A Walk Into History
In the mid 1970s to the early ‘80s, I coördinated a very interesting documentary art program for the National Park Service. The program had been going on between the New York Society of Illustrators and the National Park Service in Washington D.C.
I had received word that they wanted to include a professional art society on the west coast into their program ”Artists In The Parks”.
A ‘Parks’ official flew out from Washington D.C. to meet me to discuss the program and their needs.
Fortunately our Society of Illustrators was having an annual exhibit in the lobby of the Crown Zellerbach Building at the same time. After having wined and dined him, I took him to see the illustration exhibit. He was very impressed with the caliber of talent in the San Francisco Society of Illustrators. Two days after he flew back, I received a phone call. We were a part of the program!
The San Francisco illustrators that chose to travel and create paintings for the National Parks Collection were:
1‑Jim Sanford (not shown) 2‑Chris Kenyon 3‑Dave Grove 4‑Earl Thollander (not shown) 5‑Norm Nicholson 6‑Suzanne Siminger (not shown) 7‑John Rutherford (not shown) 8‑Ray Ward 9‑Bill Shields 10-Dick Cole (not shown) 11-Joe Cleary 12-Ed Diffenderfer 13-Robert Bausch (not shown).
I was asked to assign those artists willing to travel and participate in the program to a national park or monument in the U.S. Upon their return, an artist would produce one or two paintings with complete freedom to express their interpretation of the park they had visited.
One assignment that I had, included traveling to Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska and Klondike National Historic Park in Skagway. Skagway, Alaska, in 1976 was a quiet village and tourism was minimal.
Upon my arrival, in a conversation with one of the residents, I told him my purpose for being there. He immediately suggested an afternoon excursion for my wife and me. Our guide offered to take us to a ghost town called Dyea, site of the starting point for the gold prospectors in the 1898 Yukon gold rush. We accepted his offer and found ourselves bouncing over and old dirt road for miles in his truck. We climbed up and over a mountain until we came to a spot where the road ended. “Now we have to hike in, the rest of the way”, our guide said.
My wife and I looked at each other with apprehension. The only thing visible was thick brush and heavy timber ahead. I told my wife that I would fall back behind her and our guide as we hiked in, as a safety measure. Was this guy for real or had we accepted a ride from a possible Klondike mass murderer? The thoughts went through my head.
After about a half-mile hike through mosquito-infested brush, we suddenly came into a clearing. There before us were a number of old deserted cabins from the 1898 gold rush. Many cabins still contained remains of furniture and some utensils on the tables. We saw an old gravesite with sixty head stones. This was at the base of the steep Chilkoot ice steps that the miners climbed on their way to the gold fields of the Yukon. As the story has been told, the miners waited for days to climb the ice steps, single file and burdened down with all their gear. On one occasion, one slipped and fell – – bringing the others down with him, resulting in the deaths of sixty miners. All now buried in that graveyard.
After safely returning that afternoon to Skagway, we reflected on what we had experienced that afternoon. The whole experience of that afternoon directed me to a different approach to the art I later produced. I created a large assemblage, depicting the history and the events of that area.
For the Glacier Bay assignment, I painted one of the massive glaciers. I was trying to capture the quietness of this vast landscape. The quiet, once in awhile, only broken by the roar of an ice cliff collapsing into the bay, called “caving”.
“An Other-Worldly Experience”
Artist Robert Bausch was born in 1938 in San Francisco and grew up in California. After graduating from college he was an art director for several advertising agencies in San Francisco before he launched a freelance design and illustration business in 1968. He has always had a strong interest in aviation, and has produced many paintings of aircraft, which led to his participation in the Air Force Art Program. He also made several paintings for the US Navy and NASA.
