It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Harry Grant Guyton, nephew of Milton and Esther (“Bunny”) Caniff, at age 94.
Harry was the executor of the Caniff Estate and did so much to make both the Steve Canyon comic strips and the short-lived TV series available for modern-day audiences. He was also a tremendous raconteur, and this seems a fine time to share with you a couple stories Harry shared with us during an interview a few years ago:
“Bunny always had Milton on a diet. You know, carrots, celery, what have you.” Harry said. “When he lived in Palm Springs, there was the main house and he had the studio down there, and so we would stay in the studio [when we visited]. And you know, he drew all the time. He had his board and everything in the studio. Well, we would leave him crackers, cookies, cake, and what have you, and in the morning we’d get a note — ‘Thank you, thank you.’ Because, boy, Bunn kept him on a pretty strict diet!”
Another story, from two decades before the Caniffs’ days in Palm Springs, indicates how times have changed (and security has tightened!) since the mid-1950s: “When I was at Fort Eustis, Virginia, I received an invitation to attend the National Cartoonist Society’s breakfast with President Eisenhower and Secretary of the Treasury Humphreys. I was flown to DC in a Major General’s plane and sat at a table with Otto Soglow, creator of The Little King, and five other people. Soglow was a real prankster, and he told me he was going to pretend he had a gun, and said I was to see which one at our table was the Secret Service guy. I said , ‘No, thanks!'”
Dean and I enjoyed every conversation we had with Harry; he was a great help to us with both our Terry and the Pirates and especially our Steve Canyon projects. His love for Milton and Bunny was clear whenever he spoke of them, and he has been an able steward of both Canyon as a property and of Milt’s legacy as a whole.
We’ll refer you to this 2014 posting for more on Harry, including a fine portrait of him rendered by his uncle, the Rembrandt of the Comics.