Monday, March 01, 2021

Drawings and Photos and Advertisements from Theatre Arts Magazine - Late 1940s


Above: the book! (Those are coffee grains on my fingers. I'm trying to do two things at once this morning. I didn't notice when I took the photo!)


I came across this large, heavy book that has "PLAYS 1" on the spine. I saw that it had some Ludwig Bemelmans art in it, so I bought it at this secondhand shop for all of $3.00.

This is a bound collection of plays from Theatre Arts magazine from the late 1940s. There are no articles, except for one or two on scenery in the back of the book. Aside from the plays, there are many advertisements and photos of the Broadway productions. My guess: someone wanted these plays bound together. The book is heavy and some of the plays do have the "Theatre Arts" name on the bottom of the page, but most do not. There is no name or inscription anywhere in the book, but there are a few names written in The Madwoman of Chaillot, which don't correspond to the original cast. Well, heaven knows who this belonged to. It's in lovely condition. Some of the plays in the book:

Mister Roberts

The Closing Door

Finan's Rainbow

The Young and the Fair

Command Decision

The Winslow Boy

Joan of Lorraine

... to name a few.

Here are some images:

For you, Dad: A late 1940s ad for the Pasadena Playhouse.

Ludwig Bemelmans illustrates the title page for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

State of the art lighting equipment!

A 3 page article on scenery for some Broadway productions 1949-50 (including a Bemelmans' for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep).

Some advertisements for theatre schools.



Every play has opens with art or photos.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Thank You for Helping To Raise Money for the American Civil Liberties Union

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As you know, it's been 15 years this month since I began my cartoon blog.

To celebrate, earlier this month, I posted fifteen original drawings of mine that you could buy for only $15.00 apiece, with the money going to the American Civil Liberties Union.
We raised $250.00 for the American Civil Liberties Union. (Some people generously gave more than that $15.00.)

Thank you (again) very much!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Charles M. Schulz Museum: "Wee Pals" Cartoonist Morrie Turner Interview

Newly released: Here's an excerpt from a 2010 interview with "Wee Pals" cartoonist Morrie Turner from the Charles M. Schulz Museum.


"Excerpts from an oral history interview with cartoonist Morrie Turner (1923–2014), creator of 'Wee Pals' — the first American syndicated comic strip with an integrated cast of characters.⁠ Morrie was a friend of Charles M. Schulz and even paid tribute to 'Peanuts' in some of his own 'Wee Pals' comic strips. Here, Turner discusses Schulz's influence on his work and shares his experience as a Black cartoonist. Recorded on August 7, 2010. © Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, California."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Roy Thomas on "True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee" by Abraham Riesman

Roy Thomas, who was hired by Stan Lee in 1965, and then took over as its editor-in-chief in 1972, has issues with the new Stan Lee biography "True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee" by Abraham Riesman.

In The Hollywood Reporter, he writes a guest column arguing that the book "undercuts Lee's recollections in favor of artist Jack Kirby's version of events." 


"That Stan Lee was the co-creator, and not the sole creator, of the key Marvel heroes from the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man through Daredevil and the Silver Surfer can hardly be in dispute at this late stage.  I myself, back in the '80s when I wasn't working for him, had a friendly argument with him on that score over lunch. I soon realized that, as much as he respected the talents and contributions of artists (Riesman would say 'artist/writers' and he's right, at least in one sense) such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko to the characters introduced in the 1960s, he could never really bring himself, in his own mind, to think of them as "co-creators." The two of us had to agree to disagree, and I never saw any use in bringing it up again.

"If I can judge from Riesman's writings, and from other sources over the years, I'm sure I'd have encountered the same kind of blinders-on stubbornness in Jack Kirby, who (as oft quoted in this book) saw Stan as little more than the guy who scribbled a few words of dialogue and rode to unearned glory on his back.

"Both men were, I think, wrong… and that's why Riesman is so ill-advised to use nearly every opportunity he gets to weight things in Jack's favor and against Stan. (By the way, if someone objects to my referring to Jack Kirby as well by his first name, it's because the two of us were on a first-name basis from 1965 till the last time we met, sometime in the 1980s. I considered him then, and I consider him now, to be by far the greatest superhero artist in the history of the medium, and, along with Stan, one of its preeminent pop-culture geniuses.)"


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Martha Blanchard Gag Cartoons 1947 - 1964

Above is a 50 plus year old photo of cartoonists at the Saturday Evening Post's humor editor's office. That's Martha Blanchard, fourth from left. The photo was nicked from gag cartoonist Eli Stein at his Eli Stein Cartoons blog. (From left: Harry Mace, Bill Yates, Gus Lundberg, Martha Blanchard, Herb Green, Jeff Monahan, Jerry Marcus, Saturday Evening Post humor editor Marione Nickles, Jack Tyrrell, John Norment, Dave Hirsch, Mrs. Fritz Wilkinson (wife of cartoonist Wilkinson), Peter Porges, Bob Schroeter, Mort Temes.)



