Friday, March 27, 2015

A Look at the New Yorker's Sixth Issue: March 28, 1925

Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast,
Yet love breaks through and picks them all at last.
--Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

Love laughs at locksmiths.

Everyone knows women and cats sell magazines. Ray Rohn's New Yorker cover has both. It is very theatrical, which seems appropriate for a new magazine that covers so much of the stage. Like the cover of the magazine's third issue, a fashionable young woman carries a cigarette holder and the cigarette smoke is a prominent design element. Ray Rohn never did a second cover.
Ray Rohn, The New Yorker, March 28, 1925
Artist Ray Rohn has been on the scene for a while. Here is an example of his art from 1912.
Ray Rohn, "Third Person Singular"
Judge[?], August 1912
Flickr photostream of carlylehold

On the left is a photograph of the artist Ray Rohn in his studio from the July 1916 number of The Green Book. On the right, Herb Roth and Rea Irvin are seen sitting. All three artists would be associated with the New Yorker come 1925.
Photos of Ray Rohn, Herb Roth, and Rea Irvin in 1916, three artists
who would be associated with the New Yorker in 1925
The Green Book, July 1916
From the blog Stripper's Guide by Allan Holtz

Inside the magazine, Rea Irvin again has drawn his as-yet-unnamed 19th century dandy for "The Talk of the Town" page. He signed it with an owl's head, representing the other character from the masthead.
Rea Irvin, Saying goodbye to Michael Arlen. "The Talk of the Town"

Reginald Marsh has drawn another two-panel spread--such spreads would later be one continuous image across both pages. This one depicts The Theatre Guild Tapestry Ball at the Hotel Commodore. Deems Taylor, who figures prominently in the left hand panel, is another acquaintance of editor Harold Ross's from the Algonquin Round Table.
Reginald Marsh, The Theatre Guild Tapestry Ball at the Hotel Commodore
Smells good:
Spot drawing

A Prohibition-Era drawing from Miguel Covarrubias revels in the street's perspective. It is not especially complimentary to the police, of whom one officer is shown carrying a flask and sleeping on the job. U. S. Attorney Emory Buckner was aggressively padlocking speakeasies at this time to enforce the Volstead Act. The proverb "Love laughs at locksmiths" means love will find a way.
Miguel Covarrubias, Love Laughs at Locksmiths

Here's a taste of the variety of the items on the "Of All Things" page. The New Yorker takes on freedom of the press (it's in favor of it), William Randolph Hearst (willing to have a laugh at his expense), Prohibition legislation (not fond of it), and other burning topics of the day. If that bores you, there's always the drawing.
"Of All Things"

British cartoonist Cyril Kenneth Bird goes by the name Fougasse. This is his only appearance in the New Yorker but he will have a stellar career at Punch. Cave canem is Latin for Beware of Dog.
Fougasse, Cave Canem

This weeks' "Profile" is "Mister Muggsy."  John McGraw is the manager and vice president of the New York Giants. That's a local baseball team. "If you can understand baseball you can understand John McGraw. But, of course, if you could understand baseball there wouldn't be any baseball." Didn't folks understand baseball pretty well even back in 1925? The Giants will move to San Francisco in 1957 (and the Dodgers will go to Los Angeles).
"Profiles:  Mister Muggsy"
Henry Major, John McGraw

Were there too many cars in 1925? Thank goodness we've solved that problem!
Spot drawing

Algonquin Round Table author Frank Sullivan writes about the new taxicab rates.
Alfred Frueh, The Taxicab System is Simple to Any Man with a Master's Degreee
"Ten, Twenty, Thirt"

Alfred Frueh, from "Ten, Twenty, Thirt"

New Yorker cartoonist Herb Roth and his wife have a new son. Roth's art does not appear in this issue. Al Jolson is heading to California. We know he will find his way to Hollywood where he will be in the short subject "A Plantation Act" (1926). "The Jazz Singer," the first talkie, will follow in 1927 and he will be catapulted to international stardom. Actress Ethel Barrymore's improving health is the subject of a news item. Her grandniece is Drew Barrymore.
"In Our Midst"

Editorially, the New Yorker appears to have no problem with women smoking, as the magazine's covers have made clear.

The Ziegfeld Follies are back and they've got W. C. Fields, Will Rogers, and Ray Dooley. This is a good thing, Ralph Barton explains, because "The entertainment value of the nude is far greater in theory than in practice." Wise words, Mr. Barton.
Ralph Barton, Glorifying the American Guffaw
A New Edition of the Follies that is Really New
From the "Art" page:
Henry Major, John Noble

And from "Music": Koussevitzky or Stokowski?

"Goings On" Spot
The Klan is far from gone on the national scene. In Frank Hanely's first cartoon for the magazine, he anticipates their demise. This is the magazine's second cartoon about the Ku Klux Klan.
Frank Hanley, The Last Ku Kluxer

"The Optimist," in case you missed it the first five times around. But all is soon to be revealed.

"The New Yorker is glad to be able to report progress in its campaign to keep the Democratic Convention of 1928 away from New York, at whatever sacrifice." Spoiler alert: It will be held in Houston.
"Save New York Movement" Sweeps Country

You probably don't need to learn the name Wilton Williams. This will be the artist's only cartoon in the magazine.
Wilton Williams, The Raw Material and the Finished Goods

Frank Hanley's second cartoon:
Frank Hanley, Snake-Charmer Assisting the Fire Department

Can you keep a secret?

At long last, an explanation for "The Optimist," after the fact:

That line about the old lady in Dubuque has made its way into the consciousness of an advertiser. You will recall editor Harold Ross's assertion in his magazine's prospectus that "The New Yorker will be the magazine which is not edited for the old lady in Dubuque. It will not be concerned in what she is thinking about." With no disrespect, of course. But what exactly is the book of which "Dubuque may disapprove?"
Washington Square Book Shop Advertisement

The "Books" department reviews "Form 1040, Individual Income tax Return" and somewhat unfavorably at that.
From "Books"
Mercenary advice from the New Yorker:

Inspirational humor from Corey Ford for a dry town:

The last words:


That's all for now. We're all caught up, give or take 90 years! Goodbye!
Rea Irvin, Saying goodbye to Michael Arlen. "The Talk of the Town"

Note:  Care for a little more? Take A Look at the New Yorker's Fifth Issue.


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