Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jeff is Orson Welles

So we thought we had a fun and somewhat final cut on our hands. We posted the Quicktime movie and waited. After a few minutes, the phone rang. "Yeah, it's... uh... very good. I like it." It was the voice of Jeff. I sensed there was a proverbial "But" coming. "But," he said -- ah ha! I knew it! "I think I can make it better. You mentioned that any tweaks could be done easily enough, as long as I don't get all Orson Welles on you. Well, you're not gonna like this. But I AM very Orson Welles-like."

We buttoned-up the MacBook Pro, brought along that fun mocha-colored portable drive, and headed over to Jeff's. After we got all set-up, he sat down next to us with a glass of red wine in his hand. "Okay, let's get down to work now." My God, was that really poured from a bottle of Paul Masson?

Damn if five hours didn't pass. We made all the changes he asked for -- and the piece was shaping up just like Orson wanted it. It was his piece, after all. He loved it. Absolutely loved it. We enjoyed the whole process simply because the man was unabashed at wearing a dress and red wig.

We were pleased that we had made him happy. And he promised that everyone at the National Cartoonists Society would be rolling on the floor in hysterics. Well, that was good enough for me. Mission accomplished. And we didn't even have to land on a carrier.

As we packed things up, Jeff disappeared for a moment, then returned from his studio. He was dressed all in black. "Sit down," he demanded. "Sit down and shut your mouths. I'm going to perform magic."

We were incredulous. Jeff had taken this Orson Welles thing way too far. "Hold this, Merv," he said. "Now behold as I wrap this rope around the cage."

My mind was reeling. I thought back to the funnies... Sunday morning's in Ohio... page two. The classic one panel page. I saw the familiar circle of art: Mom was in the middle of the kitchen. The sink was brimming with dirty dishes; the trash can was knocked over; the dog was begging for food; the baby was crying in his high chair; and the washing machine was rattling away as the other two kids ran in. I still recall the caption: "Mrs. Hagan's hobby is oil painting and Mrs. Ditzen's is golf! What's yours, Mommy?"

I sat back and enjoyed the rest of the magic show. You just can't question genius.

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