Saturday, September 14, 2019


Announcement: Stripper's Guide Needs Some Recovery Time

Hello Stripper's Guide readers, your host Allan Holtz here. I live in Nova Scotia, and though we didn't get the news play that the Bahamas did, Hurricane Dorian did quite a number on us. 80% of the province was without power for awhile, and we out in the hinterlands of the Annapolis Valley didn't get power back until Thursday evening. That's six days with no power and no water. Luckily our property wasn't damaged other than a few big tree limbs down, which is pretty doggone lucky considering the wind speed at times was topping 90 mph.

Although Stripper's Guide posts have been showing up here every day as normal, that's because we try to maintain a backlog of at least a couple weeks worth in the pipeline, and they've been posted automatically. I haven't been able to create new content since last Friday, and now the backlog is almost gone. I also have a lot of clean-up work to do around the property to get things back to normal. Therefore I'm going to put the blog on hiatus. We'll be back to our regular programming on September 28. See you then!

Hope some of the linemen here in Maine came over to help out!
I'm told Maine sent a lot of help, for which many thanks.
Sorry to hear about this, I've have been in hurricanes and the recovery afterwards, so I know how hard it is. Glad to hear no major damage for you. Hope cleaning up go smooth.

Steven R
Hello Allan- You're very fortunate to have avoided worse damage, I know what furious high winds can do, and what it is to go through. It's like being caught on an active battlefield.

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Friday, September 13, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael

Hey, it's been way too long since Albert Carmichael made an appearance here! Here's a sample from his later (probably 1914) unsigned Taylor Pratt & Co. Series 728, "They Never Come Back."


Two puzzles: What this is referencing, and who you'd want to send this too.

Most of the Google hits were for the 1940 movie "Pinocchio", for a scene of the Coachman talking about Pleasure Island. There were a lot of sports articles, but no usage that implied it was a catchphrase.

I suspect this was one of a series of "funny" demises -- otherwise it would read "He Never Came Back". And that would imply the phrase had some context that allowed comic use.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: Gasonline Alley 1919

Jeffrey Lindenblatt has been researching Gasoline Alley strips in 1919; his interest was in comparing how the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News ran the feature. He sent me the data he collected, which seems to show that not only were the two papers inconsistent until mid-December, but the Daily News wasn't even consistently late, which would seem like the most likely scenario considering that King was producing the feature in Chicago. There's even a single strip (December 22) that apparently never ran in the Tribune.

Jefffrey says that part of the problem stems from Gasoline Alley running as part of King's Sunday Rectangle until September, which sometimes made for seven panels in one week. Even after that, though, the Daily News maintained a stubborn independent streak not only in timing but even sometimes changing the strip's subtitle.

Strip TitleChicago TribuneDaily NewsDifference
(In the First Place I'd say the Tire Has Good 7000 Miles)24-Aug
The Ladies Have A Word to Say25-Aug25-AugSame
The Bunch Has Had A Dip26-Aug27-AugMinus 1
The Home Garden28-Aug26-AugPlus 2
The Bunch Stays Downtown To Dinner27-Aug28-AugMinus 1
Avery And His Wife Have Just Left29-Aug29-AugSame
On the Fair Green30-Aug30-AugSame
(And He Sneaks Up Beside)31-Aug
H.C. Of L. Under Discussion1-Sep1-SepSame
Walt Weakens2-Sep2-SepSame
Planning A Getaway3-Sep3-SepSame
Arranging the Camping Party4-Sep4-SepSame
Walt is For Personal Liberty5-Sep5-SepSame
Collecting The Camp Outfit6-Sep6-SepSame
(What You Doin Walt Working Up An Appetite)7-Sep
The Bunch is Off8-Sep8-SepSame
They All Know The Road9-Sep9-SepSame
And Where Are the Ham and Eggs?10-Sep10-SepSame
The Bunch Censors Walt's Outfit11-Sep11-SepSame
Three Men in A Boat12-Sep12-SepSame
A Line To the Folks13-Sep13-SepSame
A Breakdown on the Road14-Sep15-SepMinus 1
Found Walt's Mustache15-Sep16-SepMinus 1
The Girls At Home Try to Start Something16-Sep17-SepMinus 1
Walt's Other Initials K.P17-Sep18-SepMinus 1
Avery's Luck Goes Bad18-Sep19-SepMinus 1
Breaking Camp19-Sep20-SepMinus 1
Stuck!20-Sep22-SepMinus 2
The Bunch Arrived Safely Yesterday22-Sep23-SepMinus 1
Walt Does His Fall Cleaning (Chicago)/Walt Does His Bit On-Machine (NY)23-Sep24-SepMinus 1
Avery May Spend Some Money24-Sep25-SepMinus 1
Walt is Still Contented25-Sep26-SepMinus 1
Speaking of Help26-Sep27-SepMinus 1
Walt Has Been Experimenting27-Sep29-SepMinus 2
Like New Speed Guaranteed29-Sep2-OctMinus 3
Shade Tree Diplomacy30-Sep1-OctMinus 1
Now What Can A Man Say?1-Oct30-SepPlus 1
A Lesson in Spelling and Hot Latin2-Oct3-OctMinus 1
Of Course It's His Own Wife3-Oct4-OctMinus 1
Crepe Hangers4-Oct6-OctMinus 2
Hard Drinkers of Soft Drinkers6-Oct7-OctMinus 1
Don't Breathe A Word of This!7-Oct8-OctMinus 1
Watch This Drive It'll Be a Whale!8-Oct9-OctMinus 1
And Besides Avery Always Shaves Himself9-Oct10-OctMinus 1
Avery Knew A Good Place10-Oct11-OctMinus 1
The Water Hole11-Oct13-OctMinus 2
How About A Motorcycle?13-Oct14-OctMinus 1
Doc Wants A Night Out14-Oct15-OctMinus 1
Walt is On the Phone15-Oct16-OctMinus 1
Avery Didn't Intend To Sell But16-Oct17-OctMinus 1
Walt He'll Say He's Still Single17-Oct18-OctMinus 1
Bill Does Some Mental Arithmetic18-Oct20-OctMinus 2
It Even Has Tassels on the Curtains20-Oct21-OctMinus 1
Wait, Avery Wants To Putt21-Oct22-OctMinus 1
A Modest Oil Well is Doc's Idea22-Oct23-OctMinus 1
Walt Wasn't Born Yesterday23-Oct27-OctMinus 4
One Blow Right After Another!24-Oct24-OctSame
Lost Ball25-Oct25-OctSame
Man's Work is Never Done!27-Oct28-OctMinus 1
Doc Hates To Go But28-Oct29-OctMinus 1
Winter Is Coming On29-Oct30-OctMinus 1
No Walt Can't30-Oct31-OctMinus 1
Here Today Gone Tomorrow31-Oct1-NovMinus 1
How Many Cylinders Are Enough1-Nov3-NovMinus 2
Wanted An Automoblie3-Nov5-NovMinus 2
A Bunch of Sourgraphes4-Nov6-NovMinus 2
The World is Upside Down!5-Nov4-NovPlus 1
Either Way Doc It Will Cost You Money6-Nov8-NovMinus 2
For Sale or Exchange? 7-Nov10-NovMinus 3
How Was She to Know?8-Nov7-NovPlus 1
Doc Has A Customer(Maybe November 10 /Chicago Tribune issue Missing)11-Nov
Man's Intuition (Chicago)/He Has One on the Salesman (New York)11-Nov20-NovMinus 9
Almost Sold!12-Nov12-NovSame
Down the Row To Make A Sale (Chicago)/According to Viewpoint (New York)13-Nov13-NovSame
Cash Or What Have You14-Nov14-NovSame
The Old Car is Still With Us15-Nov15-NovSame
Dope on the Coal Situation17-Nov19-NovMinus 2
Avery is No Truck Horse19-Nov17-NovPlus 2
The Cop Must Be Mistakin18-Nov18-NovSame
When Do We Eat?20-Nov21-NovMinus 1
No Place To Roost21-Nov22-NovMinus 1
Meeting H.C.L. Half Way22-Nov24-NovMinus 2
Once Overing Somebody's New House24-Nov25-NovMinus 1
Winter is Coming 25-Nov26-NovMinus 1
It's A Breezy Day26-Nov27-NovMinus 1
After Dinner Stuff27-Nov28-NovMinus 1
A Combination Tool28-Nov29-NovMinus 1
When The Frost is On the Radiator29-Nov1-DecMinus 2
Pinched!1-Dec2-DecMinus 1
Post Mortem on Yesterday's Arrest2-Dec3-DecMinus 1
What Do You Do in a Pinch?3-Dec4-DecMinus 1
Walt Breaks It Gently4-Dec5-DecMinus 1
Passing the Buck5-Dec6-DecMinus 1
It's All Arranged6-Dec8-DecMinus 2
Aw Judge Be Reasonable8-Dec9-DecMinus 1
Expense Account9-Dec10-DecMinus 1
Speeders Court10-Dec11-DecMinus 1
Another Post Mortem11-Dec12-DecMinus 1
Inside Stuff12-Dec13-DecMinus 1
Warm and Comfy (Chicago)/Cool and Comfy (New York)13-Dec15-DecMinus 2
Doc Put Two and Two Together15-Dec16-DecMinus 1
The Blamed Thing Won't Start16-Dec
Avery Enjoys a Movie17-Dec17-DecSame
Advice Wanted18-Dec18-DecSame
Avery Shops For Emilys Christmas Gift19-Dec19-DecSame
What A Dusty Christmas20-Dec20-DecSame
Shopping Notes(Chicago Tribune that Monday did not print a Gasoline Alley Strip)22-Dec
Bill's Foot Slips23-Dec23-DecSame
Merry Christmas25-Dec25-DecSame
Delayed in the Mail26-Dec26-DecSame
Making It Comfy For the Bunch27-Dec27-DecSame
A Detail Overlooked29-Dec29-DecSame
A Comeback30-Dec30-DecSame
Things Aren't the Same Any More31-Dec31-DecSame


