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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Old Glamor Job
So they sent me the tape I was to illustrate, something about Ed Norton sleepwalking and dreaming about his dog. Unfortunately the tape was the wrong one, and I'd never watched much Honeymooners (though I'd seen the cartoons with the Honeymooner mice several times). But I found enough photos that I could fake up a scene okay; Norton sleepwalking, dreamed-of dog, and annoyed Kramden. Here's the first skech I did, just a quick one of Kramden & Norton. I like the Norton, though from the little pen mark over Kramden's head you can see that Lou Dorfsman chose the Kramden. This was back when roughs were exchanged leisurely with a client via FedEx, or carrier pigeon, or footmen with velvet cushions. However we did it, I eventually came up with a usable sketch.
Here's the final, and the first thing you'll notice is that I slightly mismeasured the height, leaving some dead space between the focus of the illustration and the main type, but nobody minded. I did it in alkyd paint, which is somewhat like oil but it dries faster and it's a little more tar-like in consistency, and it's a little less aesthetically pleasing, if you're into that. Despite there being no firm deadline and despite the fast-drying quality of the paint, two hours before FedEx closed on the day before it was due I was down on the floor spraying the finished illustration with half-a-can of Krylon in hopes of forcing the paint to dry. I understand Norman Rockwell worked the same way.
The last cool things about the job were that the original went into a museum in New York City, I forget what it's called but it's full of TV stuff, and when the complete series of VHS tapes was released Leonard Maltin showed several of the covers on Entertainment Tonight, and not only showed mine but said my name out loud on TV (along with Hirschfeld, Brodner, etc). That was when my career peaked. The most I could hope for now is a mention by Pat O'Brian on Access Hollywood, and who wants that?