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In addition to owning memorabilia from the careers of rock legends such as Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, American Royal Arts possesses a number of signed art and limited edition photography from Brian Wilson, a legendary singer and songwriter of the Beach Boys. Although the group produced a number of highly successful albums during the 1960s, the collection known as Smile, recorded by the Beach Boys in 1966 and 1967, collapsed during recording and was never released to the public in the original form.

Smile was primarily the brainchild of songwriter Brian Wilson, who famously referred to the project as a “teenage symphony to God.” Wilson sought to build upon the success of the band’s hit song “Good Vibrations” by creating an album that used the same production techniques and featured a set of thematically linked songs. Wilson adopted several innovative recording practices during his time in the studio, including the separation of instrumental parts and recording the same performances at different studios to capture the distinctive sound quality of each one.

Although Wilson experienced a large measure of early success with the project, many began to express skepticism over the feasibility of such an ambitious recording. Wilson became obsessed with the project and began to exhibit erratic behavior, causing his close friends to become concerned. Upon hearing the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” released in 1967, Wilson was so moved by the song that he had to pull his car over to the side of the road to listen, remarking to his passenger that the Beatles had “got there first.” Wilson officially cancelled the album in 1967 after composer and lyricist Van Dyke Parks quit the project. 

Wilson and Parks reopened the Smile project more than 35 years later, completing the album and performing it with Wilson’s touring musicians in 2004. For his performance on the long-awaited concept album, Wilson received his first solo Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

 

January 11th, 2013

1/11/2013

 
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At American Royal Arts, we’ve held licenses to distribute collectors’ items by famous artists including Jim Davis, the creator of the popular Garfield comic strip. Garfield first appeared in print in 1978 and quickly became a hit. Originally syndicated to only 41 newspapers, Garfield gained an enormous following, eventually claiming the title of most widely syndicated comic strip in history. Over one quarter of a billion people read Garfield comics every day around the world.

Jim Davis originally started the Garfield series with a different cast of characters. Named Gnorm Gnat, the strip received lukewarm reviews. One commentator suggested Davis employ a more "relatable" character, such as a cat, and this became the inspiration for Garfield.


Named after Davis' grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis, the Garfield character adopted characteristics from both Davis' childhood cat and his grandfather. Garfield's owner in the comic strip, Jon Arbuckle, was inspired by a 1950s coffee commercial, and Odie the dog came from previous advertising work Davis had done.


At first, Garfield was rejected by syndicators. It took Davis several years to get the strip picked up, eventually by United Feature Syndicate. Davis bought back the rights to Garfield in 1994, through his company Paws, Inc.


In addition to the comic strip itself, Garfield quickly spawned a lucrative merchandising market. Davis founded Paws, Inc. in order to manage the merchandising business, which grew to over $15 million in value by 1981, only three years after the debut of the strip. Currently, approximately 400 manufacturers create Garfield merchandise.


Piggybacking on the strip's success, the television show Garfield & Friends premiered in 1988, eventually running for 7 seasons. Davis has also produced a large number of Garfield books.


About Jerry Gladstone:
A highly regarded dealer of collectors' memorabilia, Jerry Gladstone runs American Royal Arts Corp., based in Boca Raton, Florida. In addition to animation items, Jerry Gladstone distributes classic rock posters and other entertainment art.