Monday, February 27, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: The Boy Scouts Bill and Bobbie
The Boy Scouts of America was an organization just four years old when Merle Johnson gave them a gently humorous poke in The Boy Scouts Bill and Bobbie. The Sunday strip began on November 29 1914 in the New York Press, a second-rate paper run by Frank Munsey. In the Press's short-lived Sunday comics section (Munsey soon decided Sunday comic sections cost too much to produce) this strip was one of the headliners, along with Dorothy and the Killies.
Merle Johnson had pretty much left comic strip work behind by 1914. He had a number of features picked up by Hearst in the 1900s, but this is his only series I know of from later than 1910. Bill and Bobbie was drawn in Johnson's signature naive style, and the simplistic gags actually worked surprisingly well, undoubtedly because they meshed well with the art style. The whole package was quite attractive, and may well have helped to sell a few copies of the New York Press to readers who would have otherwise never even looked at the Munsey rag.
The Boy Scouts Bill and Bobbie ran until May 16 1915, when the whole comic section was cancelled.
Thanks to Cole Johnson, who supplied the scans.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
January 5 1909 -- Herriman has some seriously sharp-edged words and pictures for the heavyweight boxing fraternity today. In case it is too hard to read above, here's the prose that he wrote to go along with the cartoon:
En masse they have emerged from their coops and let out a loud, patriotic howl about reseizing the "title of titles" from the possession of the black man.
Here they stand, a lovely mess of pugilist derelicts preening their frayed plumes in patriotic fervor, making great show of being latter day Casabiancas, St. Georges, and gentleman Joan of Arcs.
Here Jack Johnson has been making extensive peregrinations over the world, wasting away for the want of a fight. All the while the surface of the sea of swat lay bland, placid and unrippled. Now the Galvestonian comes back with the prime prize, and the tombs resound with challenges from every pugilistic mummy since the deluge.
The country reverberates with the brave cry of "the title must come back to the Caucasian." Truly a fine excuse for these St. Georges of the prize ring to work upon the public. They are ready to face the dusky dragon in his den and blushingly bring back the title.
Behold the heroes: "St. Lemo" Jack O'Brien, Marvin Hart, Mike Shreck, "Tawm" Sharkey, Corbett: that rare old Dodo, Bob Fitzsimmons, and oh, spare us, John "Twin" Sullivan. They clang their tin armor and puff their age worn breasts and acclaim themselves Davids ready to crack the dome of somber hued heavyweight Goliath to bring back our fair title to its home.
Now that we have heard from those whom we long thought defunct, let us give ear to Kid Camembert, Battling Brie, Terrible Roquefort, Spike Limburger or some other good heavyweight fromage.
The title will abide awhile with Johnson, unless the one man, James Jeffries, decides to climb over the ropes.
In the meanwhile call in Doctor Osler and let him get busy in the heavyweight division.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, February 24, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from R.F. Outcault
Another 1905 Ottmann postcard by R.F. Outcault, this one showing the disdain of the rustics for those newfangled auty-mobiles. Thanks Nellie Appleby for your long and convoluted message. We'll roll out the red carpet for ye.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
( You'll have a warm reception ) Hope so, as we are
coming up Sunday Oct-28.06.
( Ready now we are coming -> ) ( ? ) a good day.
To old B'ville, keep
a sharp look out
for old ( -> automobile ) . But lay
down your fire arms
yours in haste
Coming up B'ville Pike
I do hope no accident will
befall, such as a fellow laying in
wait with ( -> a hose )
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: DeVoss Driscoll
The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Driscoll as the youngest of five brothers whose mother was the head of the household. They resided in Sidney, Ohio.
According to the family tree, Driscoll married Anne Maude Mills on June 25, 1895. Their daughter, Helen, was born in Illinois.
The 1896 Dayton, Ohio, city directory listed Driscoll as an artist with the Gem City Engraving Company. He boarded at 319 East 2nd. Two years later, the directory said Driscoll was a designer who resided at 438 West 3rd. In the 1899 directory, Driscoll was a newspaper artist with the Dayton Daily News. Artists in Ohio, 1787–1900: A Biographical Dictionary (2000) said Driscoll worked on the Dayton Evening Press in 1895 and 1896.
The 1900 census said the Driscolls were Detroit, Michigan residents at 137 Sixth. Driscoll’s occupation was cartoonist. Driscoll illustrated the book, The Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers (1901). Driscoll was granted a divorce on June 24, 1902. Later that year, Driscoll married Anna Babcock Yager. Their son, Alden, was born the following year in Michigan. At some point, Driscoll moved.
