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not arise in him or his children, and the newspaper is itself doing this very thing faster than any other agency." No doubt. But meanwhile why treat the strip as an entity to be taken whole?

There is no doubt whatever of the cleverness of certain ones among the innumerable crowd of artists who today help us to the daily laugh. They are not so many in number. And most of them furnish single comics, not comic strips. For instance, Fontaine Fox, purveyor of drollery, author of the ridiculous little "Toonerville Trolley"; Gene Carr, projector of "Metropolitan Movies"; Gluyas Williams, whose odd insight into human nature was shown

strongly in his "Ja, wir haben keine Bananen". And the strip men? There's C. A. Voight, who remains essentially the sketch artist and not the contortionist even though his "Petey" is unnaturally small with impossible pop eyes. Maurice Ketten, whose conventionalized figures, in the "Can you beat it?" series, with ring-indicated staring eyes, removing them a bit from reality, are yet set down with a suggestive finality of manner. Frueh, who remains individual in his whimsical synthesis when he cultivates the strip, which is not his forte. Herriman, whose "Krazy Kat" is so absolutely daft that he titillates one's sense of the subtle. McManus, who, in "Bringing up Father", offers the type, as Gilbert Seldes says, "of our national humor because the tragic hero of that popular cartoon series", with his longing for corned beef and cabbage, "is the type of our national life, which is still just a little uncomfortable in the seemly disposal of its recently acquired wealth and leisure".

But these are the exceptions. Fun, to not a few of the strip makers, consists in a hideous and often illogical distortion, or in faces of a dough-like amorphousness. Sometimes the thing is done with a certain distinction, as in Pop Momand's "Keeping up with the Joneses", in which the impossible little father, Aloysius McGinnis, is made an almost believable living being. Even "Mutt and Jeff", the ever popular, preposterous cutouts though they are, are often funny in a slapstick way, but just as often they are a bore. So are many others of these strips. Much of it all is not even funny. Much of it means wading through a lot of longwinded lettering to get at a joke that is not worth the candle. A poor little joke that is galvanized into an ephemeral existence by the antics of drawn

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figures that are simply manikins, with only the barest elements of characterization. Generally the artist's range is limited to a few types, and those restricted by conventions. The drawing is often beneath criticism. And the series run on in long drawn out tenuity.

The majority of the strips are not comic art at all, but humorous literature. The legend is the principal thing. In trying to place it as literature, one wonders just how much significance there is in its continual misspelling of quite common words. Surely, getting close to the people is not to be measured by a lack of primary school education. Perhaps the strip will be better understood and soonest mended if its literary character, such as it is, is realized.

We are living in our time and must expect its expression. But our present day makeup is a complex, even hybrid affair. Must only horseplay find expression, and is that to stand as the sole type of American humor? Does that attitude really express the majority of opinion? Even if it does, is the minority necessarily small, and, large or small, shall it not have its say?

A noteworthy feature in our comic part is a certain homespun quality, a healthy, artless, spontaneous humor. Here McCutcheon stands easily in the front rank. And there are Clare Briggs, whose children in "The days of real sport" have an "astonishing reality", as Seldes puts it; H. T. Webster, who strikes many a responsive chord in "The thrill that comes once in a lifetime" and "Life's darkest moment"; and others. This group does not represent high art but healthy feeling and expression.

A noteworthy feature in the majority of strips is the absence of originality. Conventions are rampant, stenciled conventions. One "cartoonist" copies

For

another, adding perhaps some little original note which in turn becomes an oft repeated element that others copy, and so it goes on. Clare Briggs, for instance, begins a type of characterization (it is that, rather than a characterization of type), and others copy him, weakening the thing into tricks. instance, the impossible distention of mouth into a laugh becomes idiotically distorted. Even the original pattern becomes stereotyped, standardized. It becomes no longer a question of style, manner, or even mannerism, but simply of stencils, quickly adopted by a horde of followers of second rate or less. Many of these artists are men of one idea and one set of types. They travel far on a very small capital of capability and invention, as in the never ending series "Percy and Ferdie", "Abie the Agent", "Cicero Sapp", "Joe's Car", "The Katzenjammer Kids", the last being Wilhelm Busch diluted to the last possibility. The conventions utilized run on like a property man's list: doughnut smoke rings, side stepping mouth, profuse drops of sweat, pop eyes, exclamation points and interrogation points starting from cranium to register surprise and query, black cloud hovering above to indicate gloom, musical notes floating from mouth to simulate whistling or singing, zigzag lines rising from forehead to picture the birth of an idea, figure falling backward or shooting upward to mark a climax. Besides all this there is a general return to the looped speech rising from the mouth, much used during about 17781866, always a somewhat infantile resource. Wallace Irwin, in the New York Times" of October 22, 1911, characterized the colored comic supplements as "decidedly cockney, both in origin and method", and continued: "They are merely an American version of 'Alley Sloper's Half Holiday', show