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Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Magazine Cover Comics: Juliet a-la Jazz

The short-running magazine series Juliet a-la Jazz ran from April 16 to May 21 1933 and marked Russell Patterson's last magazine cover series for Hearst for the next six years. Not that there was anything wrong with the series, since it sticks like gum to the shoe sole of the standard romantic magazine cover formula. Leggy redhead Juliet is cast in a play and the only question is whether she'll pick the leading man, the stage manager or the director to be her off-stage romantic lead.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Duke of Dahomey

Above you see the entire four episode run of The Duke of Dahomey, one of E.W. Kemble's last strips penned for the Hearst funnies section. The series ran from October 1 to 22 1911*.

Kemble was mostly known for his depictions of black characters, going back to the 1880s when he gained fame for the illustrations to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. By 1911 he still seemed content to rest his laurels on unfortunate stereotypes, a decision that has necessarily left a truly incredible illustrator in the dustbin of history.

Dahomey was an African kingdom that finally fell under the authority of France in the 1890s after centuries of independence. The white world saw the Dahomeans as rather ridiculous characters, because after all how could native Africans possibly form a kingdom, society and economy without the benefit of white overseers? Kemble's series, then, bases its supposed humor on black characters acting as if they are high-society sorts, with the duke as a ringmaster to the proceedings. Even Kemble seems to realize that he's running on fumes here, as his signature physical comedy is oddly muted in these strips.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.

* Source: Collection of Cole Johnson



Hello Allan-
My take on Kemble's characters is they all behave like children at play, impersonating,the best they can the way adults behave, especially in status seeking. Obviously the "Duke" is no such thing, but as a specific ethnic character, you wouldn't choose Dresden or Dublin. I guess "Dahomey" was the most prominent African place name Kemble could think of begining with "D," though Dahomey, in or out of Portuguese and French colonization, famously had a royal court.
See more Kemble stuff at my onetime blog site above. Thanks.
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Monday, September 09, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: I See by the Papers / Wilbur

Prolific gag cartoonist and sometimes newspaper cartoonist Bo Brown came up with a winning idea for a daily panel in I See by the Papers. Brown would take a newspaper story, come up with a whole slew of cute little gags on the subject and set them all in a busy three-column panel cartoon. The Register and Tribune Syndicate agreed that the idea had merit, and apparently started syndicating it in 1944*, though the earliest samples I've been able to find are from 1945.

The panel could of course run on the comics page, but it was also a nice bit of comic relief perfectly at home on the op-ed page. It could even be easily personalized by changing the title to match your paper, i.e. I See by the Tribune, or I See by the Times. I certainly like the idea, but apparently my  opinion was shared by few newspaper editors, who ignored the offering in droves.

Bo Brown was probably making enough money with his magazine cartooning that I See by the Papers became a liability, taking up more time than it was worth. He quite the feature on March 6 1946**, but the syndicate evidently felt there was still some rubber on the tires of I See by the Papers, and they replaced him with Bill Ruble, another magazine gag cartoonist.

Ruble gamely stuck to the Bo Brown model for awhile, but then he or the syndicate decided that they might have more luck selling the panel as a two-column. That change occurred around the beginning of 1947, and Ruble could no longer follow the model, having lost a significant percentage of his drawing real estate.He changed the panel to a single gag format, and the newspaper headlines were now there only as a sop to the name of the feature.

Ruble started featuring recurring characters; first Aunt Gertrude, a wacky spinster, and then a fellow named Wilbur (in the bottom panel above, though unnamed in this early appearance). As 1947 wore on, Ruble came to rely on Wilbur almost every day. Finally, I believe it was probably on September 1 1947***, the title of the panel was changed to Wilbur and the newspaper headline angle was dropped completely in favor of generic gags.

None of these changes did anything positive for the feature's circulation, but Ruble soldiered on with Wilbur for almost two years; the latest I can find it running is June 18 1949****.

* Source: Collection of Gordon Campbell.
** Source: Washington Post.
*** Source: Provo Herald. I am unable to find any paper that changed the title on that specific date, but based on the panels themselves I'm pretty sure that this is when the official title change occurred.
**** Source: Indianapolis Star.


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Saturday, September 07, 2019


What The Cartoonists are Doing: March 1914, Vol. 5 No. 3

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.

Illustrations used here did not necessarily appear with the original articles.]

