Thursday, May 12, 2016

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part LIX

Elaine Sorel waiting for Stu Hampie, October 12, 1965.
Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

Even though she wasn't officially my agent, Elaine Sorel was helping me whenever a job came along that she thought would be good for me and if the project were not something for one of the artists she was officially committed to representing.

There was the possibility of doing a comic strip of the TV show, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," but that didn't feel like a good fit and worse, it would have tied me up indefinitely with a daily deadline for something about which I felt pretty indifferent. I'd never even watched the show. In fact, at that time I didn't even own a television set!
Abe Gurvin was an old friend from our days in the UCLA Animation Department where he had created some extraordinary films using collage and other nontraditional items.
He was now the Art Director of DUDE, a magazine that was a budget-level knockoff of Playboy, but in which he was able to do some inventive designs and better yet, employ illustrators who were not yet known.

We met at lunch and reminisced about UCLA's Animation classes and the wonderful teacher William Shull, who had been a longtime animator/director with Walt Disney.
Abe and I also talked of our future career hopes.
Bill Shull at UCLA.
Animation class.
After Animation class, some of us would join Bill Shull at the Village Delicatessen in Westwood Village for coffee and more talk about animation. My brother Richard, who was an undergraduate law student, joined us one night and much later, when he, himself was teaching at UCLA Extension, told me that that one evening had inspired him to do the same thing with some of his students after class.
Back at lunch with Abe, he gave me an assignment.

In retrospect, it's sad to think that in the early '60s if one wanted a career in one of these fields he had to move from Los Angeles to New York as there was not much opportunity for meaningful work in Los Angeles!

Many of the people I knew from the UCLA Art Department ended up with jobs at technical firms doing technical-type drawings! There also didn't seem to be any painters who gained a large reputation except for Craig Kaufman.

But the advantage of moving to New York was that it placed one in the heart of a vibrant changing culture that would be a high mark of the 20th Century.
Craig Kauffman with a work using translucent plastic sheets. John Dominis/Time Life Pictures — Getty Images
Paul Bartel had gotten an idea for a film.

Inspired by the enthusiasm for underground independent films and the attention Andy Warhol had gotten by making films that sometimes had no plot but focused on a blank room and whatever did or didn't happen for hours and hours, Paul had an idea for a plot involving a young woman who is an unwitting star of an underground film! Her reactions are so naive and ridiculous that she becomes the brunt of what might be called a practical joke — but much worse.
He asked if I'd be interested in working on it and I immediately accepted his invitation becoming the co-producer. It would be called "The Secret Cinema."

Amy Vane was going to be the girl, "Jane."
And Philip Carlson would be her boyfriend, "Dick!" "Dick & Jane!"
I suggested Buddy Felio to play Jane's boss and so Buddy became "Mr. Troppogrosso!" He'd had a cameo in the movie, "What's New, Pussycat?" so he was enthusiastic for another chance at Fame!
And so we were off and running: FILMMAKERS!
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