February 22, 2014


Saturday Cartoons: Artist/writer Edward Gorey was born on this day in 1925. Celebrated for his gothic visual style and humor, Gorey designed book covers for Doubleday before releasing his own series of projects beginning in the early 1960s. His work rode the wave of Edwardian and Victorian resurgence in the 1960s, which was popularized in the media by The Addams Family (1964-1966), Adam Adamant Lives! (1966-1967), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Wacky Races (1968-1970), and the John Steed character played by Patrick Macnee in The Avengers. Like the Addams Family series and cartoons, Gorey leaned heavily toward macabre mystery. Asked about his fascination with gothic subjects, the artist told The New Yorker in 1992, "If you're doing nonsense it has to be rather awful, because there'd be no point. I'm trying to think if there's sunny nonsense. Sunny, funny nonsense for children- oh, how boring, boring, boring. As Schubert said, there is no happy music. And that's true, there really isn't. And there's probably no happy nonsense, either." His early assignments included The Secret Agent, Amerika, War of the Worlds, and Let's Kill Uncle- a story adapted for the screen by William Castle in 1966. Story continues.

Gorey's universe echoed similar motifs in pop culture during the 1960s. Take a short tour of Dandy fashion and fur coats from the decade: Adam Adamant Lives!, The Avengers, Carnaby Street, The Rolling Stones, Assassination Bureau with Diana Rigg (1969), and Franju's 1963 remake of the 1916 classic serial, Judex.

I discovered Edward Gorey through his dark alphabet book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies. First published in 1963, the book had a resurgence of popularity in the early 1980s. Each letter of the alphabet featured the strange demise of a child drawn in Gorey's signature thicket of ink lines. He may be best remembered for the intro animation based on his work made for PBS Mystery. He also designed the costumes and sets to Dracula in 1977, published as Dracula: A Toy Theater in 1979 and rereleased in 2007 with paper dolls and sets. Gorey passed away in 2000. Images and the Mystery video below. Learn more: Amphigorey, Amphigorey Too, Amphigorey Also, Amphigorey Again, Amazon author page, and artist news and archives at Edward Gorey House. Related post: The Adventures of Richard Sala.

Recent Spy Vibe posts: Ipcress File cinematography007 SOLO cover designsBatman Valentines cardsSaturday Cartoons: Marine BoyMary QuantPatrick Macnee, Gloria Steinem and Denny O'Neil on MOD Wonder WomanWin Scott Eckert interview, Siegel and Shuster's SPYDavid McCallum: Son of BatmanJon Gilbert talks FlemingBarbarella TV seriesMeet the Beatles 50thWonderwall comes to Blu-rayBatman StripsDavid Bowie at 67Kevin Dart talks Ringo & Powerpuff GirlsSherlock ExhibitFu Manchu history panelAndy Warhol box set, Six-Million Dollar ManStriped Light NudeBuckminster FullerDylan at NewportJane and SergeThe Goldfinger VariationsMod Tales InterviewDavid Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, Atomic ArtShane Glines Batman.

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive.


  1. My favorite of the Gashlycrumb Tinies: N is for Neville, who died of ennui.

  2. my favorite one from the book, too! so funny. i remember i had a poster of the whole series in my room in greenfield :)