Classic holiday specials drawn to life by Lawrence native

Posted on Dec 8, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Paul Coker Jr, who illustrated classic holiday specialsThe holiday season brings classic TV specials that generations of people have enjoyed. Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to TownThe Year Without a Santa Claus and other holiday specials from Rankins/Bass Productions credit a Lawrence native and University of Kansas graduate for their famous style.

Paul Coker, Jr. began leaving his legacy as an artist as early as high school. While a junior at Liberty High School (soon to become Lawrence High School) in 1946, Coker, f’51, sketched the Chesty Lion logo that is used to this day as the school’s mascot.

As the designer for the holiday specials, Coker created the look and feel for the characters that have aired since 1969.

Coker spent most of his career as an illustrator for MAD magazine, illustrating over 375 articles in the satirical publication. The storybook style he used for Frosty the Snowman also was used to design Hallmark greeting cards.

Frosty the Snowman airs December 9 at 8 p.m. CST on CBS.
Frosty the Snowman, illustrated by Paul Coker Jr-Ryan Camenzind

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