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.