Friday, September 12, 2008

Mitchell Hooks: The Movies - and Beyond

As best as Mitch can recall, he began getting assignments to illustrate movie posters in the late 50's.

"I was doing work for an agency that had United Artists as a client, and they asked me to do one." The first job went well and lead to more and more movie poster assignments, work that Mitch found both gratifying and lucrative.

When we spoke on the phone last week and Mitch told me he had done a lot of movie posters, I had to confess I was completely unaware of that aspect of his career. "Oh, yeah," he replied. "You know, I did the first James Bond movie, Dr. No."

"You're kidding!" was my startled reaction. Mitch chuckled, "Yeah, it's actually kind of funny: I don't think they had any idea at the time just what a valuable property they had. They actually said to me, 'Don't worry too much about likenesses on this one -- this just has a couple of unknown actors (Sean Connery and Ursula Andress) from England in it' !"

"Of course," Mitch continued, "It was a huge hit... and as soon as they realized that the sexy women were a big part of the draw, they got Bob McGinnis to do the next one. And I want to say unequivocally that I have never for one instant felt the least bit jealous of Bob for that. Bob loved drawing sexy women and he was perfect for those posters. And besides, I was busy working on other films."

Mitch did several movie posters a year, tailing off, he says, about twenty years ago.

I asked if he'd made frequent trips to Hollywood while working on all those assignments but he replied that he did not. "No... never. I did them all from home. The agency would arrange a screening of the film, of course, and afterwards they'd hand me a huge volume of stills and other reference that I'd take back to my studio. And I'd just do my sketches and send them in."

"I never went on location -- with one exception... when I did the poster for the film 'Hawaii', when I actually did go to Hawaii."

All the while, Mitch continued to produce an endless stream of fantastic paperback covers. "I was an early member of the Graphic Artists Guild," he says, "and one of the things I was asked to deal with was to try to get the price up for paperback covers. The publishers were paying about $300 a cover... and our goal at the beginning was to try to get that number up around $800... and I'm pleased to say that we accomplished that goal in a fairly short time."

During the sixties and into the seventies, Mitch tried working with several different reps, including Tom Holloway ( "He represented Bernie Fuchs and Austin Briggs" ), Bill Neely of Neely and Associates, and Coby Whitmore's brother, Tom Whitmore.

But try as he might, Mitch found it tougher and tougher to land new assignments. His signature style, in all its glorious, crackling roughness, just wasn't grabbing the art directors of the 1970's.

"I found I had to switch to a greater degree of realism. Its what the market was looking for."

Mitch says it was an easy transition. "Back at Fredman~Chaite, at the beginning of my career, I was doing realism, so it was no problem."

The switch in style came with a switch to another, final rep: Joseph Mendola & Associates. And for the last ten years before his retirement Mitch's one steady client was Harlequinn Romance.

At age 85, Mitch has been retired for a few years now - but that doesn't mean he's slowed down...

After our initial conversation I was unable to reach him again with my follow-up questions. I tried a couple of times, but kept getting his machine. But the following day, my phone rang... it was Mitch calling me back.

He apologized for having missed my calls and said brightly, "Sorry about yesterday, I was out all day playing tennis!"

* Many thanks to Armando Mendez and Tom Palmer for generousy sharing their Mitchell Hooks scans for today's post.

* My Mitchell Hooks Flickr set.


  1. Leif!! I can't thank you enough!! The showpiece of my studio (and house!) has always been this giant framed Dr. No original poster! I bought that classic poster about ten years ago and I've never ever know who the artist is. I mean I've marveled at the thing on a daily basis for a decade but never came upon who the artist is (I guess it wouldn't have been too difficult to determine who the artist is). Now I know it's a Mitchell Hooks, someone who I've been a fan of all my life (ya figured I'd have recognized his style).

    What's also great about this poster is that it's an original "quad" poster imported from the UK (Quad posters are considerably larger than traditional size movie posters). But when it arrived, I noticed the words towards the bottom stating "Sean Connery is 007!" was covered with a square of white paper. I called the seller and asked him what the story was behind that and he told me that after Dr. No became a hit in England, Sean Connery was so concerned about being associated solely with the James Bond character that he insisted that every existing Dr. No poster on display in the UK have that portion of the poster covered up (he must have realized lots of Bond movies were in his future). I researched this dubious explanation and found the story to be 101% true.

    Anyway, just a bit of useless trivia for you Bond fans out there. :)

    Oh, and you can see a pic of the poster (and my art studio) at my myspace/toilgirls page if you're the least bit interested. It's a completely different format than the poster Leif displayed--but same great Mitchell art!!

    Sorry for taking up so much space and blathering on like this Leif!!!

