I got a call from Frank McLaughlin inviting me to get together with some friends for lunch. I have since learned to trust Frank's judgment. He has some terrific friends and it was worth the trip to Westport to spend some time with them.
My trip from Brooklyn did not go well. There was work going on in the subway and as I was transferring from the A train to the 4 train, an MTA employee stopped me, asking where I'm going. "Grand Central." He dighs. "OK. Take the J to Chambers," he says, "and change for the 4 there. There's no 4 here. No 4." I wandered around the Broadway Nassau subway caverns, grumbling. There seemed to be NO TRAINS RUNNING AT ALL. No A, no J, no 4. So I left the Metropolitan Subway Authority's environs and went to street level. I grabbed a cab to Grand Central, which zipped me from Fulton & Broadway to GCT in about 12 minutes speeding up Broadway. this man rode with the angels. I got to the station with about 15 minutes to spare, and that time was spent getting to an ATM, getting train tickets, a couple newspapers, and a bottle of water.
But I made the train and I made it to Westport.
Above, from left, Orlando Busino and Frank McLaughlin. I've read Orlando's cartoons since I was a kid. I still remember "Gus," the adventures of a shaggy, big-nose dog, in Boy's Life magazine. I've always wanted to meet Orlando, and it was a thrill to shake his hand and chat with him over some Chinese food. Frank draws the Gil Thorpe comic strip, and Orlando letters it. "He's the best in the business," says Frank. Orlando told me he regularly reads this blog, and I got a kick out of that! Thanks, Orlando!
From left: Walt Needham, Ron Goulart, Marshall Terpening, and you can just make out the tip of Frank McLaughlin's head. Walt, a psychologist by trade, has a huge collection of Big Little Books. One of the biggest in the country, everyone agreed. Marshall's a friend of Ron's, and a comics fan.
Prolific author Ron Goulart has a lot of Web sites devoted to him. He's written a lot of books I've seen and or read. Ron wrote one of my favorite books about comic strip history, THE FUNNIES. I have been told that he remebers EVERYTHING. When I said hello to him on Saturday, he recalled we met before -- briefly-- 3 years ago! Wow!
From left: Bob Weber, Bob Perliss, Lowell Hess and Walt Needham. I have to admit, I didn't learn much about Bob Perliss and Walt, but I sure know who the other guys are.
Bob Weber has been drawing the syndicated strip Moose & Molly for King Features for since 1965. And he teaches cartooning as well. Here's an article from Tuesday's Connecticut Post about Bob.
Lowell Hess was a wonderful illustrator whose work appeared in most Collier's publications. Lowell has a couple of sites and blogs devoted to his amazing work. Leif Peng has a short interview with him at his blog. Flickr has 2 sets of his work, here and here (scans from the Little Golden Book ALI BABA, about half-way down the page.
Frank said he had a game fo 3 cartoonists to play. You take a piece of paper, fold it in three, and the first cartoonist will draw the top of a head -- eyes and hair -- and then he turns the paper over and hands it to the second cartoonist. The second cartoonist, without being able to see what the first one drew, draws the nose and mouth. And then the third one completes the picture, with the neck and shirt. And then we all unfold the paper and see what we have wrought.
Here it is, on the back of a placemat.
Hey, it kinda looks like a Don Martin character! How do you like that Mike Lynch brand pocket protector, huh? I gotta start selling one on Cafe Press now.
I had a great time. Thanks, Frank!