Cartoons

"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.5


Case in point No. 5 in this ongoing feature is award-winning New Yorker cartoonist Charles Saxon. Mr. Saxon died in 1988 at the age of 68. More than 700 of his sophisticated, highly-stylized cartoons appeared in The New Yorker, starting in 1956, and he also created 92 New Yorker covers. His pre-New Yorker cartoons, five of which I'm posting here, show an interesting progession in drawing style (and sense of humor).

Yes, "we all have to start somewhere".

The first 2 cartoons are from an anthology I've mentioned before, "The Good Humor Book", published in 1944. The next two are from the Saturday Evening Post, late 1940's or early 1950's (I'm not sure of the exact dates). The last cartoon was printed in True magazine. I found it in a paperback anthology of True cartoons, "Cartoon Laffs", which was published in 1952.

The photo I'm including is from the back cover flyleaf of one of Charles Saxon's own anthologies, "One Man's Fancy", published in 1977. Two other collections of his cartoons were published, "Oh, Happy, Happy, Happy!" (1960) and "Honesty Is One Of The Better Policies" (1984).

To see Charles Saxon's cartoons in The New Yorker, just look at the years 1956 to 1988, or of course you can check him out in The Cartoon Bank.

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saxonphoto.jpgCharles Saxon






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.4


For this continuing feature, case in point No. 4 is almost too easy -- it's good ol' Charlie Schulz. Everybody knows by now that the late Charles Schulz tried his hand at magazine gag cartooning, with very limited success, before he became a "Peanuts" superstar. These three early cartoons of his appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in the 1940's or 1950's, and they are copyrighted by SEP.

There's nothing much I can say about these early panels that hasn't already been said. Aren't they wonderful curtain-raisers for Schulz's legendary cartoon strip career? Note the appearance of an early version of Snoopy.

Yes, "we all have to start somewhere".

I'm also adding a photo of Schulz that I came across in a cartoon book that was published in 1966.

If you want to learn more about Charles Schulz, I recommend the recently-published biography written by David Michaelis, "Schulz and Peanuts".

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schulzphoto.jpgCharles Schulz






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.3


Case in point No. 3 in this ongoing feature is venerable cartoonist Ted Key (born in 1912 and currently living in Pennsylvania). These early cartoons of his are from the same hardcover anthology I cited before: "The Good Humor Book", published in 1944.

Ted Key was the creator of the irrepressible maid/housekeeper, Hazel. The "Hazel" panel was a weekly feature on the back page of the Saturday Evening Post for several decades. It also morphed into a popular TV sitcom, starring Shirley Booth. In 1969, when SEP folded (to be reincarnated later, under new ownership), "Hazel" was picked up as a newspaper panel by King Features Syndicate, and I believe it is still running to this day.

In addition to the "Hazel" panel, Ted Key was a prolific gag cartoonist. In his prime, most of his work appeared in SEP, but he was prominently featured in many of the other major cartoon-using publications, such as Collier's, Look and Good Housekeeping.

In my opinion, none of these four early cartoons give any indication of the things to come in Ted Key's future. OK, I'll grant you that the woman behind the desk at the "Treasury Dept" looks a little bit like Hazel. What do you think?

Remember, "we all have to start somewhere". tedkey2.jpgtedkey4.jpgtedkey3.jpgtedkey1.jpg






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.2


Case in point No. 2 in this ongoing feature, is everybody's favorite cartoonist, the late, great Chon (Chauncey) Day.

These four cartoons appeared in that same 1944 hardcover cartoon anthology that I mentioned before, "The Good Humor Book". I defy anyone to attribute these cartoons to Chon Day, if his famous signature was not there on the bottom of each one.

Remember, "we all have to start somewhere".

I'm also posting a photo of Chon Day from April 1958. He's giving a chalk talk to the Providence, RI, Art Club and he's dressed as his cartoon character, Brother Sebastian. Cartoon Editor Gurney Williams was also a guest speaker on that occasion. This photo was lifted from Gurney Williams "Memos", his free handout to visiting cartoonists, which I've written about before in Eli's Corner.

To see Chon Day's cartoons from when he was in his prime, check any major publication from later years, including The New Yorker, or look him up in The Cartoon Bank. chonday4.jpgchonday1.jpgchonday5.jpgchonday2.jpgchondayphoto.jpg Chon Day






"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.1


This will be a new feature on this site, and here's my explanation.

First of all, I've been showing you lots of my own cartoons that were published as long ago as 1957, and I realize that many of those old drawings and gags look real amateurish. But they are out there for all to see, and I will continue to post them no matter how personally embarrassing they may get.

Second of all, I have a huge collection of hardcover and paperback cartoon anthologies and cartoon magazines. Some of these date back to the early 1940's.

What I plan to do is go through this collection, and whenever I see an early cartoon by a "big name" (living or dead) cartoonist, I'll post it for your examination. I've come across many such early cartoons, and quite often there are dramatic differences in the drawing style, and humor, of the cartoonist at the beginning of his/her career.

