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|Memories of VideoDisc - Who's Who in VideoDisc|
Acy Lehman (shown standing in a projected image of Miss Piggy) was Director of Creative Services, RCA SelectaVision VideoDiscs. Prior to VideoDisc he served as Art Director for RCA Records, and in that role was co-recipient with artist Harvey Dinnerstein of the 1972 Grammy Award for Best Album Cover. This was for the cover of The Siegel Schwall Band by the Siegel-Schwall Band.
RCA "SelectaVision" VideoDiscs are out of sight in more ways than one. As software engineers are quick to point out, every disc is encased in a plastic sleeve that protects it from environmental ravages and shields it forever from view. What you do see is the art that adorns the sleeve and that is the work of "SelectaVision's" four-member art department, headed by Acy R. Lehman. The other three members are Corinna Chifari, Dick Smith, and Fay Gallo.
"Covers are designed to accomplish a single purpose," says Lehman, who joined "SelectaVision" after ten years as Art Director for RCA Records. "To get you to pick the record off the rack." As often as not, the same measure of creativity and visual daring go into a cover as into the disc program itself. In producing some 125 covers over the past year, Lehman and his crew have acquired an unlikely miscellany of props, including a New York Yankee jersey, a revolver, boxing gloves, several feet of barbed wire, a police arrest record form, and a detective's badge. To shoot the cover for The Magnificent Seven, the classic western set in Mexico, Art Director Dick Smith actually commissioned the building of a small - but no less authentic - adobe wall.
While Lehman's strong suit is ideas, which he roughs out in felt-tip pen, their execution is assigned to freelance illustrators. Whenever possible, existing art, in the form of illustrations, stills, publicity photos, press sheets, and advertisements, is incorporated. "If it's a film, we check with the producer as well as with private archives, movie magazines, and any other potential source of material," Lehman says. Last year he and Smith spent an afternoon rummaging through New York's Museum of Boxing, a dusty loft housing a jumble of memorabilia - old programs, yellowing photos, plaster casts of boxer's fists. From their findings they knocked out the cover for Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fights.
But often the pictorial pickings are slim. The dearth of material for the ballet classic, The Red Shoes, for example, really kept Lehman and his crew on their toes, "There were no usable stills left in anyone's files," Lehman says, "So we went out and bought a pair of red ballet slippers and a length of red ribbon." Along with a photo of actress Moira Shearer, they form the centerpiece of the cover. "They say you can't tell a book by its cover," says Lehman, "With video discs, I'm not so sure."
- May/June 1981 Issue of RCA Communicate
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