Friday, February 22, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Dwig


Here's another entry from that Message in the Mirror series by Dwig. As with the others, they are marked as Series 30 on the reverse, and show the logo of the little fellow with the smock displaying the Swiss cross, and an American flag in one hand and a beer stein in the other. This card was postally used in 1911.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Happy Hank



This little feature, Happy Hank, ran on occasional weekdays in the Chicago Daily News from March 31 to May 30 1903. The Daily News devoted half or more of their back page to cartoons and comic strips every weekday, and had so much material to offer that most of it was printed very small. That led creators to keep their gags basic, and Happy Hank was no exception. In each installment the dim-witted fellow simply tries to impress a gal and fails miserably.

But a little feature like this can be much more important than it looks, for it represents what I believe to be the first series ever penned by that giant of the newspaper comics page, Harold Tucker Webster. Webster, of course, went on to create a long-running panel cartoon feature that became an integral part of the American consciousness, but in 1903 he was an inexperienced greenhorn who only begrudgingly got to do an occasional panel cartoon or strip for the Daily News back page. In fact, this is one of only two series  he was allowed to do there in a stint that lasted a couple years.

Is there any hint of the future Webster greatness here? Nah, not a bit.  But Webby shows off a bit of maverick nature here -- the lion's share of Daily News strips at this time told their gags in printed captions below the panels, but as you can see in the second example, he adds a couple word balloons to help with the comedy. Ironic, then, that Webster would generally eschew word balloons in his famous panel cartoon series of later years.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.


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You can detect a small bit of HTW's mature style, especially the hands. If anyone is perhaps confused as to just what "Pyrography" was and why it involved "Poker Work", is that it pertains to that of the art of wood burning, with a small needle-like tool, one would engrave designs on decorative wood bric-a-brac.
So this can't be considered a precursor to Webster's long running "Poker Portraits" series.

Sorry, I'm grasping at anything here.
 
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lyman Anson


Charles Lyman Anson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 23, 1884, according to his World War I and II draft cards and passport application.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Anson and his parents, Charles and Harriet, resided in Milwaukee at 535 Marshall Street. His father was a wholesale grocer. On January 9, 1903, Anson received a passport which did not specify the countries he planned to visit.

The 1905 Wisconsin State Census identified Anson as a student who lived with his parents in Milwaukee.

Anson was a traveling salesman in the 1910 census. He was a lodger in Milwaukee at 225 Greenbush Street.

A family tree at Ancestry.com said Anson married Florence May Smith on September 19, 1916, in Oak Park, Illinois.

Anson signed his World War I draft card on September 10, 1918. He lived at 206 Sumner in Newton, Massachusetts, and was assistant inspector of naval construction. His description was short, medium build with brown eyes and dark brown hair.

Wheaton Illinois, at 622 Naperville, was Anson’s next home as recorded in the 1920 census. He was a freelance magazine writer.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4: Works of Art, 1923, New Series, Volume 18, Number 2 has this entry: 

Anson (Charles Lyman) Wheaton, Ill. 5802-5816 
Sillyettes, May 15–19, 21–26, 28–31. [Daily] © May 15–19, 21–26, 28–31, 1923; 1 c. each May 29–June 6; K 175523-175532, 175714-175718.
On July 31, 1923, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle began promoting Anson’s Humorettes, which was six frames of silhouetted figures with text. On the far right of each strip was a copyright line, © 1923 C.L. Anson. Apparently the strip was syndicated by Anson. Humorettes began August 6 and ended September 15, 1923. According to American Newspaper Comics, Anson’s Sillyettes appeared in 1924.



 8/6/1923

 8/20/1923

9/15/1923

In the 1930 census, Anson remained in Wheaton but at a different address, 404 North Washington. He was a writer and had two sons, Lyman and Barton. Lyman would become a writer in various fields and marry Marione Reinhard, who was the Saturday Evening Post humor editor and helped select cartoons.

Anson, the freelance writer, was at the same address in 1940. He had completed five years of college and worked 52 weeks in 1939. Anson signed his World War Ii draft card April 27, 1942. His office was in the Smith Building, on North Main street in Wheaton. He was five feet two inches, 125 pounds with brown eyes and gray hair.

Anson passed away December 23, 1964, in Winfield, Illinois. His death was reported the following day in the Chicago Sun-Times which said Anson graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in naval architecture and used this knowledge during World War I and II. He contributed to the Saturday Evening Post and was an editor with Dodd Mead & Co., a New York publishing firm.


Anson’s books include Fifty Years Below Zero (1942) and Skeleton Coast (1958). He has an entry in the Genealogical Record of Thomas and Harriet Clapp McKnight. Some of his writings can be viewed here, here, here and here. Anson was buried at Wheaton Cemetery.


—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Gentle Touch




We've discussed the short-lived Boston Traveler syndicate here before; it started in 1908 and pretty much petered out before the end of 1911. The Traveler traded exclusively in weekday strips, and with the exception of C.A. Vioght, most of their bullpen gang were relative unknowns. That doesn't mean, however, that they were all bad. No, the editor at the Traveler had a pretty good eye for cartoonist horseflesh. One of the brightest of his merry band was William Stevens, who produced a few series for the syndicate in the 1908-10 period. Unfortunately, these series seem to be the sum total of his cartooning output. While the common name makes IDing him questionable, I think he is likely to be William Lester Stevens, who became somewhat notable in fine art.

The Gentle Touch, which ran on weekdays from July 6 1909 to January 21 1910, would be Stevens' final series for the Traveler. Although the gag is repetitive, the sumptuous drawing and wonderful attention to body language and facial expression make every episode a lesson in how to bring interest to depicting a conversation in a comic strip.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Mostly Malarky








Maybe not so much an obscurity as a feature that just ran under the radar, Mostly Malarky was created by Wally Carlson for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate in 1946, debuting as a daily panel on April 29*.

