Sunday, October 14, 2018

Alan Johnson's Copy of Animals Animals Animals

Choreographer Alan Johnson did not attend the 1979 book signing for Animals Animals Animals: A Collection of Great Animal Cartoons, but a friend of his did and came away with something quite special. The book, which was intended for Mr. Johnson and later inscribed to him, is signed by three cartoonists who also furnished three original cartoons which share the theme of—wait for it—dancing hippopotamuses!

Cartoonist Marty Murphy gives us a chorus line of hippos. (For whatever it's worth, "A Chorus Line" had opened on Broadway in 1975 and was still a major hit in 1979.) Don Dougherty illustrates a hippo's dance audition marred by a not wholly unpredictable mishap.

But it is cartoonist Sergio Aragonés of Mad Magazine fame who delivers the most dazzle with the least seeming effort. His drawing of a dance audition obviously makes reference to the "Dance of the Hours" sequence from Walt Disney's "Fantasia" (1940). The film had been re-released to theaters in 1977 but its individual sequences were well-known anyway.

Alan Johnson had choreographed stage productions of "West Side Story" (after Jerome Robbins) and dance scenes from the Mel Brooks film comedies "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," and "Young Frankenstein." He passed away on July 7 of this year.

George Booth, Gahan Wilson, and Ron Wolin, eds.
For the Cartoonists Guild
Animals Animals Animals:
A Collection of Great Animal Cartoons

New York:  Harper & Row, 1979

Original drawings by Marty Murphy, Sergio Aragonés, and Don Dougherty

"I know she's out of step...You want to tell her?"
Marty Murphy

"Oh no!
Sergio Aragonés
Inscribed "MAD-ly/Aragonés
Don Dougherty
Inscribed "Happy Holidays/Don Dougherty/'79"

AbeBooks Listing Retrieved October 9, 2018

From "The Dance of the Hours"
Amilcare Ponchielli
Walt Disney's "Fantasia" (1940)

"Springtime for Hitler"
Choreographed by Alan Johnson
"The Producers" (1967)
Written and Directed by Mel Brooks

Note:  This is the very first copy of Animals Animals Animals to appear on Attempted Bloggery. The book, frankly, is one I've never seen. There must be other interesting copies out there from this signing and perhaps from others. I'd love to see images of some of them, especially any with original drawings or inscriptions, and to hear from anyone who may have attended such a signing.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Sergio Aragonés

George Booth

Mel Brooks

Walt Disney

Gahan Wilson

Signed Books with Original Drawings

Attempted Bloggery's Graceful Index


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