Monday, April 16, 2018

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #612

Chalk up another entry for me in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #612 for April 16, 2018. The drawing is by Tom Toro.

"I see the crime scene is still evolving."

Note:  Elementary, me dear Reader. Investigate Tom Toro's work from previous blog posts here.

Last week, cartoonist Ellis Rosen rediscovered flight. My caption did a belly flop. Take a dive into Contest #611.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Today's Walk: Early Spring

Today was cold, windy, and overcast.

A fallen tree threatens some power lines.

Cherry trees




Esquire Cartoon Window Signs, 1935-1937

Magazine covers are designed to sell magazines; that's clearly their job. Window signs produced for Esquire in the 1930s used a different promotional tack, taking advantage of the popular, full-page, color cartoons that appeared abundantly in each issue. Up to two such small posters or window signs were produced for issues of the monthly magazine in the mid to late 1930s to promote newsstand sales. The editors selected only one or two of the color cartoons from each issue for use on these signs, giving an indication of which particular artists and cartoons they thought could best promote their magazine. It was a strategy that might well have given Esquire a competitive advantage against those magazines which ran only black and white cartoons.

An Abner Dean gag selected for this purpose in October 1935 seems an unlikely candidate for this sort of display. The old joke is about a father's fecundity, but the setting is somewhat morbid. Dean's work was often odd, to say the least. (A more traditional handling of this sort of gag may be seen in the first Dorothy McKay Esquire cartoon here.)
"Mama, what kind of a man was Daddy?"
Abner Dean
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, October 1935

Rodney deSarro's lustful old lady may anticipate Buck Brown's later Granny cartoons that were to appear in Playboy.
"But lady, when I knocked on your door, I only
asked for a dime[.]"

Rodney deSarro
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, February 1936

Another gag by deSarro depicts a cruise ship's staff nervously trying to reclaim a stateroom after the cruise has ended. The gag appears to be cropped for use on this window sign, cutting off the artist's signature.
"Do you think, sir, we might tell them, sir,
that the cruise is over?"

Rodney deSarro
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, April 1936

A Dorothy McKay gag takes us to the waiting room of a maternity ward where we get to watch a stunned new father drop his hat. This time it is McKay's turn to have her signature unceremoniously cropped. 
"Well, Mr. Hotchkiss! I guess you hit
the jackpot this time!"

Dorothy McKay
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, April 1936

Shh! An uncaptioned cartoon by E. Simms Campbell depicts the ship's captain engaged in some clandestine work.
E. Simms Campbell
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, May 1936

Rodney deSarro's captain on shore leave has found a novel use for a hula skirt. The oval format works well on the window sign and preempts any attempt at cropping.
"She loves me—she loves me not!"
Rodney deSarro
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, June 1936

The "Harem Girls" cartoons by E. Simms Campbell were popular from the very first issue of the magazine. Men trying to make a go at a relationship with a woman must have been amused at the sultan's excesses.
"Make it ten!"
E. Simms Campbell
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, July 1936

In another Abner Dean gag, a sailor on a life raft has some second thoughts.
"Sometimes I almost wish I'd rescued that blonde
instead of the Harvard Classics!"

Abner Dean
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, July 1936

Another of Campbell's "Harem Girls" gags bears a striking similarity to the one in yesterday's post.
"I'll be away for two weeks—sort of look
after things while I'm gone[.]"

E. Simms Campbell
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, August 1936

Gilbert Bundy's young lady exercises her due diligence...
"Oh!  Yes I'll be here[,] Mr. Van Gates—I'm
reading the most interesting book[.]"

Gilbert Bundy
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, September 1936

...While Barbara Shermund's old man sees no need to be hasty.
"Of course I love you—but there's such a difference in our ages—we ought
to wait a few years[.]"

Barbara Shermund
Window Sign/Poster for Esquire, July 1937

Note:  That's it for now. I'd love to hear from anyone with other examples of these window signs featuring vintage Esquire cartoons. Examples of original artwork by any of these artists is always welcome here.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Today's Walk Along the Canal

It was sunny and warm today: the perfect day for a walk along the canal.
Turtle Gazing

Canal Reflections
Trees Downed in the Canal After Four Nor'Easters

Golf Course Bridge


E. Simms Campbell: A Wartime Sacrifice

A wartime "Harem Girls" gatefold cartoon from Esquire shows the ease with which artist E. Simms Campbell could populate his large color cartoons with some two dozen figures, including even three colorful men. The old warrior has been called to fight in the Second World War. Naturally, he seeks help in looking after the home front. The women themselves seldom react to what is transpiring; their role, after all, is to lounge about and look desirable. Still, they don't seem overly upset by the news. It is the sultan whom we get to see overreact in an old-fashioned and exaggerated style of cartooning that seems all too obvious today.
"I've been called to the front, my friend—do you mind taking care of my family?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1940s

The fruit doesn't look bad either.

