Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Undersea World of Claude Smith

This is an original single-panel gag cartoon by Claude Smith recently sold on eBay for just $20. The auction listing provides no caption and no publication history, so I'd love to hear from anyone who can shed some light on where, when, and how this drawing was used. In the meantime, for want of anything better, I'd like to propose my very own original caption: "But how on earth could they know you had the idea way before Jacques Cousteau?"

Thank you. I'll be here all week.

Claude Smith

Claude Smith Scuba eBay Winning Bid
Claude Smith Scuba eBay Item Description

Claude Smith

March 27, 2014 Update:
After a year of entering cartoon caption contests, I feel I have a better understanding of the elements of caption writing. Here then is my new proposed caption for this Claude Smith cartoon:
Claude Smith
Proposed caption:  "For heaven's sake, Arnold, you have no case against Jacques Cousteau."

How Ya' Doin'?

For whatever reason, the song lyric I probably quote the most is from Joe Walsh's classic tune "Life's Been Good." It appeared on his 1978 album "But Seriously, Folks...." The quotable line is "I can't complain but sometimes I still do." It seems to come to me all the time, such as whenever anyone asks me how I am. Or "How ya' doin'?"

Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mickey's Kickoff

Seventy-seven years ago this season, Mickey Mouse Magazine's cover celebrated America's great winter sport. Mickey Mouse, the timeless Disney icon, was only seven years old at the time. Say, is Mickey's kick heading for the sidelines?

Mickey Mouse Magazine 3
Mickey Mouse Magazine, Vol. 1,  No. 3, November 1935


Friday, September 28, 2012

William and Catherine Unique Pez Dispensers

In the run-up to the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey, this unique box set of Pez dispensers with the likenesses of the royal couple was auctioned on eBay for charity. These were never was intended for mass production and exists only as this unique handmade set made of a plastic used in prototyping. These dispensers received a fair amount of press attention during the ten days the auction took place. The winning bid was 8,200 GBP, or a bit over $13,300.

William & Catherine Pez Dispensers

William & Catherine Pez Dispensers

William & Catherine Pez Dispensers, eBay Winning Bid

William & Catherine Pez Dispensers, eBay Item Description

William & Catherine Pez Dispensers, eBay Q & A

[End of eBay auction]

So, you ask, who won the bidding on April 17, 2011? A Reuters article on April 18 identified the winning bidder as eBay user Frank 841950 from Connecticut. Why, you exclaim, isn't there a Pez factory in Orange, Connecticut? Indeed, there is. And now, since you brought it up, here is Bubba Harmon's photo from the 2012 Northeast Pez Gathering, which took place this past April in--wouldn't you know?--Connecticut. Note also that the happy couple has switched sides in the box.
 William and Catherine unique Pez Dispensers on display in 2012 at the Pez Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut.  
Photo by Bubba Harmon


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jean-Jacques Sempé: A Display of Affection

My signed copy of Displays of Affection (1981) by the romantic Jean-Jacques Sempé was purchased on eBay in 2002. It is especially noteworthy for a small original drawing by the artist.

Jean-Jacques Sempé, Original Drawing in Displays of Affection, 1981


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Samuel Bak's The Entire City

Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak's painting The Entire City from 1976 is apparently the result of a collaboration with writer Elie Wiesel that was never fully realized. The walled city in the shape of the Star of David represents the Vilna Ghetto.

Samuel Bak, The Entire City, 1976

Samuel Bak, The Entire City, 1976


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Edward Koren: Parenting and Progeny

Quality Time:  Parenting, Progeny, and Pets is a cartoon collection by Edward Koren that was published in 1995. My copy, purchased adroitly on eBay way back in 2001, has an original drawing by the artist that I have scanned below.

