Monday, February 28, 2022

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #792

This week I worked remotely on The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #792 from the issue of February 28, 2022. My entry is shown below. The desert island drawing is by P. C. Vey.

"We're still in the Song-of-the-Month Club."

This caption was a little out of tune:

"Hey! We finally have Lesson One."

March 13, 2022 Update:  The Finalists

March 14, 2022 Update:
  I voted for the caption from Mesa.


March 21, 2022 Update:  The Winner


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Robert Weber: The Motion Picture the World Has Been Waiting For

People fortunate enough to have their work featured as the subject of a New Yorker cartoon just might decide to purchase the original art for themselves. That's precisely what director Joseph L. Manciewicz did when a poster for his movie "Cleopatra," advertising it as "the motion picture the world has been waiting for," appeared in a 1963 cartoon by Rober Weber (1924-2016). Manciewicz passed away in 1993 and his estate held onto the drawing for nearly three more decades, selling the artwork only this past December.

Weber set his scene at a suburban commuter railway platform. Two well-dressed women on their way into the city regard the movie poster by Howard Terpning, which must have been ubiquitous in the summer of 1963. It depicts the stars Rex Harrison (Julius Caesar), Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra), and Richard Burton (Mark Antony). The production of "Cleopatra" experienced widely-publicized delays, but the film was to become the biggest box office draw of the year.

"What annoys me is that I know I'm going to see it."
Robert Weber
Original art
The New Yorker, July 20, 1963, page 21

Robert Weber
Bonhams, December 8, 2021

"Cleopatra" (1963) poster
Howard Terpning

"Cleopatra" (1963) trailer


"What annoys me is that I know I'm going to see it."
Robert Weber
Original art
The New Yorker, July 20, 1963, page 21

An anonymous spot drawing of a dragonfly over cattails and a cartoon by Robert Weber

Note:  Robert Weber published more than 1,400 cartoons in The New Yorker over the course of his career. Yet this is only the second original New Yorker cartoon art of his to appear on this blog. (There's also a New Yorker magazine ad original for Absolut vodka. But I digress.) Where then is all his original New Yorker art? Have I been subconsciously suppressing it? Or perhaps, dear collectors, have you been deliberately keeping it from me?

By the way, if you should ever pop into Bonhams in Los Angeles, you might let them know that Bruce Weber is a fashion photographer and Robert Weber was a New Yorker cartoonist. Thank you in advance for clearing that up.

I don't really believe the artist who created that spot with the dragonfly and cattails can be identified, but by all means write if you can prove me wrong.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Bob Eckstein: An Illustrated History of the Snowman Print

Bob Eckstein published A History of the Snowman in 2007. The updated edition, now dubbed An Illustrated History of the Snowman (2018), was listed last year on eBay accompanied by a print signed in the year of publication. As the seller notes, "It's not the crispest signature." You can't fault simple honesty.

Bob Eckstein
eBay listing ended November 8, 2021


Friday, February 25, 2022

My Copy of Very Funny Ladies by Liza Donnelly

Freshly arrived his week from Oblong Books of Rhinebeck is a signed and personalized copy of Very Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Women Cartoonists. This book is Liza Donnelly's brand new update of Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons (2005). The half title page is embellished with a festive drawing. 

Note:  Copies of Very Funny Ladies signed by Liza Donnelly remain available from Oblong Books here.


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Barbara Shermund for Wings Sportswear

There's no telling what good fortune might befall a man with the good taste to wear Wings Sport Shirts. Barbara Shermund's World War II-era advertisement depicts a well-dressed gentleman at a resort confidently smoking a cigarette while other guests, including matrons on the veranda, secretly plot his future. Selling circa 1944 at $1.65 to $7.50 ($26.44 to $120.17 today), the pricey shirts appear to promise the well-heeled man who wears them the attention of a variety of attractive, fashionable, and fit women, including some who may have to be sent for expressly by their mothers.
"...and I hear he wears Wings Sports Shirts."
"That settles it. I'm wiring my daughter today to come right up."
Barbara Shermund
Wings Sportswear
Life magazine, 1944 [or 1945?], page 86

Back in 2017, Michael Maslin's Ink Spill posted a quartet of vintage Shermund advertisements from the Warren Bernard collection, including another 1944 ad for Wings Sportswear. In this one, a hunter in his office asks his secretary to hold his calls so that he may savor the "perfect fit" in perfect solitude.
"Miss Smith. Can't see anyone, I'm in conference!"
Barbara Shermund
Wings Sportswear
Scan by Warren Bernard

Note:  Well, that makes two. If there should be any other ads from Barbara Shermund's Wings Sportswear campaign, by all means let me know of them. I hate to be anything less than comprehensive.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Barbara Shermund: The Effortless Dinner Party

A black and white drawing by cartoonist Barbara Shermund gives us a glimpse at the sort of formal, intimate dinner party so few of us seem to get invited to. Amidst the stately opulence, there is the pretense of it all just having been thrown together at the last minute. But we know better, don't we?

