Monday, July 02, 2007

Open Road for Boys Cartoon Contest February 1939

OPEN ROAD FOR BOYS, a magazine that Jean Shepherd likened to PLAYBOY, so far as its ability to convey a world of "dreams, fantasies, incredible adventures" that captured the imagination of the depression-era kid, was part of American boyhood from the 1920s to the 50s. It showcased stories of rugged adventure, and was lavished with ads for model airplanes, roller skates, class rings, -- and of course -- ads for cartoon classes, with lines like:

  • Do you like to draw? It's easy when shown the right way.
  • E.C. SEGAR creator of "POP-EYE [sic]," CHESTER GOULD who draws "DICK TRACY," LANK LEONARD -- "MICKY [sic] FINN" and many other famous cartoonists and comic strip artists learned to draw during their spare time by following CARTOONIST EVANS' SIMPLE, EASY, INEXPENSIVE COURSE.
  • Cartoon your way to success! Don't copy -- learn to originate.

Another way to get on the road to pro cartooning: OPEN ROAD magazine's famous Cartoon Contest. A number of youngsters who later became big-time cartoonists entered this monthly contest; names like Mort Walker, Bill Yates, George Crenshaw, Paul Coker, Jr.

You were presented with a "problem" cartoon and you, the aspiring kid cartoonist, mailed in a "solution" cartoon. Above is detail from the February 1939 issue where the winner was Mr. Eldon Pletcher! Click on the pages below for super-size versions.

A very big tip of the hat to cartoonist extraordinaire Orlando Busino for mailing me these copies. You the man, Orlando! Thanks so much!

Want more? Arnold Wagner has a 1932 Cartoon Contest from OPEN ROAD here.

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