Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video: "Weird Al" Yankovic's "CNR"

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss 2:42 goodbye.

Big tip o' the toup to Revilo!!

Somewhat related: TV Themes That Get Stuck In my Head.


The great minds of two bloggers think alike, creating two complete ELLERY QUEEN comic book stories reproduced on the same day.

From Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine: ELLERY QUEEN #1, 1952, Ziff-Davis Publications.

And from Saved From the Paper Drive: an Ellery Queen story "The Curse of Kane" from Dell Four Color #1289, March 1962.

Jay Lynch and R. Crumb Meet Chester Gould

Here's the true life story of underground cartoonists Jay Lynch (no relation) and Robert Crumb going to visit Chester Gould in Chicago's Tribune Building in 1968.

Hat tip to Jay Lynch!

And while we're on the topic of Gould ...

Ger Apeldoorn shares a humor strip kinda-sorta by Gould titled "The Gravies."

Ger explains:

Chester Gould doing a funny strip?

Well, not really. It seems somewhere in the early sixties he allowed his asiistants to create a funny strip, which was added as a topper to the Sunday page in very few newspapers. He may have been involved himself as well, since they signed it all together. An amazing gesture in itself.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1948 Video: Otto Soglow, Harold Gray, Al Capp

Here's a screen cap of Otto Soglow referencing his face for an expression.

From the Getty Images archives, here are a few links to some unembeddable video clips. All of these clips are short and appear to be part of a larger documentary from 1948.

Video: Otto Soglow
Video: Harold Gray
Video: Al Capp

    More here. If anyone knows what this documentary is, I'd love to know.

    EDIT: Oh, here it is on IMDB: THIS IS AMERICA: FUNNY BUSINESS, part of Jay Bonafield's "This Is America" series of shorts for RKO. 

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    How Was Your Irene?

    Or, as my pal Mark Anderson asked in my first email of the day, How did you weather the weather?

    Me: just fine. No trees down, no damage. But, as of today, no power, no regular phone, no cell phone, no Web. And no timeline for when we return to normal.

    Fortunately, the Portable Pantry cafe, about 15 minutes south of me, has Web access. And that is where I am sitting, checking tons of emails, tweets and so on on my laptop, in between bites of bagel.

    More anon . . . .

    Left: a city scene from the sketchbook titled "Priorities: shopping during the hurricane."

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Syrian Forces Beat Political Cartoonist

    Via Al Jazeera:

    Ali Ferzat, a renowned political cartoonist whose drawings expressed Syrians' frustrated hopes for change was grabbed after he left his studio early Thursday and beaten by masked gunmen who broke his hands and dumped him on a road outside Damascus.

    Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter has a link round up about the event, and the international outrage.

    ALLE MENN April 1962

    Here's a copy of ALLE MENN No. 14, April 1962. ALLE MENN is an "Ukebladet for Mannfolk" which (without breaking my intense blog prose styling here by running out and Googling to make sure) means it's a magazine for manly folk. My friend Adrian Sinnott handed it to me and said, You might like this for your blog.

    And right he was!

    This was back when a magazine had some great art and cartoons in it. There is something for everyone: cool car drawings, a Western, gag cartoons, a silent O. Soglow-style strip and a silly bigfoot-style strip. Some of them are full page. Lovely. We need art like this in magazines today, instead of the latest bit of stock art or a Corbis photo of a celebrity.

    The inside front cover sports a duotone feature titled DRAKE and DRAKE by Jose Carlos and Pizarro. Looking closely, this expertly drawn (but rather hastily lettered) bit of comic art is actually four comic strips stacked on top of each other. I have mo more information on this.

    Next, we have a series of gag cartoons. Since this is in Norwegian, I can't comment on the gag quality.

    OK, the wordless ones I get! And they are fun.

    And now here's WELLS FARGO which may or may not be from the same series by British comic artist Don Lawrence. Regardless, it's pretty much a painterly inking style. Gorgeous. Obvious the artist loves the west.

    And here's the last strip, TIMIAN by Gosta Gummesson. Silly and fun. It's the next to last page of the mag.

