(Topic ID: 94074)

Is Gordon Morison still alive?


By PhilGreg

5 years ago



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There are 71 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 5 years ago

Anyone know if Gordon Morison (Gottlieb backglass artist in the 1970s, the best one ever IMO... maybe a good subject for a poll later) is still alive?

#2 5 years ago

Love his work, one of the best pinball artists ever.

#4 5 years ago

I know most of the older pinball guys have passed. Molentin, Parker, Marche and Morison. I'm not sure about Art Stenholm or Jerry Kelly. Dave Christianson is still around.

#5 5 years ago

Oh, that's too bad. Thanks for the links. I'd be curious to know what else he did besides the Ghostbusters art.

#6 5 years ago

Long dead.

And rumor has it his widow threw out TONS of original artwork and backglasses.

#7 5 years ago

From the Chicago Tribune web site when he died:
**********************************
July 22, 2000

Gordon A. Morison, beloved husband of Joan;
loving stepfather of Laurel (Jim) Sorenson,
Michelle (Steven) Hoover, Suzy (Christopher)
Greco; fond brother of Norman. He was a
commerical graphic artist and the originator of
Pinball Art. Korean War Army Veteran. Visitation
Monday 11 a.m. til time of service at 11:30 a.m.,
Grove Memorial Chapel, 1199 S. Arlington Hgts.
Rd., Elk Grove Village. Interment Christ Lutheran
Cemetery (Orland Park). Contributions to
American Cancer Society Appreciated.
847-640-0566

***********************************

#8 5 years ago

A shame. I actually looked him up a few years ago for an interview and was surprised to find he passed. I also love his work!

#9 5 years ago

There are quite a few of George Morison games in the new Pinball book by Santiago Ciuffo. They actually made me appreciate his art even more.

#10 5 years ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

From the Chicago Tribune web site when he died:
**********************************
July 22, 2000
Gordon A. Morison, beloved husband of Joan;
loving stepfather of Laurel (Jim) Sorenson,
Michelle (Steven) Hoover, Suzy (Christopher)
Greco; fond brother of Norman. He was a
commerical graphic artist and the originator of
Pinball Art. Korean War Army Veteran. Visitation
Monday 11 a.m. til time of service at 11:30 a.m.,
Grove Memorial Chapel, 1199 S. Arlington Hgts.
Rd., Elk Grove Village. Interment Christ Lutheran
Cemetery (Orland Park). Contributions to
American Cancer Society Appreciated.
847-640-0566
***********************************

Wow, thanks for posting this. I wish I could find more info on Art Stenholm, but there seems to be very little known about him.

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Long dead.
And rumor has it his widow threw out TONS of original artwork and backglasses.

Since he died in 2000, when you had to pay people to get a machine out of your basement, I can see there wouldn't have been much interest in those items.
I'm guessing he wasn't a millionaire either and maybe they didn't have a huge house so I guess she held on to some stuff but got rid of the rest.

#12 5 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

I wish I could find more info on Art Stenholm, but there seems to be very little known about him.

This sounds like him. If so he is gone too.

http://www.fitzgeraldfh.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=938389

#13 5 years ago

whenever i see one of these "is so and so still alive?" questions, i always am reminded of the abe vigoda status page...

http://www.abevigoda.com/

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from ccotenj:

whenever i see one of these "is so and so still alive?" questions, i always am reminded of the abe vigoda status page...
http://www.abevigoda.com/

Whenever I see him mentioned I think of his last line in The Godfather

"Can you get me off the hook, Tom, for old times sake"

#15 5 years ago

I've always kind of wondered how much the guys who designed these games, and the guys who did the art, really enjoyed actually playing the games. I would guess the designers would be much more inclined to play. After all, a lot of them would show up at the shows. But for the artists, it could be that it was just a job that they did. It might have gotten that way for the designers, too. When you think about how many games they cranked out back in the day, well, you could see them getting a bit blase about the playing side of it.

