I was headed out to visit my sister in the then sparsely developed Simi Valley. It was late August and school would be starting in a couple of weeks. That meant summer vacation was almost over.
When I got there my sister shoved a magazine in my hands and said, "You gotta read this". I looked at the cover: COSMOPOLITAN magazine? What was in it, though, was the condensed novel of William Peter Blattey's "The Exorcist". The buzz had already surrounded this blasphemous tome and here I had an opportunity to read the abbreviated version.
So I plopped down and started reading. A couple hours, a few Bud talls and a half-a-pack of Camels later, I finished, spooked like all get-outs. I was supposed to be a tough guy, but this thing scared the hell out of me!
|Cosmopolitan Sept. 1971 issue with "Shivery Best Seller".|
|Illustration by George "Bud" Guzzi. (Image from eBay).|
“Here’s a book. Pick out a scary scene and draw it.” That was one of the first assignments George “Bud” Guzzi, A56, J83P, J84P, A86P, received from Cosmopolitan magazine in the early days of his 35-year career as an illustrator.
The book was The Exorcist. The scene was iconic.
“I drew the little girl in the bedroom,” writes Guzzi. “The room is freezing, the priest has a sweater on, the woman has a blanket on, and on the girl’s chest are the words ‘help me.’” Editors would later ask Guzzi to take off the priest’s sweater, throw the mother in a tight top, and remove the silent plea.
“I did 10 illustrations for them before, but this one they were nervous about,” he writes. “I think it was the Catholic Church. But I made the changes.”
Just another day at the drawing board, he writes.