…From the Flat File: 2005 – Happy Thanksgiving!



Whether you like white meat or dark meat, this turkey will taste like watercolor paint and paper. Bon appètit!


I thought I would reach into my archives this week and pull out a Thanksgiving themed illustration I did a few years ago based on a favorite television family of mine – the Barones.

I was a big fan of the Everybody Loves Raymond show on CBS, and often went to the live tapings on the Warner Bros. studio lot here in Burbank, CA. It was always so much fun to see the familial relationships played out amongst the actors who seemed to genuinely get along with each other. If they shot a joke a certain way, they’d do take after take with a different punchline until they got the biggest laugh, and all were funny.

I am also a big fan of Norman Rockwell’s paintings, a sentiment I share with many Americans who are moved by his idyllic depictions of life in this country. I was thrilled to see a traveling exhibit of his original work a few years back first in San Diego, then again in New York City. The exhibit included what have become known as Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” paintings. The Freedom from Want piece in that series always struck a chord with me with its portrayal of a family enjoying each other around the Thanksgiving table.


Freedom from Want
Well, it isn’t necessarily from Marie’s Italian cook book, but even the Barone family can enjoy a bit of a traditional turkey dinner. In one episode, they tried a tofurkey to great comical effect.


So, when I heard that Everybody Loves Raymond was going to come to an end, immediately Norman Rockwell’s famous painting came to mind. It seemed to be a perfect fit, all the way down to putting Robert in the lower right corner partially cut off as he would expect. Robert always felt he was getting the second fiddle treatment from the family. With a bit of watercolor and colored pencil, this piece was created just for the fun of it.

You know, during the time I was finishing up the painting, I took in a concert at the Hollywood Bowl where I bumped into Doris Roberts. She didn’t know me from Adam, so I probably spooked her a bit when the first words my mind thought to say were, “Oh hi! I was just painting you today!” Smooth, Chad. Smooth.

Pictured with the turkey is Peter Boyle (who passed away a few years ago) and Doris Roberts, then on the left Madylin Sweeten, Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, and Sawyer Sweeten. On the right is Monica Horan, Sullivan Sweeten, and of course, Brad Garrett. On the back wall is show creator Phil Rosenthal.

On an interesting side note, last year Brad did the voice of a character I designed for a third Zhu Zhu Pets movie that has yet to be released. It was literally a talking rock. It seems as though Robert Barone STILL can’t get any respect.


Enjoy Thanksgiving with your own friends and family this week, and remember not only to be thankful for the blessings in your life, but to whom that thanks should be directed. The holiday is modeled after the Pilgrims who gave thanks to the almighty God for their survival in this untamed land. In many ways it is still untamed, and God is the One who deserves our appreciation.

Psalm 136:1 “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”