This weekend includes Father’s Day. Finally, a day for the men of this world to put aside their privilege, and be celebrated for the effort they sort of make, helping their wives raise a family.
Even though my parents were divorced, my father still had important things to teach me as I grew up and saw him on the occasional weekend and summer holiday.
Every one of those bits of advice are true, and I constantly use the one about writing when teaching my scripting classes. To this day, I still have a Siamese cat, and though I’ve never been in a boxing match, I know how to handle myself when a drunk gets troublesome.
No comment about the rest of it.
I have children of my own, now.
Ty the Guy OUT!
In the world of Father-based comic strip characters, they’re all second rate compared to Jiggs, the orangutan-faced hero of “Bringing up Father” (later known as Jiggs and Maggie).
The magnificent deco-inspired designs and line work of George McManus was inspirational when I was a kid.
My father’s favourite comic strip was KRAZY KAT:
I read a bunch of them when I was a kid, and they didn’t make a lick of sense to me. It wasn’t until I was much more sophisticated adult that I realised they weren’t supposed to.
For last week’s Bun Toon, click here.
For the slightly updated Bun Toon archive of years past, click here.
If you’re at ALL interested in my fairly interesting father, there’s a bunch of past pages on this blog dedicated to him.
And he sometimes looked like this, during his occasional “moustache” periods.
But before Dad was a Talk Show host, and before he was a best-selling novelist, or a famous inventor, or a network news director, or a Hollywood screen writer, or a politician, or an evangelical minister, he was a cartoonist.
The bulk of his work was published in the mid-thirties, when my father was barely in his twenties, doing sports cartoons for the Toronto Globe (not the Toronto paper the Daily Planet is based on, by the way…that was the Toronto Daily Star, a newspaper my father was eventually the City Editor of).
The original art to the Globe’s sports cartoon on the day Canada won a silver medal at the 1936 Olympics. Sports cartoons were as common as political cartoons in the newspapers of that era, and most major dailies had an exclusive sports cartoonist or two as well as a couple of political guys.
These originals are much smaller than you’d expect. Most of them are about seven inches tall and about five inches wide. You could fit two across a regular sheet of printer paper. The one at the top of this Bun Toon is larger because it was for a weekend paper.
When I was a kid, in the 1960s, my father would give me drawing lessons. He started teaching me proportion, and how to draw the human head from different angles, or the shape of a horse’s leg, or how to hold a pencil when doing “professional” lettering. This started when I was five or six years old, DECADES after my father had long stopped drawing professionally. The box that contained his old cartoons was tucked away in the basement, forgotten examples of a skill he’d long abandoned using.
I inherited that box full of cartoon originals when my father passed away a few years ago. I framed a couple and put some on my wall, and put the rest back in the box and left them in the crawlspace of my house. At first I didn’t think anyone would care about them but my family – But it’s come to dawn on me that they’re probably some of the last newspaper cartoon originals from that era in Canada, and they should be scanned and shown off, just for the historical interest in this lost corner of Canada’s Cartooning Past.
Thanks for letting me present a sampling of my father’s cartoons, on Cartoon Father’s Day.
Ty the Guy OUT!
Here now, your BONUS Chuck Templeton cartooning moments:
Dad did political and editorial cartooning as well, though far less of that survives. It’s hard to imagine there was a time that Hitler was the subject of political cartoons.
For my American readers: the campaign referenced here was the campaign to re-elect our Prime Minister at the time: William Lyon MacKenzie King, seated in the reviewing stand behind the wounded “soldier”.
Speaking of political cartoons, when my father was a politician (he ran for Premier of Ontario and lost. A Premier is the Canadian equivalent of an American Governor), he amassed a sizeable collection of original political cartoons featuring himselfas the subject, drawn in the 1960s by a who’s who of Canadian political cartoonists of that time, including art by Macpherson, Ben Wicks, and others. I think I’ll save those for a future Bun Toons entry. Who knew I had half the history of Canadian Cartooning sitting in my basement?
For last week’s Bun Toon (featuring Alan Moore, and drawn by ME instead of my dad) click here.
For every Bun Toon ever (over 98% of them drawn by me!) click here!
