Tales From the Theme Park #9

December 11th, 2014 | Posted in Tales from the Theme Park


This one is the story of the closest I ever got to getting beat up for a caricature I drew. This happened in the summer of 1989 or 1990 while I was managing a concession for Fasen Arts at Six Flags Atlanta. It’s sad that I was in a position of authority and still pulled this stunt… I apologize to Steve Fasen for my actions a quarter of a century ago.

It was a typical day doing theme park caricatures at Six Flags. I was working at our busiest booth located in the center area of the park when I started drawing a group of college frat boys that were there on spring break. There was probably 16 or more of them. They wanted me to commemorate their spring break in the drawings.

All these guys were kind of fat and nerdy… not the Zac Efron frat boys but more the Zack Galifianakis types. Great senses of humor. I did the first one with a six-pack on a beach with some hot girls in bikinis drooling over him. He loved it, and the drawing marathon was on. I did drawings of all of these guys, with each one getting more zany. I had some of them so muscular they had syringes of steroids sticking out of their arms, their swimsuits falling down around their ankles while the ladies looking on were terrified by their manhoods, etc. etc. The drawings became increasingly outrageous, while the caricatures really played up their nerdy faces and fat cheeks. I had the crowd rolling.

The last drawing is where it all came off the rails. The group basically pushed this last guy into the chair. He was the one member of the group who was a good looking, buff, hunk sort of guy. I drew him fat and doughy in a speedo. The gag of course was the juxtaposition of the one good looking jock getting the flabby body while the chubby guys got the hardbodies.

This guy did not like the joke. He got pretty angry and refused to pay for the drawing. He stalked off and his buddies spent the next ten minutes apologizing to me and saying how big an asshole that guy is. Eventually they moved off. That’s when I made a bad choice.

Instead of tossing out the drawing and moving on, I took a little time to add to it. I gave him a bikini top, saggy boobs, long hair and makeup… basically making him look like a really bad female impersonator. Then I hung it up on the wall as a sample for everyone passing by to see.

Along that group came later in the day. When they saw the revised drawing I thought they were going to piss their pants. When the subject saw it, he took a run at me but half a dozen of his frat brothers restrained him and told him he deserved it for being a vain jerk. the angry guy told me he’d see me in the parking lot after the park closed. He obviously wasn’t going to school on an academic scholarship. Even an idiot would probably realize employees parked in a totally different area than the paid parking for guests. I never saw him after close. Best of all, the other guys chipped in a bought the drawing from me and took it with them!

I can only hope that pretty boy was mercilessly tortured by that group for the rest of his college career with that drawing!


  1. Scott Leverenz says:

    About 20 years ago my longtime friend and I were doing “Jazz” caricatures at an event where they’d been serving alcohol. The event people paid us for the evening so the guests didn’t need to pay us for their caricatures. One very drunk guest was insulted at one particular caricature we’d done and was ready to rumble… but when he came to the realization there was two of us he’d have to deal with, he quickly backed off and staggered into the crowd.

    (We called them “Jazz caricatures” because we both did the caricature together, in kind of ‘riff’ of Sharpie glory. One of us would start and in a few minutes we would each build/evolve the caricature together to the finished illustration. We could do this because at the time we’d been drawing together for 20 years.)

  2. Doug Mahnke says:

    He is probably still waiting in the guest parking.

  3. Tranny Pacquiao says:

    And that enraged jock grew up to be… Bruce Jenner.

  4. Alex Hallatt says:

    You coulda taken him, Tom…


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