Commercially Christmas — And An Anticipated Event : The Pacific Crab-Bash !
December usually inspired Santa on billboards, cards, and ads—and Marget Larsen produced many holiday graphic boxes and wrapping paper. The ADASF Annual Exhibition gave her the Award of Merit in 1965. (Marget also worked at 901 Battery Street during the1980s, where she designed fabrics. I was in that location in those years and I would meet Marget briefly and also see our long time friend, John Pratt who was then an assistant to Marget.)
These outdoor boards are also from 1965.
Holiday Gift Boxes. Artist, Marget Larsen. Art Directors, Marget Larsen /Robert Freeman. Copywriter, Howard Gossage. Printer, The Finn Industries. Client, Intrinsics. (Photo : CA Magazine, Marget Larsen article, March/April 1988.)
B of A —Photographer, Lee Blodget. Art Director, John McDanials. Copywriter, John McDanials. Printer, Compton & Sons. Agency, Johnson & Lewis. Client, Bank of America.
OK-Used Cars—Artist, Lowell Herrero. Art Director, Gene Duffy. Agency, Campbell-Ewald. Client, Chevrolet Used Cars.
Yellow Pages—Artist, Henry Syverson. Art Director, Robert Watkins. Copywriter, Hal Atkins. Printer, Art Craft Poster Co. Agency, BBDO. Client, Pacific Telephone.
At Vicom Associates /FCB Healthcare, I was asked to tie-in “Santa” images with a line of pharmaceutical client products. The first four examples, below, were for Syntex Laboratories Inc.: 1987, two 4½” X 6 ½” “Happy Holidays!” cards. The two larger cards (the 2nd, so large, I show only the lower quarter of it) were for the Syntex marketing department.
The 1994 newspaper full-page for Genentech, Inc. was produced in one day ! Creative director, Lester Barnett, came into my room and asked me to wrap a fir tree around the already positioned type. Then off it went, out the door, and the next morning it was in the SF Chronicle on December 25, 1994.
I was also free-lancing for Pat Corman Public Relations, representing The Marketplace ; Santa was requested for their retail ads.
San Francisco suppliers : typography, paper, and printing companies in those days were so very generous with gifts to those who designed with these suppliers in mind. Pacific Lithograph Inc. was one of the favorite printing houses in San Francisco.
Doug Ballinger, Ed Roualdes and Dick Vrooman—were friends, and after working with them throughout the year—all was celebrated in December with the crab-feed that topped the “be there” list. The printed invites to this annual event were anticipated and word spread fast of the date when the very best marinated crab was served with garlic French bread and with bottles of wine to pick up for your table.
I don’t remember Pacific Litho’s location ; I seem to remember it on Vermont Street. There were places to park, then. After passing through the front door, the din of many voices and the whiffs of the huge amount of crab—pulled you into the huge pressroom. The crowd seemed to be the whole of the advertising community and the whole Pacific Litho crew. I remember talking with the pressmen, who were always so busy when we’d be there at a press check.
Here, above, is the iron-on invitation created one year by Lowell Herrero. In April 1976, I had moved my free-lancing to the pharmaceutical agency, Barnum Communications. In December, word in town was that year’s Crab-Bash invites had been sent—but nothing arrived for me. Rex Simmons, at my previous location, created this mock-up that got me in the door.
Life in Commercial Art
Drawing Pictures is more fun than Pulling Teeth
by David Broad
During 1945 in Germany my time at war was spent in a failed Artillery Unit comprised of 240 mm howitzers towed by 2 1/2 ton trucks. I say “failed” because after disembarking at Le Havre when we hit the first hill all the trucks’ engines burned out and our only recourse was to ditch them on the side of the road. This was in March and our mission turned bringing German prisoners from the front down to camps in lower Germany, as well as guarding ammunition dumps and runnning messenger routes around the country. Skipping to wars’ end we became the Army of occupation and our unit was dissolved. Then I became the head of a PX unit, and became very popular.
I was always interested in art with hopes of becoming an artist, and I had done posters in my previous unit. One day in the PX I was called out to report to my commanding officer, for what reason I could only assume was to be reprimanded for what??? Well to make a long story short, in my previous unit, where I did posters, a buddy, unbeknownst to me, had answered an ad, in my behalf, in Stars and Stripes looking for artists. I had not answered the ad since I had hardly any experience and did not believe that I was qualified. Back to my commanding officer and my offense. It turned out I was to be transferred to PARIS into an art department. That was an astounding moment !!! That art unit, The Information and Education Division, had the “giants” of the New York advrtising art industry creating posters, displays, etc. etc. The unit was eventually relocated to Hoechst, Germany where I did my first professional work, after getting an early discharge and signing on as a civilian employed by the US Government. Some pictures below-Doing posters, art department Hoechst, !st prize for a cartoon and first piece of art.
