Sunday, March 22, 2020

 

Stripper's Guide On Hiatus

Hello folks -- sorry there haven't been any posts for a week. No, I don't have the Coronavirus. That would be a great excuse, but I'm glad to say I can't use it. No, the problem has simply been a lack of time.

Allow me to explain. If you are a regular follower of Stripper's Guide you may also know that I've been in a state of flux in regard to my comic strip collection for years now, often not being able to do research or show samples because a good portion of my collection is in storage, 2000 miles away.

The good news is that those days are finally over. Last summer my wife and I had a garage built on our property. The first floor was for the vehicles, but the second floor, one climate-controlled 800 square foot room, was to be my new research office and storage facility. We had a builder do the shell, but we spent most of the summer and fall in shingling the outside and doing all the finishing work on the inside. With that done, in December I took a plane down to Florida, rented a 26-foot U-Haul and packed up two storage units worth of newspapers and books, then drove the whole kit and kaboodle up here to Nova Scotia.

In January and February all I seemed to do from dawn to dusk and beyond was set up file cabinets, bookcases, and shelving units, and then unpack boxes and boxes and boxes into them. As things now stand my new research room is basically functional and I can get at all my files.  The only blemish is a giant pile of boxes in the middle of the room, which are filled with accumulated material that has been waiting all these many years to be filed. There's a job that is going to take months. Months of fun, yeah, but still months.

So, you say, what the heck is the problem? You've finally got everything at your fingertips, so now make with the blog posts, stripper boy.

Fair enough. Ya got me dead to rights. Except I've only told you the good news so far. But here's the thing. Without getting into a long and convoluted story, in February I bought a neighbor widow lady's house. She wanted out, didn't really want to deal with the real estate market, and so fool that I am, I made an offer and she accepted. The house is a real mess, but it has good bones, and the real estate market in our area is so hot that I just couldn't resist. Even though I am bone-tired from everything I told you about above. So now I've got a house that has to be renovated from top to bottom to get it on the market. I've signed on a partner who has many of the skills I lack, and he's a real working guy -- puts in 8+ hour days Monday to Friday at the house, and often comes in for more on the weekends. I've got to try to keep up, from ego if nothing else, and so I'm putting in the kind of work hours I haven't done for years. And finding out I'm not 25 anymore. I'm discovering that I just can't do a full day on that project and come home to sit at the computer touching up scans and trying to writing coherent prose. All I want is a cocktail, supper, and a movie on the TV, which I will never see the end of because I'll be asleep.

So there's the deal. As unlikely as it sounds, the blog has been hijacked by a house flip. I don't know when I'll get to the point on the project that I have the energy and headspace to get back to the blog, but I promise I will. It might be next week, but you better figure on more like a month. Please stay tuned, and hey, if you're interested in moving to Nova Scotia, I'm going to have a real sweet house ready for you soon!

Comments:
Nice one Allan. As someone who is currently restoring a 130 Victorian home in Oz, I can safely say you will get a heck of a lot out of it. Happy to wait for your guide. there's 15 years of backlog to check out for everyone else (already done it once backwards - wonder if all those Connie's make more sense if I read them forwards?).
 
Where in Nova Scotia is the house, Allan? I really like Nova Scotia, and almost moved there once. I wonder if I'd be up for one more massive disruption in my life, at the age of 250. Anyway, where are you? Thanks!
 
DanB -- It drives me nertz that Blogger has no facility for changing the running order of the blog from oldest to newest. It really makes it a pain to read things as they occurred. Fraid I've never found a workaround.

Katherine -- Somehow I thought you were in NS already? Anyhow,we are in Port Royal, cradle of our great nation. The commanding view from this house on the Anapolis Basin would allow you to watch Samuel de Champlain building his Habitation in 1605, if you had a time machine.

--Allan
 
I thought that was what your weekly archive links in the sidebar were for.
Me? I'm more upset that we aren't notified of new comments in past posts.
 
Hi DD --
Blogger allows me to have notifications of comments sent to a list of email addresses. I don't know if there is a maximum # to that, but I'd be happy to add your address to the list, as well as anyone else who'd like to give it a try. LMK.

--Allan
 
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

 

Obscurity of the Day: Little Coronations at Home




Frank Leet, the yeoman of the NEA bullpen gang, produced the weekday series Little Coronations at Home, for publication between about May and June 1914. As much as I like to offer exact dates, that's the best I can do with the NEA offerings of these early years because (a) the papers that took the NEA service published stuff as and when they liked, and (b) the NEA archives at Ohio State University are a mess for these early years of the service, and unless I missed it, this series was MIA.

The Wichita Beacon published all their installments of this series in June 1914. 


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Comments:
This series originally ran in 1911, to coincide with big news occasion of King George V's coronation on 22 June that year.
It ran in the Scripps paper The Tacoma Times from 20 May to June 19, though the last episode, the one you show at the top today, was titled "THRILLS OF AN AIRSHIP RIDE WITHOUT THE PERILS."
 
Allan! Where are you? Are you all right? You've been MIA for three days now. With the end of the world on its way, we want to keep everyone accounted for. It's important that nobody in the Strip Community is snatched away. Please speak up! Or bark! Or something!
 
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Monday, March 16, 2020

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred For 1980 -- The Rankings

The paper loss between 1979 and 1980 was not as bad as the previous year; we lost information on 3 papers – Circleville Herald (OH), Kane Republican (PA) and Taylor Daily News (TX) but the two papers from Vancouver, the Sun and the Province, returned so we lost only one paper making the total for this year 289 papers.

The Top 4 strips stay the same even through Doonesbury gained 15 more papers since last year. Peanuts still keeps the number one spot gaining six more papers to a high of 197; maybe next year it will pass the magic 200 mark. Hagar the Horrible gained another 13 papers pushing it into the top 5. Family Circus moved from 15th position to 11th position, one spot behind the king of the panels Dennis the Menace. One rookie and one new strip entered the Top 30. Star Wars entered the Top 30 at position 21 but we know that in the near future it will fall out of the Top 30. The other new strip entering the Top 30 is Marmaduke, gaining four new papers. Falling out of the Top 30 are Winnie the Pooh, Short Ribs and Tiger. Here are the complete results:

Title Place Movement +/- Papers Total Papers
Peanuts 1 Same Plus 6 197
Blondie 2 Same Minus 1 190
Beetle Bailey 3 Same Plus 4 175
Doonesbury 4 Same Plus 15 112
Hagar the Horrible 5 Up 5 Plus 13 99
Wizard of Id 6 Up 1 Plus 8 96
Andy Capp 7 Down 2 None 95
B.C. 8 Down 1 Plus 3 91
Frank and Ernest 9 Down 3 None 89
Dennis the Menace 10 Down 3 Minus 6 82
Family Circus 11 Up 4 Plus 12 81
Born Loser 11 Same Minus 1 81
Mary Worth 13 Same Plus 2 80
Hi and Lois 14 Same Plus 1 76
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith 15 Down 3 Minus 5 74
Nancy 16 Same Minus 4 62
Shoe 17 Plus 9 Plus 11 59
Rex Morgan 18 Same Plus 1 58
Amazing Spider-Man 19 Plus 3 Plus 1 55
Alley Oop 20 Down 2 Minus 6 51
Archie 21 Down 3 Minus 7 50
Bugs Bunny 21 Same Minus 5 50
Dick Tracy 21 Plus 1 Minus 4 50
Star Wars 21 Rookie Rookie 50
Winthrop 25 Plus 5 Plus 4 49
Berry’s World 26 Down 9 Minus 12 48
Marmaduke 26 Entering Plus 4 48
Steve Canyon 26 Down 4 Minus 6 48
Eek and Meek 29 Down 4 Minus 2 47
Priscilla's Pop 30 Minus 4 Minus 3 45

The rest:

43 – Funny Winkerbean (+3), Tiger (-2)
 42 – Gasoline Alley (+2)
 39 – Tank McNamera (0)
 38 – For Better or For Worse (R), Heathcliff (+2), Judge Parker (+1), Short Ribs (-9)
 37 – Buz Sawyer (-5), Herman (3)
 36 – Tumbleweeds (-2)
 34 – Captain Easy (-4)
 32 – Ziggy (+9)
 31 – Funny Business (-3), Winnie the Pooh (-15)
 30 – Our Broading House (-8)
 29 – Apartment 3-G (0)
 28 – Redeye (-2)
 27 – Small Society (3), They’ll Do It Every Time (-9)
 25 – Cathy (+3), Mark Trail (+1), Phantom (+2), Side Glances (-1)
 24 – Broom Hilda (+1), Donald Duck (-1)
 23 – World's Greatest Superheroes (-11)
 22 – Dunagin’s People (-7), Heart of Juliet Jones (-1), John Darling (R), Latigo (R), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-4)
 21 – Crock (-2), Garfield (+7), Lockhorns (+4)
 20 – Graffiti (+3), Grin and Bear It (-4), Kerry Drake (0)
 18 – Hazel (-2)
16 – Better Half (-2), Momma (-1), Ryatts (-1), Zoonies (0)
 15 – Love Is (+2), Miss Peach (-6)
 14 – Fred Bassett (+1), Rip Kirby (-1)
 13 – Buck Rogers (R), Henry (0), Levy’s Law (R), Mr. Tweedy (-1)
 12 – Star Trek (R), Winnie Winkle (+1)
 11 – Agatha Crumm (-4), Ben Wicks (+2), Brenda Starr (0), The Flintstones (-2), Gil Thorp (+1), Incredible Hulk (-6), Little Orphan Annie (+4), Sam & Silo (-3), Scoops (-5)
 10 – Dondi (-1), Joe Palooka (-1), Moose Miller (0), Motley’s Crew (+1)
 9 – Catfish (+1), Charmers (-4), Conan the Barbarian (-3), Ferd’nand (-2), Girls (-1), Laff-A-Day (-5), Nubbin (-1)
 8 – Animal Crackers (-1), Drabble (R), Encyclopedia Brown (-2), Mutt and Jeff (-3), Pavlov (+3), Ponytail (0), Prime Time (R), Quincy (1), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (-4)
 7 – Amy (+2), Gordo (0), Guindon (+4), Inside Woody Allen (-4), Mickey Mouse (0), Moon Mullins (0), No Comment (R), Sporting Life (-4), Wright Angles (0)
 6 – Dr. Smock (-1), Dupont Circle (R), Lolly (0), Trudy (0), Wee Pals (-1)
 5 – Albert Herbert Hawkins (R), Bringing Up Father (0), Eb and Flo (-2), Flash Gordon (0), Gumdrop (0), Little Woman (-1), Outcasts (+2), Rivets (0), Scamp (0), Shambles (R), Smith Family (-1), There Outta Be A Law (-2)
 4 - According to Guiness, A Little Leary, Belvedere, Boomer, Copps and Robberts, Dr. Kildare, Frontiers of Science, Mr. Abernathy, Rick O' Shay, Sergeant Renfrew, Strictly Business
 3 - Big George, Boner's Ark, Brother Juniper, Flop Family, Good News and Bad News, Hap Hazard, Johnny Wonder, Laugh Time, Luther, Pixies, Simpkins, Smart Chart, Spiltsville, Star Hawks, This Funny World, Tucker, Zeus
 2 - Citizen Smith, Dropout, Freddy, Howie, Kelly, Koky, Mandrake the Magician, Men and Women, Modesty Blaise, Murphy's Law, Popeye, Rooftop O’ Toole, Spare Time Spanish, Sports Quiz, Time's Out, Trim's Arena, Woody's World, Word-A-Day, Wordplay
 1 - Alex in Wonderland, As You Were, Basil, Benchwarmer’s Sports Trivia, Brick Bradford, Byrds, Cartoon Kitchen, Castaways, Ching Chow, Country Parson, Don Q, Father Dickens, Health Capsules, Hieroglyphics, Homer’s Groaners, How To Create A Lined-Out Comic Strip, Hubert, Idea Chaser, In the World, It Happened in Canada, Keeping Up, Laffbreak, Life With the Robinson, Mark Trail Outdoor Tips, My Grandma, Norbert, Our Fascinating Earth, Playing Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Pop Idols, Pot Shots, Queenie, Return With Us, Rocket Shots, Secret Agent Corrigan, Selling Short, Sorehead, Sportsman's Digest, Stan Smith Tennis Class, Strahle’s Bailiwick, Tale Feathers, Today's World, Travles with Farley, Wine Set, Wright's View, You're Getting Closer

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Would you consider Alex in Wonderland an obscure comic? Would love to see it showcased. Thanks.
 
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Thursday, March 12, 2020

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1980 -- The Biggest Winners and Losers

Looking at the changes from the beginning of 1979 to the beginning of 1980, we see a pattern developing. Both Doonesbury and Hagar the Horrible continue their big gains again this year as they did last year. Doonesbury gained 15 papers this year while last year it gained 8,  making an impressive total of 23 papers in the past two years. Hagar the Horrible gained 13 papers this year while last year gaining 12 papers making a total 25 papers. Those gains pushed these two strips into the 4 and 5 position on the total leader chart.

Panel cartoon Family Circus gained 12 papers, pushing it closer to take the top panel cartoon crown form Dennis the Menace. Also, the newer panel Ziggy gained an impressive 9 papers.

The three year old Shoe strip gained 11 papers making it the most successful strip that started in 1977.

An old timer, Wizard of Id, gained 8 papers. Garfield began its climb adding 7 papers. Even Peanuts, already in a huge number of papers, gained another 6.

Also showing excellent gains were Annie, Beetle Bailey, Guindon, Lockhorns, Marmaduke and Winthrop, each gaining 4 papers.

Many papers continued to have little faith in new strips, showing that the off the cliff performance of Best Seller Showcase last year was no fluke. The Rookie of the year of 1978, Winnie the Pooh, lost the most papers with 15. Other new story strips were also big losers: World’s Greatest Superheroes lost 11 and Incredible Hulk lost 6 papers.

The NEA package features were also hit hard with the following strips losing a bunch of papers: Berry’s World was down 12, Short Ribs lost 9, Our Boarding House down 8 and Alley Oop lost 6 papers.

Other big losers were They’ll Do It Every Time with 9, Archie and Dunagin’s People with 7, Dennis the Menace and Miss Peach with 6.

Three story strips lost 6 papers each. Steve Canyon for the last 2 years has lost 6 papers each year. Rick O’Shay lost 6 papers, but in that case many replaced it with Stan Lynde’s new strip, Latigo. Star Hawks also lost 6 papers too, but only some for the new science fiction strips -- half of them were replaced by either Buck Rogers, Star Trek and Star Wars, while the other three were just dropped.

In the past three years following the history of Star Hawks it seems to have never been a success for the syndicate. Starting with only 6 papers, hitting a high of 9 at the end of 1978, and falling to 3 at the beginning of 1980. Star Hawks has a very popular following in the comic book world, being published in Menomonee Falls Gazette, Comic Reader and Amazing Heroes (That was the first place I saw the strip) and being reprinted not by one company but three companies over the years. It has a nice cult following but it failed as a newspaper feature. A good golden age comparison would be Dick Moores’ Jim Hardy; it was not one of United’s successful strips, lasting only six years, but had a very successful run in comic books.

In the section about the rookies of 1979 we discussed that this was the last year of the new adventure strips. After three years of gains we will now start to see the slow demise of the genre, leading to today when we are now down to 5 dailies and one Sunday strip. So, starting with this year we are going to go year by year and see the end of a great genre.

