Monday, April 21, 2008

OFFICE LAFFS Edited by Charles Preston

Above: The OFFICE LAFFS cover. The woman is saying, "Thanks for the raise, honey!" The gag line, which was at the bottom of the cover, got accidentally unscanned due to slovenliness of the man at the scanner (me).

Since when did Bennett Cerf's name sell a book of cartoons? Well, not recently, that's for sure.

Here's a collection of Wall Street Journal cartoons titled OFFICE LAFFS*, copyright 1957, E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. This is the first Crest printing, February 1957, which I have mercilessly bent the spine of to scan in for you. You see? Nothing is too good for you!

"Save 88 cents for the milkman."

Doug Follette showcases the undermining, dead end marital relationship at the heart of a WSJ reader. Follete drew the most distinctive sucking-on-a-lemon pouted lips in cartoon history.

Mr. Stamaty with a nice to look at clean line style. Look at all the wonderful details in the kitchen. His son, Mark Alan, went on to cartoon as well!
Above: Dad looks too happy about reading the dry contents of the Congressional Record to his child. Today, Dads have no time to read to their children, and so C-Span is merely streamed on the kids' computer the kid's heard snoring. The cartoon is drawn by Sid Gordin, who created the cartoons along with Vicky, his wife, so (to quote Orlando Busino) "hence the signature 'Sivic.'"

Above: another unhappy marriage cartoon. This one is by Martin Giuffre. I could not, for a moment, figure out exactly where we were supposed to be. It took a few extra seconds.

The one and only Mort Walker, in one of his most reprinted gag cartoons: the quintessential WSJ Salt ... and Pepper cartoon.

"Well, stupid, there's four days work we don't get paid for!"

You see? Not only does management get a poke, but labor as well. John Gallagher wields the ink on this good cartoon. related: John Gallagher is one of the featured cartoonists in 1000 Jokes magazine #79.

"Who's the new man?"

Serrano, who drew the lovely juxtaposition of the wispy smoke rings and the piles of paper, is like so many gag cartoonists; a name on a page, with so little more information on the Web.

Above: Another Serrano cartoon, with some good composition. If he had made the choice to put black on those shoes, or do a grey wash on the suits, then the visual gag would be lost.

"If we can get a subsidy we can give this country what it needs, a good five cent cigar."

Scott Brown draws some cigar smoking board members in a gag that's lost in time. I like how we can see every cigar and every cigar's wisp of smoke clearly.

Above: Brad Anderson of Marmaduke fame, with a breezy styled wordless cartoon that would enrage the unionized waste management people for that guy's building.


Follette, once more, with one of the funnier cartoons in the volume. Look atthe Book Ends Salesman, crouched and ready to make a sale in the wake of the Book Sales Salesman. I admire the gag so much.

"Don't be upset if my wife gives you a nasty look, boss.
She doesn't know about those last two raises."

Bob Schroeter; another cartoonist showing us the life of deceit that husbands lead. Again, I'm beholden to Orlando Busino for being able to recognize Mr. Schroeter's signature, which fluctuates from legible to hieroglyphics from cartoon to cartoon.
"I got the worms -- let's go!"

What I noticed here is that Mr. Folette disavowed the showing of the sunrise, a clock, or anything else that would be a "tell" as to the time of day. The expression on the Dad's face is all you need.

Jerry Marcus -- the one and only -- with a joke on the WSJ Cartoon Editor himself.

* from the indicia: "OFFICE LAFFS was originally published by E. P. Dutton &Co., Inc., under the title HEY, CAN'T YOU FORGET BUSINE$$? and this new and expanded Crest edition is reissued at 25 cents through arrangement with that company. "

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