    1. Mobdro is an online TV viewing application for all devices where most Android devices are. In this app you can watch any favorite program or TV channel for free and quality.
      mobdro download grátis

    2. All new movies are offered regularly at live TV application at brasil tv-new

    3. The most popular TV series in the world, especially Mobdro is the application that everyone uses. Download Mobdro and install it for free at the official website.

  2. Not at all, Les - thanks for sharing that great story! Your infectious enthusiasm is always appreciated around here. :-)

  3. Anonymous11:43 AM

    ...the lady on the first one of that "realist" sequence looks like Lady Di...

    Those monumental letterings!
    I think that was a challenge of its own for all those movie illustrators of the time; all those Roman sandal-movies, for instance.

    That Hawaii poster, with those letters breaking through the clouds, it looks paramount.

  4. I always liked the "Jessica" artwork. I'm gay, but man she's quite a hottie!

  5. I started collecting his illustrations in high school but there has been so little info on him out there. Thanks for this.

  6. Excellent article on this great illustrator. Thanks for doing this!

  7. Thanks for doing this!

  8. I regularly watch my favorite movies on the MovieBox app. I downloaded the MovieBox application at

  9. Thanks, dear for sharing valuable information Data protection courses

  10. Watches have become an inseparable part of men’s attire. Whether you are going to buy your first watch or adding watches to your collection, the main focus should be on the type of watch and the type of activities you are going to perform while wearing it. You can find lots of designs and styles in quality timepieces at the best online watch store.
    best online watch store

  11. Watch the best movies of all time, follow live sports TV channels with the Brasil TV New app, you can download it for free here

  12. You can also try YoWhatsApp which is a much enhanced version of the original. It contains added functionalities as better privacy controls, bigger groups creation ability, a greater range of customization options and A lot of themes. The developers behind this mod made sure that enough premium is added to this to create a TRUE advantage over the default version.

  13. Not at all, Les - thanks for sharing that great story! Your infectious enthusiasm is always appreciated around here. I hope you also visit my blog.Seiko Watches

  14. All new movies are offered regularly at live TV application at brasil tv new

  15. Not at all, Les - thanks for sharing that great story! Your infectious enthusiasm is always appreciated around here. I hope you also visit my blog download hamraaz apk

  16. free download
    Internet Download Manager Crack Patch with the full latest version is the most popular software for downloading videos, documents,
    and most fast speed software. IDM Crack Download 64 bit is a tool to increase the downloading speed, resume, and schedule download.


  17. Keep reading to see the top 15 highest-paid celebrities on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, ranked in ascending order of earnings.
    Sydney Brooke Simpson|lola Iolani Momoa|Greekgodx|Malu Trevejo

  18. Here is the website which provides information about gaming. If you want to know about best gaming pc then you can visit our website.
    Best gaming pc

  19. Thanks for Sharing such an amazing article. Keep working... Your Site is very nice, and it's very helping us.. this post is unique and interesting, thank you for sharing this awesome information

    NTES App Free Download | Download NTES App | NTES App APK

  20. Thanks for Sharing such an amazing article. Keep working... Your Site is very nice, and it's very helping us.. this post is unique and interesting, thank you for sharing this awesome information

    banglarbhumi, apps, banglarbhumi wb


  21. Affordable Web Development Services inactive is a set of simple steps to help you find web development services at competitive prices. In modern times, people are talking about cheap numbers, so it is a friendly line bag.


  22. Stopwatch Online is easy to use and accurate stopwatches clock. Simple to use timer, ringing alarm, elapsed time display, multiple timers and multiple stopwatches.

  23. Great post I must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. what is roas

  24. Paraphrasing tool aids in the rewriting of articles and essays online. This tool gives you the ability to prevent plagiarism by rephrasing sentences.

    We created this free paraphrasing tool using cutting-edge techniques to help you to paraphrase content online.You may need:

    Duplibot-Best Paraphrase Online

    Paraphrase Online


  25. Your Website Share a Use Full Content Thanks Bro
    Gb WhatsApp Apk Download

  26. Thanks for giving this information. It is very helpful.
    IF anyone want to see the uk lottery result so click here. Thunderball Lottery Results

  27. Please try to download and install Yowhatsapp at the link to experience the interesting things it brings. Yowhatsapp is like a breath of fresh air for whatsapp users with add-ons that whatsapp doesn't have.

  28. I believe you mentioned some very interesting details, thanks for the post. Foreign visitors should apply for a visa application form Turkey online.

  29. Thank you for this work.. Foreign travelers who wish to travel to Azerbaijan need to apply for e visa to Azerbaijan online that provide the fast and secure visa services.