Welcome to the web log of illustrator, cartoonist, writer, motorhead, and future Wal-Mart greeter Lou Brooks. I've gone cold turkey blogless for the last few months, and let me tell you, friend, it hasn't been easy! Have you missed all your old familiar pals?... Balloon Face, Typositor Tom, Mr. Irresponsible, and those endearing rascals, The Ass Puppets? Well, to be honest, they're not here, and they're never coming back. But lots of others are just waiting to make all this worth your while, so let's get going! Shall we?
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot... check out my newest Internet brainchild, The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, where tools of the trade that have died or have just about died a slow death are cheerfully exhibited -- Over 300 of them and counting (all submitted by folks like you!).
Labor Day, September 5, 1944. I remember the day I was born. I suddenly noticed there was a lot more room, which was nice. There was a radio on. Then a man in the room said, "Jesus Christ, that nurse talks too much!" That would have been my father. I didn't know who this Christ guy was, but as life went on, my father brought his name up a lot. My mother would occasionally call out, "Jesus Jenny!" I have no idea who that was either. August 6, 1945. Things had been going pretty swell. Then there was this sadness, and everybody seemed to get real quiet. Beginning that day, the world seemed different. Like I was put in exile or sumthin' for no reason. April 27, 1962. My father still wouldn't give me permission to smoke in the house. I told him in the kitchen that I wanted to spend my life as an artist. He smoked Camels and blew out one of those quick sarcastic smoke puffs, you know, the kind they blow out the side of their mouth and it makes their one eye squint and gives them this really scary half-grin besides. "What are you gonna paint," he said, "FLOWERS?"
Let's get down to... MONKEY BUSINESS!
A crowd gathers on the street below. You'd think they would have thought of an elevator to the top floor of The Cuhsic Voh Hotel! Subsequently, not many people stayed there. Printed in U.S.A. by Progressive Publications, Inc. Date unknown.
What better image to capture the feeling of the night before Christmas? I suddenly have the urge to dress for late dinner, make a pitcher of martinis, and walk Asta. I found boxes of these some thirty years ago while driving back to New York from Maine in a little roadside one-room store.
Hardly anything is still remembered about Delineator, one of the smartest most fashionable mags of that most fashionable era, and even less is remembered about Dynevor Rhys, the illustrator who painted this cover for the December 1931 issue. It's reassuring to know that most all of us won't be remembered in 75 years either. So, why worry? Walk Asta, hoist that martini while looking into Myrna's eyes, and here's to Dynevor Rhys, Delineator, and many more Christmas Eves to come!
I guess the Christmas season got hold of me the other night, and I found myself like an uncontrollable salmon in heat going through my DVDs and Blu-rays for a classic Disney fix, finally settling into Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The optional commentary track for the film is mostly of Walt himself, taken from various interviews about the making of the picture -- that alone's worth the price of admission!
I've had a Disney jones all my life going back to al least when Disneyland hit TV. Not the well-oiled marketing machine Disney we've all come to know and, uhhh, love... but the man, Walt Disney. There he'd sit on the corner of his desk in that expensive sharkskin suit, sun-tanned and talking to us in that squeaky happy voice of his while Donald ran amok on the desk. Along with the Ricardos and the Mertzes driving to Hollywood for Ricky's movie deal, it was to me -- even at eight years old -- somehow California all the way. Walt was my first hero, and still is.
Walt Disney was in many ways the Steve Jobs of his day. He changed things profoundly with ideas and innovations made possible by astounding risks he took over and over again throughout his life. His explanations for such risks seem to obvious to us now. But up to 1938, for example, others in Hollywood felt that making a full-color feature-length film the likes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the dumbest thing they'd ever heard of. Let alone doing it as such an expensive gorgeous jaw-dropping work of art.
Snow White took about two years to complete at a cost of about $1,500,000. Interesting thing is, Disney and his brother Roy had at times the same doubts as the others as to whether the little studio should ever have tried it. But Walt got them out in the deep water, and everyone just kept swimming. The Disney Studios' experience was limited to turning out short funny animal cartoons using proven "squash-and-stretch" animation techniques. Animating realistic humans was another thing all together.