#16 5 years ago

Alex,
Wow, thanks so much for finding this. How did you find it anyhow? He was my favorite pinball artist. Very similar in style to Roy Parker. Look at the backglass art on Williams "Eager Beaver" and tell me that it isn't strikingly similar to Parker's work. The backglass art on "North Star" has always been debated. A very good source insists that it was Parker, but I see a lot of characteristics that look like it could be Stenholm's work. That demonstrates how close their styles were.

#18 5 years ago

Morison did the art for Top Card, which to me is one of the most complex, interesting backglasses around. That glass has so much going on, it's incredible.

#19 5 years ago

He also did my favorite...Centigrade 37, correct?

#20 5 years ago

genie.jpg

#21 5 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

He also did my favorite...Centigrade 37, correct?

He did.

#22 5 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

He also did my favorite...Centigrade 37, correct?

yes

#23 5 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Alex,
Wow, thanks so much for finding this. How did you find it anyhow? He was my favorite pinball artist. Very similar in style to Roy Parker. Look at the backglass art on Williams "Eager Beaver" and tell me that it isn't strikingly similar to Parker's work. The backglass art on "North Star" has always been debated. A very good source insists that it was Parker, but I see a lot of characteristics that look like it could be Stenholm's work. That demonstrates how close their styles were.

I just googled Arthur Stenholm Chicago. Lucky guess I suppose. I am also a big fan of his. Probably my second favorite behind Molentin. I agree that I think North Star looks more Stenholm than Parker but hard to know 100%. It's obvious that Parker was an influence in his work so the debate makes sense. I have always like Eager Beaver. Paul Bunyan is another that I think is outstanding. He always had nice compositions with just the right amount of comedy thrown in.

