In 1971 my dad, using his Academy card, took me to see Feiffer's Carnal Knowledge at the La Reina theater on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. (This was before the La Reina was turned into a mini-mall several decades ago.) Boy, did that movie ever do a number on my adolescent libido!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
For several weeks now I've had an MGM folder with the title M. Flamingo And Others sitting next to my scanner. For a while the artwork mystified me. For my father, the drawing line is unique. Alternately, I kept thinking I either wanted to put this online or put it back in the box, because I couldn't quite put my finger on what was going on here.
It finally hit me yesterday and I kicked myself for not coming to the conclusion earlier. The somewhat squiggly and scratchy lines, drawn on MGM stock, do not really lend itself well to animation. But those long lean limbs that taper at the wrists and ankles, along with the pointy feet and the way the hands are (mostly) drawn, finally convinced me. My father, often a cartooning chameleon, is copping the style of a famous cartoonist, playwrite and screenwriter (to name just a few attributes) that he admired greatly.
You may disagree with me, but I've no doubt that in all these drawings my father is riffing somewhat on Jules Feiffer. In the 1960s-70s my father thought Feiffer had the best thing going, particularly as far as a newspaper strip was concerned. In the L.A. Times -- at the time -- the paper didn't even publish the strip in the usual comic strip pages; Feiffer had his own space near the editorial section, if I recollect correctly.
Below, even my father's penmanship seems to mildly take on
I find no online record that MGM ever made any Feifferesque animation. Coincidentally, Feiffer illustrated Juster's Phantom Tollbooth, which of course you know became an MGM production. My own take on all of these drawings is that, in an admittedly indirect way, they seem to take on Feiffer's spin on the middle-aged man dilemma...although maybe I'm just projecting out here.