Frank B. Lanning
Frank B. Lanning
Team: Special

Frank B. Lanning
Sport:
Special
Year Inducted:
1982

Frank B. Lanning, perhaps the most outstanding sports cartoonist in the nation today, has been a friend of Brown athletics for forty-five years, since the days when the legendary Irving “Shine” Hall was cavorting on the gridiron and Harry Platt was setting scoring records in basketball. Hundreds of those original Providence Journal cartoons are now in the homes of Brown athletes and in the archives of the John Hay Library. The brown bear team mascot Frank Lanning created in the 1930’s will live for all time in the hearts of Brown men and women. Never was there a bear with a more benign, puzzled, or ferocious – depending on the situation – look than the Butch Bruno created by Lanning. A quiet man with an easy laugh, Frank Lanning was usually content to emphasize the good things in the sports world. However, he wasn’t above doing a critical cartoon if he felt something in his field was being done in poor taste. Some years ago when the Brown Band rushed out from behind the bushes at the east end of the football field and put on a skit that was in questionable taste, Lannine took one small corner of his cartoon the next morning to suggest that perhaps the Brown Band should have stayed in the bushes. Frank Lanning has been a Brown football buff since he was a boy, and for many years his color cartoons illustrations were featured on the covers of all Brown home football game programs. One of the things that sets Lanning apart from most of his peers is that he writes as well as he illustrates. One of his best “live” cartoons was the large illustration of President-Sportsman John F. Kennedy that appeared in the Sunday Journal a few days after the President’s death. It was a masterful piece of art and writing, and when the Journal decided to sell farmable copies the sales quickly hit the 65,000 mark. It has been a distinct pleasure to have had Frank Lanning around the Brown sports beat for all these years. John Hanlon, former sports feature writer at the Journal, explained the special charm of this left-handed cartoonist some years back: “He is one of the youngest spirits I know. His outlook is bright and current, he is a boon companion, and if you have him as a friend you are blessed. He is a gentle man and a gentleman, and like one of his cartoons, an original!”