Title # of Papers Change since Last Year
Amazing Spider-Man 55 +1
Alley Oop 51 -6
Dick Tracy 50 -4
Star Wars (new) 50 +50
Steve Canyon 48 -6
Buz Sawyer 37 -5
Captain Easy 34 -4
Mark Trail 25 +1
Phantom 25 +2
World’s Greatest Superheroes 23 -11
Latigo (new) 22 +22
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad 22 -4
Kerry Drake 20 N/C
Rip Kirby 14 -1
Buck Rogers (new) 13 +13
Star Trek (new) 12 +12
Brenda Starr 11 N/C
Incredible Hulk 11 -6
Annie 11 +4
Joe Palooka 10 -1
Conan the Barbarian 9 -3
Encyclopedia Brown 8 -2
Flash Gordon 5 N/C
Rick O’ Shay 4 -6
Star Hawks 3 -6
Mandrake the Magician 2 N/C
Modesty Blaise 2 -2
Popeye 2 +1
Brick Bradford 1 N/C
Secret Agent Corrigan 1 N/C
Tim Tyler’s Luck 0 N/C
Jeff Hawke (Ended) 0 -1

The total came to 581 slots for story strips, up from 532 slots last year. This will be the last time the adventure strip total would go up from a previous year.

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Comments:
Interesting that the three new strips were Star Ward, Star Trek and Buck Rodgers: two movies and a TV show. I remember after Star Wars came out space operas were all over the movies and TV.
 
Aside from a flurry of sci-fi properties, it looks like adventure and soap were already dying off. I remember a flashy, trumpeted reboot of Terry and the Pirates that flamed out quickly; likewise an ambitious and historically scrupulous version of Zorro. The latter was published in book form; what read well as a graphic novel felt like a doomed concept for a daily strip (many months given to returning a murdered native's body to her people).

Current survivors are overwhelming extremely old titles, some lavishly executed (The Phantom, Dick Tracy and Prince Valiant) and some less so (Apartment 3G in its final years, and lately Mark Trail looks worrisome). Others have gone into reruns.

Do these old adventure strips have much of a client list, or are syndicates underwriting them to keep those franchises marketable? The old radio networks would sometimes run a series without a sponsor, out of hopes of attracting one and perhaps holding onto a time slot.

And on a semi-tangent, do individual strips make much money off paid internet exposure? I subscribe to both Comics Kingdom and GoComics, and wonder how annual fees are divvied up among creators. Is it enough to make a strip with zero print clients worthwhile?
 
First of all, thank you to Jeffrey for compiling this information. This is great stuff.

Second, shouldn't "Apartment 3-G," "Mary Worth," and/or "Rex Morgan, M.D." be in this table of story strips, too? Or were none of them carried in any of the sampled newspapers in 1979?
 
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1980 -- The Rookies

The year 1979 will go down in history as the last year of the adventure strip. In that year five adventure strips made their debut, which is the last time that many would begin. Of the five strips, three were science fiction, one western and one an adventure strip revival following the adventures of an orphan girl. There was also the very successful debut of a comedy soap opera strip in the tradition of Gasoline Alley.

The most popular of these new features was a science fiction strip based on what was the biggest money-making movie of all time. Star Wars debuted with 50 papers. The strip that debuted in second place would become one of the most successful comic strips, Lynn Johnston’s For Better or Worse, which debuted in 38 papers. Coming in third is a tie between two strips, John Darling and the western Latigo, which both premiered in 22 papers.

Here is the rookie strip breakdown:

Title # of Papers  Syndicate Overall Rank
Star Wars 50 Los Angeles Times 23
For Better or Worse 38 Universal 35
John Darling 22 Field 58
Latigo 22 Field 58
Buck Rogers 13 New York Times 78
Levy’s Law 13 NEA 78
Star Trek 12 Los Angeles Times 82
Annie 11 Tribune 84
Drabble 8 United 104
Prime Time 8 Tribune 104

Other notable new strips were No Comment with 7 and Dupont Circle with 6. Strips that had 5 or less were Albert Herbert Hawkins, Shambles, Copps and Robberts, Sergeant Renfrew (a Canadian strip), Zeus, Howie and Murphy’s Law.

Also very interesting is the debut of a panel feature that would become one of the most successful of the 1980’s and 1990’s, yet it did not even have one paper in our survey! That was Gary Larson’s Far Side.

We have been ranking rookie strips starting with the year 1977. So, how are these new strips doing compared to all the strips in syndication? Let’s take a look:

Title # of Papers Syndicate Overall Rank
Shoe (1977) 59 Tribune 17
Amazing Spiderman (1977) 55 Register and Tribune 21
Star Wars 50 Los Angeles Times 23
For Better or For Worse 38 Universal 35
Winnie the Pooh (1978) 31 King 44
World’s Greatest Superheroes (1978) 23 Tribune 57
John Darling 22 Field 58
Latigo 22 Field 58
Garfield (1978) 21 United 63
Zoonies (1977) 16 NEA 70

Now let’s do a decade round-up. Here are the top 10 strips that debuted in the 1970’s:

Title # of Papers Syndicate Overall Rank
Doonesbury 112 Universal 4
Hagar the Horrible 99 King 5
Frank and Ernest  89 NEA 9
Shoe  59 Tribune 17
Amazing Spider-Man  55 Register and Tribune 21
Star Wars  50 Los Angeles Times 23
Funky Winkerbean  43 Field 31
Tank McNamera  39 Universal 34
For Better or For Worse  38 Universal 35
Heathcliff  38 McNaught 35

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bill Sakren



William “Bill” Sakren was born on September 15, 1902, in Russia, according to his World War II draft card at Ancestry.com. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Sakren was the oldest of four children born to Benjamin and Fanny. The census said Sakren’s father, a brass finisher of gas lights, emigrated in 1906. The rest of the family followed in 1907 except for the youngest child who was born in New York. The Sakrens lived in Brooklyn at 2018 Bergen Street.

According to a 1954 passenger list, Sakren became a naturalized citizen in May 1914 in New York City.

The 1915 New York state census recorded the Sakrens in Brooklyn at 1565 Park Place. The 1920 census had the house number 1567. Sakren was in college.

The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland), November 11, 1959, said Sakren was “a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York and the Julian and Collarassie Academies in Paris.”

In the 1925 New York state census Sakren, an artist, continued to live with his parents whose address was 180 Lott Street in Brooklyn. Sometime after the census Sakren went to Paris to continue his art studies.

A 1927 issue of Town & Country mentioned an “exhibition of paintings by William Sakren, February 23–March 7.” On November 15, 1927 he returned aboard the S.S. Olympic to New York City. While in Paris he met aspiring artist Roy R. Neuberger. Neuberger became a financier and collected art including work by Sakren which was catalogued in The Neuberger Collection: An American Collection; Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture (1968).

William Sakren
An acquaintance whom Mr. Neuberger met in Paris in 1927, Sakren is a commercial artist who has created the cartoon character Mortimer Mudd. He presently lives in Connecticut.

Sakren was not yet been found in the 1930 census.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Sakren created Mortimer Mum for the George Matthew Adams Service. The strip ran from April 15, 1935 to September 10, 1938. Sakren and his strip were mentioned in the New Orleans Item (Louisiana), March 23, 1936.

A cartoonist and a newspaper publisher were among the passengers aboard the S.S. Atlantida of the Standard Fruit company which docked at the Desire street wharf this morning. Will Sakren of New York City is the creator of mortimer Mum, a syndicated feature. he plans to stay at the Monteleone hotel. …
Sakren traveled to Europe again. He returned from Le Havre, France and arrived in New York City on September 25, 1937.

On February 27, 1940 Sakren departed Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. His ship the S.S. Carrillo arrived in Philadelphia on March 4. He returned in time for the 1940 census enumeration. Sakren’s residence was 404 East 55th Street in Manhattan, New York City; the address was the same in 1935. He was a self-employed artist.

Sakren signed his World War II draft card on February 16, 1942. The address and occupation were the same. His description was five feet four inches, 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

The Connecticut, Divorce Index, at Ancestry.com, said Sakren married Marjorie [Rosay] in April 1946 in Connecticut. They divorced February 22, 1971.

