Blog Newsletter Syndicate

A Day With Jonathan Winters and Carol Burnett

This is by my cartoonist buddy Randy Enos!

Email Randy Enos
Visit Randy’s archive –Daryl

Back when I worked at The Famous Artists Schools, a man came to the school looking for a cartoonist who could draw quick stuff on a large pad of paper, y’know, like a chalk-talk kind of thing. I was recommended to him and I took the job.

It involved me going to New York to participate in the shooting of a pilot for a game show. I’ve forgotten what they called the show. They were going to have celebrity guests on this show and an artist who would draw a few lines on a giant pad and stop mid-stream. If the celebrities couldn’t guess what the artist was drawing, he would add a few more lines until someone could finally guess what the image was.

When I arrived at the room in New York where the pilot was being shot, I was introduced to the two celebrities who were going to participate. They were Jonathan Winters and Carol Burnett. They had a large pad of paper for me to work on and the appropriate crayons or whatever I was to use to draw my images.

I started drawing things like a curved line, then I added a circle to the mix and so on and so forth bouncing around on the big sketch adding little details and trying to keep it mysterious and unpredictable as the two celebrity guests threw out guesses as to what I was drawing. It was lots of fun.

We broke for lunch and they brought some food in. I got a chance to talk to Jonathan and Carol as we ate. They were both very nice and, as I’ve found out through my life when I’ve met people in the humor racket like comedians, comic actors, cartoonists or humor writers, they were serious-minded people. They asked about my life and what I did (which wasn’t much at that point) and they told me stuff about their lives. They both had an interest in drawing. Carol was actually taking The Famous Artists Schools illustration course. Jonathan told me that he had almost pursued a career in art instead of show business. He had an interest in becoming a cartoonist when he was young but finally realized that his talent was limited and that he would probably, as he put it, never be better than just an art department guy so when an acting opportunity came, off he went into acting. Carol was pursuing her art as just a sideline hobby.

I drew some cartoons for them and they drew some for me. Carol drew an ordinary fashion-drawing of a girl in a dress. Jonathan drew a couple of World War 2 soldiers which looked just like Mauldin’s Willie & Joe. They were both pretty good drawings. Winters was obviously a BIG fan of Bill Mauldin.

Unfortunately, down through the decades, I’ve lost both of those drawings so I can’t show them here. I’m very bad at keeping stuff like that. I think the drawings were both so derivative of other artists that I didn’t place much stock in them. Now, I realize that drawings by two famous people like that have a certain unique value.

Anyway, it was a very pleasant day with two charming comedians.

Of course the show we were testing never saw the light of day.

Somewhere those two drawings by Burnett and Winters are hiding away there amidst all those socks I’ve lost. Maybe I’ll find them someday.

We need your support for (and! Notice that we run no advertising! We depend entirely upon the generosity of our readers to sustain the site. Please visit and make a contribution. You are much appreciated!

Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

Illustrating the Sea

Why I Started Drawing

The Fastest Illustrator in the World!

Me and the GhostBusters

The Bohemian Bohemian

Take it Off … Take it ALL Off!

I Eat Standing Up

The Funniest Cartoon I’ve Ever Seen

The Beatles had a Few Good Tunes

Andy Warhol Meets King Kong

Jacques and the Cowboy

The Gray Lady (The New York Times)

The BIG Eye

Historic Max’s

The Real Moby Dick

The Norman Conquests

Man’s Achievements in an Ever Expanding Universe

How to Murder Your Wife

I Yam What I Yam

The Smallest Cartoon Characters in the World

Chicken Gutz

Brought to You in Living Black and White

The Hooker and the Rabbit

Art School Days in the Whorehouse

The Card Trick that Caused a Divorce

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the NCS

Blog Syndicate

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Here is another memory from Randy Enos‘ tenure at the Famous Artists School.

The Famous Artists Schools had five correspondence art courses, cartooning, illustrating, painting, writing and photography; they always wanted to do sculpture too but couldn’t figure out how to deal with the student submissions of assignment work.

Each course was laid out the same way. The school had 12 famous practitioners in each field as their “Guiding Faculty” who were the ones that created the texts and assignments that I and the other “instructors” would criticize by means of written, drawn or painted corrections and advice on the lessons.

The Guiding Faculty, of course, didn’t work in our Westport, Connecticut office buildings but they did visit from time to time and give us lectures on their own work and look at some of our student critiques. Some of them who happened to live locally came over to the school frequently like Robert Fawcett (who got friendly with me and would give me tips on my own work). Harold von Schmidt also came to visit quite often to see his friend Al Dorne our fearless leader and principal founder of the schools. A few of our cartoon course Guiding Faculty like Whitney Darrow lived in Westport.

The cartoonist Virgil Partch (VIP) would come from California to visit and Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon) and others would come, and when they did, Dorne would take our small group of cartoon instructors and the visitor out to lunch at a very high class restaurant in Westport. I remember going out once with Rube Goldberg and after we had our lunch we all sat there and smoked great long cigars.

One notable visit was from the legendary sports cartoonist Willard Mullin, who decided that he’d like to try a critique of one of the students’ works before we went out to lunch. He sat down at my drawing board and a lucky student got an original Mullin drawing of a baseball pitcher. I watched in awe as the master started with the pitcher’s throwing hand extended forward in the throw and drew a sweeping arm line down to the pitcher leaning into the thrust.

Young Randy Enos (left) watches legendary sports cartoonist Willard Mullin draw.

When the painting course’s Ben Shahn would visit, I would show his slides of paintings to invited guests from the Westport Womens Club. I was chosen to do that because I was the only one in the building who knew Shahn’s work so well that I could navigate, looking at and putting each individual slide into our antique slide projector one at a time (it only held two slides). I did the same thing for the famous Chinese watercolorist Dong Kingman who used to make believe he couldn’t speak English well enough to answer the dumb questions from the audience (more about Dong in another story).

I think the funniest visit was from our superstar Guiding Faculty member … the one and only Norman Rockwell. He visited about once a year but the visit I remember best was when my friend and car-pool buddy, Zoltan raised his hand to praise Mr. Rockwell’s work. Zoltan was the schools’ staff photographer. He shot stuff for the text books mainly; it was pretty pedestrian stuff. Zoltan was a nice, simple soul, not very well versed in the art that surrounded him at the school.

Zoltan stood up and said that his favorite work of Rockwell’s was his annual Santa Claus in the Coke ads. Rockwell answered that he didn’t do the Coke ads. Zoltan’s reply was, “Yes you do … you know those great Santa Clauses… I love them!” Rockwell reiterated that he was not the illustrator that did the Coke Santa Clauses. To which, Zoltan replied, “Yes you do… the Coke ads!” Now, Zoltan was arguing with Rockwell. Finally after a few more back and forths, Zoltan quietly sat down.

I know that Zoltan was never convinced, like so many other Americans, that Rockwell didn’t do Haddon Sundblom’s Santa Clauses.

Randy Enos

Email Randy