The purchase by Nathan Straus, Jr., of Puck, the oldest humorous periodical in America, and the reorganization of this weekly on modern lines, is an event of special interest to cartoonists and students of cartoons. From this point of view the most important announcement Mr. Straus has made is that Hy. Mayer, who has been for years drawing exclusively for the New York Times, has been engaged to take full charge of the cartoons and comic illustrations of Puck. Mr. Mayer is a cartoonist of international reputation, whose work in many respects more nearly resembles that of the best European cartoonists than does that of most American artists. He has sailed for Europe for the purpose of enlisting in the service of Puck some of the best of the younger cartoonists of Paris, Berlin, Munich and London.

It is apparent from this announcement that the new proprietor of Puck intends to give American readers for the first time a publication that will compare in the quality of its cartoons with the illustrated weekly journals of Europe. During the first 20 years of its existence, Puck was quite definitely the leading exponent in the United States of the art of modern cartooning. Founded in the '70s by the late Joseph Keppler and Charles Schwartzmann, it was published for several years in German, but the popularity of its illustrations led to the establishment of an English edition, which has for 30 years been its principal edition. The elder Keppler, himself a cartoonist of remarkable ability, was a contemporary of Thomas Nast, and for a long time his chief rival in the affections of a cartoon-loving public. He associated with him the best cartoonists of 30 and more years ago, and under their tutelage Puck became the great American training school for cartoonists, many artists whose names are now nationally known having began their careers by drawing for Puck.

 Bernard Gillam was one of Puck's most famous cartoonists and his double-page cartoon in colors depicting James G. Blaine as the “Tattooed Man” was largely responsible for that statesman's defeat in the presidential election of 1884. Frederick Opper, one of the most versatile and brilliant of present-day cartoonists, worked for Puck for years. The late F. M. Howarth was one of its regular contributors when the journal was in its prime. The list of cartoonists who got their first encouragement from Puck might be extended indefinitely.

It is, therefore, hardly an innovation but rather a return to the ancient traditions of Puck that Mr. Straus has inaugurated in engaging an art director of the standing of Mr. Mayer and commissioning him to again bring the old journal into the front rank of American illustrated weeklies.

Charles R. Macauley has left the World.

This is not an obituary of Mr. Macauley, although the news is almost as unexpected as though he had dropped dead. For nine years Macauley's cartoons in the New York World have not only made him world famous as one of the really great American cartoonists, but have linked his identity so closely to that of the paper which he served that it is almost impossible to imagine them as separate entities. But on January 17 Macauley drew his last cartoon for the World. The rupture came about as the result of a misunderstanding between the cartoonist and the editor of the World over Macauley's very active participation personally in the campaign for the election of John Purroy Mitchel as mayor of New York. The World supported Mitchel and Macauley's personal share in the campaign is said to have been entirely with the consent of the management of the paper. But the publication in a rival journal of an article, intimating that there was ground for criticism of Macauley because of delay in the filing of his campaign statement as treasurer of the Mitchel League, led to friction which resulted in the cartoonist's dismissal. Mr. Macauley has brought suit against the World for $12,500, his salary for the year 1914, for which time he claims the Press Publishing Company had contracted for his services, and he holds them liable for breach of contract.

For a time after Mr. Macauley's work for the World ended, the editorial-page cartoon was drawn by George W. Rehse. Mr. Rehse began to draw cartoons in Minneapolis for the Penny Press nearly twenty years ago. Then he worked on the St. Paul Pioneer Press, later in St. Louis and then went to Paris where he studied art. For a time after his return to America he was the cartoonist of the New Yorker Staats Zeitung, the leading German daily of the metropolis.

As this number of Cartoons Magazine goes to press, it is reported that Rollin Kirby, who has been drawing “feature” and Sunday cartoons for The World, is to become Macauley's successor.


A. B. Chapin, for twelve years a cartoonist on the Kansas City Star and Times, has joined the staff of the St. Louis Republic. Mr. Chapin's specialty on the Star was sport cartoons, of which his series, “Breaking into the Big League,” was best known. In his new position he will appear on the first page of the Republic with a daily car toon—“without a sting,” and in the best of humor. His work will also be syndicated. The staff of the Star showed its regret by presenting “Chape” with a loving cup.
The Republic at present is the only St. Louis paper using front page cartoons.


Clare Briggs, whose cartoons on the Chicago Tribune's sporting pages have become immensely popular throughout the Middle West and have proved a great circulation builder for the paper, has resigned to join the staff of the New York Tribune. This move is a part of the new policy of the New York Tribune, the staff of which has recently undergone a complete reorganization, the best men in many special fields of journalism having been engaged in the effort to restore Horace Greeley's old paper to something like its former prestige.

A collection of Briggs' cartoons published under the title of “The Days of Real Sport” has had a wide sale in book form. His specialty is the depiction of the small boy as he really is, and his work published under the captions “When a Fellow Needs a Friend” and “O Skin-nay!” has won him thousands of friends among those who are still able to remember their own boyhood days.

No public announcement has been made of Briggs' salary in his new job, but it is currently reported among his Chicago friends to run into five figures annually. Mr. Briggs was born in the little village of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, and his first work as a cartoonist was on the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Later he went to New York and formed a connection with the Hearst papers, and when the Hearst Chicago papers were started he went to that city for special cartoon work, going from the Examiner to the Chicago Tribune.

Donald C. Bartholomew, whose cartoons have appeared in various New York newspapers, died on Dec. 22 at his home at White Plains, N. Y. He was thirty-three years old and a graduate of Harvard college. Mr. Bartholomew had hardly entered Harvard when his ability as an artist attracted the attention of his fellow students, and he was elected president of the Harvard Lampoon. During his student days he drew for papers and after he was graduated from the university in 1906 he joined the regular staff of the Boston Herald. Mr. Bartholomew was also a writer of fiction and several of his short stories appeared in magazines. At the time of his death he was employed on the New York Globe as a cartoonist. In 1907 Mr. Bartholomew married Miss Florence Judd, and is survived by her and two young children.

Mr. Bartholomew's cartoons were signed “Bart,” and he was sometimes confused with “Bart” of the Minneapolis Journal, whose work is widely known, but who is still alive.

The Hot Springs (Ark.) New Era recently announced editorially that Ad Goodwin, its cartoonist, was ill and unable to continue his work, although it expressed the hope that his illness would prove to be temporary. “Mr. Goodwin,” said the New Era, “is one of the best cartoonists in the country.”


Luther C. Phifor, cartoonist on the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram, was married on Dec. 28 last to Miss Effie L. West of Worcester. Mr. and Mrs. Phifor met through the cartoonist's interest in charitable work, in which the bride has been active.

Elmer Donnell, cartoonist of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, has entered the lecture field as a side line. He recently gave a “chalk talk” before the Y. M. C. A. of Farina, Ill., on the topic “The Daily Grind of a Newspaper Cartoonist.” The talk made a hit with his large audience.


Cartoonist Karl K. Knecht of the Evansville (Ind.) Courier—known locally as “Ki’ —entertained thirty girls of the Evansville High School drawing classes with a demonstration in the Courier art rooms of the method of making chalk-plate cartoons. He showed them how a careless scratch or two made a face and another scratch made a Woodrow Wilson smile and another the beard that Old Man Winter always wears.

“I want to see you draw Mr. Common Citizen,” chirruped a sophomore girl. “I just love him. He looks just like my father, especially the way his collar fits.” So Mr. Knecht dug the gentleman's features into a chalk plate, explaining as he went along how the chalk was prepared. “Why, that's easy,” exclaimed one of the girls. “I’m going to make a plate with talcum powder when I go home. Can you make a cartoon with a hairpin?”

“I never tried, but I've used a hatpin when I was hard pressed,” said Knecht.

The full process of a cartoon was shown the young people from the initial sketch to the picture that greets you on the first page of The Courier.

One of the youngest in the class evidently hadn't been listening closely when the class was introduced to Mr. Knecht. She kept calling Ki “Mr. McCutcheon.”


R. W. Satterfield, whose daily cartoons are published in newspapers all over the United States, has published a book. Perhaps “published” is not exactly the right word, for the title-page of the volume entitled “Fifty Cartoons by Satterfield,” bears also this pointed discourager of near friends:

“This volume is printed for gift distribution only and all the copies have been distributed.”
It is always interesting to discover what part of his own work any artist likes best. In this volume Satterfield's personal choice from among his work of the year 1913 is given, and the selections do credit to his personal taste. There is not a cartoon in the book that does not represent thought and feeling as well as skill with the pen.

The editor of Cartoons hopes that it is merely a coincidence that the particular one of the 150 copies which was sent to this magazine is number 23.


Howard L. Rann, who writes the “Sidewalk Sketches” in the Minneapolis Journal, relieved himself of a few remarks on cartoonists recently. While intended primarily to be humorous, there is much truth and more than a grain of wisdom in what Mr. Rann wrote. He said:

“The cartoonist is a moulder of public opinion who sticks on the front page whence all but he have fled. The only thing that can drive a cartoonist away from top of column next to reading matter is a war scare or an attack of writer's cramp. In order to become a successful cartoonist one needs a daily thought and the muscular development of the village blacksmith. In some cases the thought is furnished by the managing editor, who usually can't tell a zinc etching from a crayon portrait of Brother Henry in a new hair cut, and this accounts for some very depressing displays of the pictorial art.

“All of our leading cartoonists carry a card in the Sign Painters' union, and a few of them are slowly backing into it.

“There is a great demand for durable cartoonists who can make a United States Senator look like a bibulous barkeep without subjecting the paper to a suit for libel, but these are harder to find than the humorous page of the Popular Science Monthly.

“Whenever a cartoonist runs out of thought, he falls back on the Wall street interests and the beef trust, which are generally portrayed in a silk tie and a full dress suit, busily engaged in assaulting the ultimate consumer. Some cartoonists earn a large salary and avoid the surface cars, while others have to double in the press room and read proof.

“The supply of cartoonists who are not obliged to furnish a libretto containing both words and music with their cartoons, is not equal to the demand, and there are several promising vacancies for young artists who have a sense of humor which is visible to the naked eye.”

A series of cartoons circulated throughout Alabama in the senatorial contest between Congressmen Underwood and Hobson has set the whole state by the ears. The cartoons were direct attacks on Hobson. Some of them showed him receiving money from John D. Rockefeller, a charge that had never been made against him either in print or on the stump. Others showed him marching in Washington at the head of a suffrage parade which was represented, in order to bring race prejudice into action, as being composed of both white and colored women.

As soon as the cartoons were circulated the Underwood managers in the senatorial contest promptly disavowed their authorship or inspiration in emphatic terms, since the inevitable effect of such attacks was understood to be to turn voters toward Hobson instead of against him, as the perpetrators of the pictures apparently intended.

The most plausible explanation of the origin of these cartoons is that they were paid for and circulated by the liquor interests, whose opposition to Hobson because of his championship of the prohibition cause is intense and bitter. Whatever the explanation, their use is another illustration of the fact that the cartoon is recognized as the most potent weapon in politics.

Among Christmas gifts distributed by Andrew Carnegie were two prints of a cartoon, nicely framed, which he sent to Secretaries Garrison and Daniels. “It's a very handsome frame,” said the latter. The former said he was glad Mr. Carnegie was good enough to remember him. The cartoon shows a soldier departing for war, while his little child asks him if he is going off to kill some other child's papa.


Leo Edward O'Mealia, who has been doing cartooning for the New York Journal, has joined the staff of the New York Globe. Mr. O'Mealia was formerly a newspaper artist in Rochester.


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Friday, September 06, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

Another Dwig card from the Tuck "Cheer Up" series, #176.


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Thursday, September 05, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Hans Phildius

Hans Phildius was a pen name of cartoonist Ed Carey.

Hans H. Phildius was born on November 3, 1869, in Jersey City, New Jersey according to the New Jersey, Births and Christenings Index at His parents were Phillip and Christina. Information about his education has not been found.

During the Spanish-American War, Phildius enlisted on April 29, 1898, in the New York National Guard. The book New York in the Spanish-American War 1898 (1902) said he was assigned to the 71st Infantry, Company H where he served for two years. Phildius mustered out November 15, 1898, at New York City.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Phildius, an insurance agent, in the Bronx at 1167 Union Avenue. The head of the household was Elizabeth Nash whose daughter, Gertrude, was married to Phildius’s brother, George. The couple had a son. Also in the household were Elizabeth’s two sons and another daughter.

According to the 1910 census, Phildius, a self-employed music composer, was staying with his brother, George, and his family which included two sons. They resided in Brooklyn at 1351 72nd Street. One block over Ed Carey was boarding with the Rosenfeld family at 1214 73rd Street. Apparently Phildius and Carey met and became friends to some degree.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dad in Kidland debuted May 7, 1911 in the New York World. The first five strips were credited to Hans Phildius. Carey’s name appeared afterwards to December 17, 1911.

In the 1915 New York state census, Carey had moved to Greenburgh, New York. Phildius has not yet been found in this census or the 1920 census.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, 1921, New Series, Volume 16, Number 3 had an entry for Phildius’s composition, “Moons of Spring”.

The 1925 New York state census listed Phildius as a patient at the Kings Park State Hospital in Smithtown, Suffolk County, New York. He was admitted in 1923. His permanent address was 179 Avenue S in Brooklyn.

Phildius passed away December 2, 1926 in Smithtown acceding to the New York Death Index. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 4, 1926, printed a brief notice, “Phildius, Hans H., aged 57, beloved brother of George H. Phildius. Funeral service at his brother’s home, 179 Avenue S, Saturday, 2 p.m.”


—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, September 04, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Dad in Kidland

The idea behind Dad in Kidland is a good one: what if the roles were reversed between parents and children? In the first strip of the series (top image), Dad decides he'd enjoy being a kid again, and so the family moves to Kidland, where kids act like adults and adults vice versa.

This strip was no springboard to explore sociological and psychological issues between parent and child. The whole gag here is that an adult is dressed up in a Buster Brown outfit and acts like a bratty, rambunctious and mischievous kid, and his kids try to keep him in line. The whole strip is really just a visual gag, but it is a pretty good one. Father Ben's appearance and manner is so well handled that the strip is worth reading just for the fun of seeing a portly, mutton-chopped middle age man behaving like a kid.

Dad in Kidland debuted in the Sunday section of the New York World on May 7 1911*, and was initially credited to Hans Phildius. Mr. Phildius only signed the strip for the first five installments, and was then replaced by Ed Carey** (see bottom two samples).

