Post by yerblues1968 on Jul 22, 2009 23:50:58 GMT -5
Heinz Edelman, Yellow Submarine Art Director, pictured with his wife Anna
Heinz Edelmann (June 20, 1934 - July 21, 2009)
Heinz Edelmann was a German illustrator and designer. He was born in 1934 in Czechoslovakia. He is a well-known illustrator in Europe, but is probably most famous for his art direction and character designs for the 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. He also designed Curro for the 1992 Seville World's Fair. He died in Stuttgart, aged 75.
Post by yerblues1968 on Jul 23, 2009 0:01:58 GMT -5
Heinz Edelmann with his wife Anna.
HEINZ EDELMANN Interview Transcript Art Director and Designer on The Beatles Yellow Submarine
October 28, 1993
Heinz Edelmann was born in 1934 in Czechoslovakia. Since 1961 Heinz Edelmann has taught intermittently design, illustration and animation design at various art schools in Holland and Germany. At present he is teaching at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts. His art work has deservedly won numerous medals and awards, but what is most important for us on this program is that from 1967 to 1968 he was the Art Director for the Beatles animation film The Yellow Submarine. He is also credited with the script. He currently resides both in Amsterdam and Germany.
We are indeed honored to be spending some time with the man who brought into focus the movie writer's vision, which was by no means an easy matter, if we are to believe the Film's Animation Director Bob Balser who was on this program in 1991, and John Coates, the Film's Producer, who joined us earlier this week. We will also hear about these details from Erich Segal, who finalized the Script.
Welcome to Baltimore's Best 21st Century Radio, Mr. Edelmann . Thanks for joining us. I've looked forward to speaking with you for nearly 25 years, unbeknownst to you of course, about the Art Production of what is now a classic: The Yellow Submarine movie.
Heinz Edelmann: Well, good evening Dr. Bob. I'm honored to be on your program.
Bob Hieronimus: Thank you. Now, you were the Artistic Director of the Yellow Submarine production, correct?
HE: Yes, I was.
BH: What did that entail?
HE: Well, you know, at that time I was the graphic designer working in Germany, and known in professional service for my poster work. I also did contribute as a regular illustrator for a magazine that was at it's time known for it's avant garde designer illustration work. And this was looked at or read abroad. And somebody on the Submarine team happened to be familiar with my work and just called me up.
BH: Who was that?
HE: That was Charlie Jenkins. The art director in charge of the special effects who doesn't get mentioned nowadays. He was responsible for the many of the more interesting parts like the Eleanor Rigby sequence, which we worked out together.
BH: Oh boy! What a beautiful sequence that was. You know maybe sometime in future programs, because we return to this subject periodically, we could have Charles come on. If he's willing that is.
HE: Well, I wonder where he disappeared to. I used to be in contact with him until about three years ago. And apparently from what I hear, he's moved to Buenos Aires now.
BH: Must be a nice place.
Now most Americans are under the false impression that Peter Max illustrated the film. Are you aware of this misunderstanding?
HE: Well, I've heard rumors. But, you know, if one goes by the books about official history, there have been hundreds of creators of Submarine. And at that time a lot of animators also claim to have taken part in the production who did not within a thousand miles of the studio.
HE: And, there's a book called The Twentieth Century Cultural Calendar which has the major artistic highlights listed for this century until the eighties I suppose. And this says on Submarine that it has been designed as a joined effort by the cream of British artists.
BH: And who is that supposedly?
HE: Well, the cream or whatever, I suppose, knowing that I did it, I suppose then I must be the cream of British artists.
BH: That's right! You just gained another country Heinz. So now you're going to have to go back and forth between three places.
How do you feel about someone else being credited with this cultural masterpiece?
Now, I'm aware that you are probably a little embarrassed at my calling it a cultural masterpiece and that kind of thing, and I apologize for that. But to us and to many Americans, they believe it to be a cultural masterpiece. So, if you can live with that tag, I'd appreciate it.
HE: Thank you, I mean that's a great compliment. But you know, as a working artist and illustrator, one should not think in those terms. As Picasso once said, "an artist stops being an artist the moment he becomes the connoisseur of his own art." You know, I never think about what I do afterwards. The moment it's out of the studio it's delivered and printed I forget it and I rarely look back at my work and I never sign my work either.
