Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Peter Arno's Side-Show for May 1937

In 1939, Peter Arno's second marriage would end in divorce as his first did in 1930. After that, he didn't marry again. His lead cartoon for "Peter Arno's Side-Show" from the May 1937 issue of College Humor seems to harbor a particularly bitter view of romance. The caption reads "Stop falling in love with me. Do you want to spoil everything?" It's a funny line, sure, but not really a funny situation. The woman's affectionate gaze is in marked contrast with the man's angry determination to avoid commitment. There's something very sad here. This unmarried couple may share the same bed, but they are not going to share a fulfilling life together.

"Stop falling in love with me! Do you want to spoil everything?"
"Peter Arno's Side-Show," College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1937, p. 10

The two other gags are much lighter fare. The first features a rogue fiddler in the concert hall and the second has one of Arno's weak, unmanly stock characters.

"Well, anyway I played with the Philharmonic!" [above]
"By George, sir, I wish I had my xylophone sticks here!" [below]

"Peter Arno's Side-Show," College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1937, p. 11

Note:  Peter Arno published many cartoons over the years in College Humor, and this week I'm going  to present five issues' worth from 1936 and 1937. I'd love to share more if any readers would care to send scans or photos from other issues to which Arno contributed.

Did you catch it? Yesterday's blog post was featured on Ink Spill! For me, that's like Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show being on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Now you can read all 22 of Ink Spill's posts about Attempted Bloggery. Oh, stop me, I'm gushing.

Speaking of Ink Spill's author, I can't wait to read Michael Maslin's new biography of Peter Arno, coming April 19 from Regan Arts. Peter Arno:  The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist is available for pre-order on Amazon. Why not order your copy along with a set of xylophone sticks?

The above copy of College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 1, for May 1937 is part of the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University. It is housed in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library which recently welcomed me as an "independent researcher." Yes, that's what they call your humble blogger in the halls of the Academy. You should hear what they call me everywhere else. Much thanks to comics librarian Karen Green for directing me to the right shoeboxes.


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