Carlson was the long-time artist on The Nebbs, and after the death of creator Sol Hess in 1941, he might have felt he needed a backup plan should it be cancelled. As it turned out, The Nebbs continued for about 15 years after that, but Carlson probably needed some extra income as it steadily lost papers in those years. Neither The Nebbs of this era, or Mostly Malarky, would be a cash cow by any means, but the two together probably kept the wolves far away from Wally's door.

Mostly Malarky started as a gag panel with no continuing characters, but it wasn't long before readers would start seeing the same married couple showing up pretty regularly. His name was Charlie, his wife was Pansy, but the son's name I have not been able to discover in perusing a hundred or so samples. Somehow I always assumed that the family name was Malarky, but I don't know if that was actually maintained in the feature or if it came out of my own head. When the CTNYNS told Carlsen to add a Sunday to the mix, this family became the stars of the color strip.

The family is pretty well a blank slate on which to blanket any old gag, but in keeping with the title of the feature Charlie did make a habit of telling tall tales. They also had a parakeet named Poyke, named after a real bird owned by Carlson. Poyke had 15 minutes of fame as the star of a photo book issued by All-Pets Books in 1954.

In the late 40s Carlson added another set of regular players when the characters Maizie and Daisy  began appearing in the daily panel. This pair of frumpy washerwomen became, in my opinion, the highlight of the feature. They were sassy and brassy and an utter delight. Apparently Rand McNally agreed with me, because Mostly Malarky's only mainstream appearance in book form was a collection of Maizie and Daisy panels. Another continuing sub-feature was Wilbur Werm, a Casper Milquetoast who is domineered by his wife.

There's no telling just how long Mostly Malarky could have run, as it ended due to the death of Wally Carlson in 1967. The final daily saw print on May 27, the last Sunday on July 30. Although Art Huhta is believed to have assisted on the feature, he evidently wasn't asked, or didn't care, to take it over.


* Source: All dates from the Chicago Tribune

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Looks like the son’s name is Stormy?
 
Looks like I shoulda read the ones I scanned! --Allan
 
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Saturday, February 16, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday


November 20 1909 -- Here we have Herriman putting in a lot of cartooning work to illustrate a non-story. This one is about a court case in which the judge called an adjournment for the day in the middle of the prosecutor's case. This is really not noteworthy, but some reporter who sat in the courtroom all day with nothing to show for it came up with a very slender hook on which to hang a publishable story.

It is surprising, I guess, that it took so long for politicians to fully realize the benefit they could gain by feeding nothingburgers to reporters. Reporters good and bad are always in search of copy, and if they are at all lazy, or tired, or set upon by an editor, they'll take pretty much any shiny bit of bait they see. A current resident in Washington has turned that process into a fine art, and reporters seem helpless to ignore the bait, even when they realize exactly what he's up to.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson


Here's another card from the Detroit Publishing Company's Gibson series, this one number 14029. This drawing originally ran in Life in 1895, and I cannot fathom why they would have resurrected it for this card. The composition is awkward, and the man and woman seem not to be quite perfectly tethered to the ground. The gag, unless I'm missing something, is not put across well at all (I guess the two were smooching before the man with the trunk arrived?).

This card, like my other Gibsons, is unused. It has an undivided back, placing it pre-1907.

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Looks to me like an illustration for a story, not a gag cartoon per se. I do recall a Gibson cartoon showing two sweeties on a couch, and you can tell from the crushed puffed sleeve on the lady that they had been candoodling close just a second or two before the scene. Here, the clothes are not deranged. The trunk seems like it's poorly packed.
 
This is a freestanding cartoon, and that's the original caption. The couple are newlyweds almost caught in the act; hence the awkward, hastily assumed postures.

Clothes are not deranged, but the bride's hat and hair are out of kilter and she looks a bit rattled. The elegant groom dropped hat and cane on the floor; their position suggests some action between the two chairs. The newspaper is an odd touch; wonder if Gibson meant us to think the man is oh so casually covering his naughty bits.

Hints that they're newlyweds: "Their room" has a sign by the door, implying a hotel. Those are big limp bows decorating the trunk, perhaps indicating that it and the couple came straight from the wedding venue.
 
Fair enough, I see your points readily.
 
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

 

Magazine Cover Comics: Fascinating Phyllis


After devoting such a long time to Hearst magazine covers last month, let's cleanse the palate with one from Pulitzer.

Although the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was where Joseph Pulitzer began his newspaper empire, once he had the New York World, the P-D ceased to be the flagship paper in the chain. Most but not quite all comics and features issued forth from the World, but every once in a while the Post-Dispatch threw its weight around, replacing those issued features with local content.

An example of that is Fascinating Phyllis, which was used on the Sunday magazine covers of the Post-Dispatch for awhile instead of the New York material. This pretty girl cover series was first seen on May 14 1911, before the pretty girl magazine cover story strip had even become a standard trope. The pleasant art was by Marguerite Martyn, who was employed for many years at the Post-Dispatch in both an artistic and reportorial capacity.  The verse was supplied by Willis Leonard Clanahan, who shows up on the interwebs for a few published stories and songs.

Fascinating Phyllis ran on the Sunday magazine covers in the P-D through August 27 1911.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Annette Bradshaw


Annette Heald Bradshaw was born on January 24, 1879 in San Francisco, California. Bradshaw’s full name and birth information are from her Social Security application (viewed at Ancestry.com) which also had her parents’ names, George H. Bradshaw and Ella Smart.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Bradshaw’s first name as Avis who was the youngest of four siblings. Her father was a stock broker and her mother a housewife. The household included Bradshaw’s paternal grandmother and uncle. They resided in San Francisco at 2107 California Street.

Bradshaw was profiled in the Iowa City Press-Citizen (Iowa), September 28, 1921 and said in part

Miss Bradshaw was born in San Francisco, and even before she had finished high school, showed so decided an ability for “making pictures” that she was allowed to follow the bent of her inclination and devote herself to the study of art. When she was about eighteen she became connected with the illustrations, caricatures and, sometimes, cartoons but all the time she worked and studied to realize her ambition to become a portrait painter.
According to the 1900 census Bradshaw was a newspaper artist who lived in San Francisco at 703 Sutter Street. Her birth month was recorded as May.

