Monday, February 01, 2010

How Now Browne Blog?

Monday Cartoon Day.

This week I'll be leaving on my honeymoon for ten days. When I went into my tumor operation this year I thought I'd better ask my 29 year live in girlfriend and mother of my children to marry me and she kindly saw I was too sick to refuse me. We are going to Florida, but the posts will continue as much as possible. I had planned to use the scheduled posting feature of Blogger, but for some reason it gave out after the first three. I now have saved all posts as drafts and will try and put them up every day from my holiday adress in lovely Sanibel. So if nothing appears I have been eaten by a crocodile or the wifi in my hotel has given out.

In preparing the scheduled posts (I thought), some of my upcoming entries were published earlier than they should have been. I quickly removed them, but apparently some people have me on a feed, so my old friend Mike Lynch beat me to it, read the post and created a link to it. Which immediately disappeared when I removed the post and turned it into a draft to be published next monday.

So for all of you who are coming here to see some pretty rare Dik Browne material, he is some pretty rare Mort Walker material instead. I rencently ran into a seller at e-bay selling Mort Walker cartoons from the late forties. All of these cartoons were initialled 'okay JB' and it turned out they were from the collection of the surviving relatives of the SEP cartoon editor. The e-bay seller thought they might be originals for cartoons that have appeared in the Post, but I had another idea. Since they were initialled and since the seller had two other cartoons (by Ted Key and the Berenstains) that were still in sketch form, I think these cartoons are in fact presentation cartoons done by Walker. In the forties and probably all through the fifties, all cartoonists did the rounds with their new material every wednesday. Sarting at the best paying magazines, or at their personal favorites, they went from office to office in New York with their sketched samples and tried to sell as many cartoons as possible. That's why most of them started with the best paying ones, if a cartoon didn't sell, they culd then offer it to the next client. In many of his biographies Mort Walker has mentioned that he discovered early on, that it was better to go around with finished cartoons rather than sketches. He found it no pain to finish of his work and he sold them a lot quicker. That would explain why there is a note of acceptance on them. Walker left a batch of them on the desk of the editor, who picked out his favorites and returned the rest later in the day.

Which leaves me with two questions:

1. Did Mort Walker then do the cartoons again or were they used as they were done the first time around. They certainly look fit to print, but wouldn't the editor have used a blue pencil rather than a red one if he knew he was going to use the cartoon. Red is so hard to lose when making plates. We have one more clue in the batch of cartoons below. On the last cartoon we see a note suggesting that the tricycle was to be changed to a bicycle. My guess is, if we were to find that cartoon as published, it might look quite different. And tehrefore the same could be true for all of them.
2. But more importantly, there is the question if they were published at all. I have quite a collection of these Mort Walker cartoons and I have come across none of the 16 the e-bay seller has. He was kind enough to send me copies of the ones I didn't buy, so I can show all of the to you, so maybe there is someone out there who can tell me if any one of them was ever published. This could go either way, but if they were published I would not know why the editor kept them. Unless they were redone for publication. I just don't know.

Also, anyone who can tell me the name of the editor?


Runs.with.Ferals said...

Congrats on the Wedding, just in time for Valentine's Day. Hope the weather in Sunny Florida warms up for you, as we have been going through a deep freeze here in the States. Safe travels~!

Eli Stein said...

I'm not sure, but the initials JB suggest to me Jerome Beatty, the long-time cartoon editor of Collier's magazine.

Eli Stein

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Oh, wow Eli. So maybe I should be looking at Collier' then? amazingly, my collection of Colliers' magazine is even larger than that of SEPs and I have seen none of these cartoons there either.