Thursday, March 8, 2018

E. Simms Campbell in Black and White: Esquire Cartoons from 1935

African-American cartoonist E. Simms Campbell created as many as four full page black and white cartoons in each issue of Esquire aside from his well-known color work. His specialty was beautiful women, but he was a skilled draftsman who took on a variety of subjects. A selection of cartoons on Amazon from issues of the magazine published in 1935 show his versatility.

The year starts off in January with a sugar daddy cartoon:
E. Simms Campbell
"Why, you darling!  I can take this back and exchange it for just what I want!"
Esquire, January 1935, page 121


How often does one see an African tribe cartoon drawn by an African-American cartoonist? 
E. Simms Campbell
"He's been that way ever since he went to Oxford[.]"
Esquire, February 1935, page 105

The worldly bellboy announces the play-by-play.
E. Simms Campbell
"Why, th' big dummy——th' big greenhorn!"
Esquire, January 1935, page 147


You just can't please some people.
E. Simms Campbell
"—and tell 'em this last brandy was lousy[.]"
Esquire, February 1935, page 97

What a wardrobe malfunction looked like in 1935:
E. Simms Campbell
"Well, you aren't saying anything——tell me what you think of it[.]"
Esquire, February 1935, page 161

Uh-huh.
E. Simms Campbell
"Thank God I'm a bachelor[.]"
Esquire, March 1935, page 31



How to throw a doctor off his game:
E. Simms Campbell
"Just be calm, Mrs. Marsden—I'll be with you just as soon as I answer the phone[.]"
Esquire, March 1935, page 87



The old drunk-at-a-costume-party routine:
E. Simms Campbell
"Y' jush been standin' there all evening—why'ncha grab a girl an' dance?"
Esquire, March 1935, page 111



How uncomfortable!
E. Simms Campbell
The Tight Shoe
Esquire, March 1935, page 127






Making fun of the large woman with a taste for the petite:
E. Simms Campbell
"My deah boythese simply tear me to pieces!"
Esquire, April 1935, page 75


Here's Esquire's little insight into how to drive your bartender crazy:
E. Simms Campbell
"She ordered it because it had a cute name[.]"
Esquire, April 1935, page 107




It's no funnier in the Arctic:

E. Simms Campbell
"Pre-shrunk—bah! I told you to get it half a size larger[.]"
Esquire, April 1935, page 127



Military discipline isn't what it used to be, if it ever was...

E. Simms Campbell
"Sorry Sir—but I never wear a hat."

Esquire, May 1935, page 115







The going rate:
E. Simms Campbell
"You're giving up a family—but I'm giving up twenty-eight fifty—every week!"

Esquire, July 1935, page 75


Showing a little too much initiative:
E. Simms Campbell
"Young man—if you work any more around here after hours—you're fired!"

Esquire, July 1935, page 115







Radio days:
E. Simms Campbell
"—we're going off the air, folks, but remember—send the cardboard wrappers to the Titsa Bitsa Biscuit Company[.]"

Esquire, August 1935, page 121



I feel the same way about my smart phone:
E. Simms Campbell
"We got to go back to the village again—he's forgotten his wrist watch[.]"

Esquire, August 1935, page 127










Onward and upward:
E. Simms Campbell
"Glad to know you—each year we get a higher type of man up here[.]"
Esquire, September 1935, page 149





Prosperity is just around the corner...
E. Simms Campbell
"Marie—get me that 1928 list of telephone numbers!
"
Esquire, September 1935, page 83

A new relic:
E. Simms Campbell
"It's a bar bill—from the Explorers' Club
[.]"
Esquire, September 1935, page 121

Sensitive ears:
E. Simms Campbell
". . . so I said, O. K. Toots—get out and walk then[.]"

Esquire, October 1935, page 23

A witty retort from 1935. But what on earth is she doing?
E. Simms Campbell
"Madam, are you in quest of a kick in the pants?"
Esquire, 1935, page 24B

Ah, Romance!
E. Simms Campbell
"My husband, poor dear—he's working late again[.]"
Esquire,
1935, page 54


Put a helpless husband in the kitchen and you have an instant gag:
E. Simms Campbell
"Yes, dear, I know how buyers are—but you will be home this evening?"
Esquire, 
1935



To the Esquire reader, a hazard of working late at the office is receiving a proposition from the cleaning staff. Presenting the woman as lower class and promiscuous is one thing, but her being overweight is supposed to be the joke. Why? Is this an "If only it were someone else" moment? And since when does Psst take an apostrophe?
E. Simms Campbell
"P'sst[.]"
Esquire, 
1935, page 112



People in all climates just want what they can't have:
E. Simms Campbell
"But honey—I can't afford no cloth coat this year!"
Esquire, 
1935, page 42

It's hard to believe that this sort of joke is still at the forefront of American humor in 1935.
E. Simms Campbell
"All right then, Mr. Frisbee—we won't insist on the castor oil[.]"
Esquire, 
1935, page 98

Like father...
E. Simms Campbell
"His sister's fer puttin' him in a reform school but I wants him to be near his old man[.]"
Esquire, 
1935, page 42


Be careful what trophy you go after. Why on earth is Zebra capitalized?
E. Simms Campbell
"The Zebra head would look much better over the mantel, dear[.]"
Esquire, 
1935, page 80

Those oh-so-amusing drunkards...
E. Simms Campbell
"Wait—wait—le'mme tell you 'bout my trouble!"
Esquire, 
1935, page 42


Never waste a good line.
E. Simms Campbell
"Aw honey, gee whiz—yuh may never see me again[.]"
Esquire, 1935, page 68

Not bad, but Harvard grads might want to skip this one:
E. Simms Campbell
"All they keep sending, sir, is Yale 6, Harvard 0—Yale 6, Harvard 0—"
Esquire, 1935, page 68

In our February 23 post, we saw a color cartoon by E. Simms Campbell about the Dionne quintuplets from the January 1936 issue. The quintuplets remained a big story for a long time.
E. Simms Campbell
"What are you thinking of, my love?"  "Mrs. Dionne!"
Esquire, 1935, page 48


Note:  At press time, all of these cartoons are available for purchase on Amazon except for "Thank God I'm a bachelor." You just weren't quick enough for that one. Follow the aqua link below each image.

Psst! Attempted Bloggery is going to continue looking at the work of cartoonist E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Readers can help in this noble cause by providing high-resolution scans or photographs of original Campbell art or of obscure published works like these.

The Esquire cartoons in the latter part of this post have years and page numbers, but no month. Can anyone rid me of this affliction?

02481

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