ellen DeGeneres, or someone from DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES or GLEE or something. (W.C. Fields was supposed to play the Wizard, which would have been orgasmically cool - but I digress...)

    With that million-dollar face, Ben Turpin could have only been a clown, and Robert Strauss could have only been an unsavory creep. Likewise, you can't improve on Leo Gorcey as a punk, Elisha Cook, Jr. as a patsy, Sheldon Leonard as an urban lowlife or Mike Mazurki as a thug. Margaret Dumont couldn't have been anything but a dowager, Franklin Pangborn could have only been a prissy clerk, etc. I miss that degree of specificity in comedies. Seems to be a lost art nowadays.

  3. The 'Buck Brown' one has D.S. initials on it. Dink Siegel maybe? It's more polished than his Playboy cartoons, but it was a different kind of assignment, requiring recognizable faces.

  4. BINGO! Yup, it's by Dink Siegel! His style was similar to B. Brown's, but it's clearly his. I missed the initials the first time 'round. Thanks so much, I'll make the correction.

  5. Too bad the film was so awful. Watching it now shows what kind of mindset America was in then. Cheat all over the place, but if you care about your wife you won't get caught for her sake. And if she does catch you, pretend it didn't happen and gaslight her.