Thursday, April 12, 2007

Literary Digest Cartoons and Ads Late 1920s

Here are some cartoons and ads from a couple of Literary Digest magazines circa late '20s. Yeah, OK, so they're a little creaky and old. I was just going to reproduce a couple of cartoons, but had to show some ads too. It was a nice time to be alive, what with all the illustration going on in magazines. And except for the smoking and asbestos. Read on!

Fair Eloper: "Oh George, we'll have to go back! I've forgotten my powder-puff."

A lot of the gags are kinda weak, but this one is pretty good. Such nice perspective in those windows. These guys knew how to draw. This is the sort of cartoon that the taller the building is, the better the gag. Sure, maybe it's not so fresh a gag for 2007, but it's one of the better ones that I saw.

Plumber: "Pipes burst?"

Young Bride: "Y-yes, b-but some of this is t-tears!"

A lot to like in this painterly illustration. The gag is OK, but the real pleasure is seeing the body language here -- and the cat in the background. And it's got the old fashioned 2-part gag line: the set up and the punchline. The New Yorker, then in its 4th year, was to change that.

And here's one of the ads that caught my attention. There are a couple of ads for things that are now known to be bad for us. When was the last time you saw an ad promoting asbestos? Look, it's the ad that launched a thousand cases of mesothelioma. Yikes! Love that evil snowman!

Look, here's Florsheim Shoes! They're still around in every mall in the US. But it's more than $10 a pair. And, moving down to our next ad for something that is we know is just so wrong today -- the idea that if you're feeling sick and ostracized, then go somewhere by yourself and smoke like a chimney! Aaugh! That's just wrong in so many ways.

And, hey, go ahead and be careless with those matches. You can afford to be since you bought all that Asbestocel!

Funny to think that in 1929 there was a threat to live musicians from recorded music! Who knew?! Can you imagine the size of a 1926 iPod?! Another wonderful illustration.

And when was the last time you saw an ad for a pencil!? You are known by your, uh, pencil, m'lad!

And, lastly, an ad for Higgins Ink -- still around after all these years. And there are a few more ads underneath the Higgins one as well, just for fun.


Johnny C said...

Why are 20s ads so recognizable? I’m assuming it’s because everything was sketched with a pencil, but was it a particular grade… there is uniformity to everything I’ve ever seen…

Snowman Expert said...

Hi Mike,
Again, really enjoy your blog. And it's been helpful to me as I officially dove into the gag cartoon business last week (having finished my book project). I began with the New Yorker (which I was lucky enough to land a gig) because I'm not quite sure who else is buying gag cartoons at moment (I ordered the Artists & Graphic, blah, blah, blah). To see my latest cartoon click

But the reason I'm writing is because of the amazing asbestos ad you ran on your blog with the snowman. The book I just finished was The History of the Snowman and so I have an amazing collection of snowman items (about 800). Do you have this ad in your possession? I actually have a beautiful snowman asbestos ad myself (different company as weird as that sounds) which I wanted to send but no way of sending an attachment.
Thanks, Bob