BH: Interesting! My, I didn't know that. I had a tendency all my life not to sign my own work. And of course, you are not aware that I am an artist, and I'll send you some samples of that work along with a tape of the program.
But my artistic background caused me to be attracted to the Yellow Submarine's design and colors within each and every character and scene, and again, I'm sorry to embarrass you by saying this, but I find your line quality to be exhilarating, and we'll return to that in just a bit, but first, please tell us what kind of script or direction were you given before you started designing the characters and scenes?
HE: Well, one has to go back a bit in history what is not very well known now, but Submarine was not the first animated Beatle film. The same producers did about seventy- five minute films. Each built around one song with three minutes of mild domestic comedy around it; which were produced all over the world. As far as I know in the East, in Japan, but mostly in England, where animation was available at reasonable prices. And so TVC, the company who produced the Submarine, TVC of London, who did most of the other shorts, were commissioned to do the feature film which would be sort of the catch of the series. And the series was of course, conceived and written in the quite early days, when the Beatles were still very much connected with Liverpool.
So it was sort... all the action in the shorts was a sort of local domestic comedy. And the script went through, the original script followed up on that along the same lines, first by '67 the Beatles had evolved into something quite different. So we all felt the original script did not do justice to what the Beatles had become. I myself, of course I did know the Beatles, who didn't? And I was familiar with the music, but at that time I was in my first Miles Davis period. But, what I did enjoy were John Lennon's books.
BH: Oh yes, In His Own Write and The Spaniard in the Works.
HE: And I felt the script we were supposed to be working with did not do justice to what the Beatles were actually becoming. So you know from the original script, I think two names were kept. The name of "Old Fred" occurs in sort of maritime story. One obviously had to have some crafty old salt. And then the name of the Boob character, at least what was kept was that... There was a list of the music that should be in the film, and it was determined that Nowhere Man should be in the film. And that the nowhere man should be called the Boob.
BH: Yes, J. Hillary Boob Phud.
HE: He was just called the Boob.
BH: Oh the Boob without the Ph.D.
HE: Without any first name.
BH: Oh, without any first name!
HE: And this is what survived from the first, second and the several versions of the script who got weirder and weirder. And there was one that concentrated on the marital problems of Mr. and Mrs. Old Fred. In which the submarine only appeared as a ship in a bottle. It did get weirder and weirder. As production time drew close and the final presentation, I was given the brief to do Davey Jones and to illustrate Davey Jones in Davey Jones' Locker. Together with some mermaids and this was on a Friday afternoon when everybody else went away for the weekend, which was at that time religiously observed in London.
And there I was sort of feeling depressed and I was supposed to have one assistant come in on Saturday to help me on the coloring work. Now of course, I was not very happy with doing a Davey Jones. And also, I've never done a drawing of a mermaid in my life, and I hope to go to my grave without ever doing one. And so I was working Friday night 'til Saturday and feeling frustrated and just wanted to go back home. And just as a point of professional pride, I did not want to leave and to resign without at least having proposed something else. And we had, between the animation directors, we had been discussing a sort of, roughly a story of villains. And whatever you know of the normal classic formula of such a film. And then I just sat down and thought, well obviously I couldn't do Davey Jones, and I didn't want to any mermaid. So I thought, "what would I like to draw?" And I built a sort of outline around that, and developed the characters.
BH: Well, you know this is really fascinating Heinz! Because it's from this standpoint then, you actually were creating the script! To a degree.
HE: Well, what it was, was obviously the Liverpool domestic situation did not apply anymore. And if the film was to be about the Beatles and a submarine, it either could be sort of a submarine sort of mysteriously appearing in Liverpool. Which sort of would have made it a latter day Captain Nemo story. And that of course, the lyrics went against that because it does explicitly say in our Yellow Submarine, not in somebody else's Yellow Submarine.
So the idea was to have the Beatles in the submarine but, for Captain Nemo's scene to be a bit much. And the conning tower would have become pretty crowded. So I thought the obvious solution would be to have the submarine belonging to a third party. And also, what would be interesting if not the submarine, I thought itself, but, the way from point A to point B and also what's going to happen when they arrive.
And for this, well, I just drew up all sorts of surrealistic villains which I could think of. The point, I think was, what I thought the one meaningful thing about it all was, in '68 this was more or less the end of the cold war. Even in the Bond movies they gave up the KGB as the enemy and turned to self employed villains. So, one had in '67, one had the feeling that A, the cold war's over, that Russia is changing. But also our world is changing with new values to which, with a new vision of the world in which the Beatles played an important part. So, the Meanies, in a way to me, represented a symbolic version of the cold war. And originally they were the Red Meanies.
