Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'MARTHA! THIS IS THE BIG ONE!'

San Francisco has always had plenty of entertainment....from fine opera, ballet, and symphony companies, theatre and musical comedy performances, down to the bawdiest of North Beach night clubs. But...as an entertainment capital....S.F. was not. The television and movie industries were in Los Angeles and Hollywood....as well as the advertising and promotions for both that were created there.

Still, occasional 'show biz' related assignments and stories came my way. This week's CAWS will show a few.

Redd Fox, with one of his oft feigned heart attacks on the entertaining sitcom, 'Sanford and Son', back in the 70's. His flexible face and expressions were a pleasure to draw!


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The 'Sanford' montage, and the actors heads, were done with what became my favorite tool in the 70's....plain General charcoal pencils, 2B to 6B.

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'That's Entertainment' was the original idea on this piece: a PG&E newspaper TV ad with two inch spots...proving a lot can be shown in a small space.

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Next scans, three 1960's KFRC radio disc jockey promos....'hippie era' stuff...and my adaptation to it.

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One, a scruffy technique on a scruffy DJ!

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Also, an 8" x 10" B&W copy of a Burgie billboard....I think early 60's. We brought in a couple of models from one of the agencies in town....the young guy just bursting with energy, pep and go. His name was Bill Bixby....and I had a hunch he wouldn't be around long. Obviously, he went on to a long TV series and career in Hollywood.

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Finally, the 'Chevron Island' hula dancer, tied in with their TV ads at the time.

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The last image on 'show biz' will have to be in the viewer's eye... and we'll liberate a fine Bob Peak cheer-girls 7up illustration to set the scene...

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On a crisp fall morning in the 70's, I delivered a job to P&H in S.F. Walking in, was 'shhhh-ed' at the door by the receptionist. "They're video taping!" P&H had added a service called the 'Film Works' in the 60's...film/photo/video/documentary stuff. I walked quietly up carpeted stairs to Chet Patterson's office....which had a glass wall looking down on the photo studio. For some corporate client....and to lights, action, and camera....a cute blond cheerleader was going through her act. Practiced moves, white outfit and shoes, with big red pom-poms....just one thing was missing....her top! A few seconds later, the final big leap, arms and pom-poms high in the air....for a brief instant, all defied gravity! I turned to Chet....'Wow....the Film Works has all the fun jobs....who's the model?' He said, 'She's from San Mateo....her name is Suzanne Sommers'. As we know, Suzanne went on to a successful career on the sitcom, 'Three's Company', as well as other venues in Hollywood. Still active in business, and looks great.

*Charlie Allen's Flickr set.

5 comments:

Jason Chalker said...

Hey Charlie,

I just wanted to say 'hi' and let you know how much I'm enjoying your blog. You have an amazing body of work and your blog is both inspirational and informative! Keep up the great work.

Cheers,
Jason

Miras said...

As much as I admire your work, Sir, I love to read your stories. This is daily feast to my eyes and my mind.

And, yes of course, thanks to invaluable Leif Peng for his great job. If it wasn't his flickr collection, I would probably never get to know many of you, great artists of Golden Era...

bigb said...

Hey Charlie, Where you at the P&H party where they had nude models for the artists to body paint?

Anonymous said...

Was the topless shoot something required for a legitimate client, or was it just the photographers and clients having fun with the model during a break?

charlie allen said...

As always, thanks for the comments. The digital world still ammazes me! To Messrs. Chalker and Miras, and many others, we do owe a bundle to Leif for his indefatigable interest and communication of all forms of the illustrative arts. He has made us all richer by his efforts. To 'annonymous'...it was a serious shoot...costing some major money! Probably for some corporate sales department promotion....NOT for public distribution. Contracts, I'm sure, covered that. Bruce....I was there at the 'painting party'....for about half an hour. I left at 7:30 and drove to Colusa, about 3 hours north, to duck hunt in the early morning. I didn't paint....too shy, and thought it a bit sexist and demeaning. I was an 'old guy' of 50 then!