Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jean-Michel Folon: The Year of the Architect

Jean-Michel Folon's 1966 magazine cover for Fortune celebrates the Year of the Architect with a surreal illustration that's quite unlike any architect's vision then or even today:
Jean-Michel Folon
The Year of the Architect
January 1966

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery 

Jean-Michel Folon


Guillermo Mordillo (1932-2019)

The Year of Attempted Bloggery's Index


Monday, July 15, 2019

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #669

Welcome to my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #669 for July 15, 2019.  There is a one-drink minimum. The drawing is by John Klossner.
"I see him doing stand-up three times a night and living with us."

These captions bombed:
"Remember it's 'Yes, and...'"
"That potty mouth is her new catch phrase."
"Isn't that cute? She's playing to a crowd of two."
"I'm off to get food, diapers, and an agent."
"Look! She's got us both eating out of the palm of her hand."
"Did you hear that? He called us 'ladies and germs!'"
"Look who owns the room!"

Note:  Last time around, cartoonist Liza Donnelly brought a lovestruck dragon to the maiden's castle door. Fire up Contest #668.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

John Klossner


The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

The Moment Magazine Cartoon Caption Contest

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest

All the Above Cartoon Caption Contests and Even More

Attempted Bloggery's Age-Appropriate Index


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Zurich Airport 2019

One week ago my family and I flew overseas for some sightseeing in Italy. We are back home now and it is time to begin recounting the adventure. Our trip began as we flew out of JFK over Jamaica Bay on a gray and rainy Saturday afternoon. As you see, I got the window seat.

Swiss is an excellent name for cheese and a very fine one for chocolate as well. I now learn that Swissair has taken the air out of its tires—or at least its name—and begun simply calling itself Swiss. Naturally I disapprove, although I might reconsider if they changed it slightly to something more artistic, say, Bauhaus-Suisse. From now on, I will be flying only on airlines whose names are instantly familiar to me, like Pan Am and TWA.

We had clear skies over the Atlantic. I was puzzled by some wisps of water vapor that seemed to be floating exactly parallel to our flight path yet so far as I could tell were not generated by our plane. By the time I tried to photograph them, they were gone.

From the air, Switzerland looked as inviting as ever.

If only Italy could prevent stray public cigarette smoke as well as the Camel Smoking Lounge at Zurich Airport! I'd walk a mile for that.

Our European holiday began with a four-hour layover in Zurich, most of which was spent pleasantly in a private airport lounge which afforded us what was to be our best breakfast of the trip. Onward to Rome!

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Guillermo Mordillo (1932-2019)

Bastille Day

Air Travel

Attempted Bloggery's Smoking Hot Index


Saturday, July 13, 2019

A Guillermo Mordillo Press Photo from 1980

Argentine cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo passed away in Spain on June 29, 2019 at age 86. Born in Buenos Aires, he moved to Paris in 1963. His cartoons were often vividly colored but they rarely if ever had words and could be enjoyed by people the world over.

Those who don't recognize this cartoonist by his name may still be familiar with his distinctive style. The following sampling of gags from Mordillo's Cartoons/Opus 1 (1986) is borrowed from a completed eBay listing. (The softcover book sold for $6.50 plus $3.27 domestic shipping.)


Two prints of a presumedly rare press photo of the cartoonist by photographer Tom Blau are currently listed both on Amazon and on eBay. The example on Amazon has a handwritten date of 1980 while the eBay photograph is stamped March 6, 1980. I'm going to go out on a limb here and tentatively date the photo c. 1980.
Tom Blau
Camera Press, London
Guillermo Mordillo, c. 1980


Amazon Item Description Retrieved July 12, 2019

The eBay photograph, on the other hand, has a less expensive initial offering price, has a 15% discount on top of that, and has free shipping included. As if that weren't enough, it has the Make Offer option available too. How Amazon is eating everyone's lunch is a mystery to me.
Tom Blau
Camera Press, London
Guillermo Mordillo, c. 1980

eBay Listing Retrieved July 12, 2019

eBay Item Description Retrieved July 12, 2019

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Guillermo Mordillo

Press Photos

Attempted Bloggery's Opus 1 Index


Friday, July 12, 2019

A Calvin Trillin Self-Portrait?

Calvin Trillin may be widely-renowned for his writing, but on this blog we like to look occasionally at how authors draw too. James Cummins, bookseller, currently lists a Trillin drawing of a head, perhaps his very own...and perhaps not. Whoever it belongs to, you may be surprised to learn it is not the first Trillin head to appear on Attempted Bloggery. This is a niche blog if ever there was one.

