Friday, January 30, 2015

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #460

Here is my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #460 for January 26, 2015. The drawing is by Tom Toro.

"Doesn't anyone have something original to say?"

A little birdie also whispered these captions in my ear:
"I am not going to repeat myself."
"Now then, who can tell me what I just said?"
"Who would like to recite the minutes of our last meeting?"
"Tell me something I haven't heard."
"We need a new message."

February 2, 2015 Update:  The Finalists

February 16, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption

Note:  Last week's cartoon by Liza Donnelly inspired me to pull up a chair at the Algonquin Round Table and show off my captioning skills. Then Dorothy Parker spilled soup in my lap. See the viciously circular outcome of Contest #459.

Tom Toro has appeared on this blog in an earlier caption contest. No, I didn't win that one either. Thanks for asking.

There's still time to prepare for the Super Bowl. All you need is some beer, nachos, and a handy link to this blog's football posts.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saul Steinberg Posing with Himself

Saul Steinberg is beside himself--his younger self--in this well-known photograph by Evelyn Hofer from 1976. One of a limited edition of five dye-transfer prints of this image will be sold at Swann Galleries on February 19 in New York. The estimate is $4,000-$6,000. Of course, for that kind of money you just might be able to snag an actual Steinberg drawing.

Evelyn Hofer, Saul Steinberg Posing with Himself, no. 1/5, 1976

February 19, 2015 Update: Sold!

Note:  There's a lot more to see here by and about Saul Steinberg.

I'm shocked to learn that there's even a fair amount of photography on this blog.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Entries in Danny Shanahan's Caption Contest for October 2013

Back in April of 2013, Danny Shanahan's Cartoon Caption Contest was my introduction to writing cartoon captions. That's right, you can blame him. The contest made another appearance in October of that year but it has been in a state of suspended animation ever since with no winning caption declared. I submitted eight captions to this contest, but I'm still not sure I've come up with just the right one. I mean, when you find yourself writing a caption about chafing, it's a good idea to take a step back and rethink it all.

"Fool me once, shame on you...."
"Um, just between us, what's your mother's name?"

"Ah, yes, I knew your mother."
"Actually, I go more for legs."
"Why, as a matter of fact, I have been to the henhouse."
"The chafing must be awful."
"Are you available for babysitting?"
"Got eggs?"

Note:  Danny Shanahan's website can be enjoyed here. Take a look around. I'm the only one to enter the caption contest since 2013, but, hey, you can feel free to join me. While you're there, consider buying some great original artwork.

My entries in his swinish April caption contest are documented here.

Danny Shanahan figures prominently here in my essential blog post on New Yorker Cartoons at Auction.

My string of unsuccessful entries in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest has been exhaustively documented for posterity. You can see the disheartening results here. If you have a calculator handy and are good with numbers, you'll see that the number of my successful entries to date is zero.

My captions may never be up to The New Yorker's standards, but I have just been named a finalist again in Moment magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest. See the blog posts about my only captioning contest triumphs here. 


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for November/December 2014

Here I present my six entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for November/December 2014. The Moment cartoon is always by New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. Last go-round one of my turtle cartoon captions was perhaps too much of a cliché and the other maybe a little too racy for Moment. This time around I submitted more captions in order to maximize my chances of making it back to finalist status. I also kept it pretty clean, thank you. The strategy worked, I became a finalist, and once more I am able to bring glory to my obscure little town. For those keeping score, to date I have reached finalist status in seven of the nine Moment contests I entered. Of these, I won the contest once, my sole victory in what is now almost two years of writing captions for other people's cartoons.
"Frankly, no, I don't pine for the outdoors."
"Remember when we had a life?
"That settles it.  I'm booking the lobby for my vacation."
"If we'd leased this floor to another insurance firm, we wouldn't have all these potential new customers."
"Now watch how I blend in."
"Agreed.  Tomorrow we wear Speedos."

Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Finalists for November/December 2014

March 30, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption for November/December 2014

Note:  Am I not turtley enough for the Turtle Club? See why my entries in the September/October 2014 Moment Cartoon Contest were not up to speed.

You may vote for your favorite caption in the November/December contest until on or about February 10. Then feel free to join me in entering the January/February contest yourself. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I would have a real chance at the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest if only it had the same number of entries as Moment.

It's true. Bob Mankoff made a mistake inscribing my personal copy of his bestselling memoir. Yet if I can somehow win the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest a total of four times, it will be automatically corrected without using any white-out.

Cartoon caption contests have taught me a lot about the mechanics of writing captions, but they haven't taught me much about how to win cartoon caption contests. Go ahead and read the whole dossier if you like.

As cartoon editor of the New Yorker, Bob Mankoff is fair game for this blog. Click the link and see what I mean.


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Backward Goofy Watch

I remember seeing a Backward Goofy wristwatch--that uniquely appropriate design in which both the numbers and the hands run counterclockwise--back in the 1970's. At the time, I was told by a Disneyana dealer that it had been discontinued because of parental complaints. Imagine that! Now I see what is described as a later 1990's edition and I'm relieved that it made an unlikely comeback despite its threat to the time-telling skills of a new generation. I have always delighted in the inventiveness of this watch, although it certainly would drive many crazy to wear it. Surely such an unconventional novelty--even as a mere conversation piece--is worth the $20 it fetched at auction last week at Howard Lowery, let alone the $42.95 for which it originally sold. It might even become a useful timepiece by the simple addition of a pocket mirror to one's handbag.

