Artist recreates late grandfather’s North Korean war rescue

Posted on Nov 10, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Shot Down in North Korea: Pilot James McCabe, 1951 | Korean war

On October 27th, 1951, downed pilot James J. McCabe ran “like an injured gazelle” past enemy lines to an approaching rescue copter in North Korea. After three failed pickup attempts, he grabbed the helicopter’s landing skiff and hung on for dear life as the chopper took off under a hailstorm of explosions. 

For illustrator Tim McCabe, f’00, his grandfather’s rescue and evasion report read like a Hollywood movie.

“We just knew him as ‘Grandpa Mac.’ Not a World War II and Korean War fighter pilot. I wish I had asked him more about his experiences.  But our family was lucky to have a copy of his bailout report that he kept years later.” 

Tim decided to bring his grandfather’s narrative to life in the form of a graphic-novel inspired video. Working with his friend Fred O’Neill, a war historian, Tim was able to recreate the scenes using a combination of his grandfather’s testimony, historical research, and his own artistic training. 

This month marks the 66th Anniversary of Captain James McCabe flying his F-51 Mustang on that fateful Korean War mission. The United States fought on behalf of the U.N. in what is sometimes referred to as “The Forgotten War.”

Tim McCabe, an artist for, dedicated the six-minute film to his own kids and relatives. “I realized I could do something more than just email a copy of Grandpa’s typewritten report to everyone. By bringing this story to life, I hope our family always remembers that he not only cared about us, but also cared about his country.”

Watch Tim McCabe’s latest creation honoring his grandfather who served in the Korean War. McCabe’s art has appeared on our website before: in a video illustrating how he met his wife on campus, and in a fun piece about Jayhawk Jedi he prepared for Star Wars Day.

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May the fourth be with you, too

Posted on May 4, 2016 in Alumni News and News

A long time ago… well, back in March, you might remember that Tim McCabe, f’00, impressed us with his tale of Rock Chalk Romance in a beautifully illustrated animated video showing how he and his wife, Gina, b’02, met during rehearsals for Rock Chalk Revue.

It was adorable, take our word for it.

But maybe you’re not into all that romance stuff. Maybe you’d just as soon kiss a Wookie. We can arrange that. Or at least the next best thing. Because if action is what you want, then that’s exactly what you’ll receive in McCabe’s new family feature just in time for Star Wars Day! (May the fourth… get it? It’s a thing, trust us.)

Enjoy these Jayhawk Jedi as the saga continues in a galaxy not so far away. Okay, pass the popcorn and dim the lights.

–David Johnston

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Rock Chalk Romance: Jayhawk illustrates college sweetheart story

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 in Alumni News and News


Rock Chalk Revue brings together a variety of students, and sometimes, sparks fly.

Tim, f’00, and Gina McCabe, b’02 are living examples of this. Tim met Gina 16 years ago at a Rock Chalk Revue practice. Gina was a lead actress, and Tim was a lead actor. The rest was history. Tim and Gina were married on June 19, 2004 in Kansas City.

Sixteen years later, two children and one on the way, Tim and Gina have enjoyed their lives as new parents. That’s why Tim put his creative noggin’ to artistic use to create an anniversary video so that his kids will come to learn the story of how their parents met.

We caught up with Tim about his video in this Q&A:

What kind of skills went into the creation of this video?

Well I’ve learned that the art of storytelling is most important.  I knew my family would always enjoy being able to watch the story of how Gina and I met at KU.  From there it was a matter of painting, drawing, and animating a fun take on our first years together.

How did your children react to the video?

My daughter likes the KU scenes, and the funnier parts like when Dad drives the wrong way to the hospital when Mom is in labor.  My son especially likes the scene where he shows up at the end.  We are excited to welcome a new baby boy in May, so I suppose I’d better get back to the drawing board with a few additional scenes.

Do you and your family have any lasting connections with Rock Chalk Revue?

Aside from our own marriage, we have lots of lasting friendships from Rock Chalk Revue.  A few Architecture friends and I worked hard on the sets for our shows when we were in college.  I got to dabble in welding and carpentry… skills I now utilize more as a homeowner than as a digital artist.

Have you gained any attention for the video?

Actually, I made the video two years ago for our anniversary and shared it on Facebook.  Recently a friend asked if he could feature it in a series he was doing for his congregation at Heartland Community Church in Olathe.  It has helped resurface the video again, and now I’m excited that people are seeing it in time for the next Rock Chalk Review.

What have you been up to after leaving the University?

I am a senior artist at, where you can personalize and send funny greeting cards.  You can add your own photo to a birthday card from your computer or social media accounts, and the card then gets printed and sent to your recipient.  (Oh… and the postage is free!)

How did your KU experience prepare you for your career?

I’ve been able to utilize all of the skills I learned at KU in my career.  Every time you work on a new project, you enter in to the creative process which is what a Fine Arts Degree prepares you for. However, some of my favorite classes were outside of the Art Department, because I have a wide variety of interests.

How would you describe your experience at KU — favorite memories?

I believe there was a real purpose for why I went to KU.  I met my wife, made lifelong friends, and got a great sense of family there.  Lawrence will always have a special place in our hearts.

McCabe Family

Tim’s work can be found at And don’t miss this year’s edition of Rock Chalk Revue at the Lied Center, March 3, 4 and 5.

— Cole Anneberg

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