81 Years Ago in The New Yorker

Just for the heck of it, I’ve taken a bound volume of The New Yorker off the shelf, and opened it up to the issue dated May 23, 1936. The cover is  by Perry Barlow. The cover’s colors are supplied by Mr. Barlow’s wife, Dorothy Hope, as Mr. Barlow was partly color-blind.  The festive cover moment doesn’t hint at all of what’s going on in the world (specifically Nazi Germany); you need only wait til you get to Notes and Comment in The Talk of The Town for that:

“…Truth stays up all night, and that something keeps flickering in the world while Ministers of Propaganda snooze.”

Continuing on into the body of the magazine, and focusing on the cartoons (I apologize for not showing all the cartoons — I don’t want to tax the patience of the New Yorker‘s rights & permissions person), we come to a Richard Decker that swallows up the page graphically, and opposite it a very Charles Addams-like  Richard Taylor cartoon (shown here). 

An un-pc  Robert Day jungle cartoon follows, and following that a beautiful (of course!) Peter Arno drawing of a cafe scene with a young pretty woman shouting into an old gent’s hearing aid, “I say I hate the city, Mr. Gromer! I love everything in the fields! Everything that’s growing! Everything that’s wild!”

Next up is a rarity (shown below): one of only three cartoons  — and the last of the three –the artist Adolf Dehn contributed to the magazine. Here’s his A-Z entry:

Adolf Dehn  Born, Minnesota, Nov. 22, 1895; died, New York City, May 19. 1968. Primarily a lithographer, Dehn’s work is said to be collected by 20 museums, including The Smithsonian and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. NYer work: three drawings, Sept. 6. 1930; June 15, 1935; May 23, 1936. A bio from the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art: www.sama-art.org/info/publications/catalog/dehn_cat/dehn_text.html

This is followed by a full page Carl Rose drawing titled: Strange Events Of An Election Year.  A few pages later is a large drawing by Alan Dunn (one of the most published New Yorker cartoonists of all-time, right up there with Lee Lorenz and William Steig). Next are drawings by Richard Decker and Mr. Barlow (the same fellow responsible for the cover). The following page is a very very funny Mary Petty drawing (shown):

One page later: a beautiful James Thurber  drawing, with tennis as the topic. Next up, a drawing by Ned Hilton (someone whose work doesn’t get much attention these days, although Mike Lynch did post a Hilton drawing the other day and mentioned Mr. Hilton’s interesting signature).

 

A number of pages later we come to a quarter-page Helen Hokinson drawing of a woman trying on a new hat. The saleswoman is saying: “You mustn’t think of it in New York, Mrs. Brewster. Think of it in Lenox.”

 

And last:  Alain, with  a caption-less drawing (shown):

Not a bad collection of artists and art in one issue: Barlow, Hokinson, Thurber, Arno, Alain, Robert Day, Ned Hilton, Richard Decker, Alan Dunn, Mary Petty, and a bonus  —  the rare Adolf Dehn drawing. Two full pages, and several more nearly full. 

The spot drawings are pretty great too, including this one:

 

 

New Yorker Cartoons Golden Age Editor; Roz Chast in San Francisco; More Spills with Nguyen, Rosen, Eckstein, Flake, Finck, Donnelly and Arno

 

 

 

 

Rounding out this historic week for New Yorker cartoons and cartoonists as we say “Goodbye” to Bob Mankoff and “Hello” to Emma Allen is an article from the early 1970s as another transition was about to take place: long-time New Yorker Art Editor, James Geraghty  was beginning to think retirement, but his successor was not yet in place (the successor would be Lee Lorenz). See the Geraghty article here at Attempted Bloggery

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Roz Chast was recently out west for the opening of the traveling exhibit “Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs”– here’s a brief interview with her from The Jewish News of California, posted April 26th, 2017: “Life’s Funny Like That: New Yorker Cartoonist’s Memoir on Exhibit at CJM”

 

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Jeremy Nguyen and Ellis Rosen will be unveiling their rejected cartoons at the Downtown Variety Hour on May 1st. Details here. ________________________________________________________________________________

My favorite snowman expert, Bob Eckstein, has been out in the Windy City on a Spring tour promoting his lovely new book, Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores Here’s a short interview with him from The Chicago Tribune.

