December 2011

Boardroom Lists, July 1983

bdrm0783.jpg In July 1983 I started an interesting relationship with Boardroom Reports, Inc., and in particular with one of its divisions, Boardroom Lists. At that time, Boardroom Reports, based in New York City, was publishing a line of very popular personal and business newsletters, with titles like "Boardroom Reports", "Bottom Line" and "Tax Hotline". (Update: according to Google, Boardroom is now headquartered in Stamford, Conn., and is still apparently doing quite well in the newsletter publishing business.)

To get back to my story, in 1983 the Boardroom editors were occasionally using cartoons in their various newsletters, so I sent in a batch of my cartoons, on speculation. The batch was rejected, but along with the rejection was a letter from Brian Kurtz, "List Manager" at Boardroom. He said that he saw my cartoons and was interested in buying and printing at least one of them for his "Boardroom Lists" newsletter, which was targeted for users and purchasers of mailing lists for direct mail promotions. The cartoon posted above was the one that he wanted.

Brian also asked to see any other cartoons I might have relating to his particular field, and wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing any special cartoon projects that he had in mind. Of course I was interested. My relationship with Brian lasted about three years, and in all that time I never met him -- all our discussions were by mail or phone. (Another update: again according to Google, Brian Kurtz is now Executive Vice-President of Boardroom, Inc., in Connecticut, and I have to assume he is also doing quite well.)

Getting back to my story again, Brian began using my cartoons in his newsletter and in other promotional material. He also volunteered his expertise in creating some of the gags, and whenever I felt that his contribution was important enough, I signed the cartoon STEIN + KURTZ (the only times I ever shared a by-line with anyone).

In a burst of inspiration, Brian even based an award-winning print advertising campaign around my cartoons. I'll be posting all the cartoons and the ads in the future, under the publication category of "Boardroom Lists" (even though the ads appeared in other trade publications, such as "Direct Marketing", "Zip Target Marketing" and "D.M.News"). I received a royalty payment each time an ad appeared in a publication. What was the award that the ad campaign garnered? It was the coveted ECHO award from the Direct Marketing Association. Brian was nice enough to send me this Certificate of Creative Recognition: bdrmcertificate.jpg And he also sent along this note: bdrmbriannote.jpg For all these years the certificate has been languishing in a folder in one of my file cabinets. But now I plan to frame it and give it its rightful place on my studio wall. Okay, it isn't an OSCAR or even a CLIO, but it's an ECHO!

Winner of Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 31

captioncontest31a1.jpg "If you run around all night you should expect to get sick." (by Anne Noonan)

My original caption: "Say ho-ho-ho."

Congratulations, Anne Noonan -- you beat them all and you can now bask in the glory of being one of the funniest people around.

Okay, okay, I know there's going to be some controversy about the selection of the winning caption. One obvious problem is that two of the other entries pretty much matched my original caption (they were written by Al Grand and Mildred, and, incidentally, they came in at almost the exact same moment). Well, first of all, I state very clearly in the rules that the winning caption will not necessarily be one that matches or comes close to my original caption. Second of all, my original caption is about 30 years old, and though I thought it was very funny at that time, right now I think it's kind of hackneyed and obvious. I feel that it's something that has probably been covered by a zillion other Santa/Doctor cartoons over the years. Sure it's still funny -- I have to admit that when I was posting the drawing for the contest, I was worried about all the "Say ho-ho-ho" captions I would receive.

Another controversy (at least for me) concerns the caption "I think you are getting too old for 'all nighters'.", by Jo Pette. Jo's caption was so close to Anne's winning caption that I had a hard time choosing between them. But I finally decided that Anne's had the winning edge. I was also intrigued by Dom Mancino's caption, ". . . You've got the flue!!!" That certainly showed some good, original out-of-the-box thinking!

All in all, I thought that this was an exceptionally good group of captions -- hope you enjoyed them also. A new contest will be coming up before you know it.

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 31

Cartoon Caption Contest No. 31 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" directly underneath the current drawing. Then (2) scroll down past any other submitted captions 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, December 20, 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 here's the drawing that needs your funny captions: captioncontest31a.jpg