28 Comments

  1. At the time, Bugs were novel. So were sun roofs. So, there’s this small thing at the curb with a slot in the top. What’s a person to think other than that it’s a mailbox?

  2. He’s not a postal worker, even if his expression makes it look like he’s about to be “Going Postal“. This is simply a joke at the expense of small car owners(*). This classic VW Beetle(†) is apparently so small that everyone mistakes it for a mail box (this might have worked better if the car were dark blue, but The New Yorker doesn’t do color).
    P.S. (*) – I’m sure that Mr. Otterloop (Cul de Sac), Mr. Bean, and Mr. Incredible would understand this guy’s pain.
    P.P.S. (†) – The turn signal lights on the fenders and the flat windshield suggest a construction date no later than the very early 70’s. It would be interesting to know when this comic was first published.

  3. @ U.V. – Thanks! I was able to find a reference to a book (although not the contents), but my link (and image of the cover) is still waiting in moderation. I’m not sure it was the same book as your link.

  4. Kilby, there’s nothing in Moderation (and nothing new has fallen into the Spam or Trash folders)

  5. I still remember the ads with Wilt Chamberlain standing next to (actually over) a VW bug claiming he could fit into it. Which he could, because the seats slid all the way back to the back bench seat. Plus the sun roof probably helped.

  6. I would think Chamberlain would fit better in a Volkswagen if he just removed the front seat altogether and drove sitting in the back street.

    My uncle likes to tell the story of seeing a Chevrolet Monte Carlo speeding along with no driver back in the mid-80s only to do a double take and realize it was 7’5″ Chuck Nevitt, NBA journeyman backup center, driving from the Monte Carlo’s back seat with the front seat completely removed.

  7. P.S. backuplogin – (I assume that this is CIDU Bill’s alter ego) – The moderated comment I was referring to above got reinstated when the next comment posted. To make up for that, I just posted another image, which (of course) was sent to Moderation.

  8. billytheskink: I’m wallowing in the imagery of “drove sitting in the back street.”

    Kilby: That looks like a fun book. I think that was about the same time when VW Beetles had some of the world’s best advertising. One that I well remember had the punch line “A Volkswagen will definitely float. But it will not float indefinitely.” Another was “Have you ever wondered how than man who drives a snowplow gets to the snowplow? He drives a Volkswagen.”

    Arthur: I had one of those (a couple of them, actually). I can easily picture this scene.

  9. An infant in back of the back seat? Do they mean on the shelf back there? That turn babies into missiles on a hard stop?

  10. Brian in STL, the area behind the rear seat was a well about as deep as the seat backs, not a shelf. I remember a trip *long* ago with 2 in the front, 3 kids in the back, and one kid kneeling behind the seats. (No elephant in the glove compartment, though.)

  11. Back around 1970 I knew a bass player — bass viol in an orchestra that is — who bought a VW because it was the only inexpensive car his bass would fit in. You put the bass in bottom end first through the driver’s side door, swing it around a bit and the push it straight back so the bottom goes against the rear window, the seatbacks of the front seats support the shoulders of the bass, and the scroll almost hits the windshield, with the neck between you and the passenger.

  12. Wow, that’s amazing, MiB, better than my fitting my baritone saxophone case into my Miata.

  13. I also know people who transported very large things in their Bugs by removing the passenger seat and/or sticking whatever up through the open sun roof.

  14. One of the comics in Partch’s VW book (see U.V.’s link @4) has 20 students in a Beetle. I can almost (but not quite) believe it: on one trip to my grandparents house in the mid to late 60’s, we stopped to pick up my uncle from the local pool. Just then a massive thunderstorm broke loose, the pool was closing, and we ended up transporting not just him, but also nine of his teenaged friends, for a total of 14 people in the car. My brother and I were both crouching in the “boot” space behind the back seats, there must have been two layers of four kids in the back seat, and two more perched with my mom in the front passenger seat, with my dad driving. It worked (for the relatively short distance we had to travel), but I’m sure that we would never had tried it without the threat of high-voltage electrical death.

  15. It should be noted the classic VW Beetle profile is kinda-sorta similar to that of a classic US Postal Service mail box (close enough for a half-blind cartoon woman, anyway).

    This is interesting. I happen to have this very volume right next to me. I picked it up in the ’80s at a local library’s free table. Apparently it is considered rare and collectible. It was an extension of the VW print ad campaign. Essays from noted writers were also included. Note the book doesn’t even have a proper title. To no great surprise most of the comics featured Beetles, but two Karmann Ghias are included, along with a couple of Buses, a Van and misc. other VW models.

    I had been thinking of mentioning the book (probably in the Random Comments section) whenever I got around to it, but I guess I got “scooped”. 🙂

    Now, what’s funny about this discussion now, is I’ve been thumbing through my book a few times tonight, and I can’t seem to find the ViP comic in question within its pages. Instead I see two others of his.

  16. @ Grawlix – This cartoon is on page 25 of the “other” book, which contained nothing but ViP’s cartoons (again, see U.V.’s link @4, above). Are the two ViP cartoons in your book also in the “pure” ViP book?

  17. Weird question from a non-linear thinker: Since the mail was never put in a mailbox, does it belong now to the driver of the car? Or is the stamp affixed to the letter enough to make it a federal offense?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  18. Chak, many years ago I saw a sign in a Disney resort. They said they’d take your mail to the post office for you, if you want, but that it wasn’t federally protected until it got there.

  19. When I bought my first car it was a VW Rabbit, just because I had loved all those Volkswagen ads as a kid.

    It only lasted 9 years and 130,000 miles. I got 15 years and 230,000 miles out of my next car, a VW Golf.

  20. Kilby, I had managed to skip over that link, and I had somehow been unaware of that particular book. Reading it now I enjoyed most of the comics in it.

    To answer your question, the ViP panels in my volume do not appear to appear in the Partch collection linked above. One caption reads “I’m worried about Lem. Here comes his Volks without him.” (Western theme), while another reads “Say! There’s a lot of room under that hood.” (Gun-toting wife stuffing husband in trunk).

  21. The yearbook company rep for the college yearbook (I was EIC) drove a VW bug. It was the first and only time I rode in one – I was in the front passenger seat and felt so close to the windshield that I was terribly uncomfortable (to put it mildly).

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