Artist's 'TV Sets' Are A Blueprint For FameArtist's 'TV Sets' Are A Blueprint For Fame By Jonathan Welsh (WSJ)

Mark Moore Fine Art
Aug 16, 2017 6:12PM

A devoted fan of The Beverly Hillbillies might be able to name every episode in the comedy series. But who can name all 27 rooms in the Clampett family mansion - and draw them?

And you may recall that Rob and Laura Petrie's sunken living room on The Dick Van Dyke Show featured a bay window, a window seat and an intercom system. But who would remember odd details like the location of the bread box or artwork on walls?

Mark Bennett seems to remember it all. For his recently released book, TV Sets, the 38-year-old Los Angeles postal worker and artist compiled his favorite ''fantasy blueprints'' of homes and other sets from popular television shows from the 1950s through the 1970s. The drawings have been displayed in the Seattle Center on Contemporary Art, the Bronwyn Keenan Gallery in New York and in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

''There are times when I have to take a few liberties because some parts of the houses never appeared on the shows,'' he says. ''But many of the details in my drawings were part of the sets, even though they didn't appear in every episode.'' Some rooms may have appeared only once or were mentioned in dialogue but not shown.

Bennett was 11 years old when he began organizing his observations by drawing interior sketches.

''I was really more in touch with what was happening on television than with real-world events,'' he says. ''Making the drawings was my way of creating a sort of utopian neighborhood.''

The artist's big break came when Christopher Ford, a dealer with the Mark Moore Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif., came across the blueprints. Ford canceled an upcoming exhibition and substituted Bennett's work.

Mark Bennett
Town of Mayberry, 1997
Mark Moore Fine Art

Reception of the blueprints hasn't always been so gratifying, though. ''There was a time when I couldn't get $10 for one of these drawings,'' Bennett says. Today, limited edition lithographs of the drawings sell for $2500 to $5500.

And now he's taking requests, to an extent. Demand has led him to make sketches of Gilligan's Island, the Cunningham House from Happy Days, the 4077th field hospital from M*A*S*H, and, despite an aversion to cartoons, the Jetson's futuristic abode.

To the disappointment of some fans, he says, he doesn't plan to draw the Stalag 17 compound from Hogan's Heroes.

''I just don't have the energy,'' says Bennett.

Besides, he's busy arranging displays and occasionally defending his work from critics.

''My favorite was a guy who questioned my layout of Mayberry, N.C., home of Sheriff Andy Taylor from the Andy Griffith Show,'' he says.

The man told him that Ernest Bass's tiny cabin would have to sit at a different angle for the character to have the same view of Briscoe Darling's house that he had in the show.

After close review, Bennett says, ''He may have a good case.''

Mark Bennett
Home of Mary Richards, 1995
Mark Moore Fine Art

Reprinted from the WALL STREET JOURNAL


Check out the artist discussing his work in a recent interview on National Public Radio by clicking on the following link:

More information and images of this artist and his work can be found at the Mark Moore Fine Art Website at:

Mark Moore Fine Art