I believe the San Francisco Call, September 1, 1901, published a photograph of Bradshaw on horseback. The spot illustrations are by C.E. Tebbs.




At some point Bradshaw moved to New York City where she married Charles E. Tebbs, an English artist, in Manhattan on October 6, 1902. Their marriage was reported in the San Francisco Call twenty-two days later. 

Popular Young Artists Married in New York
Annette Bradshaw and Charles Tebbs Formerly of Call Staff Joined in Wedlock.
News has just reached here of the marriage in New York of Miss Annette H. Bradshaw to Charles Ernest Tebbs. Until recently both were numbered among the popular newspaper artists of this city. The couple were joined in wedlock at St. Michael’s Church on Monday, October 6. The announcement of the marriage of the young newspaper artists was not a surprise to their many friends in this city as it has been known for some time that they were engaged. Both Mr. and Mrs. Tebbs were employed on The Call art staff for several years. Mrs. Tebbs is a handsome brunette, well liked socially and withal a clever artist. The groom’s home is in New York, but he was employed on the newspapers of this city for several years.
The 1905 New York state census said housekeeper Bradshaw and her husband lived with his brother, also an artist, in Manhattan at 26 West 97th Street.

Bradshaw’s letter was published in The Craftsman, February 1905. 

From Annette B. Tebbs, New York City: "Will you kindly forward plans of Craftsman House No. 10, which appeared in the October number, 1904. Mr. Tebbs, who has charge of the Art Department of New York Journal and American, says that the things you are turning out of your shops are the most graceful and artistic he has seen and putto shame this up-to-date rubbish turned out by the thousand.”
On July 30, 1908, Bradshaw and her daughter, Helen, sailed on the Merida from Veracruz, Mexico. They arrived in New York City August 7. The following year Bradshaw and her husband visited England. They returned to New York aboard the steamship Mauretania on November 25, 1909. Bradshaw contributed an article, “The Farming Experiment of a Woman”, to American Homes and Gardens, November 1908. 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 31, 1909, said Bradshaw was one of the guests at the Lakewood Hotel.

In April 1909 Bradshaw copyrighted one her of her designs.

Bradshaw patented a design according to the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, July 27, 1909.



Bradshaw has not yet been found in the 1910 census.

Collier’s, May 13, 1911, printed Bradshaw’s “The Fashion in Woman’s Hat Plumage”.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Bradshaw was one of several artists to draw Romantic Cartoons for the Newspaper Feature Service, a Hearst syndicate. The series began with Gustav Michelson on December 8, 1913. Bradshaw produced it from August 25, 1914 to June 30, 1926 with contributions by other artists during her run. The series was also known as Feminine Foibles, Feminisms, and Her Problem.

Iowa City Press-Citizen said

After a while Miss Bradshaw came to New York where she worked for ten years for various metropolitan dailies, doing news illustrations of the big events of the day that lent themselves to vivid portrayal. During this time her deft pencil drew most of the famous characters brought into the focus of the newspaper lime-light, from Nan Patterson to Harry Thaw and alternating these “heart-interest” assignments with opening days at horseshows, notable weddings and similar spectacular events.
All the time Miss Bradshaw was leading a double art life—that is she was doing a certain amount of work each day in her up-town studio and was rapidly winning a place as a portrait painter, the work to which she now gives practically all of her time save that which she devotes to her “Feminisms” and “Her Problems”. “I cannot entirely sever myself from the old life in black and white and the occasional smell of printer’s ink,” she declares, “and the social cartoons are, sort of connecting link”.

Miss Bradshaw’s newspaper work has, among other things, made her an expert in fashions, but her inherent love of caricature and her unusual sense of humor has led her to make the lay figures, upon which her fashions are displayed pictorially, really human—just folks—such folks as one sew stopping or at theatres, or in uptown hotels or restaurants and with all the amusing idiosycrasies [sic] which even fashionably dressed people show at times.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 20, 1916, said Bradshaw and her husband were guests at a clambake.

According to the New York, New York, Marriage License Index (at Ancestry.com), Bradsahw married James D. Grant in Manhattan on June 29, 1918.

In the 1920 census, Bradshaw, her husband and daughter were Syracuse, New York residents at 253 Dewitt Street. Bradshaw’s occupation was recorded as “none” while her husband was a manager of electrical supplies.

The Commercial Register (1920) had this listing: “Tebbs Annette B. (Miss), 45 W. 11th. Artist, 37 W. 39th. 2 3”.

1925 New York state census recorded artist Bradshaw and her family as Manhattanites at 19 Gramercy Park. Her husband was an accountant and her daughter an interior decorator.

On February 23, 1928, Bradshaw departed Buenos Aires, Argentina. She arrived in New York on March 13. Her address on the passenger list was 1 Lexington Avenue, New York City.

In 1935 Bradshaw sailed from New York, November 2, to San Diego, November 16. Her address was 42 West 35th Street, New York City. Her companion was seven-year-old Dwight Prouty.

According to the 1940 census, “Pronty” was a grandson born in Buenos Aires. Bradshaw, her husband and grandson made their home in Los Angeles at 5717 Melvin. Bradshaw was a photography agent while her husband was a mining business promoter. In 1935 they lived in Queens, New York.

On July 4, 1946 Bradshaw flew from Mexico to Burbank, California. Her address was 2149 Wall Street, San Bernadino, California, which was the home of her sister, Mrs. Lucy E. Fowble.

Bradshaw passed away December 7, 1952, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, according to the American Foreign Service’s Report of the Death of an American Citizen (viewed at Ancestry,com). The cause of death was “Infarct of the Myocardium” or heart attack. The cremated remains were delivered to Bradshaw’s daughter, Mrs. Helen Flood. Also mentioned were Bradshaw’s sisters, Fowble of San Bernadino and Mrs. Francis G. McCann of Cuernavaca.


