Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ronald Searle: Traffic

A press photo of a Ronald Searle illustration entitled "Traffic" depicts automobile congestion in Midtown Manhattan. The photo is dated 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, when environmental considerations were on everyone's mind. 

Ronald Searle
Press Photo, Sunday, March 1, 1970
Historic Images

Note:  I would like to hear from anyone who knows where this press photo was published, preferably with a scan or photograph of the newspaper page. A copy of this photograph without the watermark or an image of the original artwork would also be appreciated.

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Earth Day

Press Photos

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Today's Walk: Berm Collapse

A small part of the pathway has collapsed into the canal.

Berm collapse

Berm collapse into the canal


E. Simms Campbell: In Search of a Smoke

Some calamity apparently has struck the apartment of a well-dressed young man in a February 1937 black and white Esquire cartoon by E. Simms Campbell. The cause may be found in the caption. The man's vest and dark pants emphasize his verticality which contrasts with the many diagonal lines signifying the room's disheveled state.

"I thought sure I had another cigarette!"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, February 1937, page 189

The reverse of the page is notable for an advertisement featuring a different vice. Otard Cognac's copy includes a double-limerick by Ogden Nash.

Another rhyming ad from the campaign:
Ode to Otard by Ogden Nash
O is for Otto
Otard Cognac Advertisement, c. 1937

Note:  We are now in the home stretch of our survey of the work of E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Readers with access to original Campbell art or to rarely-seen published cartoons may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog for inclusion in a future post.

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Ogden Nash



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Friday, April 20, 2018

E. Simms Campbell and Syd Hoff Back to Back in Esquire, April 1937

A uniformed chauffeur betrays an inappropriate predilection for old world military pageantry in a somewhat clunky cartoon from the April 1937 Esquire. This was a time when German militarism was on the rise and about to engulf Europe and subsequently much of the world. It seems a messy vein to be mining for a cartoon in an American men's magazine, but then who among us has never wished for a little sprucing up? At the bottom right, one can just make out the signature of Esquire's top cartoonist, E. Simms Campbell.

"Positively not[,] Joseph—I thought we thrashed that out last year[.]"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, April 1937, page 58

On the opposite side of the page is a Syd Hoff cartoon about what police call disturbing the peace.
"See? It ain't no dog howling!"
Syd Hoff

Esquire, April 1937, page 57

Note:  E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) is the object of this blog's current obsession, the most recent obsession having been devoted to cartoonist Syd Hoff (1912-2004). Attempted Bloggery will continue to survey the work of Campbell and will occasionally return to Hoff as well. Readers with access to original art or to rarely-seen published works by either of these artists may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog.

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Syd Hoff


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Monday, April 16, 2018

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #612

Chalk up another entry for me in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #612 for April 16, 2018. The drawing is by Tom Toro.

"I see the crime scene is still evolving."

Note:  Elementary, me dear Reader. Investigate Tom Toro's work from previous blog posts here.

Last week, cartoonist Ellis Rosen rediscovered flight. My caption did a belly flop. Take a dive into Contest #611.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Today's Walk: Early Spring

Today was cold, windy, and overcast.

A fallen tree threatens some power lines.

Cherry trees




Esquire Cartoon Window Signs, 1935-1937

Magazine covers are designed to sell magazines; that's clearly their job. Window signs produced for Esquire in the 1930s used a different promotional tack, taking advantage of the popular, full-page, color cartoons that appeared abundantly in each issue. Up to two such small posters or window signs were produced for issues of the monthly magazine in the mid to late 1930s to promote newsstand sales. The editors selected only one or two of the color cartoons from each issue for use on these signs, giving an indication of which particular artists and cartoons they thought could best promote their magazine. It was a strategy that might well have given Esquire a competitive advantage against those magazines which ran only black and white cartoons.

An Abner Dean gag selected for this purpose in October 1935 seems an unlikely candidate for this sort of display. The old joke is about a father's fecundity, but the setting is somewhat morbid. Dean's work was often odd, to say the least. (A more traditional handling of this sort of gag may be seen in the first Dorothy McKay Esquire cartoon here.)
"Mama, what kind of a man was Daddy?"
Abner Dean
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, October 1935

Rodney deSarro's lustful old lady may anticipate Buck Brown's later Granny cartoons that were to appear in Playboy.
"But lady, when I knocked on your door, I only
asked for a dime[.]"

