Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rene Bouche's Jack Benny portrait and more

Rene Bouche (1905-1963) was a renowned 20th century fashion illustrator working for decades for various publications, primarily VOGUE, where he rendered many cover images. He also drew, in his loose, sketchy and elegant style, a number of celebrity portraits and advertisements for magazines.  In the early 1950's he was hired by CBS's creative director William Golden to create portraits of their current stars to be used for advertising and promotional materials. Among these drawings was possibly what would become his most iconic image, a charcoal/marker & gouache silhouette of a relaxed Jack Benny. Benny was so taken with the drawing he used it for his TV show opening and closing and as his official logo throughout the rest of his career.

Read about the origin of the Jack Benny illustration here:

The original art, measuring 12 x 21 inches, is now on display in the
National Portrait gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, donated by CBS.

opening title card
a later title card with added happy American faces (not drawn by Bouche)

a recent DVD box set
a seventies Las Vegas ad

a newspaper "Benny-Fit" concert ad

and two concert programs...

Bouche's Benny portrait was also used on the TV Guide
tribute cover
                                  More of Bouche's celebrity portraits...
Lucille Ball/Desi Arnez for CBS

Danny Kaye for CBS
Edward R. Murrow for CBS
Marcel Marceau
Geraldine Page

WH Auden

Edna Ferber
Jean Cocteau
Baba Paley, wife of CBS president William Paley
Sophia Loren

John F. Kennedy
Jean Kerr
Teddy Kennedy
Red Skelton
Skelton also used the art as his official logo

Used on this Burger King giveaway record

Judy Garland
Tammy Grimes posed with her portrait

Benny Goodman
Marlene Dietrich

More on Bouche:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

THE PRODUCERS Blu-Ray box art

This is my new cover artwork for the upcoming Shout Factory Blu-Ray release of Mel Brooks 1968 comedy classic "The Producers": Zero Mostel as flamboyant Broadway producer Max Bialystock embracing/enticing meek accountant Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom. Mel Brooks had final approval on the art and I was told that when it was finally shown to him he announced: "I LOVE IT!" Oh happy day! The Producers has long been one of my favorite films, so this was really a thrill to work on.

Being released on July 2nd, The "combo pack" will include a Blu-Ray and a DVD disc,  as well as a "making of the Producers" documentary

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


 Coming up on Wedneday, April 24th, 7.00 till 9.00 PM (doors open earlier) at The Soho Gallery for Digital Art...

  • The Soho Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan St (between Prince & Houston), NYC, 1-800-420-5590

  • "The Vermeer of the Borscht Belt"
    - The New York Times

    Graphic Humorist DREW FRIEDMAN will present a visual presentation of old & new works, & discuss/argue all things Old Jewish Comedians, Sideshow Freaks, Comic Book legends, Urban legends, (Milton Berle, Danny Thomas, Billy Barty, Lester...), Shemp Howard, Joe Franklin, Abe Vigoda, Sammy Petrillo, Sophie Tucker, Tor Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Officer Joe Bolton, Harvey Kurtzman, Dave Berg, Zagnuts, Jimmy Grippo, etc with Comic Book & Vernon Dent historian DANNY FINGEROTH. Special Guests to be announced once funds are secured for their cab fares.

    Old Jewish Comedian & Sideshow Freaks books will be available for sale and inscription. Old Jews will be available for sale & inscription. Special Surprise Guests! Complimentary refreshments will be served!

    Part of Danny Fingeroths's Comic book round table series
    Tickets: $12 (cheap!) in advance at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/362647
    $17 on day of the event and at the door.


    "I stand in awe of Drew Friedman's technique and the certain flavor of sad old America he captures. I love his stuff... He's such a wacko!"
    -R. Crumb

    "Drew Friedman isn't just a brilliant artist. He takes you to a place. He takes you back in time. He makes you smell the stale cigarettes and cold brisket and you say, thank you for the pleasure"
    -Sarah Silverman

    "Drew Friedman is my favorite artist"
    -Howard Stern

    DREW FRIEDMAN's comics & drawings have appeared in Raw, Weirdo, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, SPY, The New York Times, MAD, The New Yorker, BLAB!, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Observer, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Field & Stream, TIME, The Village Voice, etc. His comics and illustrations have been collected in five anthologies. "Drew Friedman's Sideshow Freaks" was published by Blast! Books in 2011. A new edition of the Shemp-covered childhood favorite "Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental", co-authored by Josh Alan Friedman, was re-issued by Fantagraphics in 2012, featuring a foreword by a deceased NY elevator operator.

    Steven Heller in The New York Times wrote of his three volumes of portraits of "Old Jewish Comedians": "A festival of drawing virtuosity and fabulous craggy faces. Friedman might very well be the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt".

    "The Legends of Comic Books" (tentative title), a new collection of full color portraits depicting the pioneers of the comic book industry, along with biographical info, will be published in 2014. Select Images from the new series will be projected and discussed.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bert Henry Album covers

Bert Henry was a "blue" Los Angeles comedian back in the fifties & sixties who looked like the actor who played Dennis the Menace's dad on TV. He recorded a number of live albums in LA dive clubs featuring quick, whiz-bang gags,  stunningly X-rated for their day, some featuring bawdy naked lady album covers.

These are my favorites of his covers though, featuring realistic renderings of his crazed, nebbishy head: