Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pogo's April Opening Day

By some cosmic coincidence, the beginning of the baseball season and April Fools Day are quite close together on the calendar. Walt Kelly takes advantage of this anomaly of the spring season in his Sunday comic strip Pogo published April 2, 1972.

Walt Kelly, Original artwork for Pogo, April 2, 1972


May 18, 2014 Update:  A scan of the published comic strip appearing in four-tier format and lacking the above panel appears on Thomas Haller Buchanan's Whirled of Kelly blog.
Walt Kelly, Pogo, April 2, 1972

Note:  Don't strike out. I have more Pogo here.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Peter Arno's Easter Parade

On a 1931 New Yorker cover, Peter Arno's gangly jogger disrupts the pomp and pageantry of Fifth Avenue's Easter Parade.

Peter Arno, The New Yorker, April 11, 1931

Irving Berlin's Easter Parade

Judy Garland and Fred Astaire prepare to step out onto Fifth Avenue in all their finery at the conclusion of MGM's "Easter Parade" (1948). Now if only Irving Berlin would write a great song to go with this.

Fred Astaire and Judy Garland in "Easter Parade" (1948)
Judy Garland and Fred Astaire in "Easter Parade" (1948)
"Easter Parade"
Judy Garland and Fred Astaire
From "Easter Parade" (1948)
Lyrics and Music by Irving Berlin
Directed by Charles Walters


Friday, March 29, 2013

Minnie Mouse's Easter Bonnet

Minnie tries on her Easter bonnet for the March 1937 cover of Mickey Mouse Magazine. Oh, I could write a sonnet...but I won't.

Walt Disney Studios, Mickey Mouse Magazine, March 1937


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dragon Garden Ornament

Asia-Barong of Great Barrington, Massachusetts boasts that it is the largest Asian art store in America. Judging by the size of the dragon in the front yard, this may very well be correct.

Dragon Garden Ornament. Asia-Barong, Great Barrington, MA, March 24, 2013

For all your garden decorating needs. Asia-Barong, Great Barrington, MA, March 24, 2013


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MoCCA Arts Festival 2013

Michael DeForge, MoCCA Arts Festival 2013

It's just ten days until MoCCA Fest 2013, April 7 and 8 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. This is an annual festival held by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, which is now a part of the  Society of Illustrators. Last year, I attended and got myself this signed copy of Too Much Coffee Man:  Cutie Island by the incredible Shannon Wheeler. I think you'll agree that the signature here is something very special!

Shannon Wheeler, Too Much Coffee Man:  Cutie Island, Signed Copy

Shannon Wheeler, Too Much Coffee Man:  Cutie Island, Signed Copy


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peter Arno's Robinson Crusoe Condensed

Here's a long-forgotten Peter Arno drawing of castaway Robinson Crusoe. Munro Leaf, the author of Ferdinand the Bull, wrote a one-page, tongue-in-cheek condensed version of Daniel Defoe's novel for publication in a 1940 magazine. The eBay seller has gone out of his way to conceal the magazine's name. If you're selling a single magazine page for $11.95, you don't really want someone to be able to go out and buy the entire issue of the magazine elsewhere for less.

Perhaps it's Literary Digest. Wouldn't that be appropriate?

Peter Arno, Robinson Crusoe:  "There were some wild goats around, but you can't make a wild goat draw to an inside straight."


Monday, March 25, 2013

Arthur Szyk's Haggadah

Arthur Szyk's Haggadah was published in 1939. Swann Galleries lot description calls it "the artist's best-known work and the most celebrated modern illustrated Haggadah." The limited edition is highly sought-after. This is number 41/125 and it sold for $38,000 in 2010.

Arthur Szyk, The Haggadah, Matzoh and Maror (Bitter Herbs), 1939

Arthur Szyk, The Haggadah, Edited by Cecil Roth, Fine Binding, 1939

Arthur Szyk, The Haggadah, Signed Limitation Page, 1939
Signatures of artist Arthur Szyk and editor  Cecil Roth

"At the Feet of Your Most Gracious Majesty, I humbly lay these works of my hands,
shelving forth the Afflictions of my People Israel.
arthur szyk, illuminator: of Poland"
Arthur Szyk, The Haggadah, 1939

Hodu L'Adonai Ki-Tov / Ki L'Olam Chasdo
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good / For his mercy endureth forever
Arthur Szyk, The Haggadah, 1939


Spring Break

I myself never went to Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale—big shocker, I know—but I did go to see the 1983 movie about it. The trailer pretty much shows you what to expect from the movie, which is not all that much. The women are young and look great, the men are young and kind of goofy, and the story is pretty much just that. If you now choose to sit through the whole thing on your own, well, don't say you weren't warned.

