Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, March 14, 2020


My wife is firmly convinced that women named Kitty are portrayed as either the upstairs maid or as the hooker with the heart of gold.  I myself feel that the name of Kitty is magical and denotes charm, grace, sophistication, intelligence, beauty, and all that's good in the world.

Kitty Cobb is a young innocent bound for the big city to make her way in the world.  Sadly, the big bad city may have other ideas.  Just as she runs out of money, she manages to get a job as a saleslady in a department store where the other salespeople make fun of her because she is kind and attentive to her customers.  She catches the eye of the store's floorwalker who asks her out to the theater.  Smitten with her, he asks her to marry him.  She refuses.  Suddenly she finds herself without a job.

Her next job is as a secretary but that does not last long.  a friend then hooks her up with a job as a girl usher at a Broadway theater, but there some "Johnny" makes an insulting remark at Kitty.  Mrs. Caldecott, a rich and somewhat intimidating woman, overhears this and slaps the young rogue across the face.  Mrs; Caldecott likes Kitty and hires her as her secretary.  There she meets and wins the heart of Robert, whose family feels he is too good for her.  They get married in Kitty's hometown, where her old beau tries to commit suicide by overeating at the reception.

Married life calls for some adjustment from both lovebirds.  Robert is protective.  Kitty is independent.  Since Kitty is also very beautiful, every rotter in town is trying to seduce her.  On vacation at the seaside, Robert gets jealous.  Embarrassed by her revealing bathing suit (which covers he from head to toe), Kitty does not want to exit the cabana; when she does, all the men go hubba-hubba and robert gets a little more jealous.  Then while Kitty is entertaining his aunt Isobel, Robert arouses Kitty's jealousy by paying attention to Miss Larabee -- and under Kitty's parasol, too.  Oh, woe!  Is this marriage doomed?

Spoiler alert:  Not really.

The Adventures of Kitty Cobb is a slim book of Sunday newspaper one-panel drawings by popular illustrator James Montgomery Flagg.(1887-1960), who would create his most famous work five years later -- a U.S. Army recruiting poster depicting Uncle Sam pointing and saying "I want YOU for the U.S. Army."  (Flagg used is own face -- aged and whiskered -- for the poster.)  Flagg became one of the highest paid magazine illustrators in America.  His perceptive illustrations for The Adventures of Kitty Cobb reflect the view many had of America at the time.

From the back cover:  "Mr. Flagg is not only a clever artist but a remarkable story-teller as well.  In this new book he tells, by means of thirty-one inimitable pictures and short descriptive legends, a delightfully humorous and tender-hearted love story.It is distinctly the cleverest and most artistic gift book of the season."

And from the legend on page two:  "Kitty is very good to look at."  Of course she is, I state without prejuduce,


No comments:

Post a Comment