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Aug 9, 2011

 August 9, 1976.....I just got my first professional editorial cartoon published....in the Chicago Daily News!..... $50.....but hey it's a start.....even bigger than that I met Pulitzer Prize, cartoonist John Fischetti a couple of weeks earlier. 

During that initial visit with the Chciago Daily News art department....the art director spent literally less than two minurtes looking at my portfolio of college cartoons and caricatures.
He says follow me and we take an escalator up one floor to the editorial department. I can smell the print presses grease mixing with the ink in the air as we make our way to the the Daily News' editorial offices.

While we were still wallking, the art director points out, 'That's Fischetti....', who's in his office hunched over his desk drawing. As soon as he says that I fnd myself in another office, meeting the editor of the editorial page of the Chicago Daily News. He spends even less time looking at my work before he picks up the phone and I hear him ask Fischetti to come into his office.

I swear, my heart 'bout jumped out of my body as Fischetti walked in and shook my hand....and looked at my open portfolio on the editor's desk.  (I need to mention that at this time that I had one book of editorial cartoons....entitled Zing Zinga Za, by yeah.....you guessed it....John Fischetti.) Before he finishes scanning my work he looks up the the editor and says, "He's the one...!" 

He tells me to come back in a couple of weeks with as many ideas as I can about local issues to see if I can come up with ideas as well as I can draw. I do as I was instructed and by the time I get home after dropping off my penciled roughs. The editor is on the phone asking me if I can have two of my roughs inked by tomorrow for $50. per cartoon.

Wow-! that was easy....all I have to do is read, think, draw 'n' ink. I could do that for a living....HELL- I just did it. Later meetings with Fischetti I asked him how does a person get a job as a staff editorial cartoonist?  He shared with me as you're starting out make sure you provide a newspaper with a cartoon that they can't get from any other source, ie: LOCAL. Syndicates will never, I mean NEVER will be able to supply local commentary to any newspaper, it's just not financially viable. John also shares with me that to actually secure a job as a staff newspaper cartoonist....you have to be LUCKY-!

Being an ex- jock I new I could make my own LUCK by working hard and putting myself into the position to being .....lucky. Being ready to answer the door when opportunity knocks. Well- after 35 years and countless local cartoons for newspapers in 11 states ....I understand what John Fischetti was sharing with me when he used the word 'LUCK'.

I mistook 'luck' for 'preperation'. The luck that John was talking about was the kind of luck that you can't work or prepare for. The kind of luck you need to secure a staff position as a newspaper editorial cartoonist is the kind of luck you need to be born into wealth.

I've accpeted the fact that securing a position as a staff newspaper editorial cartoonist just wasn't in the cards for me. As much as I wanted and worked for it, I just wasn't cut out for it.

Fortunately for me, the Internet arrived in time to allow me to read, think, draw 'n' ink...!

-Milt Priggee

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