New Yorker cartoons are infamously opaque, but they weren't much so during the 1920s. The multi-panel vignettes by Otto Soglow were particularly easy to "get," usually a simple, surreal, but obvious joke stretched out to six or nine panels.
But this one confuses me and freaks me out. Sure I understand what is happening in each panel, but there's a disconnect between "what appears to be happening" and "what it all means." Part of this confusion comes from my desire to NOT see it as a cheap midget-with-a-cigar-sex-gag, because New Yorker cartoons -- and Soglow's in particular -- just weren't LIKE that at the time.
It says something about the vapidity of the '20s magazine that this cartoon is the most thought-provoking thing I've seen so far.
Incidentally, you may remember Otto Soglow for what he eventually became famous for: the 1930s "Little King" comics.
I think I get it. An onlooker is admiring a seemingly single woman. As he waits to use the phone, he contemplates his attraction to her, maybe even approaching her for a date. But, she is not alone. He did not anticipate her having a companion, and by virtue of being short, his presence was blocked by a partition. His intentions were then staunched by her unexpected and unlikely pairing with a midget. Aaah, ha-ha-ha!
I might add that judging by her expression, it doesn't look like she is getting head.
I think you're right, Vanilla, and the midget's prominent cigar MIGHT be simply a reflection of the common sideshow midget conceit: contrasting the small size of the man with some hyper-masculine props (soldier's uniform, tarzan outfit, businessman's suit, big bowler hat, big cigar).
Thanks for the plain vanilla version, er vanillaj! My mind is so far down the gutter that I too could only see the perverted explaination of the tagline.
P.S. Thanks for the cartoon. I do remember the Lil King Cartoons.
And after a careful look at the cartoon, you nailed it deadon!
I'd like to hire Vanilla as my "official cartoon analyzer," but I don't have any money...
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