Find this cartoon?
August 17, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Where and when was the original cartoon published that is described in the first three sentences of the opening paragraph of this excerpt from a book by Peter Denning?

Posting for a prof in the Department-- a free lunch is riding on the answer:

"Everyone of my generation [note: prof is in his sixties] (and many who are younger) can describe the cartoon, but I cannot find a definitive reference to it.

My recollection aligns with Denning's. The cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. But this may be incorrect (everyone thinks all good cartoons appeared in the New Yorker). The New Yorker staff were not able to locate the cartoon given the information above, so it's probably not a good idea to bombard them with more requests.

An good answer to the question should include:

1. Name of publication
2. Date of publication
3. Page on which the cartoon appeared
4. Name of the cartoonist"

Thank you!
posted by jokeefe to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Note: I should have deleted the "don't bombard the New Yorker staff with questions" line of the question.
posted by jokeefe at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2009

According to, the story appeared in Reader's Digest in 1963. Snopes doesn't mention a cartoon, but does mention the fact that the movie Real Genius uses this as a joke as well.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:23 AM on August 17, 2009

Great start, thank you!
posted by jokeefe at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2009

Here's the visual gag from Real Genius.
posted by dws at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2009

I wouldn't be surprised if Denning imagined the cartoon.
posted by dhartung at 1:50 PM on August 17, 2009

I didn't find it in the Complete New Yorker archive. I searched for "classroom" and then "tape recorder" in cartoons. Interestingly, and perhaps helpfully, the oldest New Yorker cartoon tagged with "tape recorder" was from 1954.
posted by donnagirl at 5:33 PM on August 17, 2009

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