Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Every Laugh Means Money"

Every time Sid Smith makes a stroke of his pen, millions of people laugh.

You can't see them in this picture, though. They are standing behind the desk, just out of camera range. This is why Sid looks a little self-conscious. It is hard to work when people guffaw every time you make a little mark on a piece of paper. The noise is distracting. And they keep whispering and chatting and asking for more snacks.

But Sid has another problem, too. A rogue cartoon man named Andy with a tiny head has escaped from the funnies and is hanging around, kibitzing, giving Sid a headache with his sighing "Oh, Min!" every two seconds. And that's not all. He wants to tell Sid how to draw her, and what she ought to be saying ("Oh, Andy! I really love a man with a pinhead!") 

Andy and Min earn big money for Sid Smith every day.

Well, maybe - when they're not hanging around his desk wasting time. Federal Schools ought to tell people how to get the cartoon characters motivated to go out and actually do some work. Maybe they could take the comic strips over to the newspaper office.

And while they're at it, they might want to usher all those millions of people out of Sid's workroom. Just tell them the reporters down at the Bugle have better doughnuts.

Many, many thanks to Modern Mechanix for this glimpse into Sid's thrilling life (from Physical Culture, March 1922).


Vintage Christine said...

Did you ever see the movie "Freaks" with all the cute little pinhead people? They really looked alot like ole Andy, who very apparently has a huge crush on Min and can't wait until Sid finishes drawing her so they can do a little cartoony woo-woo. Great ad and your comments are always hilarious!

Tori Lennox said...

I have trouble believing cartoonists make "Big Money", no matter what Federated Schools wants us to believe.

JD at I Do Things said...

Is anyone else bothered by the use of "makes" in "Every time Sid makes a stroke of his pen"? No?

It bugs me. Sloppy writing, even for ad copy. But I can't think of a good replacement. That's why I'm not an ad writer, I guess.

turnip said...

One of the names they mention is the ad is J.N. Darling, who is pretty famous even 38 years after his death. He was ahead of his time as far as conservation of the earths resources. See an example of his cartoons at

The Exaggerator said...

Not many know this, but perhaps the best-known old boy of Federal Schools (now known as Art Instruction Schools) was Charles "Sparky" Schulz of Peanuts fame.

"Sparky" was also an instructor in their correspondence course on drawing children.

Wildlife artist Les Kouba also studied there, as did Wee Pals cartoonist Morrie Turner.

Eric said...

Sid looks an awful lot like Babe Ruth, I wonder if they are related?

No one laughs everytime someone plays sports do they? Oh yeah, the Harlem Globetrotters, Detroit Lions, and Texas Rangers...

Lidian said...

Christine - I haven't seen that, will have to put it on my list!

Tori - It does seem unlikely, unless you are Matt Groening or someone of that ilk. I like the word ilk, BTW.

JD - I agree, it is no good and I can't think why. But just - no.

turnip - Thanks for the link and the info. Goodness, I guess sometimes things did work out well!

The Exaggerator - Thank you too, I had no idea! So why doesn't Sid look a little happier?

Eric - Yes, the Globetrotters always looked happy, which was nice. Usually they do not. I was just watching a bit of the Australian Open and goodness, they all look so cranky!

Anonymous said...

I'd put up with 100 pinheads if it meant that I could earn 100K a year! That's a lot of dough, even by today's standards! And I would probably smile a lot wider than that guy if I made that kind of $$$.- G

Bill said...

How many millionaire cartoonists can fit on a pinhead?

Lidian said...

Georgina - So would I!

Bill - Approximately none ;)