BH: That's fascinating!
HE: And only because the assistant who came in to do the coloring, she either did not quite understand my instructions, or deliberately did not understand them, but it also could be we didn't have enough red paint in the place. So they became the Blue Meanies.
BH: Isn't that wonderful? I mean really. Obviously you probably didn't think it was so wonderful then Heinz. But, that's fascinating isn't it? How all of the sudden the Red Meanies become the Blue Meanies because of a technicality.
HE: And you know, this is how the philosophy... And of course I followed another good artistic advice knocking out these things as quickly as I had to do. I knew that part of my subconscious would go into these things. But I choose to disregard that, I simply did not want to know what's happening. I mean, otherwise, I couldn't have done the work. I simply chose not to know what subconscious influences and things went into the work. And in a way, after this outline was later fleshed out by other people, like Erich Segal. And in a way, this became a sort of reservoir of the collective unconscious at the point of the flower power revolution.
BH: Well, that's interesting. The Yellow Submarine originally was in a little bottle. And somehow, of course, not belonging to one particular party almost like Capt. Nemo type of thing, is that right Heinz?
BH: And then, the location of the Yellow Submarine has always puzzled me. Because many times when I saw the movie in the theater and I think I've seen it maybe a hundred times mainly because we own our own video of it now. You know, my daughter and I watch it. The Yellow Submarine is located atop of what I had thought was, it looked like a Mayan type of pyramid. And of course, closer scrutiny, and I've watched this in slow motion and everything else, Heinz, it turns out to be a band stand. Which could be interpreted still along the same lines as a Mayan pyramid, did you give that any thought to that possibility?
HE: You know, the production was one of the most chaotic in the entire history of film. And the sequence of work was not as in live action movies. Also, this was not starting on scene 1 and working all the way through the film. What we had we did start off with a test which was later included in the film at the very end. This tiny piece with George Harrison. This was a preliminary test and then we started improvising. We started improvising the travel sequence. From, after the main title, going on to Pepper Land without really at that time, still the script was written and the outline was fleshed out as we went along. So the film, at least twenty minutes of the film were finished in rough form, before we knew what the plot was going to be exactly.
And revisions were still made right up to the end with some part of the original Sgt. Pepper's Land which came in very late in the movie. Which sort of in my mind, does not sit very well with the rest of the story. What is the main influences were, or the main sequences are, is the trip to Pepperland, which was more or less improvised on the basis of the characters. I did without any script like, also the sea of monsters. And Charlie Jenkins' contribution made the Liverpool scene and the psychedelic scene right at the end.
George Dunning, the main director's contribution was the Lucy in the Sky sequence, which was done in quite another technique. Painted directly onto cell traced off from live action. and a sort of pure plot part with the Meanies at the beginning and the big battle scenes at the end, these were all done as the last thing more or less in the film.
BH: Well, I'll be.
HE: Even that, at the end the production was closed down and people working on the film went off and then it was discovered that the film did not have a proper ending. So the psychedelic end sequence was put together by the four of us using existing artwork over a weekend again.
BH: Over a weekend! You finished it up.
Boy, Heinz, I'm telling you, one would just never guess. And that's just why it's so wonderful to talk to you. There's no way that any of us who have watched that movie a dozen or so times could have figured out that it was done in such a piece meal way. And then, of course, wrapped up over a weekend, when everyone else was gone. I'm sorry.
HE: I mean it , that's the way it is . One would have liked to be, consciously liked to be part of a great masterpiece, but in a way as the old pilots used to say, this was one I walked away from.
BH: Well, you know, when you look at the, I know you've seen the Yellow Submarine paperback, the Signet paperback which one time was 95 cents, and now you're lucky if you can find it for, well, in poor condition you'll pay 10 to 15 dollars, in good condition you'll pay 60 to 70 dollars.
HE: Which, by the way, I did not do, and this was done on the base of material cut from the production. You may have noticed, or you will have noticed that the paperback does not quite follow the story line of the film.
BH: That's right, it doesn't.
HE: And this was because it went into production before the script of the film was finalized.
BH: And then of course, there are other, Yellow Submarine magazines which are very different from the book.
HE: Which I've never seen.
