As I wrote previously, I was very happy working for Butte, Herrero and Hyde — very fine and fun fellows. That year from April 1964 to April 1965, before they dissolved their partnership, was the only time in my art career that I was employed full time. This is my sketch of them in 1964. It is graphite pencil on tracing paper.
For the rest of my career I was a free-lance artist, never again on a pay roll.
At the break-up of their partnership, BH&H’s bookkeeper advised me of the requirements needed for invoicing, tax records and the like.
I was 23 years old and I was busy — as I continued assisting Bruce Butte, Lowell Herrero and Bill Hyde as they set up their individual studios. Easiest, was working for Bill, because he had let me rent space in his very large third floor studio at 728 Montgomery Street.
By 1966 it was time for me to design a proper business card and printed invoices for my now established business: Ann Thompson Graphic Design.
More bits of income came from small design jobs from my contacts at Shell Chemical— they knew me from when I assisted BH&H on the Shell Chemical calendars.
Some smaller San Francisco advertising agencies also called me for illustration and/or design.
In November, Richard L. Burns with Edward S. Kellogg Co. was new to the Belli Building. Previously, he had put the “smile” on the PSA commuter airplanes and, when working in New York, he created the successful “Fruit of the Loom” campaign.
Richard had many clients. He gave me the widest variety of assignments where I could perfect many styles. Knowing that “I had to start somewhere” — I always said “Yes”, no matter the kind of client, car-dealers to candy-makers. (Many of these were his smaller clients and yet he was still taking a risk with me since I had little experience.) In all, he gave me 154 assignments from 1965 to the end of 1968.
The last time that I heard from Richard was when he called me in late 1968, telling me that he suffered from a detached retina. I didn’t hear from him after that. I, at that time, was getting a lot more assignments from all around town and was planning to move to the Wharfside Building (next to Aquatic Park) in the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
In all the following years, I wondered what had happened to Richard.
Recently, I thought to look up his name on Google. Nothing. I have found another way to search. Typing a name and opening “Images”. Then I search for a face that I would recognize. —This time, I was looking for an “older” Richard Burns. There he was! It was his smile that was so recognizable. His story from all those years until now is too much for me to relay other than to say that he died from a massive stroke — but he lived — and recovered — showing remarkable courage and determination.When we last spoke, Richard Burns was off to Washington D.C., furthering his drive to help stroke victims. His incredible story is told on his website: Live or Die Burns
From his website, I found his phone number and I left a message. On August 11, 2015, Richard returned my call. It had been 47 years since we last talked. Remembering those days, I began digging into my files of jobs trying to determine credits on each. I came upon my full list from 1965 to 2003 — here are a total of 3,447 assignments!— I thank Richard Burns, who was there when I got started.
Here are just some samples that show the variety of styles needed for some of Richard’s clients.
1 PSA–Pacific Southwest Airlines (1949−1986) Children’s Coloring Book, 12-27-1965
2 MATEO FREEZER MEATS / MARIN FROZEN FOODS, Direct mail, holiday sales and greeting card, 12−29−65. A steer wearing a “Santa” outfit — selling cuts of beef !
3 REDWOOD Lincoln/Mercury, Mercury Comet – Direct mail, 1 – 1‑1966
4 REDWOOD Lincoln/Mercury. Full one-column newspaper ad, 4 – 6‑1966 This was very unusual. I was to hand-letter and illustrate this very narrow one column newspaper ad.
5 DAILEY Chevrolet, an auto dealer in Livermore, CA. Layout for Outdoor Board, 1 – 4‑1966 This was my first “big” job, an outdoor board! This tight layout was accepted and my finished art (with the then popular Cooper Black type font) followed the layout, exactly.
6 DAILEY Chevrolet- Campaign, 1966 A lot of other assignments came from the initial concept.
7 ANNABELLE CANDY CO., Sell-sheet showing TV time-slots of commercials, 1966 Many ads followed this and also included an initial design of a “Sweet” ANNABELLE doll and a storyboard. I don’t know if these two ideas were ever completed.
8 GOLDEN BAY RAMBLER, Logo and stationery for a San Rafael car dealership, 9-15-1966
9 SID LEE Announcement and Grand-Opening Invitation. 10-20-1966
10 SID LEE-Concept. This is the simple layout on 14”x17” layout paper that I presented to Sidney Lesser Lee who was opening his new office high in the Wells Fargo Building on Montgomery Street. A photo of the view from his window was to show as the ribbon was cut and the card was opened.
11 HOLIDAY MAGIC Poster, Preliminary concepts for a presentation, 7-20-1967 There were other designers that were already working for this account. Years later, I found out that fellow-Geezer, Dick Moore, was working with photographer, Dominic Belmonte, on that same account (located in San Rafael). The Holiday Magic entrepreneur, William Penn Patrick, became news — for political and other reasons. Holiday Magic was found by the US Federal government, to be fraudulent. Artists were seldom aware of the character of persons benefiting from their creative efforts.
12 RENO-TAHOE GUEST CLUB- Newspaper ad, 11 – 3‑1967 From Richard Burns: “Reno-Tahoe Travel” was the outgrowth of the “TSA” – a safety program for highway travel in the winter from the lowlands (ex: San Francisco and Los Angeles) to South Lake Tahoe (Harvey’s & Harrah’s). The other casino client was a “mafia” casino in Vegas, I can’t remember the name.”
13 The Latham Foundation-BROTHER BUZZ. Direct mail brochure, 10-11-1968 From Richard Burns: “Latham Foundation (Brother Buzz) gave me work when no one else would (*)…ended up being a children’s TV program around the world, 20 million weekly viewers.“ (*After his extreme stroke — as described above — with its heavy toll of speech and motor handicaps, most of Richard’s clients dropped him.)
14 This photo shows me as I learned the necessity of working at night, March 1968