Gaba Gaba Hey!

I’ve owned the above 1933 issue of Life—the great humor magazine, not the photo weekly that later stole its name—for something like 20 years. I’ve always loved its cover’s stylish and funny rendition of FDR (the incoming president) and Hoover (the outgoing one). But it was only a couple of weeks ago, when I was getting ready to sell it on eBay, that I noticed that it’s the work of Lester Gaba—the guy best known for his soap sculptures of Scrappy, Margy, and Yippy. (Well, best known around here, at least—among non-Mintz disciples, he’s remembered for his common-law wife Cynthia, whom he happened to have carved himself.)

As a magazine person, I’m dazzled by the mere fact that covers like this once existed. The two presidents are wearing tiny well-tailored suits; the lion has a serious mane; the lamb looks pettable. And Gaba built all this for a single photograph that would appear on newsstands for one month.

I wonder what he, or Life, did with his creations after the photo shoot? If there’s any chance they’re still extant, they should be on display somewhere where people can enjoy them.

This is, by the way, the second bit of Scrappy-related art depicting presidential candidates which we’ve covered here at Scrappyland. The first was Dick Huemer’s 1960s album cover showing LBJ and Goldwater. If you come across any Art Davis paintings of Jimmy Carter and Jerry Ford, please let me know.

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