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How Gary Larson (the Far Side) Influnces Me

Jan 22, 2008
I like to pontificate about The Far Side because I can only name a few humorists who had a great impact on my life before I launched Londons Times Cartoons. Two were cartoonists and one of them had a very major impact, Gary Larson The others were comedians and actors such as Steve Martin, Mike Myers, Steven Wright, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, Lucy, Rowan & Martin, Peter Sellers, and several dozen others. One other cartoonist was the late great Charles Schulz, and they all influenced me in a different way.

Larson's influence touched me and I melted like butter at the humor as it was the way I felt, and thought, and viewed the world also. The Far Side was like a super-human psychiatrist. He/she didn't have to ask me how I felt, he/she already knew and told me in one little cartoon panel. He was evolved from common cartooning and he usually focused on what he knew best, science and animals. He had a major in biology and aside from the frequent use of cows and insects, biology and mad funny looking scientists were often his theme-de-jour. Before Larson launched The Far Side, he was working on a cartoon called "Nature's Way". The Seattle Times was the first paper to publish it in 1979. A year later, Chronicle Features picked The Far Side up for syndication and it ran fifteen years. Larson put down his pin on New Years Day, 1995. For awhile we heard nothing. Then he wrote a very biologically-accurate children's story about worms titled "There's A Hair In My Dirt" which quickly became a New York Times Best Seller. When asked why he was retiring, he said, he simply didn't want to become mediocre. He stopped while he was ahead. He could be labeled more than a cartoonist, perhaps a "cartoon surrealist" of sorts. A lot of his cartoons featured bovine behavior and conversations that cows had when no people were around. The behavior was often erudite to make the reader understand he or she perhaps might not be so much smarter than these cows (and other animals, from squid to deer to bears. Cats and dogs often appeared in Far Side panels and nobody can forget the dog, in a car with it's owners, smiling, yelling to a dog in a yard, "I'm going to the vet to get tutored!!!"

One popular Far Side panel features two chimpanzees grooming each other. One discovers a blonde human hair on the other and asks "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" Her institute board members felt it was in bad taste, and had their lawyers draft a letter to Larson and his distribution syndicate, in which they described the cartoon as an "atrocity". They were stopped in their tracks, though, from no other than Goodall herself, who loved the cartoon. Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon benefit the Goodall Institute. Most recently, Larson has published a 2007 calendar and 100% of the royalties benefit Conservation International. So Gary Larson not only turned out to be a very talented man, but a man who cares about the world in which he lives, and does something about it in a very unique way. He will always be remembered by his friends, fans, and other cartoonists such as myself.
About the Author
Cartoonist Rick London, founder of Londons Times Cartoons says many humorists have influenced him but none had an impact like The Far Side's Gary Larson on his now very Top Internet Cartoon, Londons Times The Gary Larson Far Side Influence Continues
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