Today is Bill Shatner’s 80th birthday, and seeing as it’s international “Talk Like Bill Shatner Day” we have no choice but to make this post. No… choice….at…all.
Let’s start with this: Bill Shatner is the male version of Marilyn Monroe.
No, I don’t mean he’s an iconic sex symbol for a generation (though he might have been, I’m male, and can’t comment on that), I mean he shares Monroe’s amazing talent for knowing how to be looked at. He may even be the best at it who ever lived. If William Shatner was on stage with a burning goat who knocked over furniture and set the theater ablaze, you’d only notice the flaming beast if Shatner pointed it out.
Is there a burning goat in here? Or is it my eyes?
I love Bill Shatner. I love him in ways it’s best my wife doesn’t know about. I’d take a bullet for him, and have, in fact, taken many bullets over the years, including Kingdom of the Spiders,Tek War novels, and T.J. Hooker. But day in, day out, it always comes back to William Shatner, the man Eddie Murphy once called “the coolest white guy alive”.
Everyone thinks that Star Trek made Shatner famous, but in the real world, Trek become popular because of Bill, and not the other way around. The true glory of Shatner is that he didn’t blow it all on one character. The man has been dropping genius bombs for years, usually to the confusion of lesser men who cannot conceive of the talent before them. So, I’m here to help. Today, on the master’s 80th birthday, we talk about his non-Kirk life, and give you…
THE TOP TEN SIGNS OF BILL SHATNER’S GENIUS, EVEN WHEN HE’S NOT WEARING HIS STARFLEET UNIFORM.
10– Free Enterprise A little known flick, made in 1998. Sure, his Priceline.com commercials had hinted at the rich vein of self-parody that was there, but the role as “Bill” in FREE ENTERPRISE really set it in motion. In the film, he plays an actor named Bill Shatner, former star of Star Trek, but the character of “Bill” is nothing like real life person at all. He’s an addle brained doofus in the part, single and on the make (he was married at the time), unemployed and broke (he wasn’t) and attempting to raise money to make a version of Julius Caesar, in which Shatner plays all the parts. “It would require me to stab myself in the back, I know, but I’ve been doing that my whole career…”. Bill attempts to raise the money from a pair of Trekkies who meet him in the porn section of a video store and the movie takes off from there. Besides the magnificent fantasy sequence involving a fight between Kirk and Han Solo, the DVD extras include a scene of Shatner “rapping” soliloquies from Shakespeare in an outfit that would have embarrassed a stoned hippie.
Genius at work
The glory of Shatner’s singing voice is that he’s perfectly capable of singing, and CHOOSES not to. That’s makes him the Picasso of the throat. No one performs a song like this, and if they DO, they’re called “Shatner-esque”. See for yourself:
8 — Get a Life When your career (up until that point) is built largely around a single character and a fanbase of stunningly dedicated fans, it takes epic cojones to stab your most loyal admirers in the digestive tract for the sake of a joke. But Shatner did exactly that on Saturday Night Live in 1986 for one infamous sketch.
What makes it work on every level, is the paternal quality to the lecture. It’s like he really cares about us; if only we weren’t such a crippling disappointment. The sketch annoyed about half the world’s Trekkies, and permanently enraged the other half. Somehow, it made me love Shatner all the more. He later named his autobiograpy “Get a Life” just to turn the knife one more time.
7—INCUBUS Not his first role, but an early example of that Shatner genius caught on film. INCUBUS is the only feature ever shot in Esperanto, an invented international language created in the 19th Century to foster international peace. The language never caught on, so there was no audience whatsoever for this piece of cinema when it was released in 1966. Of course, it would have fallen into complete obscurity, without the presence of it’s handsome Canadian star.
I own this film and can report that, thanks to Bill, it’s better than you’d expect. It’s about mystic women and lost souls and that sort of thing (there are subtitles for the Esperanto-impaired) but the greatness of the film lies in watching Shatner perform his signature staccato style in a gibberish language. It has the quality of dream when you turn off the subtitles and simply allow the experience.
In those Abrams/Zucker/Abrams comedies of the 80s, the various casts deadpanned the corny jokes, and that carried most of the funny. But the fifteen minute cameo that Bill Shatner bestowed upon the world in Airplane 2 was a different game. Bill didn’t play the corny as serious, he played it as the fifth act of a Shakespearean tragedy… an Oscar-bait scene of high drama. Bill the serious actor “went to eleven” and stole the un-stealable movie.
5—NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET
Twilight Zone is an important milestone in the history of SF and Television. Everyone loves the one where Burgess Meredith breaks his glasses in the last library left on Earth, but it’s the Shatner episode that gets the most spoofs, remakes, jokes, and references. NIGHTMARE is the epitome of the Twilight Zone genre, and once again, our hero is at the center of the storm.
4 – Big Giant Head
Shown actual size
In the 90s sitcom “Third Rock from the Sun” Shatner had a delightful recurring role as the King of the Galaxy (the Big Giant Head), a character who had been mentioned but never seen for many episodes before they cast Bill in the role. When you’ve created a galactic king, there are so few performers who could have been convincing in the part that they had no choice but to give it to our Bill. BONUS GENIUS MOMENT:
John Lithgow (the star of 3rd Rock) reprised Shatner’s Twilight Zone character from NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET in the Twilight Zone movie. So, Shatner’s on-screen debut as Big Giant Head included the exchange you’ll see in the clip below: Meta-jokes and self parody? BRILLIANT!
3 – Big Bad Mama The Bill Shatner nude scene. Say those five words slowly, and intently, and realize what that means. The. Bill. Shatner. Nude. Scene. Now realize it’s with Angie Dickinson. End of story.
Look mom! Bunnies!
2- Has Been
Your ears will thank you.
Shatner’s music CD, created in 2004 with Ben Folds, is actually magnificent. I originally picked up the album ironically, to enjoy the terrible over-acted songs, and the over-the-top nonsense of it all, and couldn’t believe my ears. It’s a brilliant, SERIOUS album, that deserves to be called art. The spoken word songs are touching, funny, clever, insightful, and for one track about the drowning death of his wife, Nerine…absolutely haunting. I NEVER saw this coming, and it stayed in my CD player for months when I first bought it. I couldn’t stop playing it. And I wasn’t alone…the CD charted in Billboard’s top forty for a while. The Picasso of the throat strikes again!
1- Denny Crane
Into his seventies, well past the moment that leading men have long retired, Bill Shatner found the role of a lifetime. The supposedly fading star of TV became the fading star of the courtroom, complete with Mad Cow, a gun fetish and a mind-boggling case of eponymous Tourettes syndrome. Denny managed to make the muttering of his own name a threat, a statement, a punctuation and a boast, often all in the same ten seconds. It scored Shatner an armful of Emmy awards, all richly deserved.
And is the genius done? No. He’s eighty years old and STILL going strong, currently starring in Shit my Dad Says, a middling sit-com that ONLY works when Shatner’s on stage. He’s hosting shows on the Discovery network, and Biography. He has his own YouTube channel with an internet talk show there. He’s still plotting Trek novels, and shilling Priceline and showing his skills as a horseman in shows across the United States.
Happy birthday Mr. Shatner. It really is your world, and the rest of us just live in it.
My original father, Charles Templeton and tent preacher Billy Graham (and some other guy) pick up some lovely ladies for a night of worshipping God together back in the forties.
THE MOST ASTOUNDING, STRANGE, BUT TRUE STORY OF MY LIFE.
I try to lead an odd life. I have sought out bizarre places and unusual experiences, with social tastes that include Mennonites, strippers, TV celebrities, magicians, bisexual nudists, rock stars, and comic book artists…all are welcome at the Templeton home.
But it’s starting to get weird around here.
I just found out my father was actually Martin Landau ( the man in charge of the runaway Moon) and an agent of Satan. And it’s somehow the fault of the beast-man from a Disney movie.
THAT’s the kind of weird I can enjoy.
Come to me, my child, for I am your father...your FAAAATHER!
This used to be my dad. Before the recent revelations.
