Friday, July 19, 2024

GORDON'S JET FLIGHT Illustrations by Mel Crawford

Today, we look at traveling the skies of 1961 -- when flying in a plane was something that you got dressed up to do. Here is GORDON'S JET FLIGHT, a Little Golden Activity Book, by Naomi J. Glasson, with pictures by Mel Crawford. Golden Press, New York, 1961.


Above, this is the way it used to be: you walk off the jet, onto the tarmac, waving like you're on an old newsreel. I note that Gordon's flight did not have any people of color aboard.



Above, you can see that the "authentic 707 Astrojet* to punch out and assemble" was long since torn out, played with and lost; thereby destroying the collectability of the book! And, yes, gentle blog reader, you guessed correctly: this is our title character, dressed as a corporate businessman, looking up at the 707 Astrojet.


"This Little Golden Book is for every boy and girl who wants to know what it's like to travel by 'jet.' The story and pictures were carefully checked by one of out leading airlines." Aha! Corporate propaganda!


Uh ... so where is Homeland Security and the X-ray machines?

"There was a blue truck with oil, and an orange truck with cargo. A green truck brought water for the passengers to drink." I hope those silly workers don't get the trucks mixed up! Good thing they're union!


It's creepy that Dad and son are wearing the same Van Heusen overcoat. Later on, and creepier still: we see that Gordon's blue blazer sports a prissy little crest over its pocket.


Here is an opportunity for a "B" story: what is Daddy doing while he stays home? That would have been intriguing. Perhaps a torrid affair with one of the union ground crew? Ahh, that story, alas, would never be told. At least not in a Little Golden Book.


And here is, what they call in movies, the beauty shot of that Astrojet.*


Everything looks so spacious and everyone is so happy. Gordon pushes his chair back, and experiences real Astrobus* comfort. Of course, the poor slob seated behind Gordon gets his G&T spilled in the process, natch.


Gordon looks at the train, far, far below. "Only little people take the train, Mummy!"

Please note how he delegates the responsibility of amusing himself by ordering his mother to get a magazine for him.


My frame of reference for the above picture on the left is, of course, Peter Graves as the pilot in the movie AIRPLANE! (1980) who incessantly asks the little boy visiting their cockpit if he likes "gladiator movies."

On the facing page, our well-fed, well-dressed, over-privileged title character is given a "pilot's ring." A ring? I guess it's that other airline that passes out those pins.


The airplane appears to be emitting some kind of transmat anti-particle beam from its fuselage. At least that's what's Geordi LaForge, in his best technobabble, might remark upon seeing this picture.

Illustrator Mel Crawford, who worked for Disney, passed away in 2015. His Lambiek page has bio information.

*Service Mark of American Airlines, Inc.

 -- This has been an edited version of a blog entry that originally appeared on October 8, 2007 and I am writing this as flights around the world are grounded today due to a Microsoft glitch.


Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bob Newhart 1929 - 2024

Bob Newhart has just died at the age of 94.  

When I was nine years old I had a toothache and felt crummy, and since it was Sunday in Lawrence, KS there wasn't a dentist around. I had to wait. My Dad, trying to cheer me up, asked me if I had ever heard of Bob Newhart. He put on The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart, and gosh it was funny. I listened to all of them: The Cruise of the USS Codfish, The Kruschev Landing Rehearsal (which Dad just referenced in a phone conversation last month), and this one below: the Driving Instructor sketch. It only runs about eight minutes and it's great. This was all before he had his television shows. Anyway, I loved the comedy, and as far as I recall, but that night, I had no toothache after all those laughs.

And in 2007 I had the opportunity to see him live and in person at Brooklyn College where he performed, among other new and old segments, his Driving Instructor bit and the crowd laughed loudly, like they all did on the 1960 record album. Here it is if you don't know it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Video: Surreal Japanese 1985 Renown Clothing TV Advertisement


 Well, it's a little crazy here. I got nothing but bills. Need some trees taken down, the insurance is due and I got bills from the doctor coming up. (I am fine.) The bare minimum for each of these is $1,000. Right now: more outgo than income, y' know? Freelancing makes it hard sometimes, but I am still hopeful that things will get better. I just feel overwhelmed and so I saw this really weird 1985 TV advertisement for Renown clothing. I don't know why I saw it. I don't wear Renown clothing or had even heard of it before now. It was just there, on my social media feed. Why? Only the inner workings of the logarithms can say. But it cheered me, in that 1980s dreamy video style, and so I present it here for anyone who, like me, may feel overwhelmed and needs a break. Better days are coming -- but they won't be as whacky and surreal as this commercial. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

1966 Video: Cartoonist Bob Dunn: To Tell The Truth

(Above photo of Bob Dunn tossing a lucky horseshoe via the Comics Kingdom Ask the Archivist blog. The THEY’LL DO IT EVERY TIME original of December 17, 1948 is on his board.)

