Tuesday, March 25, 2008

FOREVER FUNNY Edited by Bill Yates

Above: Jerry Marcus gives us hints that Day One of this particular marriage is tension-filled in the above cover cartoon for FOREVER FUNNY, A Dell First Edition (#93) that sold for 25 cents when it was published in 1956. It's copyright 1956 by F. B. Yates.

Look at the wonderful erect posture of Stan Hunt's businessman. He is a no nonsense go getter and he will have no nonsense this anniversary ... this anniversary, which, I predict, will be spent at the club playing solitaire game after solitaire game, downing scotches and sodas, all by his erect lonesome. He also would not approve that I didn't take time to get rid of the gutter shadow on the right hand side of his cartoon. Ah, well. Suffer, businessman, suffer!

Just how long have girl scouts sold cookies? Well, above is a brownie circa 1956. She and her cookies are being tossed out of a mean boss' office. Violence against children and/or women -- even if it's cartoon violence -- is a no no and this would may be perceived as too hostile to sell in today's market. Regardless, I thought Shirvanian's cartoon was hilarious!

Chon Day shows us a fellow who is having a bad day and trying to solve it with drink. Cartoons that poke fun at drinking and violence (see the boss-kicking-brownie cartoon) are hard sells nowadays.

Above is one of my favorite cartoons in the book. Al Johns depicts a befuddled ticket taker on a Metro North train (probably bound for Westport, the Connecticut town of so many cartoonists back in the day).

Dave Gerard's marriage is a lot like mine. Except for the pipe. Well, the pipe and the doilies. And there should be a couple cats in there somewhere too.

American Legion Magazine still publishes cartoons. Here is Jack Markow with a desert island cartoon. Markow wrote a couple of great "How To" books about cartooning, including my favorite, CARTOONISTS AND GAG WRITERS HANDBOOK. More lazy not-magic-wanding-the-gutter issues here. My bad.

Mr. Day's cartoons are wonderful studies. His upper middle class people may wear a tie to read a book, but they still got whacky problems.

I like the dancing style of the hubby on stage. It's such a small image, and his face is away from us, but you can tell by the body language that Al Johns depicts that this fellow is (a) having a fun time, (b) a great hip swayer, and (c) three sheets to the wind.

Ted Key with an all seeing eye looking in on our newlyweds. Scroll down for Dick Cavalli's similar take on this.

Don Tobin with a joke about entertainment technology. Most of the TV I watch I wish I could fast forward with a little horizontal control at the bottom ... but TVs don't got that YouTube toggle at the bottom of the screen. Nice to see technology transition issues have been around since after the war.

I love cartoons that suggest a whole other world of events. What did Harry Morton do to this woman to make her marry a guy just to spite him (Harry)? Mr. Chon Day knows, but he ain't tellin'.

Above: another Chon Day. This cracks me up. It's one of these moments-before-chaos-erupts gags.

Stan Hunt's shaggy-dog-story lengthy gag line lulls us until the wowzer of a last sentence. I liked the guy here, his lower face covered by the paper as he half-listens.

Shirvanian shows us the neighbor from hell in the above economically drawn cartoon. Look at the sense of purposeful movement in our man's tread.

The only editing error in the book is that Dick Cavalli's gag (above) and Ted Key's are way too similar. The giant head of a goofily grinning guy wearing a polka dot bowtie is intrinsically funnier than the spooky big eye in Mr. Key's, which reminded me of the big Salvador Dali-designed eyes in the dream sequence from Spellbound.

Above: Bill King inserts cartoonist Jack Davis' name into this gag from the back cover. I don't know if this THE Jack Davis, the great cartoonist, but, in reality, Davis is a big bear of a guy, so her comment is factually true. If you're chilly, get a little sugar from Mr. Davis. You won't be sorry.

UPDATE: Some early Chon Day cartoons at Eli Stein Cartoons!

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