Category: Eli’s Corner

“Berndt Toast Gang” Art Show and Reception

Yesterday I attended the opening reception of “Laugh Lines”, a group show of cartoonists at the Art-trium Gallery in Melville, Long Island, NY. It featured original works of the “Berndt Toast Gang”, the LI chapter of the National Cartoonists Society (named after a deceased member, Walter Berndt, who long ago created the comic strip “Smitty”).

I had gone to the reception hoping to get a chance to chat with the likes of Mad Magazine cartoonist Mort Drucker, fellow blogger Don Orehek and even fellow blogger Mike Lynch (an ex-Berndt Toaster who now lives in New Hampshire). Unfortunately, I had to leave the reception before it was over, and didn't get a chance to see either Drucker or Orehek (I really didn't think that Mike Lynch was planning to attend from so far away). My loss, if any of them showed up later.

A little mystery developed, however. Looking around the exhibition, I noticed that there were no works by Mort Drucker to be found anywhere (press releases for the show featured his name very prominently). I questioned one of the show's organizers, who said regretfully that Mr. Drucker had pulled his work out of the show the day before. She didn't give me a reason and couldn't offer any further explanation. So, as I said, there's a little mystery . . . perhaps someone reading this is in the know and can supply details?

Anyway, here are a few photos:


The Berndt Toast Gang . . . at least all of those in attendance before I left.


Me and Bunny Hoest in front of a couple of her “Lockhorns” panels. Her collaborator, John Reiner, was not in attendance.


Me checking out an original panel of “They'll Do It Every Time” by John Scaduto.


Me straightening out an original gag cartoon panel by Don Orehek.

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Al Ross, almost 98 years young

I received a note from a nephew of Al Ross, the celebrated New Yorker cartoonist. He said that his uncle is about to celebrate his 98th birthday, lives quietly in the Bronx, NY and is doing very well.

In case you don’t remember, Al Ross is one of the four cartooning Roth brothers. The other three, Ben Roth, Irving Roir and Salo, have passed away (Ben Roth was the only brother who cartooned under the family name).

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“Comments” malfunction

It has just come to my attention that the “comments” function on this site has not been working properly for a while.

It has been repaired.

So if you tried commenting lately and were unsuccessful, my apologies.

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President Eisenhower, Honorary NCS Member

In June 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was made an honorary member of the National Cartoonists Society. The occasion was celebrated at a formal breakfast in Washington, attended by Ike and many NCS members.

Ike invited the attending newspaper and magazine cartoonists to make free use of him as a subject for a portrait, caricature, gag cartoon or illustration. This being an NCS event, there was plenty of drawing paper, pencils and pens on hand. At the conclusion of the breakfast, Ike asked to see the drawings. He smiled broadly as one after another was held up, laughed outright at some of the gags, and then expressed the desire to keep them. In fulfillment of that request,, the NCS collected the originals of 95 drawings made on that morning, put them in a specially-designed leather binding and sent it to the White House.

This is a picture of that presentation volume.


Two years later, a hardcover book was published by Frederick Fell, Inc., which reproduced the 95 drawings. The book was approved by President Eisenhower, since its stated purpose was to help promote the sale of U.S. Savings Bonds.

This is the cover of that book.


The book includes drawings by icons of the cartooning and comic strip business, including (just to name a few) Rube Goldberg, Walt Kelly, Chic Young, Milton Caniff, Bud Fisher, Bill Mauldin, Bob Kane, Ham Fisher, Bill Holman and George McManus.

But this is a site that's devoted to gag cartooning, so I'm going to be selective and only show you some of the famous gag cartoonists that participated in the project.

And here they are.


Bill Yates.


Dick Cavalli.


Otto Soglow.


Al Ross (one of the four cartooning Roth brothers). For more info, click here.


Salo (another of the Roth brothers).


Irving Roir (another of the Roth brothers).


Bo Brown.


Henry Boltinoff. For a little more info, click here.


Gregory d'Alessio.


Kate Osann.


Jeff Keate.


George Wolfe. For a little more info, click here.


Larry Reynolds.


Dick Ericson.

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The New Yorker finally made me laugh…

It was just three lines in the May 4, 2009 issue of The New Yorker:


"CORRECTION: The cartoon on page 43

of the April 27th issue was incorrectly

credited; the artist was Karen Sneider."


Oh. That cleared things up for me in a big way, and actually made me laugh.

Last week, when I first glanced at the cartoon in question, I thought, okay, there's another Jack Ziegler cartoon. Then I noticed the signature and thought, hmmm, a new cartoonist, let me check this out in the masthead. And the listing of cartoonists in the masthead indicated very clearly that the cartoon was drawn by Edward Koren.

Edward Koren!! At that point I was completely at a loss and all kinds of thoughts rushed through my mind: What's going on? Was Koren going through a late-life crisis? Did he have a crippling accident that I hadn't heard about? Did cartoon editor Bob Mankoff finally read him the riot act: no more of your frenzied scratchings — if you want to see another cartoon of yours in The New Yorker, you had better shape up and draw more Saturday Evening Post-ish? And, finally, I wondered why in the world Koren would sign the cartoon in that peculiar way, where the "o" plainly looks like an "a".

As I said, it's all very clear to me now. And very funny. And the person I feel sorriest for is Karen Sneider. This was only her second cartoon in The New Yorker — what a way to treat a newcomer!