It has long been my presumption that Phildius is a pseudonym for Carey, because the styles of the Phildius strips and those of Carey are pretty much indistinguishable, and Phildius has no other known art credits. Why would Carey adopt a pen name? My guess was that he was still in the employment of the New York Evening Telegram at the time, and as soon as his obligation to them was completed he was free to take credit.The only problem with that scenario is that your typical pen name is made up. While 'Hans Phildius' sounds to me like a made-up name, I just Googled it and actually found a single hit that indicated there was indeed a Hans Phildius living in New York in 1899. So did Mr. Phildius actually draw the first episodes of Dad in Kidland, or did Ed Carey choose his name to hide behind for some reason? That is a mystery I cannot solve. Alex Jay, on the other hand, can and did. See his Ink-Slinger Profile tomorrow.

Dad in Kidland initially ran as a half-page strip, but was soon demoted to a quarter-page space. In the World itself the strip was more and more frequently replaced by an ad, so it often can only be found in the syndicated version of the section. The World last ran it on December 17 1911*, but in the syndicated version it continued until May 26 1912***.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the bottom two sample scans. If you like Dad in Kidland, you'll find pretty much the whole run over on Barnacle Press to enjoy.

* Source: Ken Barker's New York World index in StripScene #14.
** Carey did not sign the strip until September 10, but the unsigned strips between Phildius and this are presumably Carey's work.
*** Source: Detroit Free Press.


Hello Allan-
My take is that, though there might have been an actual man with that name, "Hans Phildius" would seem like a play on "Handful", part of a common or once common phrase describing overactive tots, "He/She's a handful".
I'm sure you've run across odd names of real people, and being a collector or such diverse civilizational debris from the past as post cards and magazines,I found the names on the addresses included Miss Anna Tiger, Mr. Odo Mounts, Ursula Hyde, Tillie Somebody, and Dewitt Daisey.
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Tuesday, September 03, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Great Atomic Aftermath & Fresh Fruit Festival

It might have sounded like the name of a bad jazz fusion group, but The Great Atomic Aftermath and Fresh Fruit Festival was actually a newspaper comic strip that debuted on January 5 1976*. The strip was penned by James Schumeister and was distributed by the LA Times Syndicate.

The odd title was actually a fairly spot-on indication of the strip's subject. Earth has just gone through World War III and the only survivor seems to be Fred, who climbs out of a bomb shelter. He's joined by another fellow and a woman, and they soon find that they are not alone at all but are entering a world now populated by atomic mutants in the form of giant talking fruits and vegetables. The cataclysmic setting and rather dopey inhabitants are used by Schumeister to comment on current society, and the humor was sharp enough to make for a fairly entertaining and even occasionally thought-provoking strip.

The daily strip apparently found enough clients that a Sunday was quickly added, apparently debuting on February 15 1976**. However, clients started jumping ship early on as the strip became weirder and the humor more conceptual and quirky. Schumeister was asking readers to follow him into more and more eccentric material before they'd even gotten a chance to get acquainted with the strip, and apparently they weren't ready to be led there.

The latest Sunday I've been able to find is May 7***, while the daily struggled on at least until July 24***. After barely more than a half year, though, the rebirth of the world came to an end. Schumeister would soon get another chance on the comics page with the strip Levy's Law, which was considerably more accessible material, and it would last six years.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.

* Source: Editor & Publisher, Janury 3 1976.
** Source: Author's collection, unknown newspaper.
*** Source: Wilmington Morning News.


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Monday, September 02, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Goodie Goodie Sisters

Been a long time since we had a visit from good old Eddie Eksergian, so let's take a look at his series The Goodie Goodie Sisters. This one ran in the St. Louis Star (and a few client papers, believe it or not) from July 6 to September 21 1902. For Eddie this was pretty tame stuff, a relatively normal (for the funnies page) pair of sisters who get their jollies from torturing a poor benighted kid named Willie.

Eks let loose a little more in his secondary strips on these pages, one of which offers us the cowboy version of ping-pong, and another about robots who get programmed with the wrong keys*. That's more like it, Eddie, we knew you hadn't sold out.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.

* By the way, although the fellow in this strip is named M'Nutt, he seems to NOT be the same character as McNutt, who got his own series a few months later.


One of the refreshing parts about examining popular culture of the 1890's-1900s was that they have no polite rules or conventions to follow, and scenes in comics or movies can just as easily show bad deeds go unpunished, malicious characters win, or victims go unvindicated, as not.
Truly, an unsung genius was Eddie Eksergian. There should have been a collection of his work made years ago, it's still fascinating all these years later.
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Saturday, August 31, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing: February 1914, Vol. 5 No. 2

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.

Illustrations used here did not necessarily appear with the original articles.]

Brewerton, far right, in 1912
A solemn-visaged owl flew into an open news stand in Lawrenceville, Ga., the other night, and pausing before a cartoon of Brewerton's, in the Atlanta Journal, fairly shrieked with mirth!
This spontaneous appreciation by Nature's wisest bird so impressed the newsdealer that he insisted the owl be sent to Brewerton forthwith, where he might indulge his fancy for cartoons to his heart's content. The next parcel post carried a mysterious package, which was delivered in due course, and in a particularly busy moment “Brew" tore off the cover, revealing a pair of staring yellow eyes! At the same time a sepulchral voice asked “Hoo?” Whatever it was that Mr. Alfred Brewerton said to Mr. Owl in reply, the owl, it is certain, was disillusionized, for he has never laughed since. Not even when “Brew” is as funny as he can be, does the owl give any evidence that he sees the point. “Brew” is inclined to think the bird was once a managing editor who has “come back.” Tradition is against “Brew’s” theory, but the fact that the feathered critic only shakes his head and sniffs perceptibly as each new creation seems to confirm the diagnosis. Brewerton still hopes to win a smile from his new chum, and has given him the run of his sanctum, feeds him India ink and Welsh rarebits, and is watching for results.

It would seem that Senator Tillman's success in getting the cartoons of his non-reversible cow printed in The Congressional Record has done more than all of the editorials and articles denouncing the publication of extraneous matter in The Record have been able to do in the thirty years or more since the practice became common of letting Senators and Representatives print anything that they wanted to get before the public in a publication which properly should contain nothing but a record of the daily proceedings of Congress.

Senator Bacon of Georgia and Senator Gallinger of New Hampshire have served notices that they will object hereafter to the publication of anything not contained in the proceedings of the Senate in The Record, and as unanimous consent is required before such extraneous matter can be published, this determination on the part of these Senators should put a stop to the practice so far as the upper house is concerned.

According to some scientists who have been investigating the subject, there are two centers of thought in the brain instead of one as had formerly been supposed, and each of these centers controls one side of the body. According to their theory, a right-handed person who uses the left hand only for purposes that require no particular skill, is utilizing only one half of his brain power, and if he had taken the trouble to train his left hand, he would be able to accomplish a great deal more and better work. An artist, for instance, who draws pictures with his right hand, might conceivably develop remarkable literary skill by doing his writing with his left hand.

There are no records to prove whether Du Maurier, the famous English cartoonist, who late in life produced such remarkable novels as Trilby, Peter Ibbetson and The Martian, did his writing with his left hand or not, but Townsend, the present day British cartoonist, who is regarded as one of the foremost in his profession, draws with his left hand, but writes everything with his right hand; he is an expert billiard player and uses his left hand for this purpose, while in playing cards he always handles his cards with his right hand; a skilful cricketer, he bats with his right hand, but bowls with his left.

