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Drawing A Crowd: Bill Gallo

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge

This is the sports book for all of you!

Bill Gallo is the dean of sports cartoonists. He has been playing his unique trade for the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS for more than 40 years. The son of a newspaperman and a product of New York City, Gallo has won awards and accolades from a who's who of critics and fans. His work has hung in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Now, we have DRAWING A CROWD by Bill Gallo with Phil Cornell (Jonathan David Publishers, 368 pages, $35.00). With an insightful foreword by Pete Hamill, this over-sized book is a collection of hundreds of Gallo's sports cartoons - just a small sampling of the more than 14,000 he has done over the years.

And, in addition to the carefully and beautifully reproduced artwork, there are all those wonderful reminiscences from Gallo on those he has broken bread with through all the decades. They include influential names like Ali, Joe D., Frank Sinatra, Casey Stengel, Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Joe Torre, Donald Trump and on and on.

The book's sub-title is "Bill Gallo's Greatest Sports Moments". In the pages of this lively and lovingly done book, there are more than a few.

The chapter called "Fair Ball" focuses on sketches and commentary on women in sports like Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Dorothy Hamill plus discrimination in sports with wonderful artwork and remembrances about Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and others.

Chapter ten - "A Goodbye to the Greats" is brief, but moving.

Featured athletes include: Lou Gehrig, Jesse Owens, Roberto Clemente, Arthur Ashe, Jim Valvano, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Walter Payton and others. Comments by Gallo accompanying his artwork make this an especially poignant part of the book.

The section on Joe DiMaggio is funny and insightful. The cartoon on page 336 has the language: "Hey, cartoonist, there's a guy here to see you . . .says his name is Joe DiMaggio."

And the reply by Gallo stooped over his drawing board is "Yeah, sure and Phil Rizzuto's in the hallway with a herd of cows". Part of the accompanying Gallo commentary is the following: "To be a friend of this intensely private man, you had to obey a simple ground rule: leave his personal life alone . . .even in his later years, Joe would drop by the News to visit as I recorded in this illustration."

In the opening to DRAWING A CROWD, Gallo muses, "I approach my job these days with the same enthusiasm I had 40 years ago. I still worry about deadlines. People tend to make a lot about age. I don't think of myself as an old guy. I go at it as a jolly philosopher who looks skyward and says, ‘Don't bother me yet. I'm busy’."

That he is and hopefully he will stay creatively busy for many years to come, turning out these marvelous sports cartoons and writing commentary that is pure Gallo. As Jimmy Breslin said, "Bill Gallo never phoned it in on a reader once in his life."

To pore through the pages of DRAWING A CROWD is to realize how on target Breslin was and how wonderful Bill Gallo's work is.

Bookends: TOTAL OLYMPICS edited by Bill Mallon is set for September publication by TotalSports. The 1,000-page book will be priced at $50.00. HAWK OCCUPATION: SKATEBOARDER by Tony Hawk with Sean Mortimer is coming this September from ReganBooks. It is the autobiography of the world's most renowned skateboarder


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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.


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