    The back cover ad is for a BBC "Learn English" LP series.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Mort Walker Ends Annual Golf Event After 53 Years

    Via Bob Englehart:

    After 53 years, Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker is ending his annual cartoonist golf tourney. Last year, only six cartoonists showed up. I was one of them. Back in the day, dozens of nationally known cartoonists living in Connecticut. Now, they're scattered all over the country.

    Boyfriend Proposes Marriage via F MINUS Comic Strip

    Story here.

    Jack Davis' Unsold Newspaper Strip

    The Magic Whistle shows us some of Jack Davis' rejected newspaper strips. After doing the rounds with the syndicates, the civil war-oriented daily was slipped into a November 1963 issue of SICK Magazine.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    The World's Most Brilliantly Pointless Street Flyers

    They are all here.

    Hat tip to Ken Dixon!

    TV Themes That Get Stuck in My Head


    I remember watching THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR when I was a kid but haven't seen it since. Why does the theme song still linger in my head? I can't recall the show nor have I seen it since. I remember the maid character being a bit more scary than the dead sea captain. And any title sequence with the dog getting credit is cool.At least, when you're a kid it's cool.


    I had a tape recorder when I was a kid and I recorded the TEMPERATURES RISING theme off the air. So ... that's why it stayed in my head I suppose! It's a bouncy theme for a proto-SCRUBS show that was a vehicle for Cleavon Little. The first year costarred James Whitmore as a crusty buy benign doctor. The second year Whitmore was out and Paul Lynde was inserted. The tinkering fizzled and the program was canceled.


    The very exciting graphics, reminiscent of those in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, with a serious announcer telling you that this ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK was produced especially for television which, in the tones he invokes, sounds terribly important. Tonight, from January 22, 1972: Kim Darby and William Shatner in "The People." It's a sci fi mystery based on a a series of stories by author Zenna Henderson. Darby and Shatner worked together in the STAR TREK episode "Miri" as you well know. I had no idea they co-starred in something else! Wow. We're learning stuff here. Useless stuff, but, well, nonetheless.


    Maybe one of the most favorite of TV themes. The NBC MYSTERY MOVIE theme is by Henry Mancini and it was a staple every Sunday night for years, used to introduce every darn first-run episode of COLUMBO, MCMILLAN AND WIFE, McCLOUD and others not-so-well known "Mystery Movies" like Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick as THE SNOOP SISTERS and Richard Boone's HEC RAMSEY.

    ROOM 222

    The ROOM 222 theme by Jerry Goldsmith gets stuck in my head all the time. The first season of the show, created by the same people who would later create THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, is out on DVD in a no frills edition.

    Thank you for your kind attention to the tunes in my head.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Russell Brockbank Cartoons

    Ever hear of British cartoonist Russell Brockbank? I had not, until the Chocarrice blog ran a spate of them. Some great stuff!

    Serious Exercise At the Grocery

    Above: my sketch of a guy who may or may have a need for that grocery store-issued scooter.

    The nice thing about my local grocery store is that ALL are welcome. Give my grocery your tired, your poor, etc. Well, not TOO poor, OK?

    There are, over by the shopping carts, squads of these little motorized scooters. They are available for any shopper to use. Presumably, this is for folks who may actually NEED aid in moblity, but, really now, let's face it: there are no rules, no criteria. ANYONE can use these scooters.

    It's just like Orson Welles, you know? Maybe you heard the story. Way back in the day, Mr. Welles had a problem: what with performing a play and a radio show and heaven knows what all, the man had to get around FAST! Cabs, subway -- they weren't quick enough. So, Mr. Welles hired an ambulance. Sirens blaring, this ambulance would zip him all over the city. Welles had solved his problem. And -- get this -- he wasn't breaking any rules. There was no law that said you have to have a medical reason to ride in an ambulance.

    So, back to my little local grocery store: It's not just the infirm and the elderly who are zipping down the aisle in these electric conveyances. The tired and lazy have caught on to the idea too.

    For a lazy person, that's some serious little gray cell exercise.

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Sketches from CARTOONING FOR EVERYBODY by Lawrence Lariar

    Here are some sketches from CARTOONING FOR EVERYBODY by Lawrence Lariar, copyright 1941 by Crown Publishing.

    Above: Lawrence Lariar self portrait.

