Thursday, October 08, 2020

Charles Preston Wall Street Journal "Pepper ... and Salt" Cartoon Editor 1921 - 2020

 

Long-time Wall Street Journal cartoon editor Charles Preston passed away on Friday. He was 98. 

In 1950, Columbia undergraduate Charles Preston pitched a novel idea to the Wall Street Journal editors: a daily cartoon. He must have impressed them. The first cartoon ran on June 6, 1950. The feature was titled "Pepper ... and Salt." It's continued ever since, with Preston sifting through gag cartoonists' submissions these many decades. 

 

From WSJ:

"'I’ve looked at more cartoons than anyone in the history of mankind.' To fill the Journal’s daily slots, he sorted through hundreds of submissions a month from dozens of cartoonists. He was looking for those, he said, that help us 'laugh with others in order to laugh at ourselves.'

"He would sometimes send one back to the cartoonist, asking him to draw smiles on the faces. His comic sensibility belonged to an older age. The humor in the cartoons he chose was always gentle and good-natured, never sarcastic or snarky, which may explain why 'Pepper … and Salt' remains popular with readers in our own darker age."


I was fortunate to sell cartoons to Charles Preston. And the extra good thing about him is that when I had a question -- about a request to redraw a cartoon, for instance -- I could call and get him on the phone. That responsive accessibility was great, especially since WSJ was one of the first markets I sold to way, way back in the day -- and I always had questions. 

Back in 2006, Charles Preston and "Pepper ... and Salt" were honored at the Harvard Business School's Baker Library with a permanent display honoring 50 years of WSJ cartoons. I am also fortunate to have had one of my cartoons chosen for this (below).


Daily Cartoonist

Some cartoons from one of the 14 WSJ collections titled Office Laffs.

Eli Stein talks about his first sale in 1957.



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