In 1979 the National Park Service commissioned him to travel to Carlsbad Caverns as part of the Artist-In-Residence Program, where he produced sketches on the spot, down in the caverns. Bausch had never been to Carlsbad before, and found being underground for hours at a time to be an unforgettable experience. This was also the first time he had been to the Southwest, and the sweeping landscapes made a lasting impression. Bausch reflects on his time in the cave:
“The experience of visiting Carlsbad Caverns was surely one of the most unusual ones I’ve ever had. What an astonishing thing the caverns are! It would have been different enough just being there. But the fact that I was actually working “down below,” drawing and thinking about what I was drawing, in this very strange and awesome place, was quite a treat for the senses. Every morning after breakfast for four days I went down and sat on a campstool and started sketching. This was early in the day, and very few other people were about, if any. Down here was a truly magical world, the prehistoric depths of our planet. The lighting was very subdued, and it was extremely quiet, except for the sound of dripping water, echoing from unseen chambers around me, as the process of the formation of the caverns continued. I will never forget this other-worldly experience.”
Bausch created a series of impressionistic pen-and-ink renderings on illustration board and paper of various areas in the cave, and donated a total of nine large drawings. Some of the drawings were executed using only detailed hatched ink lines, while others were enhanced with ink washes. Each drawing also has a line of hand-written text at the bottom describing the location. Documenting the process of a drawing with text as part of the finished image was very popular in the 1970s.
In 2009, Lois Manno, who at the time had been volunteering at Carlsbad Caverns for 15 years, and has been involved with the National Park Service for many years, published a beautiful book, Visions Underground, which chronicles various artist’s involvement with Carlsbad Caverns, and the art they have produced as a result. 4 of Bausch’s drawings are featured in the book.
Assignment: Harpers Ferry Historical National Park, WV
SFSI member, Ed Diffenderfer
Dick and I phoned Ed who described the trip in the Fall of 1970. He said that before leaving home, Mary Ann planned an extended stay. They would rent a car and touch on selected locations in that region of our country.
When they arrived at Harpers Ferry, viewing and taking many photos, Ed said that the history of both; that location and abolitionist John Brown, combined in determining his illustration.
[Mary Ann, was a commercial artist before she turned her talents to writing. She has had a number of books published. This from her recent email to us: “I have a novel coming out soon (September) about a woman artist — “All Kinds of Beauty”.”]
She suggested that I search the life story of John Brown.
Here, first, is Ed Diffenderfer’s painting.
Following Ed’s painting (and a photo of Ed from the 2001 SFSI Reunion) I show images that I have found about John Brown—
‑the man: Born May 9, 1800, ancestry back to 17th-century English Puritans, and from a staunchly Calvinist and antislavery family. Father of 20 children (some sons, were also abolitionists). Many years involved with the Underground Railroad and other anti-slavery efforts.
‑the Harpers Ferry Raid that he instigated: On the evening of October 16, 1859, Brown led 21 men on a raid of the federal armory of Harpers Ferry in Virginia (now West Virginia). Holding dozens of men hostage his followers gathered the stored guns with the plan of inspiring slaves to march north, to freedom.
Brown’s forces held out for two days but they were eventually defeated by military forces led by Robert E. Lee. Many of Brown’s men were killed, including two of his sons, and he was captured.
‑and the price he paid: — hanged — for his attempt to abolish slavery in the years before the Civil War.
Visiting West Virginia at that time of the year, Ed said that they found the trees were showing their ultimate of colors. He said that they drove a lot, stopping at the chosen locations, such as Norman Rockwell’s original: home-studio / museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Ed said that the collection, there, offered the chance to see the detail of the brushstrokes on paintings never seen when reproduced in halftone printing.
The Diffenderfers traveled as far as Rockport, MA and then it was soon time to return to California and start painting.
Yosemite and Mount McKinley National Park
G. Dean Smith studied at Pratt Institute in New York and the Art Center School in Los Angeles before opening a graphic design firm in San Francisco in 1959. It was in 1962 — for San Francisco’s ABC outlet, KGO-TV, that he designed (known as the Circle 7 logo) – the first of the trademark symbols that were to make him known nationally.
Conference of National Park Concessioners
For this leaflet shown: “Welcome to your park” — Dick Moore was asked by G. Dean Smith to show the various services available for visitors during their stay in the US National Parks.
Welcome to the Tetons
Line art of a section of a full mountain range — Dick created this line drawing for a folder about the Grand Tetons for G. Dean Smith. The year and details are forgotten. Just this sample remains.
Norm Nicholson and Robert Bausch supplied the stories of their experiences.
