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How My Dad Got Me Mel Blanc’s Autograph—A Father’s Day Post

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on June 17, 2018

NOTE: This is NSFW. Really. There is copious line-art nudity. But there is also a photo from The Big Lebowski, so there is that.

Back in the early to mid-70’s porn was enjoying a cultural resurgence, thanks in large part to such travelogues as Last Tango in Paris, Debbie Does Dallas and, um, The Wild World of Spurts.

During that time my dad was a graphic package designer best known for designing the logos for Pepsi, American Airlines, Folgers and Winston Chewing Tobacco, a product that once had as its either un-copyedited or purposeful tagline—“Put a Little Winston in Your Mouth.”

But Dad longed for bigger things. All his life he wanted more than anything to be a cartoonist. Every Saturday morning he and I sat on the sofa and watch almost every animated show, all leading up to our very favorite cartoon, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour

And every night Dad worked on his cartoon and comic art submissions, hoping for the day he would be struck by that one grand idea, that one unequivocal moment of creative brilliance. That moment finally arrived when he drew this…

The Original Orgy Shirt—151 naked people, six dogs, and what I thought until the age of 11 was sponge cake at the very top, all engaged in 100% cotton sexual congress.

Sensing he had hit upon the right drawing for the right decade (and still smarting from the fact that Milton Bradley had refused to buy his party game “Pick-a-Dick”), Dad pulled together the funds and ran an ad (copy written by Screw Magazine and Channel J founder Al Goldstein) for his new shirt in Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, Oui, Cheri, and New York Magazine.

The Original Orgy Shirt proved an instant hit and soon dad and I were making weekly drop-offs at such “alternative clothing” places as the Pleasure Chest. There dad conducted business while I wandered the store, checking out the zipper masks and ball gags, because when it came to leaving your six-year-old child unattended in a car in Lower Manhattan circa 1974 or bringing him into an establishment that years later would have him exclaiming in a packed screening of Pulp Fiction, “I recognize that gimp suit!” the latter was by far the wiser choice.

The Original Orgy shirt was such a hit that my dad started to draw and sell a whole host of others that I won’t name here but suffice it to say one was called “Cockamania.” (Although, technically, it was “Uncircumcised Cockamania.”) But it was the Orgy shirt that got the most attention. It won several international design awards, led to a Penthouse model doing a photo shoot on the glass table we still eat Christmas dinner on and inadvertently resulted in me being told off at age seven by actor Sam Elliott…

Who, frankly, had every reason to be mad at me because I kept taking complimentary mood rings by the fat fistful from his booth when my family spent our spring-break vacation at the 1975 Daytona Adult Film and Entertainment Expo where he was promoting his film for the following year, Lifeguard.

Over the next few years my dad started receiving countless orders from U.S. Ambassadors, Bank Presidents, Newspaper magnates, and Malcolm Forbes, seen here ordering two Orgy shirts on News Years, 1975…and then paying for it on the company dime.

But perhaps the single most important order arrived on July, 1974, which directly quoted the ad and read (click on image to make larger)…

Now for those of you who had the sheer gall to be born after 1985, Mel Blanc was the voice–if not the soul–of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, and literally hundreds of other cartoon characters that my Dad watched and discussed throughout my childhood. So when dad opened this letter he quickly knew it was more than a simple T-shirt order. It was a chance to provide his son with a keepsake he knew would mean all the world to him. So he immediately mailed several T-shirts, politely asking that in return the man who gave so much joy to him and his son on those Saturday mornings give them one more thing. Less than three months later I received this autograph…

And the following response on official Bugs Bunny stationary that included some words from Bugs himself…

And reads: “Thanks very much for the t-shirts. Mine fits perfectly but Bugs’ is a little loose around the crotch. Bugs says it taught him a lot of new ways. Thanks again. Sincerely, Mel Blanc.”

Happy Father’s Day, everyone.

2 Responses

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  1. oldskool said, on June 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    That image is so iconic, regardless of it’s subject matter, that having seen it for so many years, it messed with my head to learn it was your father’s work! You honored him well.

  2. LBD "Nytetrayn" said, on June 24, 2018 at 2:48 am

    Amazing. Just all of this, simply amazing.

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