In St. Louis, Missouri, Driscoll produced many comic strips for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Driscoll produced, from late 1903 to mid-1905, the following strips: Animal Antics; Baby; Cholly; The Chubbies; The City Dog in the Country; Der Colonel und Der Kidders; Funny Feathers of the Fowl Family; Hot-Foot Willie; Hungry Hat and the Old Stray Mule; If Papa Was a Boy; Iftown; Jack of All Jobs; Jimmie at the Fair; Mother Goose in a New Dress; Mrs. Bones’ Boarding House; Mud Pie Peggy and Master Misfortune; Nebuchadnezzar and Rastus Johnsing; Papa and Winning Willie; and Rastus. One of Driscoll’s editorial cartoons was reprinted in The Literary Digest, December 10, 1904.
The 1905 Dayton city directory had these listings for Driscoll, his brother George and their company.
Driscoll D. W. (D. W. D. & Co.) 15 E 2d, res. St. LouisOne of their projects was supplying the caricatures for the book, Business Men of Dayton 1905–1906.
Driscoll D.W. & Co., (D. W. D. & G. C. Driscoll) Cartoonists and Publishers, 15 E. 2d
Driscoll G. C. (D. W. Driscoll & Co.) 15 E 2d, h. 73 E. Emmett (Mary N)
Driscoll’s whereabouts were reported in the Rockford Republic (Illinois), May 25, 1906.
Mr. D.W. Driscoll, the Republic Cartoonist who will commence a series of caricatures of prominent Rockford citizens in this paper within a short time, with his associate W.B. De Haas entertained a small number at a river party yesterday. They engaged the Steamer May Lee for the afternoon and had a very pleasant sojourn up the river where they were greatly surprised at the scenic beauty.The 1910 census recorded Driscoll and his family in Racine, Wisconsin, at 246 Main Street. Driscoll was the business manager of the Times Publishing Company. Some time after the census, Driscoll moved to Dayton, Ohio.
Messrs. Driscoll and De Haas have been working several days on the interesting symposium of cartoons of leading lights in the various professions and commercial enterprises which will appear during the next several weeks in the Republic and the outing yesterday furnished them recreation and rest from their labors.
There have been many inquiries as to when the series will start and it is stated that the opening cartoon will appear just as soon as Mr. Driscoll can sketch enough to guarantee the continuity of the series after once inaugurated. In the meanwhile all who are acquainted with Mr. Driscoll’s work are waiting with anticipation of the picturesque series of Rockford’s “Live Ones.”
Dayton city directories for 1911 and 1912 listed Driscoll as a cartoonist at the National Cash Register Company (NCR). In 1913, Driscoll was in the NCR advertising department. The next year, Driscoll was the advertising manager.
School Board Journal, February 1914, mentioned Driscoll in its “Moving Pictures” article.
Driscoll, a cartoonist on an Ohio newspaper, has depicted in contrast what good and bad moving pictures may suggest. One scene in the picture shows a robber snatching a man’s purse. The boy who has been an interested spectator, in the picture house, retires and later is seen setting out, pistol in one hand, a bloodcurdling story book in the other to perhaps reenact in actual life some awful tragedy. In contrast, another boy watches an educational film in a proper show, retiring to a library, where surrounded by histories, guide-books and perhaps a tutor, he is led on in his enthusiasm, to learn more about some country or people or industrial process, perchance, some moving drama of the ages, to reach up to still greater conquests of the constructively educated mind.1914 ended with the death of Driscoll’s son, Alden, on December 27.
Motography, May 1, 1915, reported Driscoll’s new business venture.
The Pyramid Film Company, 14 East Second street, was recently incorporated at Columbus for $12,000. Officers of the enterprise are: D. W. Driscoll, formerly advertising manager of the National Cash Register Company, president; G. C. Driscoll, vice president, secretary and treasurer, and A. N. Nelson of Detroit, second vice president.The same address was in the 1915 Dayton city directory which listed Driscoll rooming at 133 North Salem Avenue.
Driscoll lost has wife who passed away May 22, 1915.
In Detroit, Michigan, Driscoll married Mildred L Ferneding on June 20, 1916, as recorded in the Michigan marriage records at Ancestry.com. The couple resided in Dayton at 1140 East Wyoming.
Driscoll passed away November 22, 1916, in Dayton. His death was reported in a single paragraph in many newspapers and periodicals. The family tree posted a lengthy obituary and photograph of Driscoll from an unidentified publication. Presumably they are from a Dayton newspaper.
De Voss Woodward Driscoll, aged 43, former well known cartoonist and newspaper man and head of the advertising department of the N.C.R., died at the Miami Valley Hospital at 4:30 o’clock Wednesday morning. He had been ill four weeks.
Mr. Drsicoll was an exceptionally talented and versatile man. His gifts and his attainments had given him the opportunity to hold several responsible positions. During his younger days he was employed on several large newspapers, at one time holding the position of cartoonist on the Daily News. He originated the mule “Maud” cartoons. He was also a feature writer as well as an author of humorous verse.
While he gave up his work on the newspapers, he continued his connection with the publicity business. He became an expert advertising writer, and was finally selected for the position of manager of the advertising department of the N.C.R. He held this position four years, or up to the time of his resignation in October, 1914.