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ing the same tendency to make Peck's Bad Boy the hero, to celebrate the dill pickle as the classic model of wit, to weave the pun-draped Daffydil, and to indicate Comedy as a gentleman with green whiskers lying prone at the foot of a stairway with a galaxy of stars swimming around his fractured skull." And the New York "Evening Post's" "Bowling Green" of December 4, 1922, printed a "Questionnaire for a Comic Strip Artist", in which misspelling, supposed onomatopes, husband-wifestenographer and similar combinations, roughneck treatment of husband coming home late, and other familiar - oh, so familiar - and threadbare tricks of the trade are neatly and compactly assembled.

The thing is being still more systematized by cartooning schools on the correspondence principle. And by

In man

books. Some of the latter do treat the matter in a bigger way. J. Campbell Cory's "The Cartoonist's Art" (1912), for instance, touches the wider associations of the political field and tries to give some idea of drawing. But the pons asinorum predominates. uals on "Building a Comic Strip", rubber stamp art is explained with definite assurance. "The main success of a comic", we are told, "lies in the selection of the leading character." Then follow recipes for characters: "flathead, dent in top electric bulb nose" for dad; "egg edd" for ma; "lop ears, button eyes, one suspender, two teeth" for pal. Further, there follow readymade expression and action for the mentally and technically impecunious. And boys come to public libraries to see these books and find the easy road to salaries of $50,000 or more. They come to art schools, too, to find the way, without wanting to go through any preliminary training in drawing.

Whatever good there is in all this newspaper contribution to caricature is there because the artist in question was an artist first and a humorist secondarily. That quality causes such work to stand out from and above the dreary output of the strip factories.

Some of the strongest work appears in political cartoons, where the spirit of Daumier finds its reflection, though faintly. Here are Cesare, Boardman Robinson, the younger Keppler, Cassel, Kirby, Fitzpatrick, and Darling, the latter the latest development of the "homespun" school, but homespun in idea rather than in execution. The caricature of such men is based on fundamental fact; that of not a few strip makers on fundamental distortion.

The latest advocate of the strip is Gilbert Seldes, who in his "Seven Lively Arts" weaves about this form of artistic activity a delightful texture of fine writing, a bit of literary speculation, especially on "Krazy Kat", that almost leads him to forget facts in the intoxicating fervor of his expression. Almost, but not quite. He finds "a great deal of monotonous stupidity, a cheap jocosity, a quantity of bad drawing. And the intellectual level, if that matters, is not high." But he picks out the best, the ones that are actually most "intellectual". Herriman's genius he considers "something apart, and his appearance among other strips only an accident". Making his selection for

our benefit, Seldes continues: "These are the strips which come to life each day, without forcing, and which stay long in the memory. I am stating the case for the strip in general and have gone so far as to speak well of some I do not admire. The continued existence of others remains a mystery to me." The case may quite well be allowed to rest on that.

THE NEW YORKER

The Argentines Arrive—"Rosmersholm" Excellently Revived-Gloria
Swanson Returns in a Blaze of Glory- Serena Blandish and Mrs.
Dalloway Arrive from England-Mr. Mencken Abandons Chicago
as a Literary Centre- The Passing of Miss Lowell

summer is here the opera

productions have been put forth in the

Now that, summer lather is engaged hope of capturing the rear guard of the

in a delirium of experimental productions, and in the picture galleries the old masters which had been kept in the cellar all winter have been taken out to adorn the grey velvet in a forlorn hope that some millionaire in town for the day on business may, in seeking a cool spot, see them and purchase one or two that have been on hand for a good many years. The New Yorker, along with most of the journalistic, editorial, and theatrical population, has, like Cato, retired to rustic surroundings from which he emerges only when he finds the lettuces, the nasturtiums, and the endless expanse of open sea a poor substitute for roof gardens adorned with dusty palms and theatres draped in autumn leaves made of oilcloth. There are in the way of summer resorts much worse places than New York. Already the annual migration of diamond bedecked South Americans (who seem to regard Manhattan as a delirious, international Coney Island) has begun to swamp the hotels. Likewise the buyers from all parts of the country, and the tourists who share with them the responsibility for supporting the entertainments staged by Florenz Ziegfeld, Irving Berlin, George White, Charles B. Dillingham, the Messrs. Shubert, and others. The city is changed. It is more wild and less gay than in winter.

