Monocles and Models
Radebaugh settled long-term roots in Detroit.He drew ads for major companies from Coca-Cola to United Airlines. As often as not, however, he left art directors and other potential clients utterly befuddled by his futuristic stylings.
His colleagues describe him as a bit of a loner, but also a kind and debonair man who knew how to be flashy and exotic. He once returned from a business trip in New York wearing a monocle, which he sported along with other outlandish garb: capes, jodhpurs and various strange hats.
“Detroiter works in the dark doing invisible fluorescent paintings”
This was the headline for an appearance in LIFE magazine. Radebaugh had grown fond of the blacklight medium, and is pictured here painting a blacklight portrait of a model which he had sprayed down with flourescent paint.
While working in Detroit, his bread-and-butter work consisted of automotive companies, and also many heavy industrial product companies, who wanted to seem forward-thinking or advanced.
Radebaugh also did work for heavyweights like Coca-Cola. This gorgeous but somewhat ominous ad demonstrates Radebaugh's attention-grabbing technique, but also suggests why more conservative firms might have avoided hiring him.
Some work used by advertisers showed the pragmatic inventions of Radebaugh, who, despite his fantastical style, had a keen interest in using the newest technology for everyday improvements, such as this high-speed commuter line.
Here, he riffs on the Empire State Building theme, with this vaguely Eiffel-esque airship docking tower, high above a futuristic metropolis.
Radebaugh began to establish himself as more than a stylish renderer: he became a designer of new modes of living, working, and, yes, relaxing on the beach.
Radebaugh drew his last MoToR Annual in 1957. The following year, he was to embark on the next stage of his career: as a full time syndicated cartoonist of the future.