Friday, December 31, 2021

License Plate for the Unhesitating?

In other words, this is not the license plate for those who prefer to sit around and do nothing:

New York State license plate

I would have spelled it GOTTA, as in Tug McGraw's inspirational "Ya gotta believe," the one-time rallying cry for the New York Mets. But then, I disapprove of ya. Some days there's just no making me happy.


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Garrett Price: Drawing Room Only Advertisement

The publisher must have been hoping demand would be standing room only for Garrett Price's cartoon collection Drawing Room Only, published in 1946. An advertisement in the book section of The New Yorker is meant to entice the collection's desired readership.

Garrett Price
The New Yorker, November 30, 1946, page 140


Monday, December 27, 2021

Please Pass the Hostess, Signed by Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Please Pass the Hostess is a collection of New Yorker cartoons by Whitney Darrow, Jr. Published in 1949, it is Darrow's second cartoon collection. After seventy years, this book remains a pleasure to go through. It's hard to understand how a copy can remain so inexpensive, even a signed one.

The signature of Whitney Darrow, Jr.

Whitney Darrow, Jr. 
eBay listing ended September 19, 2021
Whitney Darrow, Jr. 
eBay item description


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Signed by Five: The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games

The December 27 issue of The New Yorker is the the first Cartoons & Puzzles issue. As pointed out by Ink Spill this week, that combination of subjects readily brings to mind The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games published in 2006. One of the best copies of that book I've come across was listed last year on AbeBooks—and subsequently sold. It is signed by five of the contributors, including New Yorker cartoonist and puzzle constructor Robert Leighton, New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz, then-New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, as well as Mike Shenk and Amy Goldstein, both puzzle makers from Puzzability.

Signed by Robert Leighton, Mike Shenk, Amy Goldstein, Will Shortz, and Bob Mankoff

The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games
AbeBooks listing accessed March 27, 2020

Thrift Books - Motor City could use some work on its camera skills. A stock photo gives a better image of the cover. The cartoonists are Roz Chast, Robert Weber, Jack Ziegler, Bruce Eric Kaplan, James Stevenson, Leo Cullum, Gahan Wilson, and Arnie Levin.
Stock Photo

Christoph Niemann
"Give Us a Clue"
The New Yorker, December 27, 2021

Note:  My thanks to Robert Leighton for correctly identifying the cartoonist who drew the cat in the lab coat, James Stevenson. I've got it right now. He also confirmed the occupation of puzzlers Mike Shenk and Amy Goldstein.


Saturday, December 25, 2021

The 2021 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

I did not get to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree this year. But my wife did.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
December 23, 2021


The Floripes' Copy of Christmas is Together-Time by Charles M. Schulz

Christmas is Together-Time by Charles M. Schulz was published in 1964, one year before "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first appeared on television. While the book might not have the catchiest title, at least the copy belonging to the Floripes makes up for it with an original drawing of Snoopy wearing his festive holiday stocking cap. Raptis rare books has had it listed at $3800 on AbeBooks for the past year.

Charles M. Schulz
AbeBooks listing accessed January 6, 2021


Friday, December 24, 2021

Peter Arno: Sandy Claus Arrives

In an advertisement in the January 1936 issue of Esquire, cartoonist Peter Arno (1904-1968) has clothed Santa (make that Sandy) Claus in tartan to promote the Grand Macnish liqueur scotch whiskey. From a practical point of view, the reindeers' hind legs are way too close to the sleigh, seemingly touching it. The manner in which the house's silhouette is framed inside the antlers is also just a little too pat, but it works well enough. In sum, it's remarkable how much activity Arno was able to squeeze into a limited amount of space, all of it seen boldly in close-up.

Sandy Claus Arrives
Peter Arno
Esquire, January 1936


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Otto Soglow: Four-in-Hand

It isn't often one sees a work of straight illustration by cartoonist Otto Soglow, creator of the Little King, but one such drawing with a Christmas theme turned up on eBay earlier this year. It has a central lozenge-shaped image depicting a four-in-hand being driven through a nighttime snowfall. This image is drawn supported by a metal stand and is flanked on either side by a burning candle. The seasonal illustration bears no resemblance to Soglow's typical stylized cartoons. It could very well be a magazine illustration.

