Thurber Thursday; James Stevenson’s Hat Trick Issue Of The New Yorker: March 22, 1969; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; From The Department Of “What The…?”

Thurber Thursday

Here’s an oddity from the Spill’s archive. An eight page pamphlet containing James Thurber’s speech delivered upon receiving the Ohioana Sesquicentennial Medal. The Citation reads (in part): In appreciation of your generosity of spirit…originality of concept…your matchless satire…at times pure wit…oft times gentle humor…your priceless gift of laughter…boon to disturbed mankind…In recognition of the world wide fame you have bestowed on the state of Ohio and your home town of Columbus the pleasure you have given readers round the globe.

Thurber couldn’t be there in person to accept, so his speech was read by the then editor of The Columbus Dispatch. The award was presented in October of 1954.  It included this oft-cited passage:

I have lived in the East for nearly thirty years now, but many of my books prove that I am never very far away from Ohio in my thoughts, and that the clocks that strike in my dreams are often the clocks of Columbus.

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James Stevenson’s Hat Trick Issue Of The New Yorker: March 22, 1969

Look closely at the above table of contents and you’ll see James Stevenson’s name appears three times. He’s credited with the piece, “Notes From an Exhibition”; he’s credited with the cover, and he is credited with contributing a cartoon, under “Drawings.” Perhaps — perhaps! — we shouldn’t be surprised that Mr. Stevenson’s work was all over the place in the issue. He is believed to be the most prolific New Yorker contributor of all time (if you add up his cartoons, his covers and his written contributions). This weighty presence in the magazine is best exhibited in the Sally William’s documentary,  Stevenson: Lost And Found,* when the filmmaker animates Mr. Stevenson’s black binders piling up in the magazine’s library. Every New Yorker contributor’s work is added into a binder.  If you’ve contributed  a lot of work, you end up with your own binder. If your work exceeds the binder’s page limit, you get a second binder, and so on.  Mr. Stevenson has five binders in the magazine’s library. They look like this:

A fun fact about the above Table of Contents: The New Yorker that appeared the week before had a Table of Contents that looked (exactly) like the one shown below. For a magazine that rarely (in those days) messed with its design, this change to a more informative Table of Contents was a very big thing. The next time The Table Of Contents design changed was the issue of October 5, 1992 — the debut issue of Tina Brown’s editorship.

*It was announced just yesterday that Stevenson: Lost and Found has been selected to screen at The Newport Beach Film Festival, Salem Film Fest, and Block Island Film Festival.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Teresa Burns Parkhurst on VP Pence’s new job assignment. Ms. Parkhurst has been contributing to The New Yorker since 2017.

 

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From the Department of “What The…?”

During one of my many daily Google searches for New Yorker cartoonist news, this special little box shown below titled “New Yorker Illustrators” turned up (I’ve provided a screenshot).  I wasn’t searching for New Yorker illustrators — this came to me unbidden. Of the several things wrong with this offered selection, besides the glaring one sitting dead center, is that only one of the people shown — Mr. Niemann — is a New Yorker illustrator (unless Trump does illustration work on the side I’m not aware of). And okay, okay, I’ll  add the obvious “quip”: I never thought Donald Trump would get between me and my wife.

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue of January 27, 2020; David Salle Incorporates Peter Arno Drawings

The Cover: A NYC subway situation, by Luci Gutierrez.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

Every first run through the cartoons in the latest issue of The New Yorker  I feel as if I’m browsing the goods behind glass in a pastry shop’s display case, appreciating the variety, before beginning to narrow down which one to select, if in the buying mood. In this new issue, a number of pastries caught my eye. In no particular order here are some favorites.

…Sofia Warren’s four part color piece (it’s on page 36) fits nicely in the New Yorker school of cartoons that go beyond eliciting a laugh, capturing a lovely moment.  An earlier example of one of those moments is Arnie Levin’s classic multi-panel New Yorker drawing, “It’s only the wind”  from September 18, 1978 (it originally ran across the top of two facing pages, four panels to a page):

…Christopher Weyant’s  drawing on page 40, of a fellow leaving his blimp at a parking garage, is a text book example of the classic New Yorker one-two punch cartoon (as defined by Peter Arno).

…On page 22 you’ll find Danny Shanahan’s terrific drawing of cats with a tech problem.

…A perfect look on the guy’s face who’s tasting olive oil in Lars Kenseth’s cartoon (p. 42).  As mentioned on the Spill not long ago, veteran New Yorker cartoonist Henry Martin once said to me that certain cartoonists “draw funny” — it was meant as a compliment. Mr. Kenseth draws funny.

…The woman standing beside Liana Finck’s former dog walker (p.55) ever-so-slightly echoes Edward Gorey’s elongated figures. Ms. Finck’s drawings remind me, in a way, of Michael Shaw’s — the lines delivered as if direct from the muse.