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…A reminder  that the upcoming Pen World Voices Festival of International Literature will present  Women In Ink, with a boffo panel featuring Emily Flake, Roz Chast, Liana Finck, and Rayma Suprani. Liza Donnelly will moderate. Details here.

 

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Finally, for those who enjoy the obscure: the Swann Galleries has a 1932 Peter Arno poster up for auction on May 25th.  A beauty! Details here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Archive: A Rejected Easter Cover; John Drummond, Cartoonist & Member of Ink Spill’s One Club Has Died; An Arno Mystery Solved

I’ve submitted a lot of cover ideas to The New Yorker over the years. Two were bought, but never ran, and two others were bought as cartoons (one ran, the other is still in the magazine’s archives). This Easter-themed submission, obviously done when I was in a Charles Addams mood,  never got a nibble from the editors.  But I’ve always liked it enough to drag it out this time of year.  It dates from the late 1980s — either the Robert Gottlieb era, or possibly the very end of the William Shawn era.  

 

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D.D. Degg has informed Ink Spill that  John Drummond, passed away on April 11 at age 90.  Mr. Drummond, whose one appearance in The New Yorker qualified him as a One Club* member worked for a number of national magazines.  His one New Yorker drawing, shown here, appeared October 2, 1965.

Read his obit here.

A short profile here.

 

*Ink Spill‘s One Club is limited to cartoonists who were published just once in The New Yorker.  Their One Club status is noted on the members “New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z” entry by the red top-hatted fellow   Members qualify only after thirty years have passed since their one and only appearance.

(My thanks to Mr. Degg for the links to Mr. Drummond’s obit and profile. More links courtesy of Mr. Degg here. )

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Just a few days ago, we wondered where this Peter Arno drawing appeared. Attempted Bloggery now has the answer. Find it here.

 

 

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Where Was This Arno?; Cartoon Companion Rates the Latest New Yorker Cartoons; Roz Chast’s Poster; Eckstein’s Upgraded Airline Passenger; Ross Bateup Added to the A-Z

Where did this Peter Arno drawing appear? Attempted Bloggery is looking for the answer. If it was in The New Yorker, it’s somehow eluded  the magazine’s  record-keepers.  Read more here.

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Cartoon Companion is back with a close and entertaining look at the cartoons appearing in the April 17, 2017 New Yorker. This issue contains, among others, two costumed characters, some apartment-hunting ants, a fashion savvy caveman, some duck-hunters, a couple of booze-themed drawings, and a Victorian selfie stick.  Read all about them here.

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Roz Chast is the poster gal for The 2017 National Book Festival. Read about it here. 

(My thanks to Mike Rhode for bringing this to my attention).

 

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From The National Lampoon, here’s a timely cartoon by that funny guy (and Snowman Expert)  Bob Eckstein.

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While idly paging through the August 28th  1971 issue of The New Yorker I came across a cartoonist I somehow missed when compiling the Spill‘s” New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z”: Ross Bateup.  Mr. Bateup’s work appeared four times: August 8, 1971; October 16, 1971; November 4, 1972; May 19, 1973. Here’s a link to  his biography.

Here’s his cartoon from the May 19, 1973 issue:

 

 

 

A Curio Added to the Spill’s Attic

I love the New Yorker oddities out there in the world. This most recent addition to the Spill‘s  collection is one of the most curious I’ve seen.  Someone had various Talk of The Town sections professionally bound.

The only identification on the volume — getting right to the point! — is The Talk of The Town printed on the spine. There are no other markings. Other than the binding, the only other personal touch (not counting the material selected for inclusion in the volume) is the page below, included three pages in. Its thin, shiny quality suggests it came off a mimeograph machine.

The earliest Talk section included is April 28, 1928, the most recent, May 7, 1932.  While the sections are chronological, they are not sequential, skipping, for instance, from June 13, 1931 to July 11, 1931.

Luckily, the person who put this together included the covers for each Talk section. At the top of this post you see a full page Peter Arno from the issue of August 3, 1929 leading into the issue of October 19, 1929 (cover by Rea Irvin).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ink Spill library has a number of bound New Yorkers;  I take one off the shelves every so often, in the fashion of  E.B. White, who wrote in the Preface to The Subtreasury of American Humor (edited with Katharine White),”my wife and I happen to own a complete file of bound volumes of The New Yorker…it would often be our custom to pull out a volume at random and dip up a nice funny piece…”; having pieces bound in such a way as this odd Talk volume is a little pre-fab gift of randomness.