There are instances of cartoonists who, after some accident had crippled their drawing hand, have learned to use the other with almost equal skill. C. G. Bush, for many years perhaps the most famous cartoonist in America, whose drawings in The New York World have been equalled for force and imaginative qualities by few, had to learn to draw with his left hand late in life after a stroke of paralysis, which crippled his right side. Some of Mr. Bush's left-handed work was equal to the best he had ever done with his right hand.

Public interest in cartoons among the residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was stimulated by a cartoonists' exhibition held in The Public Library in December. The historical room of the library was given over to the exhibition.

While most of the work shown was original drawings by the cartoonists of the three Grand Rapids papers, Vidro of The Press, Barnes of The Herald, and Tower of The News, there were also exhibited prints of cartoons by Rouse, a former Press cartoonist who died four years ago, by McCutcheon of The Chicago Tribune and other artists. Drawings and lithographs showing the work of English, French and Polish cartoonists were also exhibited.

In an editorial entitled, “The Challenge of the Cartoon,” the Columbia (S. C.) State says:

“The first Democrat to be elected and seated President of the United States after the War Between the States was Grover Cleveland. His election turned upon the vote of New York State, which he carried by the narrow majority of 1,200.

“But for any one of several incidents Mr. Cleveland would have been defeated in New York. The Burchard speech was one of them and the cartoon of the Republican candidate as the ‘Tattooed Man' was another.

“Mr. Blaine, the ‘plumed knight,' was a brilliant and dashing statesman. No man has appealed more strongly to the imagination of the American electorate and had Mr. Blaine's record been clean he would have ‘won in a walk.'

“But Mr. Blaine's record was vulnerable. The cartoonist pictured him as a naked savage, his body tattooed, after the manner of savages, with references to questionable transactions with which his name had been associated. The public eye, not only in New York but throughout the country, was fixed upon Blaine as a corrupt politician and so the public conscience was aroused in a way that printed words could never have aroused it.

“In similar fashions, the cartoons of Thomas Nast stirred New York against the ‘Tweed Ring' and led to its destruction.

“The law, of course, gives politicians as well as others ample redress against the unfair and libelous cartoon, just as it gives them redress against the libel that is printed or written. No solvent and responsible newspaper would dare print a cartoon based upon false allegations and holding up an honest man to reproach or ridicule.

“The publication of a cartoon assailing a man's reputation is always a challenge by the newspaper or magazine to sue it for damages.”

The New York Press asks why the cartoonists persist in drawing toughs and gunmen in the likeness of prize fighters, with close cropped hair, when as a matter of fact, almost every young tough in New York wears his hair long, and usually with a lock hanging down over his forehead.

The answer is the simple one that what cartoonists are drawing are types and not portraits. Until the general public is educated to the point where it immediately recognizes a picture such as that which the Press suggests as that of a tough citizen, a cartoon using such a type for that purpose would lose all of its force and point. The present day conception of a tough citizen has been hammered into the public mind by thousands of artists and cartoonists ever since Cruikshank drew his pictures of Bill Sykes to illustrate Oliver Twist.


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Friday, August 30, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Norman Jennett (?)

Here's another card that I believe to be by Norman Jennett. That's a much better name than Mr. Dot in a Circle, which seems to be his preferred moniker for this work. As with the other Jennett cards, this one does not credit a publisher. It was postally used in 1910, which seems to be the norm with these cards.


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Thursday, August 29, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Affable Aleck

T.O. McGill threw quite a few series against the wall at the New York Evening World in the 1900s, and Affable Aleck has the dubious distinction of being the shortest lived. It managed only two episodes, on November 5th and 10th 1908*.

Source: New York Evening World


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Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: A.D. Reed

Arthur Delbert Reed was born on Match 31, 1877, in Ogle County, Illinois. The birth date is from his World War I draft card; the 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded the date as March 1877. However, an entry at Find a Grave has the date March 21, 1874, and his birthplace in Ogle County, Illinois. His full name was found at

The Reed family lineage is here. Reed was the son of Edwin E. Reed and Lillian B. Hemenway. The Reed family history was told, in part, in the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Ogle County, Volume 2 (1909), which profiled Judge Frank E. Reed who was a nephew of Reed’s father.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Reed as the fourth of five children. The family resided in Oregon, Illinois at 235 1st Street. Reed’s father was the county treasurer.

Information about Reed’s art training has not been found.

On June 12, 1897 Reed married Olga Orner in Ogle according to the Illinois marriage index at The Morning Star (Rockford, Illinois), June 26, 1897 said “Mr. Arthur D. Reed of this city, and Miss Olga Orner of Chana, were united in the happy bonds of matrimony on June 12. The bride is one of Chana’s fairest daughters, and the groom holds a good position as one of the artists on the Chicago Evening Journal. Their many friends, both here and Chana, extend congratulations.” The July 15, 1897 Daily Register-Gazette said “Arthur D. Reed, cartoonist on the Chicago Journal staff, and wife are visiting for a few days with the family of his father, E.E. Reed.”

The Daily Register-Gazette, May 22, 1900, reported “Arthur D. Reed, who does the portrait work on the Inter Ocean, with his wife and daughter, have come out from the city to enjoy a visit at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ed E. Reed on South Fourth street.” About two weeks later the 1900 census said Reed was rooming with the Wilkenson family in Chicago at 639 Worth Avenue. It’s not known where his wife was staying.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Reed produced several strips from 1901 to 1906. The first was Country Happenings for the New York Evening Journal. For the McClure Syndicate Reed created Doctor Quack, Mister Bowser, Farmer Jake, William the Conqueror, The Dictionary Illustrated, Uncle Pike, Orphan Joe, Little Abe Corncob, Ham the Country Store Boy, Gazaboo Ike, and Frappe the Snowman and His Papa.

According to the 1910 census, newspaper artist Reed was a Chicago resident at 2352 Clark Street. The location of his wife and family has not been found.

American Newspaper Comics said Reed produced Zeke Smart, from March 6, 1910 to November 26, 1911, for the Chicago Tribune. For the New York Herald, Reed drew After Dark from March 17 to April 14, 1912. Foolish Limericks debuted April 3, 1910 with Reed who was one of a number of cartoonists to draw it for the Chicago Tribune.

The Morning Star, October 26, 1912, said “Arthur D. Reed and family are back from New York where they spent the summer. They have been visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E.E. Reed in this city, but are now located in their bungalow in Daysville, where Mr. Reed will continue his work as a magazine illustrator.”

Apparently Reed moved to New York City in 1914. The Daily Register-Gazette, March 10, 1914, said “Arthur Reed has decided to resume art work and has taken a position as cartoonist on a New York paper.”

The 1915 New York state census counted artist Reed, his wife, seventeen-year-old daughter and eleven-year-old son in Staten Island on Sea View Avenue.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc., 1916, New Series, Volume 13, Number 7 included Reed’s The Wild and Woolly West. Reed was mentioned in Moving Picture News, September 9, 1916. Reed’s animated cartoon, Are We Prepared for the International Trade Hunt After the War?, was listed in Moving Picture World, November 11, 1916. Both films were for Bray Studios.