…also in the issue: Insecure(?) Gods (by Hartley Lin), an update on Dolly,  the cloned sheep (Navied Mahdavian), criminals in an alleyway (Frank Cotham), a comet denier dinosaur (Jessica Olien), trash in space (Roz Chast), a couple in basement counting babysitter money (Amy Hwang), a doctor’s brainy children (Paul Noth), and a possible game changer (Liam Walsh).

The Rea Irvin Talk Masthead Watch:  A–gasp!– redraw of Rea Irvin’s iconic Talk masthead design has been in place since the Spring of 2017.

If granted three cartoon wishes, one of them would be the return of Mr. Irvin’s work to its home of 92 years.  Read about the switcheroo here.

The missing masthead appears below.

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David Salle Incorporates Arno Drawings

From Creative Boom, January 20, 2020, “Vibrant paintings inspired by advertising and cartoons from The New Yorker in the 1950s” — this piece on David Salle (fabulously!) incorporating  Peter Arno drawings within his paintings.

Shown above: Mr. Salle’s “A Night In The Sky With Friends”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Arno, The New Yorker’s Great High Bar Artist, Born 116 Years Ago Today

(Above: Television actress, Joan Sinclair and Arno, the summer of ’49, at Joan Braun’s Palace Bar in Manhattan. Photograph by Stanley Kubrick)

Peter Arno, the great New Yorker cartoonist (some would argue the greatest — I did), was born on this day 116 years ago. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone living a life like Arno’s in today’s New Yorker cartoonistsphere. Nor will you find anyone drawing like him — and that’s perfectly fine, and exactly as it should be. New Yorker cartoonists bring their own voice to their work. What Arno gave us, in his forty-three years at the magazine, was his voice, and a high bar as expressed in his eleven hundred cartoons and ninety-nine covers. That high bar is what he left those of us at the magazine who carry on daily bringing pen and ink to paper, or stylus to tablet.

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker “Cartoon Takeover” Issue Of December 30, 2019

The Cover: The “Cartoon Takeover” theme begins on Robert Sikoryak’s cover as cartoon characters whitewash text. Read a Q&A with the cover artist here.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

Right off the bat, it should be noted that this issue is unlike the “Cartoon Issue” once produced this time of the year beginning in 1997; that series ended after a fifteen year run. It is also unlike the “Best Cartoons Of The Year” series begun in 2011, and ended five years later. This Cartoon Takeover is unlike those in that it contains a ton of archival material (the issue carries the descriptive “A Semi-Archival Issue” on the Table of Contents). While elements from the Cartoon Issues, and Best Of series are here: the graphic spreads for instance, and a profile of a cartoonist — the old tropes features thankfully haven’t resurfaced. This Takeover is a new and welcome creature, with a pulse I associate with the very oldest issues of The New Yorker.  As befits the issue’s theme, The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen, has taken over Talk’s “Comments” section, leading us into the action.

As you see from the number of cartoonists listed above, this new issue is packed with cartoons from a wide swath of the New Yorker‘s history, with work by such luminaries as Helen Hokinson, Barbara Shermund, James Thurber, William Steig, Gahan Wilson, and Steinberg represented. Nice to see Peter Arno’s ultra-famous, “Well, back to the old drawing board” included! Many cartoons from the archives are here as “favorites” selected by cartoonists and non-cartoonists. Free standing cartoons — what you normally see in every issue of The New Yorker — are also from the archives. I was very happy to see one of my favorite semi-modern cartoons included: Joe Duffy’s meta Care to join me in panel #3? (originally published, October 31, 2011).

Not whitewashed over by cartoon characters is a personal favorite John Updike piece (originally published in 1997) on his cartoonist roots, and terrif archival pieces, including two by two late-greats, Veronica Geng and Dorothy Parker. It’s an issue of a little something, and often a lot of something, for just about everyone who loves New Yorker cartoons.

The Rea Irvin Masthead Watch: Normally on the Monday Tilley Watch I woefully acknowledge another issue gone by without the return of Rea Irvin’s iconic masthead.  Since the Spring of 2017, a redrawn version has stood awkwardly in its place. This special Cartoon Takeover issue thankfully replaces the redraw with an Ed Steed take on the Irvin masthead. Mr. Steed’s playfulness is a refreshing delight, incorporating, to my eye, some Steigian/Steinberg elements.

With next week’s issue of The New Yorker the first of 2020, this would be the perfect opportunity to use Mr.Steed’s comic break as the moment to bring back Mr. Irvin’s classic masthead — and really now, why not bring it back?

Below, Mr. Irvin’s beautiful, now moth-balled masthead, and Mr. Steed’s fun take below it.

The Weekend Spill: Happy 125th James Thurber!; Three New Yorkers; New Cast Album For Arno’s 1930’s Musical “The New Yorkers”; The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 2-6, 2019

Happy 125th James Thurber!

Anyone who follows the Spill knows that James Thurber is a mighty big deal around here. I’ve written numerous times over the years how seeing his drawing, “What have you done with Dr. Millmoss?” changed everything for me. Today marks the 125th anniversary of Thurber’s birth.  Michael Rosen’s recently published A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber is an excellent book to throw yourself into today, or any day.

