Friday, May 30, 2008

Mel Casson 1920-2008

King Features reports the death Mel Casson. From their press release:

"Cartoonist legend Mel Casson, the writer and illustrator of the comic strip Redeye, died on May 21 at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 87."

I met Mel a couple of times at the CT NCS chapter get togethers. He was a great guy and full of great stories.

Below is a sampling of some of his gag cartoon work that he did for the book EVER SINCE ADAM AND EVE, edited by Mr. Casson and Alfred Andriola and copyright 1955 by them as well.

"You and your bright ideas. We haven't sold a painting in two days."

"Any volunteers to bisect a curve?"

"Which of you is Mr. Bingham?"

I love you too, Roger, but how will I explain to my family?"

"This is the reason I gave up playing with dolls."

"Three parts gin ... one part vermouth ... and a dash of aphrodisiac."

"Harvey, remind me to pick up a quart of milk on the way home."


Shep said...

I visited Mel 2 summers ago. My sister lives a few blocks away. He was kind and gracious and showed me his studio, original art collection and his coveted Milt Caniff drawing table. I think he was also awarded a Bronze Star for action at Normandy. Quite a guy.

Mike Lynch said...

Shep, I envy your visit! And Mel was in the Infantry and he stormed the beach on D-Day. Quite a guy!

Shep said...

Two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts ... whew. His origianl toon art ranged from Disney, Schulz, Dik Browne and Caniff among many others. The next day I took the ferry over to Port Jefferson on LI and drove in to see the great Don O! What a treat those visits were.

Rob Stolzer said...

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Mel last summer, as I'm working on a piece about Jay Irving for Hogan's Alley. Mel was good friends with Irving, and spent many a day working in his studio. They also jointly produced two early TV shows. Mel was a very gracious host, and regaled me with some wonderful stories, including meeting Peter Arno. He also told me a great story about Irwin Hasen and his hero Willard Mullin.

May Mel rest in peace.

Mike Lynch said...

Rob, I've heard Mel tell that Arno story and it's great. Thanks for leaving a note here. And let me know when your piece will be in HA!

Rob Stolzer said...

Hi Mike,

My piece will be in the next issue (#16) of HA. I think I'm holding up the works a bit, because I'm running behind (sorry Tom!).

Tom and I have just started chatting about the possibility of running Mel's interview in issue #17. I'm sure you heard Mel's wonderful story of the Willard Mullin/Milton Caniff exchange at an early NCS meeting. That one is great as well. Take care.

Adam said...

I had recently rediscovered Redeye in the comic pages online. I remember it from my childhood in the 70s, and was impressed with how well it held up. It's a shame that it couldn't follow in the footsteps of Snuffy Smith and others, comics that had survived multiple writers and artists. I have now seen the end of both Tumbleweeds and Redeye. The plus side, I suppose, is that it makes room for up and coming strips.

Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for writing, Adam. Does anyone know if there are plans to reprint any of the REDEYE strips?