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1934 editorial cartoon could run today

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Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley forwarded me this editorial cartoon that is reportedly published in The Chicago Tribune in 1934 during the great depression. It’s uncanny how easily this cartoon could run today with some minor changes in the labeling.

I’m not sure who the artist was. Perhaps one of the comic historians among us can shed some light on the cartoonist.

What other “the more things change, the more they stay the same” do you see in this cartoon?

Community Comments

#1 NoahRodenbeek
@ 9:32 am

Awesome, we should have a Daily Cartoonist competition/activity where we all remake this cartoon for submission here.

#2 Jim Lavery
@ 9:52 am

The cartoonist was Carey Orr (1890-1967)

#3 Matt Bors
@ 11:33 am

That could run today for a number of reasons.

#4 John Cole
@ 12:33 pm

Here’s a story from Time’s archive about young Carey Cassius Orr’s arrival in Chicago, where it was predicted he’d help Colonel McCormick “flay the New Deal.”

Evidently, the comings and goings of editorial cartoonists constituted national news in 1936.

#5 John Cole
@ 12:38 pm


The story is about Joseph Parrish joining Orr at The Trib. The story also has some interesting if gossipy-sounding bits about McCormick spiking McCutcheon’s pro-New Deal cartoons.

#6 Milt Priggee
@ 2:58 pm

Great link John- THANKS.

FYI- The Tribune had three toonists two other times in their history.

After McCutcheon retired, Ed Holland joined Orr and Parish.


Then in the early 80’s when the Trib added MacNelly to Stayskal and Locher. After they reassured Jeff that neither Locher nor Stayskal would lose their positions at the Tribune, Stayskal eventually ended up in Tampa.

#7 Joe Rank
@ 6:48 pm

What an awful cartoon. Drawn well, but the confusion and conflation with the murky Stalin figure in the background and the Trotsky looking editorial commentator in the corner. What a mess.

#8 Tom Wood
@ 7:30 pm

The anti-intellectualism and over the top ‘dictatorship!’ rhetoric fits right in with today. And yet, America remained essentially the same then as it it will now.

#9 peter kur
@ 7:57 pm

“American editorial cartoonist, 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner.

Carey Orr was born in Ada, Ohio on Jan. 17, 1890. Interested in cartooning from a young age, Orr used money earned as a semi-professional baseball pitcher to enroll in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. After completing his arts training, Orr began his journalism career at the Chicago Examiner, and in 1914, joined the Nashville Tennessean as a full-time editorial cartoonist. Having established a national reputation by 1917, Orr went to work for the Chicago Tribune, where his political cartoons appeared on the front page until he retired in 1963. Orrâ??s subjects included organized crime, government corruption, prohibition, communism, and the New Deal.

In 1918, the United States Government awarded him a gold medal for his World War I drawings and in 1960, Orr was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for a cartoon that warned of the spread of communism to the African Congo.

Orr married Cherry Maud Kindel on March 25, 1914, and they had two daughters, Dorothy Jane and Cherry Sue. He died May 16, 1967. ”

#10 Jack Cayless
@ 9:25 pm

I like how the tradition of having to explain every aspect of the cartoon inside the cartoon has stood the test of time.

But I agree with Joe Rank, it is drawn very well.

#11 Ted Rall
@ 11:32 am

Anyone who doubt that editorial cartooning has improved between now and then has only to read that schlocky piece of right-wing crap.

It’s notable that he won a Pulitzer in 1960 for warning of the spread of possible communism to the Congo (now just Congo). Because, you know, Congo has done so well under free-market capitalism and foreign influence.

Those Pulitzers…

#12 Alan Jones
@ 12:03 pm

I really like that style of cartooning, seems more illustrative than more modern cartoons which seem more graphic-design oriented, with characters given the MAD magazine treatment.

Nothing wrong with that, just an observation. Maybe the art of caricature was still being developed?

#13 Mike Lester
@ 1:37 pm

“Anyone who doubt that editorial cartooning has improved between now and then has only to read that schlocky piece of right-wing crap.” (sic) -Ted

By that standard, you shouldn’t win Miss America if you are right wing. Now if you’re a right wing Isamist…that’s a room full of crickets.

