Catch the trailer and poster for HBO Documentary Film's Herblock: The Black and White directed by Michael Stevens. The show plays on HBO on Monday, January 27th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
This feature documentary traces the life, times and influence of Herbert Block, whose career as an editorial cartoonist spanned over 70 remarkable years. Block’s legacy is revealed through reflections from fellow journalists (from both print and television), backstories involving many of his iconic cartoons, and Block’s own words, as spoken through an actor portraying the artist in a recreated Washington Post office overflowing with sketch pads and pens.
Over his 55-year Post career, Block worked tirelessly to meet his self-imposed quota: one cartoon, five days a week. Unlike print journalists whose columns could be dismissed or ignored, Block’s cartoons were the focal point of the paper’s editorial section, and his images spoke to his readers in an immediate, visceral way. He could not be swayed by power or politics, refusing to back down to Sen. Eugene McCarthy, whom he depicted as a boozing bully, or Richard Nixon, whose connection to Watergate was presciently depicted in early cartoons (he shared a fourth Pulitzer with the Post for its work on Watergate). Even presidents he admired (Ike, LBJ, Carter, Clinton) weren’t spared when Herblock felt they failed to live up to their promises or the standards of the office. Above all, Block’s cartoons showed his affection and affinity for the common man, and helped shape public opinion about Civil Rights, nuclear weapons, poverty, education, cigarettes and gun control.