December 19, 2011

Jay's family

Watch this space, for there is news coming about Jay's sister (Loretta), niece (Lisa), AND the amazing Aunt Edith!

August 03, 2011

Jay's optimism

An article by a venture capitalist about how Jay's optimism inspired him.

Read it by clicking here.

May 28, 2011

The dynamic duo, plus a profile of Lee

A great photo of Lee and Jay, shot by Mary Ellen Mark in 1998. And here is a profile of Lee from AdAge.


(Click on the article about Lee to see a larger version. In fact, you can click again to make it even larger.)

Lee Clow Adage

January 31, 2011

“Get yourself some new goals.”


Someone sent me this wonderful blog entry about Jay Chiat on brainsonfire.

It is SO Jay.

October 25, 2010

Happy birthday, Jay

If I'm not mistaken, his birthday was 10/25, which was also the security code for the alarm system in the office at 79 Fifth.

July 22, 2010

Agency of the Year letter

From Bria Silbert (aka "Barbara Winkler Silbert") comes this treasure-trove from the past.) Says Bria,

"I found a whole bunch of old letters from Jay that he wrote me, but this one made me smile! I forgot how compulsive Monty McKinney was - he used to stand next to me at parties and say "Who is that? Who is THAT? WHO IS THAT?"

Monty was the only person I knew who wrote a personal letter when sending in his check to the DWP!

Love, Bria


April 15, 2010

Chiat's Dais #3

Courtesy of Nancy Ullman comes the third in a series of Adweek columns that Jay wrote back in the 80s. Nancy found them in an old folder in her garage and graciously scanned them and sent them to me for posting.

Click once to see the image in a larger size and then click a SECOND time to blow it up to fit your screen.

Building Charactersm

March 03, 2010

Chiat's Dais #2

Courtesy of Nancy Ullman comes the second in a series of Adweek columns that Jay wrote back in the 80s. Nancy found them in an old folder in her garage and graciously scanned them and sent them to me for posting.

Click once to see the image in a larger size and then click a SECOND time to blow it up to fit your screen.

Account Managersm

February 21, 2010

Chiat's Dais #1

Nancy Ullman has uncovered a treasure trove of Chiat memorabilia.

Writes Nancy:

Last week I found a sleeve/folder in the rafters of my garage entitled "Chiat's Adweek Columns."  Inside were 12 insightful articles that Jay wrote for Adweek between 1982-1984.  They must have had them printed out for us employees sometime between 1988-1990.
I think you would particularly enjoy "Humility Should Be Ruidimentary," because he speaks of the importance in doing some things yourself--why you should answer your own phone, and wash out your own mug.  One of my favorites is "A Class Act, and How to Follow It," since anyone in any industry can take this advice and run with it.  In it Jay even mentions what a classy many Guy Day was.

I am not going to publish all of them all at the same time, so as to not overwhelm you. Here's the first. Enjoy. Click on the image TWICE to blow it up to a readable size.


P.S. And thank you, Nancy for providing these to the archives!

A Class Actsm

January 18, 2010

A Chiat/Day remembrance

Got this lovely memory in the mail today from Penny Cunningham ...

Chiat/Day spoiled me for almost any other company. It certainly wasn't perfect, but as the experts say, the corporate culture starts at the top. When I first started in media, we still had a switchboard phone system, and I was one of the ones that rotated for lunch relief. I'd never operated one before, and was fairly nervous. And, of course, the first person I cut off turned out to be Jay. When he called back, he identified himself and said he'd just been cut off (sounding about as pleased as you'd expect). I blurted out, "Oh I'm so glad it was you, and not a client." He only paused a second and then said, "Yes, that's good," fairly dryly, and asked for whoever he'd called for. And in those days, almost everyone (except Jay) smoked. The media, traffic, production and creative groups often worked fairly late, and at the Olympic Blvd. office, you didn't want to venture out much after dark. Guy ALWAYS left ciggarets in his center desk drawer, knowing people would filtch (one at a time). No one ever took the last one, as far as I know, and most of us would periodically replace a pack so he wouldn't be out himself. Those are just two of the behaviors that defined corporate culture there. Not everyone fit at C/D, but they didn't stay long either. I didn't know Bob Dion, but clearly he stayed at C/D for a good amount of time, so he was one of the "good guys", and he will be sorely missed.

May 07, 2008

40th Anniversary Book

A request from Jessica (Schulman) Edelstein who, along with her husband Andrew, is putting together a 40th Anniversary Book about Chiat/Day ...

