Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sam Cobean's Untimely Death

Ger Apeldoorn shows us some little-seen Sam Cobean advertising work today.

Cobean was an up and coming cartoonist who died all too early in a car crash in 1951. He was 37 years old.

From Carol A. Terry's biography of Sam Cobean:

On the afternoon of Monday, July 2, 1951, Sam Cobean drove his red Jaguar into town to mail some cartoons to The New Yorker for the art meeting the next day. It was a beautiful, clear summer afternoon. After mailing the cartoons, Sam stopped at Smalley's Garage for gas. There he found Cameron Argetsinger on the telephone talking to his father. Argetsinger's Cadillac-Allard had a broken rear axle; he was calling for a ride home. Cobean offered to take him. Before leaving, Sam called Anne to tell her he would be delayed about a half hour. Traveling at a reasonable speed, Cobean started to pass a car driven by local farmer, John D. Viglione, who was taking his helper home. Viglione made a sudden left turn in front of Cobean. Sam had two alternatives, hit the car and seriously injure its passengers, or make a sharp turn to the right in an attempt to miss the car. Cobean tried to avoid hitting the car, but nicked the back end of the other car anyway. Sam then lost of control of the car. The Jaguar spun into a ditch, hit a solid imbankment, and crashed into a tree. Cobean drove close to the steering wheel which had a large prominent button in the center. Without seatbelts, the impact threw him violently forward against the steering wheel. A broken rib penetrated his heart and he died almost instantly. His passenger, Cameron Argetsinger, was thrown against the windshield, suffering a concussion and multiple lacerations. The occupants of the other car were unhurt. 
Remembering that dark day, Anne said, "Ironically, just about thirty minutes before Cameron Argetsinger's wife and parents come up to tell me Sam was dead, he had called me to say he had run into Cameron downtown and that something was the matter with Cameron's car and he was going to drive him to their summer home on the lake. It would not have occurred to me to be worried, but I recall that I had to smile about it because I thought my child husband was finally growing up."

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