Merely Margy, a Comic Strip by John Held Jr.

27 09 2008

Merely Margy Comic Strip, by John Held Jr.
Clipping from The San Francisco Examiner
© 1929 King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

John Held Jr. is best known for his caricaturization of the 1920s flapper girl, and other characters of the Jazz Age. His cover illustrations and caricatures adorned such magazines as Life, Judge, The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook and Vanity Fair.

In 1925, Held started a single-panel cartoon feature for United Features Syndicate, called Oh! Margy!. By 1927, Held transformed the idea into a daily comic strip, Merely Margy, An Awfully Sweet Girl, for King Features Syndicate.

I recently found a pile of newspaper clippings from the 20s-30s, including six comic strips of Merely Margy, printed in 1929 in the San Francisco Examiner. Expect to see more scans, shortly.

More about Merely Margy on Toonopedia.

About John Held Jr.


Why We Say…

15 09 2008

Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Ever wonder about the history of various common American/English idioms and expressions? An adventure in exciting educational etymological entertainments can be YOURS!

I will be sharing illustrations and anecdotes from this vintage 1953 book by Robert L. Morgan, illustrated by Peter Hoffman.

Expect to see various examples, in no set alphabetical or thematic order, appearing in my “Why We Say…” flickr set, in the upcoming days and weeks, starting with ATOM and BABY DIAPERS. (The combo of atomic baby diapers comes to mind, and that is not a pleasant thought!! Luckily, in this case, they are separate entities. Thank goodness.)

Much thanks to Glen Mullaly, who pointed out a great 2004 Interview with Pete Hoffman (by Dave Karlen), and found out that this book was based on a single educational feature panel strip series (that lasted 28 years!)

More about Pete Hoffman:

WHY WE SAY… A Guidebook to Current Idioms and Expressions — and Where They Came From
By Robert L. Morgan, Illustrated by Peter Hoffman
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.,  New York, 1953.
(out of printget your own copy on AddAll)

Big Game Shooting Gallery

6 12 2007

Big Game Shooting Gallery
Whitman Publishing Co.
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

A hit-the-target game 2 can play

While hunting at Urban Ore for fascinating old junk, I found this great 1963 publication by Whitman Publishing Company (a subsidiary of the now defunct Western Publishing).

Your blood-thirsty young ones can play at being British colonial hunters on safari, shooting wild game in the jungle with punch-out rifles and rubber bands. The game comes with jungle hats, compasses, clip-on mustaches, guns, even monocles!! The quarry includes parrots, toucans, a gorilla, giraffe, leopard, lion, snake, monkey, and even a hippopotamus!!

See more pages from the game

Visit the Witty Whitman! group on flickr for more children’s games and publications.

Christmas Carols from your Richfield Dealer

29 11 2007

Richfield Christmas Carols
Illustration by Neil Boyle
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Richmond Christmas Carols (and Christmas in the Early West)

‘Tis the season for holiday ephemera, starting with this excellent little booklet of carols from Richfield Oil Corporation. The richly illustrated centerfold tells (questionable) legends of how Christmas was celebrated in the wilderness of the Early West.

The illustrations are by the Canadian-born illustrator Neil Boyle (1931-2006).

More illustrations from the book of carols…

See record cover illustrations by Neil Boyle on Leif Peng’s blog, Today’s Inspiration, and read Boyle’s bio at the Lee Youngman Art Gallery…

Enjoy even more jolly vintage Christmas ephemera (and kitsch), in the flickr pool Vintage Christmas: 1945-1970

Caricatures, Covers & Cha-cha-cha

21 11 2007

Game & Gossip, May 1932
Illustration by Xavier Cugat
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

You may be familiar with the name Xavier Cugat as the “Rhumba King,” the Cuban-Catalan bandleader who was largely responsible for popularizing Latin American music in the United States. You may not be aware that Cugat was also a talented cartoonist (and even worked for the Los Angeles Times)!

Recently I came across some of his 1932 covers for Game & Gossip, and a fold-out with 74 caricatures of the most popular Hollywood celebrities of the time. These included such diverse characters as (see list and key) Will Rogers, Rudy Vallee, Mary Pickford, The Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin.

See more Game & Gossip illustrations, covers and advertisements

Read more about Xavier Cugat…

YOU Are in Demand if You Can Draw!

14 11 2007

YOU Are in Demand if You Can Draw!
Modern Romances, Nov. 1949.
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Make money with your brush and pen!

If you like to Draw, Sketch, or Paint, write for Talent Test. No Fee!

To read (and believe) these magazine advertisements, there is certainly no job more profitable than being an artist.

Tell it to my bank account, eh?

For more ephemera extolling the virtues of the artist’s life and work, see “So, you wanna be an artist?

See even more opportunities for rewarding employment in the Success By Mail flickr group…

A Spooky Happy Halloween to You!!!

30 10 2007

Spooks (Happy Halloween!!!)
Illustration by Mac Harshberger
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Found the most lovely yellow and gold and black book, The Singing Crow and Other Poems, by Nathalia Crane. Another FOPAL find, of course.

The gorgeous yellow and black plates, and stylized black and white illustrations, are drawn by the amazing art deco artist Mac Harshberger. The book was published in 1926 by Albert & Charles Boni of New York.

I’ve just purchase a book online about this artist, Mac Harshberger: Art Deco Américain, from the The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/California Palace of the Legion of Honor/Achenback Foundatin for Graphic Arts, 1986. You can bet I will see if I can see their holdings, next time I visit (I’m a member).

Here’s the poem, by Nathalia Crane, that accompanies this most excellent illustration.


Oh, I went down to Framingham
To sit on a graveyard wall;
“If there be spooks,” I said to myself,
“I shall see them, one and all.”

I hugged the knee to still the heart,
My gaze on a tomb ‘neath a tree.
Down in the village the clock struck nine
But never a ghost did I see.

A boy passed by and his hair was red,
He paused by a sunken mound.
“How goes it with all the ghosts,” said he,
have you heard any walking around?”

Now the taunt was the sign of the boy’s disdain
For the study I did pursue.
So I took the hour to teach that lad
Of the things unseen but true.

I talked of howler, banshee, ghoul
The gristly and the lean.
I sat on that graveyard wall and told
of all the things I had never seen.

And suddenly a bat swung by
Two cats began to bawl,
And that red-haired boy walked off in haste
When I needed him most of all.

I lost a slipper as I fled―
I bumped against a post,
But nevertheless I knew I’d won
The secret of raising a ghost.

And the method is this―at least for a miss,
You must sit on a graveyard wall,
And talk of the things you never have seen
And you’ll see them, one and all.

See more illustrations from this beautiful book…