Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, June 14, 2013


Moon Missing by Edward Sorel (1962)

Cartoonist/illustrator Edward Sorel has been a gadfly for most of his career, skewering (most often) the conservative right and organized religion.  His distinctive style was evident in 60s magazine such as Ramparts, The Realist, Monocle, and The Atlantic.  Later, he had a long association with National Lampoon, The New Yorker, and Penthouse.

In Moon Missing Sorel details the political and social ramifications when the moon went missing for three months during the early Sixties.  We never learn why the moon went, or how, nor do we know why the moon bothered to return after a three-month walkabout.

Sorel gives us a day-by-day account of the affair:

"NEW YORK, April 4--This morning, at about 1:46 A.M., the moon suddenly disappeared.  Informed sources believe that not only is the moon no longer visible but, in point of fact, it is "no longer there."...

NEW YORK, April 6--Americans have greeted reports of this new crisis with an attitude of watchful waiting.  They appeared calm but resolute, and determined to keep the vanished moon free from foreign domination."...

NEW YORK, April 10--A once-inspired Irving Berlin announced his retirement today.  He gave no reason for this decision."...

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 12--The United States Army successfully sent a satellite into orbit this morning to televise information on the moon's whereabouts.  Through an electronic failure of unknown cause the monitor picked up instead a rerun of "Father Knows Best."...

And so it goes.  Over the intervening days, we see West Germany sending volunteer after volunteer into to space to find the moon, even though after twenty-three tries, the ranks of volunteers have diminished -- no one objects because the West Germans are not using dogs or monkeys.  Cardinal Cushing is convinced that the missing moon is proof positive that the Copernican theory is incorrect.   U.N. Secretary General U Thant admits that the nations of Upper Cooga, Sahooli, and Southern Nakari, which had been admitted to the United Nations two years before, never really existed and was actually a hoax perpetrated by three Harlem businessmen.  Adolph Hitler is found alive and living in Montgomery, Alabama, under the name Yancy Schmidt.  Van Cliburn knocks it out of the park during a concert where he plays "Moonlight Sonata," "Clair de Lune," and "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain."

Moon Missing is a funny, satiric look at the early Sixties, greatly enhanced by Sorel's drawings.  I loved it.

Here's a taste of some of Sorel's other work:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent. I knew this one existed but I've yet to actually take it in. Thanks for the pointer...though Sorel's work in the ATLANTIC continued for some decades...and he's been in THE NATION rather frequently as well...