Crazy Cat Cutouts
I found this classy ad in the February 1959 issue of Home Craftsman -- get yourself 110 different jigsaw patterns:
Have Fun - Make Money selling these amazing NEW UNUSUAL Novelties, Gifts, Lawn Figures...Animals, Bar Implements, Door Markers, Plaques, Wall Shelves, etc. Easy...Trace, saw out, and paint. $1 brings you these EXCITING and DIFFERENT 110 fill size BIG patterns. Order now!When they say UNUSUAL, EXCITING, and DIFFERENT -- they mean it, if the rest are anything like their best examples from the ad. Stepping away from the cute and homey patterns that usually came in jigsaw pattern books , these are right out of Mad Magazine: A wacky buck-toothed cat, tongue lolling out, saliva splattering off it? Was this supposed to be for Grandma to put up in her garden, or Mom to hang over the kitchen sink? It has a very grubby, loose style associated with underground comics (or "comix" if you're not a square like me). There's something very familiar about these two examples, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
Is there anything remotely cute or endearing about this duck? He's got some headband with leaves or feathers in it, leaning forward menacingly...and I like him. These two examples have some life to them, something that separates them from the generic style in most ads. They're not sweet, they're not traditional -- they're art. It's too bad the illustrator isn't named in the ad: the address for this "Trans Plans" company isn't some fancy office building -- according to Google Maps it's a residential area in Yonkers, sandwiched between Lincoln High, Yonkers Raceway, and Hillview Reservoir. It'd be easy to make a joke about drawing crazy comics while living in mom's basement, but, well, that's where some of the best comics came from.