On October 30, 1954, Sakren, his wife and two sons, Paul and Jared sailed for Plymouth, Great Britain. Their home was Kent Hollow, New Preston, Connecticut. The Sakren family departed Naples, Italy, on February 15, 1955. Eight days later they arrived in New York City.

In the 1950s and 1960s American Newspaper Comics said Sakren created the series It All Depends (1952); Blitz Brothers (1959) also known as Innocent Bystander, The Payoff, and They Never Change (February 26, 1962); Opinion-Wise (1963) which was replaced by Walter (1965).

Sakren also worked at Johnstone and Cushing which produced advertising comics.

The New Yorker magazine published two Sakren cartoons in its January 10, 1977 and May 30, 1977 issues.

Sakren passed away November 13, 1991, in Kent, Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Death Index at Ancestry.com.


—Alex Jay

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Monday, March 09, 2020

 

Obscurity of the Day: Mortimer Mum




Gag cartoonist Bill Sakren had a string of syndication series that never really went much of anywhere in the 1950s and 60s, but long before that, in 1935, was his debut on newspaper comics pages. The young Sakren jumped into the deepest end of the pool, offering a pantomime daily feature called Mortimer Mum through the George Matthew Adams Service. Writing pantomime gags is tough, and doing six of them a week is a task not to be taken on lightly.

Sakren did a creditable job with this feature about an odd little man who gets into crazy situations, but Sakren's timing was incredibly bad. Mortimer Mum debuted on April 15 1935*, which put it in competition with two pantomime juggernauts, Henry and The Little King, both of which debuted in 1934 and caught fire right out of the gate.

Mortimer Mum limped along with a small client list until September 10 1938** when Sakren threw in the towel. The syndicate immediately began selling the strip in reprints, but that didn't last too long. I've found them running into 1940.

The normally reliably Ron Goulart says in his book The Funnies that this was a Sunday-only strip, but  it was definitely a daily, and if there was a Sunday version, I haven't seen it.

* Source: Boston Evening Transcript
** Source: Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader

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Comments:
There were several others in the pantomime field, "Adamson's Adventures"(or "Silent Sam" if you prefer), the Swedish import, was here starting in the early 1920s, and Frank Tashlin's "Van Boring" was in place starting in 1934. In Fact, the New York Evening Post carried Mortimer Mum and Van Boring on the same page, for a while.
It's hard to keep a strictly "silent" character going. Even Henry once let out a howl of pain from a Bee sting. (1935). Sakren came to depend on another character to carry the ball, that being "Gabby", a tall, loud-suited guy with glasses, sort of a Walter Catlett type, who did lots of talking.
I wonder if Mortimer Mum was the inspiration for "Mr.Mum" of later decades.
 
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Saturday, March 07, 2020

 

What the Cartoonists are Doing, March 1916 (Vol.9 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.]


THE DIGNITY OF THE CARTOON
From the Christian Science Monitor
Now that the cartoon has become such an established feature of modern journalism, it is interesting to note its origin and development, and to see wherein it differs from its predecessor, the caricature. Caricature, which dates back beyond the middle ages, is the art of applying the grotesque to the purposes of satire, and takes the form of pictorial ridicule and burlesque. Both in letters and in art it seems to have touched high-water mark in the eighteenth century. We may cite, as its most notable examples, the fierce grotesques of Swift, the keen ironies of Henry Fielding, the masterly moralities of Hogarth, to mention only a few. All of these were characterized by a certain violence of expression which, in the later days of reserve and restraint, appeared quite monstrous.

It was after the downfall of Napoleon (1815) when strife was over that a change in matter and manner came about. And just as in those days of peace the manner of caricature became less violent and more restrained so in these bellicose times a tendency to overexaggerate has become noticeable in some of the cartoons of today, though many have been worthy of high praise. But the adoption of the cartoon in place of caricature practically amounted to the laying aside of the purely brutal and violent methods of the latter, for the really much more effective weapons of wit and humor, and it is unlikely that the blunderbuss methods of a Rowlandson or a Gillray will ever again become popular.

The credit for the title and, to a great extent, for the character of the cartoon seems to belong to the London Punch, which, at the time of the great exhibition of “cartoons” (1843) held for the purpose of selecting designs for the decorations in fresco of the new Houses of Parliament, jocularly ranged itself alongside the great artists of the day. The weekly cartoon quickly became an established favorite, not a weapon of venomous attack, but a humorous or sarcastic comment upon the topic uppermost in the nation's thought. In the case of the cartoon, the title plays an important part and is not simply a label to the picture, any more than the picture itself is an illustration to a title. The first Punch cartoon was by John Leach, and the title ran thus, “Substance and Shadow: the Poor Ask for Bread and the Philanthropy of the State Accords—an Exhibition.”


DREAMS AND CARTOONS

"Dreams,” says a writer in the Interstate Medical Journal (St. Louis), “have to be interpreted if we would know their meaning.”

In this respect, he says, cartoons also need interpreting. As an example he cites a cartoon (minus its familiar labels) of Mars consulting a timepiece beside a lamp post labeled “Spring.”

“You see here,” the writer continues, “a picture of a man, who, judging from the armor he wears, would seem to belong to the time of Julius Caesar. Nevertheless, he stands near a very modern lamp-post on a curb of what one would suppose to be Spring Street. He holds in one hand a watch of remarkable size and in the other a bouquet composed of flowers and bayonets. The picture, in short, gives the same impression of absurdity as do most of our dreams, and, like a dream, it would tempt one who saw it for the first time to say that it had neither sense nor meaning.

“But though this picture may seem as absurd as our dreams, it comes not from a dream but from a newspaper. It is a cartoon with the title ‘This Is the Place, but Where's the Girl?' and it appeared in a recent issue of the New York Times. It expresses a thought in much the same way that thoughts are expressed in dreams — namely, by indirect representation. Hence the picture, like a dream, has to be interpreted before we can learn its meaning.

“The artist was obliging enough to label his symbols. In the original of this picture the sheet of paper which lies upon the sidewalk in front of the man was inscribed with the words ‘Italy to go to war in the spring,' and the tag attached to the bouquet which the man carries bore the words 'For Miss Italy.' By the aid of these hints the picture is very readily interpreted. Evidently the thought it expresses is something like this: ‘Italy, like a fickle girl, has failed to join in the war at the time expected.' But notice the indirect representation. The artist has used as symbols a man, a bouquet, and a lamp-post to express a thought about something entirely different—namely, the attitude of a country toward expectant militarism.

“Now, this is exactly the method of representation that is used in dreams. There is this one difference, however. The symbols used in the dream are not labeled as the artist has labeled the symbols in the picture.”




EDWINA DUMM, CARTOONIST

It is not often that the ladies make a success of political cartooning, but Miss Edwina Dumm, of the Columbus Saturday Monitor, refuses to be handicapped by precedent. No subject is too big for her to wrestle with, and in the pages of the Monitor she interprets world events in real masculine cartoons. One of her recent drawings is reproduced herewith. In addition to her cartoon work Miss Dumm draws an entertaining feature page for her newspaper, in which the week's events are seen in scrambled form.

[I corrected Dumm's surname as it was consistently misspelled Dunn in this article. -- Allan]

TOO MUCH FOR ROHN
George McManus, of “Bringing Up Father” fame, entertained a few friends at one of New York's table-d'hôte palaces the other night. Among the guests was an Englishman, who presumably had left his native land to prevent himself from being a slacker.

Ray Rohn, one of the staff artists of Judge, engaged him in conversation. “Do you go in for sports of any kind?” he asked.

“Oh, my eye!” was the reply. “I should say so! Rawthaw! I am passionately fond of dominoes.”

