Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lorne Greene and the Hotel BONANZA

The Hotel Bonanza, A two level, 160-room western-themed hotel and casino in Las Vegas, was constucted and owned by New York attorney Larry Wolf and opened on July 1, 1967. 

In order to capitalize on the then hugely popular primetime TV show Bonanza, the opening night revue was hosted by none other than the show's (Jewish) star Lorne Greene, "An Evening with Lorne Greene", who performed in his full Ponderosa/Ben Cartwright costume in the hotel's "Opera House Showcase of the Stars". Other performers in the revue included Suzi Wallace, "the Lively Five", "the Bonanza Girls", "Watusi Stampede '67", all backed by the Joe Guercio Orchestra. 

Lorne Greene performed his fairly recent hit "Ringo", and other popular songs of the day. His closing number was "What the World Needs Now". The audience loved it. 

In 1970 Larry Wolf went into bankruptcy and the hotel was demolished to make way for the MGM Grand Hotel, which would later burn down.

      Lorne Greene sings "You make me feel so Young":
postcard for the Bonanza hotel featuring the show host Lorne Greene

back of postcard
a postcard of the new Hotel Bonanza in 1967

a 1970 Hotel Bonanza postcard

Lorne Greene with comics Red Buttons and Jimmy Durante in Las Vegas

Opening night jitters with conducter Joe Guercio

the real draw for the hotel, displaying her Bonanzas.

thanks to John Wendler

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Chiller Theatre TV Guide ads

Chiller Theatre was the name of the Saturday night horror film slot in New York shown at various times of the evening on WPIX channel 11 in the 1960's.

Like so many other kids growing up in the New York area, I made sure I was glued to the TV that night. The New York/New Jersey editions of TV Guide regularly ran tiny ads for Chiller Theatre throughout the sixties featuring bold, simple yet stark artwork and lettering which I looked forward to and loved.

I have no idea who designed these ads at TV Guide but my suspician is they were created by the late writer/editor/designer Bhob Stewart who worked at TV Guide at the time, (and was instumental in bringing Jack Davis on board), and was also an editor at Castle of Frankenstein magazine. Here's a small sampling:

the memorable opening to Chiller Threatre

Thanks to Gary Gerani

Friday, February 27, 2015

Drawing Leonard Nimoy.

The actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing Vulcan Mr. Spock has died. Although he wasn't a comedian, he was old (83), and Jewish. And... I drew him several times:

Golden Throats 2/Celebrity Rock Oddites
LtoR: Cassius Clay, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr., William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy sang "Put a Little Love in your Heart" on this CD,
first issued with a 3-D cover from Rhino records

for EMMY magazine, an article on why science fiction TV shows
rarely win Emmy awards
Leonard Nimoy, shutterbug

drawn for Entertainment weekly when Nimoy became a photographer
technically not Leonard Nimoy, but Barack Obama posed as Mr. Spock,
along with John McCain as Capt. Kirk,  For the New York Observer

Monday, December 22, 2014

Big Eyes cover for Written By Magazine

This is my new illustration for the cover of the Writers Guild magazine Written By, depicting the screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose new film BIG EYES directed by Tim Burton opens on Christmas day.

I was asked to channel the artist Margaret Keane's "Big Eyes" paintings. The film is a biography of Margaret and her late husband Walter Keane, who falsely took full credit for decades as the creator of the iconic Big Eyes paintings.

the finished art
 my initial pencil sketch

the printed cover, art directed by Ron Tammariello

at the NY preimiere after-party for BIG EYES on 12/15
I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret Keane,
and showed her my illustration of
Scott and Larry. She was delighted with it and told me
I had a future in art.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bob Dylan channels Frank Sinatra

Blowin' in the Summer Wind...

Bob Dylan will be releasing his tribute album to Frank Sinatra in Feb 2015, Shadows in the Night. To celebrate the occasion I created this image of Dylan posed in an iconic Sinatra pose. The illustration will soon be released as a limited edition print:

Jeff Newelt for HEEB magazine writes about the art here:
Ol' Jew Eyes is Back
my initial rough pencil sketch

tighter pencil sketch, before painting

and the unofficial cover that could have been, art directed by Todd Alcott

my last drawing of B.D., for the Wall St. Journal, when he was about to turn 70

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