Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Above: Cartoonist Bill Riley gives us a socko cover for the first issue of COLLEGE LAUGHS (1958). Really, after seeing this, you don't need me to explain what the mag is about, now do you?
"It may not be that much -- you know how lousey [sic] you are at math."

Above: the first page of the bimonthly digest-sized magazine. It's a cartoon with a signature that I cannot for the life of me decode. You know you're in for a lax editorial style when there's a misspelling right there on page one.

COLLEGE LAUGHS is copyright 1958 by Candor Publishing Co., Inc., S.W. Canton, Ohio.

"Now get out there and toss those curves!"

One of the delights about COLLEGE LAUGHS is that it's heavy on early Don Orehek cartoons. Don is not only a favorite cartoonist of mine -- as well as a fellow Berndt Toast Gang member -- I'm happy to say he's also a friend. No way are his cartoons lax. They are full of energy and purpose!

"Hello, Miss Benson? This is Peter Smith ... Peter ... P as in the person you met last night, E as in evening out like you promised, T as in taking it for granted you meant it, E as in eating at your favorite cafe, R as in ready. Are you?"

Above: Bill Riley with a rather lengthy (but enjoyable) gag line. Remember when there were pay phones? Remember when there were phone books? Remember when guys wore bow ties and carnations?

Above: a great Orehek drawing. The fawning guy (just look at his limp right hand); the woman, leaning back, smiling, as she delivers the ego crushing news to that poor schlub.
"I only came out here with you because I heard something about neck and neck. When do we get to do that?"

Bill Riley shows us a rather pedestrian scene of a young woman and a young man. But whatta woman! The line is a zinger.

"Da -- What no comic books?" Don Orehek's "Gene Yus" is a six page set up for what could be a series of cartoons. Alas, this is only a taste of the character, whose chubby cheeked face is in a perpetual snobby superior sneer at people who like comic books. I also like the politically incorrect comic conceit that mentally slow people begin every one of their sentences with a "da."

"Look I got an 'A' in Biology."

Above: fellow Berndt Toast Gang member Jim Ruth has a number of cartoons in COLLEGE LAUGHS. This fellow, with the uncool Jughead style hat, has the most un-come-on line ever.

"It's been a lovely evening, let's spoil it."

Above: Dig Don lighting the above cartoon from the floor ala a horror movie. Note our man leaning in, his legs ready to scramble toward her, while she has her knees locked together. No one can draw a girl in a tight sweater like Don Orehek -- but, hey, I'm sure you've noticed that by now! Great line too. Did I mention I love Don's cartoons? Did I?
"He keeps giving me looks. I'm wondering if he considers me intellectual or dumb?

I really liked the gag above. Very ambiguous, and very much what being in your 20s is all about: choosing what you are and what your place is in the ol' world and all that. Whew! That's way too much philosophizin' for a blog about cartoons! Don uses that bell tower shape (there's one just like it at Brooklyn College) to let you know we're on campus.

"It may not look so good now, sir, but a long walk in a driving rainstorm would make a world of difference."

Bob Campbell draws a cartoon about campus fashion that's beyond me. I do like the very simple lines on the right, noting suits hung on a rod and a sales table. It simply, and with ease, shows you where you are.

"I'd be delighted if it didn't mean we have to start going steady."

Above: More Don Orehek! This is one of my favorites. A great gag line. She's gonna keep the thing no matter what!
Above: the only page of ads in the mag, emphasizing the 3 most important things you can learn from "Sensational Book Bargains:"
  1. learn to love,
  2. learn to dance
  3. and learn to fight!

The end back cover with a parting 2-tone Don Orehek cartoon, full of sexy girls! Oo la la! What a fun magazine.


David King said...

This is great! That cover is HOT STUFF.

I also like the bad posture on the girl in "A in biology", the design of Gene Yus' dopey roommate and the perfect profile of Freddy in "I love your company..."

You're right, Orehek's really good--thanks for posting this stuff!

Eli Stein said...

Any time you say you can't identify a cartoonist's name, Mike, I go to work. The Sherlock Holmes in me tells me that the first page cartoon is Bill Riley's. The signature is a "B" over an "R", with the bottom of the "R" cropped off. Check it out with the drawing style and signatures of the other Bill Riley cartoons, and you'll see there can be no doubt about this.

Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for your comments.

David, Don Orehek is great -- and I'm glad you enjoyed his work.

Eli, I got the same information on the same day from Orlando Busino! Congrats to both of you for seeing those initials!