Still from "Spring Break" (1983) Movie Trailer
Still from "Spring Break" (1983) Movie Trailer
Oh, there were some men in the movie too.

"Spring Break" (1983) Movie Trailer


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Lion and the Mouse

The Lion and the Mouse is one of Aesop's Fables later retold by Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695). Willy Pogány's unpublished illustration of this fable was sold for $900 in 2009 at Bloomsbury.

Willy Pogány, The Lion and the Mouse


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Great Leap Forward

Is it possible for my blog statistics to provide insights into global political shifts? For more than a year and a half, this blog has scarcely been viewed by anyone inside China. While there could be many cultural and linguistic reasons for this, I have always assumed the government has been blocking free access to the internet. Now that may be changing in a small but significant way. Last month, for the first time, China made it into the top ten of countries from which this blog is viewed. This month it is in the top eight. What's going on?

Attempted Bloggery Page Views by Countries for this Past Month

It's not really a big deal that from a country with over 1.3 billion people, I'm getting just over 100 page views per month, but it is a very significant change. Now why would China have been blocking access to my blog? I've never criticized the Chinese government except for its tacit acceptance of female infanticide; its refusal to permit free speech, a free press, or freedom to practice religion; its horrendous human rights record including widespread intolerable working conditions for many factory and farm workers; worldwide theft of intellectual property including tolerance of widespread counterfeiting of luxury items and unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted books; coordinated hacking of sensitive institutions in the United States and around the globe; a ghastly domestic environmental record; unconscionable support for a psychopathic tyrant in North Korea; and an unwillingness to use its international political clout to rein in any other despotic governments. Aside from those things, and the lack of democratic institutions and free elections, I have very little to say against the Chinese government.

I'm not sure what's going on now. Either the Chinese government has loosened the reins on internet access, or these page views are all the work of government hackers trying to bring my blog down. I don't believe opinions voiced here in my little corner of cyberspace are of any strategic importance to the Chinese, and it would be foolish of them to waste their energy on someone as peripheral as I am. Still, I suspect that if they wanted to hack my blog, they most probably could.

More likely though, the Chinese are relaxing their strictures on internet access just a bit, perhaps only on a trial basis. Who would have thought that even a few dozen of those 1.3 billion souls would have chosen to come here and view my little blog? I'd be delighted to learn that the Chinese people have gained the right to visit any website in the world as a guaranteed freedom. Only then will I personally really feel the magnitude of the more than 1.3 billion Chinese who stay away from this site. But then it will be by choice. Their choice.


Francis Crick's Nobel Prize

I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that there is a robust market for old Nobel Prizes. After all, one can buy old Olympic Medals, Academy Awards, and Super Bowl rings. On April 10, Heritage Auctions will be selling the Nobel Prize Medal and Diploma that belonged to Francis H. C. Crick (1916-2004), co-discoverer of the double-helical structure of DNA along with James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins. The price is expected to exceed $500,000, which is daunting, but the prospect of winning a Nobel Prize on one's own is considerably more daunting!

Francis H. C. Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize Medal, Obverse
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

Francis H. C. Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize Medal, Reverse
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

Francis H. C. Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize Medal Diploma
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

Francis H. C. Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize Diploma Folder
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013
Francis H. C. Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize Medal and Diploma
Heritage Auctions Listing, April 11, 2013

Francis H. C. Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize Medal and Diploma
Heritage Auctions Item Description, April 11, 2013
Also available as a separate lot is Francis Crick's Nobel Prize endorsed check:
Francis H. C. Crick's Endorsed Nobel Prize Check
 Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

Francis H. C. Crick's Endorsed Nobel Prize Check
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013

Francis H. C. Crick's Endorsed Nobel Prize Check
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013
April 13, 2013 Update:  Auction results are now in for Francis Crick's Nobel Prize:

Francis Crick's endorsed Nobel Prize check: 

Francis Crick's labcoat, since I mentioned it in the Comments section: 
Francis H. C. Crick's Lab Coat
Heritage Auctions, April 11, 2013


Friday, March 22, 2013

Magic Kingdom Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Thanks to Disney's Dining Plan, here is some genuine fortune cookie wisdom obtained in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom during my visit on March 18, 2008. I like the first two fortunes. The third I'm not so fond of.

"Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far!"
"There will be plenty of time to work hard; enjoy yourself!"
"Be careful!  Straight trees often have crooked roots."