Wednesday Spill: 62 Years Ago This Week In The New Yorker
62 Years Ago This Week In The New Yorker
If you’ve spent any time visiting this site you’ll know I like to occasionally pull bound volumes of New Yorkers off our shelves and discover what’s inside. Although I’ve been through each volume in the Spill’s library there’s always something or other I’ve missed.
This morning I grabbed the April-May 1960 volume (thinking it would be fun to see what was up in the magazine 62 years ago this week).
The very first thing I found while thumbing through (to find the issue with the closest date to the week we’re in) was the truly wonderful cover (shown above) by Arthur Getz. Mr. Getz (1913-1996) according to his official website
, was the most prolific of all New Yorker
cover artists, having 213 appear during the fifty years he contributed to the magazine. This cover seems illuminated within (having seen a number of his covers in person, I can testify that this is not an oddity. If you ever have the chance, try to see his originals).
Not too far into the magazine I ran across this drawing:
I hadn’t remembered about Alex Graham’s Eavesdropper series! So this was a fun surprise. (There’s an “overheard” series posted on newyorker.com
somewhat in this vein, but without the artist imagining something unrelated to what’s overheard. Here’s the latest one)
Here’s Mr. Graham’s entry on the A-Z:
Alex S. Graham Born, Glasgow, Scotland, 1917; died, Dec.3, 1991. Graham was responsible for a single panel series called “The Eavesdropper” —a man overhears passersby conversation and imagines something (in a thought bubble) most likely entirely unrelated to the conversation. New Yorker work: 15 drawings, 1953-1961. See his Lambiek entry for more information.
And a few pages later, this beauty by the great Charles Saxon (caption: “You should be putting your stamp on something, Erwin.”).
Here’s Mr. Saxon’s A-Z entry:
Charles Saxon (self portrait from Best Cartoons of the Year 1947) Born in Brooklyn, Nov 13, 1920, died in Stamford, Conn., Dec 6, 1988. New Yorker work: 1943 – 1991 (2 drawings published posthumously). Key collection: One Man’s Fancy ( Dodd, Mead, 1977). One of the giants of the New Yorker’s stable of artists. He could do it all: covers, spreads, single panels.
And then there’s this one, by Gardner Rea.
I’ve singled him out because Mr. Rea (who I believe has been overlooked over the years) appeared in the very first issue of The New Yorker, February 21, 1925. And there he is in 1960, 35 years later, still going strong (his last drawing appeared in the issue of March 13, 1965).
Gardner Rea (self portrait above from Collier’s Collects Its Wits. Photo from Rea’s NYTs obit, 1966.) Born, Ironton, Ohio 1892. Died, 1966. Collections: The Gentleman Says It’s Pixies / Collier’s Cartoons by Gardner Rea (Robert McBride & Co. 1944), Gardner Rea’s Sideshow (Robert McBride & Co, 1945). New Yorker work: 1st issue (February 21, 1925) – 1965
I was born in April 1960 so this issue really hit home. For some reason I always felt that Charles Saxon illustrated my childhood. His drawings seemed to be everywhere—ads in newsmagazines, the cover of TV Guide, etc. The May 21 cover also evoked Virginia Lee Burton’s children’s books—Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House—beautifully illustrated (and written) stories at once heroic and wistful about the steam shovels and other machines of the industrial age that utterly transformed the American landscape.
David, a favorite of mine, too. I have certain cartoons that are like ear worms in my head. One of his greatest strengths, was his compositions.