#24 5 years ago

All of his games as credited on IPDB

Date  Name  (Click to display that game)   MFG  
1971-01 Galaxie Gottlieb
1971-02 2001 Gottlieb
1971-02 Dimension Gottlieb
1971-03 Challenger Gottlieb
1971-03 Star Trek Gottlieb
1971-04 Now Gottlieb
1971-04 Playball Gottlieb
1971-05 Extra Inning Gottlieb
1971-05 Home Run Gottlieb
1971-06 4 Square Gottlieb
1971-06 Pee Wee Golf Gottlieb
1971-06 Roller Coaster Gottlieb
1971-08 Card King Gottlieb
1971-10 Abra Ca Dabra Gottlieb
1971-10 Astro Gottlieb
1971-10 Lawman Gottlieb
1971-10 Sheriff Gottlieb
1971-11 Drop-A-Card Gottlieb
1971-12 Magic Wizard Gottlieb
1971-12 Orbit Gottlieb
1971-12 Wizard Gottlieb
1972-01 All Stars Gottlieb
1972-01 Jump Shot Gottlieb
1972-01 Texas Ranger Gottlieb
1972-02 Outer Space Gottlieb
1972-03 Flying Carpet Gottlieb
1972-03 Pop-A-Card Gottlieb
1972-04 Space Orbit Gottlieb
1972-05 King Rock Gottlieb
1972-07 King Kool Gottlieb
1972-08 Grand Slam Gottlieb
1972-08 Play Pool Gottlieb
1972-08 World Series Gottlieb
1972-09 Jungle Gottlieb
1972-11 Wild Life Gottlieb
1973-01 Jungle Life Gottlieb
1973-02 Jack In The Box Gottlieb
1973-02 Pro-Football Gottlieb
1973-05 Jumping Jack Gottlieb
1973-05 Jungle King Gottlieb
1973-05 Top Hand Gottlieb
1973-07 High Hand Gottlieb
1973-08 Big Shot Gottlieb
1973-08 Ten-Up Gottlieb
1973-09 Hot Shot Gottlieb
1973-12 King Pin Gottlieb
1973-12 Pro Pool Gottlieb
1974-01 Sky Dive Gottlieb
1974-02 Big Indian Gottlieb
1974-05 Capt. Card Gottlieb
1974-05 Sky Jump Gottlieb
1974-06 Big Brave Gottlieb
1974-08 Magnotron Gottlieb
1974-08 Top Card Gottlieb
1974-09 Duotron Gottlieb
1974-10 Free Fall Gottlieb
1974-10 Royal Pair Gottlieb
1974-12 Far Out Gottlieb
1974-12 Out of Sight Gottlieb
1975-01 Atlantis Gottlieb
1975-01 Super Soccer Gottlieb
1975-03 El Dorado Gottlieb
1975-03 Fast Draw Gottlieb
1975-03 Soccer Gottlieb
1975-04 Pin-Up Gottlieb
1975-06 Quick Draw Gottlieb
1975-07 Spin Out Gottlieb
1975-08 "300" Gottlieb
1975-08 Tiger Gottlieb
1975-10 Top Score Gottlieb
1975-11 Abra Ca Dabra Gottlieb
1975-11 Gold Strike Gottlieb
1975-11 Lucky Strike Gottlieb
1975-12 Spirit of 76 Gottlieb
1976-03 Bank Shot Gottlieb
1976-03 Pioneer Gottlieb
1976-03 Spot Pool Gottlieb
1976-03 Sure Shot Gottlieb
1976-04 Royal Flush Gottlieb
1976-05 Card Whiz Gottlieb
1976-06 Buccaneer Gottlieb
1976-06 Ship Ahoy Gottlieb
1976-07 New York Gottlieb
1976-08 Surf Champ Gottlieb
1976-08 Volley Gottlieb
1976-10 Surfer Gottlieb
1976-11 High Seas Gottlieb
1976-11 Target Alpha Gottlieb
1976-12 Canada Dry Gottlieb
1977-02 Jacks Open Gottlieb
1977-02 Kicker Gottlieb
1977-02 Solar City Gottlieb
1977-03 Big Hit Gottlieb
1977-03 Team One Gottlieb
1977-04 Bronco Gottlieb
1977-04 Mustang Gottlieb
1977-06 Lucky Hand Gottlieb
1977-07 Jungle Queen Gottlieb
1977-07 Lucky Card Gottlieb
1977-08 Centigrade 37 Gottlieb
1977-08 Golden Arrow Gottlieb
1977-08 Jungle Princess Gottlieb
1977-09 Super Spin Gottlieb
1977-10 Jet Spin Gottlieb
1977-10 Vulcan Gottlieb
1977-11 Cleopatra Gottlieb
1977-11 Cleopatra Gottlieb
1977-12 Fire Queen Gottlieb
1977-12 Gridiron Gottlieb
1978 Charlie's Angels Gottlieb
1978 Valkyrie Gottlieb
1978-02 Pyramid Gottlieb
1978-02 Strange World Gottlieb
1978-04 Neptune Gottlieb
1978-05 Sinbad Gottlieb
1978-05 Sinbad Gottlieb
1978-06 Eye Of The Tiger Gottlieb
1978-07 Poseidon Gottlieb
1978-08 Hit the Deck Gottlieb
1978-08 Joker Poker Gottlieb
1978-08 Joker Poker Gottlieb
1978-10 Close Encounters of the Third Kind Gottlieb
1978-10 Close Encounters of the Third Kind Gottlieb
1978-10 Dragon Gottlieb
1978-10 Dragon Gottlieb
1978-10 Gemini Gottlieb
1978-11 Charlie's Angels Gottlieb
1978-12 Rock Star Gottlieb
1979 Solar Ride Gottlieb
1979 The Incredible Hulk Gottlieb
1979-02 Blue Note Gottlieb
1979-02 Solar Ride Gottlieb
1979-03 T.K.O. Gottlieb
1979-05 Count-Down Gottlieb
1979-08 Pinball Pool Gottlieb
1979-08 Space Walk Gottlieb
1979-10 The Incredible Hulk Gottlieb
1979-10 Totem Gottlieb
1979-11 Genie Gottlieb
1980-01 Buck Rogers Gottlieb
1980-02 Roller Disco Gottlieb
1980-02 Torch Gottlieb
1980-05 The Amazing Spider-Man Gottlieb
1980-06 Circus Gottlieb
1980-08 Counterforce Gottlieb
1980-12 Asteroid Annie and the Aliens Gottlieb
???? Lawman Unknown Manufac...
???? Playing For Keeps