Upon returning to USA, I enrolled at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Industrial Design was my preference, but commuting from Manhattan on the overcrowded subway carrying delicate 3-D plaster models would be inconceivable, so I switched my course to Illustration. During my summer vacations I spent time in Paris painting and traveling. After graduating Pratt I ended up in Milwaukee working for an art studio. It was a nice town and jobs were plentiful.
Below : Student work from Pratt and Illustrations from a Milwaukee art studio :
However, after visiting California with the spectacular weather it was easy to relocate, particularly after I found my heart and wife in San Francisco. I ultimately joined Landphere Associates. Terrific people, a great studio, there even was a ping-pong table for recreation. Max was a super boss and a wonderful person. It was a difficult decision to leave to begin freelancing, particularly when we were expecting our third child. Max was very caring and it was great to have him as a friend.
Below : Art while represented by Landphere Associates :
Below : Freelance, Self-Promo and jobs from San Francisco Bay Area clients :
It was an easy transition to freelancing as Landphere Studios still passed on many assignments to augment my accounts. Retiring in 1998 from the commercial world I am spending time painting and enjoying the golden years with my family and friends.
Art Identification : Pratt and Milwaukee Studio : 1, 2 : Abstract, Figure Painting 3, 4, 5 : ”Torch” Milwaukee Advertising ClubLandphere Associates : 1 : Landphere Mailer 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 : “HodgePodge” Dave Broad Self-Promos 7, 8 : Dave Broad Line Art, Self-Promos Self-Employed Assignments : 1, 2 : Self-Promo-Direct Mail 3 : Dave Broad Self-Promo 4 : Japan Air Lines-Botsford, Constantine & Gardner-San Francisco, Jerry Huff (AD) 5 : Sunset Magazine-“Chefs of the West”, Bill Cheney (AD) 6 : Kaiser/Refraction 7, 8 : Crown Zellerbach Billboards, ZEE 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 : Bank of America Folders and Posters 15 : Painting
A Tribute to Dick Cole
You will see, in the column at the left, that the “Gatherings” began in 1993. At that time, we thought that it was a one-time event, which was held in northern Petaluma. I had no idea that the group had started up again by Dick Cole and some others who had attended the first event. Gathering 1999 shows the Geezer group at a restaurant in Sonoma, Dick’s hometown. As the attendance grew, the restaurant could no longer hold us. The park in Corte Madera became an easier location for the crowd.
Through the years, Dick Cole was able to share his watercolor paintings with the commercial art and the fine art communities.
This, below, is a collection of Dick Cole’s paintings that appeared as the 2008 calendar for the Bank of Marin. For several years, the calendars were offered to the Bank of Marin’s account holders. Each year, Dick would remove one of the twelve and add a new painting from a location in Marin County. The year that the bank was no longer presenting this beautiful calendar, I took this 2008 calendar and kept using it by finding the month with the correct sequence of days and I’d stick on a note where I printed the current month—so I could keep seeing Dick’s paintings. At one of our Geezer picnics, I told Dick that I did this-—I got one of his wonderful smiles.
We will miss seeing any more new paintings with Dick Cole’s deft touch.
We will miss his jovial wit. We will miss his friendship.
Roma Wines & Chevron Campaigns
In April of this year, this painting became a search, as to who was the artist ? I sent the challenge out to everyone on our Geezer mailing list.
On Mon, 4/18/16, I wrote :
Subject : A follow-up for those interested, it took less than a day to discover the artist of the mysterious Roma Estate Wine painting, There were several responses, (Thank you : Kirsten Nusser, Chuck Pyle, Robert Steel, Norm Nicholson and Dick Cole.)
Photo of Roma painting at The Buckeye in Tam Valley
The answer, must be this, from John Crawford—Clark Agnew ! There were similar Roma Wine illustrations on the web, but none that listed the artist’s name. It took John with his ability to identify style with the artist’s name.