BH: There's a French book on the Yellow Submarine, which is very different from the Signet publication. Now, I'm beginning to understand how in the world that all came about.
When we talked to Bob Balser and John Coates that nearly 200 artists of all kinds were involved in this project. That's an astounding figure.
HE: But, these were animators and tracers and painters, and motion cell painters. The actual number who did the actual designing, these were, what I did was do all the characters and the basic look for each sequence. And the rest which then was expanded like I did, maybe twenty five of the pepper people. And those gray people in the background and then somebody else came in and did the other two hundred. But the actual number involved in this was, the main background artists was two assistants who then expanded my key sketches to the full background. And somebody who did the other characters well. I think there may have been seven or eight people involved in the actual designing and inventing. The rest were animators, trace and paint artists.
BH: Ah, now that makes sense. Now, how did you direct the artists, because you said you did the master drawings and they looked at them and you talked to them about you thought it should be or what?
HE: Well you know they were mostly present, and I just like the school master that I basically am, I just watched over the whole thing. I did sneak around at night and check up on the work of the animators and leave rude notes if they lost the original design.
BH: Did that happen, well, it probably didn't happen frequently, but did it happen often?
HE: Well, it could happen because these were people who were brought in. We started with about twenty and over two hundred were there at the end of the production. And so, we were being behind schedule and of course and being rushed all the time.
BH: So, as a matter of fact, I understand you work kinda like around the clock. You brought in shifts of artists at night, when others went home.
HE: I was there round the clock.
BH: Oh, my goodness Heinz!
HE: Well, I did get out for about eight months or seven months. I did get about four hours of sleep every second night. It took me years to recover from that.
BH: I bet, you know. By the way, you didn't touch on this but, during the production of the film did you ever meet or talk with the Beatles to get their feedback?
HE: Yes, we did. As much as there wasn't much chance because it should be remembered at that time the Maharishi thing began. And they were in India most of, I think anyway, most in early '68 only came back when the film was close to completion. And before that, the Beatles were involved in their own Magical Mystery Tour. And of course, I did get to meet them. I was invited to the cutting room while they were actually cutting the Magical Mystery Tour.
BH: Well, did they give you any feedback on the film itself?
HE: Well, not really. We had a few discussions, but at early stages because as I said, then they went off to do their own Magical Mystery Tour and after that to India. So they were not really in London for most of the production.
Well, you know, there was one memory I treasure, because it's so much like an old time musical, this was...
BH: Before we get into that wonderful memory, let's take a pause here and then I'll be right back. Ok?
BH: Thank you.
Ok, now we're back. Now, you were about ready to tell us about a memory that you really treasured.
HE: Well, you know this was, you know Soho at that time, Soho is now completely different, as the home of the advertising and film industry, but at that time it was a bit run down, most of the cutting rooms were in Soho, but more or less, they were only along some streets, there were only strip clubs. And we went, one of the animation directors and me went to see the Beatles, we were invited to join them at the cutting room. And afterwards we had lunch together. And then when we parted, this was, there was nobody else on the street, just what you would call the people at the entrances of the strip clubs, the barkers or whatever. And we said hello, and we went one way, the Beatles went the other way.
Everybody was waving, and then there was a pretty strange, about 70 year old gentleman who had roses behind his ears and a water tap glued to his forehead. And he was dancing in the cross roads. And we waved, the Beatles waved and all the people from the strip clubs waved.
BH: Boy, roses behind his ears, you know what would flash through my mind Heinz? Near the end of the movie, you have the Blue Meanies putting roses in their...
HE: That could have been inspired by that. I mean this was somebody who was a well known eccentric around Soho, who somehow hung around the Beatles.
BH: Oh, he saw them often then I guess.
HE: Well, at least they knew him. He didn't just happen to be there. He knew that the Beatles were around.
BH: That's beautiful, no wonder. And this was probably 2:00 am in the morning, 3:00 am in the morning, when everything was closed?
HE: It was at 3:00 when the restaurants closed. This was at 3:00 in the afternoon, but there was nobody else in the street because just the people from the strip clubs, the Beatles and us and this strange old gentleman.
BH: Could I ask you about when you went in to eat lunch, what did you guys eat? Was this a fish and chips type of place?