#25 5 years ago
Quoted from iwantansi:

All of his games as credited on IPDB
Date  Name  (Click to display that game)   MFG  
1971-01 Galaxie Gottlieb
1971-02 2001 Gottlieb
1971-02 Dimension Gottlieb
1971-03 Challenger Gottlieb
1971-03 Star Trek Gottlieb
1971-04 Now Gottlieb
1971-04 Playball Gottlieb
...
1980-05 The Amazing Spider-Man Gottlieb
1980-06 Circus Gottlieb
1980-08 Counterforce Gottlieb
1980-12 Asteroid Annie and the Aliens Gottlieb
???? Lawman Unknown Manufac...
???? Playing For Keeps

Holy moly. Never realized he had done that many.

#26 5 years ago
Quoted from PhilGreg:

Holy moly. Never realized he had done that many.

he DID keep himself occupied, didn't he?

#27 5 years ago

I wonder if he was still working doing commercial art after his last pinball games? He would only have been 50 in 1980.
Hard to imagine an artist could afford to retire that early.

#28 5 years ago

I was inquiring because I know this would have been an extremely long shot, but still, I would have liked to know if he would have been interested in doing a CD cover for a reasonable budget. Pretty much the same proportions as a backglass, band name instead of the game name, etc.

#29 5 years ago
Quoted from AlexF:

I wonder if he was still working doing commercial art after his last pinball games? He would only have been 50 in 1980.
Hard to imagine an artist could afford to retire that early.

you would think so... i can't imagine gottlieb paid him enough to build that large of a nest egg by 50...

#30 5 years ago

He did a round of Slimer spin-offs of the Ghostbusters comic books after pinball for sure.

http://comicbookdb.com/creator_chron.php?ID=13397

#31 5 years ago
Quoted from AlexF:

I wonder if he was still working doing commercial art after his last pinball games?

In 1989 he was still doing comics

Slimer .JPG

slimer 3.jpg

#32 5 years ago

Slimer looks very much like those little blobs he did on Abra and Strange World, too. Fitting.

#33 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

In 1989 he was still doing comics

Well that is cool and appropriate. I always thought his art had a comic book style to it anyway.

#34 5 years ago

651403.jpg

#35 5 years ago

Oops. Duplicate post under a different website. Sorry.

#36 5 years ago

i showed swmbo the pics of comics above and asked her "what artist?", and she immediately popped out "gordon morison"... so his work is immediately recognizable to both pinball and comic collectors...

interestingly enough, she also mentioned that now she knows why some machines look vaguely familiar to her, even though she never played a pinball machine in her entire life until 18 months ago... so his pin art was definitely a primitive version of what was to come...

pretty cool...

#37 5 years ago

There was a definite style change from Early 70's Morison to Late 70's Morison. Early Morison was good, but simple. Illustrations were clean and dynamic, but color palettes and figure detail wasn't as cohesive as it could be. I think he was just getting a feel for the medium and what worked vs what didn't. I'd call his early backglasses more akin to comic "panels" - gets the job done, but nothing crazy.

2001.jpg
Top score.jpg
King Pin.jpg
Team One.jpg

When he started mimicking Jack Kirby though (honestly, who didn't back then?), his stuff just rocketed out of control. Color choice, composition, line work - all amazing stuff. These I would call comic "covers," and represent some of my personal favorite pinball era for art. Even beating out most of the early 80s stuff, which was also amazing.

Hulk.jpg
Sinbad.JPG
Dragon.jpg
Gemini.jpg
Totem.jpg
Circus.jpg

#38 5 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

Morison did the art for Top Card, which to me is one of the most complex, interesting backglasses around. That glass has so much going on, it's incredible.

Agreed. Was my favorite part of the game, as faded as it was....

#39 5 years ago

To me his art is so wonderfully crisp and packed with gobs of detail. Great artist.

BR_Backglass_th.jpg
#40 5 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

rumor has it his widow threw out TONS of original artwork and backglasses.

