Monday, March 15, 2021

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Eldon Dedini Cartoons 1946 - 1964

With his lush, deep colors and wicked sense of humor, Eldon Dedini (1921 - 2006) has a well-deserved legion of fans. He sold his first cartoon while still in community college, and worked for Disney soon after graduation. But it wouldn't last long! Why? Well, read below. 

Here's a great assortment of 25 Dedini cartoons spanning the first 18 years of his professional cartooning career culled from the collection of gag cartoon curator Dick Buchanan. Dick has also written a brief look at his amazing life.

Thanks and take it away, Dick!


1946 to 1964

Eldon Dedini began drawing at age 5 by copying newspaper comic strips his mother pasted into homemade comic books. His favorites were Popeye, Jiggs, and the Katzenjammer Kids.
He studied art at what is now Hartnell College, while drawing cartoons (without pay) for the Salinas Morning Post and the Salinas Index Journal to gain experience. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles where he attended the Chouinard Art Institute, working as a janitor to pay his tuition.
Dedini began his career in Hollywood studios, working briefly at Universal and then, from 1944 to 1946, in the storyboard department at Disney. All the while he kept freelancing his gag cartoons, and Esquire soon hired him to work in its Chicago office by doubling what Disney paid him. He was Esquire’s staff cartoonist from 1946 to 1950, the same year he sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker.
Dedini was most proud of his gag writing, which he considered to be the whole secret of cartooning. He once said “style alone will never sell a bum joke. A million people can draw. The question is are you funny?”

Dedini drew 50 roughs every three weeks, resulting in 630 drawings for The New Yorker and 1,200 for Playboy. His work also appeared in many other national magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Sports Illustrated and True Magazine, among others. He illustrated several books, including Rally Round the Flag, Boys! I Was a Teen-Age Dwarf and Anyone Got a Match? A collection of his work, The Dedini Gallery, was published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York in 1961. In 2006 Fantagraphics published a retrospective called “An Orgy of Playboy’s Eldon Dedini”
Eldon Dedini was named best magazine cartoonist by the National Cartoonists Society in 1958, 1961, 1964, and 1989.

Here is a small collection of his great cartoons, gleamed from the voluminous Cartoon Clip File . . .

1. ELDON DEDINI. Judge January, 1946.
2. ELDON DEDINI. Judge March, 1946.

3. ELDON DEDINI. Judge April, 1946.

4. ELDON DEDINI. True Magazine November, 1948.
5. ELDON DEDINI. The Saturday Evening Post January 8, 1949.

6. ELDON DEDINI. True Magazine March, 1949.

7. ELDON DEDINI. The Saturday Evening Post April 23, 1949.

8. ELDON DEDINI. The Saturday Evening Post September 10, 1949.

9. ELDON DEDINI. True Magazine July, 1950.

10. ELDON DEDINI. Esquire August, 1950.

11. ELDON DEDINI. Esquire August, 1950.

12. ELDON DEDINI. Esquire November, 1950.

13. ELDON DEDINI. True Magazine March, 1952.

14. ELDON DEDINI. Esquire March, 1955.

15. ELDON DEDINI.Collier's March 16, 1956.

16. ELDON DEDINI. Esquire, April 1956.

17. ELDON DEDINI. True, November 1966.

18. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine February 18, 1958.

19. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine May 12, 1959.

20. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine May 10, 1950.

21. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine November 7, 1960.

22. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine May 7, 1961.

23. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine April 7, 1963.

24. ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine June 16, 1964.

25.ELDON DEDINI. Look Magazine August 11, 1964

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