Donald McGill’s Christmas Postcards

mcgill1If you’ve been paying
any attention at all
to the Muscleheaded Blog–

( and who could blame
you if you weren’t )

I know you’ve seen
this guy’s work before….

… even if you didn’t know
who he was, exactly.

His name is Donald McGill,

he was from England,donaldmcgill

and during his active working life as an artist,

between 1900 and 1960,

he was considered to be the:

“King of the Saucy Postcard”.

Saucy meaning humorous,

mcgillingredients—-  with a heapin’ helpin’
of double entendre .

If you like this blog,

you probably like his postcards, too.

His distinctive simply-drawn
style is relatively easy to spot,

.. and the earthy humor
is very approachable.

And, just like the MH Blog,

there were plenty of people,
over the years,

didn’t appreciate McGill’s
signature combination,

of simple, sarcastic and sexy, of course.

The Germans,

— during World War I, for instance,

didn’t exactly enjoy Donald McGill’s
snarky anti-Kaiser propaganda …

not one bit.

And despite his patriotic poster
and card war-work ,

… he never became what you would
call an insider in British society.

He once told a reporter that even
his children didn’t like to be seen
near a shop that sold his postcards.

Tsk tsk.

During the 30’s,mcgillmale

very vocal critics in English media
and politics weren’t all that fond
of his willingness to lampoon
anything and everything….

…. especially the strict social mores
and class structures of post-Edwardian England.

And after World War II,

— a consortium of Brit blue-noses
ganged up on a then 80-year-old McGill
and had him prosecuted for obscenity–

This, in turn, practically drove the
postcard industry in England out of business,

mcgillkiss— for a while, anyway.

The ‘saucy seaside postal card’
almost went the way of the dinosaurs.

But, he’s certainly also had his fans —

George Orwell wrote an essay on his work,

— and he has a large following of collectors,

both in the United States and Great Britain,

who specialize in finding his cards.

There is now even a museum featuring
his postcard designs on the Isle of Wight (in Ryde).

kiplingAnd despite the fact that much of his work
is so obviously created for a British audience,

… one of his ‘saucier’ post-card punch-lines
even made it to American television.

The Beverly Hillbillies, that is.


Ellie Mae’s boyfriend
(played by Louis Nye)
asked her if she liked Kipling.

To which she (Donna Douglas) replied:

I don’t rightly know, I’ve never kippled “.

mcgillshiftTake out the faux southern accent,

……… and that’s pure Donald McGill.


while I have featured several
of his postcards on the MH blog previously,

I have never done a post
about his cards created
for the Christmas/New Year Holidays….

And December does seem
as good a time as any, right ?

It actually it’s too logical for this blog,

— but we’ll go with it anyway.mcgilltrousers

I find his Holiday work particularly enjoyable….

It’s a nice change from the usual themes–

of snow covered lanes,
and the more sentimental/religious images,

that we usually see on Christmas cards.

As far as I’m concerned,

it’s not a real holiday without a little fun,

pollyholly…… and I always prefer the naughtier kind.

( In just about everything,
….. now that I think about it. )


I’m only human.

McGill was thought to have designed
over 12,000 different cards in his long career,

— but the Holiday pieces
he drew number under 50.


not only are they fun,

— but they’re pretty unique, too.

I hope you enjoy them….

You never know….

….  maybe you’ll become a Donald McGill fan, too.

HOY !!!



Correspondence Cards

9aPeople are sometimes surprised
at the huge variety and different types of vintage postcards
that were printed between 1900 and 1970–

So much so,
that starting collectors often have to choose a specific genre of cards
in order to keep their collection from running away with them….

For just about anything that a person would want to say back then—
— quickly and efficiently,
there were postcards printed that would say it for them.

That’s what postcards were really all about —

— keeping in touch,
but not having to sit down and write a letter.

One very interesting variety of postcards are called ‘correspondence cards’,

…. and these are basically the ‘memo’ pads of the postal system.westernunion

Considering the possible choices that might be called for,

you might imagine that there were an amazing variety of themes manufactured,

…… and you’d be right.

