Robert Engle was the fabulous artist who painted the amazing portraits of the Outer Space Men that appeared on the backs of the packages. He also happened to be the Cover Director for Newsweek Magazine. In that important capacity he created every Newsweek cover, working with the best artists and photographers in the business. But, whenever a realistic portrait was required, Bob always painted that himself.
While working on the Outer Space men, we got to know each other well, well enough for Bob to visit our apartment in Manhattan, and bring his family to see the collection.
As Christmas 1970 approached, Newsweek planned to dedicate the holiday issue to the subject of “Nostalgia.” We had just moved up to the Country, and Bob contacted me and asked if he could photograph part of my collection for the cover. With the assurance that the related article would not mention money, I readily agreed. He asked me to create an arrangement, sort of like a pyramid, showing a variety of popular nostalgic icons, from Mickey Mouse to Shirley Temple, and he would send a photographer to shoot it.
Although, the collection was still packed up, I unpacked just enough to assemble the arrangement that you see below. At the last minute, Newsweek decided that because the article would appear on newsstands the week before Christmas, and was essentially a Christmas issue, the Nostalgia Pyramid would not be Christmassy enough. So they replaced it with a “nostalgic” painting of Santa Claus by Norman Rockwell.
And, the photograph of my collectibles was used on the inside, instead. It became the lead page of the nostalgia article, along with a line diagram that served as a key to explain what each of the images were.
The article, itself, was very long, and rambled throughout the entire magazine, too long to include here. It was essentially a list of upcoming events that were related to nostalgia. The pictorial elements were separate, and filled a double page spread that followed my photo. Through their brief captions, they told a story of their own. I had put Bob Engle in contact with my friend John Fawcett, and he was featured in a photo, top and center, lying on a bed that he had painted, with his then modest collection on the wall behind him. Like mine, it has since grown to immense proportions and fills an entire museum that John has created in the State of Maine. It is one of the three significant private comic character collections that remain.
In the preparation of this article, one incident amused Eunice and me, and stands out vividly in my memory. The Photographer who Bob sent up to take the photograph, proved to be extremely friendly, so much so that he disclosed the fact that his boss, Bob Engle, had requested that he shoot a photograph of Eunice and myself, for Bob, personally, emphatically instructing him to “make sure her “t..s” get in the picture!”
Did he successfully do as he was told? You can judge for yourself! The actual photo is below: