Captions Seeking Substance

Collection Seven in our Hall of Humor

by William C. Sturgeon

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Although the industry’s own cartoonists seldom ran dry, ELEVATOR WORLD’s regulars eventually graduated to other time-consuming pursuits — sometimes moving on to the fields of commercial and fine art. Fortunately, a few lay cartoonists from outside the industry were interested in polishing their skills on the drawing board but expressed ignorance concerning the peculiarities of the vertical transportation field. ELEVATOR WORLD’s graphic artist, Jim Lee, was one who sought a change of pace but lacked a feel for the job site. The solution — the editor provided lay cartoonists with situations and cut-lines, stimulating companion graphics. ELEVATOR WORLD periodically published suggested captions, challenging readers to respond with appropriate renderings. When “Archeologist in Egypt, in sight of the Pyramids, unearths a piece of modern elevator gear” brought several renderings, readers were able to enjoy differing graphic styles. This method was “putting the cart before the horse” but, as this collection indicates, the responses were satisfactory, providing viewers the opportunity to compare the graphic responses. Jim Lee, whose cartoons were essentially capsules of fine art, eventually moved on to become Creative Director of an advertising agency.

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Strips for Action

Collection Six in Elevator World’s Hall of Humor

by William C. Sturgeon

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Periodically, the graphic humorist required a cartoon strip to tell his story to fellowmen — almost always without captions. The so-called “funnies” or “comics” in daily newspapers present the storyline through a series of balloons encapsulating the speech of characters — narratives wrapped in graphics. The essentially wordless strips drawn by ELEVATOR WORLD cartoonists were, and are, especially enjoyed by international readers. But what of “Captions in search of a cartoon”?

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Captionless Cartoons

Collection Five in Elevator World’s Hall of Humor

by William C. Sturgeon

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When ELEVATOR WORLD expanded to became the sole publication for the global vertical-transportation industry, humor was found to constitute an international language. Of course, our readers overseas were particularly drawn to the captionless cartoons, which had been perfected in multi-tongued Europe. The wordless picturizations delivered the ultimate punch. It is understandable that graphic artists consider the captionless cartoon the most difficult to execute. Chapter Five of this collection contains a number of these “clash in a flash” cartoons without words.

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