Then, with a phone call to Ed Diffenderfer, I was able to present the third National Park Service, “Artists In The Parks” report.
The other samples, here, were not part of the SFSI project.
G. Dean Smith’s trademarks for the NPS were designed in 1968 –for the Yosemite Park & Curry Co. and in 1970 –for the Mount McKinley National Park.
The assignments that Dean gave to Dick Moore in the 1970s show other graphic designs required by the Conference of National Park Concessioners.
To show the locations of the parks described, I added the maps from Google.
When many of those who worked commercially, came to the time to make a change or retire, they usually stepped into another avenue related to their talent: fine arts painting, personal photography, sculpture, writing, decorative wear, event designing & planning, professional crafts, book design, teaching, theatre and more. Their unique talents, perfected through the years, were valuable in pursuing their new interests.
When Bruce Wolfe switched full-time, from 2D illustration to 3D sculpture — he surprised many in our ‘graphics’ circles. Bruce had a wide range of painting styles. This move, out of the commercial advertising arena, gave a huge opening to others. Here is Bruce’s sculpture of photographer Ed Zak – and I show Ed Zak in 2006.
In the 1960s and ‘70s— ‘Levi’s Brand’ in San Francisco — many of us think: Chris Blum!
There were Levi’s posters, ads, and TV commercials (from Dancer Fitzgerald and Sample) like this one:
Now, his favorite art form is boxes – – that make you stop, and question, and wonder!
You can see Chris Blum’s websites in our listings: “Still in The Game” and “Artist’s Sites” in the columns at left and right.
Dave Broad has said: “I found my heart and wife in San Francisco”. He also found a long and successful opportunity – he joined Landphere Associates. Dave found that art studio was full of great people – and Max Landphere, was a close friend. There, Dave created humorous Illustrations. After many years, Dave decided that it was time to start freelancing. Time to be working from home, as his third child was due to arrive there. His light-hearted Illustrations continued to grace many publications. When he stepped away from commercial work, that was his chance to show his watercolor talents — from the classic watercolor styles to bright abstracts.
We posted a full story of Jack Allen’s photography, previously. I missed showing this sample of his 1965 “Lucky Lager” photography. This time we emphasize his change from photography to painting. The style of his paintings are now subjects for jig-saw puzzles: “Company Town” (500 pieces) and “Nob Hill” (1000 pieces) are shown – very popular for all ages who are now staying close to their homes.
Kirsten Tirsbak Nusser
Kirsten arrived from Denmark in late 1965, and worked for Psychology Today Magazine in San Diego and design studios in LA.
I first met Kirsten when I joined Barnum Communications, later FCB, in 1976. For many years we both covered medical ad agency needs as art directors, graphic designers and layout artists. (Shown: a medical journal ad for Aleve® and the Genentech HER2 Patient Education Brochure (Cancer) –for which Kirsten won an RX Award.)
During many big campaigns, we were often working nights and weekends, after everyone else had gone home! After I left FCB healthcare in 1995, Kirsten stayed, and was employed there as Art Director, until retiring in early 2001. Then her time became open — to design jewelry (and she also teaches jewelry-making). Kirsten said she especially enjoyed designing the backdrops and coming up with fun ideas for this event in 2019: Speak Easy Night Club, for the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.
Here was another move to sculpture. Mik Kitagawa worked at various ad agencies in San Francisco.
He started in print, got into TV at Y&R on Goodyear. When he moved to other agencies he did both TV and print.
This entry into the SFSCA 1974 competition won him a gold medal.
Once on his own, he found many locations to sculpt. I didn’t know Mik at the time, except for his appearances at McGovern’s on Vallejo Street. Then he would attend the Geezer Gatherings. Richard and I visited one of his “open-studios” and we purchased this figure. This bronze piece, Mik titled: “Romeo and…”.
Just recently we received a note from Norm Nicholson. I have posted his illustrations, but now he is writing his memoirs.
Norm’s note to me:
I knew you were a native of San Francisco. That is a great story of your mother working in the defense industry in Richmond. She was one of the original Rosie the Riveters. You have to start writing your memoirs with all the years of growing up in SF. Or you probably have started.
