Topps #2: Krazy TV
When I was at the Wally Wood Studio in 1967, there was a continual flow of cartoons created for products packaged by Topps Chewing Gum. Soon I was offered a job in the Product Development Department of Topps, which was then located in the old Bush Terminal building in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Taking the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn each morning was a curious experience, as I soon discovered almost no one lived in Manhattan and worked in Brooklyn. I would ride trains empty except for a few stray social workers. Yet we would pass Manhattan-bound trains packed with hundreds of human sardines squeezed into giant rolling sardine cans.
The first assignment I was given was to create gags for a satirical card series with the working title, Funny TV
. In a windowless metal cubicle, I sat at a desk with a flickering florescent lamp and began work using a layout pad, a Rapidograph and colored markers. The second day I started getting headaches, yet the headache would vanish if I stepped into the hallway. Soon I figured out that the headaches happened because the lamp was generating a strobe effect. The headaches went away when I got rid of the lamp.
Each gag had to spoof a specific television series of the late 1960s. Once my color roughs were approved, they were mailed to Mort Drucker or John Severin for finished line art following my layouts. When their inked drawings arrived, they were turned over to the Topps production department along with the color roughs (which were then used as color guides). The cards were eventually issued as a test series with the Funny TV
working title changed to Krazy TV
The use of Drucker and Severin was a calculated move to make the series resemble Mad
artwork, and more than a few Topps products were inspired by or imitated certain Mad
features. Coincidentally, the March 1967 issue of Mad
had a Dick DeBartolo/Jack Davis parody of the TV show Daktari
, but I hadn't seen it. The gag I roughed for Daktari
was drawn by Drucker.
Notice in the Lazzie
card by Severin that the lettering is different on the word "mumps". This is because the line I wrote was, "O.K., Mom! We'll come eat supper as soon as Lazzie finds a cure for cancer!" After the card was inked and lettered, some executive noticed the gagline and decided cancer should not be mentioned on a bubble gum card, so it was altered.
Labels: daktari, doctari, drucker, krazy tv, lassie, lazzie, topps