Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Helen E. Hokinson: The Fashionable Head

Helen E. Hokinson's composition for a New Yorker cartoon published on January 23, 1933 is curious, presenting the speaker from behind, and thereby partially obscuring the stack of hats she is presenting to a customer. This works because the gag is about hair, not hats. The editors have slightly rejiggered the caption, removing the full stop at the beginning and shortening the word realize to know, which transfers momentum to the end of the caption. The payoff is the word hair, now underlined for emphasis, while the customer's hair is seen in unobstructed profile with a small patch of white directly behind her. In retrospect, having the reader pay more attention to the hats might have detracted from the gag's impact.

"Oh! I didn't realize you had hair!"
Published as "Oh, I didn't know you had hair!"
Helen E. Hokinson
Original art
The New Yorker, January 23, 1933, page 40

Helen E. Hokinson
Eldred's Auction Ended November 19, 2015

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Helen E. Hokinson
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"Oh, I didn't know you had hair!"
Helen E. Hokinson
The New Yorker, January 23, 1933, page 40


"Oh! I didn't realize you had hair!"
Published as "Oh, I didn't know you had hair!"
Helen E. Hokinson
Original art
The New Yorker, January 23, 1933, page 40


Drawing by Helen E. Hokinson





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