I have to get back to it myself as I have let the pen drop so to speak. I have written a lot of memoir material as I had been in several writing workshops. It’s really for my Grandson’s and Grand daughters, who would enjoy them.
I would see Rory Phoenix, also at McGovern’s. I knew that he was in advertising but I didn’t know of his copywriting talent. That was back in the 1980s. I remember seeing the ”Pin Drop” commercial on TV.
I changed my lunch spots when McGovern’s became a ‘fern bar’ called “Grumpy’s”— so I no longer saw these ad men at lunchtime. Then in 2010, in our Marin Independent Journal, I saw Rory Phoenix again — a painter!
I was able to reach Rory and he sent this:
“McGovern’s” late 70s early 80s was an era of long lunches. I remember the owner Seamus poured very generous drinks.
I worked at JWT ‘til ‘87 and left for Chicago, then NY in ‘87. Came back to JWT 9 – 3‑2000. Painted all my life and was an art director ‘til the Mac turned layout into a commodity and became all about Photoshop. Copywriting always seemed easier. Heck, I wrote half the scripts and headlines anyway.
I continue to work remotely where age doesn’t seem to matter. I think the Internet gave a lot of us “geezers” a fresh opportunity, after they’d shunted us out when we started looking too much like “Dad”.
You can see Rory Phoenix’s websites in our listings: “Still in The Game” and “Artist’s Sites” in the columns at left and right.
With so many at home and not sure of being employed again – – I find that, very much like the time that I had to retire before retirement age. It was 1996 and I was age 55 when I moved out of my studio located in San Francisco. It was not: “Now, what else can I do?” it was “I know what I need to do”.
I became a caregiver. I had already been assisting my aunt who had been on her own for nine years. I had been able to stop by “in the avenues” after work. So helping my aunt, taking on some free-lance jobs and other family matters filled my time. But then from 2002 to 2011, my mother needed my help.
Care giving starts with the closing down of residences.
(Totally out of my realm of experience) was the “first job” – – when a small mobile home that I sold through a realtor – was abandoned before the full payment. The property had been wrecked and my “trusted” realtor turned her back on me. I needed to refurbish, advertise and make the appointments and show the property, and sell the mobile home. I even wrote a new sales agreement that incorporated the rules of the mobile home park with the legal requirements for selling. This is just to say that, when you have a new task, you can tackle it.
All this was before the time when daily health-care was needed full time.
Senior-care wasn’t in my art instruction, but my past assignments in the medical ad agencies gave me the interest to illustrate what I was learning with this new challenge. I also took photos of foods, homecare equipment and my mother. (I was lucky that she was always sweet and accepted all that I tried when there were changes made and she required more help.)
As a full time caregiver, I was not making money – but I was saving it. No more free-lance business expenses, no hired help to our home.
There were those who suggested that my mother be placed in senior home. I couldn’t “not know” what was happening to her daily – or even hourly.
So, as I was learning what was required, I was making a record of everything. I was “on the job” as I had been all those years at my drawing board.
My past assignments had shown a lot of step-by-step instructions. My past experience with type and photo selection helped when I created a binder of information. A visiting hospice nurse once suggested that my binder of care would be useful for the Red Cross to share with the public after a natural disaster. Family members might need some easy-to-view instructions.
There were vacations that I had to refuse, but I used the time for family research, family trees, and keeping this Geezer group as an extension of the friends that I had from previous years. After 2011, I continued almost full time with these projects.
The change of job for me, I know now, is that I write. I hadn’t been into writing since my high-school years. Now I’m writing for this Geezers site, computer type designing of family roots, and I wrote a small (48 page) book of my paternal grandparents.
Another big job change for me is that I take digital photos! I have taken thousands of shots as we have visited (monthly for 6.5 years) the building of the “Matthew Turner” – – a tribute to the master ship-builder of 228 ships who was related to one of my most favorite persons since 1964: Murray Hunt. I can’t say that I am a “photographer” but I am especially enjoying this new job change and also using my favorite tool – – this computer. (But I do still draw on paper.) I even submitted this cartoon to the New Yorker magazine. But it was rejected.