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Three New Yorkers

The three issues above unexpectedly arrived in the mail the other day, courtesy of a friend.  I immediately shoved my stack of drawing paper to the side and dove into the magazines. When I look through older copies of The New Yorker I focus on the art (so many cartoons to see, so little time).

So, what do these three issues have in common besides being three issues of The New Yorker and all published in the early 60s? Each has at least one drawing by Frank Modell, James Stevenson, and Dana Fradon. That trio, in their time, along with perhaps ten other cartoonists, anchored hundreds, if not thousands of issues of The New Yorker.

When I arrived at The New Yorker in the late 1970s, Messrs. Modell, Fradon, and Stevenson had already been contributing for decades, with Frank Modell the most veteran of the bunch, having begun at The New Yorker during the mid-1940s.  As I was beginning my New Yorker education by studying back issues of the magazine I was astounded to discover how long these artists had already been at the magazine. Even more astounding: there were cartoonists who’d been at The New Yorker even longer, and were still contributing — such greats as Al Ross, who began contributing in 1937, Whitney Darrow, Jr. (1933), George Price (1929), and William Steig (1930).

I was lucky enough to meet and get to know (if only a little) most of the cartoonists mentioned above. Of the three exceptions: Steig, Darrow, and Price, I communicated via a few letters with Steig — Whitney Darrow turned an idea of mine into a New Yorker drawing. I regret not walking over and meeting Whitney Darrow, and George Price at the only once-in-a-lifetime  opportunities I had with each. I’ve written before of the magazine’s artists family tree — the generations overlapping at the magazine. Just a few weeks ago I met several New Yorker cartoonists who’ve just started their careers in the past couple of years — one in just the past six months. Picking up almost any issue of the magazine, from the earliest years to the most recent is an instant reminder of the connectivity.

From the Spill‘s A-Z, the Modell, Fradon, and Stevenson entries:

Frank Modell ( photograph taken early 1990s) Born, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 6, 1917. Died, May 27, 2016, Guilford, Connecticut. New Yorker work: 1946 – 1997. Mr. Modell began his New Yorker career as assistant to the Art Editor, James Geraghty. He soon began contributing his cartoons (and cartoon ideas for others), with his first drawing appearing July 20, 1946. Besides his work for The New Yorker, he was a children’s book author and an actor (he appeared, most notably, in Woody Allen’s 1980 film, Stardust Memories). Key collection: Stop Trying To Cheer Me Up! (Dodd, Mead, 1978).

Dana Fradon (photo: 1978). Born, Chicago, Illinois, 1922. Died, October 3, 2019, Woodstock, NY.  Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to service in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Following his service, he attended the Art Students League of New York, New Yorker work: May 1, 1948 – April 21, 2003. Collection: Insincerely Yours (Scribners, 1978) To read Ink Spill’s 2013 interview with Mr. Fradon, “Harold Ross’s Last Cartoonist” link here.

 

James Stevenson Born, NYC, 1929. Died, February 17, 2017, Cos Cob, Connecticut. New Yorker work: March 10, 1956 -. Stevenson interned as an office boy at The New Yorker in the mid 1940s when he began supplying ideas for other NYer artists. Nine years later he was hired a full-time ideaman, given an office at the magazine and instructed not to tell anyone what he did. He eventually began publishing his own cartoons and covers as well as a ground-breaking Talk of the Town pieces (ground breaking in that the pieces were illustrated). His contributions to the magazine number over 2000. Key collections: Sorry Lady — This Beach is Private! (MacMillan, 1963), Let’s Boogie ( Dodd, Mead, 1978). Stevenson has long been a children’s book author, with roughly one hundred titles to his credit. He is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, under the heading Lost and Found New York. Stevenson’s recent book, published in 2013, The Life, Loves and Laughs of Frank Modell, is essential. “Stevenson Lost and Found,” a documentary film by Sally Williams, was released in 2019.

— The cover artists for The New Yorkers  shown at the top of this post: l-r: Robert Kraus, Garrett Price, and Arthur Getz

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New Cast Album For Cole Porter’s (and Peter Arno’s) 1930 Musical, The New Yorkers

From Broadway World, December 6th, 2019, “The New Cast Album of ‘The New Yorkers,’ the 1930 Cole Porter Musical, is Available today”

If you want to read a lot more about “The New Yorkers” I modestly suggest my Arno biography, specifically Chapter Seven:  Up Broadway and Down.

Above left: The cover of the new cast recording. To the right “The New Yorkers” original 1930 program, with art by Peter Arno.

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The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of December 2-6, 2019

An end of the week listing of New Yorker artists who’ve contributed to newyorker.com

The Daily Cartoon: David Ostow, Tom Toro, Paul Karasik, Ali Solomon, Jon Adams.

Daily Shouts: Julia Wertz, Olivia de Recat.

…and Barry Blitt’s Kvetchbook.

To see all of the above, and much more, link here.