As you'll learn, or already know, we spent a lot of time in our childhood promoting the Clemente Brothers brand. Many of these ideas either started as feature films or became them after a large amount of focus on, and success with, particular characters. Eventually (perhaps after mentioning it fictitiously on our radio program enough times) we realized it was time to visualize and conceptualize a theater to house all these box-office gems. Below are several proposals dating around 1991-92, if I don't mistake myself.
Ian: Although there are very few signs this was even initially intended to represent a building of any type, I clearly remember Paul passing this drawing to me after a brief discussion and agreement on the nature of the Ian Theater. No diagram accompanies this proposal, but I also remember discussing it in detail after reviewing it, and if I am correct here, patrons were to enter through the mouth (minding the snaggle tooth), the eyeballs housed, appropriately enough, the projection rooms and the ears provided access to (or from?) the balconies. We would refine this idea to meet the public's demand for a zanier movie-house. While this facade would certainly draw attention on S. Braddock Ave or Sixth St, it certainly is a fairly tame representation, as you'll see, we gained momentum and lost control...
Paul: This was the first concept of the Ian theater, and is pretty tame as you will see with the other pictures below. The entrance was through the mouth, and as Ian said the projection rooms were housed in the eyes. I still don't know what movies we were to play in the Ian theater, movies about Ian? or regular movies in a theater than can only represent the crazier side of the Clemente Collective.?
Ian: This idea was a little more fleshed out submission from Paul after the return to the drawing board. Not only is there a marquee above the entrance, but an LED ticker at the top. I'm not 100% sure but I believe the arms were intended to move. As the notions for the theater progressed, we clarified our vision that actually entering the theater should pose a nearly impossible challenge for our guests to prove their worth of the high privilege of viewing offerings such as innumerable sequels in the SuperIan and IanBat series (there still exists a recorded clip of me reciting 20 plus titles and summaries on WPIX from around this same time). We kept the motif of a mouth foyer. And that is a butt on top of the theater. Pure genius!
Paul: Ah ... the Ian Bat series! The arms were supposed to not only move, but be a safety hazard to our patrons. The marquee and LCD signs were an definite upgrade to our previous model. The one design flaw I can see is the open balconies that would not only let light in but the harsh elements of Pittsburgh while viewing a movie. The open mouth door was the only constant decision we stuck with through all designs. The ass on the top of the building's intention was to omit audible fart sound to attract (?) patrons to the theater.
Ian: My first completed proposal for the design. Pirate (with a patch)? Grizzled, old, amorphous version of the first theater (note the tongue copied straight from it)? I recall it took me as long to produce this concept as it did for Paul to knock out the first two. I'm not sure if it's eraser marks above the nose or an intentional mustache. I'm not sure if the teeth are intended as wall paneling or wooden chompers for customers to hit their heads on.
Paul: I see this and I think, Pirate tomato. I do like the mustache either intentional, or not. The whole theater looks like its suspended on two legs, which I would think paired with the moving arms would make it a logistical nightmare. Not sure why we always put cartoon style white gloves on all our creations.
Ian: Okay, we stopped fooling around and got down to business here. Got rid of the moving arms, straightened out the teeth, cleaned up the nose and pu tthe damn thing on the ground. Still have some rather naturalistic tendencies with the asymmetric circle design and I'm not completely certain, but I think Paul added the ears after the fact. For balance? Aerodynamics? I am almost positive that design #3 was a correction and coverup of flaws in the first attempt of this idea, #4. This would account for the similarities in the eyes (one dark and one light). I believe that in #3 I started with the shades, but botched it and let my creativity turn a mistake into an opportunity to shine. With the hat and ace card, I'm not sure if this was a promotional stunt to promote a Spot the Hitman feature. If that's the case, the flick never came to fruition.
Paul: This looks like a Ralph Steadman version of Elton John.. The opening is either not to scale, but proportionally too small for a average sized man to fit through. Those glasses may or may not be 3D capable, way ahead of its time. Ian seemed to clean up the design a lot, but the whole concept lacks a huge amount of butts, fart clouds, and snot. I don't know much else about this picture, but looking back I love Ian's designs way better than my own.
