Sunday, June 06, 2021

Browne To A Tee

Sunday Surprise Day.

I thought I was going to do a short and simple post. But it turned out to be a complete examination of it's subject. I have shown a lot of Dik Browne's advertising work for the Johnstone and Cushing company on this blog. I have pointed out his collaborations with Gill Fox and how they developed a style that seems to have been inspired by the work of Harry Haenigsen, particulary his strip Penny. I also showed some of Browne's earlier work, which shows a different style,  equally inspired by Haenigsen's early work. I shared  the strips that convinced Mart Walker and King Features to hire him as the artist of Mort's new family strip Hi and Lois. In yet another style, that combined the Haenigsen aesthetic with Walker's style. But I never was able to find something that may have resembled Browne's own style.

Except maybe for a couple of full color ads he did for Camels in the early sixties. The ... (But) Only Time Will Tell series was clever cartoon series of ads, which appeared in Sunday papers around the time that the Reynolds company stopped doing their long running series of realistically drawn sports celebrity endorsement strips. The conceit here was, that you could only tell if Camels was smoother and less cough-inducing to your T-zone (your mouth, nose and esophagus, shown by drawing a T-shaped box over that area in a model's face) if you used it for a while. The cartoons by Dik Browne illustrated other occasions where you would have to wait to see the outcome. There were only a few of those made in late 1952 to early 1953, most if which I got from Sunday newspapers and others from the back of college magazines (always heavily sponsored by the cigaret companies). Very nicely drawn and inked, with a little hint of Hank Ketcham's styleadded in the folds and faces. His style was the most modern slick cartoon style at that time and almost everyone followed it. I looked for more, but couldn't find them.


This week I happened on a black and white version of this series. Only it was one I did not know and it appeared in a daily paper. I immediately went looking for more and I ended up with quite a few of them, all of them appearing between fall 1952 and spring 1953. Some were repeated as a Sunday color version, but not all. All show that same Dik Browne style. 

It seems now that the series was started as a daily ad line and adopted to Sundays only later on. I am sure I still haven't got all of them, but with nineteen samples of a presumably two weekly series in nine months I am pretty close. if it is a weekly series, I am still a long way off.

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