Brooks Wilson Strikes Back!

By guest author, Ken Steacy

Amazingly, a feature film based upon Brooks Wilson Ltd. was made in 1970. Titled ‘Loving’ (for no apparent reason!), it starred George Segal in the title role with support from Eva Marie Saint as his long-suffering wife, Keenan Wynn as his bullying agent, Sterling Hayden as the impossible client Mr. Lepridon, and Roy Scheider as the harried agency flack. The director was Irving Kershner, who George Lucas tapped a decade later to direct 'The Empire Strikes Back'!

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It’s a condensed version of the same sad story: Brooks the hapless freelancer is torn between his artsy girlfriend in Manhattan and his family back home in (where else?) Westport Connecticut. A drunken tryst with a randy neighbour, televised by CCTV at a suburban Xmas party from hell, finally sinks him, and the film peters out as Brooks attempts to placate both the GF and his wife with news that he finally got the Lepridon account.

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Early in the film Brooks discovers his agent has yet again locked himself in the bathroom, being too cheap to fix the doorknob. In the background we see plenty of tearsheets and stacks of originals, and it appears that the boxer illo bears the signature Brooks Wilson.

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Back home, he hires a shapely model, who he poses in the livingroom - Brooks’ young daughter sits and reads a book during the session, his wife’s way of ensuring there’s no hanky-panky!

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His agent’s smarmy underling arrives with a stack of illos, all of which require inane revisions ASAP. Brooks refuses, but this show of spine is more to impress the model, who he eyes with other than professional interest.

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While in the city, Brooks gets bombed and makes a spectacle of himself at the ‘Artist’s Club’ which was actually shot at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan. You can just make out their 60‘s-era logo on the coffee cups, as Brooks makes new friends (and enemies) over a multi-martini lunch.

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Tomorrow: we bid farewell to the feckless Brooks Wilson, but not before he ably demonstrates his journeyman skills as an illustrator!

* We'd love to have your best guess at which artists where actually responsible for the prop artwork attributed to Brooks Wilson in the film. I'll get the ball rolling by ID'ing the "Bear Attack" illo, which I recognize as being by John McDermott, from a 1960 issue of Outdoor Life. ~ Leif

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