Thursday, October 18, 2018

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Wheaties Gag Cartoonist Campaign 1944 - 1949

Here's something that's been unseen for a while: a massive, cartoonist-centric five-year ad campaign for the breakfast cereal Wheaties that was unique to one of the leading magazines of the day. My thanks to Dick Buchanan, who wrote the intro, as well as clipped the cartoons and scanned them. There are some real early gems here by the big names!


1944 – 1949

During the 1940’s General Mills launched an advertising campaign for Wheaties (“The Breakfast of Champions”) which featured cartoons drawn by the some of the leading gag cartoons the time. The cartoons featured here were clipped from the pages of Liberty magazine.

Debuting 1924, Liberty was one of the nation’s foremost weekly magazines. It featured fiction by the best writers of the era such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, Robert Benchley and Agatha Christie. It also published contributions by influential world figures ranging from Mahatma Gandhi to Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Its cartoon roster was also top flight, including many early cartoons by Virgil Partch and Hank Ketcham. Liberty became a monthly in 1948 and ceased publishing in 1950, a precursor of things to come for major magazines.

Here are a few examples of the cartoons that were a part of this extraordinary advertising campaign.

1. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty September 2, 1944.

2. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty February 10, 1945.

3. ROLAND COE. Liberty December 21, 1946.

4. DAVE GERARD. Liberty January 12, 1946.

5. REAMER KELLER. Liberty May 4, 1946.

6. JEFFERSON MACHAMER. Liberty May 18, 1946.

7. DAVE GERARD. Liberty July 6, 1946.

8. GEORGE LICHTY. Liberty May 25, 1946.

9. JEFFERSON MACHAMER. Liberty July 13, 1946.

10. VIRGIL PARTCH. Liberty August 10, 1946.

11. REAMER KELLER. Liberty March 1, 1947.

12. ROLAND COE. Liberty June, 1949.

13. IRWIN CAPLAN. Liberty April, 1949.

14. DON TOBIN. Liberty September, 1949.

15. IRWIN CAPLAN. Liberty March, 1949.

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