The X-​Files” Parody, Pushing A Drug

The X-​Files” was a TV series that ran from 1995 to 2002. The recent broad­cast is showing now – and it reminds me of an assign­ment on January 7,1997, when I received a call from an art director at FCB /​Health­care, to work on a story­board for Biaxin, Abbott Labo­ra­to­ries. At the agency, the copy­writer was creating the script. The art director suggested that, before coming in to the agency, I should video­tape a showing of “The X-​Files” to study the char­ac­ters, Mulder and Scully and also study the mood of the mystery.
The lines from the first page of the script that was faxed to me, titled :
Treat­ment for Product Rep Video
“The BiaXin-​Files”: The Cure Is Out There
“Main Char­ac­ters” were described as Agent Mildew and Agent Scuzzy.

I had always thought that a peptic ulcer was caused by stress but the copy of this assign­ment taught me that it is often caused from H-​pylori bacteria (Helicobacter-​pylori). In 1985, Abbott Labs had part­nered with a Japanese drug company to fight bacte­rial infec­tions. Abbott Labs got the FDA approval for Biaxin in 1991.

By the time that I arrived at the agency, with these sketches, the art director had devel­oped this rough story­board for me to follow. My image of the H-​pylori bacteria is the sharp-​toothed eel-​like image that I found and clipped from my exten­sive scrap file. I colored this crea­ture in the brightest, glowing colors that would make the crea­ture stand out in the dark video.
Following the art director’s 24 frames, my inter­me­diate frames of the story­board got approval from the agency.

There was one more version drawn with more detail and presented on boards for approval of the client, Abbott Labs.
Since I was working at home and at the agency, my time-​sheet (I am surprised that I kept it) shows the hours and loca­tions as I was devel­oping the begin­ning, inter­me­diate and final draw­ings. First, the hours I worked were week­days and then there was also a lot of weekend, over­time hours, as it neared the dead­line. I don’t have the final perfected story­board, it was kept by the agency, but the timesheet for the last version – shows that I spent the average of 27 minutes on each frame.
As my part of this promo­tional campaign ended, I moved on to other jobs for other clients, so I never found out if the video was actu­ally produced. Could they find actor /​look-​alikes, find loca­tions and afford the special effects for such a spoof ? The video would have been very expen­sive and prob­ably was to be shown at confer­ences or parties, tied in with a trade show. I don’t know how this video could educate the reps with infor­ma­tion to use as they repre­sented Biaxin to doctors and medical centers.
(There was, at the end of the video, a “doctor” with a closing message. Copy for this was not included with the script. This might have contained impor­tant infor­ma­tion for the product repre­sen­ta­tives.)

As I was preparing this report, I was able to find a clue suggesting that the parody had been produced. I studied the collec­tion of “images” that came with the search of : Biaxin. Here were many “Tchotchkes – free promo­tional items dispensed at trade shows, conven­tions, and similar commer­cial events”. (This is a term that I learned when first working for phar­ma­ceu­tical agen­cies).

In this collec­tion, I spotted the same kind of “bacteria monster” (that I had intro­duced in my story­board) shown on a wall clock ! There is no date for the clock, but if it was made in 1997, it might have been handed out at the time of the showing of “The Biaxin-​Files”!

Then and now, the ques­tion : how could the Abbott sales force get any infor­ma­tion from the video to aid them as they repre­sented Biaxin to the medical world ? Medical journal ads, trade shows, patient aids, product infor­ma­tion, confer­ences, and direct reports to the reps are all of value– but giving reps : clothing, pens, plush toys, etc.? There must be a reason for rewarding product reps, with small gifts, beyond paying them. Some items could have been passed on during the rep’s appoint­ments. The enter­taining moti­va­tional video and give­aways were prob­ably paid for by patients, as “research and devel­op­ment”.

