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Newspaper Runs Ad With Cartoon Figures Apparently Having Sex

September 18, 1987

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Two tiny cartoon figures apparently engaging in sex in an advertisement for this weekend’s Baltimore City Fair amused newspaper readers, infuriated city officials and lost an advertising agency an account.

The full-page ad, which ran Thursday in The Sun and in the early edition of The Evening Sun, depicted masses of people at the fair, including what was widely thought by readers to be a man and woman having sex on a carousel.

The newspaper said it received numerous calls before erasing what appeared to be the woman in final editions.

Baltimore’s Transportation Department, which ran the ad because the fair takes place under the Jones Falls Expressway, said Thursday it has suspended an 18-month account with the advertising agency.

The artist, Don Schnably, told The Sun that the figure thought to be a woman is actually a lion.

″I understand it’s supposed to be a suggestive picture there. It’s not,″ he said.

″This is an artist’s rendering. You just draw fast lines. I don’t want things blown out of proportion. This is ridiculous. This is my livelihood. I’m not about to jeopardize my account.″

Social Security Administration workers couldn’t photocopy the advertisement fast enough, The Sun reported. An enlargement of it spread through the State House in Annapolis. Patrons at a restaurant studied it and tittered over lunch.

Leslie Marqua, a spokeswoman for the fair, said she was ″embarrassed, angered, and mortified″ when the drawing was brought to her attention.

″Don’t blame the city for what someone else did,″ she added.

William G. Evans, president of the advertising firm Schnably, Evans, McLaughlin Inc., agreed the drawing could be interpreted as a lewd act and said the agency takes full responsibility and will pay its $22,000 cost.

He insisted that Schnably, a part-owner of the advertising firm, ″meant no malice nor did he have any intention to offend anyone with the drawing.″ Schnably has resigned as art director but remains a part-owner, Evans said.

The advertisement shows hundreds of people and dozens of booths and rides crammed under the expressway, the city’s north-south artery known to motorists as the JFX. The figures on the carousel are less than an inch high.

The ad read: ″Suddenly it’s all fun and games under the JFX.″

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