Friday, March 25, 2016

Peter Arno's Side-Show for October 1937

Peter Arno's cartoons for the October 1937 issue of College Humor are wordless; they tell their story without the use of any captions. In the first drawing, a secretary is shocked to learn that all is not well within the office. This cartoon seems to be an anomaly in terms of subject matter. Is this really the lighthearted, devil-may-care corporate gag the college crowd was looking for in1937?

"Peter Arno's "Side-Show," College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1937, page 10

On the second page, Arno has a two-panel gag revealing the back-and-forth of the operating room.

"Peter Arno's "Side-Show," College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1937, page 11

Note:  Artist Peter Arno published cartoons over many years in College Humor. This week I have presented his contributions from five issues:  July 1936 and May, July, September, and October 1937. His New Yorker cartoons are generally well known, but there are many other forgotten Arno treasures hidden away in hard-to-find issues of College Humor and likely many other magazines. Ideally, these lost classics should be seen and appreciated by today's Arno fans. So to all you collectors of vintage paper, get out your camera and start shooting. If you've got the Arno, I've got the blog.

What sort of a man created these cartoons? Peter Arno's fascinating story will be told in Michael Maslin's brand new biography coming your way on April 19 from Regan Arts. Peter Arno:  The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist is available right now for pre-order on, where you can also get new ping-pong paddles for your home theater. Home operating theater, that is.

Michael Maslin's Ink Spill blog has many fine posts about Peter Arno, all of which are worth a look-see. Some of the recent ones even mention the College Humor posts that have been all the rage here at Attempted Bloggery this week.

This copy of College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 2, dated October 1937 resides in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University. Of the magazine issues currently in the collection, this is the fifth and last with any Arno cartoons. The good news on the horizon is that more magazines donated by Mr. Boss—including other issues of College Humor—will soon be making their way to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Thanks once again to comics librarian Karen Green for making  my research possible. Left to my own devices, I'd still be trying to find the card catalogue. By the way, I hope to have several more posts based on the Boss collection in the not-too-distant future.


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