Rodney deSarro
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, February 1936

Another gag by deSarro depicts a cruise ship's staff nervously trying to reclaim a stateroom after the cruise has ended. The gag appears to be cropped for use on this window sign, cutting off the artist's signature.
"Do you think, sir, we might tell them, sir,
that the cruise is over?"

Rodney deSarro
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, April 1936

A Dorothy McKay gag takes us to the waiting room of a maternity ward where we get to watch a stunned new father drop his hat. This time it is McKay's turn to have her signature unceremoniously cropped. 
"Well, Mr. Hotchkiss! I guess you hit
the jackpot this time!"

Dorothy McKay
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, April 1936

Shh! An uncaptioned cartoon by E. Simms Campbell depicts the ship's captain engaged in some clandestine work.
E. Simms Campbell
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, May 1936

Rodney deSarro's captain on shore leave has found a novel use for a hula skirt. The oval format works well on the window sign and preempts any attempt at cropping.
"She loves me—she loves me not!"
Rodney deSarro
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, June 1936

The "Harem Girls" cartoons by E. Simms Campbell were popular from the very first issue of the magazine. Men trying to make a go at a relationship with a woman must have been amused at the sultan's excesses.
"Make it ten!"
E. Simms Campbell
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, July 1936

In another Abner Dean gag, a sailor on a life raft has some second thoughts.
"Sometimes I almost wish I'd rescued that blonde
instead of the Harvard Classics!"

Abner Dean
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, July 1936

Another of Campbell's "Harem Girls" gags bears a striking similarity to the one in yesterday's post.
"I'll be away for two weeks—sort of look
after things while I'm gone[.]"

E. Simms Campbell
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, August 1936

Gilbert Bundy's young lady exercises her due diligence...
"Oh!  Yes I'll be here[,] Mr. Van Gates—I'm
reading the most interesting book[.]"

Gilbert Bundy
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, September 1936

...While Barbara Shermund's old man sees no need to be hasty.
"Of course I love you—but there's such a difference in our ages—we ought
to wait a few years[.]"

Barbara Shermund
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, July 1937

Note:  That's it for now. I'd love to hear from anyone with other examples of these window signs featuring vintage Esquire cartoons. Examples of original artwork by any of these artists is always welcome here.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Today's Walk Along the Canal

It was sunny and warm today: the perfect day for a walk along the canal.
Turtle Gazing

Canal Reflections
Trees Downed in the Canal After Four Nor'Easters

Golf Course Bridge


E. Simms Campbell: A Wartime Sacrifice

A wartime "Harem Girls" gatefold cartoon from Esquire shows the ease with which artist E. Simms Campbell could populate his large color cartoons with some two dozen figures, including even three colorful men. The old warrior has been called to fight in the Second World War. Naturally, he seeks help in looking after the home front. The women themselves seldom react to what is transpiring; their role, after all, is to lounge about and look desirable. Still, they don't seem overly upset by the news. It is the sultan whom we get to see overreact in an old-fashioned and exaggerated style of cartooning that seems all too obvious today.
"I've been called to the front, my friend—do you mind taking care of my family?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1940s

The fruit doesn't look bad either.

The sultan overreacts

The "Harem Girls" play it close to the vest.

E. Simms Campbell's signature

Of the three men, only the man in the background has an idealized form, whereas all the women share one.

Artist Unknown

Note:  E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) created an awful lot of cartoons like this. Attempted Bloggery will continue to survey the work of this artist for the next two weeks or so. Readers with access to original Campbell art or to little-known published cartoons such as this one may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog.

This cartoon was published in Esquire presumably between 1941 and 1945. Write if you know precisely when. 

Who is the mystery cartoonist? What is the caption?

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Show That I.D.

A full-color Esquire cartoon by E. Simms Campbell from 1936 or 1937—the eBay seller used both years in different parts of the listing—will resonate with anyone who has ever sewn his or her name label onto an article of clothing. Or perhaps it won't; the situation is clearly preposterous. It makes sense only using the singular logic of men's humor magazines in which women disrobe in public on the merest pretense. The open handbag on the table helps to tell the story, but one wonders how many readers even noticed it.

"M-mm—have you any other identification before we cash that check?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1936 or 1937

Note:  E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) drew more cartoons than Attempted Bloggery can hope to ever unearth, but that doesn't mean we can't dream. Readers with access to original Campbell art or obscure published cartoons such as this one may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog.

Future cartoon historians will want to know in which issue of Esquire this cartoon was published. Diligent readers who know the answer should not be shy about revealing it.

Check, please!

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