My changes did not make money. So many people are looking into what else they can do to bring in income.
Still, at this time, when it is safer to keep family members together — I know that I would again choose being a family caregiver.
There was a recent interview with Dr. David Katz who co-wrote the book “How To Eat”. He promotes “lifestyle medicine”. He worked as a relief support to the doctors in a NYC hospital and described the speed of symptoms and quick spread of Covid-19. He also mentioned the high risks of the slow — yet inevitable results of heart problems.
Back in the ‘80s, I was given the assignment for the following illustrations to show the “good” and the “bad” in caring for one’s heart. Dr. C. Everett Koop was the US Surgeon General in the years: 1982 – – 1989 and the following was the plan for a “Special Program Co-Sponsored by AMA, ACC and NHLBI”.*
*The American Medical Association (founded in 1847), the American College of Cardiology (1949) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1948).
“Operation High Risk Recue” was “A National Physicians’ Crusade for Immediate Action on High Cholesterol Patients With Heart Disease and Multiple Risks”. This campaign was directed to all physicians with patients seeking help.
I was freelancing with VICOM ASSOCIATES at 901 Battery Street, SF. I was asked by their creative director, Lester Barnett to be inspired for my art style by Geoffrey Moss, the political illustrator. My art tool was a black marker; so I was not able replicate the crisp pen and ink lines from the deft hand of Mr. Moss. I never did know what written copy or other elements completed this production:
Another “heart” assignment was in 1990 for the new partnership of Vicom / FCB. The job was for a Genentech Family Day — Saturday, Sept. 15, 1990. The project was an educational set of three large printed sheets for youths to learn the parts of the heart and the action of blood in the heart. The instructions were given to use certain colors to fill in areas to make it all easy to understand.
I’m not a kid, but after all these years, I decided that I’d color these up. I actually have a newish box of Crayola Crayons and my Prismacolor pencils. But now there is this Adobe Photoshop with colors and paint brush — right in front of me that I could use.
This is – a good way of learning these areas and actions of the heart!
I show a 4‑page layout for Genentech, Inc. My “go to” method for quick layouts was sketching the subject with Berol Prismacolor pencils smeared with a tissue with “Bestine” thinner (I was warned to wear gloves or wash hand immediately but who had time?) and highlighted with white drawing ink in a ruling pen. The 4th page of the layout had red marker added. The 2‑page ad was published in a Medical Journal—the back page shows a 1989 copyright.
I have no knowledge of how layouts are created now, when the computer has replace the drawing board.
Heart disease is still the top worldwide health risk — where the source begins within the patient – – inherited, a birth defect or the result of a personal lifestyle. The exception – – is an outside exposure, like Covid-19, that stresses the heart.
As it was in the past, the present virus pandemic risk – is where the source was (somewhere in the world) from just one individual’s occupation or lifestyle.
The virus can be from various living creatures (monkey, ape, bovine, avian, swine or — ?).
The animal that carries the virus “lives” with it. The virus evolves to adopt a new host, a human that tries to adjust to it and it spreads globally — Its genetic code mutates, evolving more as it travels. So viruses, too, have lifestyles.
Hopefully, more education of and attention to risky human “lifestyles” — will identify a virus when it has jumped to that first person — and isolate it immediately.
On the Lighter Side.
On the Lighter Side.
For the youth and the youthful.
I didn’t get many assignments for children. Now that we are cooped-up in the house, I am trying to stay on the light side, which brings three assignments to mind.
1972 – 1973 Neo-Mull-Soy
This was fun! While working on this product for Klemptner Casey, I felt that the soy formula was a great product and I could design ducks. The design of the duck (and color choices) came to be as the tall carton with slanted type was being designed. The walking duck was at the bottom. An insert for the carton was this punch-out mobile with 2 of the ducks. As a gift for a child, I was asked to construct a 3‑D duck that could be punched out of one sheet of stiff paper – to be printed with yellow, orange, green and (for the duck’s eyes) black. I made the pattern and constructed the duck as samples at two sizes but this was never taken to the finished printed piece. The gift for the child became the little “plush toy” duck. I felt that a child would have more appreciation and learn constructing skills with my paper 3‑D Duck.
