See that picture?
That's Bob Gassel, me, my old roomate Jay Brannigan, and the guy on the far right is Brad Morgan.
We all worked at Needham, Harper and Steers back then.
That's the kitchen of the apartment that me, Jay and my brother Grog lived in across from the Burwood Tap where Bad Bad Leroy Brown was a "bouncer" and all the bartenders were pretty.
And judging from our expressions I'd guess it was the year the Bears turned out to be the greatest football team of all time.
Brad and I were young art directors.
He came from a Cincinnati art school, and knew more stuff about cartoons and animation than you or I ever will.
Here's why you know Brad.
He created Chester Cheetah for Cheetos.
Thought him up, drew him, invented his personality.
At the end of that spot, hear the voice doing the "AAAHHHEEEAAAAAHHHHEEEEE"?
That's Brad's voice.
He did about a million Bud and Bud Light Superbowl commercials, including the infamous horse fart.
He did one of his first commercials in Arizona.
Rode out into the desert with a boom box strapped to his rental horse playing the theme to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" at full volume.
He married Dale French in Santa Fe because Dale wanted to be married under a Georgia O'Keefe sky.
Before the wedding, he rented busses and took the entire party to the edge of a giant echoing canyon, specifically so we could all just "howl".
That's not just funny, it's interesting.
He had drinks with Harry Nilsson, made friends with Dwight Yoakum.
He chatted with Ron Santo all the way from Los Angeles to Chicago, and shot Pete Rose for a Wheaties box.
At the 4 Seasons Monkey Bar, he sat next to Val Kilmer and being Brad, told Val he thought he played Jim Morrison just right.
Val returned the compliment by "changing" into Morrison for the rest of the night.
For no apparent reason, Brad was famously kicked out of a Rolling Stones rehearsal in Canada twice.
By Mick Jagger.
To this day nobody knows why.
Although he arrived in Chicago a Reds fan, he quickly switched to the Cubs and I cannot count how many games at Wrigley we saw over the years.
If anybody remembers this I'll be amazed, but one day in the bleachers Brad convinced those around us that Darryl Strawberry looked just like Dino on the Flintstones, and after that whenever the Mets came to town you could hear bleacher bums doing the Dino bark and chanting "DIIIIIIIII-NOOOO" at Strawberry.
One time he bought a Mets hat specifically so he could set it on fire.
In 1987 we were at Jake's Pub watching the Bears/Packers when the phone rang. Cindy Bokhoff's husband Ted was shooting (I think it was) a Buckwheat Zydeco music video at the Green Mill, and would we please come down and dance with the girls in the video?
Brad said, "Uh, the Bears are on."
So we stayed and were rewarded with the Kevin Butler 52 yarder that beat the Pack 26-24.
Brad and I went to the 21-nothin' divisional championship game between the Bears and Giants on Jan 5th, 1985.
The next week, we were sitting at Soldier when that gorgeous snow fell on the Rams, and Mike Singletary made Eric Dickerson irrelevant.
And 2 superbowls ago I was sitting on a barstool next to Brad when he told me he had Big C.
This last Christmas night, after Christmas dinner, I was doing dishes at my Dad's when Dale called my cell.
I didn't answer but I knew what she was going to say.
Brad was an award winning art director and creative director, an artist, a killer guitar player, a huge sports fan, a son and brother and a husband and a friend and a people guy and a kind of a private guy and mostly just a cool guy.
I miss him.