Further Reading and Viewing
Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress
Women and the Comics (1984)
Front-Page Girls: Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880–1930 (2006)
Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists (2018)
Chronicling America


—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Bertha



Bill Gallo was a New York Daily News fixture for over half a century, covering sports graphically and in prose for an appreciative sports-mad city. Gallo's most famous and enduring creation as a sports cartoonist was Basement Bertha, a frumpy yenta whose abiding passion was sports.

Gallo's realm was almost exclusively the sports pages, but in the early 1970s he was prevailed upon to add to his responsibilities a Sunday color comic strip using the character. The strip was like the other Sunday News homegrown features in that it never ran every week, but appeared only when there was a hole that needed to be filled in the Sunday section. The strip was titled simply Bertha (not Basement Bertha as reported in the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons), and I don't have definitive start and end dates for it, but can only report having examples from 1972-1975.

I was all hepped up to try out the new addition to newspapers.com of the Daily News to get you definite dates on Bertha, but I was crushed to find out that their Daily News archive don't include many Sunday comics sections for the early and mid-1970s.

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Allan, I own 99.5 % of the Sunday sections from 1970 to present. I have 18 instances of BERTHA appearing between March 26, 1972 and July 15, 1979. They break down this way....

4 in 1972
6 in 1974
3 in 1975
3 in 1976
1 in 1978
1 in 1979

Doc V.
 
One thing to consider is that this rare filler may have appeared additionally in the "Home" vs "National" editions of the Sunday comics. I've found over the decades there were occasional discrepancies based on ad placements.
 
Allan,

If you ever have questions pertaining to the NY Sunday News comics, ask away. I've indexed their contents from the mid 1960's to 1988 (with 1989 to present sitting a few feet away, unindexed) as well as at least half of the 1940's and 1950's and a third of the 1930's.

Doc V.
 
Thank you very much for the information, Doc V! I've been told that you've shared a lot of your NYSN research on Facebook, but since I'm not a member of that clan I haven't been able to take advantage.

I'd very much like to pin down the running dates on all these fillers, and was jumping with joy when the News was announced to be available on newspapers.com. Alas, it turned out to be a terrible disappointment.

I have encountered the differences you speak of between the local and national edition of the News, but not with enough data to come to any conclusions at all. Are the fillers limited to one or the other? (That would make research a bit easier, so I'm guessing the answer is no.)

For the record, here are most of the Sunday News start and end dates I'm missing. The first two are syndicated, but I think they may have definitive end dates in the SN:

* end date in the NYSN for Laugh-In
* end date in the NYSN for Louie
* start date for Teenwise
* start date for Beany
* start date for Bibs 'n Tucker
* start and end date for Bumper to Bumper
* start and end date for The Folks Upstairs
* start and end date for Fun Fare
* confirmation of start and end dates of This Man's Army
* start date for Tweety-Pie
* start and end dates for The Zanities

--Allan Holtz

 
Allan, I'll look up those fillers for you tonight. One thing memory tells me is that Bumper to Bumper was a prime example of a filler that appeared in one or the other local vs national editions of the NYSN. And I believe it worked both ways, sometimes it appeared in the local and not national, and sometimes the reverse! So this is very frustrating in developing an all-time index. I literally need a complete collection of both versions to nail it down 100%! I also believe that at many, many points in time, the two versions were identical, and I have both versions from certain weeks in the 1940, 1950's and 1960's that show no difference.

My Facebook group devoted to this particular Sunday comics is called "The New York Sunday Comics History Group"

Doc V.
 
Allan,

In the NYSN, first the definites....

Laugh-In ended on 3/26/74
Louie ended on 9/29/74
Teen-Wise began on 9/11/66

Now comes the rest...

Beany - The earliest I have is the very first paper to appear after the newspaper strike. The section is undated but is probably right before 4/7/63. My blog post on the strike has a scan of it..

https://timely-atlas-comics.blogspot.com/2015/09/ot-tales-from-new-york-daily-news.html

Bibs N' Tucker - Earliest I've seen is 3/20/55

Bumper to Bumper - Earliest I've seen is 2/5/56, latest is 6/24/62. This filler was used quite often seitched out with ads in National vs Home editions.

The Folks Upstairs - Earliest I have is 5/8/55. Latest is 8/25/57

Fun Fare - Earliest I have is 3/20/55. Latest is 7/15/56

This Man's Army - Earliest I have is 3/27/57. Latest is 4/24/66, after not appearing for about 4 years!

Tweety-Pie. Earliest I have is 9/27/64. Latest is 2/25/79, after not appearing for almost 5 years!

The Zanities - I have 3 total appearances, 2 in 1949 where the strip is actually titled "The Zanities of '49". Earliest is 5/15/49, then 10/23/49, then out of the blue as "The Zanities", on 1/16/55.

Hope this helps!

Doc V.
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that information!! I've updated my data and added edits to the posts on this blog with your info.

The piece on your blog about the Daily News strike was fascinating. I made a comment there with some information.

Oddly enough, I have all three of The Zanities, two as tearsheets, one as original art. Weird.

Louie is supposed to have run until 1976, so I guess the News gave up on it a little early ... unless Hanan dropped the Sunday early.

Can I assume you meant 3/26/72 (not 1974) as the end date of Laugh-In?

 
Allan,

Yes, 3/26/72 on the last Laugh-In. My error.

Doc V.
 
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Monday, February 11, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Pranks with Many Funny Looking Birds





It's debatable whether Pranks with Many Funny Looking Birds is eligible for Stripper's Guide listing, being very text-heavy, but I'm giving it a pass on the grounds that it is of (exceedingly minor) historical importance.

On the other hand, there's no debate necessary that it is a pretty awful feature. The attempts at humor, buried in a sea of type, are so amazingly klunky that readers may have died years later still complaining that they want those precious seconds back. And the constant mynah-like repetition that readers must be sure to come back tomorrow for another time-wasting episode certainly does nothing to endear it.

You have to give the bird characters some points though. In spite of Charles and Jean telling many of them that they, or their unborn children, would make a delicious meal, the birds seem perfectly willing to spend some fun time with the two hungry little carnivores. These birds have truly mastered their Buddhist philosophy.

