Gag writer and gatherer Al Gottlieb has passed away.
Jackie Rosenberg, the daughter of Al Gottlieb, Publisher of the Gag Recap for 36 years (1963-1999) informed me that Al passed away last week at 94 from natural causes. She said Al ‘loved doing the Recap’. Al was proud he never missed an issue during all the years he was publishing it.
Personal relationships with other caption writers are uncommon too. There’s no professional association; the closest thing to a trade journal is Gag Recap, a monthly newsletter with a few hundred subscribers. Recap, founded forty years ago and published by Al and Jo Gottlieb since 1961, lists hundreds of cartoons that appeared in major outlets during the previous month. Descriptions are terse, with as many as fifty cartoons summarized on a single page. To the Gottliebs and their readers, a parched man clad in tatters, who’s searching on his hands and knees for an oasis in the sand, is known simply as “Desert crawler.”
Van added in another email:
“Al published The Gag Recap every month which covered all the ‘major’ magazine markets, and the Trade Journal Recap which had the smaller specialty magazines. “He also published a yearly Directory of Cartoonists/Gagwriters & Short Markets List, Comedy Calendar Guide (a guide for writing and submitting monthly and seasonal material-topically indexed), Self-Syndication (step-by-step methods to sell and syndicate your cartoon strip), Successful Cartoon Gagwriting (a MUST for beginning cartoonists and gagwriters), as well as Pleasing Editors For Fun and Profit. And finally, Al would send you cartoon clips to help you build a morgue of cartoon settings. 50 clips for $5.
“Jacqueline states Al was a truancy officer working for the city of New York and worked on the Recap at nights and on weekends. Al was a gagwriter, not a cartoonist.
“He wrote for Joan Rivers and Phillis Diller. He sold gags to Marmaduke, Family Circus, Blondie and to many magazines. (His favorite magazine was Saturday Evening Post.) He had a close friendship with illustrator/cartoonist Ed Arno.“Jackie reminisces:
‘We were a family of three and everything was done manually in those days. So it was just us. Dad collected all the material to be included in each months’ edition. My mom (who passed 3 years ago) and I would handle the processing of the actual magazine. Mom did all the translating/describing of the cartoons, typing and collating, while I stapled and stamped the manila envelopes they were mailed in. Remember those sloppy stamps? Yup, that was me. I was only a kid. And all those typos? That was mom. We all knew that she made so many typos but dad could only proofread so much! Then, Dad addressed, sorted by state, loaded up the car and schlepped the boxes of about 450 Gag Recap/Trade Journals to the P.O. each month. This was the routine in my household for as many years as he had the magazine. That was how I grew up…in a mini publication house.’