Who can recall another gag cartoon where so many individuals stand with their eyes closed? The original artwork has that slapdash appearance that the artist must have spent long years mastering. There is the added bonus of a rough drawing on the verso which itself just hints at how hard Shermund must have worked at making this all look so easy. The art was sold on eBay in 2019 for an undisclosed best offer somewhere under the $275 asking price.

"I hope you didn't mind taking pot-luck."
Barbara Shermund
Original art

Detail of the women and their jewelry

Detail of the men in white tie and the servant in black tie

Barbara Shermund's signature

Detail of the column

Verso with rough drawing

Barbara Shermund
eBay listing ended September 22, 2019

Barbara Shermund
eBay item description

May 24, 2024 Update:  The new owner of this piece has gone public here.

Note:  I have no idea whether this drawing by Barbara Shermund was actually published, but I'm inclined to believe it was. I'd like to hear from anyone who may have seen it in print somewhere. I'd also like to know whether the rough on the verso resembles any of the artist's published gag cartoons. See, I don't ask for much, not even at dinner time.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for Winter 2022

Moment magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest for the Winter 2022 issue recalls many a vivid nightmare. My several captions are shown below. The drawing is by Benjamin Schwartz.

Moment's contest entries often reflect a specifically Jewish sense of humor, so some explanation of my terms may be in order here. A kippah is the Hebrew word for a head covering, or yarmulke in Yiddish. Tu BiShvat is the Jewish Arbor Day. Dreidel is a game of chance played during Chanukah with a four-sided top, but you already know that. Netflix you know too.
"This is so embarrassing. I forgot my kippah."
"And these are my good-luck briefs."
"Well, how do YOU celebrate Tu BiShvat?"
"Tell Benjamin Schwartz this isn't as funny as it looks."
"Worst of all, I was treed by a rabbit."
"My wife got everything in the divorce."
    “That’s the last time I play strip dreidel.”
    “Just keep yelling until I wake up.”
    "Take a hint from Netflix and don't look up."

March 28, 2022 Update:  The Finalists

July 16, 2022 Update:  The Winner


Monday, February 21, 2022

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #791

This week I had to sleep in the doghouse while puzzling over The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #791 from the issue of February 14 & 21, 2022. My entry is shown below. The drawing is by Lonnie Millsap.

"It kind of grows on you."

With these captions I tried a little too doggedly:

"You'll grow into it."
"Come in. There's plenty of room."
"Sure it costs more, but we got a great deal on the mortgage."
"Wait till you see the finished attic."
"Next time, bring your stilts."
"There's no excuse for slouching."

March 6, 2022 Update:  The Finalists

March 7, 2022 Update:  I vote for the caption from Mount Horeb.


March 14, 2022 Update:
  The Winner



Sunday, February 20, 2022

Roz Chast: Poster for "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"

Charles Busch's comedy "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" directed by Lynne Meadow and starring Linda Lavin, Tony Roberts, and Michele Lee opened on Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre in 2000. The production's poster was illustrated by Roz Chast. Between the Covers-Rare Books, Inc., of Gloucester City, New Jersey, has both an unsigned copy of the poster and one signed by the playwright and the full cast.

Roz Chast:  Poster for "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"
AbeBooks Listing Accessed June 2, 2020

Roz Chast:  Poster for "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"
AbeBooks Listing Accessed February 19, 2022

"The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"
2001 Tony Awards


Saturday, February 19, 2022

Roz Chast: And One Day, When He Least Expected It...

An ink and watercolor drawing on a 4" x 6" postcard was donated by artist Roz Chast to a 2010 fundraiser for the Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut. Postcards were sold at a fixed price and buyers apparently did not know the identity of the artist whose work they purchased. This, of course, was not the case when the Chast postcard was sold again in a 2021 auction at Bonhams. The work is titled And One Day, When He Least Expected It... Ms. Chast deftly lists the medium as pen, ink, watercolor, and paranoia.

Roz Chast
Bonhams sale June 17, 2021