HE: Well, it was, you know at that time, Soho which all has disappeared completely there are no posh restaurants but at that time there were a few weirdo places. And this was one, which of course has long ago disappeared which was done to the latest London underground chic. What they did at that time, was sort of digging holes into the floor and you sat sort of below ground with just your head in a sort of burrow with just your head sticking out beyond the carpet. It was one of those places.
BH: That reminded me, I just got a flash there of, you know the holes of, sea of holes. That's very fascinating!
HE: At that time this was the hottest thing in British interior design. You had that in some of the trend, well, not a good one, this was Soho, the food was pathetic. This was just to give some flair to the place.
BH: It was probably not a very expensive way of giving it a flair, huh Heinz? Just put some holes and stick your head out of it.
HE: Well, we did, as far as I remember, I mostly spoke with John Lennon. And we did have, we did at some length, discuss actually Doors of Perception.
BH: Oh, Doors of Perception, an important work. That was an important work! I remember the first time I read that Heinz, it really, at first I couldn't quite understand what they were talking about and of course, after I experienced some of the magic mushrooms so to speak, then it became obvious to me that there were all kinds of worlds going on. And I wasn't even conscious of the fact that anything else was happening. I mean it is an overwhelming situation. Of course the Beatles were known to have ingested a few mushrooms in their time, and they make no apologies for that, and I don't see why they should. Because it certainly gave them a perspective of the fact that we are one people on one planet. I think that's important to remember. Now, just for a second here I'd like to return now to the aspect of one of the movie's designs that I find very moving, and that's the colors.
In my opinion, there's been some research in the past 20 years that supports the theory that color can affect consciousness. The colors within the Yellow Submarine production are just exhilarating, they're uplifting. Did you, was there any conscious choice in the palette to reflect this philosophy.
HE: Well, more or less of course, this is the American influence. These were Dr. Martin's dyes which at that time were not available in England. I had to bring them in by suitcase from Germany. Well, they just had been introduced.
BH: You called them the Dr. Martin dyes?
HE: Yes, which were well known and also later on, I mean they were very strong. They were liquid water colors. I suppose they still exist, but highly concentrated. And they were later on used for the psychedelic slides people used to do. By putting Dr. Martin's between two sheets of glass with some water. This was a sort of fashion that I hadn't seen it but I read about it. This, I suppose was fashionable in America.
BH: Oh, it was! You couldn't go to a single night club in America back in '67 or '68, '69-'70 without there being what they called light shows. As a matter of fact, have you ever heard of Frank Zappa?
HE: Yes, of course.
BH: Well, a long time ago. Back in '67 - '68, my job was really not a job, I was asked to do it by some people at Electra Records. I would travel with some of the groups back stage. And sometimes I would do the lighting, in the light shows. That's one of the things that we would do as a... I did one for Mr. Zappa back in I think it was '68 at Johns Hopkins and you know Johns Hopkins University is a very stayed institution. Very conservative. And it certainly knocked their socks off to see something like that happen. Something that would never again today at Johns Hopkins. But it's those colors that kind of like it titillated one's emotional internal being to such an extent that it almost like in a certain sense, a drug.
HE: Yes, well, what I did, this was to some extent done consciously. Because for one thing, I knew that the story line, the way the production went, the story line would not stand up to close scrutiny. And also the animation was not quite what it might have been throughout the film. So I felt to create some interest, I did try to consciously overload the audience with impressions. There is just, always just the color was at least in the central part of the film was just always a bit more than I would, than one would expect. And a bit more design than one normally expect to go with the story line. So, I always did try to, in the parts I could control through the design, I always try to slip in twenty percent more of what one normally in viewing a movie, would pick up.
HE: And this sort of was anyway, calculated to create this sort of constant overloading. Which is from what I was reading, I knew, I had never taken any drugs. I'm a conservative working class person who sticks to booze all his life. And so I just knew about the psychedelic experience just by hearsay, from hearsay. And I guessed what it was.
BH: Well, you know, one of the things I miss so much Heinz, in my own life, is being alone in my art studio for hours and days and weeks on end. And when you sit in one place with the right kind of music behind you; and with the fragrance of flowers and etc., the need for any type of drug or alcohol or anything disappears. It's an automatic, kind of like an internally generated high. Which is absolutely natural to the human being. Because your focusing on higher elements of consciousness all the time. And you're not even trying necessarily to plan consciously A, B, C, D, it just flows.
So, in your intuitive experience in working with... You must have been alone in your studio for decades. And it happens. A lot of people would say to me Heinz, how can you stand to be alone with just sitting there with just music, classical music. You're really not alone are you?
