Arnold was impressed. The Chronicle soon published some of his work but Kerry was shortly given an awesome challenge. Arnold offered the opportunity to become a fixture within Chronicle Features, a leader in world-wide syndication, but insisted that the relationship begin with a substantial body of work. He was sent packing back to Vancouver with an assignment: he was told to produce 100 publishable cartoons.
"I got home and I still had to make a living - so I had to do all of my usual work on top of this thrilling but terrifying opportunity," Kerry remembers. "Maybe the stress got to me, because I soon after came down with a very serious case of pneumonia." Eventually, he prevailed, and became one of Arnold's most prolific and successful contributors.
He would also soon learn that he was not the only one to be given such a nerve-wracking assignment. One day, while visiting Arnold's office, he was given a package of 30 drawings from another eager artist looking for work. "Take these home with you and then tell me what you think," Arnold asked.
The artist was Gary Larson. "Of course, they were brilliant," Kerry remembers. "And I don't think Stan needed me to tell him so, but it certainly reinforced in my mind that I was playing in the major leagues."
The San Francisco Chronicle's tribute to G. Stanleigh Arnold after his death in 1997 had this most interesting passage:
A few years before he died, and long after he had retired from his post as the Chronicle's Sunday and features editor, Mr. Arnold sent his former Chronicle colleagues a convenient note that outlined his life so that obituary writers -- normally a harried lot -- would have the facts at hand when it came time to bury Stan Arnold on deadline.
"Having recently had intimations of mortality (what else could I have with the clear-cutting of my contemporaries going on all about me?),'' Mr. Arnold wrote, "I decided to put down on paper those things that an obit writer might wander through, picking out what he or she wants to and deep-sixing the rest. All this presupposes I'm worth an obit and that I die on a dull news day."
He included a list of "people who might be persuaded to say something nice about me if sufficiently urged."
It took no urging. Cartoonists, columnists and editors from around the country called in with reminiscences about Mr. Arnold going back more than 40 years.
top of page ^