Thursday, March 24, 2016

Peter Arno's Side-Show for September 1937

A couple of readers noted that Peter Arno's College Humor cartoons don't look entirely like his more celebrated New Yorker work. The cartoons in College Humor seem edgier and angrier. They are a little  less sophisticated and, perhaps appropriately, a little more sophomoric. They do not look like New Yorker rejects that have been sold elsewhere or repurposed. Rather, it seems they are a separate product line created by Arno for this specific market.

In the September 1937 issue of College Humor, Arno gives us three more cartoons. First up, he exposes hiring practices in the theatrical business—or do they expose themselves?

"Don't bother, Mrs. McGrady—these letters of recommendation are sufficient for the cleaning up job!"
"Peter Arno's Side-Show," College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 1, September 1937, p. 10

On the next page, Joe's oversells its menu and Albert's wife takes her words too literally.

"No! We ain't got Myrna Loy!" [above]
"Albert! I haven't a thing to wear!" [below]

"Peter Arno's Side-Show," College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 1, September 1937, p. 11

What's on our menu? Unlike Joe's, of course we have Myrna Loy:
William Powell and Myrna Loy
Scene from "Double Wedding" (1937)
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Screenplay by Jo Swerling

Note:  Over the years Peter Arno published many cartoons in College Humor, and this week I'm presenting all of them from July of 1936 and from May, July, September, and October of 1937. His work is in many other issues too, and if one of these is in your collection I'd love to hear from you.

Yesterday's blog post was mentioned on Ink Spill! Here you can read it and all of Ink Spill's posts about Attempted Bloggery.

Michael Maslin's spanking new biography of Peter Arno will be published on April 19 by Regan Arts. Peter Arno:  The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist can be pre-ordered on, where incidentally you can also buy something nice for Albert's wife to wear.

This copy of College Humor, Vol. 6, No. 1, for September 1937 is one of the many treasures in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University. Imagine, if you will, my recent visit to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Surrounded by serious scholars delving into the great questions of our age, I flip through decades-old humor magazines and try to contain my laughter. None of this could have happened without the assistance of comics librarian Karen Green.

The archives also have a couple of posts about Purim.


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