Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dorothy McKay: Christmas Spirits

The repeal of Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933 with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution. The timing led to an unusual Life magazine Christmas cover by Dorothy McKay. It's not that "Brother Tupper"—nice alliteration—is drinking again already; he never stopped. It's just that his obviously red "nose is legal again," a very satisfactory resolution for the clergyman who has no problem with him being under the influence even while entertaining the children as Santa Claus. The other priest seems to be harboring second thoughts, as he very well should.

There's a lot wrong with the underlying assumptions and stereotypes of this magazine cover, but how was it received by its Depression-era audience? Was the repeal of the Volstead Act deemed a great boon or, more realistically, a mixed blessing? Was an inebriated Santa Claus really the way Life wanted to celebrate this historic crossroads?


"I'm glad brother Tupper's nose is legal again."
Dorothy McKay

Life, December 1933

Scan by Dick Buchanan



Note:
A Yuletide thank-you to Dick Buchanan for providing the old blog with the magazine cover seen here from the celebrated Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files. Dick contributes regularly to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a post entitled, "From the Dick Buchanan Files: Holiday and Winter Cartoons 1948 - 1960." Cheers!


Dorothy McKay was a leading cartoonist of her day. Readers are encouraged to contribute scans or photographs of original McKay art or of obscure published cartoons.


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Christmas

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Attempted Bloggery's Sobering Index


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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Richard Decker: The Card That Says Everything

In a cartoon published in Life magazine's December 1933 issue, Richard Decker presents us with a woman who is engaged in the quintessential Christmas season activity of shopping for the perfect card. She wants to find one that will very specifically do the work of two, a get-well card and a Christmas card.

Aside from that, note the disorderly way the individual cards are displayed on the countertop, the way they are organized by price—ten or fifteen cents—rather than by intended recipient, and the presence of a dedicated saleswoman at the table. It all seems rather chaotic and labor-intensive compared with a modern card rack. But it must have been helpful to have a salesperson with whom to discuss the perplexing card choices one faced.



"I want a card for an aunt who is ill at Christmas."
Richard Decker
Life, December 1933, page 42

Scan by Dick Buchanan




Note:  Thanks to Dick Buchanan for providing Attempted Bloggery with a scan of this forgotten cartoon from deep inside the festive Dick Buchanan Cartoon Clip Files. Dick regularly contributes to Mike Lynch Cartoons, most recently a post entitled, "From the Dick Buchanan Files: Holiday and Winter Cartoons 1948 - 1960." 'Tis the season.

Richard Decker
doesn't get enough play here on the old blog. Readers are encouraged to contribute scans or photos of original Decker art or of rare published cartoons.


Get Well Soon and Merry Christmas to all.



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Life

Christmas

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Season's Greetings from Arthur Getz


Some years ago, New Yorker cover artist Arthur Getz created an original woodcut of a mother and daughter for use as a holiday card. He added "Season's Greetings" in pencil and signed the print with his initial G. The image is intimate and tender. It remains quite endearing.

I asked the artist's daughter Sarah Getz whether she was the girl in this image. She replied, "I’m not the child in the picture, necessarily—I think it was simply a whimsical mother/daughter image my dad pulled from his head—but I’ve always thought it very sweet."




Note:  My thanks to Sarah Getz for sending the card. The Arthur Getz website is here.

Attempted Bloggery is always pleased to receive scans or photographs of original art by Arthur Getz, the most prolific of The New Yorker's cover artists.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

My Entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #596

As ye sow, so shall ye reap my entry in the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #596 for December 11, 2017. The drawing is by Frank Cotham.

"I prefer mine dark."


The caption not taken:
"Yes, I will take one for the, er, road."




Note:  Last week cartoonist Drew Dernavich's snowman went on a shopping spree. My caption got a frosty reception. Let's wrap up Contest #595.

See what cartoonist Frank Cotham already has reaped on this blog here.

Attempted Bloggery supports net neutrality.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

An Honest Heart by John Held, Jr.


We know that a William T. Todd of Oxford Mills, Ottawa died in September of 1931 and that a William T. Todd of Pittsburgh was about 70 at that time. Neither is a known artist or would seem to be credible as the creator of An Honest Heart, Or, Hard at Work Really Wishing You A Merry Christmas which is adorned with the year 1931—possibly the coming New Year—and which looks for all the world like the work of John Held, Jr. The artwork has printer's marks on it and was likely published as a Christmas card. Held was known to sign his "engravings"with great wit, but why he specifically would choose to sign one "Done by William T. Todd, who scorns empty words" is not at all clear. The paper has extensive pencil underlining—see the candle flame and the table, etc.—an indication that he drew directly with ink on this imitation woodblock print.