Otto Soglow
eBay listing accessed January 26, 2021

Otto Soglow
eBay item description

Note:  I would like to hear from anyone who can locate this illustration's place of publication.


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The CartoonStock Caption Contest #145

It's time to go with the floe in the CartoonStock Caption Contest #145. My three captions are shown belowThe drawing is by Liam Francis Walsh.

"I told you I'll quit before all the ice melts."
"I might set fire to what?"
"Our days are numbered anyway."

January 5, 2021 Update:  The Winner


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for November/December 2021

This year Chanukah began on the Sunday night of Thanksgiving weekend, apparently inspiring Moment magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest for the November/December issue. My captions are below. The drawing is by Benjamin Schwartz.

"A great miracle happened back there."
"Wait, you're Amish?"
"Next time you light them, leave your hat on."
"A foil-wrapped chocolate coin for your thoughts?"
"Could we extend the reprieve through Chanukah every year?"

January 30, 2022 Update:  The Finalists


Monday, December 20, 2021

Ronald Searle: A Christmas 1987 Signed First Day Cover

It's Magic, the 1987 Royal Mail Christmas issue, was canceled in London with a commercial Hamley's postmark promoting "the finest toy shop in the world" on the first day cover. Thirteen years later, one such cover was signed by illustrator Ronald Searle. The Christmas cover and the later autograph seem unrelated; they coexist on an envelope for no apparent reason. Still, the price realized on eBay indicates that at least someone out there appreciates this sort of dual collectible.

Ronald Searle
eBay Listing Ended June 8, 2019

Ronald Searle
eBay Item Description


My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #785

This town ain't big enough for the two of us, by which I mean me and The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #785 from the issue of December 20, 2021. My caption is shown below. The drawing is by Drew Dernavich.

"Looks like Mom's back in town and she still wants me to practice."

This caption was a bit lame:

"Wait a minute. Wasn't the recital supposed to be at the O.K. Corral?"

January 15, 2022 Update:  The Finalists

January 17, 2021 Update:  I voted for the caption from Arvada.

January 29, 2022 Update:
  The Winner


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Ronald Searle: Scrooge Dancing

Today Scott Burns shares with us an original drawing by Ronald Searle. He reports picking it up at "a flea market about 40 years ago for $75." Sweet deal. The artwork measures 13” x 18” and is executed in pen and ink. It depicts a dancing Ebenezer Scrooge and it most likely is an early concept drawing stemming from Searle's work on the titles for the 1970 musical feature "Scrooge." It does not appear to have been drawn on the set or, for that matter, published.
Photo by Scott Burns

Searle's 1970 sketchbook image from the set depicts Albert Finney in the title role dancing. This is a very different Scrooge and it reflects how the character appeared on screen in the production.

A dancing Scrooge does appear in two of the title illustrations. This one is clearly right out of the sketchbook.
Director of Photography Oswald Morris

Executive producer Alec Guinness himself played the ghost of Jacob Marley in the film.
Executive Producer Alec Guinness

  My thanks to Scott Burns! This is his fourteenth contribution to Attempted Bloggery. Without people like Scott, this blog would be nothing but humbug.


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Barney Tobey: Chess Players

Barney Tobey's drawing of two men playing chess was originally sold by the Nicholls Gallery in New York to a collector in Lansing. It may or may not have been included in his 1976 exhibition there. It is apparently an illustration or spot drawing but its publication history is uncertain. It was offered on eBay in August at $599, then the price was raised $1,000. It was sold in September for an undisclosed best offer price.

There is liberal use of white out.

Barney Tobey's signature

Based on the pencil lines, Tobey relocated his signature slightly to the right.

Barney Tobey
eBay listing ended September 5, 2021

Barney Tobey
eBay item description

The drawing was offered on eBay at two different price points, subsequently sold for an unknown amount.

Note:  I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can shed more light on this piece.