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COLLECTORS' CORNICHE

Welcome to our sentimental section where I muse and marvel about antique volumes on the shelf and rare finds in old bookstores and the like. Nothing major. Skip over this if you’re busy.

For the collectors among us, here (at the bottom of this post) are some pages from an antique issue of The Cartoonist, the magazine of the National Cartoonist Society, summer 1953, when cartooners were more playful when assembled than later. The cover illustration, as you can see, is a mock They’ll Do It Everytime (TDIE) by Jimmy Hatlo. This spoof, however, is drawn by someone else — namely, Sayre Schwartz. Hatlo’s assistant, Bob Dunn, is peeking out of the file cabinet. Hatlo appears at the right corner of the upper panel and at the “wall,” drawing on it, in the lower panel. The wall is in a hangout and former speakeasy called the Palm, the walls of which cartoonists had been decorating for several years by 1953; it’s still there on Second Avenue, right across from The Palm Too on the other side of the street. “Bozzi,” is the name of one of the co-owners, last name Pio to be exact; the other’s name was John Ganzi.

There are now several Palms around the country, each decorated with cartoons, but none except the original Palm features cartoon murals drawn by famous hands. In all the other Palms, the pictures are reproduced mechanically or drawn by freelance illustrators who are not, necessarily, working cartoonists.

Next is a page of Joe Palooka by the unlikely “guest cartoonist,” Dick Cavalli; followed by Sniffy Sniff by Fred Rhoades and Wun Sent (a spoof of Penny) by Bob Montana of Archie fame. Then Eldon Dedini conducts a fashion show at the bottom of the page.

Wun Sent deserves a little more explication. The drawing of “a girl taking a hot bath in a tea cup” is a remnant of the chalk talk show that cartoonists used to put on in military hospitals to amuse wounded soldiers in WWII. A cartoonist would draw that picture only the other way up and proclaim it to be a light bulb (which is what it looks like upside-down). Then another cartooner would come along and turn the picture upside-down (or right-side up) and say it is a picture of “a WAC taking a bath in a helmet.” This is the excuse for humor that only the wounded would go for. And they did.

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For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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