Reed’s address was the same on his World War I draft card which he signed on September 12, 1918. The cartoonist was employed by Pat Sullivan at 125 West 42nd Street in Manhattan. Reed’s description was medium height, slender build with brown eyes and hair.

Schenectady, New York was Reed’s home in the 1920 census. The artist, his wife and son were renting a place at 18 Governors Lane. Reed’s employer was the electric company.

The 1925 New York state census recorded Reed and family at 28 Sunnyside Road in Glenville, Schenectady County.

The 1930 census had the same street and number but it was now in the village of Scotia in the town of Glenville. Reed continued to work at the electric company.

Reed continued to be a Scotia resident, at the same location, in the 1940 census. The self-employed artist’s highest level of education was the eighth grade.

Reed passed away May 25, 1953, in Schenectady, New York, according to the New York death index at The Troy Record (New York), June 1, 1953 said “During the last week services were held in the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium in Oakwood Cemetery for the following: … Arthur D. Reed …” Reed’s wife passed away August 21, 1952.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: After Dark

Poor Farmer Jones. His farm is going bankrupt because the animals he raises all turn out to be tough, sinewy and underweight. The cause is a mystery. His livestock sales contracts have all been cancelled and the local butcher won't even discuss buying from him anymore. Farmer Jones and his family are all weak and nervous because of his business troubles combined with a lack of protein in their diets. If only someone in the family had the strength to stay up late one night and check on the animals, the problem would be made clear to them. After dark, it turns out, the animals don't sleep as they should, but engage in all sorts of wild hijinks all night long. No wonder they are worthless at market!

The mysterious A.D. Reed, whose biography is unknown,  made his comics page swan song with After Dark, which he sold to the New York Herald in 1912. The strip was pretty much his typical fare, rather hastily drawn and with frenetic action in place of genuine humor.  It only lasted five weeks, from March 17 to April 14.

Mr. Reed did not retire outright at this point. We find him dipping his drawing pen one last time in 1916, credited as an animator in the Bray organization.

PS: I'm delighted to say that Alex Jay has unearthed some biographical details about Mr. Reed, so be here tomorrow for his Ink-Slinger Profile!


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Monday, August 26, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Air Conquests

We've covered several strips and panels that were included with the weekly Junior Birdmen of America page distributed by Hearst, and frankly most of their material was pretty dull stuff, unless you're really interested in the science behind wing shear or bios of pioneering pilots is your bag.

Air Conquests didn't exactly break that mold, but it bent it up enough to offer some decent entertainment value. The strip was written by (or at least credited to) famed flying ace Captain Frank Hawks, and it offered an account of his early days as a flier. Although the Junior Birdmen page promoted the strip as more of a grand adventure story, Hawks confined the narrative to his time as a flying student and then as a flying instructor. Although maybe not quite as exciting as the Junior Birdmen might have been hoping for, his story was interesting, it offered a lot of tidbits about learning to fly, and injected the very appealing personality of Frank Hawks, who ironically seems like a very down-to-earth guy in this narrative. The strip was enhanced by the very capable artistry of Jon L. Blummer.

Air Conquests was a feature of the Junior Birdmen page from September 8 1935 to April 5 1936*, and seemed to end a little abruptly. Since the Birdmen page would no longer run strips and panels after this I'm assuming the editorial direction had taken an abrupt turn.   

* Source: San Francisco Examiner


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Saturday, August 24, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing: January 1914, Vol. 5 No. 1

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.

Illustrations used here did not necessarily appear with the original articles.]

Probably more people are familiar with the signature “F. Opper” in the lower left-hand corner of cartoons and humorous drawings than have ever seen the name of any other cartoonist.

There are several grounds on which this supposition is reasonably based. One of them, for instance, is that Frederick Burr Opper has been drawing “pictures for the paper” longer than any other cartoonist still actively in the harness. Another is that Opper does more work in a given time than any two other cartoonists, and would do still more if he were allowed or encouraged to do so. And then, the group of newspapers for which Opper's work is now done has a combined circulation that brings his work—political caftoons in the daily and two or three different series of “comics” in the Sunday—before a good many million Americans every week.

Away back in the days when Joseph Keppler was doing his greatest work for Puck, F. Opper was drawing and signing half a dozen cartoons for that publication every week. Before that he had been drawing pictures for Leslie's Weekly—but what's the use of telling a story backward?

 To begin at the beginning, Frederick Burr Opper was born on Jan. 2, 1857– which makes him 57 years old this month —in the village of Madison Lake, Ohio. He went to the village school until he was fourteen, then got a job on the local weekly newspaper. A year later, at the age of fifteen, he went to New York to carve out a career for himself, after the fashion of the Oliver Optic and Horatio Alger boy heroes, who figured prominently in the juvenile literature of the early seventies:

Unlike many a misguided youngster who sought fame and fortune in the big city, Opper found what he was looking for— that is to say, a job. His year of newspaper experience in Madison Lake had hardly qualified him for a position on the staff of one of the great New York dailies —and he knew it. So he didn't waste any time trying to break into metropolitan journalism, but got employment in a Broadway store, where, besides selling goods, he turned his artistic talents to advantage in drawing tickets and price cards for window display. Evenings he drew humorous sketches and sent them to the comic papers.

The funny pictures “took.” Pretty soon other editors began to inquire as to the identity of the new artist who signed himself “F. Opper,” and Frank Leslie sent for him and gave him a job on the art staff of Leslie's Weekly. Opper worked for Leslie's for three years. Then he went to Puck and drew pictures for that publication for 18 years, leaving to take up the work he is now doing.

Opper's best-known political cartoons have been the “Willie and His Papa” series, published during the McKinley administration, and the “Uncle Trusty” cartoons that continued throughout the Roosevelt and Taft administrations. Two of his cartoon conceptions, the figure representing the trusts as a good-natured but cynical giant, and that of the common people, representing a harassed, partly bald little man with side whiskers and eye glasses, have become so completely standardized that they are now used by cartoonists generally to express these ideas.

It isn't often that a newspaper thinks as well of its cartoonist as the St. Louis Star, which recently passed into new hands, does of the one it now has. Tuthill is his name and the Star took him from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he had been doing some very clever work. Here is the way the Star chortled in a three column advertisement the other day about young Mr. Tuthill:

“Tuthill, the cartoonist, rejoins The New St. Louis Star Monday.

“We are taking him away from another newspaper and putting him under contract.

“Tuthill began his cartooning with The Star one year ago this Fall and made his work the talk of the town in the political campaigns of November and April.

“Thousands of you know his work and will want to follow it every day in The New St. Louis Star.
“Tuthill has a touch of the great and able Homer Davenport in him.

“He will grow bigger in brain and power.

“He will make you think and talk.

“This is because Tuthill has ‘vision' and an appreciation of the important things of life.

“Tuthill is not one of the silly cartoonists or comic men who draw pictures of a frankfurter and make it cry: “Woof! Woof! !'

“There are alleged comic artists in St. Louis who consider such drawings to be humorous.

“We do not—and Tuthill does not.

“Every day you will find him drawing for our editorial page, and for no other newspaper in or out of St. Louis.”

The best of it is that almost everything the Star says about its “find” is justified by Tuthill's past performances.

