Friday Mailbag

Today’s mailbag
is all about vintage
postcard art by
Bernhardt Wall ….

Completely
off the subject, though…

You wouldn’t believe
how conflicted we are
around here when it
comes to the Friday
Mailbag.

Not that it’s
your problem.

Nope.

And we
wouldn’t
dream of
imposing
our silly issues
on you,
ya know.

You got enough
stuff on your
plate already,
very true.

Of course, if you were
to have been stashing
away goodies with
every intention of
eventually sharing
them with the massively
popular and well written
Muscleheaded Blog’s
audience….

… and, thus, you
were to find your
way clear to sending
anything in that
you think would
make a good submission,
well, we’d just figure that
was completely out of
the kindness of your
heart, and not because
we made you feel guilty
by transferring all our
doubts and hesitations
about it….

If that had
a snowball’s
chance in hell
of working,
then,
maybe
we’d take
that idea
more
seriously into
consideration, but….

Sure,
guilt is a
powerful
thing.

It would help if I
could find a picture
of me when I was a
kid looking all
doe-eyed
and needy —

but I looked,
and all I found
were pictures of
me looking very
pissed off for one
reason or another.

Ahhhhhh,
sweet memories.

!!! HOY !!!

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The Posters of Jean Carlu

It’s not just
postcards
around the ole
Muscleheaded Blog,
ya know…..

We’re also crazy
over for vintage
poster art-

– especially those
related to La Belle
Époque, Art Deco,
Cubism, and
World War II
subjects.

If it’s got to do
with graphic
design or art,
well, we’re
probably into it.

Today’s topic is
all about what
the French call
‘affiche’ ;

— and specifically,
about one of
their best
and brightest
poster designers –
Jean Carlu.

Born in  1900,
in the Île-de-France
region of Northern
France; in a town
called Bonnières-
sur-Seine, Jean
grew up in a
family of architects –
but decided early
on, while attending
the Ecole de
Beaux-Arts,  that
his interests lay
more in the
printed image –

— and he won his
first professional
job as a poster artist
in a Glycodont
advertising contest.

He was chosen as
“Designer of the Year”
by none other than
the world famous
graphic artist Leonetto
Cappiello himself.

Tragically, that
same day he
lost his right
arm in a traffic
accident-

but he dedicated
himself to relearning
to draw with his left,
and soon he was back
at his easel; and a hint
of that missing hand
would appear in several
of his forthcoming works.

Much of his designs
between 1918
and 1925 were
in the rapidly
evolving Art
Deco style, and as
the decade played out,
he focused more on
encompassing cubism
in his designs.

His posters for theatres
like Pigalle, museums
and attractions like
Aquarium de Monaco
and the 1937 Paris
Exhibition were very
popular ;

– as were the designs
for elite French
wine labels, like
Chateau Mouton
Rothschild in 1924
and adverts for beer
like Spatenbrau.

His poster work
can be considered
in three general
perspectives:

1: Style Art :
Including
Cubism,
Surrealism,
and Art Deco.

2: Innovative Technique :
Including Photo-montage
and Dimensional Layering.

example

3: Propaganda :
Since he had lived
through the devastation
and death of World War
I, he was originally
inclined toward the
European disarmament
movement in the early
1930’s …..

— but as Hitler
geared up for aggression,
Jean Carlu found himself
creating more patriotic
and propaganda art –

including several
posters encouraging
the United States
to render aid to
the Allies, and even
‘increase production’
posters for the American
market …

— and he lived in
the United States
from 1940 to 1953.

After 1953 he returned
to his native France,
and created dozens
more memorable works,
much having to do with
travel, like his posters
for Pan American
World Airlines and
Air France.

He died in the late
1990’s; leaving a rich
legacy of stunning
color and powerful
line in hundreds of
affiche designs
from his 70 year
plus career.

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!!! HOY !!!

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The Yellow Kid

Maybe you remember
the time I posted the
story of “Buster Brown“-
a comic strip that used
to run in newspapers
owned by William
Randolph Hearst,
in many affiliated
and syndicated
newspapers
around the
United States…

The main character
eventually became
an advertising
device for a shoe
company.

But, many folks
don’t know that
the artist who
created Buster
by the name of
Richard F. Outcault,
created a more
historically important
comic character,
“The Yellow Kid”.

You’ve heard the
expression
” Yellow
Journalism “ ?

Well, the term is
originally derived
from a reference to
the Yellow Kid comic
strip …

(“Yellow Kid
Journalism” was
the original term)

…expressing the
idea that newspapers
would print
almost anything,
including a Sunday
Color Comic Strip
Supplement in order
to sell newspapers.

( Which it did . )

It was also one of
the first comics
to use ‘speech
balloons’- when
the strip was
originally called
Hogan’s Alley “.

One other thing
it did, I guess,
was prove the
absolute
ruthlessness
of Randolph Hurst
as a publisher –

– he hired Outcault
away from his original
newspaper (Joseph
Pulitzer’s
New York World)
with a monetary offer
that the man just
couldn’t refuse –

– Pulitzer responded by
continuing the strip
with another artist
(George Luks )
and a slight variation
in the characters -> ->

So, in effect, the
Yellow Kid was running
in two versions in two
different syndications,
for about a year.

While the Luks version
was discontinued in 1897,
the Outcault original
out-lasted it another
two or three years.

If one looks closely,
it can be observed
that the Kid was a
product of the
urban slum
poverty that
was endemic
in New York
City at the time;

But, according to
Outcault himself:

” The Yellow Kid was not
an individual but a type.
When I used to go about
the slums on newspaper
assignments I would
encounter him often,
wandering out of doorways
or sitting down on dirty
doorsteps. I always loved
the Kid. He had a sweet
character and a sunny
disposition, and was
generous to a fault.
Malice, envy or
selfishness were not
traits of his, and he
never lost his temper.”

