Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Robert Day: Saga of the Bronx Mink

For the advertising agency Young & Rubicam, cartoonist Robert Day provided an elaborate illustration of a Bronx Street scene in 1940. The one disparate element, reportedly true according to the text of the ad, is the presence of a local mink trapper. The copy goes on to concoct a mock quote by Confucius relating the Bronx mink to creativity in advertising.

Saga of the Bronx Mink
Robert Day
Young & Rubicam advertisement
1940


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Monday, May 20, 2019

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #663

Grab a slice of my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #663 for May 20, 2019. The drawing is by Drew Panckeri.
"There's your mistake:  it's a piazza."


These captions seemed to have the wrong sauce:      
"I'm afraid we've stepped on your pie."
"Are one of you finally going to take our order?"


Note:  Last week cartoonist John Klossner invited us to a Viking wedding. Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to Contest #662 we go.



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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Robert Day: The Coolest Horses

Not everyone gets to have air conditioning. A cartoon by Robert Day published in Sports Illustrated during the summer of 1957 explains which horses get to be the coolest.
"Only when their earnings top the half million mark."
Robert Day
Sports Illustrated, July 8, 1957, page 28


Note:  Sports Illustrated now has an online archive.


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Robert Day for Pepsi-Cola

In the 1940s as America entered the postwar period, Pepsi-Cola's advertising included radio jingles, skywriting, and a vigorous print campaign using a number of popular cartoonists. There was an extended series of print ads by New Yorker cartoonist Robert Day which echoed Pepsi's radio and skywriting promotions while also reflecting many of the extensive social and political changes taking place in the world. These ads appeared in Time, The New Yorker, and no doubt other publications. But first off, here are two examples of the jingle, which is referenced in more than one print ad:

"Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot"
Radio ads from 1939 and 1950 with the jingle


American troops liberating a European village are greeted with the unlikely news that the populace is familiar with the Pepsi-Cola jingle.
"They want to know if we've got any Pepsi-Cola. Seems they heard the Pepsi-Cola jingle on the underground radio."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1944


Postwar inflation was a real concern, but Pepsi could boast that its price was a stable five cents.
"No doubt about his ceiling prices being posted."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1944


Victory Gardens allowed citizens to grow extra produce locally. Robert Day's ad suggests vegetables could be bartered for ice cold Pepsi-Cola. 

"Since Joe put up his stand, the Victory Gardens are booming."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1944

Detail


When caddies are in short supply, golf clubs are expendable but Pepsi-Cola is not.

"They could only get 4 boys—so J.V. said the heck with his golf clubs."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1944



The 1944 Presidential election pitted incumbent Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt against Republican Thomas E. Dewey, both New Yorkers. The words to Pepsi's jingle may be spotted on a convention sign. Was either convention this unconventional?
"...It was his postwar plank of plenty of Pepsi-Cola for everybody, that touched off the demonstration."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1944

A 1945 wartime ad, no doubt meant for national consumption, suggests a midnight curfew in New York City. But Sam Roberts, writing in 1995 for the Times, noted, "The national curfew was midnight, but Mayor La Guardia insisted that New Yorkers be allowed to drink, legally, until 1 A.M."
"Have we time for a couple of Pepsis before the curfew?"
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1945
Image added May 19, 2019


Enough Pepsi could calm the populace, but one shipload might not be enough:
"If we only had two shiploads of Pepsi-Cola we could stop all this unrest."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1945
Image added May 19, 2019


Pepsi worked hard to get its name written in the air and the print ads reflect this major aspect of the soft drink's promotion. The source for this ad says it appeared in Ebony, which would date it to the end of 1945 or later. More concerning, the ad contains racial caricatures, yet it was deliberately marketed to the black community. That seems seriously misguided at best.
"That means mission successful—ice the Pepsi-Cola."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Ebony, 1945 or later



Day's art allows us to envision the caffeination of an entire factory.
"Now watch our production jump."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
1945





The postwar housing shortage was serious, but perhaps it could have a cola-infused bright side. The bishop's crook lamppost leaves  no doubt that we are looking at New York City.
"What do we care if we have to move in with four or five
other families[?] Look how convenient it is."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
Time, June 3, 1946, page 37


"Many cities vied for the honor of hosting the UN Headquarters site, prior to the selection of New York City. The selection of the East River site came after over a year of protracted study and consideration of many sites in the United States."


