Tuesday, March 31, 2020

George Petty: Bum Check

The conventions of the pin-up don't necessarily work well within the context of a gag cartoon. In its early decades, Esquire resorted time and again to a formula of pairing provocatively underdressed women with suggestive gag lines in combinations that were meant to be both sexy and funny but more often than not came up short in both areas. In the April 1937 issue of Esquire, for example, George Petty presents us with his privileged view of a kept woman for the appreciative gaze of the magazine's male readership. Petty's choice of vantage point makes no pretense of this being a character study; indeed we get to see more of the bounced check than of the woman's face.
"I suppose this bum check is your idea of an April Fool's joke[.]"
George Petty
Esquire, April 1937, page 41

Note:  This marks the first appearance of
 George Petty on Attempted Bloggery. He is the creator of the popular "Petty Girl."

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Monday, March 30, 2020

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #703

My entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #703 for March 30, 2020 should provide some food for thought. The drawing is by Jon Adams.
"Actually, those aren't genuine tears."

These captions weren't sharp enough:
"Promise me you won't let any of that bowl go to waste."
"Will you be staying for the dinner theater reenactment of 'Live and Let Die?'"
"Don't feed the drama queen."
"'See you later, Erica' just doesn't have the same rhythm."

April 6, 2020 Update:  The Finalists

April 13, 2020 Update:
I neglected to vote, but I'm sure I would have gone with Woodbury.

April 20, 2020 Update:   The Winner

Note:  In last week's Caption Contest, cartoonist Drew Panckeri took us to a barber shop where the customer had some nesting issues. My caption's style was so last year. Make an appointment to see Contest #702 and dream about the day we can all return to the beauty salon.

This is Jon Adams's first appearance on Attempted Bloggery. All that hard work, Jon, only to end up here.

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Irving Phillips: The Old Switcheroo

An April 1937 Esquire cartoon is set in a maternity ward, but don't expect any sentiment on that score. The gag by Irving Phillips is wrong on so many levels. For openers it is racist, it is misogynistic, and it is simply not funny.
"We're going to April Fool our husbands[.]"
Irving Phillips

Note:  This is the first appearance of
 Irving Phillips on Attempted Bloggery. His Wikipedia page notes, "He eventually became head of the humor staff for Esquire in the late 1930s." Hard to believe.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Louis Jamme: Contract Bridge Signal

It's never a good thing when an auction house reproduces a drawing with the wrong aspect ratio. Louis Jamme's original cartoon about a game of contract bridge is elongated like a Modigliani. We can glean what must be the correct proportions only through the supplementary photographs showing the details. 
Bid Two Clubs
Louis Jamme



Louis Jamme's signature

Louis Jamme

Note:  Could it be in the cards that some reader might know when and where this cartoon was first published?

This is now the third of five original works by cartoonist Louis Jamme that were brought to the art auction market last week. Perhaps the winning bidder could provide a more accurately proportioned photograph of the work.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Louis Jamme: Searching for Light

An original World War II-era military cartoon by Louis Jamme (1913-1949) possesses a long and ungainly caption, but that's really the point of the whole thing. It's all about ironies of scale: while the floodlight towers over the soldiers, they are vexed by the most minuscule of tools.
"Well, sir, we just used our last match looking for the flashlight we dropped which we were using to find the switch to turn this thing on."
Louis Jamme

Louis Jamme's signature and caption

Louis Jamme

Note:  Anyone who can, please shed some light on when and where this cartoon was published.

This is the second of five original works sold last week created by cartoonist Louis Jamme. He seems to have been a skilled draftsman who was well on his way to establishing a legacy for himself. Not much of his work is remembered today, so I would be interested in hearing from readers who have original works of his art or seldom-seen published cartoons.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Louis Jamme: Men Working

It's rare to see five original cartoons by Louis Jamme (1913-1949) come to the art market all at once. The first of them reminds us that labor and management perhaps share a certain curiosity in common.
"Some gentlemen from the excavation around the corner, they thought they'd like to watch you work for a change."

Louis Jamme

Note:  Both sides at the bargaining table would like to know where this original cartoon was published. Please write or leave a comment if you know.

Louis Jamme, who lived only to his mid-thirties, was a talented cartoonist who contributed to many publications. Today marks his very first appearance on this blog as we begin to look at the five original drawings of his that just came to the auction block.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #68

Those who find our current global predicament amusing should enjoy Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #68. The rest of us might find it hits a little too close to home. My three entries are below. The drawing is by Teresa Burns Parkhurst.
"Aw, honey, let me do the dirty work."
"Oops! Guess who forgot to wash his hands?"
"Honey, you forgot the hand sanitizer."

