Friday, March 31, 2023

From the Dick Buchanan Files: The Old Joke Cemetery Part 2

As promised, here are a bunch of old jokes. This is part two. Part one is here.

Thank you, old joke-meister Dick Buchanan, for sharing these great oldy moldy gag cartoons! 


1941 - 1967

This year we celebrate the 99th anniversary of the Old Joke Cemetery, created by humorist Fred Allen and maintained today by caretaker Dick Buchanan. As one might imagine, the Old Joke Cemetery is the repository of many really old jokes. It is our duty to remind once an old joke is relegated to the Old Joke Cemetery is no guarantee that it won’t pop up again sometime in the future.

Therefore, pursuant to the fine print of the Old Joke Recovery Act of 1953, it is incumbent on the caretaker of the Old Joke Cemetery to publish some of the recent jokes formally interred in the cemetery. 

And, don’t forget, if per chance there’s a gag included in this selection that you haven’t encountered before then guess what? It’s not an old gag after all. It’s a new gag. That’s all due to the miracle of Humor. So, take a look . . . and bid fond adieu to some old gags . . . .

1. MARTHA BLANCHARD. The Saturday Evening Post July 27, 1957.


2. W. F. BROWN. The Saturday Evening Post January 12, 1957.


3. ORLANDO BUSINO. True Magazine April, 1966.


4. DICK CAVALLI. The Saturday Evening Post February 24, 1951.


5. DOUGLAS BORGSTEDT. Collier’s April 20, 1940.


6. LES COLIN. True Magazine July, 1950.

7. GEORGE WOLFE. Collier’s October 25, 1941.


8. DICK ERICSON. American Legion Magazine February, 1959.

9. ROY RAYMONE. Punch July 2, 1958.

10. FRED LEVINSON. The Saturday Evening Post June 8, 1957.

 11. NORMAN HOIFJELD. The Saturday Evening Post October 3, 1953.

12. LEO GAREL. Collier’s April 18, 1953.


13. REG HIDER. The Saturday Evening Post December 5, 1954.

14. DON TOBIN. The Saturday Evening Post December 11, 1954.


15. JOHN BEST. The American Legion Magazine September, 1961.

16. DAVE HIRSCH. Collier’s March 4, 1955.

17. GEORGE SMITH. The Saturday Evening Post May 28, 1949.

18. HERB WILLIAMS. True Magazine August, 1963.

19. CHON DAY. American Legion Magazine November, 1959.

20. BERNIE WISEMAN. For Laughing Out Loud #4, 1957.


Thursday, March 30, 2023

From the Dick Buchanan Files: The Old Joke Cemetery Part 1

Over two years ago, I ran this entry about old jokes. I know you didn't ask for even more of these old dreadful old gag cartoons, but that's what we deal with here, so ... tough! Now go groan and laugh at these moldy oldies that have been hand curated by the one and only Dick Buchanan. Thanks, and take it away, Dick!


Laugh In Peace

In 1922, Fred Allen commissioned comic-strip artist Martin Branner (Winnie Winkle) to cover a theater curtain with an elaborate mural painting depicting a cemetery with a punchline on each gravestone and crypt. This was the "Old Joke Cemetery," where overworked gags go to die.

Sadly, Fred Allen’s curtain no longer exists. But, thanks to the Old Joke Recovery Act of 1953, the Old Joke Cemetery has been revived by the Cartoon Clip File. Today it consists of an assemblage of vintage gag cartoons clipped from old magazines and haphazardly pasted on the walls of Cartoon Clip File headquarters.

These are the gag cartoon versions old jokes now interred in the Old Joke Cemetery. No one recalls when or where these gags first appeared but they did and they’ve been with us ever since.

Here’s a chance to say goodbye to some favorite old jokes now interred in the Old Joke Cemetery . . . and keep in mind, some of these old jokes are merely resting and will likely re-appear now and again.

