This Feels Kind Of Like A New Yorker Cartoon: Cold Start

Cs Imperial

I’m not exactly sure what it is about this page from the 1959 Imperial brochure, specifically the page for the Imperial LeBaron. That’s right, the Chrysler LeBaron spent some time as an Imperial. I know, right? But that’s not what I want to talk about right now. Right now I just want to see if you agree that there’s something about this brochure painting that feels like it should be a New Yorker cartoon.

Do you see what I mean? There’s something about the central framing of the car in the city, abut the looser brushwork of the background, about the visibility of the people inside, clearly in mid conversation, those birds– everything, really. It feels like it’s just an italicized caption away from being a New Yorker cartoon.

Should we try and think of some captions? That seems difficult. But let’s try:

“No, Claire, that’s not Minerva, it’s Athena Nike, the goddess of victory. You can tell by the size of her rack.”

“Driver, please circle around so we can check out the genitals of that horse.”

“That was my great-uncle Arthur. He was the only General in the War of 1812 to surrender to Japan.”

“No, I don’t think that’s a good Halloween costume idea, Charles. I’d want a horse, too.”

(bird 1 to bird 2) “If you want to get it right on the windshield, hold it in until you pass right over the hood ornament.”

I don’t know. Maybe you can think of better ones. In the meantime, I’m going to use this as an excuse to show my favorite Charles Addams cartoon:

Cs Deathray

Oh, it’s so good and dark. And it gets better the more you think about what’s going on! The man was a genius.



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32 Responses

  1. 1.Clearly that car is not moving (pedestrians all have umbrellas out, stormy looking sky. No splatter or splash from the tires.)

    2. That’s the Sherman Memorial in a fairly affluent Manhattan neighborhood on the southeastern corner of Central Park.

    3. There weren’t a lot of parking structures/lots or spaces in 1959 Manhattan.

    The driver is clearly waiting for a spot close to the passengers building while the passengers assess his ability to parallel park the nearly 18’ vehicle.

    The caption should read:

    “I can fit in that spot.”

  2. The Addams Family had an early ’30s Packard V12 largely because in 1966 a ’59 Imperial was just a depreciated used luxury car, the possession equivalent of an early/mid ’00s Lexus RX today. Not eccentric enough.

    It’s surprising that they didn’t have a toyetic showrod like the Munsters (and for that matter the Monkees and the Beverly Hillbillies) did, that was almost *de rigeur* in the ’60s along with a tie-in model kit that probably has been rereleased if they can find the original tooling.

    1. The advertising artwork always exaggerated length and width, because the marketing people believed the real things weren’t quite enormous enough. They had to make sure the heads of the people inside looked like tiny dots

      1. “The applicant doesn’t look at all like Elon Musk….

        I’m sure the death ray was meant to operate on 220V, which probably wasn’t available in the attorney’s office”

        If it’s a Tesla it should need 50kV minimum, and DEFINITELY alternating current!

  3. “Right now I just want to see if you agree that there’s something about this brochure painting that feels like it should be a New Yorker cartoon.”

    Yes. Should I be concerned about my mental health when I agree with Jason? 🙂

  4. “Geeves, don’t you agree with me?
    Charles made such a poor decision to purchase this dreadful LeBaron. You know, the McReynolds just got a black one too. I told you I wanted a Cadillac. Now, we’re just the laughing-stock at the Country Club.”
    (1 percenter First World problems)

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