On this day in art history, Timmy McDougal’s painting The Two-Faced Smoker was stolen from the Vancouver Institute of Art. Three weeks later, a ransom note would be mailed to the Canadian government, demanding a million Canadian dollars be paid for the return of the painting. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau responded with a televised speech in which he announced, “The check is in the mail.” However, the painting was never returned. When asked to speculate as to why, Trudeau shrugged and said, “We sent the money. Perhaps the envelope was misplaced.”
The Two-Faced Smoker remains a lost piece of art.
The Two-Faced Smoker by Timmy McDougal
On this day in art history, the noted comic book artist Sid Melvin stepped into his small Burbank, California home at 8:00 pm, closed the all the curtains, and turned out all the lights. Nobody would ever see him again.
The 43 year-old Melvin was best known for creating the character of Mistress Pain for Sleeper Cell Comics. The highly controversial comic book ran from 1980 until 1993. Friends reports that, at the time of his disappearance, Melvin had been upset by the recent cancellation of a Mistress Pain movie. Melvin, who had spoken openly about his lifelong battle with depression and paranoid schizophrenia, was also said to be upset over the inability of any of his subsequent creations to match the popularity of Mistress Pain. Burbank Police, however, do not believe that Melvin killed himself or was the victim of foul play.
Since Melvin’s disappearance, there have been sighting of him all over South America and it is rumored that he is currently working as a hitman for a Columbian drug cartel.
Below is the last known picture of Sid Melvin. It was taken by his neighbor the day that Melvin disappeared. That neighbor was subsequently arrested on unrelated charges and deported back to his native Samoa.
The last known and verified picture of Sid Melvin
(Special thanks to Lisa Marie Bowman for providing invaluable assistance in the writing of this post.)