R.C. Harvey’s Trip Down Mankoff Lane

From The Comics Journal, March 27, 2017, “A Look Back at 20 Years of Mankoff’s New Yorker” — R.C. Harvey takes a look at Bob Mankoff’s not-quite 20 year term (August of 1997 – April of 2017) as The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor in this longish piece that covers much ground found in Mankoff’s memoir, How About Never — Is Never Good For You: My Life in Cartoons (Henry Holt, 2014), as well as the very current events surrounding Mr. Mankoff’s imminent departure.

There are a few things in Mr. Harvey’s piece I’m going to quibble with. I’ve reproduced them here, bolded and italicized.

New Yorker cartoons are topical (and always have been) but not as front-page topical as newspaper editorial cartoons. For decades, thanks to the magazine’s founder’s Puritan bent, sex was taboo as a subject for cartoons.

New Yorker cartoons can be topical, but they are not always topical, and they have not always been topical, nor are they all topical now.  For instance,  these two drawings, perhaps two of the most famous in the magazine’s canon: James Thurber’s so-called Seal in the Bedroom, and Charles Addams famous skier who has somehow managed to ski through a pine tree.  If there’s something topical about them, I don’t see it.

As for sex as a taboo, well what are we talking about here exactly?  Barbara Shermund’s and Peter Arno’s work mined the subject of sex in the New Yorker for decades on end.  Mr. Arno, of course, made quite a nice career out of providing the New Yorker‘s readership with sex-based drawings.

By the time Lorenz was cartoon editor, cartoonists were expected to both write and draw their cartoons. (In fact, to reveal an undisguised bias of mine, true cartooning, blending words and picture, can most happily take place in a cartoonist’s mind, not a writer’s. Which may account for the typically inert comedy that prevailed at The New Yorker for so many of its first decades. And, even—inevitably—into current decades.)

Not really sure where  “by the time Lorenz was cartoon editor, cartoonists were expected to both write and draw their cartoons” comes from. It is simply not the case.  As one who was brought into The New Yorker by Mr. Lorenz, the subject of what was expected never came up. The word “expect” just isn’t part of the New Yorker cartoonist/editor language. Forty years later, I can say that the subject never came up with Mr. Lorenz, or his successor.

As for “…the typically inert comedy that prevailed at The New Yorker for so many of its first decades” Mr. Harvey has a right to his opinion, of course, but “inert” is not a word I’d apply to the earliest New Yorker cartoons. In fact, if you look through the magazine’s first three decades  what you will see is plenty of cartoon movement across the page and within the cartoons themselves. Take a look at the work of Reginald Marsh, or Thurber, or Barlow, or Hoff or Johan Bull (I could go on listing names, but you get the point).   Mr. Bull was a frequent contributor in the magazine’s earliest days –his lovely drawings  were barely kept within the borders of the page. And Mr. Marsh’s drawings were electric.  There was a graphic  playfulness to much of the work then; it subsided, appropriately enough, with the advent of the second world war.  If you want to go looking for inert drawings, you’ll find them easily enough and in every issue, but I would say they did not prevail — they were a bit of balance, some down-time Harold Ross so wisely provided his readers.

New York Times Raves About Arno’s “The New Yorkers”

“So this is what Manhattan looked like in the tipsy yesterday of Prohibition”

— Ben Brantley, The New York Times

The New Yorkers was a hit when it opened in  December of 1930 (done in by the Depression, it closed after 168 performances) and here it is back in 2017, albeit in altered form, heralded one more time. Too bad it won’t be around long.

Inspired ever-so-slightly by an idea Peter Arno shopped around in early 1930 as Manhattan Parade, The New Yorkers showed up at The Broadway Theatre with music by rising star, Cole Porter.

Arno supplied the graphics for the sheet music and the program (shown above), and was the driving force behind the scenery (uncredited as he wasn’t a union member). What we should hold onto really is that, according to Robert Baral’s Revue: A Nostalgic Reprise of The Great Broadway Period, Arno inspired “the mood of the show”  much as he inhabited, distilled and reflected the times he caroused around in during the late 1920s and beyond.

Here’s a link to Mr. Brantley’s review of Encores! Production of The New Yorkers

(and thanks to the New York Times for a shout-out — in the form of a link — to my newyorker.com piece on Arno, “The Peter Arno Cartoons That Helped Rescue The New Yorker”)