HE: It's the best part. And this is why I still love the work I do. Not what I do, but I still love the profession after 35 years. Because, you know I've never had to have, I've never tried to be identified with a style. I think the enjoyment of it all is not knowing what one is going to do next year. Or what it's going to look like. And as a graphic designer you don't always get that pleasure, because they are brief. Things have to be done at night. And they are brief, which are not interesting, but the work has to be done. But given the chance of doing what is half-way one's own. I think working by one's self, as you say listening to music is one of the great pleasures of life.
BH: It sure is. You know, I think I've listened to, now, this may be a little rambunctious for your musical tastes, but Beethoven's 9th symphony - the Coral Symphony, which is extremely bold, it's kind of like a rush of energy that catapults me into wonderful internal visions which, I'm certain... What kind of music do you prefer when you work on your work?
HE: Well, you know , it's no longer I'm afraid to say, it's no longer rock. Which I found inspiring in the early '70's. But, as one gets older, one turns to classical music. I mean this is I suppose the natural course of things. So, I either listen to Bach for instance, or to improvised music.
BH: Well, it certainly opens up consciousness. And if you're alone with it for a long time it is just wonderful.
Now, there are many successful artistic productions whose creators were not conscious of the numerous levels of meanings. Probably the best work in the world is done in which the artists aren't necessarily conscious of the meanings of what they're doing. In some ways if you are conscious of the meaning, it gets in the way and makes you stale. But, in some ways this can be applied to the Yellow Submarine theme. And you've already touched on this matter before, but could you further elaborate on the possibility of the numerous levels of meanings. It's almost like a multi-level series of meanings within the Yellow Submarine that weren't even conscious.
HE: Well, you know, of course it was a communal effort, done under pressure. So nobody had the time to really control one's input. And in a way, I think, Submarine is the ultimate piece of white noise. There's so many things that went into it uncontrolled, that everybody really can built his own levels of meaning out of that.
BH: Yes, indeed. Well, one of the final things I wanted to mention was this, in 1968, while you were working day and night, getting 4 hours of sleep, I was doing a similar situation at the Johns Hopkins University . I was painting a mural that was about 2,700 square feet, it's large! It was rooms of murals! And to this day it is probably the most successful and certainly the largest work I have ever, or will ever produce. Frankly, I don't know how I feel about that twenty-five years ago, I had probably did as much as I would ever want to do on that scale.
Now, during approximately the same time period of 1967-1968 you were completing a masterpiece that you will be forever connected with. There's a good chance that you have gone beyond your achievements of 25 years ago, and yet the world's critics may not give your later work the kind of attention it merits. Now, just personally, artist to artist, how do you feel about that?
HE: Well, you know, I do feel a bit like the ancient mariner with the sort of albatross hanging around my neck. You know like, to give you an example, there is at the moment a show at a German museum, a show of my poster work which I've done after Submarine. Which I think of as my own personal work.
And this show's going to be traveled, this was just the dress rehearsal, but there was, at the opening, there was some press, radio, TV and all they asked about was Submarine. And did I get to meet the Beatles? And you know, sometimes, I'm not bitter about it or I've had my share of recognition afterwards, but sometimes I think they should have stuffed at that time and displayed me in a museum.
BH: Oh yes indeed. My life isn't comparable in that perspective. I've never achieved the kind of success you have in your work.
HE: But, you know this happened. And of course, who likes to think that when, I'm 59 now, and who likes to think that he did the best work in his life at 33? And the rest was just a long slide downhill. I would suppose nobody, and I don't think you would like to think that thought pleasing. But, I think what one does the most important job is the one coming up and nothing else counts.
BH: I only had a small glimmer of what that must be like. A couple months ago someone came up to me, I designed a poster for the Mothers of Invention. And they came up and asked me...
HE: A revival, if I may ask? They're not still around of course.
BH: This was 1968. And someone brought it up and I signed it, and they said to me. This is the best work I've ever seen you do. And I sat there and I didn't want to say what I felt. Because I did not feel that that was the best work I had ever done. I always thought that I got a lot better. But I didn't want to offend them and I didn't want to hurt any feelings. So I just said, 'Well thank you very much.' And so on a very limited scale I can only have a glimmer of what that must feel like. But, to be stuffed and set in a museum, that's something else.