1. AL JOHNS. The Saturday Evening Post December 22 – 29, 1962.

 2. SYD HOFF. True Magazine June, 1952.

3. WALTER GOLDSTEIN. The Saturday Evening Post October 16, 1951.

4. PHIL INTERALNDI. Look Magazine December 31, 1962.

5. KAZ. Larry Katzman’s Nurse Nellie cartoons appeared in magazines, book collections and greeting cards. The Saturday Evening Post May 27, 1961.

6. MARTHA BLANCHARD. Look Magazine May 9, 1961.

7. GLEN BERNHARDT. Bernhardt was a West Coast cartoonist who founded the Northern California Cartoon & Humor Association in 1954. Collier’s May 20, 1950.

8. GARDNER REA. Look Magazine April 9, 1963.

9. NED HILTON. Collier’s March 11, 1950.

10. WILLIAM von RIEGEN. Collier’s November 4, 1950.

11. GLEN BERNHARDT. American Magazine June, 1953.

12. BORIS DRUCKER. The Saturday Evening Post June 11, 1949.

13. MICHAEL BERRY. Collier’s December 21, 1946.

14. BRAM. Martin Brammier, Jr. The Saturday Evening Post June 11, 1960.

15. JERRY MARCUS. Here! December, 1951.

16. SYD HOFF. Collier’s March 19, 1949.

17. HERB GREEN. The Saturday Evening Post July 20, 1957.

18. CHON DAY. Collier’s July 18, 1953.

19. PETER WYMA. The Saturday Evening Post April 18, 1959.

20. KATE OSANN. Collier’s April 15, 1950.

21. TUP. Bob Tupper was a popular “men’s interest” magazine cartoonist. a-Laugh-a-Minit January, 1956.
22. GARDNER REA. Collier’s June 26, 1948.

23. JEFF MONAHAN. 1000 Jokes Magazine March-May, 1958.

24. BILL KING. American Legion Magazine May, 1949.

25. JOHN NORMENT. The Saturday Evening Post June 15, 1957.      

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

This is what will destroy us


Yesterday was Tuesday and it was a day I teach class. I'm up and out of the house by 6:15am to commute to Manchester. This semester I'm teaching the History of Illustration at New England College to a dozen undergraduates. Before we got into the history of comic strips and comic books, our topic of the day, we talked about the shooting at the school in Nashville. It was like we all couldn't pretend to be cocooned at school. So we talked about it. And everyone was frustrated. 

Most of the students grew up having those "active shooter drills" as part of their normal school experience since they were in elementary school. They all agreed that there are pro-gun politicians who are making money by allowing automatic weapons to be bought. There are, as an editorial cartoon pointed out, more hoops you have to jump through to buy certain kinds of cold medication than buying a firearm.

I showed them Clay Jones' cartoon (above), as well as the photo of Nashville's congressman, Rep. Andy Ogle and his family, all holding guns. This was Ogle's Christmas card. 


It was the great Steve Brodner's The Greater Quiet substack for March 29th that really struck me. That was where I saw the quote by Tennessee representative Tim Burchett (R). 


Here's USA Today's first two paragraphs:

"Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican, described the school shooting in his home state as 'a horrible, horrible situation,' but it's not something he thinks Congress needs to address.

"'We're not gonna fix it,' he told reporters Tuesday. 'Criminals are gonna be criminals.'"

When you are indifferent, when your only other advice to the "What can be done to protect our children from school shootings?" question is, as he said in that same article, "Home school" -- I see that this as absolute indifference to the suffering of fellow human beings. This is what will destroy us.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Cartoon Clip File Odds and Ends


It's all ready spring cleaning time, and Dick Buchanan has, in the process of sorting through his massive Cartoon Clip File, come across some favorite odds and ends including some vintage cartoon contests, organ grinder cartoons, and some maybe too-popular gag cartoon captions!

