The Big Ponder #38: Cartoons





Jun 9, 2022


The Big Ponder - Episode #38: Cartoons


Have you ever heard of the cartoonist Oliver Harrington? Probably not, but the artist played an instrumental role in German-American history. From the Harlem Renaissance to the division of Berlin during the Cold War — he was there for it all, capturing the world around him in his masterful comic strips.

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This portrait of Oliver “Ollie” Harrington, an extraordinary Black artist from New York, comes from the co-producers and life partners Sally McGrane and Axel Scheele. Sally is a journalist who writes for publications like “The New York Times,” “New Yorker Magazine,” and “Die Zeit.” She also wrote the spy novel “Moscow at Midnight.” Axel is a musician and podcast producer. He also produced the German-language children’s podcast “Ollarikchen.” Find out more about his work on his website.

Together, Sally and Axel live in Berlin with their little German-American family. This episode tells the story of Ollie Harrington, an American cartoonist who spent the last three decades of his life living and working in East Berlin. The music in this episode is by Oscar Brown Jr., used with permission from Africa P. Brown at Bootblack Publishing Company LLC. The image for this episode is an illustration of Ollie Harrington by German cartoonist Harald Kretzschmar. In addition to this episode, Sally and Axel produced the episode “The Mom-and-Pop Store.”

Header Image © Wolfgang Koenig: Journalist Lucie Murphy interviewing Oliver Harrington for WPFW in Berlin, 1987




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