Risque Postcards Drawn by the Inept Hand Vintage Sleaze Essay by Jim Linderman
What was he thinking? Or was he thinking at all?
I'm thinking a touching attempt at greatness which became only a putrid pile of trite innuendo and tired platitudes. Hand drawn colored pencil a few notches below cocktail napkin, but at least he tried.
Email has largely replaced the postcard, although a few still trickle in. Mostly advertising for new roofs, reminders from your dentist, the results of your latest electric meter reading and a request for payment. But at one time, they were stacked, racked, written and mailed by the millions. The most common written phrase in America was "wish you were here" and it was proper etiquette to send one back to work from your vacation destination. It would then be routed around the office and tacked up on the postcard wall for a few months. Someone, no one knows who, pulled it down to make room for the Christmas cards.
There were a thousand amateur postcard aspirants. Mostly living "up north" near deer hunting and fishing locations. Remote places fellows went to escape the wife and hoist a few while pretending to practice the manly arts of animal killing. The major postcard manufacturer salesman might not make it that far, so the local cartoonist would produce a few hundred and place them in gas stations and taverns.
Send one home to the misses. She'll get a kick out of this one. HAW, look at those! Chances are hubby would come home with a hangover rather than a deer, and the card would usually arrive around the same time, maybe a day later.
There are a dozen or so recognized masters of the genre. BORTZ, GAD, ELMER...real names or not they all told the same jokes. The elephant's trunk mistaken for a penis. The desert island with two women and a shipwrecked sailor. Sewer workers peering up at a pair of gams. "It's okay honey, no one is looking." A wrecked car, a burned dinner, a large breasted woman on the beach with her top untied and a boy with a string of firecrackers, the "nudist colony"...when was the last time you saw a nudist colony on a postcard? A stern judge addressing the undressed hooker. Trite platitudes of trailer trash humor which have circulated since the invention of the charcoal stick.
The 3" x 5" bad sexist drawing is the art underbelly of America. Millions were produced by printing companies like Curitech and Kropp. They dominated the racks. Candy colored cuties on "linen" or "chrome" slipped in among the pictures of "memorial park" and "sunset on the dock." One after the other, in the "comic" section or "risque" numbered consecutively with the company logo often placed right where the stamp went. A dividing line indicating who was responsible. A "genuine" something or other with a copyright notice. It didn't stop the jokes from being copied and traced. One man's "Wilbur" was another man's "George" and they all got dropped in the slot with a purple stamp of Lincoln affixed in the corner.
There were cultural influences from the 20th century. Tijuana Bibles. Tiny eight page filthy joke books depicting movie stars of the time doing what they did at home (or the producer's trailer.) Folded "gimmick gag" papers passed among schoolboys which might show a hapless fellow trying to teach his dog to urinate on trees instead of the carpet. Humorama and Playboy gags. But I suspect the greatest influence was the postcard rack itself and an artist like ours here thinking "I could do that."
There were so many, it took an extra special artist to stand out from the postcard pack. To make it into the big leagues, where a major publisher would pay you ten bucks a drawing and let you sign away your rights in perpetuity. Some made it, but few are recognized. The genre is, but the illustrators aren't. Relegated to postal obscurity with no residuals and tired "postcard" shows in rented buildings with box after box of no longer needed cards arranged by subject.
Anonymous here didn't have the goods, but he tried. In fact he tried TERRIBLY hard. With hardly an atom of creativity, he churned them out hoping for the big break.
It never happened. No rejection letters were found, but it is a safe bet there were some. I can't really say too much about his work, what you see is what he did and what you get. I date them somewhere between beatnik and punk, but then who knows what time warp (or basement) he lived in. He hand-cut the cards (after drawing them) with one of those meat-cutters only the teacher could use. They aren't too crisp and scanning was difficult, as he sliced off portions of the hilarious captions in his haste to stack them...as a result, some ride awful close to the edge but each one came with quotation marks.
The minor masterpieces of color pencil and pen here were shuffled from shoe box to shoe box until they found a safe home in a final shoe box. Mine. When I go, they'll be dumped again, maybe dispersed until an obsessed collector with a taste for quirk reassembles them again.
From nude hippies to frustrated housewives, the horrible handmade postcards of anonymous. We will never know who drew these. Does it matter? Did he end up on a desert island with a one hanging coconut and a woman? They have been collected into a book and Ebook. You don't want it.
Goofy erotica for the masses. Bad taste and a bad joke sent for a few cents. "Did we get any mail?" Yes, a postcard from Dad.
Hand Drawn Amateur Postcards by Anonymous Collection Jim Linderman