You might say that Barton F. Graf 9000 Founder and Chief Creative Officer Gerry Graf is at a high point in his career. After steering much celebrated advertising at agencies such as Goodby, BBDO, Saatchi and TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, he went on to launch his own shop more than three years ago. The nimble startup soon became known for its signature, bizarre comedic style for clients like Little Caesars, Dish and Kayak.com. Recently, it broadened its repertoire with work like Super Cell's epic animated first spot for Clash of the Clans. It's also grown up a lot working with big clients such as Unilever on Ragu, for which it turned out work that helped to push the advertiser to the top of last year's awards charts.
But even before he was in advertising, Mr. Graf was making things happen on other sorts of stages, as you'll see in this week's episode of Six Things.
1. His younger brother is named after his father, he's Barton F. Graf Jr. Gerry has always found that strange.
2. He was a stockbroker before he was in advertising. He had his Series 7 and 63 brokerage licenses.
3. He was also a rat exterminator in Beverly Hills. They don't have basements in L.A., they have crawl spaces about a foot and a half high. His job was to crawl under mansions and collect the rats out of the traps.
4. One Saturday night, he snuck into Saturday Night Live. He waited for a limo to pull up at around 10:30 and walked in with the VIP guests. For some reason, they didn't need tickets. He wandered off and sneaked back stage. Norm from "Cheers" was there. He went to Notre Dame like Gerry but years before -- and he wrote for the same comedy revue. Gerry struck up a conversation and followed him around. He ended up watching the show from Lorne Michaels' office--sitting next to Parker Stevenson, whose wife, Kirsty Allie, was hosting. Gerry made it to about 12:45 before getting kicked out.
5. His wife worked at a gallery in Los Angeles and introduced him to Roy Lichtenstein. All Gerry knew about him was that he took old comic strips and blew them up big so he said, "Oh, you're the dot guy." Roy looked at him and said, "I guess I am."
6. He played Rum Tum Tugger in the 1985 Lexington High School production of Cats.