So what do I find at least trivially historic about it? Well, this feature is from 1913, and it offers an educational component -- that is pretty darn uncommon for the era. It wasn't until the 1920s that the educational strips and panels began to proliferate.

Pranks with Many Funny Looking Birds was offered in syndication by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and the copyright listing tells us that it supposedly debuted in March 1913. However, I just happen to have a few samples of the feature from that paper, and the specific ones cited in the copyright listing did not appear there until May of that year. Therefore, without the luxury of being able to check the Bulletin online, I'm going to guess that its debut in the Washington Star on April 28 is a pretty likely starting point for the series. The latest I can find it running is in the Salt Lake Telegram, which dropped it after June 23.

The panels never included a credit, but the copyright listing cites Walter B. Winstock. A little research shows that Mr. Winstock was employed in the advertising department of the Bulletin, so there's an open question as to whether he actually worked on the panel as artist, writer, or both, or perhaps just had the copyright assigned to him in due to his position.

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This feature also was in the Buffalo Evening News, starting on 21 April 1913.
 
Thanks Mark, we'll push that start back another week.

--Allan
 
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Saturday, February 09, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday


November 16 1909 -- The name of George Edwards, a dress tailor, was apparently pranked by some friends. These practical jokers somehow got Mr. Edward's name added to a ballot as candidate for city attorney.Despite having no training in law, and having not campaigned, he managed to come in second in the election among a field of at least three candidates.

Now Arnold R. Holston, a bona fide attorney who ranked third in the race, is trying to make a case that all the votes for Edwards should be transferred to him. Presumably between the two of them there are enough votes to unseat the incumbent city attorney, Leslie Hewitt. The argument is that Edwards could not serve due to his educational lack in the law department, so he should be disqualified. That part seems reasonable ... the part of transferring his votes to Mr. Holston seems on considerably shakier legal ground.

Herriman ignores the legal questions at the heart of this matter, and instead mocks the idea of a ladies' dressmaker becoming the city attorney.

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Friday, February 08, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Dave Breger


This 1942 card features Private Breger, the character created by Dave Breger which originally saw print in the Saturday Evening Post in 1941. It immediately caught on and migrated to the Stars & Stripes and into mainstream civilian newspapers.  After the war  the panel was renamed Mr. Breger and ran until 1970.

This card series was produced by the Graycraft Card Company of Danville Virginia. As with many of the postcards that were produced for use by GIs, these cards seem to be most often found in an unused state. The bonanza envisioned by these postcard companies seems to have been a bust.

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http://comicskingdom.com/blog/2012/05/30/ask-the-archivist-memorial-day-salute

and
http://comicskingdom.com/blog/2015/10/29/ask-the-archivist-private-breger-becomes-mister-breger

------------------------------
I don't know why but when I was actively collecting cards, it seemed there were always a large stock of unused cards of all kinds with wartime gags. It's as if publishers regularly over printed them, the stocks outlasted the war, and like most old cards, they never got chucked. There's some of my old blog entries listed above about Breger.
I loved that panel when I was a kid, he died suddenly 49 years ago, in January 1970, the series following suit a few weeks later. Years on, when I worked for King Features, I was able to peruse his old files, and I realized that although he had really great, far-out gags sometimes, he was amazingly lazy, repeating the same stock of gags over and over, sometimes redrawing the same ones in the same order a dozen years later.
 
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Thursday, February 07, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Eleanor Schorer aka Eleanor Hope




Eleanor M. Schorer was born on April 13, 1891, in New York City. Her birth date is from the Social Security Death Index and the birthplace was noted on several passenger lists at Ancestry.com.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census Schorer was the oldest of two daughters born to William and Martha. They lived in the Bronx at 1806 Anthony Avenue. Her father worked in housing construction.

The 1905 New York state census recorded the family of four in the Bronx at 1815 Morris Avenue.

Foremost Women in Communications (1970) said Schorer studied at the National Academy of Design in 1906.

The 1910 census said the Schorers were at 2023 Morris Avenue in the Bronx. 


Foremost Women said Schorer found work at the New York Evening World in 1910. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said she worked on over thirty series for the paper including The Adventures of Judy (1926), and The Summer Girl.

Pleiades Club Year Book (1912) published a drawing by Schorer.

According to Foremost Women Schorer studied writing and English at at Columbia University in 1913.

Schorer and her mother returned from Bermuda on April 19, 1914. Their address on the passenger list was 211 Bush Street.

In the 1915 New York state census the Schorer family of four lived in the Bronx at 211 Bush Street.

Perhaps Schorer’s biggest success was as “Cousin Eleanor” and her Kiddie Klub of a hundred thousand members. Editor & Publisher, March 23, 1918, profiled Schorer and said the Kiddie Klub began in the Evening World on May 1, 1916.

Schorer applied for a trademark. The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office recorded the filing on February 20, 1917.




Schorer wrote and illustrated The Wishing Ring in 1919.

In the 1920 census Schorer lived with her parents in the Bronx at 2055 Davidson Avenue. Schorer’s occupation was writer in the news industry.

Schorer’s marriage to Chester Hope was announced in The New York Times, January 20, 1922.

Miss Eleanor Schorer, formerly an artist and feature writer on The Evening World, and Chester R. Hope, an editor of the Newspaper Feature Service, were married yesterday at St. Mark's Church, the Rev. Dr. William Norman Guthrie officiating.

