Monday, July 25, 2016

THE BEST OF TIMES by Ludwig Bemelmans

It was any cartoonist's dream assignment: fly over to Europe, as a tourist, and draw and report on what your experience is like.

This happened to Ludwig Bemelemans (the guy who did the MADELINE books). The editor of HOLIDAY Magazine asked him to fly to Europe, to see how the people were doing. This is just after WWII. Certain cities were in rubble. The Marshall plan was rolling out.


"After the most casual arrangements and without writing anything down on a contract form or even the back of a menu, I left, virtually from the table of the restaurant at which Ted Patrick [his HOLIDAY Magazine editor] suggested the voyage. I traveled wherever I would have gone had I been on my own holiday. I stayed everywhere as long as I liked."

Here are a dozen of the fifty color illustrations and 100 black and white illustrations from his collection of essays, THE BEST OF TIMES, copyright 1948 by Simon and Schuster, Inc.

My copy fell apart (the back cover came off while scanning these). It's easy to find online at used book sites, but most copies are well read. You can see why.

-- Edited from July 24, 2014 blog entry.

1 comment:

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Hi, what a wonderful book! I knew Holiday was a special magazine with lot of great illustrations, but I never know they did this. I have been asekd to do an article on early samples of comic journalism. Working from the notion that Joe Sacco (who knows his stuff) may have eben influencde by harvey Kurtzman's travel assigments in Help and possibly Shel SIlvertsein's work for Playboy, I did find a couple of earlier sampels (a visit to a beauty Pageant by hank Ketcham and Michiel Berry's many travelogues - but this is even earlier and may have been the father of them all. Kurtzman must certainly have been aware of it, since he often used cartoonists tht also worked for Holiday.