As for the 40-year anniversary - Haven't heard of anything official planned as of yet by the agency, other than that my husband Andrew and I are still working out details for a 40-year book we hope to have done by October (or x-mas!). Since I've worked for the company in its various forms for 17 years and we have designed and produced a number of books for the agency over the years, we have been given blessings by Lee Clow and the agency to do one for the anniversary, although we must independently figure out how to fund it, which we are still working on. (No word on a party yet, but we think that buying up a bunch of seats at Dodger Stadium would be great!) Does anyone know the actual official anniversary date? I've heard April, I've heard October, can't seem to pin down a real date - maybe Chuck would know. We were aiming for October because that is when my understanding is that the deal was struck between Jay and Guy at the baseball game, but I could be totally wrong.

Since the real product of the agency "went down the elevator every night", we'd like this book to focus more on the people who made the place what it was/is and the real stories "from the inside" rather than a rehash of the work that has already been in so many awards annuals (and would be a rights usage nightmare). So If you want to put a shout out on your site for us, we are looking for approximately one-page stories that anyone is willing to share about their time at Chiat/Day. Only rules: tell us what made working at Chiat/Day different than any other place from your own personal point of view — the good, the bad and the ugly. Give us good stories, but please no naming people to protect the innocent (or guilty!) But you could write, "there was this one copywriter who drove everyone to the brink"...type of thing. Also, we are looking for behind-the-scenes and inside-agency-life type pictures with captions, dates, and people who are in them as best known. (Send stories and images to chiatdayat40[at] [Editor's note: Replace "[at] with the "@" sign. I never put full email addresses in postings in order to prevent spambots from finding them.])

Also, I've been helping to start and have been making art with the first Room 13 student art studio in North America here in Los Angeles. Room 13 is host to a growing international network of art studios: each one facilitates the work of young artists alongside a professional adult artist-in-residence. Our network of studios and artists who are involved with them, is growing all the time. Currently, Room 13 studios are established in Scotland, England, Nepal, India, South Africa and the USA. TBWA\ has taken this great program under its wing and is helping it to expand to even more countries. If anyone is looking for a great way to help young artists (in the Jay tradition) check out

Take care,

February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day



Ok, ok, so I'll admit it. I have a filing cabinet in my apartment and I have one giant file folder named "Chiat/Day."

I opened it tonight (Valentine's Day) and the very first item in the file was a Valentine's card from Jay.

I am presuming this is pretty ancient, as there is also a signature from "G," which I presume is Guy Day.

Thanks, Eve, for sparking my interest by your earlier posting about the sweet things Jay would do on days like this that made up for all the insanity the rest of the year.

The Valentine Gifts

I always think of Jay on valentine's day and some of the great gifts we got.

Who can forget the red Huffy bikes. Those were great.

I remember getting a plant once when I worked in LA and there was some silly fake bird in it. I tied the bird to my hair and wore it all day. Jay didn't seem to think it was all that funny. I did.

What else? I know it was cool stuff.

December 07, 2007

Jessica Edelstein

I received these great photos and lovely memories from Jessica Edelstein, whom we all knew as Jessica

I couldn't sleep and after reading through all your great entries to the Jay\Day site, the least I could do is give you a little Jay story and a quick update on myself as well.

My Jay story: I have many Jay stories but my very favorite took place at about 2 in the morning the night before a pitch in NY. I'll keep the client and involved parties anonymous to defend their honor.

I was working as the Designer for New Business at the time, and as such, part of my job description was to hand-write, with a black, blue or red chisel-tipped sharpie, every scrap of paper that went up on a new business project room wall that the client would end up seeing. For this pitch, I was "on loan" from the LA office to the NY office.

Since doing hand-written project room presentations on gatorfoam walls was in its infancy at the time (the first being done for Memorex in which we crashed a glass ceiling down on the client, but that's another story) and had not yet become the mass computerized presentation platform that takes up all the office's free space that it is now it took many hours to make all the strategic thinking look so "organic." For several days planners and account people were buzzing about preparing the presentation, and I built the "walls" to their specifications, making charts pretty and tearing out scrap faces from magazines. I kept thinking that this particular project room was a case of the emperor's new clothes no one wanted to tell the planners and account people that just filling the walls with text and graphs doesn't a smart strategy make.