For the last four years the bride has conducted the Kiddie Klub feature for The Evening World, and has written many children's books and plays. Mr. Hope was for ten years on the editorial staff of The Cleveland Leader. During the war he was a Lieutenant in the navy and attached to the Intelligence Bureau. They will spend their honeymoon in Provincetown, Mass.
The Encyclopedia of American Biography (1966) said
Chester Hope was first married in 1906 to Eva Olivia Collins of Cleveland, Ohio. The first Mrs. Hope died in 1918 and there were no children of that marriage.
On January 19, 1922, Mr. Hope was married in New York City, to Eleanor Schorer, the daughter of William B. and Martha Frances (Dohm) Schorer. Mrs. Hope, whose father was a builder, is well known as an artist and writer.
The Newspaper Feature Service produced the article, “To Give Their Hearts But Keep Their Names” which was published by subscribing newspapers including the South Bend News-Times and The Oregonian. Below is the paragraph about Schorer. 
And those of you who know anything about New York must know that there is there a Kiddie Klub which interests thousands of youngsters. It was started by the Evening World, and its fame has reached other parts of the country during the six years of its existence. The originator and director of the “Kiddie Klub” is “Cousin” Eleanor Schorer. She was just a slip of a girl when she started being a “cousin” to all children in the big town. But, when Chester R. Hope, a newspaper editor, recently made her his wife, he agreed that she would not have to quit being Eleanor Schorer. For the children would hardly recognize “Cousin Eleanor” in the person of Mrs. Hope.
New York Evening World 7/8/1922

Schorer and her husband returned from Europe on October 22, 1923. They sailed on the S.S. La Bourdonnais from Bordeaux, France. Their address on the passenger list was 14 East 43 Street, New York, New York. They traveled together in 1927. 

American Newspaper Comics said Schorer was one of several artists to draw Romantic Cartoons for Newspaper Feature Service, a Hearst syndicate. The series started with Gustav Michelson on December 8, 1913. In 1925 Eleanor drew the series under the name Eleanor Hope.

Schorer and her husband have not been found in the 1930 census.

Schorer was aboard the S.S. Europa when she departed Cherbourg, France on April 17, 1930. She arrived in New York City five days later. Her address was South Mountain Road, New York City.

Foremost Women said Schorer studied at the Art Students League, and Julian’s Academy (Paris) from 1930 to 1931. Foremost Women said, starting in 1931, Schorer’s chief clients were the Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Globe Democrat, and the Toronto Star.

In the 1940 census newspaper artist Schorer and her husband were Manhattan residents at 345 West 86 Street. The same address was recorded on Hope's World War II draft card which he signed on April 27, 1942,

The Orangetown Telegram and Pearl River Searchlight (New York), August 1, 1947, reported on the newly organized Rockland Chapter of the Business and Professional Women's Clubs. Schorer was elected the Education and Vocations officer.

During the 1950s, Schorer's paintings were exhibited at the Brevoort Savings Bank in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, as reported in the Brooklyn Eagle.

The Writer's Market (1951) published this listing: “Chester Hope Features, 345 W. 86th Street, New York 24, N.Y. Eleanor Schorer, Editor.”

Hope passed away, at home, on November 27, 1963. His death was reported in the New York Times the following day.

Schorer passed away on February 24, 1976, in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the Florida Death Index. She was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.


Further Reading and Viewing
Chronicling America


—Alex Jay

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That's not a patent; that's for trademarks. Run by the same department (the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and its predecessors), but governed under different law. You can tell, because of the references to classes and the kinds of goods and services. I used to practice trademark law, and I see very often folks conflating the two terms.
 
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Wednesday, February 06, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Bessie's Vacation



Eleanor Schorer was a Nell Brinkley imitator, but she was so darn good it seems a shame to tar her with that brush. Let's say that she did what the market demanded, and did it very, very well.

Schorer created many short-run romantic panel features like Bessie's Vacation for the New York Evening World between 1912 to 1916. Later her cartooning appearances became rare as she got into fashion illustration and children's features.

Bessie's Vacation has no real story to speak of -- each panel depicts a romantic opportunity for Schorer's various 'Bessies' on vacation, be it in the mountains, on a cruise, or at the beach. This weekday series was produced for the summer papers in both 1912 and 1913. The first year it ran July 17 to August 17, and the second it ran in twelve numbered installments from July 2 to August 6*.

* Source: all dates from New York Evening World

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: When Bill Thinkuvit Comes Home at Night



The series When Bill Thinkuvit Comes Home at Night is another one of those rather tiresome absent-minded man strips, this time penned by Ferd G. Long for weekday appearances in the New York Evening World. It came and went quickly, first appearing February 26 1908, and last appearing on March 5.

Oddly enough, this series was chosen by the Chicago Tribune to be colorized and reprinted as third-page Sundays in their comics sections of April 19 to May 3 1908.  The Trib gave this treatment to a few Evening World series in that era, in addition to using actual Pulitzer Sunday strips as well.


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Monday, February 04, 2019

 

Toppers: Fablettes


Little Annie Rooney was a bald-faced attempt by King Features to piggyback on the success of Little Orphan Annie. Rooney debuted in 1927, penned by Ed Verdier, and made it into very few client papers at first. However, when workhorse cartoonist Ben Batsford took over the feature in 1929, newspaper clients started to take notice, and when Batsford was replaced by the team of Brandon Walsh and Darrell McClure, the copycat strip finally found itself to be a modest success.

In November 1930 a Sunday page was added, and thereby hangs a bit of a mystery. In the period 1930-31, I have never seen a Little Annie Rooney Sunday that ran as anything other than half-page format. Therefore, I have never seen it with a topper in that era. Was there a full page or tab version? If so, did it have a topper?*

The mystery deepens. In the period 1932 to October 1933, I have never seen a single example of the Sunday in any format. Did King drop the Sunday after it's perhaps one year stint in 1930-31?

In October 1933, the Sunday finally comes back on my radar, and at this time it was available as a full page, complete with a topper titled Fablettes. Fablettes was an unassuming feature with no continuing characters. Brandon Walsh wrote a two tier gag about most anything that popped into his head, and Darrell McClure illustrated it. Mission accomplished.

I chose the Sunday sample above because it shows off the continued cribbing from Little Orphan Annie. The above strip is an outright copy of the sort of material Harold Gray had offered in his The Private Life of... Sunday topper. However, Fablettes was at least not slavish to Gray -- many Fablettes episodes are pure joke book material.

Darrell McClure was replaced on Little Annie Rooney Sunday in 1934, and his last Fablette was published on February 4. Thereafter the art was provided by Nick Afonsky.

