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Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Serendipity of a Frazetta



Now why would this ancient picture lead a post on Frank Frazetta? Oh and by the way that's Danny Herron, Me on banjo, Rocky Jones on the right with his guitar and Chuck Wagner towering behind us in his Gallatin High School football jersey.
Now to know me growing up was to know who Frank Frazetta was. Any time my own art would be brought up I would undoubtedly invoke his name. Now that I think about it... I still do.
So all my friends pretty much knew, and know the name "Frazetta" (and probably are tired of my constant adoration).
Another thing about my friends, they represent a mountain of god given talent. Rocky was an amazing musician, singer and athlete. Chuck likewise coupled with a booming stage voice and command of the theater. Danny...well he played a mean washtub bass! (I'm kidding Danny). He represented superior intellect coupled with a cat like athleticism.
Chuck went on to star on stage and screen with a resume that is simply jaw dropping. http://www.chuckwagner.com/resume2009.htm
From the starring role as "Automan" in the television series of the same name, to playing the part of the "Beast" in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway, his talent knows no boundaries.
Now in the mid 80's when "Automan" was at it's peak Chuck also starred in a movie called "America 3000".  Now whether it was ever widely released by Cannon films I have no clue, I discovered it on a video shelf in our hometown in about 86 or 87.  It might have gone straight to video courtesy of MGM/UA home video. Curious now about this post apocalyptic adventure now? Here's a preview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGfxFYViT1I
OK so it's not exactly 'Ben Hur", but it does represent very well those fun B-movies of the 80's.


 "So how does Frazetta come into play here Jeff, you're getting off point" you ask?
Flash forward to just a few night's ago when I am looking through my copy of 'Legacy". Frank's recent passing has left me pouring over all of his work once again as if I am discovering it for the first time. Even after 40 plus years I still look at a Frazetta with child like, wide-eyed wonder, it never gets old.
"Legacy" was published in 1999 and I can remember one specific image in the book at the time looked familiar although I knew had never seen it before. A passing thought at the time. Not now. When I came upon the page with the title of "3000AD" with the description of a poster for an unreleased film I bolted upright in my chair and said out loud "That's Chuck!!! Frank painted Chuck!!!".
Had I not just found the preview of the film on Youtube just a few months ago I might have once again not connected all the dots. This time the image jumped off the page.
I'm writing this right after I just got off the phone with Chuck and he was totally unaware that he is now in the company of Tarzan, Conan and the Death Dealer in being immortalized by the master's brush!
Bragging rights for Chuck and a prideful boast for me that I can say, "Frank Frazetta painted my friend Chuck Wagner".
Serendipity at it's best!