Ann Thompson

Twins With Different Art Styles

The McKee twins seemed to move natu­rally, each into their own style of art. I asked those who knew them what they remem­bered about them at the time that they both worked in San Fran­cisco at Land­phere Asso­ciates. The memo­ries from several Land­phere artists reported the McKee brothers were very close and a family member said that they even built a house together, which is a very different situ­a­tion where conflicts can be common.
Both Don and Ron McKee sensed as early as the 3rd grade at the John T. Hartman grade school in Kansas City, Missouri, that they wanted to make “Art” their career. Later, after grad­u­ating from South­west High in 1949, Don and Ron attended one year at The Univer­sity of Kansas City and one year at the Kansas City Art Insti­tute and then attended the Amer­ican Academy of Art in Chicago. Both twins were drafted into the U.S. Army for two years. As the Korean War ended, after completing basic training, Don and Ron spent the rest of their two-​year career in the Army designing and silk screening recruiting posters for the Sixth Army at The Presidio, located near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ron McKee After the mili­tary service, Ron was a top grad­uate of Art Center College in southern Cali­fornia. Working as an illus­trator in Detroit, San Fran­cisco, New York and Los Angeles, Ron has provided art for Ford, GM, Chrysler, Arco, 3M, Readers Digest, Universal Studios and Mattel Toys, among others. He produced paint­ings for the Irvine Company for the “Newport Coast Exhibit” picturing their luxury housing devel­op­ment.
During the few years that Ron worked at Landphere’s, Ron had this fresh and easy style when illus­trating sleek auto­mo­biles.

In contrast, this brochure for the new $21 million Crocker Plaza required Ron to accu­rately illus­trate and dramat­i­cally empha­size the 38-​story struc­ture to be completed in 1968. (I am including all of the pages of the brochure to show that this was a very large building for a skyline so different from today’s. The brochure was meant to be turned, to view the pages hori­zon­tally and verti­cally. (I do not have the infor­ma­tion to credit the agency and others involved in its produc­tion.) Following in the gallery are illus­tra­tions that were presented in various annual exhi­bi­tions :

In 1970 Ron McKee moved to work in the Los Angeles area. Now his paint­ings are marketed directly through numerous shows and select galleries.

Don McKee After the mili­tary service, Don was hired by Max Land­phere Asso­ciates (then at 215 Kearny Street) as a graphic designer. He produced ads and brochures for adver­tising agen­cies and direct clients.
Here are just some exam­ples from 1958, all eight were presented in San Francisco’s10th Annual Art Direc­tors Exhi­bi­tion :

By 1960 while at Land­phere Asso­ciates, Don had devel­oped a new concept in greeting cards, called “Cube Cards” as you see below.

Don, for a time, had his own graphic studio at 901 Broadway and when Max Land­phere retired, Don moved back to the Land­phere loca­tion (then on Gold Street) and he named it : “Artworks”. By 1973 he employed as many as 40 artists. In his many years as a successful graphic artist Don devel­oped an “art path” uniquely his own and he empow­ered others to multiply their own artistic talents. Don also created a selec­tion of regular greeting cards and with a move of his office and studio to San Rafael, Cali­fornia : he renamed his company “Joy Crafters”.
(Note, for accu­racy, I have “lifted” parts of para­gaphs from the biogra­phies of Ron and Don and these two photos of the twins were the only ones that I found.)
I’ve noticed that most siblings, who are close in age, compete. As chil­dren, the rivalry can be in many areas of accom­plish­ments as they mature. When the chal­lenge was drawing, my sister and I made a pact. I would not draw fashion and she would not draw cartoons. There was, then, no compe­ti­tion.
Ann Thompson

Louis Macouillard, Location, Location

Louis Macouil­lard, Loca­tion – Loca­tion

I never got to meet this fine San Fran­cisco painter/​illustrator who was known for his water­color paint­ings, posters, menu covers, murals, stamp designs and more. Of French decent, he was born in San Fran­cisco in 1913.
In the early ‘30s he attended San Fran­cisco Poly­technic High School (1884 – 1973).

701 Fred­erick Street, across from Kezar Stadium, I show the two gymna­siums, as they are today and a photo showing the main building. Also, here is a Google photo, showing the distance between the two gyms, where the main building once stood.
I know three of my friends who schooled there in the late ‘40s and ‘50s. The photo of these friends in art class, are today’s artists : Norm Nicholson and Tony Calvello. The school offered a prepa­ra­tion for a career rather than require­ments for an acad­emic college.

By 1934, Louis was attending the Cali­fornia College of Arts in Oakland (which was renamed in 1936 as the Cali­fornia College of Arts Crafts). The history of this college goes back to 1902. Louis then studied study at the Art Students League in New York City.
Back in San Fran­cisco, he opened his studio on Hotaling Place. He became art director for Velve­tone Poster Company at the same loca­tion in Jackson Square.
Following the early proce­dures that put printed words on felt pennants, this poster company pioneered the high quality screen-​printing of a “poster”. Here is a photo of that pioneer poster company and the poster that Louis Macouil­lard created for them. The third showing is Hotaling Place, today.

Louis was a Lieu­tenant in the Navy during WWII in the South Pacific. Research stated that a spread of his paint­ings from this area of the world was shown in the October 18,1943 issue of Life Maga­zine. The cover, shown below, shows Ensign Louis Macouil­lard and Grace Harrison, who was an adver­tising copy­writer in San Fran­cisco. They had married in July of 1943 and they remained together until his death in 1987. Grace died in 2000. Nowhere on the web could I find the story in the maga­zine, so for $6.59 I bought a copy so that I could share it here. This issue had many adver­tise­ments of prod­ucts known then and now, with illus­tra­tions from the very talented commer­cial artists of the time. Besides the British Pathé News in the theaters and the limited photos in news­pa­pers, Life’s exten­sive photos covering WWII in many parts of the world was an exten­sive and current view of the war.
Here is Life Magazine’s story about Ensign Macouil­lard and repro­duc­tions of his paint­ings, on loca­tion, followed by a painting that he created near the ancient temple, Marea Tainuu on the island, Ra’i?tea, French Poly­nesia.

The last image is a remem­brance written by Fred Meinke. Fred and Cal Anderson, (two of our SF adver­tising friends) also painted when “off-​duty” at a WWII loca­tion.

During the 1960s, Louis carried on the assign­ment of menu covers for the Matson Line. He followed three previous artists who had illus­trated trop­ical scenes for the line’s voyages to Hawaii and other trop­ical Matson desti­na­tions. From the Macouil­lard collec­tion, I show just three. There seems to be just one menu showing San Fran­cisco.

Through the years, there are so very many exam­ples of Macouillard’s fine art and commer­cial assign­ments found on the web (Louis Macouillard-​Images). I show a few well-​known exam­ples and include some that are in private collec­tions.

A few notes from the above collec­tion :
The 1950s illus­tra­tion “South Shore St. Peter’s Church Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Bermuda After­noon” was one printed by Portal Publi­ca­tions, Ltd. (founded in 1954 in San Rafael, CA)
“Summer Fog” was one of four prints (date unknown) by Bohemian Inter­na­tional Publishers, Ltd..
The Bank of America mural in San Mateo, CA.
BofA was formerly, The Bank of Italy in San Fran­cisco. During the 1906 earth­quake and fire, all funds were moved for safe-​keeping by A. P. Gian­nini to his home San Mateo.
This 1970s mural is a tribute to Mr. Gian­nini and that history. It was designed by Louis Macouil­lard. Glass tiles were set by Alphonso Purdinas.

Louis was a very skilled, life-​long yachtsman and he hand­crafted one of the first trimarans to sail on San Fran­cisco Bay. Besides their home on Russian Hill in San Fran­cisco, the Macouil­lards also lived in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, another area of inspi­ra­tion for his painting.
Louis Macouil­lard died on November 26, 1987 in San Fran­cisco.

Ann Thompson

Wearing Graphic Messages

The Sand­wich Board I found this photo, below, as just one early example of graphic adver­tising that gave the wearer an income. In 19th century England there were Sand­wich Men or Human Bill­boards. This was also a common sight during the “Depres­sion” years in the USA. Persons who wanted to convey their own personal state­ments or “causes” also used the “sand­wich board” method for commu­ni­ca­tion.

The next biped adver­tise­ment surface for displaying a message was the T-​shirt. The orig­inal short sleeve under­shirt became outer­wear for the army and then many laborers began to work, wearing only their T-​shirt. Adults and chil­dren knew the “T-​shirt” by 1920. Consensus seems to say that the first time that a T-​shirt was used to send a message, was in the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz”. In the Emerald City of OZ, the three OZ workers, the ”Wash & Brush Up Co.” who re-​stuffed the scare­crow with his own hay, wore green shirts showing only two letters : “OZ”.By the early ‘50s there were other printed t-​shirts, produced in Florida.

