Saturday, May 05, 2018

Pony Papa

Saturday Weekly Post Day.

Gordon Leroy Holley, better known as Lee Holley passed away suddenly on Monday, March 26th, 2018 at the age of 85.

Lee Holley was born in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 20, 1932. Lee was a graduate of Watsonville High School, and following high school, he joined the Navy in 1951. He served as an Aviation Ordinanceman on the USS Bairoko during the Korean War until 1955.

Lee aspired to be a cartoonist, and displayed a love of cartooning at an early age. So upon leaving the Navy, Lee studied at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

In 1955 Lee began his professional career as a Warner Bros animator in the Friz Freleng unit and was there from 1955 - 1958. Lee worked on Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester and Tweety, and Daffy Duck characters. In 1958 he started working for Hank Ketcham on Dennis the Menace.

While working for Hank Ketchum, Lee submitted cartoon ideas to the newspaper syndicates, and in 1960 he finally succeeded in selling a teenage panel to King Features called Ponytail.

Ponytail debuted in 1960 was syndicated in over 300 newspapers worldwide until 1989.

In addition to his career, and love of drawing, Lee had a passion for flying. He loved to fly his own plane, and enjoyed flying over the Monterey Bay. One of his favorite experiences was renting a plane in New Zealand and flying from the North Island to South Island.

This is what his obituary says. What it doesn't say is that his love of flying also was his death. After landing his plane at Marina Airport for refuelling (something he had done before), his plane took off at an odd angle and either stalled and spiralled to the ground or just spiralled down. On impact it burst into flames and burned in minutes. People at the airport, who new the owner, the 85 year old Gorden Holey, say that his walk had deteriorated since the last time they saw him but that he was in good spirit. At least the telling of the story leaves the possibillity that Holley had a heart attack or some sort of seizure after taking off.

Not a great way to start a post honoring the cartoonist, but no one has gotten the fact together so I though I should. Now on to the fun part of the post, a long run of Holley's Ponytail Sundays, from the early days of the strip. Holley was a remarkable artist and one of the better ones in the Ketcham school. His looseness is something we seem to have lost in these days of computer drawing and coloring, but here it is in all it's glory.


joecab said...

Did anyone notice that in the last panel of the 10-9-66 strip he lifted the caricatures of the Beatles directly from their TV cartoon of the time?

blog van michel said...

Leuke tekeningen!