Charles Templeton (my original dad), was a professional cartoonist, journalist, inventor, politician and a fixture of Canadian television for decades. He tossed off a bunch of best selling novels (one of which killed Elvis) and wrote the story for a crappy Bill Shatner movie that no one saw. Dad was also one of the more important figures in 20th Century evangelism, who, along with his partner and friend, Billy Graham, built up the YOUTH FOR CHRIST ministry in the thirties and forties—until father got some book learnin’, lost his faith, and walked away from the God biz. To make things worse, Dad more or less shuffled evangelism onto TV along the way, for which our family owes humanity an apology, and I give it freely and often. SORRY, humanity. Our bad.
In 2008, cartoon lion-man Robby Benson, directed a film about the early years of Billy Graham. It’s supposed to be a true story. Robby called it “BILLY: THE EARLY YEARS” because that’s the keen, inventive mind working inside the Benson skull hole.
(from Mad Men) playing my father as a young evangelist. I’m not fond enough of Billy Graham to sit through some two hour hand-job docu-nonsense, just to catch a scene where someone plays my dad, so I watched the YouTube clip and thought little more about it.
Dad on his death bed. Clearly having a pleasant time.
But my brother found a DVD copy of B:TEY (as the fans call it) last week and watched it. He reports that Dad ain’t no cameo character in this here picture. Instead, the story is told entirely from the point of view of my aged father (played by Martin Landau), opening up a floodgate of Templeton memories about young Preacher Billy, and their time together, in a deathbed interview that dad gave to some reporter, days before the end. Pops tells the eager scoop-monger a golden age buddy picture tale, featuring two cocky church boys, fightin’ for Christ, with Billy the smiling, blonde hero, and my father an agent of Satan who works to tempt away Graham’s faith and destroy the church from within.
Yup. An agent of Satan.
Say.... Wouldn't you rather do something evil?
I haven’t seen it yet but, according to my brother Brad, in the story, Dad tempts Billy. He lies to God. He fakes his way to the pulpit, more or less as an agent of the dark lord, and converts to Christianity with his fingers crossed behind his back, so it doesn’t count.
Fooled ya! I'm so clever like that.
When I was a kid, and my father would spank me for setting the back yard on fire, I suspected he was an agent of Satan. Now I have proof.
But I am confused. See, my father suffered from Alzheimer’s in the last years of his life, and couldn’t tell his wife and kids from a well stuffed throw pillow, let alone give death bed interviews to anyone. If Dad was as likely to have a conversation with an oak tree as a reporter in those final weeks of his life, then the entire premise for this “true story” is invented bullshit, pulled directly from the asses of screenwriters WILLIAM PAUL McKAY and JANA LYN RUTLEDGE.
The screenwriters, in their best known photo.
William Paul McKay came to this film after a lifetime of no screenwriting credits whatsoever because one doesn’t want one’s authors tainting up their vision with prior experience or a familiarity with “formula”. And you can’t toss a rookie at the blank page without a well-seasoned old hand like co-author Jana Lyn Rutledge to guide them. Jana penned a single episode of a Christian Children’s Show called CIRCLE SQUARE a mere thirty one years previous to this epic flick.
With these savvy show biz veterans at the helm, it didn’t matter if they didn’t research their subject, talk to his family, or discover that Dad had Alzheimer’s. Those were “facts”, and with any film about religion, you can’t let irrefutable facts get in the way of a good yarn. It turns out I’m not the only offspring of Jesus-Starsky or Christ-Hutch in this religious buddy road-trip that didn’t like this goofy flick. Billy Graham’s sonthinks the movie is crap, too.
How come I never worked on this series?
But it got made. It exists, and perhaps dozens of people have seen it. And now I get to count Martin Landau as my father figure since the original model passed away– and I’m comforted to know I have a direct family connection to THE EVIL DARK LORD, should I need one. Some Marvel Artists get to draw Son of Satan, but I get to live and breathe it, man! Ladle some of that crazy sauce into your life, and see how it tastes. I wonder if I went to Martin Landau’s house, would he’d let me sleep over? Probably I should call first.
By the way, the actor who actually does look like my father, Harry Shearer refused to be involved in the project after watching a thirty-one year old episode of CIRCLE SQUARE which he described as “just awful, even in the CIRCLE SQUARE sub-culture”.