Some years back, Lone Ranger artist and pal Tom Gill would describe Bob Dunn to me. Bob Dunn (1908 - 1989) was the long-time assistant on THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME by Jimmy Hatlo. Bob, and later, Al Scaduto, assisted on the strip as well as all the LITTLE IODINE comics too. According to King Features, Bob was such a ball of energy, that King let him do his own strip, JUST THE TYPE, to keep him happy. According to historian Allan Holtz was

[N]ever a syndication success, King Features may well have let him do the feature just to keep him happy while working on the Hatlo cash cow feature... When Hatlo died in 1963, though, Dunn's workload presumably got that much heavier and JUST THE TYPE was dropped. Dunn finally got an official byline on THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME starting in 1966

Bob Dunn was also a joke writer, contributing to books and magazines, as well as Earl Carroll's successful Vanities show on Broadway.  He was an author with such titles as HOSPITAL HAPPY, I'M GONNA BE A FATHER, and ONE DAY IN THE ARMY among others. These sold in the millions. During WWII, Bob toured with the USO drawing on-the-spot live caricatures of the soldiers and doing his "amateur magic act."

Bob was there in New York City in 1947, at the very beginning of the NCS. Tom Gill downplayed who Bob Dunn was, really. Bob was more than an emcee, he was one of the founders of the group. He and his pal Rube Goldberg raised $58 million for US Savings Bonds during a three month tour that year. Bob would go on to be the "official toastmaster" for the NCS and served as its President from 1965-67.

So, good ol' Tom Gill would tell me about Bob and what a firecracker he was. And Tom would always end his Bob Dunn anecdotes with, "I wish you would have met him. He was a great guy."

Today, I just found out that Bob was on TV, as early as 1946. And someone saved some of the old kinescopes. 

The closest I have yet come to actually seeing Bob Dunn in action is a copy of an old short-lived game show titled QUICK ON THE DRAW. It was on a couple of networks and a couple of hosts while it was on the air from 1950 to 1952. This segment has ventriloquist Paul Winchell (and Jerry Mahoney) hosting. While I can't say for sure, it may be Bob Dunn drawing. (The cartoonist is unseen.)


Via Wikipedia:

"They'll Do It Every Time and Little Iodine brought Dunn several awards. He won the National Cartoonists Society Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for the years 1968 and 1969. He won it again in 1979 with Al Scaduto. Dunn won the National Cartoonists Society's highest honor, the Reuben Award, in 1975. He also received their Silver T-Square Award in 1957 and the Elzie Segar Award, named after the creator of Popeye."

Here is Bob Dunn on the January 10, 1966 To Tell the Truth game show. He's one of the contestants in the final segment, which starts here or watch the whole episode:

I first posted about Bob Dunn on August 29, 2016. This is an expanded, edited version of that blog entry. And I wanted to add this comment, from Bob's son, that he recently posted on the 2016 post:
"Mike, Bob Dunn was my father. tom gill a good friend of his. Knew his son. I have been looking for a kinescope of a Quick on the Draw episode. The show ran on the Dumont Network and later on NBC. The You tube account you included in your post has been cancelled so the clip is no longer on You Tube. Any chance you still have it? Would love to see it. Thanks. Bob Dunn Jr."
Thanks, Bob, for your kind comment. I did find a working version of that episode. and it's posted above. Unfortunately, like most of the DuMont Network shows of the early 1950s, the shows with your Dad hosting are lost. This is darn sad. The closest I go to was that episode hosted by Winchell, which was later on and on another network. But Bob Dunn may or may not be drawing backstage. I am not sure. I did find him on To Tell the Truth, and that's now included in the entry.

Monday, July 15, 2024

The Garden As of July 15, 2024



The garden as of July 15th. Lots of zinnias and some Queen Anne’s Lace that I thought was carrots (!!!) last month. Tomatoes, cukes in containers on porch doing well, as are flowers in the yard. Fergus the cat is snoozing in my studio. It’s his way of “helping.” 

The above bed is in need of repair and there's nothing here except for remnants of winter rye for now. 


There are still some branches down from the late winter storms. 


Friday, July 12, 2024

Back to the Local Drawings by Edward Ardizzone


Back to the Local, by Maurice Gorham, was first published in 1938 and was a celebration of the habit of going to your local London pub. The illustrations were by the great Edward Ardizzone.

