Friday, January 22, 2016

Jack Jones, the US Journalist

Further down this blog I reported the discovery in a drawer in Seattle of a series of fine artistic sketches by Jack Jones of a Chinese drama show that was held near to the Friends Ambulance Unit's transport depot south of the river, in Chungking.

These pictures were intended to illustrate the long story in A TRUE FRIEND TO CHINA, at chapter 5, which is an unashamed tribute to the many and various qualities of its star, 'Mrs CMS', the lovely wife of one of Jack's drivers with whom he was besotted.

This article was written for and first published at length in the FAU's newsletter in 1948 and circulated to a small audience of FAU workers throughout China. A shorter version was then in August 1949 published in HOLIDAY, the Philadelphia based magazine of AAA, the American motoring organisation. A further version was published in Jack's book, DAUGHTERS OF AN ANCIENT RACE in Hong Kong in 1974 and finally at length by me in my own book in 2015. Not a bad run at all and the story is well worth its repeated airing!

However, in putting the book together I was desperately short of illustrations for this piece and sadly Jack's sketches only surfaced in Seattle some months after publication. But now another Holy Grail has just emerged. After scouring all possible places in the US of A where there might be old magazines, I have finally captured and have here on my desk a copy of that precious issue of HOLIDAY with Jack's article in it.

At page 167 of my book Jack can be found grudgingly applauding HOLIDAY for its editing of his work and the production of own illustrations. I wondered how they managed to do these pictures but on seeing the pages now understand that Jack sent his own sketches to the publisher and its artist then produced the final definitive versions.

What now follows are pictures of Mrs CMS on a monocycle and of a man doing a trick with a normal bike, Jack's draft sketch being followed by the one that actually appeared in the magazine.

A struggling writer cannot of course tell the magazine's publisher how to illustrate his magazine, but I know whose drawings I prefer. Which ones do you like better... Jack's version that comes first or the ones based on them that were in fact published?

Having now got all these great images and having nearly sold out the book in both UK and the US, I desperately want to do a reprint with this chapter now lavishly illustrated. I'll be sad if the book goes out of print and becomes a rare collectors' item. I can probably organise a reprint in the UK but how am I to do it in the US? I need a collaborator there who will get printing quotes and organise storage and distribution. It ain't easy but I'd so like the book to find a new life and be more widely read.

Please, who can help?