Ray in the excitement broke the crystal of his wrist watch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

W. O. Fitzgerald has been engaged as staff cartoonist on Dome Echoes, a San Francisco publication.


CARTOON AS A SERMON TEXT
A recent cartoon by Nelson Harding in the Brooklyn Eagle furnished the text for a sermon at the mission of St. Gabriel's Protestant Episcopal Church of Brooklyn by the Rev. Walter Du Moulin, of Hamilton, Canada. The cartoon was entitled “Civilization,” and represented a building of noble proportions, the cornice broken, and the walls shattered and crumbling. In the middle distance a group of tiny figures of savages is seen, while the background shows deserted wastes.

CHAPIN ON THE GO
A. B. Chapin, the St. Louis Republic cartoonist, besides making a daily cartoon, assists in getting out a special feature page for his paper. During the past year most of the material for this page was gathered outside of St. Louis, and Chapin in pursuit of it has traveled more than 10,000 miles, mostly in Illinois and Missouri. This necessitated his working ahead on his cartoons, but “General interest” and “Human interest,” he says, came nobly to the rescue while he was away.


A SKETCH BY EDITH CAVELL
 A series of these sketches, drawn many years ago, by the British nurse shot by the Germans as a spy, have been reproduced as postcards by a London firm.


 


“LIL PAL FAY” IN A DIVORCE SUIT
Fay King, the Denver cartoonist, whom Battling Nelson, the former lightweight fisticuffs champion, brought back as a bride to Hegewisch, Ill., some months ago, has been made defendant in a divorce suit in the Superior Court of Cook County. The “Durable Dane,” as Nelson is known professionally, charges that Mrs. Nelson never loved him, but regarded him merely as a “lil' pal,” and refused to be the queen of Hegewisch. Letters by Mrs. Nelson, introduced as evidence, and referring to the ex-champion as a “Dear little woolly lamb,” admitted that she never loved him, but was “very grateful—that's all.”


BOARDMAN ROBINSON'S WAR DRAWINGS
In the modest little thumb-box gallery at 24 East Forty-Ninth Street, New York, Boardman Robinson, the former New York Tribune cartoonist, has been showing a collection of drawings made during his recent tour through the war zones of Serbia, Russia, and Saloniki. Says one New York critic of the exhibition, “One comes away with the conviction that here is an artist who draws with greater authority than anyone else in America. His powers of observation are extraordinary.”


MINOR RETURNS FROM EUROPE
Robert Minor, of the New York Call, who went to Europe recently to “rip the brass buttons off the war,” has returned. Billed as “The great socialistic cartoonist,” he has been giving lectures on the folly of preparedness. “War,” says Mr. Minor, “is like a Kentucky mountain feud. Such terms as ‘national honor' and ‘Belgian neutrality,' are only used to make dupes of the soldiers. I'm sick of it all, and bring back an uncommon contempt for the Roosevelt type of patriot.”


GREAT WHISKER CONTEST ON
Broadway has something new to talk about. It is the great whisker contest waged between Herb Roth and Ray Rohn. The former is cartoonist for the metropolitan section of the New York World. The latter draws regularly for Judge. The two are room mates.

Roth bet Rohn $50 that if he, Roth, let his whiskers grow, and frequented restaurants and theaters, he would be arrested. Rohn agreed to let his beard grow, also, with the understanding that the first to be arrested would win the $50. O. O. McIntyre, manager of the Bushnell cartoon service, was appointed stakeholder. The New York Telegram is issuing daily bulletins on the progress of the contest.


CONCERNING “FAME-CHASERS’’
To the Editor: I have just read Mr. Daake's letter in the February Cartoons Magazine, and I do hope he will believe me sincere when I tell him that never for a moment did I dream of taking a slap at the great army of contributors who never land, when I referred to them as “fame-chasers.”

Good Heavens! All of us who have ambition are that—and why not? I’m one, and glad of it. Moreover, I’ve cooled my heels in many an outer office, and despaired of ever getting beyond the gate. Everybody has to sit outside and watch other folks go in at the beginning of the game.

The spirit of my work is always kind, and I was surprised that someone had found in it a “sneer.” There's no one dearer to my heart than an ambitious amateur, for no one realizes more than I do how hard it is to “break in"—and without wishing to boast—I’ve helped and encouraged a lot of them.

Really, I'm awfully hurt in being accused of superciliousness—it is so foreign to my disposition. My point of view was merely that of one sitting on the bench and watching the big ones breeze in. I ought to know what it feels like to be thrown down. I bet I've got the largest collection of editorial regrets in captivity, but being a persistent “fame-chaser,” I’ve had the nerve to keep on trying.

Oh, no. There was no sarcasm in that story of mine! Just facts as I’ve found them as an amateur and a “fame-chaser,” in moods both timid and overconfident.
HELENA SMITH-DAYTON.


DONNELL AIDS CIVIC BETTERMENT
Donnell, dean of the St. Louis cartoonists, has become a strenuous Civic Leaguer. He lives in Webster Grove, and the citizens of that leafy suburb evidently have thought well enough of “Don” to elect him chairman of their town-boosting committee. While riding back and forth on the Missouri Pacific the cartoonist finds himself in the midst of spirited committee meetings, the Webster Grovites looking to him for inspiration.


TUTHILL’S NEW COMIC
Tuthill, of the St. Louis Star, in addition to his daily cartoon, has been turning out a comic strip entitled “Lafe.” Lafe is a character afflicted with rather more than his share of laziness. The same hardly can be said of Tuthill.

[I can find no evidence of this strip in the Star or elsewhere -- Allan]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Walter W. Hubbard has left the Baltimore Star, and is now staff cartoonist for the Binghamton (N. Y.) Press and Leader. He announces also the arrival of a baby boy.


CARACATYPES IN THE FOLLIES

Those who have smiled at Helena Dayton-Smith's little clay figures that have appeared from time to time in Cartoons Magazine will be interested in knowing that they will make their debut in real life in the Ziegfeld “Follies of 1916.” Girls will be dressed up to represent Mrs. Dayton's “caracatypes,” and the artist herself will write the lines for them to speak. Mrs. Dayton also has written a play for a Broadway producer.

NAVONI HEARD FROM
James Navoni, formerly of the San Francisco Call, has for several months been in the employ of a travelogue concern, and has been zigzagging here and there across the country.

“During my travels,” he writes, “it has been my good fortune to come into contact with people of all types and classes. You can't deny that Mr. Knock-about-a-bit is quite a valuable teacher. At any rate, he has helped me toward a better understanding of human nature, the cartoonist's great est asset.”


RAEMAEKERS IS HONORED
Louis Raemaekers, the Dutch cartoonist, has been appointed Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. M. Forain, of the staff of Le Figaro, Paris, was delegated to deliver the insignia to the distinguished artist.



E. W. Gale has Left the Los Angeles Times to Draw a Comic Strip Entitled “Mr. Wad and His Family” for the Wheeler Syndicate of New York.

STARS FOR A DAY
After acting for a whole day at a Brooklyn movie studio, two Brooklyn Eagle men have come to the conclusion that they are not cut out for heroes. Zere, of the art staff, and H. L. Meyer, of the reportorial department of that newspaper, were sent out to the studio recently as supers, and were told to record their experiences in black and white.

Within a few minutes they found themselves in the midst of a five-reel political muddle which kept them busy for two hours. From the political maelstrom they were thrust headlong into the sixteenth century. The artist and the writer wriggled into doublet and hose, were laughed at by the professionals, and yelled at by the director. It was in this scene that they experienced their first genuine stage fright. Restoratives had to be administered before they were able to record their impressions.




