UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Jack Davis, March 24, 2012

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:01:15 - Early life in Atlanta

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But let's start at the beginning -- were you born with a pen in your hand?

Segment Synopsis: Davis remembers his first drawing in kindergarten and his parents' encouragement to pursue drawing. He recalls Georgia Tech's Yellow Jacket magazine publishing his work when he was eleven or twelve years old, drawing for the North Fulton High School newspaper and yearbook, playing sports in school, and graduating in 1943. He discusses the influence of newspaper comics on his drawing style, particularly Harold Foster's Prince Valiant.

Keywords: GI Bill; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Tech; Harold Foster; North Fulton High School (Atlanta, Ga.); Prince Valiant; UGA; University of Georgia; Yellow Jacket Magazine; chain gang; high school sports

00:08:20 - Navy / UGA

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You -- so you went in the service in '43.

Segment Synopsis: Davis discusses serving in the Navy during World War II and drawing the "Boondocker" comic, inspired by his experiences in war, while in Guam. He remembers enrolling at UGA, struggling with academics, taking art classes under Lamar Dodd, and joining the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He talks about drawing for UGA's The Red and Black newspaper, Pandora yearbook, Georgia Cracker magazine, and the Bullsheet humor magazine he created with friends.

Keywords: Bullsheet; GI Bill; Georgia Cracker magazine; John Henry "Doc" Banks; Lamar Dodd; Pandora (yearbook); Sigma Alpha Epsilon; The Red and Black; UGA; United States Navy; University of Georgia; World War II; fraternity

00:15:55 - Artistic Influences / New York

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Talk about how Al Capp and Li'l Abner affected your life.

Segment Synopsis: Davis discusses the artists who influenced his drawing style. He remembers winning a contest to draw the face of "Lena the Hyena" and drawing the backgrounds of Ed Dodd's "Mark Trail" comics. He talks about joining the Art Students League in New York, struggling to adjust to the city, and getting freelance work with EC Comics, the publisher of well-known comics such as Tales from the Crypt.

Keywords: Al Capp; Alfred Gerald Caplin; Art Students League; Basil Wooleton; EC Comics; Edward Benton "Ed" Dodd; Entertaining Comics; Harold Foster; Lena the Hyena; Lights Out (radio show); Lil' Abner; Mark Trail; Popeye; Walt Disney

00:23:35 - MAD magazine

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Bill Evelyn, our of the questions he wanted me to ask you was your process.

Segment Synopsis: Davis talks about the enjoyment he feels from drawing and recalls drawing backgrounds for Mike Roy's "The Saint" comic in the New York Herald-Tribune. He discusses his freelance work for EC Comics and working with them at MAD magazine. He recounts his success drawing ads and record covers and acknowledges the importance of his representative, Gerald & Cullen Rapp, to his career.

Keywords: Al Feldstein; EC Comics; Entertaining Comics; Gerald & Cullen Rapp; Harvey Kurtzman; MAD magazine; Mike Roy; New York Herald-Tribune; William "Bill" Gaines

00:29:15 - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World / Lewis Grizzard / Children

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Talk about It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Segment Synopsis: Davis talks about drawing the poster for the 1963 film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He discusses playing golf with Lewis Grizzard and Bob Poss and moving to St. Simons Island. He also talks about his children.

Keywords: Bob Poss; It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (movie); Lewis Grizzard; St. Simons Island; United Artists

00:33:17 - UGA sports artwork / World travels

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How did you reconnect with your alma mater?

Segment Synopsis: Davis discusses the influence that his interest in sports had on his artwork and mentions drawing posters for UGA athletics. He recalls some of his travels around the world, particularly fighting a bull in Mexico.

Keywords: Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Tech; Loran Smith; UGA; University of Georgia; Vincent Joseph "Vince" Dooley; William "Bill" Gaines; bull fighting; college football

00:39:16 - Concluding thoughts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Like last night, there were so many people from the art department, that you feel like family.

Segment Synopsis: Davis reflects on his relationship to UGA's art department, listening to music while he draws, and the art commissions he has enjoyed the most and the least throughout his career. He discusses going to boxer Jack Dempsey's bar in Times Square, the need for computer literacy for modern artists, artist's block, and the awards he has received.

Keywords: Comic Book Hall of Fame; Gerald Ford; Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award; Red Hot Chili Peppers; Society of Illustrators; Time (magazine); UGA; United States Postal Service; University of Georgia; William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey