Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Even though the Daily Creative department 's heydey occurred in the years between 1979 and 1981, the memories of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1978) were still fresh... and all the moreso when the paperback book of  CE3K  'photo-toons' (the movie re-told in photo stills) came out.  I don't know how the whole thing started, but someone cut out a panel from the book and added a word balloon that pertained to life at the Creative Department... and pretty soon everyone was contributing... at everyone else's expense. 

The panels featured here are just a fraction -  A FRACTION -- of the many that were created.  Interesting to note the number of names mentioned herein -- bosses, ad reps, tech guys -- many of whom I don't recall.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


History Lesson #43 -- Long before photoshop and laptops we had to create bogus photos with a simple 700 pound copy machine.   A Creative Dept. staff photo of John's head just happened to fit - exactly - on this shot of a North Stars player and, boom, the team roster went up by one.

Stay tuned for history Less #44 -- Who were the North Stars?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 11, 2010


DICKY TRACY, the renown title character of the comic strip was best known for pursuing a nonstop parade of criminals (each one saddled with a visage more monstrous than the next -- a curse that no doubt propelled them into a life of crime). Up the river they'd go and Tracy would move on to the next. But what most of his fans probably didn't know was that Dick Tracy also sold beer to college kids.

The ads we did used the comic's logo (stolen from the strip) and the character's hawk-nosed profile (also stolen) but eventually DICK TRACY'S SALOON ads involved fake comic strips featuring Dick as the Sam Malonesque owner of the off-campus bar. The first one starred Junior, Tracy's freckle-faced protege lifting his bad grades blues via a frosty mug of suds. The second strip/ad dealt with Tracy's superior entering the bar, cuffed to a collar... only to allow the criminal to escape because the Captain was drinking on duty! Through no fault of the strips/ads (I think) the syndicate that owned the DICK TRACY strip forced the bar to change the name of the place, no doubt as it was being used without permission.

Easy enough. DICK TRACY'S SALOON became TRACY'S SALOON and we designed a new Keystone Cop kind of character to be its new mascot (for which I was paid exactly fifteen dollars. Even THAT was a battle... "Fifteen dollars?!" The manager claimed he could have a friend come up with a design for a free hamburger). John and I did a subsequent strip featuring Tracy the cop/bartender facing off with a couple of baddies, all presumably in his off-duty hours. For years after our days at the Daily, Tracy's Saloon still kept a big framed portrait of my Tracy design displayed in the main room.

Alas, now thirty years later the bar remains but the mascot and his portrait have gone the way of Speedy Alka-Seltzer and the Exxon Tiger.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Danny O' Day Held Hostage, Part 5: As The Nation Held Its Breath, Danny Languished

Much like the Washington Post's spearheading of the Watergate investigation, the Minnesota Daily was the "go-to" source for news of the dummy's overseas kidnapping. Known for caring more about content than type-setting headlines (and filling out columns with real words) the Daily cut to the quick, offering up-to-the-minute acounts of what befell O'Day's ordeal.

Meanwhile, as Danny's release was being secured, a new crisis back home was brewing...

Danny O' Day Held Hostage, Part 4: Media Feeding Frenzy-And A Warning

Soon enough every mainstream magazine reflected the O'Day ordeal and its impact on American life. Lurid, hastily written paperbacks chronicling the crisis followed:

Stunningly, the head of the Daily Advertising deartment insisted the Creative Dept. stop covering the O'Day Crisis and get back to real work. Faced with remaining true to their journalistic principles or retaining their jobs, the team had no choice but to comply.

Soon, however, the note below was sent to Litt's office, a grim reminder that Danny O'Day's fate was still uncertain.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Danny O' Day Held Hostage, Part 3:: Message From The East

While detained, Danny not only found a postcard somehow but a postage stamp and a mailbox as well. Inexplicably Craig was the one Danny reached out to despite after all the time Danny O'Day had spent on Jeff V's lap, Jeff was crushed.

It was only a matter of time before the plastic Dummy's abduction was picked up by U.S. media outlets and the story spread like wildfire.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Danny O' Day Held Hostage, Part 2: History Repeating

In 1978, a handful of American journalists were taken hostage in Iran.

It was a tense time for America and some consider the international incident to be the killing blow to the Carter presidency. The hostages were ultimately freed, a B-movie star replaced Jimmy Carter and all was well.... but it seemed Tehran still wasn't satisfied.

In 1981 the Daily Creative Department was suddenly faced with its own Hostage Crisis...and one of their ranks was in terrible danger...

Rare photo showing a captive Danny gagged as well as blindfolded
(which is a little unncessary, since you could shut him up just by not
moving his lips) and being held at exacto-knifepoint.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Danny O' Day Held Hostage, Part 1: Danny, Oh Danny

Danny O'Day (pictured here with mentor and operator Jimmy Nelson and B-movie actor Ronald Reagan -- video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLIjWm9YRkc) arrived at the Minnesota Daily sometime in the winter of 1980. Made of plastic and stuffed with cotton, he was content to sit on the iron radiator and watch the rest of us work.

(At right: Danny caught in a awkward moment.)

When he was absent from his perch one day we assumed Danny O'Day was off on one of his global jaunts as he was wont to do (step sibling Farfel had left Danny a small fortune in his will).