#14 Darrin Bell
@ 6:16 pm

“By that standard, you shouldnâ??t win Miss America if you are right wing. Now if youâ??re a right wing Isamistâ?¦thatâ??s a room full of crickets.”

And what about if you’re a right wing Islamist cricket? Every time I bring those things up, the room falls silent and people just sort of back away from me slowly. Nobody dares talk about them. The hypocrites.

#15 Kelly McNutt
@ 6:34 pm

“And what about if youâ??re a right wing Islamist cricket?”

Worse yet, a right-wing Islamist who PLAYS cricket. People just tip over from boredom.

#16 Wiley Miller
@ 8:09 pm

Dick Cheney tried to warn us about Islamist crickets, but would anyone listen? Noooooooooooo….

#17 Garey Mckee
@ 9:11 pm

Never trust anyone that rubs their legs together.

#18 Gerald Dudley
@ 7:10 am

Is there any editorial cartoonist EVER who has used the art form to present uncomfortable truths?

Think of what George Carlin used to do in his stand-up routines, that’s the sort of thing I mean.

Is there just no room in newspapers for that kind of freestyle thinking?

#19 Wiley Miller
@ 8:04 am

“Is there just no room in newspapers for that kind of freestyle thinking?”

Yes. But it’s locked up tight by timid editors and publishers.

#20 Dave Stephens
@ 2:10 pm

As a fan of “Thimble Theater” and “Popeye” by E. C. Segar, I would guesstimate at least a quarter (or more) of Segar’s strips would not pass muster in today’s timid climate… A clear inditement of modern ‘concepts’ and evidence that newspapers have been DEVOLVING since the late 20’s.

Devo grokked it. Whip it Good, indeed. ;)

#21 Garey Mckee
@ 2:49 pm

“Is there any editorial cartoonist EVER who has used the art form to present uncomfortable truths?”

So here’s a question. Do you believe editorial cartooning is at it’s best when presenting “uncomfortable truths”? Maybe showing people what they’d rather not face? Because these days most editorial cartoons just sort of re-present things we already know or are bombarded with in other media. Is that the role of an editorial cartoon?

#22 Mike Peterson
@ 5:12 pm

â??Is there any editorial cartoonist EVER who has used the art form to present uncomfortable truths?â?

Trick question. If it makes me uncomfortable, then it isn’t true!

#23 T. Brian Kelly
@ 5:13 pm

I met Joe Parrish in 1972 when he was already retired from the Chicago Tribune. Carey Orr and Parrish drew in remarkably similar styles but Orr was more conservative and Parrish a bit more middle-of-the road. Joe told me that Orr always considered the Pulitzer he won in 1960 to be one that they both shared. They thought of themselves as two halves of McCutcheon’s staff who regularly critiqued each other’s ideas and drawings as part of the everyday creative process. Boy, that idea is long gone. In any case, Joe was a kind and gracious man who gave me much needed encouragement when I was starting out and many original cartoons that I treasure to this day, even if they would probably be considered too simplistic and general by today’s standards. The drawing ability he displays BTW is far superior to today’s work.

#24 T. Brian Kelly
@ 5:22 pm

I have a feeling that the isolation of editorial cartoonists in the early stages of the choice and development of their ideas for cartoons can eventually show up in weaker finished work. At the same time, the web provides lots of finished cartoons grouped by topic and that also inhibits and alters the creative process. Parrish and Orr had a creative environment to work in then (the same room) that simply doesn’t exist today to my knowledge. And never will. Unless you want to twitter and tweet every last scrap of idea development to creative colleagues in real time and scan and send every sketch at the same time which is whole lotta work.

#25 Ted Rall
@ 7:02 am

Right-wing cartoonists can be great. Mike Lester is a prime example. The cartoon at the top of this entry fails because it was simply wrong. The New Deal saved capitalism and millions of Americans along the way. The deficits got paid off; socialism didn’t come to America.

Cartoonists are graphic pundits. When they get things wrong–uncritically buying Bush’s claims of WMDs into Iraq without being presented with a shred of evidence to support it, or uncritically buying Obama’s claims that bailing out the banks but not the homeowners the banks are screwing–they fail. Political cartoonists are at their best when they (a) make people think about a subject in a new way and (b) are ahead of conventional wisdom.

