A Sunday Daily: Katz Cooks; Remembering George Price

Cookin’ octopus, from Farley Katz, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2007.

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Remembering George Price

From Yesterday’s Papers, June 30, 2019, “George Priceless” 

Mr. Price’s entry on the A-Z: George Price Born in Coytesville, New Jersey, June 9, 1901. Died January 12, 1995, Engelwood, New Jersey. New Yorker work: 1929 – 1991. Lee Lorenz, the New Yorker’s former Art/Cartoon editor, called Price one of the magazine’s great stylists (along with Peter Arno, Helen Hokinson, James Thurber, and William Steig. Of the many Price collections, two favorites:  Browse At Your Own Risk (1977), and The World of George Price: A 55-Year Retrospective (1988)

Helen Hokinson’s Silent Partner: James Reid Parker; Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

While reading James Reid Parker’s brief New York Times obit, (published January 31, 1984) I was anticipating at least a mention of his work with one of The New Yorker‘s earliest superstars, Helen Hokinson. In the magazine’s first decades, according to an in-house memo, Ms. Hokinson, along with Peter Arno, was in a special category above all other contributing artists. As you can see for yourself below, the Times obit does mention Mr. Parker’s “humorous pieces and light sketches” he contributed to the magazine, but not a word about his eighteen year sideline as a writer for Ms. Hokinson.  And that’s a shame. 

There’s not a mountain of material to sift through regarding the Hokinson-Reid working relationship, but what we do have allows us a feel for how their collaboration worked.  The best reading is found in Reid’s “memoir” included in the Hokinson collection, The Ladies God Bless ’em! published a year after Hokinson was killed in a spectacular plane crash over the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. 

Mr. Parker fills us in on how he met Hokinson, and how it came to be that he became her main supplier of ideas (The New Yorker sometimes passed along an idea they felt was right for her — a practice begun in 1925, the year she joined the magazine’s brand new stable).  A mutual friend made the introduction; it was during that first meeting that ordinary conversation occasioned a spark.  Here’s Parker talking about the moment:

I happened to mention that in a story on which I was working there were two suburban matrons who talked, it seemed to me, the way some of her women might. Miss Hokinson asked what sort of things I was having them say, and I quoted a few lines of dialogue. She stopped twisting her handkerchief.  With a sigh she remarked that one of the lines in particular would have made a good caption for a drawing and that the situation was exactly the kind of thing she liked to do. I told her to go right ahead because my women could just as easily be saying something else.

About a week later, The New Yorker bought the Hokinson drawing using Parker’s idea. In a year’s time they had officially set aside all of every Friday to look at each other’s work with an eye to finding “acceptable” material.  An interesting revelation by Parker is that in 1933 he “devised” Hokinson’s women’s lunch club scenario. 

Below: a Hokinson women’s lunch club New Yorker drawing, published April 24, 1948

When the relationship between cartoonist and idea person works well, the seams don’t show — the reader believes they’re visiting a singular world (ala Jack Ziegler or Steinberg — neither of whom used outside ideas). The seams never showed in Hokinson’s drawings; looking through her work you won’t see an awkward fit. Some of the best New Yorker artists have done wonders with some outside help (Addams, Hoff, George Price, to name a few) but the Hokinson/Parker relationship was different in that she was fully dependent on provided ideas (George Price is the only other New Yorker artist known to completely rely on provided ideas).*  More than that, Parker was much involved in Hokinson’s world. In their first year of collaborating they went to dinner and then the theater once or twice a week (in his memoir he describes how much fun it was being with her on outings in Manhattan, watching her draw, sharing  her joy in discovering wondrous New York City things). When Hokinson moved up to Connecticut, Parker eventually rented a place close by her home. 

Parker on the scene there:

Thereafter Helen’s guests and mine mingled amicably, often joining forces for picnic lunches, and whenever it was necessary Helen and I could confer about a drawing on very short notice.