Then in the early ‘60s Marget Larsen who was designing for Weiner & Gossage’s client, Rainier Ale of Seattle, created the 1961 ad with the offer of possibly “the first sweat­shirts ever!” to have silk-​screened photo­graphic portraits. This also was where Howard “Luck” Gossage created his very “wordy” ads. His low-​key plug for Rainier Ale was in the top line : (Rainier Ale Strikes a Blow for Culture ; a Public Service Adver­tise­ment).

This ad ran in the New Yorker. It offered a sweat­shirt for $4 to wear while listening to the San Fran­cisco clas­sical music station, KSFR. The ad suggested that this would include the recip­i­ents into the realm of “High­brows”. Later the entire Boston Symphony Orchestra wore the Beethoven sweat­shirt on Beethoven’s birthday. Lith­o­graphing half-​tone images on a sweat­shirt started a whole industry !

Cotton Shirts T-​shirts and sweat­shirts are woven and soft enough to not require much care so for most sports it is ideal. Cotton and thinner mate­rials are usually used for bowling shirts. The team name or image can be lost in the wrin­kles. Dick Moore gave the art for this “Rolling Toads Shirt” to the bowling team. He never saw the shirts in person but did receive this photo.

Also shown is Dick’s design and illus­tra­tion for a T-​shirt for a fishing tour­na­ment. (He produced some commer­cial work as well as being a fine art water­col­orist while in Hawaii.) As I write this, Dick’s is sending his orig­inal art to be printed on (yes) “The Sons of Cham­plin : Home Grown in Marin” T-​shirt.

As I began my life in adver­tising, I never knew that I would be involved with clothing. Spon­sored Bene­fits The public’s partic­i­pa­tion in cycling and running events has required apparel to empha­size the popular events. Here is a shirt design that was repro­duced for Houston’s Amer­ican Rheuma­tism Asso­ci­a­tion, a 1988 Benefit Run. Also shown, three possible designs for the Amer­ican Lung Asso­ci­a­tion of San Mateo’s Fund Raising, Sofitel Bastille Tour. The French theme was initi­ated because The Hotel Sofitel (later, Pullman Hotels & Resorts) contributed their loca­tion as part of the cycling tour.

Product Promo­tions As a layout artist for an agency for phar­ma­ceu­tical prod­ucts, I was to design sweat­shirts for persons within the compa­nies. In some cases, jackets and base­ball caps were offered.
Jack Davis was known espe­cially for his illus­tra­tions for MAD Maga­zine. To sell the client, Naprosyn, on the visual for a sweat­shirt for their employees, I tried to guess what Davis would do. Next you see his b/​w layout and, lastly, his full colored art printed on a sweat­shirt.

Under-​Stated Iden­tity Some­times the client’s iden­tity was small, as this shirt for Apple Univer­sity. Apple University’s Molly Tyson and I created a series of items in the same style. There were many sketches to develop the “Lead­er­ship” image.

Just for Fun Next, body-​promo could be for private events. These items were created for fun and for free. “Vicom” Asso­ciate had begun as Barnum Commu­ni­ca­tions, and then became Vicom Asso­ciates and finally, FCB Health­care. These designs are cred­ited to many in the agency’s art depart­ment. I have no record on who did what. These were for agency events : The Vicom Asso­ciates soft­ball team,
I previ­ously showed the agency’s bowling shirt and then there was the “Ship of Fools”, an agency party of some sort, on The Ruby, which was hired for the night on the SF Bay. It all was so very foolish ! In the star-​less, moon-​less night, no life preservers to be found, no deck shoes on the decks, no sober words from the captain, and no calm water. At times the deck was almost perpen­dic­ular to the bay. The trip from San Francisco’s China Basin to Sausalito and back was scary and still great fun, having survived to tell about it.

Socks That Say Some­thing I didn’t even know that this could be a possi­bility. (Dick Moore wears’um.)

Bodies as Bill­boards, Tattoos ! I have nothing to show, here. I have read that persons have sold areas of there skin to adver­tise prod­ucts and websites !

Ann Thompson

Geezers Gathered 2017

click on the photo for a larger view.