March 2008

"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

The National Law Journal, October 15, 1990


Billable hours are very important to lawyers, as we all know. This gag was slanted to my "law" markets and I was very glad that it was picked up by The National Law Journal.

"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.