Robert Sherwood in the Dream Factory (Life Magazine, 1922)
In 1922 former Vanity Fair editor (1919 - 1920) and future Algonquin wit, Robert E. Sherwood (1896 - 1955), taking his job seriously as the film critic for LIFE MAGAZINE, journeyed West to visit the growing movie kingdom of Hollywood. The doors magically opened up for him and he was able to rub elbows with many of the crowned heads of the realm. He filed these eight paragraphs recounting his experiences and observations; you might be amused to read his thoughts concerning the unfinished Hollywood sign.
The article is adorned with cartoons by John Held Jr.. In the world of American 1920s satirical art, he was the gold standard.
Prohibition: Triumph of the Prissy (Life Magazine, 1919)
In this 1919 cartoon from the old LIFE MAGAZINE, the cartoonist Paul Beny depicted personal liberty taking it on the chin.
A Prohibition Cartoon by James Montgommery Flagg (Life Magazine, 1922)
James Montgomery Flagg (1877 – 1960) was one of the most celebrated illustrators of this era. He had been a contributing cartoonist for the old LIFE MAGAZINE since he was fourteen years old and he, like many of his colleagues, had a grand old time with the subject of Prohibition.
To read a satirical essay written and illustrated by James Montgomery Flagg, click here..
Her Next Task (Life Magazine, 1919)
An excellent cartoon that serves to illustrate the difficulty that the American suffragettes had to overcome in post World War I America. Following the demobilization of so many women who played vital roles during the course of the war, the next task at hand was to see to it that her fathers, brothers and uncles understood that these veterans of the war expected greater opportunity and would not reside gladly in the same world of low-expectations that saw them off at the docks in 1917
Who Won World War One? (Life Magazine, 1927)
"Who won the war?" asks the satirist Herb Roth (1887 - 1953) in this cartoon that appeared in print ten years after America's entry into the war.
By the time 1927 rolled around, the popular opinion across the Western world was that the war of 1914 - 1918, and the subsequent peace treaty that followed, was a big mistake that left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Although there was paper work indicating that World War One was victoriously brought to a close by the collective strength of the French, British, and American armies (among other nations) - by the time 1927 rolled around it didn't feel like anyone's victory.
Click here if you would like to read about the 1918 Armistice Day celebrations in Paris.
Click here to read about W.W. I art.
Rea Irvin Did His Bit (Life Magazine, 1917)
Cartoonist Rea Irvin (1881 - 1972) did the work of ten George Creels during America's participation in the Great War by consistently producing a number of funny gags that served to belittle Imperial Germany. Unlike most cartoonists who were active during the Gilded Age, Irvin has been published at least once a year every year since 1925: he was the creator of 'Eustice Tilly' -the Regency dandy who graced the very first cover of THE NEW YORKER that is re-printed every February. Other cartoons in this series are available upon request.
WINGS: Directed by William Wellman (Life Magazine, 1927)
Appearing in an issue of (the old) LIFE MAGAZINE, that was almost entirely devoted to the 1927 American Legion convention in Paris, was this Robert Sherwood review of the blockbuster silent film "Wings". Directed by an American Air Corps veteran, William Wellman (1896 – 1975), "Wings" was the only silent film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (at that time the category was titled "Most Outstanding Production"):
"It is the story of two extremely youthful officers in the American air service during the war. We can see them going through the training mill in Texas, dueling with a German 'circus' above the clouds, raking communication roads with machine-gun fire and finally facing each other in a terrific life-and-death struggle in the air....The two heroes are played, and played remarkably well, by Charles (Buddy) Rogers and Richard Arlen...Clara Bow, who appears as the saccharine heroine, is, I regret to say, not so good."
Click here to read magazine articles about D.W. Griffith.
*Watch the Exciting Trailer of William Wellman's film, WINGS*
Harvard University Charged with Antisemitism (Life Magazine, 1922)
Although Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1856 – 1943) enjoyed a lengthy tenure as the president of Harvard University (1909 – 1933), his reign there was not entirely free from controversy. One of the more unpleasant policies associated with his term was one in which he stated that Jewish enrollment to the university should be confined to an admissions quota that should not exceed the 15-percent mark.
