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ON THE SHELF

"The Lampoon"

By Roy M. Goodman

In the May Lampoon, as few sparkling pieces and a few extremely dull pieces sandwich a mass of mediocre material. Perhaps the current issue appeals to the testes of 'Poonmen, who claim that they write entirely for their own amusement, but for the public at large it is poor entertainment.

The two longest stories are the worst. They deal with trite subjects: a paunchy middle-aged business man who goes to a costume party in a leopard skin, and a callow youth who seeks adventure in Parses at night. M. J. Arlen wrote both. His style is drab and plot punch is seriously lacking.

Charles Osborne contributed two stories. The first, called "The Egg Thing," is dry and dull but the second, a fairy tale about an atom bomb that "Felt things," is well handled. Osborne's humor is subtle and he has a flair for satire.

Unquestionably, the best writing in the magazine is that of its two veterans, George Plimpton and John Train. "Dean Charles," by Plimpton, is a series of lectures written by a family lawyer to a man whose father left him a collection of stuffed animals. Also by Plimpton is an original description of a guest lecture with sides (well drawn by S. C. Welch). The Lampoon is at its best when it provides illustrations for its stories. In this particular case, the fine line pictures add greatly to the humor of the text. Train's article, "Pour Le Sport" is a treatise on how to play tennis properly in different foreign countries. This, the funniest of the current lot, is in the tradition of other foolish articles like "The Art of Testmanship" which appeared last year.

The greatest disappointment of the issue is its cartoons. Frederick Gwynne, who can usually be counted upon to liven things up, has fallen short. His one Charles Adams-type contribution fails to put across a rather clever idea, an unusual failing for Gwynne. The others are equally poor.

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