There were over 100 companies engaged in printing them at one time in the United States alone.

Of these, Curt Teich was the largest,
but there were all kinds of companies,
large and small, publishing them.

peepI’ve even seen correspondence cards made to be used,
when sending a Western Union telegram.

And though technically not made to go through the mails,
the Western Union ones were just the tip of the iceberg,
as far as correspondence cards go.

A lot of servicemen would send correspondence cards during World War II,
…. to jot off a note to the folks at home,
or an important significant other ….

1942I particularly enjoy the available options that are listed on those —

Under the heading ” Hi There “,
….. the soldier could then check who he was sending it to:
Mom and Pop
Ya Big Palooka

Under the heading ” I Object To “:soldier
Detail Work ( cleaning, KP, etc. )
Our Top Kick ( a non-commissioned officer in charge of a unit)
Our Shave Tail ( an inexperienced commissioned officer )
Getting Up Early ( well, of course!)

Under the heading ” What I Need Is “:
Cabbage, Plenty ( Cash)
A Good Long Sleep ( usually at a premium )
Lots o’ Lovin’ ( not much of that to be had on a military base )
Relief ( that could mean almost any kind of relief, mind you )check
A Woman ( and why not, I ask you? )

It seems to me those choices are all pretty much related, but still….

The options would often be the most entertaining part of the card,

…. especially considering
they were in the special serviceman’s parlance of the era.

And the military actually encouraged their use,worker

since it was certainly more difficult to unintentionally convey classified information while using one–
which was certainly a concern.

For instance,
cues as to where and when a soldier might be sailing,
where he was stationed, etc, were kept to a minimum with these cards.

But not only were soldiers encouraged to use them,dog

……………….. but also workers in war related industries —
and even servicemen’s families.

And after the war, the popularity of the cards did not initially wane,

— because people had grown accustomed to their convenience and ease of use.

Only in the 1960’s,
did these cards finally fall out of general circulation.florida

Of course,
people don’t use the mail services to keep in touch like they used to.

During the WW II era,
and for years before and after,
long distance phone calls were expensive
and sometimes a phone was not readily available —

There were no text messages, 1a
no Facebook,
no cell phones.

So these cards did fit a very specific need —

….. and they speak to a time when things were simpler,
in terms of technology,
and in terms of necessity.

I love em —

They’re certainly always fun to find among a pile of old postcards.



PS: My friend Katie did a post back in May that featured very funny correspondence parodies —

I personally like the “Declaration of Romantic Intent “-  it’s perfect !!!!! 😀


Check the entire post out at :

HOY !!!!

Postcards That Missed The Mailbox


My long time friend Carolyn sent me a couple Anne Taintor postcards that somehow missed Friday morning’s mail-bag post.

Inexcusable of me, frankly.

I always want to take the time to recognize how important my friends and readers are to me, and to the Muscleheaded Blog…

… and the mailbag feature is one way I do that.

So, missing these — well….

What can I say.

Oh well…

Anybody who knows Carolyn (from WordPress or Xanga) knows that she has a wonderful, wicked, and slightly bent sense of humor.

So, I’m pretty sure she’ll understand.

These cards are witty and cute,
and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

We started off with the one she said she liked the most  …

Let’s hear it for a sin coming on, man.

Just remember what Mister Spock said that episode in which he got to be emotional–

Wanting stuff is often more fun than actually having stuff.

I think that’s what he said.

And how that’s relevant here, well….. I dunno, come to think of it.


Anybody remember Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”?

Great tune.

What’s better?  wi

Well, how about some lovely retro bathing beauties, by the seaside.

Why wouldn’t anybody love that?

“Glimmering and vast,
out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch’d land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling….. ” 


yes, that verse was cut from “Dover Beach”–

—- so my apologies to Matthew Arnold, already.

meHere’s C’s last submission —

And having been one of them there ‘unsuitable’ types, myself, for most of my life,

I totally get the humor here.

And want to express my undying gratitude.

For the cards, of course.


If you somehow missed the mailbag post, like these cards did, you can see it here.

so now, I get to submit one …

It’s only fair, right?