This is the "Karen" (from the April 27th issue): karennyorker.jpg This is a typical "Koren": korennyorker.jpg And for those of you who are still with me, this is a recent New Yorker cartoon by Jack Ziegler: zieglernyorker.jpg

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Time Out

I'll be vacationing and away from computers for a while, so I may not be posting anything during that time.

Or, (Plan B), I may be posting cartoons as usual, if I can somehow arrange to do so.

Either way, see you soon.

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More “Rat Race” Panels by Tippit, and One by Bob Barnes about Wednesday “Look Day”

Here are some more Jack Tippit panels, from the late 1950’s, about the cartoon rat race. These originally appeared in a monthly newsletter put out by Look Magazine Cartoon Editor Gurney Williams, and distributed only to the local cartoonists who visited his office on Wednesday, the official “Look Day”.

tippit 9.jpg tippit 13.jpg tippit 5.jpg tippit 12.jpg tippit 3.jpg Speaking of “Look Day” Here’s another take on it by cartoonist Bob Barnes: bbarneslookday.jpg This panel appeared in a 1950’s Saturday Evening Post article — the same article which featured a photo of all the cartoonists, in suits and ties, in the Post waiting room (these days, at the New Yorker showdown on Tuesdays, it’s strictly casual dress, including Bob Mankoff, the Cartoon Editor).

You can see that Saturday Evening Post photo, and my story about it, right here.

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More Jack Tippit “The Rat Race” Cartoons

Yes, it's time to get back to the gold mine of Gurney Williams' “Memos”. In the 1950's, when he was Cartoon Editor of Look Magazine, Mr. Williams put together a monthly newsletter for visiting cartoonists who marched in on “Look Day” (Wednesday of each week). I've posted lots of insider cartoons from Memos in the past, and you can find the most recent posting right here.

Below are some more of Jack Tippit's graphic comments on the cartooning rat race, as seen in “Memos”.

tippit 1.jpg

tippit 4.jpg

tippit 14.jpg

tippit 15.jpg

tippit 10.jpg

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“Soldiers Of The Day” — 1954

This is going to be another reminiscence of my two years in the U.S Army.

Here’s how it relates to cartooning: As I’ve written here previously, I first met pop-artist Tom Wesselmann in the army, and we hung out in the same M.I. outfit for about a year and a half (that’s right, it was a Military Intelligence outfit . . . really!). Tom died in 2004 and, like me, he never achieved his ambition of cartooning for The New Yorker magazine. His pop-art work, however, now commands prices of $10,000,000 or so at the major auction houses. For my previous memories of Tom, and his cartoons, you can go to these links:

Tom Wesselmann painting reproduced in The New Yorker

“We All Have To Start Somewhere” Department. Case in Point No. 6

Living Cartoon — 1954

Me and Tom

To get back to my story, the army, in typical gung-ho fashion, was constantly giving out awards, citations and plaques for “Soldier Of The Day” (or “Week”, or “Month”), with great pomp and ceremony. Neither Tom nor I were ever in any way eligible for consideration for such honors, but that didn’t stop us from holding our own awards ceremony. First, Tom constructed a very tacky, phony “trophy”. Then we found a lectern (a surprisingly easy thing to find on an army base) and, with like-minded buddies in attendance, we proceeded to make our own awards and speeches.

In this photo, Tom, on the left, is awarding the trophy to me for something like “Sloppy Soldier Of The Day”, or maybe it was “Screwed-up Soldier Of The Day”. Note the upturned caps, stuffed pockets, raised pocket flaps, rolled-up sleeves, hand in pocket, etc.


In the next photo, that’s me on the right, bestowing the trophy to Tom for some equally ridiculous honor.


And in this photo, I’m second from the left and Tom is on the extreme right. The four of us are all trying to look as unsoldierly as possible, and those are mostly unlit cigarettes dangling from our lips.


I came across one more photo of myself, not taken on “trophy” day, and it made me realize that I honestly did deserve the “sloppy soldier” honor. How would you like to have your country defended by this man?


And that is how some draftees passed their days in the peacetime army (the Korean War was officially over by this time).

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Tom Wesselmann painting reproduced in The New Yorker

On page 67 of the January 5, 2009 issue of The New Yorker is a half-page reproduction of this painting by pop-artist Tom Wesselmann.

tom-nyorker painting.jpg

“Bedroom Painting No.6” (1968)

I have written before about my old friend Tom, who passed away in 2004. His life-long dream was to draw cartoons for The New Yorker, and he worked very hard at it. I also mentioned that, although Tom’s cartooning dream never materialized, over the years The New Yorker occasionally reproduced his art as illustrations for articles. This is just another example.

For my previous musings about Tom Wesselmann vis-a-vis The New Yorker, and to see early photos of him and some of his cartoons, you can go to these three links:

Me and Tom

Living Cartoon — 1954

“We All Have To Start Somewhere” Department. Case in Point No. 6

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Welcome to the Eli Stein Cartoon archive. To begin, read my introduction and personal notes, and then please look at the cartoons, which are categorized by either decade, publication name or topic. I’ve included some personal comments, memories and photos below many of the cartoons. I’ll be adding cartoons, memories and photos ad infinitum. Remember, your comments are appreciated (just click on the “comment” link at the bottom of each post).

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