Between 1967-1995 Jerry Alten was Art Director of TV Guide and hired Searle repeatedly. In correspondence with me he related how dependable Searle was:
"I worked with Ronald for some thirty years. Unfortunately for me most of it was through the mail. As art director of TV Guide magazine I had to contend with 52 covers a year as well as 10 to 12 art needs inside the magazine.
Most of the time I checked a pre-sketch of the work being done because being a weekly magazine everything had to go to the printing plant in 5 or 6 days. Conception of what I wanted took some time as did the fact that my artists and photographers were all over the country and the world. One of the very few people I never requested a pre-sketch from was Ronald. I knew it would always be right on and it always, in 30 years, was."
'F-Troop' 27th May 1967
Watercolor and ink on paper, 1968 51.8 x 35.2 cm (203/8 x 137/8 in.)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Beatrice Arthur and Hermione Baddeley of “Maude”
March 29 – April 4, 1975
March 31st 1979
August 26th-September 1st, 1967
(courtesy of David Welch, Childhood Memorabilia, Wentzville,MO; EBAY seller pezdudewelch)
A VISIT TO Gilt-Edge GULCH
by Ronald Searle, TV Guide Sept 1965
Practically everything that can be said
has been said ad nauseam about this sweaty fairy tale and its never-ending success with the ratings. In sheer acreage of human flesh alone, Bonanza must be one of the biggest things to hit the TV screens of the Western world since showgirls.
To spend a day in the studio with the Cartwright family is about as perilous as being shoved into a bullring---with only a fountain pen for protection. The wide open spaces of Nevada reach only as far as the cyclorama; and the hitching post between the studio visitor and the steed that rears to a halt under Ole Pa Cartwright (after a long gallop from one arc light to another)seems too frail.
Here after six years, something should be limping in the State of the Ponderosa. However, gravediggers are certainly not apparent in the atmosphere, which is about as sensitive as that of a baseball locker room. Only Dan "Hoss" Blocker, deep in consultation with his Business Interests over there in the shadows, belies what would seem to be nothing more than a golden crust of cliché spread stickily over Stage 16, at Paramount Studios.
What has Bonanza got that the others haven't got? The answer is Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, and Michael Landon, who still retain a sense of belief in the show.
The "Cartwrights" have managed to insulate themselves against the encroachment of better judgment, sex and the Beatles. What other show can boast a father figure who has almost toppled Ringo Starr from the Top 10 with a sentimental ballad called, ironically, "Ringo"?
There is more than a smell of confidence in the Ponderosa ranch house. Right must triumph in the end, and if there has to be any long hair around, it had better be on the hosses -or else. And, hush! That crackle in the undergrowth. Could it be . . . ? You're right. It's money! And that speaks, pardner.
Continue for a visit to Lorne Greene as he prospects for gold in a Sparks, Nevada night club.
Johny Carson, August 31st, 1968
TV Guide Spot illustration 1980s
'Film Publicity: Welcome to a film person' ,1984
As far as I know this is the last cover Searle did for TV Guide, October 27th 1990. The magazine's art director had fun with this one-pasting Freddy Krueger on top of Searle's delightful painting!
These are from Searle's period both illustrating and writing TV Guide articles.
TV Guide July 1975 interior illustrations
'A Drink With Friends'
'Cost of (satellite) launch'
TV Guide for January 3rd – 9th, 1976. (Cover Art by Bernie Fuchs)