We were half right. Danny had traveled to the volatile Middle East and had foolishly visited the still turbulent country of Iran. Knowing of Danny's close ties to now President Reagan (see photo), he was grabbed at once.... and a new hostage crisis in Iran was born.

There was nothing to be done at the offices of the Daily Creative Department but to watch helplessly as notices drawn in marker on sheets of typing paper appeared, reminding us of what we already knew.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One of the more unsuccessful ideas at the Daily

JEFF V. ADDS: The picture alone made me laugh out loud, but some reminiscence is due... I remember when the box (not nearly as big as the one pictured) was placed in the "conference" room of the Daily. A little open-topped compartmentalized cardboard box, not unlike the kind you store Christmas ornaments in, full of candy bars and Cornuts and such. I recall how impressed I was at the idea that someone in the world still had the confidence in their fellow human beings that such an honor-based form of retail could succeed. As Bruce's headline denotes, it did not. Candy bars and snacks disappeared from the thing while its collection box remained equally empty or close to it. Scribbled IOUS were instered into the slot. Handfuls of spare change. The greatest moment in the venture's short-lived existence was when a note appeared on the Honor Snacks box, charging "This Thing ATE MY QUARTER!"

All these years later though it kinda warms the heart that the Honor Snacks tradition -- and the belief in altrusism -- still lives in the modern age (note the http://www.honorsnacks.com/ in the above picture).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Remember her paramour...?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Trish Two

CRAIG ASKS: Are you sure that's Trish? Maybe you were doing a caricature of Dyan Cannon to go with James Garner and Starsky & Hutch?

BRUCE ADDS: Nope, this would by my Dyan Cannon.

Deanna Model and Friend

When the Daily Creative Department needed models for its ads, it didn't look too far away. Here are Deanna and Bruce posing with the Daily in hand. Deanna seems to need some sort of bike repair. And Bruce is secretly reading the Daily behind the Wall Street Journal. (If you're a businessman type, you gotta wear the hat. )

JEFF V. ADDS (and asks): Did these pictures ever run? It's interesting to recall that back in the day, if you needed to call a bike repair shop you had to climb into a glass box to do it. And what mystery is Trench Malloy pursuing in yet another still from the TRENCH MALLOY MOVIE?

CRAIG ADDS: The point of the Deanna photo is easy enough to understand. But what are we saying in Bruce's photo? Is he just reading the Daily alongside the Wall Street Journal, or trying to hide the Daily behind it? Are we trying to say that we're also a good source of business information or that our readership demographics equal a business pub's? Or were we just having too much fun playing dress-up again?

BRUCE WONDERS: Would that "we" be "me" playing dress-up, Craig?

Caricatures By Bruce Continued

Okay, I found the original James Garner caricature I did at the Daily. That also meant I found a bunch of other caricatures I did way back then. Can you identify them?

CRAIG RAVES: It's like a snapshot of popular culture circa late 70s/early 80s. I love the grizzled Charles Bronson most, but I have to say I'm most impressed by the Steve Martin drawing most, since he has the least distinctive features, especially in his pre-white hair phase.

JEFF CORRECTS CRAIG: Great Garner, Boffo Bronson, I mistook Jimmy Carter for David Leterman (who was not on the public radar yet, I know, but most if not ALL caricatures of the Georgian President showed him grinning, hence my confusion) and I like the bold, simple style in which Gerald Ford was drawn. But Craig, Steve Martin? Wrong. That's politician Gary Hart. And, sorry, but who is the last one? Abby Hoffman... or Starsky?

BRUCE ADDS: Craig's right, it's Steve Martin. (Below is the reference I used!) And the last is indeed Starsky and Hutch (when Hutch grew the most feeble mustache on TV).

CRAIG ADDS: David Letterman? Look at the lips, man. If it was Letterman, you'd have seen the unctuous grin with the big space between the front teeth. (Hey Bruce, could you work that up for us?)

BRUCE RESPONDS: Here you go, Craig.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trish Immortalized in Graphite

Here's a pencil sketch I did of art directoress Trish the Dish back in '81. Much more satisfying than drawing janitors.

The Preliminary Janitor (and his wife)

I don't have a copy of the original drawing I did of (and for) the Daily janitor and his wife, but I did find an original preliminary pencil sketch I did of the couple (on vellum). Jeff V. did a great caricature in an earlier post!

JEFF V: And here it is... again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They have taken our name in vain...

The least they could have done was make it a Coney joint...

Still real hard holding back the laughs at this one...

As a companion to this post, I offer the following advice (dispensed sometime in the '8os, I guess) to all our wives:

(Of course, what's truly surprising about this letter is that the Diner-quoting fan is A WOMAN! Which I assume is only slightly rarer than finding a Dodo bird egg.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The art direction of... wait, it'll come to me.

I know someone in the Daily Creative Department designed this cover. Ideas?

CRAIG WONDERS: Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's not even the campus, is it? There's the IDS Tower, and the Northwestern National Bank sign...

The art of the can

I'm assuming I drew this for some sort of college beer can sculpture contest. Beyond that, I haven't a clue.

CRAIG COMMENTS: Bruce, you really could have had an alternate career as some kind of cartoonist, I think...