Monday, May 23, 2016

Peter Arno: Meet the Oglethorpes

What's in a name? Well, good made-up names are hard to come by. When a cartoonist finds a telling name for a character in a cartoon, he may want to reuse it on occasion. Peter Arno's 1927 New Yorker cartoon referencing Raquel Meller, a very popular Spanish vaudeville singer and actress, features a society matron named Mrs. Oglethorpe. A few years later Arno was to reuse that surname for the unseen driver in a College Humor gag cartoon. If you must recycle a name, it's prudent to do it in a different publication.

Peter Arno, The New Yorker, February 26, 1927, page 22

"Come, darling—imitate Raquel Meller for Mrs. Oglethorpe."
Peter Arno, The New Yorker, February 26, 1927, page 22

From College Humor:

"You may shut off the heater now, Oglethorpe!"
Peter Arno, Original art, College Humor, c. 1935

Time magazine's cover is an indication of the public's familiarity with Srta. Meller:
Señorita Raquel Meller
Time, April 26, 1926

Note:  Does anyone have additional examples of Peter Arno or another New Yorker cartoonist reusing a name for a different character? Do tell.

Consult the archives for more on these topics:

Peter Arno

The New Yorker

College Humor

That'll be all for today, Oglethorpe.


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