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Phil Frank Memorial Included Skewered Politician, Fans in Costume

Yesterday, a large memorial was held in honor of Phil Frank, who drew Farley for the San Francisco Chronicle for 22 years. The crowd neared 2000 people and a good number of them were dressed up in their favorite costumes based on characters in the strip. Attending the service included members of his family, Phil Bronstein, editor of The Chronicle and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown who was a frequent target of the strip. Of Phil and Farley, Brown remarked, “For eight long years, I lived with the fear of waking up in the morning and being in that cartoon,” but also said, “Phil was absolutely fabulous. He became an incredible friend.”

The Park Service honored Phil’s widow with an honorary ranger hat and the Academy of Art University presented the family with a posthumous honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

The SF Chronicle has a photo gallery of the event.

Community Comments

#1 Dawn Douglass
September/25/2007
@ 10:56 am

My daughter and I went to Pixar Animation Studio a week ago Saturday, for a benefit for the San Francisco Cartoon Museum. I write about it on my blog, if you’re interested in hearing more about it.

We all got a goodie bag, and one of the things in it was book by Phil Frank called “Don’t Parade on My Reign!,” which is largely satire about San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Frank, but reading this book, I realize what a talent he was. It’s great to hear how his community embraced him.

#2 Rich Diesslin
September/25/2007
@ 11:51 am

It’s a rare person that can have fans of not only his friends but also his adversaries. What a great tribute that so many folks came out for him. I loved his Travels with Farley strip back in the 70s. Also kudos to the paper and people to supported a local cartoon strip for all those years. Very cool.

#3 sandi morey
September/29/2007
@ 9:09 pm

We are so saddened to lose such a bright spirit as Phil Frank. My husband and I would always go to the Yosemite Association meetings if we knew Phil would be there. It was so much fun to watch him come up with the whimsical characters who peopled his Yosemite and then auction the drawings off to benefit the Y. A. and the park. Last year, 2006, I bought an original strip at the meeting which I could hardly afford, but sometimes you just know you want to hold something special close to you even if you don’t have much money. The hardest part was deciding which strip to buy as there were at least 25 I would have cherished. Phil was so generous with his talent, supporting the things he believed in and fostering community whenever he could. He died way too young. We were so sorry to miss the memorial having just now heard about it, but we are sure that our spirits were there and we will always think of him when we visit Yosemite. We will look for the last acorn to fall into Velma’s drink and we will chuckle when we get into the back of the valley where the bears live behind the Auwanee Hotel. From time to time we will read through his books and will be happy that we shared the same time and the same sense of place with him.

We took a photo of one of the drawings he auctioned off in 2006 and it says it all:
“BARKEEP Make it one for my baby and one more for the toad!” It’s a fitting toast and anyone who was there will remember it well. Congrats to the folks who scored it at the auction.

Much Aloha to the family.

Sandi Morey and Shim Farrell
Oakland CA

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