November 2012

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 44

Contest No. 44 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 "Add New Comment". Then (2) scroll down past any other submitted captions and type in your name and your caption in the spaces provided. If you are prompted to enter a CAPTCHA code, please do so. Then (3) click "Save". 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 4, 2012.

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.

This is the drawing that needs your caption:

"We All Have To Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No.18

The New Yorker had two great cartoonists with the last name of Day. One was Chon Day (who has already been featured here, as Case in Point No. 2), and the other was today's case in point, Robert Day.

I found very little biographical information on him, but here it is: Robert James Day was born in California in 1900. He lived and worked from his home in Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY for many years, and he died in Arkansas in 1985. He studied at the Otis Art Institute, in California, while working in the art department of the Los Angeles Times, from 1919 to 1927. In the early 1930's, he was on the staff of the New York Herald Tribune. Physically, he was an imposing figure, standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall.

He published a hardcover album of his cartoons in 1945, "All Out for the Sack Race!".  Over the years, he also illustrated many books, including Arthur Godfrey's "Stories I Like to Tell" and Leo Rosten's "Rome Wasn't Burned in a Day".

The New Yorker published more than 1,800 Robert Day cartoons. The first one appeared in September, 1931 and the last one in May, 1976. The magazine also published eight covers drawn by him.

In addition to being featured in The New Yorker, Robert Day's cartoons also appeared in other prestigious publications. Since the premise of this series is "we all have to start somewhere" (to indicate how a cartoonist's style develops and changes over the years), I've tried to uncover some of his early drawings. But I have to confess that even in the oldest drawings that I found, such as the first one posted, from an old Life Magazine, the distinctive Robert Day style is still evident. With that in mind, I've gathered together some other early and some not-so-early cartoons. The second cartoon posted below, from The New Yorker in the early 1930's, is certainly unique in that it is signed "R.J.D.", rather than the familiar "Robt Day". You can see many more of Robert Day's New Yorker cartoons online, at The New Yorker's Cartoon Bank site.

Following the R.J.D. cartoon are cartoons from This Week, a former Sunday newspaper supplement. These were taken from the hardcover collection, "What's Funny About That?", published by E. P. Dutton in New York in 1954. So all of the cartoons from This Week date from before 1954. The Cartoon Editor of This Week, by the way, was cartoonist Ralph Stein (no relation).

Following This Week are some cartoons from True Magazine. These were taken from the hardcover collection, "The True Album of Cartoons", published by Crown in New York in 1960. So all of the True cartoons are pre-1960. I'm also very proud to have a couple of my own cartoons in that True collection.

And finally, I'm posting a seldom-seen photograph of Robert Day. It was also taken from the This Week book, and I assume it dates from 1953 or 1954.

Early, undated cartoon from old Life Magazine:

Cartoon from The New Yorker, early 1930's:

Cartoons from This Week Magazine:

Cartoons from True Magazine:

Robert Day:



Winner of Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 43

Back in business again. We had a full week of total power loss due to Hurricane Sandy and then additional disruptions of services (electricity, telephones, internet) due to a Nor'easter that also hit our area. Hoping against hope that things are finally returning to normal, I'll now resolve the second-most-fought-over contest in the nation (the first was Obama vs. Romney, of course).

Here's the winner of Contest No. 43:

"It's supposed to be 'let them eat cake', not 'let me eat cake'."

(by Levi Asher)


My original caption: "For starters, I suggest you quit eating all that bread and honey in the parlor!"

Congratulations again, Levi Asher -- this is your fourth win, so you are definitely solidifying your title of "one of the funniest people around"!

I immediately loved Levi's early entry, and knew that it would be hard to beat. Here are some of the other captions I was considering, though:

"Sweetheart, I think we might be taking these crowns we got from Burger King too seriously." (by Howard Garrett)

"Do me a favor . . . just turn me back into a frog." (by Cary Antebi)

I also greatly appreciated these two other captions, because they were so "outside the box" and made me laugh:

"Is the rest of the chess set coming so we can start the game?" (by Albee Goungnow)

"I'm glad we're not flying coach." (by salpino)

Thanks for being patient, folks, and thanks for all the great captions. New contest will be up shortly, weather permitting.

Contest deadline extended due to Hurricane Sandy

Yes, last Monday we lost electric power due to Hurricane Sandy -- and of course lost the ability to use computers, phones, cell phones, etc. Personally, we had no other damage -- no flooding or fires or trees falling on our house or car. So we have definitely been lucky. Right now, my wife and I are staying with our son, about a half-hour's drive from our home. He has power, and all the other conveniences. It may be many more days before our own power is restored.

As for the Caption Contest, out of necessity I am extending it for another week, so the deadline for entries will now be midnight Tuesday, November 6th. Hopefully, by then, we will have power and can resume our normal activities at home.