1980 to 1985 Cutter Biological
I still have seventeen copies of the publication, “ECHO” (Education and Communication for Hemophiliacs and Others) in which I was assigned the design and illustration of the center spread. All was accomplished with the basic line work and colored with markers. The two pages were titled, “Just For Fun” – directed to the children with hemophilia.
My assignments were from Ketchum Advertising / San Francisco Technology Unit. My involvement lasted from February 1980 to March 1985 – – with a gap in between.
At one period of time, I was not receiving the regular timed requests for my contribution. The last issue that I had submitted was for the May1982 issue. There had been no warning to me that the client had moved the publication to New York City, to be prepared by Gross Townsend Frank, Inc.! I found a June 1983 issue. Then, it wasn’t until May of 1984 that I was contacted to carry-on as previous for the June 1984 ECHO. My favorite challenge was again back on my drawing board until March 1985.
I was rewarded when a letter to “ECHO” was published. It was a thank-you from a parent in behalf of their child who enjoyed having “his own pages”.
1998 – 1999 Humongous Entertainment
Do you remember the early Netscape? Beginning in 1994, Netscape Navigator wasn’t the very first, but the earliest widely used browser. This was the only job I had to be found on Netscape at that time. Here is the art of series of ten ‘Mad-Libs” Weather Reports designed for Humongous Entertainment.
The art was a single background scene, of a front yard. All of the other illustrations had to fit onto this “stage”. You can see an overlay plan for ”Wind”. Then: SUN, RAIN, RAINING CATS & DOGS, RAINING HATS & HOGS, RAINING ICE CREAM CONES, RAINING SPAGHETTI, RAINING TOMATOES, SNOW, THUNDER & LIGHTNING, WIND.
As an example of the “Wacky Worldwide Weather Report”, it is played (A) by first making a list, typing in the words required. Then (B) by pressing a button that said: “Make Headlines!” and then Pajama Sam immediately wove your words into the story. You may notice the pixel background pattern that was showing on my computer as I took screen shots.
I’m hoping that all who see this are safe and healthy. Maybe this collection will bring a smile – – and from your other family members, too.
The Rest Of The Story
Three short reports — two resulting in tight friendships.
A Client — and much later — A Friend.
I recently received emails from Jill Perkins who told me about one of our industry’s un-sung heroes. John Perkins was there at Rapid Typographers. (Established in 1963. Rapid Typographers Co, Inc. provided type & graphic services to the local SF Ad Agencies, and Graphic Designers.)
John helped save many of us meet out morning presentations by staying late hours preparing type galleys and/or final copy type and headlines, ready for paste-up. (The follow-up is the friendship with a client – – long after the working years.)
This is Jill’s report:
John Perkins John was a part owner of Rapid Typography before it became Rapid, working with advertising agencies sending them proofs and disks and working with them for the benefit of their companies.
John was the plant manager and hands on worker, often working late at night to meet agency’s deadlines. John retired in 2006 and enjoyed working at home making Chardonnay wine in our 50 vines vineyard he planted from scratch when we moved into our house in the late ‘90’s which had a large downhill grassland seemingly non-useable area. John designed the vineyard and a large vegetable garden in this area, and we enjoyed our wine and vegetables for many years.
One of his clients, Henry Wachs, designed the logo for UCSF. Henry created the first “MZ” block logo for Mount Zion Hospital and early iterations of BankAmericard.
After Henry retired John lost touch with him. Henry moved to live at The Redwoods in Mill Valley, and John, who had applied as a volunteer companion with a local community agency — by pure happen chance though the volunteer agency — was linked up with Henry because of their backgrounds. They became fast friends and companions, going out to lunch and for walks weekly until Henry died at 91. John also became friends with Henry’s family.
John worked with many agencies, and many of them would come into Rapid, often at night to oversee the deadlines.
I believe he met and worked with Lowell Herero, and as cat lovers, we always bought his wall calendar for our kitchen and loved the musing cat characters.
2‑Oct.3, 2012, Geezer Gathering with Henry Wachs
3‑On our way to Croatia, our last trip in May/June of 2019. We had a wonderful trip,
Don’t put off anything you want to do, as John Lennon so eloquently put it:
“Life happens when you’re making plans.”