Anyway, at about 2 in the morning the night before the pitch, after I think being at a fund-raising event, Jay came into the office and asked to see the project room. There were about 15 gatorfoam walls filled with their presentation (and my handwriting) in a line all the way down one of the multi-colored halls of the newly "virtual" NY office. Jay walked down the hall, slowly scanning all the walls - at the end of the hall he pointed to all the account people and planners and said "you, you, you, you, you, start over there's nothing here." He looked at me and with a very stern look and a finger in my face said, "and you... go to the museum."

My own story: I took an account group assistant job on Minit Lube and Taylor Made in the C/D L.A. office in Feb of 1992 "temporarily" while I waited on the results of an Art Direction interview with Ogilvy in NY. That week Ogilvy lost American Express to C/D NY, and I've never left. Well, I did leave about 5 years ago to open projectdesignstudio with my husband and office-romance partner, Andrew, but now together, we are still always at the ready whenever Lee or Laurie call with an interesting project. We have a terrific daughter Abby who is almost four, and who paints with a fervor Jay would love.

Oh, and I'm working to get the first Room 13 in the U.S. up and running in South Central LA, hopefully by January. All people interested in the love of art and kids are welcome to help out! (for more info contact me or see

I have many more stories from my almost 16 years with the agency... but the birth of the Jack in the Box antenna ball, the working over New Year's wearing surgical masks with Laurie while the warehouse was going "virtual," the $20 xmas bill from Jay, the Lee tap dancing on a logo right before a pitch, the Bob Kuperman Top Ramen, the Apple pitch walls reassembly on the floor of a hanger at LAX at 4 am stories, will just have to wait....for say.... a book maybe.

Thanks for giving me something to do with my insomnia. (And since Kieran Darby shot rubber-bands at me, called me slang british names that I still don't know the meaning of, and made me work until midnight, all on my first day on the job back in '92....I'll have to think about the referral thing.)

All the best,
was Schulman, now Edelstein

November 07, 2007

Good Enough is Not Enough

Bart </p>

From an article by Bart Cleveland in AdAge:

Remember that old saying attributed to Jay Chiat, "Good enough is not good enough"? It holds a very special meaning to me because my first assignment in advertising school was to hand-draw Mr. Chiat's belief in Franklin Gothic Heavy.


October 26, 2007

Cheryllynn Carter

Carol Madonna reminded me that today would have been Jay's birthday. (Remember the code to the security system at 79 Fifth?) I can think of no better "present" to give Jay than this memory of him which arrived the other day from Cheryllynn Carter.

When I started at Chiat/Day I started on the switch board.  It was when they decided that the office should be "virtual".  My first week of work they were still wiring the hardware and writing the software that was going to make us a cutting age company.  In the LA office we were in the Binoculars and I loved the energy and vibe there.  Then Jay was all over the place.  At one point Jay was in NY and he needed to talk to Bob Kuperman and Bob Grossman and I was the one that need to facilitate that call.  The systems had a ton of bugs in it and call were getting dropped left and right.  Jay told me if I dropped the call I was fired.  Well the call dropped, and Jay was pissed.  I went into the bathroom and cried then came back, set up the call and it worked.   The next day I came to work.  I waited all day for HR to tell me I was never happened.  I worked there for over 13 years.  Jay and I became friends and I so enjoyed working there.  I never however brought up the fact that he fired me, thank God he forgot.

I went from the switch board to the production department.  I became a producer and I specialized in voice over.  Now I run my own voice over casting company.  I miss Jay days.

Cheryllynn Carter

Precision Talent

September 13, 2007

David Butler's Ad Attic

One of the truly great Chiat/Day employees of all time, Dave Butler, copywriter extraordinaire, is retiring on September 18th. He was (and I presume continues to be) one of the nicest people I've ever met. He was always soft-spoken, kind, and gracious. And best of all, he and his wife Sue used to give me fudge every Christmas. (Hey Dave, with all of this newfound time on your hands, perhaps this tradition can be revived.)

As the big day has been drawing closer and closer, Dave has been sending out emails to the office containing some memorabilia he has saved during his decades at Chiat/Day. Greg Holladay was nice enough to share some of them with me so that I could post them on this site.

Here are a few samples from the emails Dave has been sending out ....


As the days till my retirement on September 18 meander by, I’ve been sifting through the Chiat/Day memorabilia I’ve accumulated over the last 30 years. And suddenly, like one of those ideas you suspect you’d be better off not having, it occurred to me that it might be fun (at least for me) to share some of the things I come across—one a day, or as close as I can come.