HE: Well, you know, in a way I don't relate Submarine to my life anymore. This was done by a completely different person. At one point, I had food poisoning and I went around not being quite myself and at that time there were other projects being discussed at that time. And Madame Bardot was interested in hiring me as designer for a projected sort of musical extravaganza.
BH: Is that Brigitte Bardot?
HE: Yes. And at that time, you know I was barely conscious because I had a temperature of about 41 centigrade. And I do remember sitting next to Madame Bardot in a Roll Royce. And she was saying Mr. Edelmann, you are a great genius. And of course, this actually did happen. But of course, I do not relate that to me. This was, this entire Submarine experience was a realistic complicated long dream.
BH: Well, you had mentioned that right now your work is... There is a catalog of ... Is there a catalog of your work?
HE: Well, it's not a true catalog but its' a book that concentrates on some aspects of the work exhibited. And there are plans of doing a larger book at the end of this year, but I don't know if I'll be able to meet the deadline.
BH: Oh yes, that's a tough one. That's tough to do things like that as well as everything else. What are you working on right now Heinz?
HE: Well, at the moment, I do poster designs. I illustrate for a fairly prestigious Sunday supplement. And I design books and I also work in advertising. You know another thing that what had went wrong. One of the more interesting, more widely known things are I did design the mascot for the World's Fair in Seville last year. And that I somehow gave up, unlike Submarine I did not stick it out to the end, but sort of abandoned my child in mid stream.
BH: What was the reason for that? If you'd like to tell us.
HE: Well, to work against a complex organization with no understanding not of the artistic side, but with very little understanding of what it all means, or how things should be properly used. At the end you can only fight so many battles and at one point this time, I thought it would be wiser to withdraw.
BH: Well, sometimes it can just use up your life energy so much that you just aren't the same person afterwards. Well, you know, I want to thank you for joining us. It's been a very great pleasure.
HE: Thank you for inviting me.
BH: Now would you please, one of the things I wanted to make sure that in concerning... We obviously want to be sending you some little things here.
These aren't great or anything like that. The Corgi Yellow Submarine toy, I note here you don't have one.
BH: Now, I would like to get you one. The one that I can send you is, and I'm embarrassed to say this. It's not the best condition, it's lost the Beatles on the inside. Would you be offended.
HE: No, not at all. But I don't want to be greedy. Obviously I don't want to rob you of something you value.
BH: I can spare it, I can most happily spare it. And I am just so sorry that... You know the sad part of this is, I think Laura mentioned this earlier, is that things that we were, that were in our hands 25 years ago, that cost us less than $8.00 , their value is well out of proportion to what that real value is.
HE: As with all antiques.
BH: And this isn't even much of an antique. It's only 25 years old. And the guys want to rob you for 5 or 6 hundred dollars for some toy. But I would be privileged to send it to you and if you would accept it, knowing full well that the Beatles aren't in it. Because that's one of the crummiest things they did with this toy, they were glued in and many of them when the kids played with, because that's what they were for, popped out and are forever lost. But I would be most happy to send you one of those.
HE: If you could spare it, I would love to have it.
BH: I'm not kidding when I say it's a great privilege to send it on to you. And we note here that if you have any children... Let's see, you have a 30 year old daughter.
HE: I have a daughter whose an illustrator herself.
BH: Now, have you seen The Hobbit trading cards? Or ...
HE: You know, your audience might to know this, I did illustrate quite a lot of Tolkien.
BH: I saw! My producer's notes here. We've collected some of the older calendars and I know we must have some of yours.
HE: No, these are not the calendars, these are the actual books. These are not in the way normal illustrations which I did in them. This was a series of fantasy, quality fantasy paperbacks later and hardcovers. And I do not believe fantasy can be actually illustrated. So what I did for the books was a sort of film title sequence at the opening. Incorporating the title page so the books open with the sequence of 16 pages of illustrations. And I've done The Lord of the Rings, all three volumes; I did 2 volumes of the Lost Stories; and I did the minor writings and a couple of other things.
BH: Well, if we were to send you some trading cards for your grandchildren.
HE: I will promise to send a set of posters which I did about a couple of years ago, so you might get an idea of what I'm doing now. And I do have, I think, if you, well I wonder if I still have The Lord of the Rings, but I am sure I do have, I either have Lord of the Rings or 2 volumes of the books of Lost Stories. This might be interesting because I when fantasy became popular and was illustrated that's what the people did, a lot of the psychedelic and flower power stuff rolled over into fantasy illustration. And I did, what I did try to do is sort of much harsher Tolkien. And much more realistic Tolkien.