"In his foreword to ‘Back to the Local’ Maurice Gorham explains that the life of the original book came to an end during the war when ‘unsold copies, sheets, and plates of the drawings went up together in the burning of Cassell’s premises in Belle Sauvage Yard’. After the war, Gorham and Ardizzone revisited the subject. Ardizzone re-drew some of his original illustrations and added some more, and Gorham re-wrote his text to take into account the many changes to pubs and pub going since the end of the war. (At the time of writing beer was still being rationed). In his introductory essay he explains that during the war visiting one’s local was one of the habits that Londoners missed most: 

"‘Whether they were parching in the desert, evacuated with their jobs to unfamiliar seaside towns or country villages or inland spas, or merely working the night shift, many of them would be thinking and talking mainly about the time when they would again be able to drop into the old friendly local and have a pint or two among their friends.'" -- The Silver Locket

The book will be reprinted in the States soon, and is already out in the UK. The Silver Locket again:

"‘Back to the Local’, this new edition published by Faber & Faber Ltd in 2024, with an new preface by Robert Elms, and a map featuring the pubs still open for business today by Emily Faccini.

"You can buy a copy direct from Faber and receive a free beer mat featuring the cover, designed by Pete Adlington, Faber’s Art Director."


Here are some of the Ardizzone drawings from Back to the Local:


This new edition has a map on the back of the cover showing 65 pubs still open today. Designed by Emily Faccini.


What with a lot of Ardizzone's published work going out of print, it was such happy news to hear of this new reprint edition returning to bookstores.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

New Yorker Cartoonist Mort Gerberg Profiled by New Yorker Cartoonist Sofia Warren


If you have read The New Yorker any time since 1965, you have seem Mort Gerberg's cartoons. At 93, he's still producing cartoons regularly, and he was recently visited by Sofia Warren, who writes a profile of him (and draws a profile; see below) for the Magazine. 

During the 1980s. Mort taught a how-to-cartoon course for The New School. I was one of his students back then. Until now, I had not thought about it, but I have known Mort, first as a teacher and then as a colleague, for over thirty years. Mort is a master cartoonist and his 2019 retrospective at the New-York Historical Society was a fitting tribute to a fellow who has chronicled more than half a century.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Video Tour of New Gallery Show Kirbyvision: A Tribute to Jack Kirby at the Corey Helford Gallery in East Los Angeles


There is a Jack Kirby exhibit From June 29th to August 3rd, 2024 at the Corey Helford Gallery in East Los Angeles. If you would like to see what it's about, Matt Jones has taken a great video of what's there. Thanks, Matt! 


Tuesday, July 09, 2024

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Gag Cartoon Clichés Part 10 1949 - 1966

Wow! Here's another batch of gag cartoon clichés that have been collected over the years by our friend Dick Buchanan. Thanks, Dick. And don't forget to look at all of the other clichés that Dick has cataloged. Including this entry, there are now fifty magazine cartoon clichés, with 150 samples. My goodness! A feast.

And here's the latest! Thanks, Dick!


(1949 - 1966)

Cartoon Clip File Cliché Compendium continues the task of surveying gag cartoon clichés prevalent during the mid-20th Century. Haphazardly culled from the leading magazines of the era, these gag cartoons illustrate cartoonist’s attempts to add a new twist to an old situation. Sometimes they were inspired, other times they fell flat into the same old rut that begat the cliché in the first place.
It was all in fun.


1. DAN DANGLO. 1000 Jokes Magazine March-May, 1956.

2. VAHAN SHIRVANIAN. 1000 Jokes Magazine December, 1959-February, 1960.

3. AL JOHNS. The Saturday Evening Post. October 10, 1959.


1. JOHN DEMPSEY. 1000 Jokes Magazine August-October, 1954.

2. REAMER KELLER. Collier’s March 28, 1953.

3. HERB WILLIAMS. American Magazine February, 1949.


1. ROBERT DAY. Collier’s September 25, 1948.

2. HANK KETCHAM. Collier’s July 2, 1949.

3. AL JOHNS. The Saturday Evening Post October 10, 1959.


1. DICK ERICSON. 1000 Jokes Magazine December 1965-February, 1966.

2. GUSTAV LUNDBERG. 1000 Jokes Magazine May-July, 1955.

3. VIRGIL PARTCH. True Magazine November, 1956.


1. ROBERT DAY. The Saturday Evening Post February 11, 1950.

2. CLYDE LAMB. American Legion Magazine November, 1953.

3. VAHAN SHIRVANIAN. 1000 Jokes Magazine March-May, 1958.