A Second Phone Company !
Klemtner Casey Inc. was located at The Wharfside Building on Beach Street In 1971. They gave me the following assignments. These two ad layouts were to introduce a new phone company – – to compete with the GIANT Bell Telephone Company! That client and the agency wanted me to show Bell Telephone restricted, and less of a monopoly. I couldn’t show “Ma Bell” tied up – – so we chose to show a giant, instead.
(The following, with thanks and my small $ contributions to Wikipedia).
The Bell System was the system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone C0. and later by AT&T which dominated the telephone services industry in North America for 100 years from its creation in 1877 until its demise in the early 1980s. The system of companies was often colloquially called Ma Bell (as in “Mother Bell”), as it held a near-complete monopoly over telephone service in most areas of the United States and Canada. At the time of its breakup in the early 1980s, the Bell System had assets of $150 billion (equivalent to $370 billion in 2019) and employed over one million people.
(The Bell System logo and trademark was designed by Saul Bass in 1969.)
After this job, I never found out if Arcata Communications became a viable competition to “the only phone company” available. So now I looked up the name and the time and found that there were at least 3 years of legal action (1971−1973). The Industrial Reorganization Act: The communications industry by United States Congress. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly.
I could not find the result of that investigation.
A Silent Hero
It was the mid sixties, I had only worked at Honig, Cooper, & Harrington for a couple of months.
I did the art direction on 3 in store posters for United Vintners ( Italian Swiss Colony ) I got Nic Sidjakov to do 3 beautiful full size tight comps. The meeting to present the work was at 4:00 pm, the Ad Manager showed up about a hour late. It was obvious that he just stumbled out of a 4 hour 4 Martini lunch and he was totally wasted.
I was wearing Levi’s, Boots, Long hair, etc. I started to present the work and he started to give me a really hard time about the way I was dressed and the way I looked. I ignored him and just continued with the presentation, and he got worse and worse and would not pay attention to the fabulous work that Nic Sidjakov had done.He became totally abusive so I picked up the work and told him he was an asshole and I and I left.
When I left one of the two Account Executives in the meeting was actually crying as
this was her account and this thing had gone completely out of control. I went back to my office and started packing up my stuff thinking that there was no way I was not going to be fired. The two account exec’s immediately went to Bill Honig’s office and told him what happened. As I was packing my stuff Honig walked into my office and said “put that stuff away-nobody that works for me will ever be treated like that-don’t worry I’ll take care of it”
Two weeks later the obnoxious ad manager was fired and the posters were approved and produced.
Honig and I became really good friends and he helped me in so many ways I can’t even count them. Few people know…but Bill Honig was a Angel of Ramparts and Rolling Stone, he personally paid for a anti smoking campaign, and he was a major art collector but I think he was most proud of being on Nixon’s White House Enemy List !
Chris Blum ( who wouldn’t be here today without Bill Honig )
So what happened to HC&H?
I found this:
UCR / The California Digital Newspaper Collection–Desert Sun, 1-10-1975
LOS ANGELES — Foote, Cone & Belding, eighth largest advertising agency in the U.S., and Honig-Cooper & Harrington, largest independent advertising agency on the West Coast have reported the completion of the previously announced merger that results in one agency with western billings in excess of $100 million. The announcement was made by Louis Honig, HCH board chairman, and Louis E. Scott, chairman of FCB’s executive committee. A newly formed subsidiary, Foote, Cone & Belding/Honig, will manage the agencies’ merged western U.S. operations. FCB/Honig will be the largest advertising agency operation in the Western market. Honig becomes chairman and chief executive officer of FCB/Honig. Scott continues as chairman of the executive committee and a director of the parent company, Foote, Cone & Belding Communications, Inc. Honig is headquartered in San Francisco and Scott in Los Angeles. The San Francisco offices of HCH and FCB will be combined into one office, while the Los Angeles offices of HCH and FCB will continue as separate units.
I am planning a future post about Nic Sidjakov who was, I think, the most prolific and versatile illustrator in San Francisco at the time of Chris Blum’s story.