BH: Perhaps maybe in the future, when we do, we do a show on J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, etc. Every year we do one, perhaps you might consider joining us again to talk about how do you go about illustrating such works because it's difficult at best, as far as I can see. I've only read the trilogy a couple of times, I've seen too many movies about it you know.
HE: I did in my outline, I did mention a little later after Submarine, we were trying to promote a few projects of our own. One was the Lord of the Rings.
BH: Oh yes, in the film!
HE: We never got the rights and the finance. Of course it's history now. I've never been to see the film.
BH: You've never seen that? The Return of the King? You know we may have, we may have an extra video that we can send you. I think it's the last of the videos. The Return of the King. Would you be interested in that?
HE: Well, I would at least like to see what's been done. You know, I would return it.
HE: I don't think the Lord of the Rings is available on video in Europe.
BH: Is that right? Suppose, would you mind? For the Lord of the Rings, we could make a copy for you and send it along. But we can get you an original of The Hobbit.
HE: Oh, I didn't even know it has been filmed.
BH: Yes, the original of The Hobbit, and The Return of the King. As a matter of fact what we'll do is this, because we don't want to clog up your house with things you don't want. We have problems of our own on that account. You know how artists are, they save everything! Suppose we make a copy, a tape that will have all three of those on it. And send it along to you with the Corgi without the Beatles.
HE: I'd love that.
BH: Well, we'd love it too. It's wonderful to talk to common souls. I know we've never met, but I do feel like in certain senses after watching your work, and I've only seen part of your work Heinz. You know, I'm very limited from that standpoint. There may be one other thing, we'll surprise you with that. The other thing I wanted to mention, because I didn't know anything about the catalog, the smaller, you said you were going to be working on a larger one, but the smaller one is...
HE: I don't have, I suppose because it was supposed to be sent to Stuttgart while I was away, I returned Sunday night. It should be, the shipment of catalogs should be at some collecting address nearby. I haven't been yet to pick them up. If they are actually here, then I'll of course include a catalog.
BH: Wonderful, and I know you don't like to do this, would you sign it?
HE: Yes, I would.
BH: For me?
HE: It's a pleasure.
BH: It would be a copy to me, I wouldn't want to give this away.
HE: I will do that. I can't promise I'll get it this week, I haven't checked whether has actually arrived. It should be around here, a few blocks away for collection, since 3 weeks or so, but I haven't yet made sure that it actually did arrive.
BH: Ok, this has been a wonderful experience for me. I want to thank you Heinz.
HE: You know normally, I do not give, talk about Submarine or involved in any Beatles revival, but I think your program, it sounds very intriguing from the outline I have. I would love to hear your shows, I mean not to hear myself talking which is not such a great joy. I mean to, the content of your program, the outline I had did sound extremely intriguing.
BH: Well, we'll send you some copies of our previous shows, the one we did with Bob Balser on the Yellow Sub, and the Tolkien and some of the audio tapes of the several shows we did with Tolkien. It's almost impossible now to interview Priscilla Tolkien, or Christopher Tolkien. We just can't get through, we've attempted a hundred times. And they just don't do interviews on that. And I understand why to a degree. But our interest is in of course, the meaning behind that wonderful, wonderful production. Heinz, thanks an awful lot. And we'll be sending this on. We're going to send this box on by the end of the week.
HE: You have the address. And I will send my things to what it says.
BH: Heinz, thanks again, God bless your soul for taking the time.
Post by yerblues1968 on Jul 24, 2009 20:26:20 GMT -5
The Beatles Yellow Submarine by Artist Heinz Edelmann.
23rd July 2009
Apple Corps were very sad to hear of the death of Heinz Edelmann who passed away in Stuttgart on Tuesday July 21st aged 75. Heinz was held in the highest regard by the Apple family who enjoyed a professional friendship with him for many years.
Yellow Submarine would not be regarded as an animation classic if it were not for the astonishing design concepts that he brought to the film, which inspired everyone connected to the production to create something truly remarkable.
Photo by Miss Hogan.
Heinz's infectious enthusiasm and sparkling wit was much commented on by those who had the good fortune to meet him.
He will be sorely missed by all and we send our love and sympathy to his wife Anna and their family.