By: Editorial Staff
HEN EDITORIAL CARTOONIST Paul Conrad reflects on the Pulitzer Prize, he often recalls the question of a Los Angeles Times copy boy who ran into him in an elevator the day Conrad had won his second Pulitzer.
“Mr. Conrad,” the youth asked, “which Pulitzer Prize is heavier ? the first or the second?”
Even now ? after winning his first Pulitzer at the Denver Post in 1964 and two more, in 1971 and 1984, at the Los Angeles Times ? Conrad says he is still stuck for an answer.
“Quite frankly, I never expected to win any. To win three ? well, that was absolutely beyond the pale,” Conrad said in a telephone interview from his Los Angeles office.
But the blunt-spoken Conrad says there is a certain liberating effect that comes with a Pulitzer.
“It makes you work harder,” he said. “You’ve got Pulitzer attached to your name and it makes you think: No more crap!”
For Conrad that means tackling the big issues, doing research ? “You get the facts of the case, find out who’s right and who’s wrong” ? and then coming up with strong images to get the point across.
Unlike editorial cartoonists who divide their cartoon into panels and crowd them with words, words, words, Conrad says he feels a different imperative.
“I go to my wits’ end to get the printing out,” he said.
And Conrad adds that he emphasizes “editorial” over “cartoon.”
“I’ve tried to come as close to being an editorialist as I can. I’ll put in a gag now and then if I come up with a good one. But I think the reader should get something out of [an editorial cartoon]. God knows, the editorials are dull enough as it is,”
Conrad was one of many editorial veterans who took the Times offer of early retirement several years ago, but he remains syndicated by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. The Pulitzer, he says, brought him “respectability” for work that did not really change before or after the prizes.
“I never expected one or another of the first two,” Conrad said. “The third one was really so unexpected it blew my mind.”
?(“I never expected one or another of the first two. The third one was really so unexpcted in blew my mind.”) [Caption]
?(Paul Conrad) [Photo]