#26 Gerald Dudley
@ 7:15 am

“Trick question. If it makes me uncomfortable, then it isnâ??t true!”

Touche, sir. I can always appreciate a clever answer. :)

#27 Beth Cravens
@ 9:55 am

The thing the cartoon is missing is a tea party going on in the background then it would be an exact parallel to today’s conservative views.

#28 Ted Rall
@ 11:02 am

It’s ridiculous to say that this cartoon demonstrates superior drawing skills over today’s editorial cartoonists. Hell, even *I* draw better than that!

Take a look at the work of Jack Ohman, Matt Bors, Mike Lester, Dick Locher, etc. and tell me they’re not 100 times better than this. As for those who draw in a looser style like Walt Handelsman or Nick Anderson, there’s a zillion times more life than the old-school stuff.

#29 John Cole
@ 11:22 am

Orr’s cartoon reminds me of the hilariously over-labled parody cartoons that ran in the “newspaper” section of the ’70s-era National Lampoon. I think they were drawn by Frank Springer.

#30 Mike Lester
@ 12:06 pm

John, I’d forgotten those. Hilarious stuff. See if you can find one/more. We used to do them and swap. I once drew the earth on a cow udder to symbolize/lampoon -can’t remember what but those ed. cartoons made fun of ed. cartoons.

#31 Stacy Curtis
@ 2:47 pm

>>>Ted: “Itâ??s ridiculous to say that this cartoon demonstrates superior drawing skills over todayâ??s editorial cartoonists. Hell, even *I* draw better than that!”

I wholeheartedly disagree.

#32 Dave Stephens
@ 5:02 pm

The drawing is excellent. The design elements are quite weak and fall short of modern standards (center of interest, rule of thirds, use of solid black inked areas, etc. etc.), but nitpicking about design elements in NO way diminishes the quality of the draftsmanship.

A loose style is no inditement – apples to oranges and here we have a delicious peach of a drawing from the 30’s…

#33 T. Brian Kelly
@ 7:24 pm

A bit too sweeping of a generalization on my part, I must admit. I was indeed talking about Parrish and not Orr in my previous post, althoug they are similar. And there are plenty of fantastic draftsmen/women (I love Signe and Ann’s work) on the editorial pages today. It’s problematic to judge art/music/cultural values of one period by the standards of another.

They sure could draw hands better, though.

#34 Ted Dawson
@ 10:33 pm

I understand Walt Kelly was a protégé of Orr’s.

Orr’s nephew was the creator of “Apple Mary.”

Orr himself did a comic strip called “Kernel Cootie.”

I can’t think of many current editorial cartoonists who could even draw a cart in perspective like well.

#35 Kevin Moore
@ 12:51 pm

“In 1918, the United States Government awarded him a gold medal for his World War I drawings and in 1960, Orr was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for a cartoon that warned of the spread of communism to the African Congo.”

Hey, didn’t the US gov’t support the coup that overthrew a democratically elected government in the Congo, because we didn’t like its socialist leanings? And then didn’t we bomb the bejeezis out of the Congo a few years later? And install a ruthless dictator?

Orr got a prize because he drew US Gov propaganda. I don’t care if he was a swell fellah, he was still a tool of the State.

#36 T. Brian Kelly
@ 8:04 pm

Kevin..#35 Never met Orr. Could have been a capitalist weenie and a McCormick Trib toadie man at the same time and probably was. But don’t forget that people didn’t know then as much as we know now about the US Government and its desire to intervene everywhere over the years in the name of advancing democracy. Even as the US economy was collapsing. That was 1934. We know better now. Right?

And there were so many editorial cartoonists around at that time there was room in the profession for a wide range of political viewpoints. Not no more.

#37 John Cole
@ 10:07 am

The Pulitzer never has been much at prognostication. It rewards commentary and reportage within the confines of the current zeitgeist. And, yes, as a matter of fact I DO sound like a ponderous windbag having written that.

Case in point: Walter Duranty. Granted, he wasn’t a tool of the United States, but still.

#38 JP Thies
@ 10:40 am

I have an original Joe Parish cartoon with an Elephant in a boat. I would like to see if it has value. Please e-mail any links or ideas to Thank you,

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