Monday, January 23, 2012

Frazetta As Home Designer






These pages are home design revisions from the mind of Frazetta. The Frazetta home in Marshall's Creek, PA underwent many changes from the time of its purchase in the early 70's. It started as a single story cottage, run down and filled with clutter. There was a barn off to the side. Frank added a pre-fabricated second story to the cottage, then he added an expanded living room, then he added a new studio. These sketchbook page revisions reflect a time when Frank wanted to expand the house further with a swimming pool. Originally the pool was going to be enclosed and feature a very primitive jungle motif with rocks and vegetation. At the very last minute Frank rejected this idea because of potential humidity damage to the paintings. He called the idea "Frazetta's Folly".

There is one museum design in the group that derives from the home designs. The original museum idea featured a separate studio apartment for Frank on the second floor. This would have been Frank's private getaway area. He wanted some separation from Ellie. Ellie said it was too expensive, nixed the idea, and plans reverted to a single story design.

At one point Frank wanted to build an all new home on a different part of the lake. Frank Junior had just built a large home across the other end of the lake and Frank wanted to outdo it. Frank's medical issues put an end to those ideas.

Many people wonder why Frank chose the Pocono mountain area as his destination. Frank was clearly disenchanted with the whole NYC-Long Island area. Ellie had found a large tudor-style house that was turnkey move-in ready, but Frank wanted no part of it. He said "no". He was tired of neighborhood living. He wanted space; he wanted the stereotypical "room to breathe". The reason for Pennsylvania is that the National Cartoonist Society would have yearly golf outings at the Shawnee-on-Delaware resort, the Shawnee Inn, owned by Fred Waring, an early supporter of the NCS. They gathered to celebrate his birthday every summer. In addition to cartoonists, many celebrities would show up. This is where Frank played golf with Hal Foster and met Jackie Gleason. This was located right in the middle of the Pocono mountains. These outings influenced Frank. He loved the mountains and the isolation of the area.The land was very atmospheric, very moody and mysterious. The summers featured heavy fogs and constantly changing weather patterns. The vegetation was thick and rich; the area was populated by many animals from deer to rabbits to coyotes to bobcats. It was the perfect location for Frank. It was this very 65 acre parcel of land that influenced George Lucas and Clint Eastwood to buy up sections of California. They both saw what Frank had and they wanted the same thing.

Frank settled in and let the world beat a path to his door. It was a magical house in a magical setting.

(c)2012 Doc Dave Winiewicz

5 comments:

  1. Hey Doc Dave,

    I agree completely with your statement about the Frazetta property as a "magical house in a magical setting." I had the chance to visit the museum four times. On each occasion it was like entering Wonderland as I drove down that path with the moss-covered boulders on either side. Part of it was the seclusion. If you didn't know the museum was there chances are you couldn't find it. Then there was the anticipation. What would be on display? Would Frank come over to check in?

    I was very blessed; on three out of my four visits I got to meet Frank, and got to see him on the other one. That was a little embarrassing. It was the first time and I had come from overseas. When I got to the states I couldn't locate the website for the museum, so I didn't have the information about what time they opened. I had copied the directions before I left though. I arrived at the museum at a little after ten. It wasn't open. Wouldn't have hurt to post the hours on the door, I thought. Ten thirty came and still no one came to open the place. I got to thinking that I could just turn tail and leave, but I knew I would hate myself later for having missed a great opportunity. So I started eyeing the houses. I knew that members of the Frazetta family lived in some of them, but I wasn't sure who lived where. Finally feeling like an idiot I walked up to the house and knocked. Frank himself came to the door and very civilly told me the museum opened at eleven. I went off for a half hour in a daze. Kept thinking, "Hey I bothered Frank Frazetta. Hey, I BOTHERED Frank Frazetta!" When I came back I got a nice tour of the museum from Ellie and we had our picture taken flanking Massai Lion Hunt.

    On the next visit I came with a group of Frazetta fans and Ellie went and got Frank to come over.
    The next time I had my wife and two young daughters along and Ellie sent us over to the house for a couple of photos with Frank.

    My final visit was after Ellie had passed away and the website which gave directions was down, so I wasn't even sure the museum would be open. When I got there I was the only visitor and Frank was sitting at the museum desk. After giving me a tour he motioned for me to come over to the house when the museum closed. We talked about things from art to cameras for a couple of hours. When I left he shook my hand and said, "Well, this was a pleasure. Come back again some time."
    I told him the pleasure was all mine.

    As you say, a magical house and for me a place filled with magical memories.

    Best,
    Aaron

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  2. Many thanks for sharing the nice memories.

    DAVE

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  3. Property prices and property taxes were (and are) much lower in PA than in NY and NJ, and this was also a major factor in Frank's decision to move out there. I remember when the museum was in town, near Bill's costume shop (prior to the relocation to Florida and the return to PA), and first met the family in 1985.

    Best regards,

    Alec

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  4. Amazing! I think I need to model the Frazetta Dream Home in SketchUp.

    When I visited their actual home I got a taste of the nature of the land as well. At one point we were in the house and there was a commotion from outside. Some of their grandchildren were around as both daughters were visiting, I believe. We ran outside and there was a black bear very near the house, having come from the nearby woods. It ran off but as we were standing around on the back deck or patio searching for it I was thinking, "Man, am I going to have to jump on that thing's back from this rail and stab it to death to impress Frank Frazetta??"

    He said bears were a common occurrence.

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  5. Yes, indeed, bears were common. A bear killed several animals on the land including a pet vietnamese pig. I saw Frank run from the garbage cannister to escape an oncoming bear. You had to keep your eyes open when on that property, especially at night!

    DAVE

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