Tuesday, August 31, 2021

From the Dick Buchahan Files: Back to School Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1961

It's always a mixture of dread and joy when it's "back to school" time. This 1996 Staples store TV advertisement pretty much captures the feeling:


But what was going back to school like back in the golden age of gag cartooning? Dick Buchanan answers that question and shares some single panel cartoons of that era. Thanks, Dick, and take it away!


  (1946 – 1961)

It’s that time of year once again . . . Back to School. Did you ever wonder what was school like in mid-20th century? Your friendly cartoon curator doesn’t know.  Sure, he lived through it all, but he wasn’t paying attention. So, we delved into the Cartoon Clip File for some answers. The result was some gag cartoons which illustrate clearly what education had wrought and continues to wrought. Take a look . . .

1.  ALBERT SWAY.  American Magazine  September, 1951.

2.  STANLEY STAMATY.  Collier’s  September 20, 1947.


3.  HANK KETCHAM.  Collier’s  September 21, 1946.


4.  STAN FINE.  In the 1950’s schools cleverly skirted child labor laws by using kids as crossing guards. This was the “Baby Boomers” first taste of power.  Look Magazine  February 27, 1961.


5.  BRAD ANDERSON.  The Saturday Evening Post  November 21, 1953.


6.  SHARP.  1000 Jokes Magazine  May – June, 1946.


7.  WALTER GOLDSTEIN.  The Saturday Evening Post  May 21, 1949.


8.  JOE CAMPBELL.  American Magazine  December, 1952.


9.  HAROLD SPARBER.  Collier’s July 20, 1946.


10.  BOB GALLIVAN.  The Saturday Evening Post  January 11, 1947.


11.  GEORGE WOLFE.  The Saturday Evening Post  June 11, 1949.


12.  CHARLES PEARSON.  Collier’s  September 14, 1946.


13.  HARRY MACE.  American Legion Magazine  January, 1959.


14.  LESLIE STARKE.  Collier’s  September 18, 1948.


15.  REAMER KELLER.  The Saturday Evening Post  February 24, 1951.


16.  BORIS DRUCKER.  The Saturday Evening Post  October 28, 1948.


17.  CHARLES SHARMAN.  American Legion Magazine  June, 1955.


18.  MORT WALKER.  The Saturday Evening Post  May 21, 1949.


19.  WALTER GOLDSTEIN.  The Saturday Evening Post  February 7, 1951.


20.  HAROLD R. CURRIER.  American Magazine  June, 1950.


21.  SYD HOFF.  Collier’s  March 9, 1946.


22.  ELDON DEDINI.  Look Magazine  May 9, 1961.

Complied by Dickie Buchanan
1955 Graduate, Barboursville Elementary
Barboursville, WVA


Friday, August 27, 2021

James Gurney on Victorian Caricaturist Phil May

James Gurney, who you know from those Dinotopia books, has a blog that's always a good read. it's for


"... illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums."


Here's a recent one on Victorian caricaturist Phil May (1864-1903) that has some fascinating behind the scenes information, from Phil himself, on his working method in How Phil May Built a Drawing

"First of all I get the general idea, of which I sketch a rough outline, and from this general idea I never depart. Then I make several studies from the model in the poses which the drawing requires, and redraw my figures from these studies.

"The next step is to draw the picture completely, carefully putting in every line necessary to fulness of detail: and the last to select the particular lines that are essential to the effect I want to produce, and take the others out."


Go read!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Newzroom Afrika: News Through the Eyes of Cartoonists

Newzroom Afrika had three African political cartoonists on its "Politics Unscripted" program, talking about their process. The cartoonists are John Curtis, Brandan Reynolds and 2Lani. (I THINK this is his name. No information at the Newzroom Afrika link that I can find.) Some thoughtful and insightful comments on their work. 


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Sketchbook: Overheard at the Flea Market


True story: I overheard this father and son chat at the Arundel, Maine flea market about a vintage toy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Orlando Busino Gag Cartoons 1956 - 1966

My friend Dick Buchanan shares fifteen of Orlando's magazine cartoons today.

Orlando Busino was raised in Binghamton, NY. He was still in elementary school when he sold his first cartoon to the New York Daily Mirror. He was also a frequent cartoon contest winner in the "Open Road for Boys" magazine. In high school, he created a superhero comic for the school paper, "Bulldog, with Central, the Wonder Dog." He served at the Albrook Air Force Station in Panama after being drafted. And he contributed to the army newspaper during his twenty months there.

Returning home, he went to Binghamton University, which was then called Triple Cities College. He moved out of state to complete his schooling at the University of Iowa. He drew cartoons for both college newspapers. Upon graduation in 1952, he moved to New York City. He was able to secure a job in the advertising department of MacMillan Publishing, and at night, attended the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. After about a year, Orlando sold his first cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post. This was just the beginning of his highly successful freelance cartoonist career.

He worked with George Gladir on the Archie series of humor titles in the 1960s: "Archie's Madhouse" and "Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats." I think his cover to the third issue (above) is one of the best comic book covers of all time.

Orlando has been drawing "Gus," a comic about a large, shaggy dog for Boys' Life Magazine since 1970. There are two book collections from 1980 and 1981 respectively: "Good Boy! And Other Animal Cartoons" and "Oh, Gus!" Gus was featured on the Boys' Life cover in 1981.