Thanks and take it away, Dick:



The Cartoon Clip File contains more than magazine gag cartoons clipped from the 20th century magazines. It also contains other stuff, which we toss in a box labeled Odds & Ends. What better time than now to share this and that from that boxful of Odds & Ends . . .

Over the years, many magazines from have published Cartoon Caption contests. Here’s one from the American Magazine. Sit back, light up a Lucky Strike and try your hand at gag writing 1950’s style . . .

Can you write a better gag? Cartoon by Ned Hilton. American Magazine April, 1950.

Here are two cartoons, generations apart, which cleverly illustrate that some things never change.

FRIEDRICH GRAETZ. Puck circa 1885.

MEL CASSON. The Saturday Evening Post December 7, 1946.

Sometimes, when gag writing, a cartoonist starts with the caption. Here’s a popular caption, “You know too much!”

AL KAUFMAN. Collier’s October 21, 1950.

ERNEST MARQUEZ. 1000 Jokes Magazine Summer, 1951.

VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s September 20, 1947.

Partch’s cartoon sparked a quick response from America’s teaching fraternity. Letters Column Collier’s November, 1947.

Sometimes a cartoonist comes up with two cartoons with the same caption. Can you spot the difference?

STANLEY AND JANICE BERENSTAIN. The Saturday Evening Post January 9, 1949.

STANLEY AND JANICE BERENSTAIN. Collier’s August 12, 1950.

BILL RUBLE. Collier’s July 17, 1943.

BILL RUBLE. The Saturday Evening Post June 11, 1949.

On November 14, 1949, Clyde Lamb launched his pantomime newspaper daily comic strip, Herman. Herman was carried during in 55 newspapers in the United States, India and Africa, lasting until 1966. It was distributed by Iowa’s Register and Tribune Syndicate, which also later distributed Lamb’s panel cartoon Open Season.

The Cartoon Clip File was happy when these comic strips, crudely clipped by someone long ago, landed in the Cartoon Clip File via a process too dubious to recount.

CLYDE LAMB. Herman October 1, 1952.

 CLYDE LAMB. Herman October 2, 1952.

 CLYDE LAMB. Herman October 4, 1952.

Many visitors to the Old Joke Cemetery visit the section devoted to gag cartoons about professions which no longer exist. One is the Organ Grinder, the subject of cartoons for ages. Organ Grinders were novelty street performers who operated in the 18th century and early 19th century. In 1935 New York’s mayor La Guardia banned the instruments from the street, citing traffic congestion, the "begging" inherent in the profession, and organized crime’s role in renting out the machines. But that didn’t stop cartoonists. They continued to churn out Organ Grinder gags for years. Plucked from the far corner of the Old Joke Cemetery are Organ Grinder gags.

JOHN DEMPSEY. 1000 Jokes Magazine March-May, 1959.

TON SMITS. Look Magazine March 1, 1960.

JOE ZEIS. The Saturday Evening Post November 22, 1960.

VIRGIL PARTCH. Collier’s October 29, 1954.

REAMER KELLER. 1000 Jokes Magazine Summer, 1952.

In the 1960’s John Gallagher was a frequent contributor to Boys’ Life, a magazine published for the Boy Scouts. One of his best creations was The Cartoon Bug, a monthly feature offering tips on cartooning for young artists. After it’s run in Boys’ Life, The Cartoon Bug was syndicated in the USA and Canada. The result was a deluge of mail the Gallagher family never forgot. Here are examples of this great series . . .

JOHN GALLAGHER. The Cartoon Bug. Boys’ Life January, 1968.

JOHN GALLAGHER. The Cartoon Bug. Boys’ Life May, 1968.

JOHN GALLAGHER. The Cartoon Bug. Boys’ Life June, 1968.

Well, did you come up with a better gag? If not, don’t give up. Better luck next time. Here are the winning entries.

Did You Write a Better Gag? Cartoon by Ned Hilton American Magazine June, 1950.  


- Edited from an original May 21, 2020 blog entry.