Today: a profile and many samples of the work of prolific cartoonist and illustrator Martha Blanchard, courtesy of Dick Buchanan.

Martha Blanchard's cartoons appeared in all of the top markets. She was also a book illustrator. A member of the Art Students League and the National Cartoonists Society, she was a fixture in the New York City post-war cartooning circles. In 1970, she had just finished a new collection for Dell titled "Husbands and Lovers," when she passed away suddenly in her studio at 59 Fifth Avenue. The cause was a coronary occlusion. She was 54 years old. 

Dick Buchanan writes about this rare female career cartoonist and shows twenty five of her cartoons below. Thanks and take it away, Dick.


GAG CARTOONS 1947 - 1964

Martha Blanchard. This Week Magazine, November 20, 1949.

Martha Blanchard was one the most successful women gag cartoonist of the 1950’s and 1960’s, an era where the number of women cartoonists would fit in the hand of a baby.

Blanchard studied at the Art Students League. Her studio/home was in New York’s Greenwich Village, just a few blocks north of Washington Square. She sold her first cartoon in 1947. Her work appeared in many of the day’s leading magazines, including Collier’s, American Magazine, Look, Pictorial Review and Punch. She was a prominent contributor to The Saturday Evening Post for two decades. 

Blanchard’s cartoons usually depicted the plight of the young single woman and young marrieds in the 1950’s. Rather than the decidedly misogynist gags about women which pervaded the era,
Blanchard’s drawings often were ones to which women could actually relate. 

Blanchard also illustrated several books, including Jean Kerr’s Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Dear Rabbi and Husbands & Lovers, a paperback collection of her gag cartoons. In her spare time, she drew caricatures at local veteran’s hospitals.

1. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post December 13, 1947.


 2. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post February 21, 1948.


 3. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post May 30, 1949.


 4. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post August 27, 1949.


5. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post June 20, 1950.


6. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post July 8, 1950.


7. MARTHA BLANCHARD. This Week Magazine November 20, 1949.


8. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post January 27, 1951.


9. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post November 22, 1952.


10. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post September 13, 1952.


11. MARTHA BLANCHARD Collier’s August 7, 1953.


12. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Pictorial Review June 21, 1953.


13. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post July 25, 1954.


14. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Collier’s April 29, 1955.

15. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post March 23, 1957.

16. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post April 27, 1957.

17. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Punch August 6, 1958.

18. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Punch August 13, 1958.

19. MARTHA BLANCHARD, Look Magazine January 31, 1961.

20. MARTHA BLANCHARD. 1000 Jokes Magazine June – August, 1959.

21. MARTHA BLANCHARD. 1000 Jokes Magazine August - October, 1962.

22. MARTHA BLANCHARD. For Laughing Out Loud January – March, 1962.

23. MARTHA BLANCHARD. American Legion Magazine October, 1963.

24. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Look Magazine June 16, 1964.

25. MARTHA BLANCHARD. True Magazine April, 1964.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Dan Brooks: How Garfield Helped Me Make Peace With a Culture in Decline

Above: illustration from the February 21, 2021 New York Times Magazine. Clockwise from top left: Illustrations by Lan Truong, Mark Ochinero, C. W. Moss, Clare Lewis, Ohni Lisle and Lorenzo Gritti.


When the Garfield newspaper comic strip debuted nationally, back in 1978, there was no such thing as the web. Now, with Garfield mostly read online, and his image digitized, it's easily copied and manipulated. There are more than one popular variations of Garfield. 

For instance, there's the long running Garfield Minus Garfield, in which Garfield is erased from the comic, leaving just the supporting cast reacting to ... nothing. 

The New York Times' Dan Brooks writes about this in "How Garfield Helped Me Make Peace With a Culture in Decline." He recommends


" ... you might try getting into Garfield variants: remixes of the original strips that testify to the internet’s limitless invention and similarly uninhibited attitude toward copyright. Perhaps the best known is Garfield Minus Garfield, which removes all evidence of the title character to yield a comic about a lonely man talking to himself. Relieved of the pet that is at once his antagonist and his companion, Jon might sit silently for two panels before saying, 'I dread tomorrow.' Without Garfield, the strip shifts to a register of psychological realism in which Jon’s circumstances become horror instead of comedy."


When writing about the popularity of Pipe Garfield (the Garfield web variant where the last panel is always, always, always Garfield smoking a pipe), he cites a cinematic theory:

"What’s strange is that it keeps making sense. Pipe Garfield relies on what cinema theorists call the Kuleshov effect: the tendency of audiences to invent a narrative connection between any two images in sequence. This phenomenon is the basis for not just modern film editing but also several Garfield variants, including Garfield Thrown Out the Window, which intensifies the Kuleshov effect considerably. The final frame of each strip, in which Garfield’s body flies through a pane of broken glass, implies vigorous activity between panels. The difference between Pipe Garfield and Garfield Thrown Out the Window is a matter of existential disposition: Smoking a pipe is something Garfield does, but defenestration is something done to Garfield. Both variants exercise the mind’s capacity for sense-making, inviting the reader to devise a story from found materials."