Monday, February 16, 2009

Persistant Replay

In a post last week on the theme of sport I indicated that this particular cover of Film Fun was a visual joke based on a Saturday Evening Post cover by John Sheridan. For some reason or another I decided to double check my source, and after going back to check the book that referred to this visual connection and I found out the SEP cover wasn't a Sheridan after all. It was by E. M. Jackson and appeared in 1931, four years prior to the Film Fun cover. So yet another search ensured, which eventually yielded the cover you see posted above. Clearly Bolles made a play on Jackson, though I would hesitate to call it encroachment. But why Bolles would poke fun at this particular cover years after it was published is something I can't answer, as I've not come across any other examples like this. Bolles himself would complain about his work being copied by others, and you can see from the examples below that he had plenty of reason to cry foul. Only recently I learned that in 1934 the publishers of Film Fun took the owners of Movie Humor magazine to the New York supreme court, seeking an injunction for unfair competition and infringement, claiming the magazine was nothing a pale copy down to the title. The covers themselves made no pretense of originality and in fact a temporary injunction was granted against "the confusingly similar cover format." Well no kidding!!

Nearly every cover Movie Humor covers was done by George Quintana, which was his nom de plume. I've found out his real name and some other interesting tidbits on him but that's for another post. As you can clearly see his covers were taken directly from previously published work by Bolles, and this was true for the vast majority of Quintana's pulp covers. They were either complete copies of Bolles or composites taken from several covers. Movie Humor, having survived the case against it spawned its own copies, including Reel Humor, Movie Merry-Go-Round (both with more Bolles "inspired" covers by Quintana), Real Screen Fun, Screenies and the list goes on. All of these titles include covers that were clearly take from Bolles work and in the near future
I'll be devoting an entire post on the topic of illustrators who swiped from Bolles. It's a long one and includes none other than Alberto Vargas, who did a pinup for Playboy that was a line for line copy of one of Bolles' most well known covers. If there were referees for commercial art he would have been charged with "delay of fame".


darwination said...

Intersting to hear the bit about Film Fun taking Movie Humor to court for infringement. I wholeheartedly agree that Quintana is often working from Bolles' paintings or aping his style. I've often wondered why some of his covers are sought after by collectors though I admit I like some of his work for New York Nights and French Night Life Stories. Once again thanks for the continued blogging, great stuff here.

Jack R said...

I agree completely about Quintana, though you have to agree he took things to a whole 'nother level. So from that standpoint I can see why he's collected. I'll have a post on him one of these days because he had an interesting double life. In fact, his name wasn't Quintana.
Glad to hear you are enjoying these posts.