17 Comments

  1. @Olivier, yes, the closet one still strikes me as imperfect, in the way the different senses overlap.
    Steve’s suggestion helps — it lets her be an organizer in some way other than literal organizer of closets. (But then maybe there is a new issue of why she would be shown in front of a closet.)

  2. the author one made my chuckle.

    FWIW In the closet one I don’t think she’s coming out at all. But her friends know anyway…. They can tell. it depends and the cliches you read.

    I’m not sure I get the mountain one….

    The tree lot one was cute but it wades awfully close to “The big toe is the captain of the toes” territory.

  3. Oh…. I just realized in the author one that this is the “Romance” section…. Here I thought it was funny because it was subtle and not spelled out for us.

    I think it’s funnier without it, but subtle enough to be inexplicable to most.

  4. The fact that “closet” can be read as either a noun or an adjective in that sentence is the whole joke. It’s more of an “oy” for me.

  5. I didn’t assume that the woman standing in front of the closet was Gail herself, but rather one of her friends, who is snooping in Gail’s room and has discovered her (shameful?) secret. Said snooping behavior is how her friends knew.

    But since nobody else seems to have jumped to that interpretation, it’s probably over-subtle.

  6. The volcano one reminded me of a New Yorker cartoon from 1925. Unfortunately I can’t find it by searching. An ocean liner is caught in a terrible storm with lightning and thunder and the ship is being tossed around like a cork. Two figures are looking out the porthole and one says “By Jove, Belasco must be aboard!”

  7. MiB, that description was intriguing enough for me to try to track down the cartoon. No success, but I did find an article which mentions the cartoon. It’s at https://www.wfmz.com/features/historys-headlines/historys-headlines-the-american-bernhardt/article_655254df-fada-52f4-89c1-4bc9a87855a9.html and the reference is to Broadway director David Belasco:

    Although later regarded as using overly dramatic dialogue and cliff-hanger plots (a New Yorker cartoon of the 1920s shows a man looking out the porthole of a sinking ship in the middle of a storm with the caption, "My heavens Belasco must be aboard"), his plays were quite popular in their day.

  8. I had to look up Belasco, too. It seems that his productions were exceedingly dramatic, so the tossing ship would fit in with that.

    In the garden shop, those are some humongous root balls! (Mamma mia, dat’s a speecy meat root ball!) I suppose the comic alludes to teenaged kids.

  9. @ Mitch4 – That “Belasco” cartoon (by Reginald Marsh) cartoon was published 21-Nov-1925. The drawing is not that good, but as far as I can see, there is only one person sticking his head out the porthole. I cannot post it here (I found it on the CD included with “The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker“, but I will send it to the CIDU submissions address, so that you can place it here.

  10. Thanks, Kilby! I think we can do this.

    The Belasco Cartoon

    BTW, Mark in Boston had the exclamation right with “By Jove” where the article I quoted had drifted it to “My heavens”.

  11. It’s worth mentioning that the CD archives provided with that (enormous) volume are in PDF format, and the captions are not part of the images: they are separate, searchable text strings, which makes it easy to search for them, but also runs the danger that an image may get separated from its proper caption.
    P.S. There were three comics that mentioned “Belasco” In The New Yorker’s first year, but none after that. The week after the one above, another one entitled “Épisode Imaginaire” (by James Daugherty) had the caption “Mr. Belasco tells a bed time story to Mr. John S. Sumner“. There’s a flapper in the background leaving the “Society for the Improvement of Evenings”, and the story begins “Once upon a time there was a naughty little bed…“, producing a violent reaction from the listener (he was a fairly odious censorship official in New York).

  12. David Belasco is currently best known for a couple of plays that became Puccini operas: Madame Butterfly and La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West).

    I saw Belasco’s own 1915 film version of The Girl of the Golden West at a silent movie festival. It is worth seeing if you can find it.

  13. My wife, an old California girl and opera fan, always claims that THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST should end with a SPLOOSH, since the happy couple are apparently riding directly into the ocean. Not being a Californian, I can’t verify her impression. (Being only a so-so opera guy, I can’t help thinking a final SPLOOSH would be fun, though.)

  14. In some play/movie – I think “The Sunshine Boys” they are talking about Broadway theaters and one of the theaters mentioned is the Belasco.

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