Friday, September 29, 2023

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Tom Henderson Gag Cartoons

One of the most prolific post-war gag cartoonists was Tom Henderson. Before he was thirty, he was at the top of his profession. Tom only had a couple of decades in the business, passing away at the early age of fifty. But he worked a lot and sold a lot and left us with so many of his published cartoons.

He had a bold, what's called "bigfoot" cartoon style, with goofy-looking suburbanite families and kids. Men tend to be clueless and the women who endure them wisecrack. And it gets weirder. Dogs are in the army, blue collar workers wear flowery boxers, bums pilfer from churchgoers. It's a whacky Henderson world. My thanks as ever to Dick Buchanan for this trove.



Tom Henderson. “What’s Funny About That?” E.P. Dutton Inc., 1954.

Tom Henderson (1920-1970) was a cartoonist and illustrator best known for his work in The Saturday Evening Post.

He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, but grew up in Chicago where he attended Wabash College and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. 

Henderson sold his first cartoon in 1945 and quickly became a cartoonist in demand. He was the top cartoonist in point of sales to five of the largest magazines for 1946. He contributed to the Saturday Evening Post. Collier's, Look, This Week Magazine, True Magazine, Popular Science, 1000 Jokes Magazine.

In 1956 Henderson created a weekly feature, “Fan Fare” for This Week Magazine. This series appeared weekly featuring one of Henderson’s favorite targets, the wealthy, entitled, clueless members of the upper crust.

In addition to drawing gag cartoons for magazines, Henderson created illustrations for many advertising campaigns including General Electric, Shell Oil Co., American Express, Yale & Towne, Pennsylvania Tire Co., and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

Here just a few of the gag cartoons Tom Henderson created over the years . . .



Thursday, September 28, 2023

Looney Tunes: "That's All Folks!" Evolution

How long has that Warner Brothers "That's All Folks!" title card that's shown at the end of the Looney Tunes cartoons been around and how can you see all of them through the years? Well, here's the latter:

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

"Mutt and Jeff" Sunday Page Identified in Laurel and Hardy's Duck Soup" (1927)


Just amazing. Flicker Alley has cleaned up its Laurel and Hardy Year One Blu-ray so nicely, one can identify the Sunday comics page that Stan is reading in one of their early shorts "Duck Soup" (1927).  Take a look, with thanks to Paul Gravett:

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Garden As of Mid-September 2023

The garden as of mid-September. I pulled out all the vegetables in the center raised beds and turned the soil. Lots of worms, which is a good thing. You can kind of make out the empty tomato cages in the foreground. Planting winter rye in the boxes to help rejuvenate the soil. I will pull up the zinnias in a couple weeks. For now, they are still blooming.

The heat came on last night. Red and brown leaves are creeping into the foliage. The last couple of nights we have had a fire in the woodstove, so it feels suddenly like autumn. 

It's been just over two weeks since I first tested positive for Covid, and my energy is finally getting back. After working in the garden, we took an hour-long walk in the woods yesterday and then I made a bit of dinner. None of this was do-able as of a couple of days ago. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

It'll Happen To All of Us Eventually

A week ago I tested positive for Covid. I called my GP immediately after taking this pic and she answered by the second ring. I have the best doctor. Covid has, so far, been mild, and hopefully I’ll be feeling better soon.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

CARE FOR A MERGER? Cartoons from WSJ

This 1958 hardcover collection of Wall Street Journal cartoons, CARE FOR A MERGER, was found in the used book section of a huge Barnes and Noble in Paramus, NJ a while ago. I bought it for the Phil Interlandi drawing on the cover. Love that guy's lines!

Copyrights retained by the copyright holder.

Above: The sad selling price history of this secondhand book, from the inside page, unsold until it got down to $1. The original 1958 cover price was $2.75.

Here's a cartoon by Joseph Farris. Love that iconic see-gar in the boss's mouth. Whatta nasty boss! I like the juxtaposition of the vertical and horizontal lines in the background to suggest the curtains and blinds. Snappily done.

Lee Lorenz! And the drawing looks like it was done in scratchy pen style. He uses a brush now -- or rather, has for many decades! This is the only time I've seen a cartoon of his outside of the New Yorker. He became a contract cartoonist to the NYer this same year, and was the mag's cartoon editor from 1973-1997

The cartoon above shows Al Kaufman's mastery of depth and layout. It wasn't until I'd looked at this drawing, scanned it, and then looked at it again that I noticed that the chairs were too darn big. I still like the drawing, but I wonder why I didn't notice that right away.

Cartoonist Doris Matthews is the only female cartoonist in this WSJ collection. You can find more of her work in Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, edited by Liza Donnelly. I like her sketchy style, but know nothing about her.

Chon Day, the master of line, has a couple of cartoons in the collection. The lines, the placement of blacks, all done so deftly and frugally. A prolific cartoonist who, like so many of the pros, kept producing until the end. He created cartoons for many major mags and was a featured regular at The Saturday Evening Post from 1948 until Mr. Day's passing in 2000. He's another cartoonist that deserves a large "Best of" collection.

Mort Temes gives us this very inappropriate (for 2023) cartoon that tells us all that anatomy is destiny! I do admire how Mr. Temes is able to squeeze in the boss's face in the interior office. Of course, you notice how all the angles lead to that office. Nicely done. Another archaic touch: the pedestal ash tray. There was one in the shoe store cartoon above as well. You can see a photo of Mr. Temes and other cartoonists from around this time in a previous entry about Look Day.

Bernard Wiseman chimes in with this IRS joke. I liked it because of the brush work. How just the suggestion of a few people and desks in the background gives us the feel of a busy office. I like how the guy who is speaking is leaning in to the old guy while speaking.

Dan Danglo, who I am glad to say is a friend and fellow Berndt Toast Gang member, brings us this beautifully drawn cartoon. Looks like an animation kinda style of the 1950s, huh? Well, Dan was working in animation in the 1950s. He still cartoons today, and you can see more at his site.

-- This is an edited version of a blog entry from May 17, 2007.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

"Yankee Yiddish" Cocktail Napkin Cartoons by Lawrence Lariar

If you know your gag cartoons, then you know who Lawrence Lariar (1908-1981) is. He's the guy who put together the BEST CARTOONS OF THE YEAR books from 1942 to 1971. He was also a writer of mystery novels (under the pen names Michael Stark, Adam Knight and Marston la France), as well as the title "famous cartoonist" of Bill Griffiths' graphic memoir INVISIBLE INK: MY MOTHER'S SECRET LOVE AFFAIR WITH A FAMOUS CARTOONIST. 

Here are a bunch of his cocktail napkins. The full box, in fact. These are copyright 1955 by Mr. Lariar. I know this because each individual napkin has that printed on its backside. It was produced by Monogram, 2500 18th Street, San Francisco 10, Calif.

These are all just oddball, dusty ethnic punning kinda jokes. But I guess in 1955 it was good stuff. And you certainly have to know some Yiddish expressions to "get" the humor.

The ironic thing is that even though Lariar edited so many top-selling gag cartoon anthology books, one rarely sees his cartoons. I mean, if you have the covers to some of his BEST CARTOONS books, then you can see some his art there, and sometimes it's in his intros to the books. But he does not put many drawings of his own into the cartoon books he edits. This is the first time I have seen so many in one place.

There are 35 designs here. One of them is a repeat and I left it off. Even in 1955, you couldn't trust advertising!

A few related links to Lawrence Lariar-edited cartoon collection books:




Sketches from CARTOONING FOR EVERYBODY by Lawrence Lariar



-- Edited from a blog entry that originally appeared on May 17, 2017.