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Untold Tales of Hollywood #113

Film Project #23: United Artists logo

I got a call from my pal David Reneric from his office at Seiniger & Associates, the hottest movie poster studio in the world at that time. Tony Seiniger‘s design group produced about 80% of the movie posters being done in Hollywood. Tony always had his pick of the various studios’ most important films.

Because I came through like gangbusters on my American Graffiti poster (which came to me because, against Seiniger’s wishes, George Lucas insisted upon Seiniger using me), I suddenly became a Seiniger regular on speed dial. My annual income dramatically increased, as movie poster illustration and annual report illustration were the two highest paying jobs in illustration back then (I should have bought several houses instead of a lot of antiquarian illustrated children’s books).

Whenever I walked through the 3rd Avenue doors of Seiniger & Associates, I felt like a kid in an artistic candy shop. What great art was I going to see next? It could be Dan Goozée‘s Russian agit prop-influenced poster for Streets of Fire, or Drew Struzan‘s J. C. Leyendecker-meets Alphonse Mucha-style art, or Barry Jackson‘s powerful painting for Escape From New York, or one of John Berkey‘s huge, energetic pieces. I didn’t realize it at the time; I was working in the last Golden Age of movie posters. The arrival of PhotoShop ended movie poster illustration.

David’s job for me was a little different. United Artists decided that they needed a new logo to represent their company — and they wanted an animal — hence, the call to me (just as actors get typecast, so do illustrators. I did a lot of different stuff, but I was primarily known as the teen comedy guy, the Monty Python guy, and the dinosaurs and animals guy (Tony expressed his deep regrets in not having me do the poster for the Ringo Starr comedy, Caveman).

I drew a series of roughs…

…then finished the ideas I felt were the best.

Here are the first five:

Five more tomorrow…

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