Monday, March 16, 2009

Jimmy Hatlo Letter Oct. 1953

Here's a letter I received from Jimmy Hatlo, dated October 15, 1953. I had just started my studies at Billy Hon's Cartoon School in September and I'd written to him to try and get an original of " They'll do it Every Time " to frame and decorate my room and studio for inspiration. I told him I was with Billy Hon, and I knew they were friends, and I thought this might help in scarfing an original from the genius. I'd also drawn a cartoon in HIS style on the envelope, just to be cute. I had just turned 18 on October 12. I was excited when he wrote back. And here's the letter verbatim.

Mr. Roy Delgado
137 North Rampart Street
Los Angeles,26, California
Dear Roy Delgado,
In answer to your last little note, I am asking King Features Syndicate to make a processed copy of the cartoon which appealed to you. I kinda like that one, too.
I am interested to note that you are a student of my old friend Billy Hon. I was on the Los Angeles Times years ago when Billy Hon was drawing cartoons for it's competitive sheet, The Los Angeles Examiner. Aside from being a fine guy, he is an able teacher and I am sure will do you a lot of good.
I was particularly interested in the little quick sketch you made on your envelope. I don't know what your plans are, nor do I want you to get overly excited or upset about this, but you seem to have an enthusiasm for my particular alleged technique.
This is all tentative, but it is remotely possible in the not too distant future we might have room for another man on my staff.
If you are not too busy, will you take any of your own ideas ( it doesn't neccessarily have to be a wow, as far as the inspiration goes ) and present it as well as you can in my style. I should like very much to see how you handle this. Even a couple of them would be better.
Looking forward to hearing from you - - and with " auld lang syne " to Billy.
( Jimmy Hatlo )
Not get " overly excited about this ? " what is he NUTS ? I just turned 18 three days ago!
I'm GREEN. I didn't sleep for a week ! I'll continue next to what happened after this . .
NOW, I get a second letter dated October 31, 1953 from Jimmy Hatlo . . . It reads verbatim:
Mr. Roy Delgado
137 North Rampart Street (sic) ( Blvd. )
Los Angeles, 26, California
Dear Roy Delgado,
I think after reading your letter and learning your age that your drawings submitted under the title THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME, as I requested, show a great deal of promise, however, I have to be frank and tell you that right now ( if I go into the project I have in mind ) I need a little more than promise.
It is obvious that you are coming along rapidly under the tutelage of Billy Hon, but at this point you are not quite ripe enough, at least for a berth in my organization. However, please do not be discouraged and if, as I suspect, you seem to have a yen to draw along the lines of my so called feature, keep it up, please, and keep in touch with me. I am very interested in your work.
Again, kindest regards to yourself and Billy Hon.
( signed )
Jimmy Hatlo
POSTSCRIPT: I am leaving for New York, where I shall probably be incarcerated for a month or so and at the end of that time will be sincerely curious to see what further development you may have achieved in your work, not only as it pertains to my style but let's see some of your own stuff then.
Good Luck,
( Initialed )
Yes, it was exciting. I walked on air for a month. I did keep in touch with Jimmy Hatlo throughout the years but I never could come up with the nerve to give it another try. ( It turned out to be one of those shoulda-coulda-woulda deals ) But I thought he was a helluva nice guy to give a young punk kid in 1953 a little encouragement. It stuck with me for a long time. I 've always tried to pass the same encouragement on to any young guy comin' up, always, I guess it was contagious.
Time goes on . . He passed away, and his successor, AL SCADUTO just passed away recently, another really great talent and gentleman. I'll be posting both the Jimmy Hatlo print he sent me in 1953 AND an Al Scaduto original he sent me a couple years ago or so.
I like what Jimmy Durante said: " You better be nice to 'em on your way up, 'cause your gonna meet 'em all comin' down ! "


Anonymous said...

I got excited just reading that.

Roy Delgado said...

Hey, Dan . . there's more . . coming