    Lawrence Lariar was a cartoonist, a cartoon editor for PARADE and LIBERTY, a novelist and one of the most prolific authors of "How to Cartoon" books. He edited the long-running BEST CARTOONS OF series of books from 1942 to 1971. He died in 1981.

    If you are building a shelf of books about cartooning, it's inevitable you'll run into a Lariar book. Thanks to him, we have many gag cartoonists' work between hardcovers that may have otherwise turned into dust after being published in the throwaway magazine medium..

    Here are some sketches by Lariar and a couple of colleagues. Unlike his other, later books, Lariar emphasizes the value of sketching and doodling for a number of pages. The nice thing about these sketches is that they look as vibrant and full of life as ever. He's right: sketching from life helps you cartoon.

    Above: a page from illustrator and cartoonist Greg D'Allessio's sketchbook. (He was married to cartoonist Hilda Terry for 55 years.)

    Above: spots by John Groth (1902-88). I love how loose he works. Loose and confident.

     John Groth made a career as a painter and illustrator by focusing on sports and war. He captured the action-packed scenes by witnessing the events first-hand and sketching his experiences. Groth used a style technique called “speed line,” in which he sketched his subjects using rough, unperfected lines and filled the lines in with watercolors. Upon describing his technique, Ernest Hemingway, whom Groth spent time with during World War II, wrote, “None of us understood the sort of shorthand he sketched in. the men would look at the sketches and see just a lot of lines. It was a great pleasure to find what fine drawings they were when we got to see them.”

    He also was a artist-correspondent during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Groth was also the art Director for Esquire magazine.

     Above two pages again by John Groth "with no preliminary pencil understructure."

    Above: cartoonist Jack Kabat with some freehand fanciful doodles.

    Above: a sketch from Lariar's sketchbook that he sold to the New Yorker as a spot drawing.

    Above and below: some more finished sketches of middle-aged women and kids. "Study these doodles and originate a few."

    My thanks to my friend, the one and only Don Orehek, for passing along this great book. Thanks, Don!

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Rooftop Party

    Happy weekend!

    Remembering some of the Brooklyn rooftop parties. My favorite was the one at Nick Downes' place. Nick is a New Yorker cartoonist and he would have a small party every 4th of July. He would grill fish and corn on the cob and we would drink beer. From the roof of his place, we could see the fireworks in a couple of different boroughs, as well as New Jersey. And Nick could do wonders with his grill. A great chef AND a great cartoonist!

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Absolute Truths: Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks and Brendan Behan

    From a 1997 interview with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks about the 2000 YEAR OLD MAN recordings:

    Reiner: At that second recording [for "2,000 and One Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks] ... we had Brendan Behan, the famous Irish playwright [in the audience], and Mel didn't know he was there. I'll never forget this. I'd asked Mel, "Did you have a national anthem?" He said, "Yeah, every cave had a national anthem"--he didn't know I was going to ask him that, and he sang . . .

    Brooks: [Sings] "Let them all go to hell, except Cave 17."

    Reiner: And Behan came up after the session and said, "You know, I've got a new motto now," and he said something to me in Gaelic. I asked, "What does that mean?" He'd translated Mel's anthem. Now, that is exactly what flags, what nationalism does. Everybody should go to hell as long as we're OK. That's what I mean--Mel hits the absolute truths.

    Below is the 1975 animated special, with character design and pretty much everything else by Leo Salkin. The audio is directly from the 1960s comedy albums. Titled "The 2000 Year Old Man," it aired January11, 1975.

    It was my introduction to their work. Irish, Jewish, whatever -- this stuff is full of some great truths. And it still makes me laugh. The difference between tragedy and comedy, Shakespeare's lost play "Queen Alexandra and Murray," the greatest thing that mankind ever developed in 2000 years, the superiority of nectarines -- it's all here. If you just want to sing the national anthem along with Mel, click here. (And to my ears, Mel does sing "cave 17" but for some reason the cave is labeled with "76!" Go figure!)

    Here's "The 2000 Year Old Man" animated special from 1975. Listen for Brendan Behan's laughs in the background there.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    1990 Cartooning Advertisements

    Here's a collection of syndicate advertisements, original cartoon art ads, cartoon book ads and ads for cartoon education - all from the late, great Cartoonist PROfiles #88, December 1990.

    Related: 1970s-80s Syndicate Ads.