An Honest Heart
Or, Hard at Work Really Wishing You A Merry Christmas, c. 1930
John Held, Jr. 
"Done by William T. Todd, who scorns empty words"

William T. Todd (John Held, Jr.?)
eBay Item Description as of June 15, 2017
Sold for $25 on June 17, 2017

William T. Todd (John Held, Jr.?)
eBay Item Description



An Honest Heart
Or, Hard at Work Really Wishing You A Merry Christmas, c. 1930
John Held, Jr. 
"Done by William T. Todd, who scorns empty words"


Note:  What's the connection to William T. Todd? Readers are invited to speculate. John Held, Jr., usually signed his own name to his art. My wishbone wish would be for readers to share scans or photographs of his original or published art, including retro designs for Christmas cards. Information about this particular piece's lost publication history would be welcome as well.


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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Greetings from John Held, Jr.


John Held, Jr., was hands-down the most popular illustrator of the 1920s. His flappers and their companions seemed to effortlessly embody the Jazz Age. But he also created a line of remarkable linoleum block prints masquerading as late 19th century "engravings." They are endlessly nostalgic for the magic of a lost age every bit as much as his flapper drawings are expressive of his own moment. Three vintage Christmas cards in this charmingly old-fashioned style surfaced recently on eBay. They romanticize the joys of Christmas shopping in a bygone era.




John Held, Jr.
eBay Listing as of June 15, 2017
John Held, Jr.
eBay Item Description









Note:  John Held, Jr., was a formidable talent whether celebrating the Roaring Twenties or the Gay Nineties. Readers with examples of his unflappable flappers or topping top hatters are invited to send scans or photographs this way.


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Friday, December 8, 2017

Otto Soglow: 1974 Reuben Awards Dinner Program


What should we make of Otto Soglow's program cover for the National Cartoonists Society 1974 Reuben Awards Dinner? The dinner was held on April 22, 1974, with the program cover design capped by the arc of a baseball, reminding us that the new baseball season is underway. The illustration seems both lighthearted and surreal, part disembodied magic act and part lurid sideshow, with the coveted Reuben award depicted as a bearded bathing beauty being offered to a faceless—at least until the winner is announced—tuxedoed recipient. And the winner is...

Otto Soglow
The Cartoonist, 1974



Note:  My thanks once again to Stephen Kroninger for providing Attempted Bloggery with this scarce Soglow scan.

Otto Soglow had a uniquely economic style. I'd be happy to present more scans or photographs of his original art—hint, hint. Images of published rarities such as this NCS cover are also welcome.


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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dutch Treat Club Total Offense 1941



Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
—President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Speaking of infamy on this Pearl Harbor Day, let's take a long look at the artistic selections from the 1941 yearbook of The Dutch Treat Club! It's very timely theme is Dutch Treat Club Total Offense 1941 and surely it lives up to its name. The club's members do what they do every year, privately producing a volume of ribald humor that was too racy for general consumption and staging a one-off public performance—this year with George M. Cohan—that was probably very entertaining and still racy. War was clearly in the offing here. Everyone must have sensed that, even before Pearl Harbor.


Dutch Treat Club Total Offense 1941

Endpaper

Title Page













Aviation Terms
Frank Godwin


Wait for it... 
Memories
Tony Sarg
Leave it to the puppeteer! 
Memories
Tony Sarg









Happy Landing                                             
Dean Cornwell                                             










A pop-up by Tony Sarg:
Tony Sarg

Tony Sarg

Offense Terms
Otto Soglow




Peace—It's Wonderful!
James Montgomery Flagg

At Ease

"The Pursuit of Sappiness"
The 1941 Dutch Treat Club Show


John E. Sheridan







Russell Patterson



The following information has not been independently verified: 

The actual press run was probably 1,250.


Note: This time Stephen Kroninger has really outdone himself, photographing all the visually-compelling pages of the 1941 Dutch Treat Club yearbook. Once again, Stephen, I thank you.


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The Dutch Treat Club

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