Saturday, December 31, 2016

Victor Herbert's Auditorium Festival March

Auditorium Festival March is an orchestral piece composed by Victor Herbert in 1901. Named for Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan's Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, it is sometimes referred to simply as Festival March. Herbert wrote it for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which he hoped to take to the Auditorium Theatre. The score includes a familiar auld theme.

Victor Herbert, Auditorium Festival March
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
Keith Brion, conductor
Naxos, 2000

Auditorium Theatre interior view, Chicago, 1914 postcard

Attempted Bloggery's quiclinks:


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Charles Addams House for Jackie Kennedy

Property from Kennedy Family Homes—yes, those Kennedys—were sold at Sotheby's New York in 2005. Included in that sale was a watercolor by Charles Addams inscribed "To Jackie/like Newport." The painting depicts an Addams architectural fantasy supposedly similar to the magnificent homes of Newport, Rhode Island. If the family of the late Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was selling off original Addams artwork like this, one can only wonder what treasures, if any, they chose to hang on to.

Inscribed "To Jackie/like Newport/Chas Addams"

Inscribed "To Jackie/like Newport/Chas Addams"

Note:  I saw Jackie Onassis only once at a concert in Carnegie Hall probably very early in the 'eighties, let's say '81. I remember seeing her up close during the intermission and her appearance was absolutely radiant. Rostropovich led the National Symphony Orchestra in an all-Tchaikovsky program, a concert that was easily the most thrilling I've ever attended. It was "the concert of the season" according to the woman seated on my right who sounded like she knew enough to judge such things. My father pointed out how much better than ours the seating was for Mrs. Onassis and her companion—was it fifth row, center?—but really she was only a few rows in front of us. Her presence in the Hall that night meant even more to my mother. Women of my mother's generation had admired and sought to emulate Jackie Kennedy like nobody else on earth. My mother had a great time that night, but I know it wasn't just the music.

Charles Addams I never ran into anywhere.

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Charles Addams: Morticia Haunting

On October 23 of this year, @joecab left a comment on my milestone 2000th blog post, which was all about how Charles Addams turned me into a first-time rare book collector. He wrote:

I actually have a copy of this book not only signed, but with a drawing of Morticia in it.
My brother was friends with a woman who knew Chas and she got a copy made out to him with the drawing and signature. Morticia is even in two colors: black and a gray wash (watercolor?). Knowing what a buff I am, my brother was kind enough to give it to me.
Now that's a good brother! Reader @joecab followed up by sending along a couple of photos of the book, which is Favorite Haunts published in 1976 and embellished by Mr. Addams two years later. This one remains a keeper!

Charles Addams, Favorite Haunts, 1976
 Copy belonging to @joecab

Inscribed "To Richard/with all best/Chas Addams/1978"

Note:  My thanks go out to @joecab for sharing his gem of a book with us. Charles Addams was fairly generous to his fans. Fans who would like to return the favor may send in scans or photos of original Addams works.

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:


Monday, December 26, 2016

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #550

Okay, I've lined up my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #550 for December 19, 2016. The drawing is by Tom Toro.
"Why, yes, I used to work for Jet Blue. How did you know?"

Here are a couple of throwaways:
"You're in luck. Several upgrades are available."
"I need people who are skilled at leapfrogging."

December 28, 2016 Update:  The Semifinalists

January 2, 2017 Update: The Finalists

January 9, 2017 Update:  I forgot to vote again, which may be a good thing because all the captions are so funny this go-round. I do like the whimsicality of the second caption.

January 16, 2017 Update: Winning Caption

Note:  Last time, cartoonist Drew Dernavich got all tied up. My caption needed a restraining order. Get wrapped up in Contest #549.

Queue up to see more blog posts about Tom Toro.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas with Claude

On Christmas morning the children come bounding down the stairs, but their joy is threatened by a Santa Claus who can't remain jolly for even two seconds. Original artwork by Claude Smith from the Christmas 1960 issue of the New Yorker was sold on eBay in September for $125. The artist, who signs his name Claude, doesn't command much of a market premium, but just observe how skillfully he handles the domestic scene here.

Claude Smith, "Don't run down the stairs!"
Original art, The New Yorker, December 24, 1960, page 32

Claude Smith, "Don't run down the stairs!"The New Yorker, December 24, 1960, page 32

Claude Smith, "Don't run down the stairs!"
Original art, The New Yorker, December 24, 1960, page 32

Detail with Claude Smith's signature


Peter Arno, The New Yorker, December 24, 1960

The published cartoon

Peter Arno, The New Yorker, December 24, 1960
eBay Listing Ended September 8, 2016

eBay Item Description

Note:  What's the best way to frame an original cartoon when it doesn't have its caption?

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:

Claude Smith

Original New Yorker Cartoon Art

Peter Arno

Santa Claus



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Shannon Wheeler: Peace on Earth

Another copy of God is Disappointed in You is signed by both Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler. This time, Mr. Wheeler has added a message of peace.