Brandon Walsh was running a sequence in the main strip which concerned a stereotypical aphorism-spouting Chinese fellow named Ming Foo. He decided the character would make a good topper subject. Fablettes was thus dropped on March 10 1935 in favor of the new feature.

Any help readers can give concerning the history of the early Little Annie Rooney Sunday page would be most welcome.


* Jeffrey Lindenblatt offers this possibility: might the 1930-31 Little Annie Rooney half-page Sunday have been created purely as a filler? The Hearst syndicates did this in the '20s and earlier (Charlie and George and part of the Freddie the Sheik run, for instance); could Annie have been another entry in that line?

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday



November 8 1909 -- Another Baron Mooch strip missing from Blackbeard's By George Book 1, this one featuring a cat (more in the Alexander mode than a proto-Krazy, I suppose) having a face-off with Gooseberry Sprig. The Blackbeard book seems to be complete for Mooch strips after this date, so this is our last visit with the Baron on Herriman Saturday.

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Friday, February 01, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Charles Lederer


Here's a postcard by Chicago cartoonist Charles Lederer. Although copyrighted in 1905, it was published in 1907 or later because it has a divided back. No maker is credited, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is the Monarch Book Company, which published other Lederer cards and used the same typeface for the copyright line.

For those wondering about the gag, it helps to know that old time slang for a really bad cigar was a "rope".

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The large white space is obviously to accomodate a message to be written on the face of the card, in keeping with the pre-1907 formulation. So obviously this went into at least two printings. It's pretty ugly, so the gag itself must've made it worth doing.
 
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Violet Moore Higgins



1920 Passport Photo

Violet Moore Higgins was born Violet Idelle Moore on November 28, 1886, in Elgin, Illinois according to The Wights: Volume 2 (1977). A Sons of the American Revolution membership application, at Ancestry.com, said her parents were Lindley Briggs Moore and Mary Katherine Banks.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Higgins and her widow mother resided in Elgin at 154 South Porter Street.

According to the Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index at Ancestry.com, Higgins married Edward R. Higgins on March 12, 1910. The Wights said he “was born September 26, 1877, San Francisco, California. He was a Captain in the Philippines Constabulary during and after the Spanish-American War. He became a newspaper artist and worked for many years for the N.E.A. division of the Scripps-Howard chain. …”

The Riverdale Press (New York), October 27, 1955 profiled Higgins and said

She met her husband, the late Edward Roberts Higgins, while studying designing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. Mr. Higgins was sharing a room in the city with Frank King, creator, to be, of Gasoline Alley. Both were reporters on the Chicago Examiner at the time. They were married in Chicago and then Mr. Higgins went on to become art and photography director with the Scripps-Howard newspapers and later with the New York bureau of NEA feature service.
In the 1910 census, the newlyweds and Higgin’s mother lived in Chicago, at 3528 West Van Buren Street. He was a newspaper artist and she an artist.

At some point they moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The Riverdale Press said she “gave up her proposed teaching career for illustration work and did some feature writing for a Cleveland society magazine.”

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Higgins’ series, Mister Reelumup the Movie Man, ran from September 19 to October 31, 1915 and was distributed by the Chicago Herald/J. Keeley Syndicate. For the McClure Syndicate she produced Nursery Rhymes, from January to June 1919, and Picture Puzzle Mystery Rhymes, from August 3, 1913 to August 12, 1916.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 4, 1919, said the Higgins spent their summer in New York City.

In 1920 the couple lived in Cleveland at 3518 Prospect Avenue. Their occupation was newspaper artists. They soon moved to New York City where their son, Lindley, was born on October 17, 1922.


The 1925 New York state census recorded Higgins, her husband, son and mother in the Bronx at 5663 Newton Avenue.

American Newspaper Comics said Higgins took over the strip, Drowsy Dick, on October 10, 1926, from Ernest J. King. The Press Publishing series began September 12, 1926 and ended April 14, 1928. 

In 1930 the Higgins lived in the Bronx, New York at 5661 Post Road. She was an illustrator while her husband was a commercial artist. Their son was seven years old.

The couple worked together on at least one project, The Three Musketeers, which was edited by her and illustrated by him. It was published by the John C. Winston Company in 1931.

The Higgins’ address was the same in the 1940 census.

The Wights said Higgins’ husband passed away in New York City, February 3, 1949.

For the Associated Press Newsfeatures, Higgins created Junior Editors, an activity panel for children, which debuted October 18, 1954.

Higgins passed away July 28, 1967, in New York City. Two days later The New York Times said

Mrs. Violet Moore Higgins, a retired newspaper artist and children’s book illustrator, died Friday at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx after a long illness. She was 80 years old and lived at 5661 Post Road, the Bronx. She saw the widow of Edward R. Higgins, also an artist.
Mrs. Higgins, a native of Elgin, Ill., created the comic strip known as “Drowsy Dick,” which ran in the New York World in the 1920's. She drew a two-column children’s feature called “Junior Editors” for the Associated Press from 1954 until her retirement in 1963.
She was the illustrator for a number of children’s books, including “Heidi” and “Hans Brinker” and she wrote and illustrated “The Real Story of a Real Doll.”

Mrs. Higgins leaves a son, Lindley R. Higgins of Old Bridge, N.J.,a senior editor for McGraw-Hill, and two grandchildren.

Higgins was laid to rest at the Long Island National Cemetery


—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Picture Puzzle Nursery Rhymes




Violet Moore Higgins created illustrations of exquisite beauty and was in great demand as a childrens book and magazine illustrator. That she ever made time for us newspaper folk is a favor for which we should be thankful. We've already covered her much later series, Drowsy Dick, here on the blog.

Today we'll discuss her earliest known series, titled Picture Puzzle Nursery Rhymes. It debuted as a weekly panel feature on August 3 1913*, distributed by the McClure Syndicate (not the Boston Globe as reported elsewhere on the interwebs -- they were merely a client).