For instance, as Case in Point No.1, here are some cartoons by the late Mischa Richter, from a book published in 1944. The title is "The Good Humor Book", and although it's hardcover, it looks like a low-paying anthology. It contains hundreds of cartoons, including many "regulars" of that era, like Jack Markow, the four Roth brothers, Hank Ketcham, Adolph Schus, Ed Nofziger and Gardner Rea. But these guys were all in their heyday, and their drawing styles had already evolved. I'm only going to post cartoons of artists whose styles were still emerging. You probably wouldn't be able to identify them, if the signatures weren't there.

I've also included a photo of Mischa Richter from the 1940's. To follow Richter's professional development, just check out his cartoons in The New Yorker, or look him up in The Cartoon Bank.

And remember, "we all have to start somewhere". richter1.jpgrichter2.jpgrichter5.jpgrichter6.jpgrichterphoto2.jpg Mischa Richter






National Review, February 14, 1986


natrev021486.jpg A few days ago I posted another National Review cartoon and made some remarks about the untimely death of its founder, William Buckley, Jr. I also mentioned his sister Priscilla, who was an editor at NR and for many years had the responsibility of selecting the cartoons to be published there.

Ms Buckley would often comment on my submissions, and today I'd like to recall one particular comment of hers, from about twenty years ago.

In my batch of cartoons at that time was a kind of silly one in which I had an 18th century King of France watching television. The caption, coming from the TV set, was "It's ten P.M. -- do you know where your Dauphins are?". This, of course, was a take-off on the familiar and oft-repeated TV phrase "It's ten P.M. -- do you know where your children are?".

When I received the batch back, there was a note from Ms Buckley. She said, "I liked the 'Dauphins' but by definition there can be only one Dauphin at a time, like the Prince of Wales."

I scratched my head for a while, then looked it up and realized that she was perfectly right. The Dauphin was the heir apparent to the throne of France, and there couldn't possibly be more than one at a time.

I tried re-writing my caption, but somehow " . . . do you know where your Dauphin is?" didn't work at all. I finally gave up and relegated the cartoon to my vast "Unsold" folders.






National Review, March 16, 1992


natrev031692.jpg This cartoon is from the National Review. I was truly shocked two days ago to learn about the death of William Buckley, Jr., NR's founder and linchpin.

Mr. Buckley's sister, Priscilla, an editor at NR, handled the cartoons there for many years, until her retirement in 1991.

No, I didn't agree with most of Mr. Buckley's views, but he certainly made life exciting and entertaining. As The New York Times said in its obit yesterday, "He was often described as liberals' favorite conservative". Amen. And, surely, this will be the first and last occasion that the Times will use the phrase "sesquipedalian spark of the right" in a headline on its front page (look up the word in your big dictionary, as I did).

I always liked to imagine that my cartoons made Mr. Buckley laugh. Oh, and I also enjoyed reading his sailing yarns immensely. Rest in peace, Mr. Buckley.






"The Professional School of Cartooning" (1947)


By popular demand (from Mike Lynch), here are profiles of the five other instructors on the staff of "The Professional School of Cartooning". For further details, see my posting in "Eli's Corner" dated January 2, 2008, about the four cartooning Roth brothers. Lariar.jpgBoltinoff.jpgNofziger.jpgwolfe.jpgschus.jpg I wish I could give you updates on all these cartoonists, but I have very little info to impart. All of them were prolific and popular gag cartoonists in 1947. Of course, Lawrence Lariar (apparently the founder and "Executive Director" of this correspondence school) was also a Cartoon Editor for several major publications, and also an anthologist of a great many cartoon book collections.

Wow, Adolph Schus was selling cartoons in 1926 -- now, that makes me feel young!






The Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2000


wsj120100.jpg Notice that WSJ cropped my drawing, on the bottom, and then had to re-position my signature.






More memorabilia - the four cartooning Roth brothers


I came across an old promotional brochure for "The Professional School of Cartooning" (Lawrence Lariar, Executive Director), from 1947 or 1948. Four of the featured instructors were the Roth brothers, gag cartoonists who each achieved varied levels of success in the profession. Only one of them, Ben Roth, retained the family name in print. His brothers worked under the pen names of Irving Roir, Salo and Al Ross. You probably recognize the name of Al Ross as the famed "New Yorker" cartoonist. I believe he's still actively cartooning, even though I haven't seen his work in "The New Yorker" for a long time. Here are their photos and sample cartoons, from the brochure: Roth Bros- - Al.jpgRoth Bros-- Ben.jpgRoth Bros- - Salo.jpgRoth Bros- - Roir.jpg Why my interest in the Roth brothers? I thought you'd never ask. My wife and I first traveled to Israel in 1983, and in our small mini-bus group were Ellen and Herb Deutsch of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Our conversations eventually (and inevitably) got around to my gag cartooning, and Ellen reported excitedly that not only was her father a gag cartoonist, but so were her three uncles. I, of course, responded that they could only be the four Roth brothers. Ellen was amazed that I had heard of her father and uncles and I was amazed at what an incredibly small world we live in.

Which of the Roth brothers was her father? I'm sorry to say that I don't remember. But I'm sure that someone out there will supply that little bit of information . . . please!!

Oh, one more thing. My mother's maiden name was Roth, but I'm sure that's just another weird coincidence.






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