Friday, June 27, 2014

Norman Rockwell and Ted Key

If you get the Saturday Evening Post, then you already know this month's issue has an interview with Ted Key's youngest son, Peter Key, about his famous dad, "The Man Behind Hazel."

SEP: Where did the name Hazel come from?
PK: My dad maintained that the name Hazel came “out of the blue.” But, funny story, he later found out that Bob Fuoss, then the managing editor of the Post, was given the silent treatment by his sister for three years when the cartoon first started running. Her name was Hazel, and she thought Fuoss had selected the name to ridicule her.

Ted Key's list of creations is wide and impressive:


Children's Book DIGBY, THE BIGGEST DOG IN THE WORLD, which was made into a movie in 1973

Stories for three Disney movies and the script for Disney's THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE

The long-running "Diz and Liz" cartoon in JACK AND JILL MAGAZINE


Back in the 40s and 50s, when he was at the Post, Ted Key also pitched ideas for covers. While this was welcome, and he was paid for it -- it had to be done in a slyly surreptitious way.

Peter explains:

SEP: Were his ideas used? 
PK: Well, yes, but Rockwell didn’t like having cover ideas dictated to him. So, it was a bit of a dance. My father would sell cover concepts to Ken Stuart, the art editor at the time. Then Stuart would call Rockwell and ask him what he was working on. Rockwell would tend to say he had several projects going, but if he wasn’t specific, Stuart would run my dad’s ideas by him, and typically Rockwell would reject them all. Then a few weeks later Stuart would call Rockwell and again ask what he was working on. Rockwell would say, “Oh I have this great idea!” and it would be one of my dad’s concepts. In fairness, Rockwell always made these ideas his own.

A portion of the interview is at the link, for the whole thing you have to buy a paper or digital copy of the magazine. 

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