Those who are familiar with our rules here at Stripper's Guide are undoubtedly aghast. Yes, we are covering a newspaper series that is in the activity/puzzle genre, which we say we won't do. (Notice how I pull out that royal we when I'm making excuses?). My unassailable argument is that Higgins' work is so gorgeous that it keeps me from thinking straight. So there.

So anyway, the feature offered not only a gorgeous illustration and a delightful original nursery rhyme, but a hidden picture search feature as well. In our samples above you'll find a key to finding the hidden faces (they were usually faces) in the small print underneath. Most newspapers ran the solution elsewhere in the paper, but this particular one was so lazy they undercut the whole point by stating right in the panel where the hidden faces were! Sheesh.

Picture Puzzle Nursery Rhymes never had a huge client list, but it could be found in many of the most lucrative big city papers. From that I'm guessing that McClure asked a premium price for this feature, which seems like a smart marketing move.

Drawing hidden picture illustrations for newspaper reproduction is a tough and thankless task. You can't do anything that depends on detailed linework, because newspapers are notorious for bad printing quality. I imagine that Higgins finally burned out from her weekly deadlines, and the feature was pulled after three years, the last installment appearing August 12 1916**.

McClure evidently felt the loss of this feature, because three years later they offered the Higgins material again, in reprints, under the simpler title Nursery Rhymes***. This time it was offered as a daily, which a little math tells us would give them a mere six months worth of daily material to offer from the old weekly series. This offering found few takers. The samples above are from this reprint series.

McClure finally got one additional use from the material in the late 1920s, when they sold it off to an unknown syndicate. That syndicate is known to have offered the feature in 1928-30 at least. The Southtown Economist ran it then under the unimaginative title Find the Faces.




* Source: Chicago Record-Herald
** Source: Brooklyn Eagle
*** I mistakenly cited this as a new series in my book, however with the benefit of digital archives I have determined that the material is reprinted from the old series.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bill MacArthur


William Lyon “Bill” MacArthur was born in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, on February 22 1903, according to the Manitoba, Canada, Birth Index at Ancestry.com and a family tree. His parents were Peter Duncan MacArthur (1868–1928) and Annie Elizabeth Lyon (18781–1942).

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded MacArthur and his parents in Chicago, Illinois, at 650 North Albany Avenue. His father worked with sheet metal.

In the 1920 census, MacArthur was naturalized and a department store clerk. His parents had an adopted son who was five years older than MacArthur. They resided in Leyden, Illinois, at 2710 Harlem Avenue.

MacArthur has not yet been found in the 1930 census. Regarding his art training, MacArthur may have studied at the Art Institute of Chicago or the Chicago Academy of Fine Art.

According to the 1940 census, MacArthur was married and had a twelve-year-old son, William Jr. The family tree said his wife was Cecilia Duzynski. The trio lived in Chicago at 6244 Wabansia Avenue. MacArthur was an artist in the publishing industry.

At some point MacArthur moved to California. A 1950 Los Angeles city directory listed MacArthur, an artist, at 71 La Sierra Drive, Arcadia, California. The 1952 directory had the same address and his employer was the LA Mirror.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said MacArthur drew the strip The Life of General Ike for the Mirror Enterprises Syndicate. General Ike ran from May 19 to June 28, 1952.

The Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory, Volume 35, 1960, said MacArthur and Dick Williams produced the illustrated column That’s Show Business.


Dallas Morning News 1/28/1960



MacArthur also caricatured new film releases.


Dallas Morning News 10/21/1962

The San Diego Union (California), August 1, 1965, reported three art exhibits in San Clemente and said: 
The paintings of Mr. and Mrs. William MacArthur are being exhibited at the Untied California Bank, San Clemente.

These and other works will be exhibited at the Arts-Crafts Fair Aug. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at San Clemente Community Clubhouse. No admission will be charged.
MacArthur passed away September 5, 1973, in Orange County, California, according to the California Death Index. The Social Security Death Index said his last known residence was Dana Point, Orange County, California. MacArthur’s wife, Cecilia, passed away October 3, 1997.



—Alex Jay

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Monday, January 28, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Heroes of American History


The surprising success of J. Carroll Mansfield's Highlights of History Sunday page, a rather dry feature offering storybook-style tales of the past, naturally enough spawned imitators. The Hearst camp came up with theirs pretty late in the game, debuting Heroes of American History in 1936, over a decade after Mansfield's strip began.

This Sunday-only strip was presumably offered in syndication, but I've never seen it appear anywhere except in Hearst papers. That shouldn't be surprising, because it really offers nothing to editors that wasn't already fulfilled by Mansfield's strip. Granted, artist Nick Afonsky could draw rings around Mansfield, but since he was already producing the art for the Little Annie Rooney Sunday, Heroes of American History sometimes looks just a tad rushed by Afonsky's usual sandards. The writer of the strip was never credited and it is just as well because it is some seriously stilted and wordy stuff. "Sanguinary battles," oh please. These are comics, not a master's thesis.

An interesting aspect of Heroes of American History is that, as best I can tell, it was produced only in half-page format. It offered no topper to flesh it out to full page, and not even a tab configuration seemed to be available. Could this be a first for Hearst since full page features became the norm in the 1910s? They had a 1935-36 experiment with tab-only features (Kewpies and Hejji, for instance), but I think this might be the first half-page only feature for them in the 'modern' era.

It didn't take long to realize that Heroes of American History was not going to steal any of Mansfield's papers. Perhaps also Afonsky was complaining of overwork. In any case, the strip only made it about a year and a half, from March 22 1936* to August 15 1937**. Or maybe they felt like they'd covered all the important bits of American history by then?

* Source: San Francisco Examiner
** Source: Collection of Dick and Elaine Hetschel, source newspaper unknown

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I'm sure I have seen the "Heroes" in a non-hearst, tab section, just struggling to recall where. I'm thinking it was possibly the Miami Tribune?
 
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Saturday, January 26, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday


November 7 1909 -- Another Baron Mooch strip that didn't make it into the Blackbeard book. I got a kick out of  the vendor's prices increasing as the cop and the 'cop' help themselves to freebies.

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