Comic Relief: Recalling Lost Laughs From the 50s.

Two dozen cartoons from the golden age of the mag gag.

Back in the 1950s magazine publishing was in it’s heyday. Millions of Americans enjoyed the content that mass market periodicals brought into their homes every week.

Television broadcasting was in its infancy. Most households turned to reading for information and entertainment. Magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Look flourished. There were timely articles, reporting, fiction, humor, and of course, advertising. It was marketing that paid for the content and circulation costs.
All this meant that gag cartoonists had a huge market for their work. Hundreds of cartoons were needed every week to fill the back pages of the weekly publications. Other niche magazines like Esquire, True, and McCall’s, carried cartoons every month as well.

Return with us now to those innocent days of yesteryear when mainstream humor centered on domestic life and everyday situations. Comfortable cliches, a little sexism, and recognizable stereotypes made the laughs go round. And filled the pages.

You’ll recognize some famous names that got their start doing lowly gag cartoons. Just look at what we used to laugh about. And still do.

John Gallagher, 1956.
Syd Hoff, 1952.
Syd Hoff, 1951.
Syd Hoff, 1955.
Syd Hoff, 1960s.
Hank Ketcham, 1947.
Hank Ketcham, 1951.
Mort Walker, 1949.
Peter Arno, 1956.
Bill Yates, 1950s.
Virgil “VIP” Partch, 1950s.
Hank Ketcham, 1947.
Dick Cavalli, 1953.
Bob Barnes, 1952.
Dick Cavalli, 1952.
Hank Ketcham, 1952.
Mort Walker, 1952.
John Gallagher, 1955.
John Gallagher, 1956.
Berenstains, 1950.
Berenstains, 1949.
Reg Hider, 1952.
Bob Barnes, 1950s.
Dick Cavalli, 1952.
Frank Ridgeway, 1956.
Mort Walker, 1949.
Vahan Shirvanian, 1950s.
William Steig, 1949.
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