News Sentinel editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel with his impression of Ronald Reagan, one of 11 presidents Daniel has drawn in his career.
You wouldn’t think it from reading his editorial cartoons in the News Sentinel, but Charlie Daniel is really a sweet, quiet and unassuming guy. With a wicked sense of humor, of course.
I have known Charlie for more than 30 years — we both worked at the defunct Knoxville Journal — and he still cracks me up, in print and in person.
Charlie and his sweet wife, Patsy, were guests of honor this past weekend at this year’s final installment of the Knoxville Symphony League’s “Elegant Dining” series of fundraisers.
“Cartoonists rarely say anything nice about anybody,” Daniel acknowledged during his after-lunch talk in the lovely Rarity Bay home of Steve and Lin Oglesby. “We mostly ridicule. But we ridicule in hopes that we will improve the quality of people’s lives.”
Daniel, a North Carolina native, got his start at the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Since then, he’s drawn 11 U.S. presidents. “The only thing they had in common was they all said Fidel Castro wouldn’t last!” Daniel deadpanned.
President Richard Nixon a la Charlie Daniel.
“Cartooning is probably the world’s second oldest profession,” he allowed. “The earliest cartoon was drawn in 1300 BC. It ridiculed King Tut. They found it in King Tut’s tomb — along with the cartoonist!”
Whereas Daniel often tackles serious subjects in his work for the News Sentinel, he certainly doesn’t take himself very seriously. He quoted one of his heroes, legendary cartoonist Al Hirschfeld, who once asked his editor, “Is a cartoonist a newspaper man?” The editor’s retort: “Is a barnacle a ship?”
It was a lovely afternoon.
Now that the Elegant Dining events are over, the good folks at Knox Heritage have kicked off their spin-off series of events called “Summer Suppers.” Check them out. They are fun, as well.
Click here for a WBIR “Your Stories” feature on Charlie Daniel.
Here’s the stunning view from the back porch of Steve and Lin Oglesby’s home in the Rarity Bay development.
The hostesses, from left, Arlene Key, Barbara Furlong, Edie Volk, Yellie Greebe, Atie Rotmeyer, Jane Venable and Lin Oglesby. Not pictured: Mary Cushman.
Ham-filled sweet potato biscuits. Yum.
Mini beef Wellingtons.
A beautiful baked brie.
Host Steve Oglesby helps Berry Wallace to some red velvet cake.
Susan and Howard Kastner.
John Dunn tries some banana pudding as Lin Oglesby looks on.
Meanwhile, Jane Venable was on the porch serving wine.
And Nick Azelborn was helping himself to Mint Juleps made with Steve Oglesby’s special mint simple syrup.
From left, Michael Grant, Charlie Daniel and Tom Shaw.
Georgiana Vines, center, with Kim and Knox County Commissioner Bob Thomas.
Edie Volk, left, with Patsy Daniel. When this picture was taken, Edie was president of the Symphony League. As of today (Wednesday), she’s immediate past president.
Elizabeth Grant visits with Arlene Key, sitting.
Harold and Lucinda Denton.
Becky and Bob Paylor.
Sally and Paul Serbu with Evelyn Shaw, at right.
Lin and Steve Oglesby with Georgiana Vines, at right.
Yellie Greebe, left, with Arlene Key.
Here’s Daniel’s version of Dwight Eisenhower, the first president he ever drew.
And Lyndon B. Johnson.
George H. W. Bush.
George W. Bush.
He’s practicing on these two!
The Oglesbys have the cutest little doggie, Lizzy.
Georgiana scored a signed self-portrait by Charlie Daniel in an impromptu auction!