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Me and the Ghostbusters

My cartoonist buddy, Randy Enos writes about the Ghostbusters –Randy was one of the regular contributors to The National Lampoon.

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Visit Randy’s archive –Daryl

Toward the last gasps of The National Lampoon, there began a migration of Lampoon editors, publishers and associates of the Lampoon empire to Hollywood. Doug Kenney, one of the founders went out there and unfortunately died in Hawaii. People like John Belushi, who had been involved in Lampoon stuff in New York went to Hollywood along with Matty Simmons the Lampoon publisher and Ivan Reitman and made Animal House. It seemed like lots of Lampoon people suddenly got the Hollywood movie bug. My close friend and art director Michael Gross moved his family to Hollywood and became a producer for Ivan Reitman’s films. One of their most notable being Ghostbusters.

Through all of Michael’s endeavors, the Lampoon, his subsequent foray into his own design firm, some art directing for Esquire, art directing for Mobil Oil and a brief experiment with an artistic porno site, I was always there to supply him with my art work. So it was with Ghostbusters. He called on me, from California to do a fake Atlantic Magazine cover for the movie. At that point in my career, I had yet to do an actual Atlantic cover.

In the film, after the boys get their Ghostbuster business established, they get quite famous and a brief sequence in the film is a montage, of sorts showing headlines in various newspapers, cover of Life magazine and a cover of the Atlantic Magazine all popping and panning across the screen accompanied by the famous “Who ya gonna call?” theme song. I was to show caricatures of the three “busters” in their uniforms and Proton Packs chasing a ghost.

In a stupendous display of over-kill, four fairly large cardboard boxes arrived at my house. One box contained dozens and dozens of pictures of Bill Murray, and another, pictures of Dan Aykroyd and another of Harold Ramis, the three main stars. I had shots of them close-up, at every angle and full figure –in their costumes and out of them. The fourth box was loaded with pictures of them posed together in various action shots. A caricaturists’ dream of reference material!

I set to work and created a sketch for approval and then when I got the okay, I did the finished art in linocut. Michael slapped an Atlantic logo on it and some type and made it look exactly like an Atlantic cover. We had done many fake jobs like this for the Lampoon, of course, so we knew how to do this stuff. Then, to my surprise, the fake cover had to go to The Atlantic for approval which it secured and into the movie it went. It only appears for a few seconds. It zips onto the screen… holds and then zips off. It was a kick to see it on the big screen.

I let Ivan Reitman have the original which I saw framed and hanging in his office when I visited Michael later on at the studios in Hollywood. I also got to see some of the models of the ghost creatures and an actual Proton Pack which was a bit of a disappointment in the flesh being that it was basically cardboard with duct tape wrapped around stuff. Michael also showed me the head of the moose he created for The Lampoon’s Vacation movie where Chevy Chase has to punch the moose character in the nose. The head was a hard plaster but the nose was soft.

Michael often came to New York to shoot parts of films and my wife Leann and I would always go into the city and watch the action. He even gave Leann an “extra” part in Legal Eagles. He also came in for the premier of Animal House where they had a party at the Village Gate afterwards and Belushi and Aykroyd performed a song as “The Blues Brothers” –AND, I got to meet one of my heroes, Ralph Nader, of all people.

But, after all that exciting stuff, the very best thing about the whole experience was that I now get to say, “My very first Atlantic cover was not an Atlantic cover”.

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Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

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 Newsletter Syndicate

Randy and the National Lampoon

Here’s another memory from our cartoonist Randy Enos

New Magazine in Town

One day in the 70’s, I was trudging along Madison Avenue, doing my rounds, lugging my big black portfolio, when I bumped into the cartoonist Stan Mack. After I helped him to his feet, he told me about a new magazine that had come to town from Harvard, The National Lampoon.

Stan said, “Get over there and show ’em your stuff, everybody’s working for them!” So, I went down the street to 59th and went up to the offices they shared with Weight Watchers to meet the art director Michael Gross. After looking through my portfolio, he gave me an assignment and for the next 15 years, I worked for the humor magazine (long after the founders Henry Beard and Doug Kenney and even Mike Gross had left).

I became very close friends with Mike and his family until his wife and finally, he, died just a few years ago. I worked with him through his stints at Esquire, Mobil Oil, his own design firm, an avant garde, sophisticated porno site and his Hollywood career, producing films like Ghost Busters.

Shortly after I had joined the Lampoon family, I was asked to contribute a comic strip to their new Funny Pages. My strip Chicken Gutz went on for many years. Occasionally I would throw in additional comic strips like my As The Tears Jerk which was a kind of soap opera strip and Specks-the smallest cartoon characters in the world which was a tiny strip consisting of tiny spots which talked to each other.

The work I did illustration-wise for the magazine was different than my regular lino-cut stuff I did for Time, The New York Times, N.B.C., Playboy, etc. in that I didn’t use my own style. Because of the nature of the material, I was required to assume other styles in parody. So, I did Picasso, Robert Crumb, Heinz Edelman (Yellow Submarine), Rube Goldberg etc..

I worked a lot on features written by Michael O’Donoghue, Sean Kelly, Doug Kenney and others. BUT… along with this, I was sometimes asked to pose in photo shoot parodies. One such shoot occurred on a day on which I had delivered a job to them and was on my out the door. I was getting very sick with the flu or something and I wanted to rush home. Mike Gross stopped me and pleaded with me to do this photo shoot. He said, “I know what a ham you are and you’re perfect for this. So … I did it. It was the poster for The National Lampoon Show which Ivan Reitman was producing. It starred Belushi and Radner and others (before Saturday Night Live).

The poster (below) consisted of a large title at the top and then four panels showing a back view of me in a trench coat trying to get a pretty model to laugh.

Panel one: I’m giving myself a hotfoot.

Panel two: I’m tipping my top hat. There’s a rubber chicken draped across my noggin.

Panel three: I’m slamming an ice cream cone into my head (remember, I’m getting very sick at this point). We went through a huge box of ice cream cones (Hagen Dazs, no less) for take after take after take. All through my futile antics, the model is just bored… UNTIL in …

Panel four: I open my trench coat and she dies laughing. These posters were all over New York. Everywhere I went I saw the poster and the creative work done by grafitti thugs who portrayed graphically what the model was looking at.

At that time, my wife was doing a lot of acting in New York and one day she was stepping off a subway train with one of the actors that was in the play with her at the time. He had never met me. As they stepped off, guess what was right in front of them.

Without missing a beat, my wife said, “Oh, by the way, this is my husband.”

Randy Enos

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