DREAM PORT
R. M. Brinkerhoff, in New York Evening Mail

The captain's just home from a voyage
Clear from the porch to the stair.
The sea was the floor and the ship there he sailed
Was the seat of our old rocking chair.
So now in the harbor he climbs to my knee
And begs for the story I tell
Of the land in the skies where the dream people live
And the elfmen and gobolins dwell.
So sailing the ocean we both fall asleep!
Our dream ship is off for the West!
My silver'd head droops till it rests on the gold
Of my baby's asleep on my breast.
Baby and I go a-sailing
Over the land and the deep.
The land that we find is the land of our dream,
And the sea that we find there is sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hy Mayer, whose work is known to all readers of Puck, is a designer of costumes as well as a cartoonist. Mr. Mayer designed the costumes which were worn at the recent banquet at Delmonico's given by the Bohemians, an organization of New York musicians, in honor of Mischa Elman.

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Friday, March 06, 2020

 

Wish You Were Here, from Cobb Shinn


This postcard by Cobb Shinn forgoes such easygoing directives as "Tempus Fugit" or "Seize the Day", and goes straight for the jugular. Get to it, cause you're going to die!!!!

The publisher of this card is uncredited, and it is postally unused so the most I can say is that it is 1907 or later since it is a divided back.

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Thursday, March 05, 2020

 

Obscurity of the Day: But He Changed His Mind





New York Evening World bullpenner Jack Callahan got a hankering to try panel cartoons in 1914, and he liked the same kind that I quite enjoy, the ones where the cartoonist asks us to imagine what came next. He more or less did two weekday series of this type in tandem; Then He/She Turned Around, and today's obscurity, But He Changed His Mind (obviously titled But She Changed Her Mind instead when the target was of the female persuasion).

This series began on March 24 1914, a few months later than his similar panel series, and ended September 29 1914, a few months later.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2020

 

News of Yore 1952: Cartoonist F.O. Alexander Honors Newsboys with Stamp Design

 

 Tribute Paid To Newsboys In Stamp Issue


~~~~~

Given Special Recognition Nation-Wide; Ceremony at Philadelphia


Philadelphia, October 6 1952 (AP) -- The nation's great paused yesterday to pay tribute to the boy next door -- the one who delivers your newspaper.

The youthful champions of free enterprise got special recognition yesterday when the U.S. Post Office placed on sale a three-cent stamp honoring their service to community and country.

In a special ceremony at Benjamin Franklin Institute, Postmaster General Jesse M. Donaldson will present the first stamp to a newspaperboy. The Franklin Institute was chosen, Donaldson said, because Franklin was "probably the first newspaperboy."

The stamp will be sold exclusively in Philadelphia for a short time and then will be placed on sale throughout the nation. It depicts a newspaperboy carrying papers in an average American community. On the boy's bag is the legend, "Busy Boys . . . Better Boys."The stamp, printed in three shades of purple, was adapted from a sketch made by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin's editorial cartoonist, F.O. Alexander.

The paper carriers were honored by the Bulletin at a banquet Friday attended by such prominent former newspaperboys as Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, Harold Stassen, president of the University of Pennsylvania, former U.S. Senator Francis J. Myers and Horace A. Hildreth, president of Bucknell University and former governor of Maine.

Similar ceremonies were held throughout the country in conjunction with National Newspaper Week.


~~~~~

This post was possible courtesy of Mark and Cole Johnson, who sent me the newspaper clipping (from the Glens Falls Post-Star) along with the following promo photo of Alexander. Cole wrote the following on the back of the photo:

"F.O. Alexander in his office at the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on May 28 1965. 

Alex strikes a pose with an unlit pipe at his drawing board. Out the window can be seen the northern end of the platforms at 30th Street Station. 

He gave me this original in about 1980, I have no idea where or if it was published. He passed away in 1993. He told me he lost his hair in a mustard gas attack in frontline combat in WWI. Pictures of him in the 1920s would bear that out."




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Hello Allan-
Actually, It were I who wrote the description of the photograph. I put in a lot of hours at the Philadelphia library tracking down (based on the edition of the Bulletin in the foreground and the cartoon he is pretending to work on) the exact date of the picture. It was great to have lots of time and energy to spend on such things.
Still have yet to find any ultimate purpose for the photo's creation, it occurs to me he had it commissioned for his own use, if there were autograph fans, or something. The rough, unmatted edges, and the sharp quality tell me this is the photographer's proof, the last copy of the picture in his possession. It's now framed, on my hallway wall, next to a picture, undoubtably the final time ever, that he drew of Hairbreadth Harry, Rudolph and Belinda.
You will remember on New Year's day 2019 the Stripper's Guide entry about the Evening Bulletin souvenir booklet? Well, Alex's office was on the side of the building, looking across to the train station.

 
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Tuesday, March 03, 2020

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: W. R. Bradford




Walter Russel Bradford was born May 15, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio. The birth date is from his death certificate and the birthplace was mentioned in numerous obituaries. Bradford’s middle name was recorded on his marriage certificate.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Bradford was the youngest of five children born to Harry (Henry) and Sarah. They lived in South Bend, Indiana at 46 General Taylor Street. His father was a painter.

Bradford’s early career was described in The Camera, July 1925, said Bradford

… began work in the Studebaker Carriage Works, at South Bend, Ind., but his inherent talent for sketching led him to attend the night classes for instruction in drawing and inadvertently to the acquaintance with John T. McCutcheon and other famous cartoonists, who, appreciating his talent, encouraged him to pursue the practice.
Cartoons & Movies magazine #9, June 1925, said Bradford attended the Frank Holmes School of Illustration in Chicago.

On August 11, 1894, Bradford married Sarah Bates in Cook County, Illinois (Ancestry.com).

In the 1900 census, Bradford, his English wife and two-year-old son, William, lived in Chicago at 301 Osgood Street. Bradford’s occupation was “typewriter”.

Cartoons & Movies said

He worked on the Chicago Tribune, then on The North American, and shifted to the Baltimore Herald. When the Baltimore fire put him out of a job he returned to Chicago to work for the Journal. Then he went back to The North American for his last job.
At the Chicago Tribune, Bradford produced Animal Land (1901) The Inquisitive Bunnies, and Languid Leary and His Wonderful Tomato Can (1902). He contributed a strip to Alice’s Adventures in Funnyland.

Bradford’s strips for the North American include Animalland (1905), Doctor Domehead (1905), Tommy Tuttle (1905), The Geteven Youngsters (1905), and Fitzboomski the Anarchist (1905).

There were two strips, Mrs. Rummage the Bargain Fiend (1906) and Mr. and Mrs. Getrichquick (1910), Bradford may have drawn. The strips were signed Russel (with one L) which was his middle name.

The 1910 census recorded the Bradfords in Philadelphia at 1245 56th Street. Bradford’s occupation was newspaper cartoonist.

Bradford was a shutterbug. One of his photographs was published in Editor & Publisher, March 11, 1916. He contributed to Kodakery, November 1922, “Home Pictures That Are Different”, January 1923, “Indoor Silhouettes” and February 1923, “A New Angle on Doll Photography”.

According to the 1920 census, Bradford continued cartooning in Willistown, Pennsylvania on Monument Road. At some point he returned Philadelphia.

The Camera said

The closing down of the North American, however, was a severe blow to him, as it seemed like a separation from all that he had so delighted in for years. His desk had become his playground as much as his workshop. When his newspaper passed to the hands of the Public Ledger, Bradford was the radio editor, and his creations in that role were of the same subtle humor which characterized his exploits in other roles.
Bradford passed away on June 4, 1925, at his home, 5551 Delancey Street in Philadelphia. The death certificate said the cause was pulmonary tuberculosis and the secondary cause was toxic psychosis. In his book, Trolley to the Moon: An Autobiography (1973), Eric Hodgins wrote:
… My father took me to Philadelphia and the North American offices several times, where I met such heroes as Walter Bradford, the North American’s one and only strip cartoonist, creator of John Dubbalong and Enoch Pickleweight, to whom a son was duly born, named Dill. It was fine 1908 humor. I remember the shock my mother handed me when she revealed that Walter Bradford had a vice. He drank. That was why his cartoons were occasionally missing! …
Cartoons & Movies quoted Bradford’s wife who said

“He loved his work there,” Mrs. Bradford said. “He loved the characters he created and had fun out of them, Enoch, Maria, Dill and Pa Pickleweight — Ichabod, the old Injun fighter. The Scow cat was his mascot when he built his motorboat in our back yard in West Philadelphia about fifteen years ago and named it the Dubbalong. He and Hugh Sutherland collaborated in his strip-comics over many years.”