It’s not clear how many of Ms. Hokinson’s roughly 1,800 New Yorker drawings were the product of working with Parker, but no matter. We have a great body of work they had a grand time finding acceptable — maybe that’s plenty enough.

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*Ms. Hokinson’s  New Yorker cover ideas were her own. George Price had one New Yorker cover — it was his own idea.  

For further reading on Ms. Hokinson the place to go is Liza Donnelly’s Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoons and Their Cartoons (Prometheus, 2005)

You’ll have to find a copy of Hokinson’s Ladies God Bless ’em! for James Reid Parker’s nine page Hokinson “memoir” (It can be had for a buck on AbeBooks.com). You can also find it at the end of  The Hokinson Festival  (Dutton, 1956). The bonus in that anthology: some of Hokinson’s New Yorker covers are reproduced in color. 

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Attempted Bloggery: Peter Arno Uncovered

Attempted Bloggery discusses the 1931 Arno collection, covered and not.  Read here!

Above left: an early version (or “rough”) of a New Yorker drawing in the book. “I want you to meet my bosom friend”  appeared in The New Yorker issue of October 10, 1931.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 93rd, George Booth!; Articles Of Interest: Maira Kalman, Ken Krimstein; Ali Fitzgerald’s Daily Shouts; The Daily Cartoonists & Cartoons: Lila Ash, Liz Montague

Happy 93rd George Booth!

Here’s to one of The New Yorker‘s greatest artists, George Booth, born 93 years ago today in Cainsville, Missouri.

Above: Rehearsal’s Off! (Dodd, Mead & Co., 1976)

Mr. Booth at the Society of Illustrators, November 2017 for the opening of George Booth — A Cartoonist’s Life

East Side Main St., Cainsville, Mo.

The Essential George Booth, Compiled and Edited by Lee Lorenz (Workman, 1998)

Mr. Booth kicking up his heels with Drawing Life  filmmaker, Nathan Fitch and animation artist, Emily Collins

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Article Of Interest: Maira Kalman

From From The Grapevine, June 28, 2019, “Maira Kalman Is More Than Just A Quirky Cartoonist For The New Yorker”*

Ms. Kalman has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1995. Visit her website here.

*maybe too inside baseball here, but a more accurate headline may have been, “Ms. Kalman is More Than Just A Quirky Cover Artist For The New Yorker”

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Article Of Interest: Ken Krimstein

From DePaul Magazine, (Summer Issue), “New Yorker Cartoonist Waxes Philosophic”  — the spotlight here is on Ken Krimstein, who began contributing his work to The New Yorker in 2000. He is the author of the two books shown above. Visit his website here.

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Ali Fitzgerald’s Daily Shouts

“America! 2020 Democratic Candidates As Nineteen-Nineties Boy-Band Members” by Ali Fitzgerald

(posted June 27th, 2019)

 

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Today’s Daily Cartoonists & Cartoons

Lila Ash, who has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2018, on the next Dem debate.

And a Bonus Daily from Liz Montague who began contributing to The New Yorker this past March.

 

 

Fave Photo Of The Day: Leighton, Kaplan & Chast; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Amy Hwang’s Daily Shouts

Fave Photo Of The Day

From last night’s Ultimate Cartoon Book Of Book Cartoons event at NYC’s Grolier Club.  L-r: Robert Leighton, Bruce Eric Kaplan, and Roz Chast (missing from the photo: the book’s editor, Bob Eckstein).

Robert Leighton began contributing to The New Yorker in 2002. Bruce Kaplan in 1991, and Roz Chast in 1978, Bob Eckstein in 2007.

The Ultimate Cartoon Book Of Book Cartoons, published by Princeton Architectural Press, was released this April. 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Cath, via Bob Eckstein

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The Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Avi Steinberg on last night’s Democratic debate. Mr. Steinberg began contributing to The New Yorker in 2012.

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Daily Shouts

Yesterday’s Daily Shouts: Amy Hwang’s “Ways My Life Changed After I Started Exercising”

Ms. Hwang began contributing to The New Yorker in 2010.