October 2011

"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No. 16

New Yorker cartoonist Al Ross celebrated his 100th birthday on October 19, 2011. I thought it would be fitting to honor him on this occasion by making him the latest "Case in Point" in this ongoing feature, in which I post some of the early work of famous cartoonists.

Much has been written about Al Ross, including stuff I've written about him in the past on this blog --here's just one link. So I'll just summarize by saying that Al Ross is probably the most famous of four celebrated cartooning brothers. Their last name was Roth, but only Al's brother Ben Roth cartooned under that name. The other three signed their cartoons either Al Ross, Irv Roir or Salo. Ben, Irv and Salo Roth are deceased, but each of them was very prolific and made his mark in the golden age of gag cartooning, when publications like The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's and Look dominated the market.

You can see many of Al Ross's New Yorker cartoons on The Cartoon Bank. Also, Michael Maslin, on his excellent Ink Spill Blog site, has a link to a film clip of Ross's 100th birthday party, which took place in The Bronx, NY.

The eight early Ross cartoons posted below are all from a sourcebook I've mentioned before, "The Good Humor Book", a hardcover compilation of cartoons and jokes published by Harvest House in 1944. As I said before, my instincts tell me that the publishers weren't offering much in the way of compensation for the cartoons. I feel that the cartoonists were glad to dump their old, unsellable rejections there, probably for pin money. So these cartoons date from the early 1940's or before -- and you can see a remarkable difference in Ross's drawing style, as compared to the style which he developed in his later years.

The next three Ross cartoons posted below are from another hardcover anthology, "The American Cartoon Album", published in 1974 by Dodd, Mead and Company. The three cartoons are reprints from either Medical Economics, Saturday Review or Dugent Publishing Corp. (the anthology doesn't supply specific copyright attributions). These cartoons are very typical of Ross's later free-flowing style, which you can also see in many of his New Yorker cartoons.

Below the cartoons I have posted a photo of Al Ross from 1947. And below that, a photo of him at his 100th birthday party. Happy birthday, Al Ross! alross2.jpgalross4.jpgalross1.jpgalross6.jpgalross8.jpgalross7.jpgalross3.jpgalross5.jpgalross10.jpgalross11.jpgalross9.jpgalrossphoto2.jpg Al Ross, 1947 alross100birthday.jpg Al Ross, 2011

The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 29, 1999


Another one of my personal favorite gags. Which means that I thought it was worthy of The New Yorker. Of course I was mighty pleased that The Chronicle appreciated the cartoon, after The New Yorker rejected it.

Florida Bar News, October 15, 1999


Hmmm . . I just noticed that the publication messed up my caption -- "client" should have an apostrophe "s". It should be "major client's lunch".

Winner of Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 28


"I repeat: Worst IPO ever." (by John Platt)

My original caption: "Wouldn't you know it -- the only one to show up is our corporate gadfly!"

Nice going, John Platt -- this is your fifth winning caption, so you are certainly one of the funniest people around.

(By the way, for any of you Stock Market novices, IPO=Initial Public Offering).

I'm amazed that I didn't get a single "Occupy Wall Street" caption. This old drawing of mine just demanded a with-it caption like "I think everyone else is occupying Wall Street".

And only one Steve Jobs caption? I know, I know, these are supposed to be "gag" cartoons, as opposed to "editorial" or "political" cartoons, but I'm thinking The New Yorker here. Does anybody out there have any doubt at all that TNY will be publishing an "Occupy Wall Street" cartoon in the weeks to come? I'm just wondering what the gag will be and, of course, who will draw it.

Other contest entries that I was considering:

"I told you Christmas Day would not be a good day." (by Leftie)

"Steve Jobs would have had something to say about our failure to put a dent in the universe." (by Sharon)

"Who leaked the real date?" (by Melissa)

"I say we take a recount on that vote." (by Cary Antebi)

Lots of captions entered, but not too many captioners. Was the Stock Market too difficult a topic? I'll try to make the next contest easier -- look for it soon. And thanks, everybody, for participating.

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 28

Cartoon Caption Contest No. 28 starts right now.

Briefly, here are the details: I'll supply a drawing of one of my old cartoons that has never been published, leaving off my caption. You are invited to supply your funniest captions. Simply (1) click on "COMMENTS" underneath the current drawing. Then (2) scroll down past all the other comments and type in your name and your caption in the spaces provided. Then (3) enter the anti-spam security word that assures me that you're a human being and not a machine, and (4) click "Submit". There is no limit on the number of captions you can submit for each drawing.

Entries will be accepted and posted for one week, after which a winner will be announced and the winning caption will be printed. Below that I will also print my original caption. The cut-off time and date for you to submit your captions for this contest is midnight Tuesday, October 11, 2011.

I will be the sole judge. The winning caption will be the one I judge to be the funniest one submitted (not necessarily the one that matches or comes closest to my original caption).

Additional rules and regulations, for those of you who need such things, can be found here.

And this is the drawing that needs your funny captions: captionconteststockhold.jpg