Finally, a cartoonist/illustrator who started out being nearly anonymous as I planned this week's topic and is now much less so.
Imagine this: thanks to Charlie Allen, we have these great Bill Tara cartoons to enjoy. Charlie clipped and filed them fifty years ago when he worked in San Fransisco, knowing only that Tara was a Los Angeles-based illustrator.
Charlie wrote, "Heard [Tara] at an awards dinner at the Mark Hopkins....a raconteur and very funny guy." But as far as additional info on the artist goes, it looked like we were stumped.
Then I did a quick search on the 'net and, lo and behold, Tara's name had previously been referenced... on this very blog! It was mentioned in passing by one of our previous subjects who's now a TI list member, Harry Borgman. I contacted Harry and - yup - 50 years ago on the other side of the country (in Detroit) Harry had worked with the same Bill Tara.
Just think how fortunate we are to have two great artists from that golden age of illustration who worked on opposite coasts give us the scoop on a third remarkable talent who, it turns out, worked on both.
Harry wrote back with the following:
"Bill Tara was hired by Campbell Ewald Creative Director Jim Hastings as a freelance idea man, and he was very good at it. I worked with him a lot of the time that I was at CE, from 1956 to 1960. I frequently went out to LA on Chevrolet photo assignments, working with photographer Todd Walker, Bill was a friend of his and was often involved."
"I remember that he did some billboard art for Chevrolet, this was before 1956, too bad we can't find any of these. I'll check my friend Jim Bernardin*, he's saved tons of old Chevy stuff. Jim is the guy that took over my job when I left CE."
"Tara was certainly an interesting character to have known as well as a great idea man. After I left CE I still used to run into him quite often in Detroit restaurants and watering holes and I also was still doing a lot of freelance work on the Chevy account."
I'm very grateful to both Harry and Charlie for making this last post possible. Without their contribution, we might never have known about Bill Tara, a talented illustrator/cartoonist who ought to be recognized for his excellent work.
* Harry also brings to our attention a great blog that his long-time friend Jim Bernardin has started up: Old Chevy Ads, which right now features an old Chevy ad by... Charlie Allen!
My Bill Tara Flickr set.