Calvin Trillin
Listing from James Cummins, Bookseller Retrieved July 11, 2019

Note:  My sincere thanks to David from Manhattan for alerting me to this item in the James Cummins catalogue. This is David's thirty-second contribution to the blog.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Another Drawing by Calvin Trillin

The Drawings of E. B. White

The Drawings of George Plimpton

David from Manhattan

Attempted Bloggery's Heady Index


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Isabel Russell's Copy of The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

E. B. White was born one-hundred twenty years ago today on July 11, 1899. The Trumpet of the Swan, the last of his great trio of children's books, will turn fifty next year. Isabel Russell worked as secretary to White and his wife Katharine in Maine in the 1970s. In 1988, three years after White's death (Katherine had passed away in 1977), Russell published a memoir about the literary couple:

The Trumpet of the Swan dates from 1970, the year Russell began her work for the Whites. Her copy of the book is inscribed by White in the year of publication and is accompanied by a real rarity: an original published book illustration by White himself! New Yorker cartoonist Edward Frascino provided all the drawings in The Trumpet of the Swan save this one by White which appears on page 5 of the book. White, one of the talented writers who helped establish the fledgling New Yorker's towering reputation, occasionally dabbled in illustration. Nearly forty years earlier in 1932, White had published a single New Yorker cover:

His illustration in pencil for his own book isn't quite so fanciful or accomplished. The swan's neck and body don't seem to articulate quite right, for example. Still, out of respect for White's outstanding literary gifts, which included as keen an observation of nature as one could hope for, I think we should give him a pass.

E. B. White
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved July 10, 2019

Note:  My personal childhood reading included E. B. White's Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. I did not read The Trumpet of the Swan.

More Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

E. B. White

Edward Frascino

Attempted Bloggery's Index


Friday, July 5, 2019

Otto Soglow: W. C. Fields for President

Fields for President is a 1940 book by W. C. Fields with drawings by cartoonist Otto Soglow. The first edition with its original dust jacket is apparently hard to come by. A quick search reveals that later editions of this book are inexpensive and even ubiquitous. A paperback edition was published as recently as 2016. But this first edition is the one I'd want to have. Note how Soglow has rendered Fields's party affiliation by showing him atop a hybrid of the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant.

Fields for President
eBay Listing Retrieved July 5, 2019

Fields for President
eBay Item Description

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Otto Soglow

The Presidency

Attempted Bloggery's Nonpartisan Index


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Clipper Passing Statue of Liberty

The Boeing 314 Clipper was a large flying boat airliner in service for luxury transoceanic passenger flight between 1939 and 1948. Nine of the twelve Clippers produced went into service for Pan Am. The Yankee Clipper flew between Port Washington on Long Island and Southampton. The flyover of the Statue of Liberty shown on a vintage postcard would seem to be staged for publicity. The photograph looks doctored, which is perhaps why the back of the postcard has to state that it's an "actual photograph," although this may have been a common affirmation at the time.

Statue of Liberty
eBay Listing Ended January 7, 2019

Note:  The final commercial flight of the Yankee Clipper at the outbreak of World War II is the subject of Ken Follett's 1991 novel Night Over Water.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Independence Day


Attempted Bloggery's Airborne Index


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #30

I did not enter the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #30 although I did start to write a couple of captions at the very last minute. The drawing is by Charles Barsotti.
"Surprise me!"
"I don't suppose you have a Jill-in-the-Box?"

July 12, 2019 Update:  Winning Caption

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Charles Barsotti

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Richard Farrar's Tiger Scarf

New Yorker artists Charles Addams, Helen E. Hokinson, Anatol Kovarsky, and Otto Soglow created original designs for silk scarves by Richard Farrar in the 1940s and 1950s. Joel Jacobus writes that a new Farrar scarf design has appeared on eBay which the seller attributes to cartoonist Otto Soglow. The eBay item description justifies this by writing "According to the history of Frank [sic] Farrar Scaves [sic] Otto Soglow designed a lot of his scarves especially the circus ones[.]" One wonders whether this blog is the source of the seller's "history."

To be sure, Otto Soglow created two designs that we know of for Richard Farrar, one of a circus and the other of a harem. Both exist in multiple colors. Both designs include the cartoonist's printed signature. Both may be found in the archives of this blog.

This new design on eBay depicts a juggling cartoon tiger surrounded by circus cars. It is unsigned. I personally do not recognize it as the work of Soglow or of any New Yorker artist. 

Richard Farrar
eBay Listing Retrieved July 1, 2019

Richard Farrar
eBay Item Description

Note:  My thanks to Joel Jacobus, intrepid explorer in the jungle of Charles Addams paraphernalia, who keeps alive the search for more information about Richard Farrar scarves designed by New Yorker artists. This is Attempted Bloggery's fifth post to be derived from his research.

I would like to hear from readers who can identify the designer of this scarf. All speculation is welcome. As always, feel free to disagree with me.

I am still looking for examples of the scarf by Helen Hokinson as well as new color combinations of the Farrar scarves we already know of.

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Richard Farrar Scarves

Otto Soglow

Women's Fashion

At the Circus

Attempted Bloggery's Index Index, Burning Bright