Friday 11 February 2011

Frank Bellamy and the Wright Brothers

©  BBC Magazines Ltd

I've just had a holiday and started reading Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith in which he tracks down as many of the 12 astronauts who have walked on the Moon as he can as well as the Command Module pilots. People of my generation will love this book. But the thing that struck me was how from 1903 (the first flight man made with an aeroplane) to 1972 (the last manned Moon landing) was just one generation. Who was more brave, the former or the latter? No idea, but this blog is focussing on the Wright Brothers and reading around the web, I find myself in awe of the two brothers as well as the Apollo astronauts - especially as I type on a computer X more times as powerful as the computational power they had!

The Washington Times in 2003 had a great article on the centenary of the Wright Brothers' accomplishment called "The Wright stuff … and the wrong" in which it shows the Smithsonian didn't even acknowledge the event previously. However, that humble pie, which the Smithsonian ate must have tasted good as their online presence is really good now and shows many exhibits including a large jpg of the original successful flying machine. The Aeronautical Engineering Collection of the The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia were designated by Wilbur Wright as the benefactors of their archives including their notes on scraps of wallpaper!

In relation to Bellamy's work on this subject, we can also view the original telegram sent by Orville Wright to his father, Bishop Milton Wright, at this site,and if this has picqued your interest, here's a list of links on the history of early flight

©  BBC Magazines Ltd

Up to 1972, Bellamy had produced many black and white, and colour illustrations and comic strips for the Radio Times under the Editor Geoffrey Cannon (who was in place between 1969-1979). More importantly, David Driver (previously mentioned on this blog) was the person who commissioned Bellamy during this most interesting period of Bellamy's non-comics period. Driver was Art Editor for the Radio Times 1969-1978 before becoming Deputy and Features Editor.

Tim Barnes, who owns the black and white original of page 55 (Radio Times 22 January to 28 January 1972)  has kindly supplied pictures of the art with and without the overlay. Often even this can give valuable clues to how these things are dealt with in magazine publishing. The overlay in this case shows "reduce to 28½ ems wide (as to trace)" and in pencil we can see 'cut away metal' which s where the text will wrap around the illustrations.

Original art

Bellamy must have been supplied with photographic reference for this but I suspect, as usual he made of it what he wanted and laid down his design skills. Incidentally when you enlarge these pictures you'll notice that the article actually has a third page but no Frank Bellamy artwork therefore I have not scanned it. And interestingly the Radio Times date on this page is wrong. The Radio Times is usually dated from Saturday to Friday (in 1972, Saturday fell on 22 January, not 20 January!)

EXTRA - Read all about it!
Having made contact with David Driver (mentioned above)  he wrote about this blog entry :
My word, I had forgotten this particular sequence, but I certainly designed these pages,
and again in conversation with Frank, he had expressed an interest in this subject.
As I got to know Frank as a friend, I encouraged him to let me know what he fancied drawing,
so that when the subjects emerged, I was able to marry him with a story. That is how
Movie Crazy Years emerged as a cover, feature and ongoing programme page vignettes.
When he took on Garth, that somewhat curtailed the regular commissions for Radio Times,
which I deeply regretted.
Thanks David for those memories


Thanks to Bill Storie for reminding me I could have 'bookended' this with Bellamy's work on the Moon landing - Now done via this link!

1 comment:

Tony Smith said...

I am the proud owner of the original Bellamy artwork for the Radio Times which you reproduce at the beginning of this article. I wonder how much this would fetch at auction today..not that I would ever part with it!