Sunday, December 1, 2013

Woody Allen is not pleased with my drawing of Woody Allen

Several years ago, the late editor Peter Kaplan landed Woody Allen to write an article for the New York Observer. Woody agreed to write a piece about his long love affair with the New York Knicks basketball team. Peter, a long-time Woody Allen fanatic was ecstatic, and knowing I loved Woody's (early) films, assigned me the cover illustration to run with the article.

 I created an image of an up-close, in your face Woody, freckles & all, posed courtside as an old fashioned NY sports reporter, press hat, trenchcoat, pencil behind ear, cig' dangling from mouth, eye-contacting the reader, banging away at his underwood typewriter, as the Knicks appear mid-air on the court behind him:
"You lookin' at me?"
The day the issue appeared, Peter received a phone call from Woody Allen's sister/producer Letti Aronson informing him that Woody was not at all pleased with the illustration on the cover. Woody had assumed the piece would appear somewhere inside the issue, not as the main feature. She also assured Peter that Woody would no longer write for the Observer.

Peter called me to tell me what had just transpired, and he wondered to me in retrospect if he should have just used a small Barry Blitt, (a regular Observer contributor), drawing of Woody to accompany the piece. Peter had been hopeful to secure Woody Allen as a regular contributor. He then paused and said "Ah, fuck it... It's a great drawing!"

Here's Woody Allen's one and only New York Observer article, "Notes of a know-nothing Knicks fan":


  1. It's a fantastic illustration.

    Of course, having said that, you've never illustrated me.

  2. Its a wonderful image. I love your work!
    I think Woody would like you, if you made a picture of him with a clarinet, in Paris.

  3. Ha! Love the story ALMOST as much as the portrait!

  4. You're in good company - Woody hated Jack Davis' BANANAS poster, too!

  5. True. When he encountered Jack Davis in the elevator after their meeting about the film along with Woody's managers, he wouldn't even look at him (according to Jack)

  6. Aw, screw Woody Allen (sorry, but it's one of THEIR family expressions, not mine) -- and to use Barry Britt, an artist who has almost singlehandedly ruined The New Yorker magazine?!?!?!?!

    RIP Peter Kaplan, the LAST great New York City newspaper editor.

  7. Yeah, I can't abide that Barry Britt.

  8. For what it's worth, I am pleased with your drawing of Woody Allen!