Friday, June 09, 2006

George Crenshaw & Belvedere

George Crenshaw was a Disney animator, ghost for Hank Ketcham, a comic book artist, as well as a gag cartoonist. He drew a number of syndicated features, including: Nubbins, Nerdley and Simpkins -- but his claim to fame is Belvedere.

Belvedere is a know-it-all dog, inspired (so the story goes) by Crenshaw's own little pet.

Belvedere is a gag-a-day panel. Belvedere, being not-your-average-dog, results in a variety of gags. The one above is wonderfully surreal! And we also learn that in order to insert an explaining hand (see my "The Explaining Hand" entry in the Andertoons blog), Crenshaw has taken out the glass and screen in the window!

Crenshaw had a number of assistants on the panel, including fellow Ketcham employee Al Wiseman. I can't tell which panels Wiseman may have had a hand in, but Bill Alger has a site devoted to Mr. Wiseman and maybe one day he can show us the way.

The idea of a dog persistently shooting stuff at the waterbed with a slingshot is so odd. I can understand a dog's antipathy towards, let's say, a cat or a mail carrier -- but a waterbed? Regardless, marvelous style, with the shadows under Belvedere (and his puffs of zoom smoke), and that lovely Hawaii-Five-0 wave. At this point we see that being Belvedere means never changing your expression!

Ahh! Now, you see? I was wrong. Here is a panel wherein Belvedere has become a typical dog, and his tongue is hanging out. He can change his expression. But that pouty lower lip expression lives -- in the expression of the woman of the panel.

Like I said, this is a gag strip and the gag rests on Belvedere somehow constructing that woman's leg out of a saw revealed in panel 2. The conceit that if a guy sees a single silhouetted leg in the window, said man will then RUN to the door with lust, ripping open the door for the leggy owner, is pretty dated by now. I like that exterior door handle shape.

Mr. Crenshaw also penned a very good book with a great title: How to Draw Cartoons Editors Will Buy! Take a look at cartoonist Randy Glasbergen's review of it here.



Mike, I used to sell gags to Crenshaw for Belvedere. Don

Mike Lynch said...

Don, that's cool! It's a small, small world!

crikeysnake said...

I LOVE Belvedere. I wish I could find those little books again.

Also I need to know if George Crenshaw drew a strip where a turtle left his shell to go into a nudist colony. The reason being is that some cartoonist named "Alotis" or "Notis" drew the same thing in Reptiles magazine . I KNOW I saw this in one of those little Belvedere books and I want to make sure this comic was not plagiierized by a young new artist. It is in Crenshaw's drawing style as well.

I want to make sure the proper person is credited with it. I am not sure what issue of Reptiles Mag it is in, but I received it this month (February 2008). So it could have been Feb, March or April. They publish it quckly in spurts like that.

Also is Mr. Crenshaw still alive? I want to know where I can write to him.


Naomi Stewart

crikeysnake said...

I love Belvedere. I wish I still had those little books.

I need to know If I can write Mr. Crenshaw. Is he still alive?

Also, I saw a cartoon by someone named "Notis" in Reptiles magazine this month (Feb or March) in the style of Crenshaw. It showed a turtle leaving his shell to go into the nudist colony. I swear I saw this cartoon in one of my little Belvedere books. If so, I'd like to find out if it was plagerized.


Naomi Stewart

Anonymous said...

Naomi, Mr. Crenshaw passed away in September 2007, at his home in Sequim, WA. He was almost 90!

vinman said...

My wife and I have purchased a home in Aptos, Calif. that we are told served as a studio for Mr. Crenshaw. I plan on framing some of his best work and hanging it in the office overlooking Seascape Golf Course that was his studio. Any recommendations?

vinman said...

My wife and I have purchased a home in Aptos, california that served as Mr. Crenshaw's studio for many years. Looking to frame some of his stuff and hang in my office as a tribute to his work. Any suggestions?

Unknown said...

Does anyone know if a stuffed belvedere was ever made, and if so where to find one?