I would like to commend liluadc on the discovery of the two Ballantine’s ads she recently posted to the forum. [Mauretania & Chicago Auto Show] Of course this discovery quickly shifted my NOCD (Nagel Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) into overdrive. Since there unfortunately isn’t a comprehensive catalogue raisonne of Patrick Nagel’s work, I simply put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and started Googling like a madman.
I initially thought the entire series of images that Patrick Nagel created for Ballantine’s had been for the “Great Gatsby” promotional campaign, but I’ve discovered this to be untrue. Prior to Paramount’s 1974 release of the film The Great Gatsby, Ballantine’s was already in the middle of their “Nostalgia Collection” promotional campaign, which featured the tagline “Ballantine’s was there”. Patrick Nagel had been commissioned by Ballantine’s long before any involvement from Paramount . The “Nostalgia Collection” campaign featured such iconic points in history as the Twentieth Century Limited (the world’s greatest train), the Mauretania (the largest and fastest ocean liner), the 1935 Chicago Auto Show (the Packard limousine and Pierce Arrow convertible) and “The Game” (Harvard vs Yale 1934). The only image that Ballantine’s had Nagel create for Paramount’s “Great Gatsby” campaign was the one featuring the obvious likenesses of Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
Paramout chose to include only four companies in their “Great Gatsby” promotional campaign. Of those four, Ballantine’s was the only company in which Paramount actually initiated negotiations to see if Ballantine’s was interested in joining their promotional campaign. Ballantine’s basically agreed to do a “Great Gatsby” promotional “tie in” with their existing “Nostalgia Collection” campaign. Though Paramount wanted to use a film still of Redford and Farrow for the Ballantine’s ad [the “Nostalgia Collection” campaign was based on the illustrations by Patrick Nagel] Ballantine’s insisted that the “Great Gatsby” campaign be in keeping with their “Nostalgia Collection” campaign.
Nagel’s original artwork showed Redford and Farrow in a party setting, each holding a drink in their hand. Paramount requested that Nagel try again. Paramount didn’t feel that Redford looked enough like Redford and both Redford and Farrow objected to being shown holding a drink. Nagel reworked the image, making Redford look more like Redford and removed the offending hands holding drinks.
Ballantine’s had been selling posters and t-shirts imprinted with the images from its “Nostalgia Collection” campaign, but Redford’s and Farrow’s contracts prohibited their likeness from being used to sell products outside the authorized campaign. Paramount set the dates of the campaign, which was scheduled to begin a month before the film opened and continue for one month after. Ballantine’s would only be allowed to sell the poster featuring the “Gatsby” image during this time.
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