Monday, October 17, 2016

TELEFIXIT Illustrations by Frank Irwin

Here is TELEFIXIT, the 1956 "King Size Edition" by John P. Kenneally with some wonderful illustrations by Frank Irwin. It's a TV in-home fixit book. The book originated as a mimeographed bunch of papers and was so popular, that Mr. Kenneally, who worked as Supervisor of Communications Training in the Pilot Training School for Pan American World Airways and had "been the voluntary advisor to Pan Am employees on the care and repair of their TV sets," expanded it into a how-to book. It was published by Coleman Publications, New York and is copyright 1956 by that company.

I bought this book last week at Hardings used book store in Wells, ME. It was in terrific shape, and I fell in love with Frank Irwin's spot illustrations of ordinary guys dealing with their big old cathode ray tube TV sets.

There is not much at all on the web about Mr. Irwin. A native of Brooklyn, NY, he graduated from the Cooper Union Art School. He "was a graphic artist, cartoonist, actor, and lifetime socialist," reports the NY Times.

In the 1950s all of the animation studios were opening offices in NYC for commercial work in the new medium of TV. Frank joined the Screen Cartoonists Guild, and started to draw backgrounds for TV commercials. He would later graduate to character design and storyboarding. Among his clients: Py-Co-Pay Toothbrushes ("with the rubber tip on the end") and Kool Cigarettes, with the Kool penguin smoking a Kool cigarette in the Arctic. He then did film strip presentations, creating

" ... complete slide presentations for big-shot clients. -- almost always as a freelancer. It was fun and lasted well over 40 years. I loved it."
-- quote from the Introduction to BIRTHDAY CARDS by Frank Irwin, Blurb Books. 

He died at the age of 88 on October 29, 2015.

Here are just a few of his wonderful illustrations for TELEFIXIT.

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