Grin and Bear It
By George Lichty, 16 May 1905, 18 July 1983.
This copy of “Grin and Bear It” is obviously an older copy. Note the price. It is the second printing, 1970 and was originally copyrighted in 1968. I understand that this is one of only three books, for this cartoon. There was an original hard cover, this paperback of the hardcover, and another paperback, “Is Party Line, Comrade.”
The drawings give the impression that they were thrown together with wild abandon. However, each panel has detail buried in it. Signs on the walls, backgrounds, the classic Soviet bureaucrat with ‘Hero’ medal, or for that matter a Soviet citizen with a ‘Hero’ medal bad mouthing a display of the “Typical American Kitchen.” She says, “Aha! Is proof of capitalist television lies! Where are the Doves, White Knights, fairy godmothers, helping comrade housewife in her kitchen?”
Corporate life is shown with the famous Belchfire Motors, and Epic Productions TV producers.
The above book is heavy on student demonstrations, college drop outs, and other flavors of the late 1960’s.
The National Cartoonists Society, has a nice bio page on Mr. Lichty.
However, from Wikipedia, we know he died in 1983. The same site tells us that he was born, George Maurice Lichtenstein, in 1905. He created the “Grin and Bear It” series in 1932. From that site we have the following quote.
“The artwork had a hastily drawn, loose appearance. Frequent subjects included computers, family life, excessive capitalism and Soviet bureaucracy. Scenes in his cartoons were often set in the offices of commissars or the showrooms of “Belchfire” dealers with enormous cars in the background. His series Is Party Line, Comrade! also skewered various Soviet bureaucrats, who usually were drawn wearing a five-pointed star medal labeled “Hero”.
This is what I would call a ‘Zombie’ cartoon, as it lives on after the death of its creator. I believe the current stakeholders (as in holding off driving a stake through the Zombie’s heart) are a team of Wagner and Dunagin. At least that is who the “Seattle PI” credits for the strip. The following is from their comics page.
Grin and Bear It has successfully satirized all aspects of “the establishment” with targets such as military intelligence, the greed of big business and the never-ending stream of political red tape. When it’s not going after bigger fish, Grin and Bear It also deflates the ordinary inconsistencies and absurdities of American morals and everyday life. It is drawn by Fred Wagner & written by Ralph Dunagin
Wikipedia has a nice history of the cartoon.
As does, Toonopedia.
from which comes this rather long quote. …
”Cartoonist George M. Lichtenstein …did exactly one sort of work throughout his career. Using the pen name “Lichty”, he drew single-panel cartoons, on a truly vast variety of subjects, in a loose, squiggly style that his many fans could spot from across the room. In magazines (starting in 1910 with Judge magazine, which also featured the work of Carl Barks (Uncle Scrooge) “Tad” Dorgan (Judge Rummy), George Herriman (Major Ozone) and other greats), advertising (he shilled for a number of products during the 1930s and ’40s) and wherever else cartoons are found, funny panels without continuing characters, clearly identifiable as his wherever they appeared, were what he did.
When United Feature Syndicate (Ella Cinders, Gordo) hired him to produce a weekly comic for newspapers, it was more of the same. Grin & Bear It, which started in 1932, was a bunch of unrelated cartoons thrown together into a Sunday page. Before long, a daily version was added — same thing, except there was only one at a time and they were printed in black and white.
It isn’t precisely accurate to say there were no continuing characters at all. Whenever Lichty used a pompous, posturing politician, the gasbag’s name was Senator Snort — but Snort wasn’t really a clearly-defined character, just a parody of a type. Other types appearing regularly include, but are far from limited to, bumbling parents, smartypants kids, ruthless businessmen, self-righteous do-gooders, incompetent psychiatrists, overbearing bosses, etc. etc. But when a gag called for it, he was perfectly willing to use a type nobody had ever seen before.
United continued to distribute Grin & Bear It until 1940, when it switched to Field Enterprises (Barnaby, Latigo). Field was still handling it in 1956, when it won the National Cartoonists’ Society’s very first award for best syndicated panel. It won the same award again in 1960, ’62 and ’64. The Field syndicate was later absorbed by King Features, which continues to distribute Grin & Bear It to this day.
Lichty retired in 1974, and the feature was taken over by assistants Fred Wagner (Animal Crackers), who did the daily, and Rick Yager (Buck Rogers of the 1950s), who did the Sunday. They made a fine attempt, but nobody could ever quite capture Lichty’s unique style. Wagner now draws it seven days a week, with Ralph Dunagin (The Middletons) writing the gags.”
Mike Lynch has a great blog with many cartoons and links. It is in two parts. Here is the first part.
And the second. From which comes the following. I dedicate this cartoon to all the military folks who, like myself, had mess duty.
Here is a site with some Lichty cartoons along with anything else with “Grin or Bear” in the title.
From which come the following.
The next two are not from Lichty.
I hope you explore the various links. Enjoy.