Charlie Chaplin Sounds-Off on Hollywood (Life Magazine, 1922)
The number of movie stars who have found Los Angeles a disagreeable spot in which to live and work is a far larger number than you could ever imagine; however, for those of you who are keeping just such a list, here is proof-positive that Charlie Chaplin hated the dump, too.
A Review of Shoulder Arms (Life Magazine, 1922)
Attached you will be able to print the film review for Charlie Chaplin's movie, "Shoulder Arms" (1918). Printed in a popular humor magazine from the time, the flick (which had been re-released) was hailed by this one critic as "the greatest comedy in movie history".
*Watch a Clip from SHOULDER ARMS*
Crown Prince Wilhelm Cartoon (Life Magazine, 1919)
Attached is a caroon created in response to the memoir of Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951), which came out earlier that same year (the review is posted on this site), this cartoon was drawn by Gluyas Williams (1888-1982) a cartoonist who is largely remembered by current generations for his contributions to THE NEW YORKER as well as his illustrations for a series of books by humorist Robert Benchley. In 1910, Williams served as Editor of 'The Harvard Lampoon' and upon graduation a year later began a brilliant freelance career as a cartoonist for 'The Century Magazine', 'Collier's' and 'Judge' among others.
Click here to read about the woman who entertained the U.S. troops during the First World War.
War Profiteers (Life Magazine, 1919?)
Although the year 1919 (and spanning throughout much of the Twenties) was a period marked by a strong sense of anti-communism in the United States, the words "war profiteer" proved to be a term capable of getting a good many people in both camps riled up. This is a fine cartoon by Rollin Kirby that nicely satirizes that low breed of opportunist.
Click here to see how weird the first car radios looked.
Reviewed: A Fool There Was (Life Magazine, 1922)
"A Fool There Was" was originally produced in 1915 starring Theda Bara in the vampire roll; but as the view of women changed in society, to say nothing of popular culture, the producers in the early Hollywood dream-factory decided to re-stage the production with a racier woman in the lead -a "flapper-vampire", if you will. The reviewer was sympathetic as to the need for a new adaptation but pointed out that the actress who was re-cast in the Theda Bara roll, Estelle Taylor (1894 — 1958), left the audiences wanting. It was also pointed out that "the censorship menace hangs heavy over 'A Fool There Was'.
In 1919 Theda Bara wrote an article for VANITY FAIR MAGAZINE in which she swore off ever playing a vampire again; click here to read it.
A Swipe at Pacifism (Life Magazine, 1918)
It always seems like a good time to diss a pacifist or two; and this cartoon is good for all conflicts.
*Click Here to Watch an W.W. I Animated Short Film*
The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings (Life Magazine, 1922)
This is a short, pithy review of E.E. Cummings' (1894 – 1962) 1922 novel, The Enormous Room, which was based upon his experience as an American volunteer ambulance driver and his subsequent incarceration in a French jail for having admitted to pacifist sympathies. The reviewer believed that the book provided:
"the last word in realistically detailed horrors."
F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked:
"Of all the work by young men who have sprung up since 1920 one book survives - 'The Enormous Room' by E.E. Cummings".
Reviewed: 'The Garden Party and Other Stories' (Life Magazine, 1922)
The LIFE MAGAZINE review of The Garden Party and Other Stories
by the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923) is attached here for your enjoyment. Mansfield lived a short but productive life before tuberculosis got the best of her in 1923. This was one of any number of favorable reviews that she enjoyed in her lifetime and she is today often considered one of the best short story writers of her period.
Hindenburg's Day by Gluyas Williams (Life Magazine, 1918)
With his characteristic wit and economy of line, the American cartoonist Gluyas Williams once again sticks it to the Kaiser!
The Pankhursts (Life Magazine, 1912)
In the digital age, we are able to recognize civil disobedience and call it by name, but this was certainly not the case for this "Old Boy" writing in 1912; he read about the criminal past-times of Mrs. Pankhurst (Emmeline Pankhurst, 1850 - 1928) and her two daughters (Christobel Pankhurst, 1880 - 1960; Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, 1882 - 1960), and thought that no good could possibly come of such rabble-rousing.