—Alex Jay

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Monday, March 02, 2020

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Inquisitive Bunnies



The Inquisitive Bunnies began on W.R. Bradford's second week supplying the Chicago Tribune with practically an entire Sunday comics section, November 17, 1901. Brad's art was pretty amateurish when he first came to the Trib, but evidently the powers that be appreciated the antic wackiness of his writing, which was already in full flower -- this stuff is completely unreined.

The less said about Brad's painfully bad poetry the better, but thankfully Brad gave this series the heave-ho in short order, dropping it with the installment of December 15 1901. His other Tribune series smartly stuck mostly to prose.

Thanks to Cole Johnson, who supplied scans of the first and last installments of this series.

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Hello Allan-
The figures atop the fence in the second sample are all from the Trib's feeble lineup of characters, obviously the little girl in the Tam was the star of the the debut Tribune comic section. I can't recall what her name was, Alice, perhaps, and Boggs the optimist is the one being clonked at the far right end.
 
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Saturday, February 29, 2020

 

What the Cartoonists are Doing, February 1916 (Vol.9 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.]

RAEMAEKERS’ LONDON DEBUT
The reputation of Louis Raemaekers,  the Dutch cartoonist, has been made in London almost overnight. A month ago he was virtually unknown in the British metropolis. Today everybody is flocking to the galleries of the Fine Art Society to see his war cartoons, the most terrible satires, perhaps, that have thus far been produced on the perpetrators of the world war.

Writing on the art of Raemaekers, the New York Herald's London correspondent Says:

“That Mr. Raemaekers is a born satirist with the pencil is granted. When he makes a point in a picture there can be no doubt about his meaning, and he makes it entirely in the picture and not in the words written underneath it. He draws his thoughts and feelings, giving to them visible shape and substance. The Kaiser in his satire is not only the Kaiser himself to the life; he is also an idea of the Kaiser and of what he represents. And his German soldiers are soldiers, but they are also German militarism in the flesh.

“When he chooses he can draw an allegory, as in a cartoon where swine fatten upon the dead body of Edith Cavell. And one of the swine has an iron cross tied to his tail, an example which shows that he has all the fierce indignation of the French cartoonists, while it is with him, as with the greatest of them, imaginative ferocity, not scurrility. It is like lightning striking baseness from a great height.
“Lately he has turned to Ferdinand of Bulgaria with almost an ecstasy of contempt. He has created a figure of the Balkan Fox as the French cartoonists created one of Louis Philippe, a figure in which his whole policy and his whole character seem to be visible.

“And be it remembered Mr. Raemaekers is not a partisan. He is a Dutchman, and impartial, possessing only the warmth of a judge who has seen the crime committed. There is no reason in his nationality, in his temperament, in his education why he should be against the Germans. In Holland Mr. Raemaekers always carries a revolver, and always is receiving threatening letters from Germans. If they could only catch him over the frontier by a mere yard there would be no more cartoons from Louis Raemaekers.

“The Dutch are proud of him, for he says with his pencil what they all feel, even when his satire is turned against his own people. He sometimes turns his satire against England, but England only laughs at herself with him. Mr. Raemaekers has noted while he has been in London the free bearing of the British soldiers as they walk the streets, compared with the German servile arrogance. In them Britain expresses herself to him and tells him what she is fighting for, and he, with his pencil, is fighting for the same righteous cause.”

CARTOONISTS AND CLASS HATRED
From the Buffalo Evening News
We venture the guess that Americans are getting more closely to the roots of things. For example, a significant thing happened in Philadelphia. The American Society for the Promotion of Citizenship denounced the cartoonists of America for being chief contributors to class hatred.

The denunciation is merited. Not that cartoonists are a bomb-throwing, shell dropping tribe. Not at all; they are, on the contrary, mild, meek and quite harmless. We know some of them who carry their handkerchiefs in their sleeves.

They do, however, err in common with the average professional humorist. They underestimate the force of their own lines.

The Philadelphia society generalized— was sweeping in its indictment—which is a sufficient excuse for specifying.

Among the worst offenders is Opper, a cartoonist who has honestly pleased two generations of people, but whose silly caricature of the common people has never increased national self-respect and has done as much as any agency to create, promote and nourish class hatred.

In these days of such keen competition the individual is apt to designate the caprices of fortune, the ends of injustice and all other inequalities of life by the ridiculous symbol made familiar by Opper.
It isn't healthy.

We shall welcome the cartoonist who will picture the common people with a strong, sturdy figure, tied and gagged by traditions and usages, perhaps, but still strong and giving promise of rending those bonds that bind.

MYERS’ “BLOODLESS” COMIC
Fred Myers of Indianapolis has evolved a “bloodless” comic, which he plans to introduce to an expectant public. “By this,” he says, “I mean seeking the psychological ‘punch' without recourse to brickbats and rough stuff. I figure it out this way: it isn’t funny to see a man slammed with a brick in real life—so why should it be so in pictures?

“My neighbors have honored me by laughing at the drawings, so when I think of what a time Columbus had before he put it over, I begin to take heart.”

Mr. Myers will be remembered for his cartoons published in connection with the recent political scandal in Terre Haute.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I’ve been waiting to see the cartoonist for two hours,” said the caller in the newspaper office.

“He’s upstairs in the office, trying to draw,” replied a passing reporter.

“Trying to draw?”

“Yes, he's trying to draw his salary.”— Yonkers Statesman.


CENTRAL NEW YORK ART LEAGUE HOLDS SUCCESSFUL EXHIBIT
The Central New York Art League has received many congratulations on the success of its first annual exhibition, which closed in Syracuse on January 1. D. Darian, cartoonist of the Syracuse Post-Standard, and president of the league, selected as judges, C. A. Voight of the Central Press Association, Vic Lambdin of the Syracuse Herald, and several New York newspaper artists. More than 300 drawings in pen and ink, charcoal, oils, and watercolors were shown, and many artists and cartoonists of national fame were represented. Among these were “Bud” Fisher, of Mutt and Jeff fame; George Herriman, originator of the “Dingbats”; C. A. Voight, father of “Petey Dink”; J. K. Bryan, a silhouette specialist; George McManus, producer of “The Newlyweds,” and “Panhandle Pete”; Gene Carr, originator of “Lady Bountiful” , Kate Carew, a well-known caricaturist; “Tad,” T. E. Powers and Rube Goldberg. A number of drawings by Phil Porter, who was found dead near Chicago several weeks ago, were draped in mourning.

FAREWELL
Upon the far horizon's rim
The Peace ship slowly fades from sight.
Good-bye to Hen, good luck to him.
But, oh, those dreams of peace — “Good Night!”

–Nelson Harding, in Brooklyn Eagle.

KEENE A LIEUTENANT NOW
Louis Keene, cartoonist of Beck's Weekly, Montreal, marched away in August, 1914, with the Maple Leaf boys. He is back home now with his right hand smashed, but with a lieutenant’s commission.
A piece of high-explosive shell, at Ypres, did the damage—after Lieutenant Keene had served for exactly a year. He was sent home, where he immediately began learning to draw with his left hand. So rapid was his progress that he resumed his cartoon work for Beck's Weekly, and even managed to paint a couple of war pictures for a recent exhibit. He received his commission in England, and was promoted in Belgium, and now he expects to return to the front again with one of the new battalions. Lieutenant Keene says that Cartoons Magazine was greatly enjoyed in the trenches.

