Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Cartoon

Given the accumulation of nearly 50 years of clippings, it should be understandable why some things cannot be found. But just because I can't find something doesn't mean it didn't exist.

Take the cartoon I'm reminded of when I look outside my kitchen window on weekday mornings. It's actually what I don't see that reminds me of the cartoon. Everyone has gone to work. There are few, sometimes no cars on long stretches of the block; none in the driveways.

I tried finding the cartoon from the CD-ROMs that came with 'The Complete Book of New Yorker Cartoons' that was a Christmas gift several years ago. The cartoons on the disks start from the first year of the magazine and proceed through 2004, the complete year before the book was published.

I used several keywords to look for it. I used 'Charles Saxon,' who I was sure drew it. Charles Saxon, to anyone who is familiar with New Yorker cartoons often drew of the suburban rich who were either somewhat full of themselves, or, were overstuffed with inane comments about something topical. His drawings were like many cartoons in the magazine, droll, with more than a touch of truth.

Charles Saxon passed away in 1988. I was astounded to find his NYT obituary appeared as 'long ago' as 1988! It seems I read it more recently than that. No wonder the trail ran cold in the late 80s when no more Saxon cartoons were returned by my search queries.

The archive obituary reprint doesn't come with what I remember to be a photo of Mr. Saxon. I remember thinking when I read the obituary that he looked like his male characters. Female too.

So, no hits on Saxon, and no hits on subject queries of 'morning,' 'commuter,' 'artist,'  and 'writer.' They were good subject names, because the search engine did return cartoons that either had those words in the caption, or were centered around those subjects.

Mr. Saxon passed away at 68 at home in New Canaan, Connecticut. This is high-level executive horse country in Connecticut. The CEO for one of the companies I worked for lived in New Canaan. This certainly gave Mr. Saxon, Brooklyn born, but Ivy League educated, a familiarity with his targets.

So, what the hell cartoon am I talking about?

The cartoon that I can't find shows the typical looking Saxon male sitting in their den, next to either their desk filled with pens and brushes, and possibly a typewriter--his work from home space before that was ever heard of--looking out of the window and giving his salutations to a group of male, briefcase toting commuters headed for the morning train, each wearing the corporate uniform of the day, Burberry raincoat, sensible shoes, hat and umbrella, perhaps. Saxon's cheery greeting to them is to "have a nice day," or something sarcastic like that since his work will be done inside his home wearing slippers. Always casual.

And what does any of that have to do with the photo above, taken from my front door on a weekday? Well, I'm retired, and they're not.

Maybe the cartoon was in 'Playboy.'

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