Cugat the Cartoonist

Xavier Cugat was a famous bandleader who is probably most responsible for introducing the States to the music and dancing of Central and South America. During World War II, when the U.S. was desperately trying to curry favor with our southern neighbors, he and other “goodwill ambassadors” were especially in the public eye.

In 1943 Cugat was asked to do a series of articles about Latin music for the American Weekly newspaper Sunday magazine. Because Cugat was also an excellent cartoonist, he opted to draw his impressions of the music and dancing, covering one country per week for the magazine. The resulting pages were absolutely stunning, and though this may be ever so slightly off-top for Stripper’s Guide, I had to show off a few.

Here’s a neat video of Cugat actually drawing while conducting his orchestra:

3 comments on “Cugat the Cartoonist

  1. Two notes for boomer-era readers:

    — On "I Love Lucy", Cugat was periodically mentioned as "Ricky Ricardo's" more famous rival.

    — At 66 he married Charo, who later asserted she was under 18 at the time.

  2. Thanks for linking to this great Cugat video, featuring Lina Romay at her loveliest, and the Abbe Lane clips were sensational! She was such a little sizzler, I've often wondered how Cugie could throw Abbe over for Charro, who struck me as a very obvious type. Oh well, Cugat was a very good cartoonist, must have had a King-sized ego!

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