Monday, June 02, 2008

Hirschfeld's Finest

Monday cartoon day.

How many cartoonists do you know that have a theatre named after them? There's only one, of course. In 2003 the Martin Beck theatre was renamed the Al Hirschfeld theatre after the famous caricaturist, who had died that year at the age of 100. Hirschfeld had been working until his death, so he must have been doing caricatures for almost almost 75 years. I am a huge fan of his work, as I guess everyone is who appreciates clever, sophisticated cartooning. It surprises me that very few books of his work have been made. As far as I can see there isn't even a biography, although I understand the book Hirschfeld On Line has some sort of biographical information. It is very hard to come by, even though it was published in 1999. There is also a documentary with the same name, which I remember seeing on television and being very impressed with.

Still, there must be thousands of drawings he did that were not collected. Thousands of people he caricatured, which haven't been catalogued. Wouldn't it be nice to have a list of all people he caricatured. In looking for material for this blog, I have come across some of those unreprinted works of his, that I would like to share.

The first is a series of ads he did for CBS radio in 1944. Mine come from the Philidelphia Enquirer, an excellent paper all around. In these ads, which were published daily for a week, he captures every CBS program for every that of that season. Often caricaturing people you will have never heard about (and probably never will again). But there are some familiar faces, too.

These images will now be in public domain, so anyone who wants to use them for their collection of Old Time Radio programs, can probably just do that. All I ask in return is a copy. I always wanted to hear what Baby Snooks sounds like. To lure anyone googling these names to my blog, I will spell them out seperately.


Baby Snooks with Fanny Brice
The Kate Smith Hour
Blondie, the famous comic strip with Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake
Jimmy Melton and guests
Crime Doctor, crime show with Ray Collins


Parks Johnson & Warren Hull in Vox Pop
Lux Radio Theatre directed by Cecil B. DeMille
The Screen Guild Players
Questions and aanswers with Bob Hawk
The Gay Nineties with Joe Howard


George Burns & Gracie Allen
Big Town
This Is My Best
I Love a Mystery, the adventures of the A-1 Detective Agency with Doc Long and Jack Packard
American Melody Hour with Eileen Farrell


Allan Jones, musical show with the orchestra of Woody Herman
Dr. Christian, soap opera with Jean Hershold
Frank Sinatra, variety show with America's favorite singer
Jack Carson, comedy show
Nelson Eddy, musical show


Major Bowes' talent show
Meet Corliss Archer, with Priscilla Lyon
Here's to Romance, musicalk show with Larry Douglas
Death Valley Sheriff with The Old Ranger


Inner Sanctum with Raymond Edward Johnson
The Kenny Baker program, musical comedy
Saturday Night Serenade with Jessica Dragonette
The Mayor of the Town with Lionel Barrymore


DLeopold said...

Good news! Hirschfeld's prodigious output has been catalogued and documented. I've been working as his archivist since 1990.

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, over the last five years, has been mounting a number of interpretive exhibitions of his work. the summer, at the Shaw Festival in Ontario is a terrific installation of 60 years of Shaw related work. This fall will see a Hirschfeld opera exhibition at the Metropolitan Opera to celebrate the Met's 125th anniversary.

the best authobriographical sketch on Hirschfeld is in The World of Hirschfeld (Harry Abrams, 1970). this was slightly revised for Hirschfeld's World (Abrams, 1980) and Art and Recollections (Scribners 1990).

Biased as I am, the most thorough bio piece is in my book, Hirschfeld's Hollywood (Abrams, 2001) which follows his fist published caricature in April 1925 up until the Oscar nominees of 2001.

There is a great online exhibition of Hirschfeld at

the pieces that you reproduced are from CBS radio in 1944. they are terrific. Thanks for sharing.

Ger Apeldoorn said...


Your book Hirschfeld's Hollywood looked great online. I will probably order it. I will follow up later with some more material from Collier's in the fifties.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

By the way,

Will your catalogues be published or are they available online?

Mr. Karswell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Karswell said...

Fantastic stuff as usual Ger. I love the I Love a Mystery art, and the Raymond Edward Johnson Inner Sanctum piece... his hypno eyes and detachable head are genius.