Sunday, October 15, 2017

Peter Arno's Side-Show for August 1937

It'a hard to think of a cartoonist who got more mileage than Peter Arno did simply from observing the mutual attraction of the sexes. But here we are in the August 1937 issue of College Humor and our boy is at it again...

The full page College Humor cartoon of a motorcycle cop confronting an unseen couple calls to mind a famous gag Arno did for the New Yorker of December 7, 1929. In that cartoon a couple approach a police officer on a motorcycle. The man carries a car seat cushion and says, "We want to report a stolen car." The reader is left to surmise what the couple has been doing outdoors with just the seat cushion. This cartoon was assigned to Arno by Harold Ross, the magazine's founding editor, who nevertheless was later rumored not to have gotten the joke. Supposedly Ross believed any car part would have been equally as funny as the car seat. Arno seems confident, though, that the College Humor crowd will understand a similar scenario without any further need for explanation.

"We want to report a stolen car."
Peter Arno
The New Yorker, December 7, 1929, page 31

"Ready or not—I'm gonna give you a ticket!"
Peter Arno
College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 4, August 1937, page 10
Scanned by Dick Buchanan

The two remaining half-page gags are set at a nudist colony and on board a cruise ship. Arno sets each one up so the knowing reader can feel more perceptive than the naive speaker. Vive la différence.

"And what do you do for excitement?" [above]
"Herbert—who is that man daughter is talking to?" [below]
Peter Arno
College Humor, Vol. 5, No. 4, August 1937, page 11
Scanned by Dick Buchanan

Note:  For more on Harold Ross and whether he did or didn't understand Arno's stolen car gag, see Dale Kramer's Ross and The New Yorker, 1952, pages 201-202; James Thurber's The Years with Ross, 1957, page 255; Brendan Gill's Here at the New Yorker, 1975, page 33; and Michael Maslin's Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist, 2016, pages 64-65. Thurber and Gill treat the story as fact; Kramer and Maslin are more circumspect.

Thanks again to Dick Buchanan for using his world class scanning skills to obtain such gorgeous results. Dick contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a captionless piece entitled "'Captions? Who Needs 'Em?' Wordless Gag Cartoons 1947 – 1970."

You too can make scans for Attempted Bloggery. Together we can make obscure published art by Peter Arno and other New Yorker artists the order of the day.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives

Peter Arno

Harold Ross

College Humor

Dick Buchanan


No comments:

Post a Comment