Tuesday, March 27, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: The Bikini Milestone

A problem with many of the older Esquire cartoons, including not a few of those by the talented E. Simms Campbell, is that their primary purpose doesn't seem to be to make us laugh. A case in point is a color cartoon set at the beach from the February 1953 issue.

The reaction expressed on the face of the woman in the two-piece bathing suit indicates that something utterly shocking has been said to her by the young girl, yet the printed caption—". . . And when will I be old enough to wear a two-piece bathing suit?"—seems benign in the extreme. It's cute maybe in an "out of the mouths of babes" kind of way, but no male Esquire reader was really looking for a gag about innocently disarming words spoken by a little girl. Instead this gag is very much about stealing a peak at the woman in her bikini—it's February back home after all—and enjoying the stunned and surprised reaction that leaves her speechless. In other words, this is more or less a hybrid of a pin-up and a gag cartoon, and the gag suffers for it.

". . . And when will I be old enough to wear a two-piece bathing suit?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, February 1953, page 33

Note:  Well, that about covers it! Attempted Bloggery continues its survey of the work of artist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Ambitious readers—that's you—can assist incurable bloggers—that's me—by providing high-resolution scans or photographs of outstanding original Campbell art or perhaps of rare published cartoons—such as this one. 

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives

E. Simms Campbell


Attempted Bloggery's Fully-Developed Index

Attempted Bloggery supports net neutrality.


No comments:

Post a Comment