Friday, October 26, 2007

Trick or Treat!

In September of 1954, Robert C. Atherton conducted a daring experiment -- he hired one of his favourite and most trusted illustrators to produce all of the artwork for an entire issue of Cosmopolitan and had him use different styles and pseudonyms...

Who could pull off such a Herculean task? Why Al Parker, of course.

If you managed to guess Artist X's identity, good for you! And If I tricked you in my post above, well, remember that I also treated you to a lovely huge stack of Al Parker art... even if you didn't know it.

Happy Hallowe'en!


  1. HA! I'd heard about that issue but knew none of the details! Great fiction by the way.

  2. Leif, you devil! Now I know why you show little horns on your head in your self portrait cartoon. I've been TRICKED and TREATED to a very entertaining post, all at the same time. However, I have to "save face" just a bit... I honestly thought that all but the last illustration were illustrated by artists who were probably influenced by Al Parker... but then most illustrators were. Also, the thought popped into my head that most of these illustrators, if they pursued illustration full time, could give Al Parker a run for his money... very tough to compete against yourself, but Parker was up to the task. It certainly was an interesting experiment by Atherton... and they both pulled it off beautifully.
    Must have been a fat month of billing for Al Parker!!

    Donald Rumsfeld knew it was Al Parker all along... but kept his mouth shut.

    Tom Watson

  3. Thanks gents! I heard about this legendary issue of Cosmo some years ago and have always hoped i might land a copy some day.

    It was a pleasure sharing it with you ... and stringin' you along. ;-)

  4. The premise of this issue of Cosmo is really boggling. Can you conceive of any magazine today where the art director has such a high profile, that would devote an issue to a puzzle like this, with a readership who would care or know enough to speculate on (and correctly identify) the mystery illustrator? My how times have changed. I also like the use of the old fashioned term 'picture-making' in the Artist X letter.