Thursday, March 23, 2017


Just two years after the end of World War II the above children's book was published.

The American people were ready to return to normal American life. And one of the hallmarks of being normal over here is the advertising and the packaging that dominate our consumer-driven culture.

Here's a scan of AROUND THE CLOCK WITH ROCKY AND RUTHIE, which is part children's book, and part activity book. The staple-bound publication asks kids to actively cut up and paste in logos and advertising from the products they consume every day. This "personalizes" the book for them, and increases their identification with what they buy.

Plot? There's no plot per se. We follow the two title kids, Rocky and Ruthie, through a typical day. The ticking clock on the page pushes us on. It's almost like a kiddie lit version of "High Noon," except no gunplay, no Fred Zinnemann, no Cooper, no Grace Kelly. As the kids in the book eat, go to school, etc., the reader is asked to cut out labels and paste them on the page.

The uncredited commercial artist uses a lithographic pencil to execute the illustrations. The book's interior is all two-tone. The whole thing was printed on inexpensive newsprint.  Since there's no price, it makes me think this may have been a giveaway.

On the cover, there's the number "1908,"just below that is the notation

The Saafield Pub Co.
Akron, Ohio
Made in U.S.A.

and the title page says it's copyright 1947 by S. Harold Labow.

Saalfield published a lot of books during the 20th century. It was one of the largest publishers of children's books in the world, with books like Raggedy Ann, Peter Rabbit and The Little Red Hen in its repertoire.

-- This is an edited version of a 2013 blog entry.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: 1945 - 1962

Dick Buchanan has located, scanned and now shares some great old gems from the piles of magazines he has saved in his Village apartment. I'm thankful to Dick for sharing these, and adding some notes of his own about the cartoonists. Take it away, Dick!


In these perilous times many find solace in the teachings of the Old Masters. They tell us the best-known antidote to Tragedy is Comedy. In that spirit, here are some mid-century gag cartoons, carefully chosen with the same haphazard abandon with which many of them were created in the first place. These taken from a file labeled “Laugh or else.”

1. LEO SALKIN. American Legion Magazine. November, 1945

2. ORLANDO BUSINO. For Laughing Out Loud. October–December, 1960

3. DICK CAVALLI. American Legion Magazine. October, 1949

4. JOHN GALLAGHER. 1000 Jokes Magazine. March-May, 1962

5. GEORGE GATELY. Looking to make easy money drawing cartoons, Gately followed older brother John Gallagher into gag cartooning racket. He created the comic strip Heathcliff in 1964. American Legion Magazine. July, 1960

6. SALO ROTH. Liberty Magazine. November, 1946

7. EARLE LEVENSTEIN. Collier’s. November 23,1956

8. JOHN DEMPSEY. The Saturday Evening Post. January 27, 1951

9. MARY GIBSON. American Magazine. July, 1952

10. DICK STROME. The Saturday Evening Post. 1950’s

11. CHARLES PEARSON. American Magazine. September,1953

12. CEM (Charles E. Martin) Just one of many, many wordless panels Martin did over the years. They appeared any and anywhere. It’s a good guess he drew more of these than there were magazines. The Saturday Evening Post. June 14, 1947

12. VIRGIL PARTCH. Great example of the “single word” cartoon, a rare cartoon genre. As always, VIP excels. True Magazine. February, 1947

14. AL ROSS. In the 1960’s Al Ross’ work reached a new level. 1000 Jokes Magazine. March-May,1960

15. LEONARD DOVE. Look Magazine. October 24,1961.

More of Dick Buchanan's great gag cartoon collection:

From the Dick Buchanan Files: "How I Create Humor" from 1950s - 60s Gag Cartoon Insider Journal "The Information Guide"

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: 1950s Color Magazine Gag Cartoons

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Funny Vintage Magazine Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1963

Dick Buchanan's Cartoon File: Wordless Gag Cartoons 1944-1964

1953 George Booth Drawings for American Legion Magazine

Dick Buchanan: Winter/Christmas/Holiday Gag Cartoons 1940s-60s

Dick Buchanan: Some PUNCH Magazine Cartoons 1948-1963

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1946-64

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1947-62

Dick Buchanan: Some Favorite Magazine Gag Cartoons 1940-60s

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1931-64

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cartoon Look Day Is Over

EDIT: Near the end of last week, I got an email from the New Yorker with the subject line "Office Policy Going Forward." The policy is the New Yorker cartoon editor won't sit down with cartoonists in person and look at their batches effective this week. That means the in person New Yorker cartoonist "look day" is over. I would love to be wrong. But for now, it's over. That's the policy. Whether it's for the two months that Bob Mankoff has said in the press that he'll be there, mentoring the new cartoon editor, or longer, or whatever. There is no timeline going forward proffering the date when the meetings are brought back. That will be up to the new cartoon editor.

Above photo 50 year old photo of cartoonists at the Saturday Evening Post's humor editor's office nicked from gag cartoonist Eli Stein at his Eli Stein Cartoons blog. (From left: Harry Mace, Bill Yates, Gus Lundberg, Martha Blanchard, Herb Green, Jeff Monahan, Jerry Marcus, Saturday Evening Post humor editor Marione Nickles, Jack Tyrrell, John Norment, Dave Hirsch, Mrs. Fritz Wilkinson (wife of cartoonist Wilkinson), Peter Porges, Bob Schroeter, Mort Temes.)

And it ended just last week, with an email sent to a small group of working cartoonists.

"Look Day" or "Cartoon Day" or "The Rounds" is over.

"Look Day," which is what the one day of the week was called when working gag cartoonists arrived in Manhattan and went, in person, to the magazine cartoon editors' offices to show them their submissions.

Well, I just got a mass email from The New Yorker: the magazine "will no longer be seeing people in the office to review batches."

It was once a tradition every Wednesday. (The New Yorker switched it to Tuesdays a couple of decades ago. Not sure why.) Cartoonists, the old pros and those starting out, would come to the magazine offices. Most of the magazines were on Sixth Avenue. And the cartoonists, mostly men in suits and blazers (see above photo), would go from the highest paying markets to the lower paying ones.

Almost all of the magazines during the post-war period used cartoons: The Saturday Evening Post, True, Look, Playboy, and many others. 

The cartoonist would wait to see the editor, privately, in his office. Once in there, the cartoonist would pull out a batch of roughs. Maybe ten or twelve cartoons. The editor would look at each one, putting a few in a "hold" pile and returning the rest. Maybe some insider information was passed along from editor to cartoonist: don't submit any more dog cartoons for a while, we're full up; no more "wife-dents-the-car" jokes; we really need some Easter cartoons, etc.

As the look day progressed, the cartoonists would take their material to the smaller magazines, with titles like 1000 Jokes and Stare and Laugh Parade. These were the $5 to $15 markets.

The cartoonists would wind up at a Midtown bar/restaurant like Costello's (now called The Overlook) or The Pen and Pencil. They would talk shop, drink. Some would go home after, some others would go back to the streets, pursuing a few more markets before returning home.

This one-to-one, social aspect is now gone. The New Yorker was the last magazine to have in-person editor-to-gag-cartoonist interaction.

So now it's history. I will miss it.  At least you can read about it in Mort Gerberg's CARTOONING: THE ART AND THE BUSINESS or Thurber's YEARS WITH ROSS.