Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sliding Scale

Happy Saturday, Jazz Pickles. It's once again my pleasure to present the weekly cartoon recap from Bizarro Studios North, in scenic Hollywood Gardens, PA.

We started the week with yet another feline gag. While I was drawing this, Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" bit was playing in my head.

People have been making pickles since well before Arthurian times. Pickle jars from 2030 BC have been discovered in archaeological digs. King Arthur's existence, however, is a matter of debate among historians.

Wednesday's gag is based on the odd trombone sound effect used as a proxy for adult speaking voices in various Peanuts television specials and films.
Peanuts Music Director Vince Guaraldi
Longtime animation director Lee Mendelson told Mashable that, "We chose not to show the adult. So I asked our music director, Vince Guaraldi, 'Would there be some instrument we could use as a sound to emulate what an adult might sound like to a kid?'" Guaraldi brought in a trombone player, who created the distinctive "wah-wah" by employing various plungers and mutes. The musician's name has sadly been lost to cartoon history.
Some of Charles Schulz's lesser-known work
We did a bit of image research using books Charles Schulz published in the late 1950s and early 60s featuring churchgoing teenagers, to get a feel for how Schulz might draw a grown-up Charlie Brown. 

Thursday's panel depicts a more practical and commercial offering from the Omni Consumer Products corporation.

We like to run the week's best gag on Friday, and although we're not above punning, that form of wordplay rarely makes it to the Friday slot. However, when I showed this one to my editor (Bizarro CEO Dan Piraro), he told me it actually made him guffaw. I figured a guffaw made this one worthy of a Friday appearance.
I used a mirror image of the art to adapt it for the strip layout, which actually placed the tape in Lefty's left hand.

Saturday's cartoon documents an actual conversation between a younger person and Your Humble Cartoonist. Any articles of clothing that originally I bought as "vintage" now actually qualify as museum pieces.
The hat in question was recently retired due to multiple blowouts, and is now part of my dog-walking and gardening gear. It came from a long-gone hat shop here in Pittsburgh, and has served me well over the years.
Tucker & Tucker Hats, Pittsburgh PA, circa 1965
Thanks, as always, for following, sharing, and commenting on Bizarro. You can find more behind-the-scenes discourse at Dan Piraro's weekly blog, where you can also check out his latest magnificent Sunday page, and score some fashionable Bizarro swag.
A satisfied reader wearing a Pie of Opportunity beanie

Bonus Track

Vince Guaraldi had a prolific recording career outside of animation, not to mention an impressive moustache. Here's an interesting take on a Beatles tune by the Vince Guaraldi Trio with Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete, recorded in 1966.


  1. I think it's extraordinary that you looked up how Schulz once drew teenagers to inform your own art. I love that. Much respect for going the extra mile.

    Also, I continue to enjoy the occasional insight on converting the gags into wide strip layout. It is always interesting to me, how you do those conversions creatively, to minimize effort, preserve the original feel, and work in the strengths of the wide strip format all at the same time.


    1. Thanks for the kind words. Those “teenager” books provide an interesting look at another side of Schulz. The gags aren’t the greatest, but the art is very loose and expressive. He was good at body language when drawing taller figures with longer limbs!

      Some of the strip conversions can be tricky. I look at each one as a puzzle to solve (albeit one I created myself).

  2. Wow. I had to listen really hard to recognize the Beatles title. His jazzy, south American rhythms gave a whole, new life to that standard. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes! It’s fun to “discover” a song you already know in an unfamiliar arrangement.