April 1, 2020 Update:  The Winner

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Charles M. Schulz: Baseball Season

Whoever expected to see a spring season without baseball? Even Charlie Brown would be disappointed.

Charles M. Schulz
AbeBooks Listing Accessed January 17, 2020

Note: At the time of this posting the drawing of Charlie Brown is remains available for sale.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #702

Just in time for the closing of all the hair salons and barber shops in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I humbly present my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #702 for March 23, 2020. The drawing is by Drew Panckeri.
"Don't take anything off the top."

These captions were a cut or two below the rest:
"Do you clip wings?"
"How did you know I live alone."
"Are you experiencing any symptoms of bird flu?"
"Relax. I just want a shave."
"Can your sink double as a bird bath?"

March 30, 2020 Update:  The Finalists

April 6, 2020 Update:
  I voted with LA.

April 13, 2020 Update:  The Winner

Note:  In last week's Caption Contest, cartoonist Mort Gerberg took us to a restaurant where a mouse was ordering from the menu. I just couldn't "eek" out a good caption. (Ouch!) Still, if you would just help me climb down off the chair, then we can both take a deep breath and enjoy Contest #701. 

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Peter Arno: Ringling Bros.–Barnum & Bailey Circus Magazine 1942

Visitors to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1942 could purchase a 15-cent program with a color cover illustration by the New Yorker's most popular cartoonist, Peter Arno, who served as "art director" for "Circus King" John Ringling North, a fellow Yale man in the Class of 1926. That cover showed a pair of cartoon elephants standing upright and embracing playfully, not unlike many an Arno human couple. Inside the magazine, as the program was called, readers would find five full-page Arno cartoons on circus themes and some subject illustrations as well. Two of the cartoons—those featuring the bearded lady and the elephant's hindquarters—would later be collected in Peter Arno's Man in the Shower (1944). An eBay listing offers a few key interior views of the Circus Magazine, here generously supplemented by additional pages from other eBay listings as well.
Peter Arno
Ringling Bros.–Barnum & Bailey Circus Magazine 1942

 Fifteen cents—a bargain!

The contents page begins by noting five cartoons by Peter Arno. The theme of the 1942 show was "Gayety!" 

A better image from another source:

Let's start with the five cartoons first, noting right off that Arno didn't always leave all that much to the imagination:

"His wife says he eats firecrackers in bed."


"Now, Arthur!  No more remarks like that!"

Arno also contributed interior illustrations:
"The Human Side of the Circus" by Edwin C. Hill

"It's an Old Family Custom" by John B. Kennedy
Camel cigarettes advertisement

Program of Displays, Nos. 2 and 3

"Work Refreshed"                                         Display No. 4 "Holidays
Coca-Cola 1941 advertisement                               Display No. 5 The Shyrettos
Image added September 2, 2023

Program of Displays, Nos. 7 and 8

Trio of "North Starlets"
Mary Jane de Young         Lee Wallenda         Dorothy Burt

The program also carries a lot of advertising, especially cigarette ads, so we'll start with them first. Students of design may wish to ponder what ploys are being used in the Raleigh ad to direct the reader's eye to the advertising copy. Extra credit will be given to anyone who can find both of them.
Raleigh cigarette ad

Philip Morris, as we've seen opposite Displays Nos. 2 and 3, offers some reassuring medical news without any regard for whether it's truthful:
"You see, Philip Morris superiority for the nose and throat is recognized by eminent medical authorities."

Chesterfields are advertised on the back cover with a patriotic wartime theme:

"They Rate the Best"
Chesterfield cigarettes advertisement

There are ads for beverages too:
Borden's Hemo
Not a promising name for a product

Even bacon:

And oil:

Peter Arno
eBay Listing Accessed January 13, 2020

Peter Arno
eBay Item Description Accessed January 13, 2020

Note:  Did you know this blog is the home to more than 125 posts about Peter Arno? He's a fascinating and nearly inexhaustible subject. Readers are invited to contribute original art and published rarities that will help to shed more light on this giant among New Yorker cartoonists.

The particular spelling of gayety, the theme of the 1942 circus, is an odd but not unheard-of choice today and it was a particularly odd but not unheard-of choice in 1942 as well.
Gaiety vs Gayety

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