A three-time winner of the National Cartoonists Society Magazine Gag Cartoonist of the Year, Orlando was also honored by the National Cartoonists Society Connecticut Chapter in 2008.

Here's Dick with an intro to his collection of Busino favorites:

Orlando Busino is often described as “a cartoonist’s cartoonist” which is only to say he’s one superb artist. He is a three-time National Cartoonists Society’s Magazine Gag Cartoonist of the Year in 1965, 1967 and 1968.

He mentored many cartoonists, among them Bob Weber. Weber, in his 1980 NCS Album thumbnail bio, took time to credit his one time neighbor Busino as a “tremendous benefit” to his career. (There is no truth to the rumor that Orlando still has Weber’s lawnmower he borrowed.)

In the spirit with which they were created, here are a few Orlando Busino gag cartoons from the mid-1950’s to the mid-1960’s.  A couple of these are among my all-time favorites.

 1.  COLLIER’S January 20, 1956

2. SATURDAY EVENING POST January 29, 1966

3.  1000 JOKES MAGAZINE.  June-August, 1957

  4. FOR LAUGHING OUT LOUD. July-September, 1957

5. SATURDAY EVENING POST.  February, 26, 1966

6.  BOYS’ LIFE.  June, 1960



9.  1000 JOKES MAGAZINE.  September-November, 1964

10.  BOYS’ LIFE. August, 1965

11.  SATURDAY EVENING POST. September 22, 1962

12.  BOYS’ LIFE.  June, 1960

13.  FOR LAUGHING OUT LOUD. July-September, 1957

14.  BOYS’ LIFE.  August, 1965 

15.  SATURDAY EVENING POST.  January 29, 1966

-- Edited from a October 10, 2017 blog entry. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Mad Magazine co-editor John Ficarra Remembers "The Hammerhead" John Caldwell


My friend, the cartoonist John Caldwell (1946-2016), is remembered by Mad Magazine co-editor John Ficarra's "Remembering ‘The Hammerhead’" in the Albany Times Union.

"One of the things I enjoyed most about John’s work was the unexpected variety of topics. Here are just a few of my favorite Caldwell pieces from over the years.

■ If chickens could time travel

■ Things King Kong could do to improve his image

■ The heartbreaking problems of aging Elvis impersonators

■ Pet peeves of Mafia hitmen

■ The upside to a nationwide bedbug infestation

Not only do I want to read those articles, I’m giggling even before I begin."


Friday, August 20, 2021

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1947-62

My thanks to Dick Buchanan for providing so many great old gag cartoons. Here's one of the first entries from September 8, 2016.

Above: ORLANDO BUSINO. A cartoonist’s cartoonist, Busino was NCS Gag Cartoonist of the Year an incredible three years out of four—1965, 1967 and 1968. 1000 Jokes Magazine, Jun-Aug, 1962.

Now is the time for me to showcase some of Dick Buchanan's gag cartoons that he has clipped through the decades as samples of great single panels of the form. Dick is a friend of this blog and I am grateful that he has chosen to share his private stash with everyone here. Here's some of Dick Buchanan's great clip file, and, listed below, are links to his other gag cartoon clip collections that have appeared here in the past. Take it away, Dick!

TOM HUDSON. Hudson was an great inkslinger with wit and aplomb, heavy on the aplomb. For Laughing Out Loud, Jan-Mar 1958.

MORT TEMES. The Saturday Evening Post, April 27, 1957.

IRWIN CAPLAN. In 1972 Caplan received the NCS Advertising & Illustration Award and the Advertising Award in 1981. The American Legion Magazine, May,1949.

MARTHA BLANCHARD. Maybe the best cartoonist never in The New Yorker. Her work was always first class. The Saturday Evening Post, July 10, 1954.

GEORGE LA MENDOLA changed his name to GEORGE DOLE in 1952. American Magazine, January,1950.

GEORGE LA MENDOLA (GEORGE DOLE) 1000 Jokes Magazine, Spring, 1950.

BOB KRAUS. New Yorker cartoonist, cover artist, illustrator & publisher. Collier’s, February 7, 1953.

LEO SALKIN. One of the WWII era animators who deserted Hollywood and was a successful gag cartoonist. Judge, March,1947.

AL KAUFMAN. This is 1955 in a nutshell. I’d say, if there’s pool in the back yard, “buy” 1000 Jokes Magazine, May,1955.

HARRY LYONS. Collier’s, June 24, 1955

AL WISEMAN. He was Hank Ketcham’s assistant, drawing the Sunday Dennis the Menace pages in the early years of the strip. Judge, February, 1947.

MORT WALKER. Early gag cartoon from famed Beetle Bailey creator. American Magazine, June, 1949.

TOM WESSELMANN. The painter, sculptor, collagist, one of the major artists of New York Pop Art first aspired to be a gag cartoonist. While at studying at Cooper Union he sold a few cartoons before making a commitment to painting. For Laughing Out Loud, Jul-Sep, 1957.

JEFF KEATE. Another 1955 classic. The more you look at veteran Keate’s car, the more you marvel. That was one of the fancy extras. American Legion Magazine, June, 1955.

More great old gag cartoons from the Dick Buchanan collection:

Dick Buchanan: Gag Cartoon Clip File 1946-64