They might be memos (the old-fashioned paper kind that are just rumors to most of you), letters, emails, photos, personal stuff. Who knows? A few might give you some insight into how the agency has changed over the years. Other may make you laugh. Or cry. Some might even make you say, “Huh?” (Those are my favorites.)

ITEMS 10 & 11 : As I said above, some of the memories I send you may make you laugh. Or cry, as in the case of the enclosed. But for completely different reasons.

The first, an unforgettable memo we all received in July of 1986 regarding a co-worker.
Click on the image to view full-size

The second (two files) an email Lee received shortly after Apple’s “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” Think Different spot began running.

Click on the image to view full-size

ITEM #3 : Lee and I were partners for the first few years of my C/D tenure. Working with Lee was a very rewarding experience, although as with any creative partnership, we had our own unique perspectives on the process. As you can see by the enclosed—a couple of signs I made and displayed next to each other on the wall separating our two offices in the Biltmore Hotel.


ITEM #2 : When the ‘84 Olympics were in town, the Olympic Committee made their headquarters at the downtown Biltmore Hotel, the selfsame building in which C/D had its offices. Everyone who worked in the building was required to wear an ID badge to gain entrance to the building for the duration of the Games. Enclosed is the badge we came up with. (Shortly after the picture was taken for my badge, I made one of my ill-fated attempts to grow a beard. Combined with the ill-considered perm you see in the pic, my scraggly beard made me look almost exactly like an middle eastern terrorist.)


Dave, I can't believe it's been 30 years. That means you and I started the very same year. (I interviewed the day Elvia died.) I hope you have a wonderful retirement. Get busy with that fudge.

Steve Alburty

June 12, 2006

Jay's toast


When Jay raised his glass to toast Dede Dalton (his longtime assistant in NY) and Gordon McMahon at their wedding, Jay began his toast by saying "I never liked Gordon."

(If you look on the far left, you may spy Adelaide Horton in the crowd.)

March 06, 2006

Stickin' it from the man


Some yellow stickies from Jay to Dede.

February 14, 2006

Valentine's Jay


For Valentine's Day, I am republishing this earlier entry from last year.

Scott Sanford writes ...

I pulled an old photo out of this frame and look what I found behind it. If you remember, this frame was the Valentine's Day gift everyone got back in '90 or '91 I think. Thought you might want to share this with the Jay/Dayers this coming February.


Why wait until February! I say let's move right on past Christmas and start celebrating Valentine's Jay today!

February 09, 2006

Jay's office in New York

from the Dede Dalton McMahon collection

Jay's office at 79 Fifth Avenue, with a Frank Gehry chair.

June 21, 2005

Nonno (Grandpa) Jay


Jay's daughter, Debra, lives in Rome, and here is Jay with his grandchildren ... and his honorary grandchild! That's "Inti," the 2nd from the left, the subject of my posting yesterday. (The one who is in NY looking for a job and for a place to live.) I received this photo this morning from his mother, Claudia Murinni.

Inti spent so much time at Debra and Alfredo's house when he was growing up, it was as if Debra's children were his brothers and sisters, and as if Jay were his "nonno."

Thank you, Signora Murinni, for providing this beautiful photo on this special day.

December 01, 2004

La famiglia di Nonno Jay


When I was in Italy in October, I had a chance to visit Jay's daughter, Debra, who lives in Rome. We reminisced about Jay (Debra has a Frank Gehry "fish lamp" in her apartment) and she showed me a fantastic photo of Jay and all of his Italian grandchildren, which I did not have the good sense to copy. But here are some single portraits of them.

Debra and her husband, Alfredo DAngelo run a non-profit organization called The Human Life Project, which has set up humanitarian help in many parts of the world: Cambodia, Burma, the Sahara, Pakistan, and India, as well as the gypsies in Rome. The ambitious program consists of creating schools - often building or reconstructing them, but also creating programs (English one of the most important.) They also hire and train the teachers in education and health care. They build wells for drinkable water, sell crafts in Italy to create self sufficiency, micro credits, health programs, etc. Debra has an amazing iPhoto collection of pictures from the various villages in which they've worked.

Debra and her family spend a lot of time in Cambodian villages and she says her children are happiest when they are there, playing with the other children in the villages and running free. That's the Chiat DNA.

Here are Debra and Alfredo's fabulous children ...

Francesco is 15 ...

Celeste is 13 ...

Valerio is 11 ...

And Antonio is 7.

"Grandpa Jay" would be proud.

June 30, 2004

Jay's yellow sticky

from the Dede Dalton McMahon collection