Note:  You can see a few more Disney watches on the blog here.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Blue Meanies

An animation cel featuring two Blue Meanies from "Yellow Submarine" (1968) was sold at Swann Galleries this week. It sold for more than the high estimate. When will the Blue Meanies realize that all you need is love?

An animation cel with two Blue Meanies from "Yellow Submarine" (1968)

An animation cel with two Blue Meanies from "Yellow Submarine" (1968)

Hammer Price:  $950

An animation cel with two Blue Meanies from "Yellow Submarine" (1968)

Note:  There is a lot more animation art on this blog, but none from Pepperland.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ronald Searle: Unused Title Painting for "Scrooge"

Ronald Searle's painting for the title sequence of "Scrooge" (1970) shows Ebenezer Scrooge on a wintry London street. The left half of the image is fairly nondescript and is meant to accommodate an overlaid screen title. The painting was created over a lithographic print of a sketch made on the set. It was not used in the movie's title sequence, but the right hand portion did serve instead as a magazine cover for the Illustrated London News. This original artwork was one of a pair of title paintings sold at Bonhams in December.

Ronald Searle, Unused title painting for "Scrooge" (1970)
Original artwork, The Illustrated London News, November 28, 1970

The Illustrated London News, November 28, 1970 with the original artwork by Ronald Searle

Ronald Searle, Unused title painting for "Scrooge" (1970)
Original artwork, The Illustrated London News, November 28, 1970

The German Deckweiss is literally an opaque white. I would translate it as bodycolor.

EBay Listing Ended January 24, 2015

EBay Item Description

EBay Bid History with the winning bid actually cast at the last second!

Ronald Searle, Unused title painting for "Scrooge" (1970)
Original artwork, The Illustrated London News, November 28, 1970

Note:  Don't forget to see my other posts about Ronald Searle.

Perpetua, the Ronald Searle Tribute blog, has many more of the "Scrooge" titles.


Ronald Searle: Preparatory Title Cards for "Scrooge"

In designing the titles for "Scrooge" (1970), selected sketchbook drawings made on the set by Ronald Searle were copied by a lithographic process. From these printed sheets, he could work out the details of coloring and title overlays. A group of preparatory title graphics were sold at Bonhams Knightsbridge for £1,187 in December.

Ronald Searle, Preparatory title cards for "Scrooge" (1970)

Bonhams London, Knightsbridge December 10, 2014, Lot 100

"Scrooge" (1970)
Titles begin at 0:33

Note:  Check out this blog's other posts about Ronald Searle.

See all this and much more on the Ronald Searle Tribute blog's comprehensive post about the "Scrooge" titles.


Friday, January 23, 2015

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #459

Here is my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #459 for January 19, 2015. The drawing is by Liza Donnelly.

"I'm afraid I'm not up to the conversation."

Here are a few other captions I wrote that also weren't up to the conversation:
"So I'm not brave enough for Camelot or witty enough for the Algonquin?"
"Oh, it's witty all right, but it's not Algonquin witty."
"I see the network has tabled your talk show."
"I will not be a part of your circular reasoning."
"I'm going to have to lower your expectations."

January 26, 2015 Update: The Finalists

February 9, 2015 Update: Winning Caption

Note: In last week's contest, Paul Noth's Sphinx paid a visit to an executive's office. My caption was something out of a Greek tragedy. See the unanswerable outcome of Contest #458.

What a coincidence! There are other posts on this blog about Liza Donnelly.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gluyas Williams Had No Photograph

It's not surprising that cartoonist Gluyas Williams had no photograph on hand for a fan, so along with his autograph he provided a small cartoon self-portrait instead. This card was sold on eBay recently for $24.

Gluyas Williams autograph card

EBay Listing Ended October 31, 2014

EBay Item Description

Gluyas Williams autograph card
Note:  See more blog posts about Gluyas Williams including other self-portraits.

Note also how cartoonist Eldon Dedini dealt with his own lack of a Hollywood head shot.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Patrick McDonnell's Mutts Stationery

I just love to quote eBay sellers! "The letter has been flat for more than ten years" stated the matter-of-fact seller when this note from Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell was first offered for sale late in 2013, as if that would undo the mailing folds in the paper. The letter is undated but rest assured "this is from early in his career." Really? The scan clearly shows that the printed stationery bears a 2007 copyright! Not all that much sleuthing is required. Still, sellers believe what they want to believe. All may be forgiven, though, when we see the original quick sketches the artist has added to this printed sheet. They're charming, even if they're not relics from early in Patrick McDonnell's career!

An undated letter (2007 or later) from Patrick McDonnell to Megan and Julia
Mutts stationery with additional sketches

An undated letter (2007 or later) from Patrick McDonnell to Megan and Julia on Mutts stationery with additional sketches

Note:  There's more work by Patrick McDonnell here on the blog, all no doubt great rarities from early in his career and then some.