Clark Agnew did do other illustrations for Roma Estate Wines and other advertisements that have a similar look. I never knew the story of “the world’s largest winery.”
This was an adventure and an education for a Sunday afternoon—thanks to Jerry Gibbons and his questioning friend, Anna Lindgren (who used to work at BSSP). Greg Stern (Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners) joined in the search.
Larry Nielsen thought to visit The Buckeye Roadhouse on Shoreline Highway in Mill Valley—to see the painting first-hand. Jerry Gibbons wrote : “I’ll invite John Crawford and Greg Stern to join me at The Buckeye.”
4-18-16 This, additional story, from John Crawford :
While I was prowling around the internet looking to uncover the illustrator responsible for The Buckeye’s Roma Wine illustration, it occurred to me that I had a couple of gouache illustrations for Chevron hanging downstairs, and that I’d never taken the trouble to find out who did them. These are literally “found art.” When I was working at BBD&O in the early 70’s, I parked my car out on Sacramento Street one evening and ran in to get something. When I came out, I saw a trash barrel full of old artwork – BBD&O had obviously been cleaning out their art files. I grabbed a couple of colorful pieces off the top of the pile and put them in the back of the car. They were illustrations from the infamous “Chevron Island” campaign. They feature Irene Tsu as a Hawaiian hula girl on behalf of Chevron aviation fuel. In one, she is tugging on the propeller of a piper cub, which seems like a ploy to display her cleavage. In the second, she is gesturing at the gas pump while another Piper buzzes the field. As I said, the campaign was infamous.
There had been a writer at BBDO, Bill Dombrowski, who worked on this campaign and who later ended up at Y&R in New York, where they had an annual competition for “Worst Ad I Ever Did.” Every year, Bill would enter the Chevron Island campaign and every year it would win. A lot of this could be explained by the fact that Herb Hammerman, the notorious Director of Marketing at Chevron, had a fixation on Irene Tsu, which resulted in her being featured in a lot of unlikely scenarios involving tires, tiki gods, etc. (I don’t mean to imply anything other than an innocent infatuation – Irene Tsu was, for several years, the live-in girlfriend of Frank Sinatra and would have had little time for Herb Hammerman.)
(BTW—Wikipedia : Irene met Frank in Florida while she was filming “Chevron Island” and he was filming “Tony Rome.”) 1968-1969.
The late Floyd Yost used to tell a story about being assigned to create an outdoor board featuring Irene Tsu dancing the hula on top of the Chevron gas pumps. Floyd attempted to explain the compositional challenges involved : gas pumps = strong vertical element ; Irene Tsu dancing atop gas pumps = very strong vertical element ; outdoor board = strong horizontal element. This seemed to be lost on Hammerman. Floyd was bundled into a cab with Bob Hilton, the managing director of BBD&O, and Hammerman to view the premiere of the outdoor board on Van Ness Avenue. Hammerman was irate : “I can’t see Miss Irene’s face ! It’s too small!” Floyd again attempted to explain the compositional difficulties, whereupon Hammerman said, “Well, make her HEAD bigger!!” Floyd said, “Herb, you could have been Walt Disney.” Hammerman : “What?” Floyd : “That was Disney’s big innovation – he made the heads bigger.” The cab drove off, leaving Floyd on Van Ness Avenue, and when he got back to BBD&O, he was no longer employed there.
Outdoor board—Irene on top of gas pump by Charlie Allen
As a surprise birthday present many years ago, my wife had the Chevron illustrations framed for me. In the process, the tissue overlays had been discarded. This compromised their historical value, since the tissues had original Hammerman client notations. (e.g. “more sparkles on teeth!” “fix hair!”) Anyway, I have found that these illustrations were the work of Charlie Allen, one of the great Patterson & Hall illustrators, who passed away in 2011. I’m sure many of you will recall him. He was a much more gifted artist than Clark Agnew, who did very well on the east coast, but could never have gotten in the door at Patterson & Hall. I should have dug a little deeper into that BBD&O trash. There was a lot of discarded genius in there.
This is the final ad for the art above
I enjoyed the recent stories on ROMA and Chevron. Here’s another from the P&H archives. I remember chatting with Charlie about these ads. He thought it was a silly concept, but was glad for the work. And, boy could he paint a pretty girl.
Another piece from the campaign
I’ve found a few examples of ROMA in our archives. It looks like they did more or the product illustrations of bottles and glasses, but I did find a Bruce Bomberger B&W ad.