Societal tastes
were changing
rapidly at the
turn of the
century, and
since Outcault
did not have
any control of
the copyright on
“The Yellow Kid”,
he was disinclined
to continue the strip –
although the character
continued to be used in
all sorts of advertising
items and novelties –
from dolls and soap,
cigarette packs,
to buttons, fans,
and even liquor.

Yellow advertising ?

Perhaps.

But the character
represents a point
in time when people
were becoming
increasingly aware
of the horrors of
tenement living
and the
plights of the
disadvantaged,
and the eventual
demise of the Kid
probably had
more to do
with the fact that
people no longer
thought stuff like
human suffering
and poverty
was at
all funny.

And here’s
to that.

!!! HOY !!!

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Googie For You

A friend of mine
sent me a couple
pictures, and a
riddle —

She asked :

what would you
call this style of
signage?

I thought
about it,
and came up
with all sorts of
descriptive names
that really didn’t
narrow it down,
for some reason-
– retro-futuristic
was the best I
could come up with.

She then let the
cat outta the bag —
(what the cat was
doing in there in
the first place,
well, don’t ask…. )
and told me about
something called
“Googie Architecture”.

Now, you might
not believe me,
but according to
Wikipedia,
” Googie architecture
is a form of post-modern
architecture, a subdivision
of futurist architecture
influenced by car culture,
jets, the Space Age, and
the Atomic Age;
originating in Southern
California during the late
1940s and continuing
approximately into the
mid-1960s. “

Damn,
I shoulda
knowd that.

You could have
beat me over the
head with a stupid
stick —

— cause I never
even heard of it,
even though I’ve
always LOVED
that style.

I remember a lot
of those in Miami
Beach, and in
Wildwood, N.J. as
well —

— not to mention,
the most famous
Googie Style sign
of all time —

The Welcome to
Fabulous Las Vegas
sign.

You can still see a
lot of it, if you look
close, on Motels,
Car Washes, Drive
In Theatres, Bowling
Alleys — it was a style
that was extremely
popular in the early
space age —

— expressing a very
optimistic, light hearted
view of what was coming
in society.

It can be recognized
by the dramatic use
of parabolas,
boomerangs,
flying saucers,
atomic shapes,
unusual neons,
and geometric
figures like
balls, oblong
triangles, etc…

– usually combined with
a pastel or bright color
motif.

I think Donald Fagen’s
song:
What A Beautiful
World – I.G.Y

really hits this style
right on the money.

And, I figured
I’d give you
some samples of
Googie signage
to look at while
you listened.

Cool,
right ?

If you’ve got pictures
of Googie that you’d
like to see featured
here, just send em
right along…

We got plenty
of room !

.

!!! HOY !!!


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Friday Mailbag

Just sorta
reminding ya,
cause I know
you are probably
already well
aware of it ……………

ITS
FRIDAY !!!!

Of course,
you might
just figure I’m
stating the
obvious,
and
I’ll admit
that we
do that
a lot
around here……..

But it also
means that
it’s time for
our weekly
Mailbag post,
brought to you
by :

well,
nobody in
particular,
since we
don’t accept
advertising.

I suppose
it might
still seem
a bit suspect,
me posting a
Friday Mailbag
full of commercial
cigarette cards,
but I assure
you that the
company that
produced them
didn’t do a
damn thing
for me-

Hell, I don’t
even think
they’re
in business
anymore.

Nope,
actually,
I’m sure
of it.

It was Frishmuth’s
Tobacco Company,
based at 17th and
Lehigh Avenue in
Philadelphia —

and these cards
are from an
1887 series
called
“Occupations
of Women”….

and
they went
out of business
around 1910.

( Just a
footnote
in history,
the founder
of the
company
jumped to his
death from
the 50th floor
of a Philadelphia
hospital…)

Yes,
the cards
are highly
collectible,
now that
you mention
it.

Colorful,
beautifully
drawn, and
carefully
lithographed.

Rare?

I
dunno
about
that….

But
I think
you can see
why I like
’em.

.

!! HOY !!!

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Soft Soaping

No Soap.

Soap Opera.

Don’t Drop The Soap.

Soap On A Rope.

Soap Scum.

Soft Soap.

All Soaped Up.

Soap Party.

Soap Poisoning.

99.4 % Pure Soap.

Soap Dodger.

If there’s no suds,
there’s no soap.

Soap Bubbles.

Mark Twain
said that :

” Soap and
education
are not as
sudden as a
massacre,
but they are
more deadly
in the
long run. “

Soap is one
of those
things that
pervades
every aspect
of our
daily lives in
some way,
and certainly
as part
of our daily
parlance.

That doesn’t
mean that
we’re all
that squeaky
clean,
of course —

– as the writer
G.K. Chesterton
noted:

” Man does not
live 
by soap
alone; and

hygiene, or
even health,

is not much
good unless

you can take
a healthy

view of it or,
better still,

feel a healthy
indifference

to it. “

Soap’s a
pretty simple
thing, really —
a little fat,
a little salt.

You kinda
take it for
granted, unless,
of course, someone
you know really
does take it for
granted….

— cause you’ll
quickly notice
the absence
of it’s use.

Still, soap
can make
for an
interesting
subject for
a blog post,
as we’re
attempting
to prove
today here
on the
Muscleheaded
Blog….

… by
blowing
some
nice
vintage
soap bubbles
of our own.

Let us
know
how we did.

!!! HOY !!!

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Maurice Milliere

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