A week ago award winning cartoonist Johnny Hart died. Most of us know him from reading his popular cartoon strip--BC. B.C., with its prehistoric cavemen and dinosaurs was created in 1958, carried by over 1,300 newspapers and had an audience of 100 million. Hart won every major award in the cartoon industry:
Best Humor Strip in America, six times (The National Cartoonist Society)
Cartoonist of the Year (The National Cartoonist Society)
The Yellow Kid Award for Best Cartoonist (The International Congress of Comics)
Best Cartoonist of the Year (France's highest cartooning award)
The Sam Adamson Award, twice (Sweden's international award for graphic artists)
In recent years Johnny Hart began inserting religious themes in BC especially at Christmas and Easter.Suddenly the BC cartoon strip revealed a man of serious faith who sought ways to thoughtfully challenge his readers about their beliefs. It revealed that Johnny Hart was a thoughtful creative for whom God was of central importance.
Johnny Hart earned the right to be heard through producing quality work year-after-year. This provided the platform where he could creatively share his beliefs, AND his track record of award winning work gave him enough clout to keep the strip in print when some newspapers, like the LA Times, refused to run the cartoons with religious themes.
I interviewed Johnny Hart in the 1990's and discovered that his decision to follow Jesus came about through the combination of a satellite installation, religious Broadcasting and a small local church.
And now here's the rest of the story!
Hart and his wife decided to move to small town and needed a satellite dish installed. They hired a father/son team to do the job--- Because they lived out in the woods and because satellite technology was relatively new at the time, it took a few weeks to complete the job. The father and son were Christians who as they installed the system used religious television stations to check the test patterns. With the religious test pattern on all the TV's scattered throughout the house Hart found himself secretly sneaking glances at the shows mostly because he thought some of the personalities on religious TV were funny!
Hart became convinced that the Bible was the revelation of God's truth and he made a decision to follow Jesus. He wanted to go to church- but his wife wasn't interested, so Johnny exercised his newfound faith. He prayed. A few weeks later Bobby, his wife, announced she wanted to go to church, Johnny's faith was confirmed, his wife became a believer and the local church nurtured their faith, which Johnny began to express in BC, read by millions!
So we learn some lessons about the making of one influential thoughtful creative.
Getting a faith-fueled BC to millions of seekers--required:
a father/son satellite installation team;
And a small community church.
So as you head into your day wondering if you can have any impact on the world, think about that father and son who did their job installing a satellite system and in the process reached millions through Johnny Hart, who thought he ordered a satellite dish and ended up getting an abundant and eternal life in the process.