Ian: Now shit gets real. Now we were collabbing (I hope so that I can take some credit too) and really focusing and thinking forward. You'll note the introduction of signage and labels and infusion of earlier elements (such as the stem of a neck supporting this massive multiplex). There is an intentional entrance set behind the mouth and made visible this time. I recall discussing the many potential entrances and exits and visualizing customers having to crawl over gigantic teeth and onto a tongue that was actually wet (a good and apparently memorable touch), or jumping and swinging frantically to reach the earlobes. I'm not sure, but I believe this is the first drawing where we considered the possible expansion into themed cafe's and the added revenue, not only is it not prominent in the previous drawings, but not even conceived. I remember being thrilled with this one upon first seeing it, and it's still perhaps my favorite blend of function and zaniness. Note the eyebrows... Is the sewer pipe for decoration??
Paul: Again another structure suspended in the air, but the added potential for revenue in this design is epic. The gas puff cafe was to serve farts to hungry movie goers, and the sewer pipe was to hide the smell of the food. The foot on the roof not only was esthetic, but functional as an pest deterrent. Ticket holders still had to climb over teeth to get in, and walk down a wet spongy tongue to get in. I mean, if you are going to see IanBat III you have to earn it.
Ian: Hmmm... I wish I could take any credit for this one, but I think Paul just was completely... er... inspired. I remember drawing these in the living room. How we were aloud to create such abominations in plain sight, or even laugh audibly or have any fun at all mystifies me. But here we see the idea abstracted, I think, to its fullest. Here, the tongue is in full motion, further discouraging or at least challenging potential viewers. It may be a shrieking lobby. The Gas Puff has been reduced to a polygonic domicile and the sewer pipe replaced with (or re imagined as) dual noses dripping what I have to assume is Fair Trade organic snot produced locally. There is just too much going on here to describe or comprehend. Is that a halo or a ring of death (or a magnifying glass to burn patrons)?
Paul: This is the most aggressive version of the Ian Theater. The snot fountain is the first thing I notice, it WAS organic fair trade. The lobby did not shriek but it did move ... violently. The one room extension was intended to be used as a dungeon I remember. I have not a clue why a movie theater needs a dungeon, but I'm glad we kept it away from the customers. The dual ears were only for decoration, and served no purpose (just like the whole building). The ring above the building was a halo, to let people know that although the building looked sinister, it was safe to be in.
Ian: At this point, I'm not even sure if our intention was to establish a theater or to lure unsuspecting people into inescabaple hazards with the promise of a nice movie starring one of my many alter-egos. Another constant was the personifcation and animation of the theater. I believe, though it's disputed, that those are flames shooting from a stapler's nose. As the passive brow and spit curl indicate, this stapler didn't revel in the task of taking aim at innocents who had to navigate doom galore, or at least wasn't aware what was occurring below... The door is at the far end, and I'm assuming it's a duplex. We decided to abandon the cafe' notion, I guess assuming that it was too expensive.
Paul: I left the whole concept of the functional building behind, and created an impossible structure, which again, spewed snot. I can't quite imagine how anyone can fit seats, a screen, or even a small cot inside this building. The top of the building not only expresses the organic regret of inconveniencing the ticket holders, but it doubles as a trap door containing a wagging tongue.
Ian: And to finish the brainstorming, we go back to basics. A door in the neck... A butt shaped bowler's hat and no detail in the ears. Perhaps Paul lost interest in the project by this point, or perhaps he gained interest in a minimialist approach. Unless those teeth have hinges, this violates one or two fire codes I can see right off the bat. Regardless, no other theater's visage looks as truly (demented) happy to greet guests to their twentieth viewing of "Nooooo Ianannnnn!!!!!: The Movie".
Paul: I think I lost interest in the blueprints at this point once realizing our main benefactor had passed away, and I knew we would not get public funding without asking for donations. I also had trouble getting building permits for the designs all together because no city contractors would tackle this project siting the ideas "grossly unsafe". Ah, bureaucracy ... kept us from realizing our dream of owning/operating a movie theater that not only is disgusting, but plays no movies.