Does his wife still live? Any children?

#41 5 years ago
Quoted from TheShameGovernor:

There was a definite style change from Early 70's Morison to Late 70's Morison. Early Morison was good, but simple. Illustrations were clean and dynamic, but color palettes and figure detail wasn't as cohesive as it could be. I think he was just getting a feel for the medium and what worked vs what didn't. I'd call his early backglasses more akin to comic "panels" - gets the job done, but nothing crazy.

I mostly agree with you but a more thorough search will reveal glimpses of that more detailed style before that last 'simple' glass. you posted, the Team One. I really think is also has to do with the subject matter. Abra is trippy and a glimpse of that later stuff, but also something like Big Hit-which is later, still has a somewhat realistic look. I don't think you can make a blanket statement like later stuff always being more trippy/complex. vs. earlier work being more simplistic. IMO

#42 5 years ago
Quoted from unigroove:

Does his wife still live?

I read an article somewhere a few years ago and I believe she was still alive. I think an article from you should be forthcoming....

#43 5 years ago

Jerry Kelly, the man responsible for the Bally man design is also gone.

IMAG2792.jpg
#44 5 years ago
Quoted from EMsInKC:

I've always kind of wondered how much the guys who designed these games, and the guys who did the art, really enjoyed actually playing the games. I would guess the designers would be much more inclined to play. After all, a lot of them would show up at the shows. But for the artists, it could be that it was just a job that they did. It might have gotten that way for the designers, too. When you think about how many games they cranked out back in the day, well, you could see them getting a bit blase about the playing side of it.

I pulled out my "Pinball Art" book by Keith Temple (1991) and I didn't remember that, but the foreword is by G-Mo himself (just made this one up, sorry ). And here's a quote that answers just that "Pinball was then just a job. Now it's got a strong element of nostalgia. In fact to be honest we were a little ashamed of the work and were sorry we weren't working in advertising agencies."
I'll try to scan that foreword at work this week, pretty interesting stuff.

#45 5 years ago

G. Morison for the win.
pinball 2013 002.JPG

#46 5 years ago

Does anyone know if he (or any) of the main pinball artists also designed the cabinet art/stencils?

#47 5 years ago
Quoted from stashyboy:

Does anyone know if he (or any) of the main pinball artists also designed the cabinet art/stencils?

I can partially answer that, again from the Pinball Art book, Morison says that line workers were pressuring him to keep it simple with the cabinet art because he was making their life harder when he came up with more complex designs.
So I guess in his case at leas, he did come up with some (or all) of the designs, but he wasn't doing the actual stencils.

I'm not sure they always did the plastics either. For instance on Card Whiz, it really seems to me like the art style on the plastics is much different than the backglass art... I could be wrong though.
On C-37, on the other hand, the playfield and backglass art is pretty consistent. With the amount of machines they were cranking out they might have had secondary artists take care of some of the job once in a while.

#48 5 years ago
Quoted from ccotenj:

you would think so... i can't imagine gottlieb paid him enough to build that large of a nest egg by 50...

These guys were not employed by the pinball companies. They worked for companies such as "Advertising Posters", and "Reproduction Graphics". I was not aware that Art Stenholm worked for Amoco as is stated in his obituary. I'm going to try to dig up some old Amoco ads, etc and see if I can find anything that looks like his style.

19
#49 5 years ago

This didn't come out all that good, but still readable.

GMo.jpg
4 months later
#50 4 years ago
Quoted from TheShameGovernor:

There was a definite style change from Early 70's Morison to Late 70's Morison. Early Morison was good, but simple. Illustrations were clean and dynamic, but color palettes and figure detail wasn't as cohesive as it could be. I think he was just getting a feel for the medium and what worked vs what didn't. I'd call his early backglasses more akin to comic "panels" - gets the job done, but nothing crazy.

King Pin.jpg 94 KB

Top score.jpg 78 KB

To my eye, these two owe a lot to Mad artist Dave Berg's ("The Lighter Side of...") style. Especially the girls.

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