Vegetarians may deny that the added ginger noticeable in the cartoons of the New York papers recently were due to beefsteak—but circumstances seem to point the other way. Some folks say that “there ain't no sich animile,” that beefsteaks are as extinct as the Dodo, but “Jimmie” Swinnerton knows better. When he checked his drawing board for the West recently, he was the recipient of a beefsteak dinner at which real beefsteaks were served by famous cartoonists arrayed in big aprons and cooks' caps. “Tad” Dorgan, “Rube” Goldberg, Fred Opper, Tom Powers, George McManus, Cliff Sterrett, Rudolph Block and Winsor McCay were the drawing cards. The beefsteaks were censored by “Winnie” Sheehan, secretary to Police Commissioner Waldo—and passed.

There is at least one authentic case of a cartoonist who became rich. His name is J. Stuart Blacton (actually Blackton - ed.), who lives in Flatbush and is prominent in Brooklyn millionaire society. Mr. Blacton undoubtedly has money. Among his minor enterprises at present is the building of a country estate at Oyster Bay, adjoining Sagamore Hill. He is an enthusiast in motor boating, a pastime in which he is said to have spent $100,000 in a single year.

But—and this is the main point in his story—Mr. Blacton didn't make his money drawing cartoons. He made it out of the motion-picture business, in which he was one of the pioneers. This, according to the Brooklyn Eagle, is the way it happened:

“A man primarily an artist, theoretically the last to glimpse a great new business field, he was nevertheless the first man in the country to see the commercial possibilities of the moving picture. Trained as an architect, at first a newspaper cartoonist, and then on the lyceum platforms as a ‘quick chalk artist,' he founded overnight the immensely profitable enterprise he now has a share in, approximately out of nothing. Some say that but $3,000 started the present big moving-picture concern in Flatbush; others that it was but $600. No one exactly knows, but the combined profits of the three owners today are probably $40,000 weekly.”

Besides being an accomplished cartoonist and a shrewd business man, Mr. Blacton paints exceedingly well and is said to be a remarkably clever amateur actor—and at the time he started in the motion-picture business, it took a man of that kind of versatility to see any commercial possibilities in it. The idea first came to him when he was sent by a New York newspaper to draw pictures of Edison's vitascope, which was then regarded more as a scientific curiosity than anything else. This ended later in his buying a kinetoscope and giving exhibitions in vaudeville theaters in New York. Then Mr. Blacton turned inventor and developed ways of reproducing by the thousands the strips of continuous pictures that he took.


Terry Gilkinson, formerly cartoonist of the Wheeling Register, a number of whose excellent drawings have been reproduced from time to time in Cartoons Magazine, has moved to Cleveland, where he is cartoonist for the Cleveland Press.


This magazine has received a contribution from Walter E. Stark, cartoonist of the Rochester (N. Y.). Herald, for the Homer Davenport Memorial Fund.


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Friday, August 23, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

Here's another card from Tuck's "Cheer Up" Series, #176.


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Thursday, August 22, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Alfred Frueh

Alfred Joseph Frueh was born on September 2, 1880 in Lima, Ohio, according to birth information on a passport application and his World War I draft card which also had his full name. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Frueh was the oldest of four children born to Henry, a brewer and German emigrant, and Annie, an Ohio native. The family resided in Bath, Ohio.

The New York Times, September 18, 1968, published Frueh’s reply to a 1933 questionnaire on his early life. Frueh pronounced his name “free” and said he was born on Main Street, Lima, Ohio, 1880, and brought up to be a farmer then a brewer.

Mr. Frueh once told his daughter that it was the study of Pitman shorthand in a Lima business college that aroused his interest in drawing. When he got bored in class, he would turn the Pitman symbols into faces of his teacher and fellow students. …
He was at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1904 to 1908. 

Frueh received his passport on November 16, 1908, and a second passport June 25, 1912, according to Frueh said
… Loafed in Paris, London, Rome, Munich, Berlin, and Madrid in 1909. Came back and loafed on The N. Y. World 1910 to 1912 1/2. Went to Europe again and married in London in 1913.
The New York Dramatic Mirror, July 9, 1913, reported the marriage.
Announcement is made here of the marriage of Giulietta Priscilla Fanciulli, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francesco Fanciulli, of 128 West Fifty-eighth Street, to Alfred J. Frueh, of New York in St. Giles’s Parish, London, on June 12. The bride is the daughter of Francesco Fanciulli, musical director and composer, former leader of the United States Marine Band. Mr. Frueh is a well-known caricature artist, noted for his striking cartoons of prominent players, who came from Cincinnati and for some time was employed on one of the dally New York papers, until he went abroad for study. Mr. and Mrs. Frueh do not expect to return to this country until next year.
A passenger list recorded Frueh, his wife and five-month-old daughter, Barbara, who was born in Paris, on the S.S. La Touraine, which arrived in New York City, from Havre, France, on September 13, 1914.

The Times said Frueh was at The World from 1914 to 1924.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Frueh produced two series for The World: Gabe, from July 2, 1911 to August 18, 1912, and The Goat-Getter, from May 22 to 30, 1912. Frueh’s trio for Press Publishing were Rush-Hour Jones, from September 26 to November 1, 1916; Hem and Haw, from June 13, 1920 to February 6, 1921; and For the Love of Juliet, from July 24, 1921 to March 5, 1922.

In 1915 Frueh and Irwin Leslie Gordon produced the art for The Log of the Ark. The same year saw the Evening Public Ledger feature Frueh’s cardboard animals.

Frueh illustrated Chester Cornish’s Beating ’Em to It or The Sultan and the Sausages (1917).

Frueh signed his World War I draft card on September 5, 1918. His address was 22 Maple Place in Nutley, New Jersey and his employer was the New York World. The newspaper artist was described as tall, medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair.

Cartoons Magazine 5/1918

Frueh’s residence was the same in the 1920 census. His household included his wife, three children, Barbara, Robert and and Alfred, his mother-in-law, Amanda Fanciulli, and brother-in-law, Romolo Fanciulli, a newspaper journalist.

The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre (1996) said “Ohioan Alfred J. Frueh drew prolifically for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and later for the New York World and New Yorker; his early caricatures were compiled for a book called Stage Folk (1922).”

The 1925 New York state census counted Frueh, his family and mother-in-law in Manhattan, New York City at 34 Perry Street.

The Times said Frueh joined The New Yorker in 1925 and the first issue had two cartoons by him. He did the cover art for the second issue. He was the magazine’s theater cartoonist to 1962.

The Times said Frueh purchased, in 1926, a 100-acre nut farm in Connecticut, where he planted 7,00 pine trees and several hundred chestnut trees. He experimented, unsuccessfully, grafting nut trees to create a soft-shelled black walnut.

Self-employed artist Frueh was at the same address in the 1930 census. His mother-in-law was not there.

Frueh’s mother-in-law rejoined the household in the 1940 census which recorded Frueh at the same location. Frueh’s highest level of education was the eight grade. He was a magazine cartoonist.

Frueh’s wife passed away October 19, 1967, as reported in the Harlem Valley Times (Amenia, New York), November 2.

Frueh passed away September 14, 1968, in Sharon, Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Death Index at The Social Security Death Index said Frueh’s last residence was Falls Village, Connecticut.

Further Reading and Viewing
Archives of American Art
Museum of the City of New York
New York Public Library

—Alex Jay


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