Picks and Pans Review: Peter Arno

updated 02/11/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/11/1980 01:00AM

with an introduction by Charles Saxon

Arno started selling cartoons in the '20s. One of the earliest, not included in this collection, is of two women on rollerskates at a rink. The text under the drawing reads: "Smart-lookin' gentleman, weren't he?" "Which one, sweetheart?" "The one I jus' tripped up." "Whoops! Ain't you the sly croquette—steady!" The drawing is just as awkward as the caption. But by the early '30s an Arno cartoon was instantly recognizable, both for its bold, crisp drawing and for the equally sharp caption. This volume has 248 examples to be cherished. A beaming, born-beautiful blonde gets a diamond necklace from a rich old man: "You certainly know my Achilles' heel, Mr. Benson." A New England housewife calls after a galloping Paul Revere: "Thanks, but what about those silver candlesticks I ordered?" A drunk in a seedy bar: "I love this place and everything it stands for." Seven ancient, smiling men around a company's board table: "Then it's moved and seconded that the compulsory retirement age be advanced to 95." The brief, adulatory introduction is by Charles Saxon, a cartoonist who is pretty marvelous at mocking the wealthy and the social himself. (Dodd, Mead, $10.95)

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