One of these is my father, and one is Harry Shearer, but I can't tell which is which.
Go here, to my brother’s blog and read his review of this Bullshit Billy film. Later, I’m surfing for a copy to download illegally, as I don’t want to give these folks a dime to watch their monkey theater puppet show.
Yes, I know that’s a slightly offensive joke, but when are the blind going to read it? There ain’t no braille internet! The archeology of my studio continues with stuff far more recently unseen than all those mid-90s X-Men things of last week. This was officially unseen only two years ago, by many thousands and thousands of Canadians, many of them from the “Big Smoke” itself, Toronto. The occasion was the Seventieth birthday of the Big Blue Boy Scout, and our local paper THE TORONTO STAR, asked me for either an article about it or a drawing, I never recall details…but I’m not one to just write something when I could draw it, or not just draw it when I could write it, or something like that, and I ended up doing both.
The art that ran in the paper was nice and big, but there’s a hell of a lot of colour missing when you slap the image onto newsprint. So, although the drawing and article was distributed to well over a hundred thousand households (I’m guessing the Star’s circulation is far over that number, but I’m too lazy to look it up), the art has “never been seen” in its proper, bright and colourful form, until this blog. Up there. At the top. You have to scroll back up.
Click on the image of the newspaper below and it will open in another window large enough to read the article, should you wish (click twice). It’s not a bad article, I mention the words “Jesus” and “Jews” more than you’d expect, but that’s my nature.
I’ve had a life long association with the Toronto Star, not just because I’ve done articles and artwork for them from time to time, and know some editors and reporters socially…but when I was a young child, my father (Charles) was the city editor, and eventually, managing editor of the 60s version of that paper. So the Star is more like “home” than it is just my city’s newspaper. And since I’ve done a few of these illustrations for the Star over the years, I might dig ’em up, and put them here on the blog. You’ve been warned…(cue scary music!)
Ty the Guy
PS: Don’t forget to check back here this, and every weekend, for ALL NEW TY TEMPLETON FUNNIES! I’ll turn this blog into a webcomic YET!
It’s my son’s 14th Birthday today, so naturally it’s time for another “NEPOTISM THURSDAY!” (which falls on a Wednesday this month, quite common, I assure you). But because the kid’s going to get lots of expensive gadgets and free food later, I’m going to talk instead about the cartooning work of my father, Charles “Chuck” Templeton, and how far apples fall from trees. So THERE, beloved son!
Just a quick tease this time out, with a couple of Dad’s sports pieces, scanned from the original art that hangs on my wall and from clippings…Chuck had a regular cartoon gig for the Toronto Globe and Mail in the 30s (*actually, when Charles was 17. By 21, he started his career as an evangelist. kts), for about four or five years in what was Dad’s early twenties. He drew mostly sports, and some political cartoons with both a remarkable skill for likeness, and a playful skill for comedy.
I had no real sense of my father’s illustrating and cartooning work until after he died. And though he taught me one or two things about proportion and how to hold a pencil when I was very young, it was nothing like professional secrets or anything. And since his work was all printed and packed away decades before I was born, I saw almost none of it, until it was entrusted to me when he passed away.
So, what that amazed me most about his work once I got to see a lot of a it at once, is that I see many similar things to my own style in there. Similar compositional methods, similar lettering even, and the basic skills are in the same zone, though in different styles for different generations.
Considering how little he taught me about the biz, and how little of his work I saw growing up, how freaking odd that there are so many similarities. My parents were divorced, and I was raised by my mother, so it’s not a question of nurture… Is there a GENETIC component to an artist’s aesthetic?
More of my father’s work to come in future weeks. I’ve got stacks of it, and much of it is very good. PLUS, it’s a nice slice of history for the Canadian Comics Corner buffs out there…including Mr. Pincombe. As for me, I’m off to teach my comic book bootcamp course tonight, and maybe buy my teenaged son a slice of cake, and sing.
NEXT: How I turned down sitting on an upcoming panel with Stan Lee and Harvey Pekar next week, (I’m an idiot), and the stirrings of JOHNNY CANUCK! Oh, so exciting!