HARRY S. OSBORN'S DEATH
The death was announced on December 7, 1915, of Harry S. Osborn, cartoonist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Mr. Osborn's death occurred at the home of his father in Darlington, Wis., and was due to a nervous breakdown. Mr. Osborn did his best work on the Baltimore News. A series of drawings used in a church crusade in Baltimore added to his reputation in that city. Later he contributed cartoons to the Maryland Suffrage News. Mr. Osborn's work is familiar to readers of Cartoons Magazine. His rather peculiar style of line drawing imparted to his work a certain personality and distinction.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lee Stanley's cartoon, “The Porkless Menu,” which was copied extensively in the United States and Europe, caught the eye of Congressman F. C. Hicks, of the Long Island district, who has had the original framed for his office. Mr. Stanley took Bushnell's place on the Central Press Association of Cleveland.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HANNY “LOOKS BACKWARD”
“Looking Backward” is the title of a new cartoon book by W. Hanny, of the St. Joseph News-Press. The volume contains 96 cartoons selected from the file of the News-Press. Many of these have been reproduced in other newspapers and magazines. Some of the pictures call back early days of boyhood—notably one entitled “Your First Smoke,” depicting a small boy in bed, while a worried mother and a rather amused father stand beside him.

CARTOON LIFE IN MEXICO
To the Editor: Mr. Dunn's article in your January issue, on the present-day Mexican cartoonists and their opinions of Carranza, was of especial interest to me as the one-time cartoonist of El Diario of Mexico City. Heartily I echo their sentiments regarding the “first chief,” and “muchly” do I admire their courage, for cartooning in Mexico is not one of the “preferred occupations” according to the life insurance agents.

Before the Madero revolution, when Don Porfirio held the reins, the political cartoonist was strictly persona non grata in the eyes of the authorities. I know of one case, that of an art student who had assimilated some socialistic ideas in Paris, and who started to turn the Mexican capital inside out by publishing a weekly, bearing the euphonious title of El Tlin Tlin. There were four pages of it—printed in red ink— the front and back filled with caricatures of the powers that were, and the “innards” containing undiluted opinions of the lampooned dignitaries. Three issues appeared, and then the artist disappeared. After a lapse of several months the Alameda and the Zocolo reëchoed again to the sound of the newsies crying “Tlin Tlin,” for the crusader had come back. True, his cheeks were hollower, his hair considerably shorter and his general color scheme hinted strongly of prison pallor, but in no wise was his determination altered. For two Saturdays in succession he labored (for be it understood, he possessed a pull) and then history repeated itself; the pull failed, and this time he did not return.

At about that time the rurales (mounted rangers) were making another Belgium of Sonora, in the Yaqui district, and several shipments of captured Indians were sent through the city to slavery in the South. The barbarism with which they were treated reminded me of the tales of the days of Montezuma and the bloody sacrifices of the Aztec priesthood to Huitzilopoctli (the war god). With the aid of Muniz, the director of El Diario, I framed a cartoon depicting the rites of the sacrifice, with a Yaqui as the offering, a prominent minister playing the executioner and Don Porfirio himself as the war god! During the absence of Senor Simondetti, the editor, we “put it over,” but the censor caught it before the ink was dry, and Muniz went to Cuba (between two suns). I left the city in a laundry basket, in a Wells Fargo car, on a hurry-up trip for the border line and a haven in God's country.

Since that memorable occasion I have been in Mexico several times, along the border during the first revolution, sketching the insurrectos or selling soap and perfume to the noncombatants.

“The lure of the little voices” ofttimes calls me to return to the land of mañana, and I would like nothing better than to add the scratch of my pen to the general chorus of criticisms of Carranza, but I cannot—for my wife won’t let me; she says that she has no desire to collect on the policy of ---

RALPH. C. FAULKNER.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hansi, whose cartoon book, “Mon. Village,” so angered the German authorities that they, sentenced him to prison, is now an interpreter in the French army. He has been decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honor.

THE NERVE OF CARTOONISTS
Cartoonists seem to be people of nerve. John McCutcheon has pierced darkest Africa, Boardman Robinson is making war pictures at the most dangerous parts of the front, and H. T. Webster, whose cartoons were recently published in book form under the name of “Our Boyhood Thrills,” accompanied George A. Dorsey, curator of the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago, on one of the most perilous trips ever made by white men. They went up the Yangtse River through rapids so dangerous that it was like passing Niagara every day, and they nearly reached the border of the Tibet, through a part of China which no white man has ever seen before or since.— New York Globe.

GOLDBERG CARTOON SALE
A sale of Goldberg originals was held during the holidays at the American Art Galleries, New York, for the benefit of the New York Evening Mail’s “Save-a-Home” fund. The cartoons were auctioned off by Thomas E. Kirby, of the American Art Association, and his assistant, Otto Bernet.

THE VOICE OF THE AMATEUR
To the Editor:

Relative to the first paragraph in Helena Smith-Dayton's article, “Many are Called, but Few are Chosen,” in your January number, why are we amateurs called “fame chasers”? “Some not yet escaped from art schools,” she says! (And some who never saw an art school.) Some of us are timid, others overconfident, but all desirous of be coming Ethel Plummers or James Montgomery Flaggs, May Wilson Prestons, or Ralph Bartons! Why, almost anyone would have such a desire if he were interested in art—or to do work like Mrs. Dayton.

If time would turn back in its flight, I am sure we could see all these, and other present-day celebrities, in the ranks of so called fame chasers. Because of this I am sure that many of us will someday become fully as great as the least of the now famous. Miss Plummer's work does not need a slap at the amateurs to enhance its worth–nor do the fame chasers need it to spur them on.

H.A. Daake
Lima, Ohio.

P. S.—Have just landed a job on the local paper. Look for some of my work in the next mail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A course in cartooning and caricature has been opened at the University of Notre Dame in connection with the department of journalism.


PRESS ARTISTS EXHIBIT
The recent exhibition of the St. Louis newspaper artists at the St. Louis Press Club, which was extended because of its popularity, closed December 13, 1915. One hundred and twenty pictures were shown, including oil paintings, watercolors, crayon, and pen and ink sketches. Among the artists represented were A. Russell, R. J. Bieger, Arthur L. Friedrich, George Grinham and Percy Vogt, of the Globe-Democrat; Arthur Button, Gus T. Coleman and A. B. Chapin, of the Republic; Miss Juanita Hamel and Elmer Pins, of the Times; Frederick Tuthill, of the Star, and D. R. Fitzpatrick, of the Post-Dispatch.


WESTERMAN AS A PORTRAIT ARTIST
“The worst thing about telling a whopper,” says the Ohio State Journal, “is that one leads on to more, and you soon get so that you can’t tell the truth at all. Here, for instance, is the Chicago Tribune, which for some time has been pretending to be the world's greatest newspaper, and which, having formed the habit, now announces that it has on its staff the world’s greatest portrait artist, although the individual in question can’t hold a candle to Mr. Westerman, in spite of the latter's excess of artistic temperament.”

The Tribune's new portrait artist, it might be interesting to know, is Frank Wing, author of the Fotygraft Album, and for many years head of the Minneapolis Journal's art staff. Mr. Wing is now in Washington for the Tribune, making sketches of the senators and congressmen. The accompanying sketch of President Wilson in three moods by Mr. Westerman may possibly uphold the State Journal's contention.

CARTOONISTS AID CHARITY
Quite a galaxy of cartoonists offered their services for the recent benefit performance given at the Hippodrome by the New York American.

R. F. Outcault drew some new pictures of Buster Brown and Mary Jane; T. E. Powers created more of his “Glooms and Joys”; Harry Hershfield showed “Abie the Agent,” and George McManus, Tad, Cliff Sterrett, James Swinnerton, F. Opper, Harold H. Knerr and Tom McManus each did something in his own line. Winsor McCay had the hardest part of all. He was billed as “the world's greatest cartoonist.”

At the St. Mark's bazaar at the Grand Central Palace, a cartoon by Cesare, of the New York Sun, was purchased by Gouverneur Morris for $200.

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