Remember the 60’s group the “Monkees”, well their logo, (the word "Monkees" in the shape of a guitar) was one of the many beautiful pieces of artwork that Peter and Nick, (the two brothers that owned the business) produced in a small art studio on the East side of Manhattan. Nick once told me MGM paid him 250 dollars for that logo, what a bargain.
Oh, and remember all those 60’s and 70’s lunch kits you used to carry to school so many years ago. Well, from the Peanuts characters to the Partridge Family to Hee Haw to Barbie. Peter and Nick did all the original artwork for many of those metal lunch boxes that are now considered classics today.
And there were many other projects they worked on too, and it's hard to remember them all today. But chances are if you had ever seen an ad for Met Life or even their Met Life "Snoopy" blimp flying overhead. Peter and Nick certainly did the artwork for those pieces too. And Peter was especially proud of their blimp and how his hand drawn image of Snoopy was used for that job. A dark hanger in Lakewood New Jersey and a projector was all they used back then to paint the image of Snoopy on side of the Met Life blimp.
No, Charles Schultz didn’t draw everything you know. No, he was too busy doing the comic strip to bother with all the licensed stuff that Peter and Nick drew for him. And Schultz also knew both of them personally, which was kind of nice also.
And me, well I was lucky enough to draw Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts characters for many years along side of them. And it all started after I met my artist cousin "Manny", (Dolores Perri’s brother). (You know, she owns the Buzz-a-rama along with her husband,) at a new years eve party over at 399 East Fourth back in 1974. Manny sometimes worked with Peter and Nick and helped them with some of the overflow work they couldn’t handle back then.
Now, for anyone who's ever read a Clifford the Red Dog book to their kid, chances are my cousin Manny did the original artwork for the book. In fact Manny did hundreds of Clifford books going back to the mid 1960’s.
“Hey kid you want to help out at the studio?” “Peter and Nick could probably use a hand”
Well, that was December 31st of 1974 and I can only thank Manny for introducing me to Nick, and Nick for letting me work there for so many years. Life is indeed strange sometimes, and you never know what can happen.