The sultan overreacts

The "Harem Girls" play it close to the vest.

E. Simms Campbell's signature

Of the three men, only the man in the background has an idealized form, whereas all the women share one.

Artist Unknown

Note:  E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) created an awful lot of cartoons like this. Attempted Bloggery will continue to survey the work of this artist for the next two weeks or so. Readers with access to original Campbell art or to little-known published cartoons such as this one may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog.

This cartoon was published in Esquire presumably between 1941 and 1945. Write if you know precisely when. 

Who is the mystery cartoonist? What is the caption?

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Show That I.D.

A full-color Esquire cartoon by E. Simms Campbell from 1936 or 1937—the eBay seller used both years in different parts of the listing—will resonate with anyone who has ever sewn his or her name label onto an article of clothing. Or perhaps it won't; the situation is clearly preposterous. It makes sense only using the singular logic of men's humor magazines in which women disrobe in public on the merest pretense. The open handbag on the table helps to tell the story, but one wonders how many readers even noticed it.

"M-mm—have you any other identification before we cash that check?"
E. Simms Campbell
Esquire, 1936 or 1937

Note:  E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) drew more cartoons than Attempted Bloggery can hope to ever unearth, but that doesn't mean we can't dream. Readers with access to original Campbell art or obscure published cartoons such as this one may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog.

Future cartoon historians will want to know in which issue of Esquire this cartoon was published. Diligent readers who know the answer should not be shy about revealing it.

Check, please!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Best Twitter Notification of the Day

This just in:

Note:  Take a pointer from @sex and follow me on Twitter here.


Monday, April 9, 2018

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #611

Swoop into my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #611 for April 9, 2018. The drawing is by Ellis Rosen.

"Au contraire, I'll be the more adored because I poop in pellets."

These other captions just weren't classy enough for the New Yorker:
"What I need you to do is sing 'Here I Come to Save the Day.'"
"We'll see who's best at delivering for Amazon."
"With the right technology, even you can be replaced."
"Nothing can stop me now but the pavement."

April 16, 2018:  The Finalists

Note:  This is Ellis Rosen's first appearance on the blog. And I submitted a poop joke.

Last week, cartoonist P. C. Vey sent a chef to the slammer. My caption didn't follow the recipe. Deliver a reprieve to Contest #610.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Sleeping Arrangements

It seems fitting that The Pocket Book of Esquire Cartoons, a 1959 paperback edition of selections from The Esquire Cartoon Album: 25th Anniversary Volume (1957), should have on its cover one of the very popular "Harem Girls" cartoons of E. Simms Campbell. The cartoon is not perfect; it relies on a prominent sign to explain the setting, but then it was usually more of a priority to show off the women than to describe the exotic locale. The Harem Girls, it will be noted, do not change their wardrobe when they go to the market. Like the women's clothing, the caption is brief and to the point.
"Something that sleeps twelve!"
E. Simms Campbell
The Pocket Book of Esquire Cartoons, 1959

Note:  This cartoon has a history. Readers who may know the issue of Esquire in which this was first published should get in touch.

E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) is currently having his work surveyed here at Attempted Bloggery. Readers with access to original Campbell art or obscure published cartoons may submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

E. Simms Campbell: Stage Direction

This just won't do. An original cartoon by E. Simms Campbell is coming up for auction next week lacking its caption. It could very well be a  black and white Esquire cartoon, but there are other possible publications as well. It seems we're at a dress rehearsal for a musical comedy. A leggy actress carrying a food platter is being directed to...?

E. Simms Campbell
Original art


E. Simms Campbell
Framed original art


E. Simms Campbell's signature

E. Simms Campbell
Champagne Auctions
Canadian, Inuit and International Fine Art
April 11, 2018

Lot 66

Champagne Auctions Item Description

April 12, 2108 Update: Unsold.

Note:  Recognize this cartoon? If you know the original caption or the magazine in which this was published, give a holler. Or a stage direction. 

E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971) remains the subject of a mini-retrospective here at Attempted Bloggery. This leading African-American artist was quite prolific, so we'll have to continue just a bit longer. Readers with access to original drawings by this artist are asked to submit high-resolution scans or photographs to the blog for our scholarly consideration and so we can take a look at the women.