One oft-overlooked aspect of the cartooning science is the wide open field of "partyware". No, I'm not talking about the Masters Of The Universe party plates you had at your 6th birthday party, but adult cartoons about drinking and sex! In the 1950s and 60s earnest young couples and swinging batchelors were entertaining like crazy - and they wanted the gay party atmosphere to extend right down to accoutrements like napkins, coasters, and matchbooks so that the swingin' fun never stopped even for a smoke or a spill.
Nothing like an applique'd flower to highlight our stacked cocktail napkin cutie and her suggestive banter! This is from a series of colorful napkins that featured little plastic add-ons that highlight the realism of the illustrations but leave the napkins themselves completely useless for absorbing any kind of moisture.
I've heard of fake plastic boobs before, but this is ridiculous!
The following napkins came from a set that purportedly exhibited actual scientific statistics concerning the Sexual Misbehavior Of The American Female. I think these numbers are from a research project at Completely Fake University.
The cheerful doodles almost take the suggestive sting out of these cartoons. Almost.
And after having covered undressed showgirls, golddiggers, the eternal problem of the sheik and his harem, and other vital sexological issues of the day, our cocktail napkins move on to another handy drink assistance product - the coaster.
This plastic set of illustrated coasters was a great way to make sad drunks even more miserable - alone, bombed out of your mind, and at the bottom of the glass there's a constant reminder that even rabbits are getting more action than you are.
The nervous, anxiety-ridden psyche of the 50s found no better expression than in the cartoons of Virgil "Vip" Partch, and of course in the work of his many imitators, some of whom worked in the difficult medium of "napkin".
Of course smoking goes with drinking, and if you're drunkenly fooling around with lit matches, why not make sure your matchbook covers are decorated with sarcastic cartoons?
Humorous, mean-spirited sayings, nuclear jitters, and a deep-seated resentment of the human race shine forth from these sprightly matchbook covers.
Strangely enough these cartoon match books were created and distributed by "Stupid Ltd." of London. Coincidence - or uncanny echo from beyond time and space? You decide - preferably while smoking and drinking.
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