Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Toot's Shor's Bar by Willard Mullin

In the 1940's, The New York World-Telegram and Sun sports cartoonist Willard Mullin painted this beautiful tribute to his regular hang-out, the legendary Toot's Shor's circular bar. He featured many of the regulars including Joe E. Lewis and Joe DiMaggio, the giant saloon keeper Toots himself (in the foreground) with his tiny wife "Baby" and various newspaper journalists, columnists, sportswriters and fellow cartoonists:

                                thanks to Mike Lynch, Tom Stemmle & K. Bidus

Monday, January 28, 2013

All of Frank Fontaine's album covers

                all of the album covers of Frank Fontaine, aka Crazy Guggenheim

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jack Davis's Sergeants 3 poster art

Sergeants 3 was a 1962 remake of "Gunga Din" featuring the 5 members of The Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

The original fun poster image was created by the great illustrator Jack Davis a year before his iconic "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" poster,  but for some unknown reason, finally not used. Instead it was used for the films publicity, promotional handouts, ("slicks"), newspaper ads, and for several of the foreign posters for the film.

Here's the original, rarely seen (entire) Jack Davis Image:
click to enlarge

the Spanish poster using a portion of the Davis art
and an ad using the entire image

thanks to Jerry Beck & Mark Newgarden

Thursday, January 10, 2013

David Frye's Richard Nixon albums

David Frye in 1972, posed in
front of his "Richard Nixon
Superstar" album
Without a doubt, the best and funniest mimic of 37th President Richard M. Nixon was the manic and intense comic David Frye (born David Shapiro in Brooklyn). Frye created the definitive Nixon and was really on fire in the late sixties/early seventies, perfecting his devastating Nixon imitation in nightclubs (my father took my brothers and I twice to see Frye perform live in NYC, at Jimmy's Supper Club and at Dangerfields), on television, The Smothers Brother's Comedy Hour and as a semi-regular on "Copycats", and especially in a series of popular comedy albums. Frye's Nixon impersonation became so good in fact, that by 1973 it sounded (to me) like Richard Nixon himself was performing the material. He perfected his impression by matching Nixon's vocal tones and modulations, and by adapting some of his catch phrases, such as "Let me make this perfectly clear" and creating some of his own, including "I am the President... make no mistake about that", and by practicing in the mirror every day. Frye was also served well by some first rate comedy writing, including from a young Gabe Kaplan, helping to create some truly sharp-edged, timely political satire.

When Nixon resigned in 1974, Frye's career inevitably took a nosedive and despite several comeback attempts including a Bill Clinton album,  he never quite rebounded. He died in early 2011 in Las Vegas.

Frye also did a funny Nixon facial imitation
 His great legacy remains his four Nixon albums, also special to me because of the artists who were hired to illustrate the covers, some of the best caricaturists of the time.

David Frye's first album from 1969, cover art by Edward Sorel

                  "Richard Nixon Get's High", along with the great Chuck McCann

back cover

Frank Gorshin and David Frye (doing LBJ) on "Copycats", 1971
Frye's second album from 1971, probably his weakest Nixon album, but great cover
art by the one and only Jack Davis
back cover
From 1972, narrated by Frye as Billy Graham, cover art by Sandy Huffaker.

back cover
Frye's forth and final Nixon album, from 1973. Gabe Kaplan was one of the writers and performers. I'm unsure who made the Nixon puppet

Listen to the entire album here:

performing as Nixon on the Ed Sullivan show, 1971
the CD reissue of "Richard Nixon: A Fantasy", with newly added material
"I Am the President" became Frye's popular catch phrase
David Frye on the Smothers Brothers show

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sammy Davis Jr. meets Richard Nixon

In 1972, entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., a lifelong democrat, shocked the country by supporting President Richard M. Nixon who was running for re-election and giving him a famous hug on stage at a youth rally during the republican convention in Miami. This proved to be pretty controversial and Sammy received hostile reactions from his friends, (aside from Frank Sinatra), democrats, blacks and, southern Nixon supporters. He would later undertake a USO tour of Vietnam at the behest of the Nixon Administration.
 As a thank you for helping to get him re-elected, Nixon invited Sammy to the White House on several occasions, and along with his wife Altovise, to a grand reception in 1973 hosted by Bob Hope. The Davis's were invited to sleep in the White House which is believed to be the first time a black couple was invited to do so. Sammy would later write that he regretted his alliance with Nixon and felt that he was ultimately misled.
                                                   1972 in Miami:                                                  

cover to an 8-page brochure issued in 1972 highlighting the  Nixon administrations accomplishments for black Americans

Photos from two visits Sammy Davis Jr. and his wife made to the White House in 1973:                                                                         

Cover art by Robert Grossman