Friday, December 12, 2014

Jack Davis draws THE MONKEES

Jack Davis art created for TV Guide announcing
the Monkees debut

When the TV comedy The Monkees premiered on NBC in 1966, the great  Jack Davis was the artist hired to create the first illustrated images of the new musical comedians, for NBC promotion and for TV Guide advertising. When I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack several years ago at the Brooklyn Comics Festival about his career, and knowing that he had drawn The Monkees on a few occasions, I privately asked him if he was a fan of their music. "Nope". I then asked him if he was a fan of the Beatles, "Not particularly". No matter, Jack's early depictions of the Monkees are the first and still the definitive caricatures of the singing, comedic foursome.

Created by Jack Davis in 1966 to announce the debut of the Monkees,
and distributed to local NBC affiliates.
This color version was never published
The image ran in B&W in various show business trade publications
From TV Guide, from a spread announcing
NBC's 1966 fall lineup. 
TV Guide ad announcing the Monkee's debut
At the height of Monkee-Mania, Jack was hired
to draw the cover and interior art for this paperback

some page spreads from the book featuring Jack's art:

The Monkees in concert in 1966 with Jack Davis's
 initial Monkees image mounted to the front of the stage

Friday, December 5, 2014

Robert Orben's Gag, Joke and Patter Pamphlets

Robert Orben
In 1946, an 18 year old aspiring comedy writer and magician named Robert Orben, self-published his first "Gag book", a pamphlet called The Encyclopedia of Patter, and sold it in the magic/conjuror's shop in New York where he was working demonstrating magic tricks. Professional magicians who patronized the store began using his gags to add humor material to their acts, as well as professional comedians who would occasionally come into the store. The book also caught on with fledgling magicians and comics, (a young Steve Martin was an Orben fan), and with emcees.

Orben's first book

Orben photographed in the 1970's

Robert Orben also wrote material for comedians, among them Dick Gregory, Jack Paar, (for the Tonight Show), and for the 1960's Red Skelton show. Orben was hired as a consultant for Vice President Gerald Ford in 1973, and when Ford became President, Orben became his head speechwriter.

                                                   Special thanks to John Wendler