God is Disappointed in You (2013) signed by Mark Russell
and by Shannon Wheeler with a sketch

God is Disappointed in You (2013)
written by Mark Russell
with cartoons by Shannon Wheeler

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:

Shannon Wheeler

Signed Books with Original Drawings

Mark Russell



Shannon Wheeler: Not Walking on Water

A copy of God is Disappointed in You is signed by author Mark Russell and illustrator Shannon Wheeler. In addition, Mr. Wheeler has added a drawing of a robed figure with beard and halo, possibly accompanied by a fish or two, who is running, not walking, on water. Regrettably, there are no further clues as to whom this might be.

God is Disappointed in You (2013)
written by Mark Russell
with cartoons by Shannon Wheeler

God is Disappointed in You (2013) signed by Mark Russell
and by Shannon Wheeler with a sketch

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:

Shannon Wheeler

Signed Books with Original Drawings

Mark Russell



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ronald Searle: Cats for James Mason's Family

Some years ago a watercolor painted by cartoonist Ronald Searle of James Mason's cat and presented to his family showed up on eBay for the asking price, if memory serves, of $6,000. There was no bidding at this level and the price was not lowered in response, so I don't believe it ever sold. In the 1950's Searle was not yet the cat specialist he was to become, but the Masons were very much the quintessential cat fanciers. Indeed, they wrote and James illustrated a book about cats, and it is intriguing to speculate what influence they might have had on the eventual development of Searle's Cats and later work dating from the 1960's and onward.

Inscribed "For Pam, James and Porty
with love from Kaye and Ronald. May 1953"

Then, for Christmas 1956, James and Pamela Mason received a copy of Ronald Searle's latest book, Merry England, Etc., personally inscribed to the Masons by Ronald on behalf of himself and his wife Kaye Webb. The inscription includes a drawing of a supremely spoiled cat.
Inscribed "For James and Pam
with love from Kaye and Ronald
Christmas 1956.
—a sort of reminder of this
side of the water..."
in Ronald Searle. Merry England, Etc. London: Perpeptua, 1956.

Photo courtesy of  David from Manhattan
This book sold for $511 on eBay in January of 2008.

Few actors are more riveting than James Mason, so please forgive the suggestion that his cat illustrations are somewhat less compelling than his acting. Still, they're not bad for amateur work and The Cats in Our Lives is meant to be a highly personal reflection on cats, so he gets a pass. His reaction to Searle's work we can only imagine, but we know the watercolor was framed and the book remained in his library for more than half a century.
Pamela Kellino and James Mason, The Cats in Our Lives, Lives. New York: Current Books, Inc., 1949
Illustrated by James Mason

Pamela Kellino and James Mason, The Cats in Our Lives. New York: Current Books, Inc., 1949
Illustrated by James Mason

Pamela Kellino and James Mason, The Cats in Our Lives. New York: Current Books, Inc., 1949
Back cover photo

Note:  It should go without saying that I'd love to hear from anyone else with drawings of cats made by Ronald Searle for James Mason's family. I would also be interested in cats made by Searle for anyone not in James Mason's family, or indeed, to keep it simple, for anything on any subject drawn by Searle for anyone in or not in James Mason's family. That about covers it.

Once again, I am indebted to David from Manhattan for opening up not only his library but also his eBay archive to us. Thanks, David!

Attempted Bloggery's Quick Links:

Ronald Searle

Signed Books with Original Drawings




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for November/December 2016

Just what is going on in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for November/December 2016? It is very clearly set in a high school guidance counsellor's office where a student's appearance is not precisely what one might expect. Many caption contest entrants took this aged student to be God. After all, Moment Magazine calls itself "North America’s premier Jewish magazine" and one God is the central feature of the religion. My first thought was: "The Big Lebowski." Once again, I just can't seem to play by the rules. All told, I submitted nine captions, or one for each Commandment—not counting the pesky one about graven images. The drawing is by Benjamin Schwartz.

"On the other hand, you could just—you know—abide."
"Drop out today and the school will name a lounge for you."
"It seems we lost your transcript in the Windows 98 upgrade."
"It isn't fair, but we're not bringing back Lyre Studies."
"You've outlived yet another registrar."
"Stop handing in your work on papyrus."
"For you, I wouldn't recommend any six-year programs."
"Where do you see yourself thirty years ago?"
"Nonconformity is overrated."

January 25, 2017 Update:  The Finalists
If you had asked me, I thought "Where do you see yourself thirty years ago?" was my funniest caption. It turns out I was wrong. That's why I don't judge caption contests for a living.

March 23, 2017 Update: Winning Caption

Note:  This blog now has quite a few cartoons by Benjamin Schwartz. Some of them may even be apocryphal.

Would you like to quote chapter and verse for every single cartoon caption contest I ever entered? Who wouldn't? You just need to click on that aqua link. Or perhaps you'd like to limit yourself simply to the Moment Magazine contests. Very well, have it your way.