Edward Koren, Quality Time:  Parenting, Progeny, and Pets, 1995

Edward Koren, Back Cover to Quality Time:  Parenting, Progeny, and Pets, 1995

Edward Koren, Original drawing in Quality Time:  Parenting, Progeny, and Pets, 1995
Inscribed "For Matt and/Yvonne/and Timnah/Best Regards~Edward Koren"


Monday, September 24, 2012

Pogo: Thinkin' for Others

This original comic strip art for Walt Kelly's Pogo concerns Howland Owl providing the useful service of thinking for others. He'll even compose a day's worth of conversation to save people the trouble of thinking it up themselves! In 1959, just as today, there was no shortage of people willing to do the thinking for us. Churchy's pointed comment that "Other folks been doin' our thinkin' for years an' already is give us a couple of Boom! Boom! Booms!" indicates that Kelly is making an anti-war statement with specific reference to nuclear bombs.

Walt Kelly, Original Artwork for Pogo, July 18, 1959


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mail from Martin Branner

Here's an original mailing envelope drawn by cartoonist Martin Branner of Winnie Winkle fame. This World War II cover is postmarked April 1944 and addressed to his son Bernard who was serving in Mississippi. I believe this sold on eBay on November 8, 2011 for $450-460 to eBay buyer bakerfan, who purchased several other original Branner letters and drawings.

Martin Branner, Envelope to Pvt. Bernard Branner from Denny Dimwit, The Rinkeydinks, Perry Winkle & the Mutt

Martin Branner Envelope eBay Item Description
I believe this sold on November 8, 2011 for $450-460 to eBay buyer bakerfan.

Here are three more envelopes with original splendid Branner drawings mailed to his son. I'm afraid I neglected to document these auctions properly before they disappeared forever from eBay, but I believe one sold to the same buyer again for $450 to $460.

"This is yer ol' man's idear of a pin-up goil, Barney!"
A wartime letter from Martin Branner to his son

A wartime letter from Martin Branner to his son
featuring Denny Dimwit

A wartime letter from Martin Branner to his son featuring
Denny Dimwit, the Rinkeydinks, and Perry Winkle


My New iPhone Case

First the bad news: I didn't get to join my family in Disneyland this summer. Yes, life occasionally has a few bitter disappointments.

I did receive a cool souvenir, though. My iPhone 4S now sits securely in a Disney case featuring Mickey Mouse in perhaps his greatest role as the Sorcerer's Apprentice. It is not a classic image from Fantasia, but rather one of those modern airbrushed images Disney has become so fond of. Siri, it's time to remember the magic!

My new iPhone case featuring Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's
Apprentice from Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rembrandt's Woman Bathing her Feet at a Brook

This Rembrandt etching has been given the evocative title Woman Bathing her Feet at a Brook, which at first glance may seem plausible enough, particularly on darker impressions. The symmetrical back of the model's chair is clearly visible here and it should be apparent that this nude etching was created not at a gentle brook but in Rembrandt's studio. Over 350 years later, Rembrandt's cross-hatching technique remains unsurpassed.

Sale 2055 Lot 83
REMBRANDT VAN RIJN Woman Bathing her Feet at a Brook

Etching, 1658. 162x81 mm; 61/2x31/4 inches, small margins. Usticke's first state (e) (of 2), before the Basan edition and the very fine, 1-inch long diagonal slipt stroke upper center, with inky plate edges and with very little to no wear in the densely cross-hatched areas and the most delicately etched lines. A superb, richly-inked and warm impression with touches of burr on the right breast. Bartsch 200; Biörklund 58-D; Hollstein (White and Boon) 200. Estimate $8,000-12,000

  Sold for $18,400


Friday, September 21, 2012

Alexander Calder's Print "The Horse"

While I don't necessarily care for sales hyperbole, I thought gallery owner Jerry Brewster was absolutely justified in 1975 for handsomely praising this image by Alexander Calder. When Calder passed away in 1976, I recall the mood in the Madison Avenue gallery was gloomy.

Alexander Calder, "The Horse," 1975


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snow White Early Renderings

These early renderings of characters from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) are most likely the work of animator Paul Sprunk. There are four original drawings and one printed model sheet of the seven dwarfs.