In the meanwhile, one or two serious

"serious" audience. In their bandbox theatre in Fifty Second Street the Stagers, who did not pick so well in their initial production of E. Temple Thurston's "The Blue Peter", joined the fashion for revivals and selected a play by Henrik Ibsen. Their choice was "Rosmersholm", a play which in essence has always seemed to us a little idiotic; yet for this very reason it serves as a supreme example of Ibsen's immense power and genius for the theatre. If one related the plot simply, he would very likely be greeted with guffaws. Yet Ibsen, with the weird, unearthly, hypnotic power which he is so able to evoke, succeeds in reaching out and taking possession of his audience in such a way that one succumbs with a passionate interest that is, strange to say, not emotional but intellectual. It is less a drama of human creatures than one of ideas and ideals. In "The Wild Duck", which was written just before "Rosmersholm" (and may be viewed a half dozen blocks away), one feels that the author was torn between two inclinations; it marks in a sense the transition of Ibsen from one manner to another. "Rosmersholm" represents the complete break. In "The Wild Duck", it was the death of an ideal that tortured us far more than the death of Hedwig, which divided or rather shared with the former situation the dramatic tug

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entertains but a cold, aloof impartiality. It is a matter of no deep concern that Rebecca and Rosmer leap into the mill stream and so perish. It is what perished with them and what created their destruction that is of interest. It is magic that a playwright could arouse in so intellectual a study an interest equal to that of the most heart rending emotional melodrama.

The cast and the directing of the Stagers' production gives full scope to the magic. We are inclined to award the first prize to the director, Edward Goodman, for the way in which he has created, by tempo and the movement of his actors, a certain breathless expectation of the final tragedy. The deaths of Rosmer and Rebecca are, to be sure, forecast superbly by Ibsen, but all that might easily have been lost, as such things are frequently lost, in the hands of a clumsy director and an incompetent cast. (The more we see of the theatre, the more we realize that any play is utterly at the mercy of the actors and the director.) The cast itself was admirably chosen, SO admirably that it is difficult to say that one was any better or any worse than another. Margaret Wycherly was Rebecca; Warren Williams played Rosmer; Carl Anthony (hitherto unknown to us) was exactly right as Doctor Kroll; J. M. Kerrigan played the fantastic Ulric Brendel; Arthur Hughes, Mortensgaard; and Josephine Hull, Madame Helseth. The production is admirable. We wish all power to these new competitors in a theatrical world which too often moves in a miasma of blunders and stupidity.

One other play, "The Poor Nut",

which comes, like "The Show-Off" and "Is Zat So?", directly out of the theatre itself by way of the talented Nugent family, proved to be excellent entertainment.

The month also brought the triumphant return of the Marquise de la Falaise de la Coudray (none other than our clever old friend Gloria Swanson) in an elaborate and magnificently staged motion picture adaptation of "Madame Sans-Gêne". In a turmoil of dinners, teas, and receptions (in which the Marquis sometimes came very near to being mislaid) the picture finally had a grand opening by invitation at five dollars a ticket at the Rivoli. The police reserves of two stations were called out to keep back a mob which blocked the traffic in Broadway and falsely identified each person who stepped from a taxicab. Bearded judges were greeted with cries of "There goes Charlie Chaplin!" and dowagers in tiaras were hailed with cries of "Mae Murray! - Our Mae!" The event was in character social, journalistic, theatrical, "moviesque", and other things, so that the confusion attained a high pitch. It was, as the old saying goes, a brilliant audience.

When at last the picture flickered upon the screen we found that the good old story was rather swamped amid state balls, mob scenes, and tea parties on the lawn at Compiègne. Also it was interrupted rather too frequently with such subtitles as, "This room was the one in which Napoleon always received his barber", so that at times it resembled one of those nature education films. It was a perfect orgy for an interior decorator. None the less we enjoyed it immensely, having a sad twist in the direction of the academic. It was rather like visiting the Metropolitan Museum. Miss Swanson ex

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