"Come, come, gentlemen! At this rate we'll never find a U.N. site."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
Time, November 18, 1946, page 39



The jingle "Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot" features prominently in this Time magazine ad. Readers presumably would have been familiar with it.
"Henry says that's the only good news on the radio these days."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Time, January 20, 1947, page 39


Jingle diplomacy:
"Then it was my turn, and since my repertoire was completely exhausted, the only genuinely American song I could think of was 'Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot!' which they applauded as loudly as the others, although they said such a wine was unknown in Kazakstan, and inquired from what grape it was made."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Text from W. L. White, Report on the Russians, Harcourt, Brace and Company, page 211.


Skywriting diplomacy:
"Look, Ivanovitch, the American Delegation is arriving!"
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Time, March 10, 1947, page 35


Luxury travel requires a luxury beverage.
"The railroads are certainly going after business these days."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Time, August 4, 1947, page 25

The skywriter up close:
"...she's jet propelled—does 604 an hour and writes Pepsi-Cola in eight foreign languages."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
Time, October 27, 1947, page 41


The Queen Mary stocks up on high-end goods:
"Now I know why they say everyone travels first class on her."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Time, November 24, 1947, page 41

Trains, cruise ships, airplanes, and now helicopters feature in these Pepsi ads. Curiously, Day's bold inking gives unusual prominence to an onlooker's bald spot. It's not an accident; he does something similar in the following two ads as well.
"That's what I call smart merchandising."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

1947
in Bryan Holmes, Advertising: Reflections of a Century
(London:  William Heinemann, Ltd., 1982)


In 1947, there was a new angle to the office Christmas bonus.
"...and in addition to your bonus checks, on account of the many deductions for taxes, social security, etc., etc."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

Time, December 22, 1947


Round table diplomacy:
"The Ambassador says his country will settle for 12 cases of Pepsi-Cola."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement
c. 1954





"...he's the editor of 'Gourmet Magazine'."
Robert Day
Pepsi-Cola advertisement

The New Yorker, 1950s


Note:  There could easily be dozens of other Pepsi ads by Robert Day. Readers with access to any of these, or with better scans of the ones shown here, may send them in for inclusion in this post. Needless to say, original advertising art from this campaign would also be welcome.


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Friday, May 17, 2019

License Plate for the Unfed and Irritable?

Sometimes it's best to grab a bite before hitting the road.

"HAN6RY"
New York State License Plate

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

License Plate for Not Going Anywhere?

There's no need to drive. I just want to sit in it.

"LAZIBOY"
New York State License Plate

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #23

This week in the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #23 the laundry isn't the only thing hung out to dry. The drawing is by Kim Warp.

"I sure picked the wrong day to moisturize."
"But I haven't finished 'Game of Thrones!'"
"See how fast they hung that safety net?"
"I can see my hideout from here!"
"My accomplice made it to the diner with your money!"
"Look, Max made it back to the getaway car!"
"How ironic that I hid your money in the elevator!"
"Wow! You cured my vertigo."
"Care to hand me off, Butterfingers?"


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Kim Warp
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Robert Day: After the Car is Washed

We've all heard that if you wash your car it is surely going to rain. Perhaps fewer of us knew this piece of folk irony was current as early as 1931 when cartoonist Robert Day used it as the basis for a sight gag in Judge. As seen in the original, his meteorological take on this saying is rather extreme. Doggone! 

"Dawgawn, I knew something like this would happen if I washed the car."
Robert Day
Original art
Judge, 1931
Robert Day
Worthpoint

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Monday, May 13, 2019

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #662

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #662 for May 13, 2019. The drawing is by John Klossner.
"So that's why they booked Valhalla."



May 20, 2019 Update:  The Finalists



Note:  Last week cartoonist Victoria Roberts gave us the seven dwarfs on roller skates. Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to Contest #661 we go.



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Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Robert Day Mother's Day

Friend and contributor Dick Buchanan writes, "Just in the nick of time, a Mother's Day gag—sort of." Robert Day's 1955 cartoon for True magazine depicts two adventurous men gathering Andean condor eggs on an isolated cliff. One of them experiences an understandable pang of regret, but seemingly only on account of the calendar date.
"I feel like a heel. Today is Mother's Day."
Robert Day
True, May 1955, page 117

Scan by Dick Buchanan



Note:  My thanks to Dick Buchanan for providing Attempted Bloggery with another fine scan right out of the storied Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files. Dick contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently an essential post entitled "From the Dick Buchanan Files: Perry Barlow 1932 - 1961."

Attempted Bloggery seeks images of original art by Robert Day as well as other scans of long-
forgotten published rarities like the one shown here.


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