Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gregory d'Alessio in College Humor, July 1937

Four cartoons by Gregory d'Alessio were published in the July 1937 issue of College Humor. Even sixteen years before Playboy cartoons came on the scene, cartoonists were creating preposterous scenarios to display improbable female nudity. Or was it all just a simple misunderstanding?
"But, darling, you asked me to show them my baby pictures without any clothes on!"
Gregory d'Alessio
College Humor, Vol 5, No. 3, July 1937, page 25

Those odd triangular side-guards atop the overpasses look strikingly out of place today, but the cartoonist's prerogative  of taking a figure of speech much too literally remains very familiar.
"We always burn our bridges behind us."
Gregory d'Alessio
College Humor, Vol 5, No. 3, July 1937, page 34

Here Mr. d'Alessio illustrates the eternal male dating dilemma. Note how the rug doubles as a sort of coffee table so we can see the woman's figure in full.
"Gosh! I could go for you—if you were only a blonde!"
Gregory d'Alessio
College Humor, Vol 5, No. 3, July 1937, page 38

Now we come to a different preposterous scenario, this time with improbable female deshabille. The stethoscope was invented by Laennec in 1816, but it took well over a century for its use to be fully accepted by the medical community. My grandmother described to me her family's search for a good physician to address some persistent symptoms she had when she was a teenager. The physician they finally found and were delighted with did not use a stethoscope; he listened to heart sounds, breath sounds, and bowel sounds by placing his unaided ear against the patient's body. This was not unusual at the time and we shouldn't be surprised to find cartoonists finding humor in the implicit physical intimacy of the practice.
"Sounds okay to me, but you'd better wait 'till the doctor comes—I'm a patient, too."
Gregory d'Alessio
College Humor, Vol 5, No. 3, July 1937, page 39

Note:  Attempted Bloggery is eager to publish scans or photographs of original cartoon art by Gregory d'Alessio and other New Yorker artists, the well-known and the obscure. Clippings of rare published cartoons and illustrations from College Humor and other publications are also eagerly sought.

For these cartoons I had to go back to school. This copy of the July 1937 issue of College Humor is part of the Steven Boss humor magazine collection at Columbia University, one of some 5,600 humor magazines housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The collection can be viewed by contacting Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green. You can tell her I sent you.

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Gregory d'Alessio

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