Mr. Drsicoll left the N.C.R. to engage in special advertising work, and was head of a publicity company that covered the United States and Canada. He was manager of the Pyramid Film company at the time of his death.
Forty-three years ago he was born in Nosha Falls, Kan. His parents removed to Sidney where he spent his boyhood. For many years he has lived in Dayton. Last June he was married to Miss Mildred L. Ferneding, who survives him, together with his mother, Mrs. Glorianna Dricsoll; and four brothers, Dr. Park and Charles D. Driscoll of Detroit, Frank T. Driscoll of San Francisco, and G.C. Driscoll of Dayton.
He was a member of the Mystic lodge of Masons and of the Elks lodge, No. 58.
Funeral services will be held Friday morning at 10 o’clock at the residence, 1140 Wyoming street. Burial will be made in Sidney.…
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: The City Dog in the Country
Yesterday we featured a DeVoss Driscoll strip, If Papa Was a Boy, in which he aped the cartooning ability of a child. Today we see Driscoll's real art style, which although perhaps not the stuff of a McCay or a Herriman, has an energetic and boisterous charm. The City Dog in the Country followed the slapstick misadventures of a dog who is out of his element on a farm.
In case you're wondering about the very odd coloring on the dog, the blue and red bits are supposed to represent bandages, which he has earned from previous episodes of the strip.
An odd feature of this strip is that it is offered in 'chapters', as if there were some ongoing narrative that must be followed by the reader. This isn't really the case, except that in chapter one the dog arrives on the farm, and in the final chapter, he returns to the city.
The City Dog in the Country ran in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat's home-cooked Sunday comic section from March 5 to June 4 1905.
If I was editing a comic (as I have done in the past on occasion) and this guy came in the door, I'd beg him to use yesterday's style and give him the spot. I even thought the repetitious gag was okay.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: If Papa Was a Boy
DeVoss Driscoll, who was a mainstay of the locally-produced Sunday comic section of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1903-05, was a decent artist, but not much of a gag writer. Therefore it might not have been his most brilliant idea for a series that he would draw it as if a child was doing the art. In If Papa Was a Boy readers got the worst of both worlds -- bad art and bad writing.
On the other hand, since Driscoll was producing a heck of a lot of material for the comic section, maybe the idea was borne of necessity -- he simply did not have time to draw all of his material. Solution -- draw badly, but with an ironclad excuse. Driscoll went so far as to sign the strip "A.D." -- presumably he had a son whose name began with letter 'A' (a presumption that I will leave Alex Jay to explore if he desires).
If Papa Was a Boy ran in the Globe-Democrat from March 26 to June 4 1905, near the end of Driscoll's ordeal -- the newspaper would soon switch over to syndicated content.
Since Mr. Driscoll really was a decent artist, we'll feature him tomorrow drawing in his native style. Fair's fair!
Monday, February 20, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lewis Gregg
Lewis Crumley Gregg was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 9, 1880. Gregg’s full name and birth date were recorded on his World War I draft card. His birthplace was named on a 1930 passenger list. Gregg’s parents were William Alanson Gregg (1848–1895) and Elizabeth Luckie Gregg (1859–1952). The 1880 U.S. Federal Census was enumerated four months before Gregg’s birth. Gregg’s parents and paternal grandmother resided in Atlanta on Pulliam Street. His father was a hardware merchant.
Specific information about Gregg’s education has not been found. The Atlanta Constitution, July 30, 1916, said Gregg studied at the Art Students’ League in New York.
Gregg’s widowed mother was the head of the household in the 1900 census. Art student Gregg was the oldest of six siblings. Everyone resided in Atlanta at 176 Rawson.
Around 1901, Gregg joined the Constitution newspaper staff. Gregg’s work was collected in Cartoons by Gregg (1904).
City directories from 1903, 1905, 1907 and 1909 listed Gregg as a Constitution artist who resided at 176 Capitol Avenue which was the address in the 1910 census. Gregg, his mother and five siblings lived there. The 1915 city directory had the same address for Gregg.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Gregg produced Gilly the Gopher (a gopher tortoise), for the Constitution, which ran it from April 9, 1912 to January 22, 1913, plus a one-week return June 28-July 2 to advertise a reprint book published by the Cole Book Company.
Listings in the American Art Annual, Volume 14 (1917) included Gregg’s art school.
Lewis C. Gregg School of Drawing, Constitution Building.Gregg’s marriage was reported in the Editor & Publisher, October 21, 1916. (Cartoons Magazine, December 1916, reprinted the Editor & Publisher article.)
Lewis C. Gregg, director. Established 1915. Antique and sketch from costume models, cartoon and newspaper illustration. Day and evening classes. Tuition, $10 a month for four days a week; $5 a month for two days a week. Enrollment, 45.
Cartoonist Gregg MarriedMoving Picture World, December 1, 1917, said Universal Current Events, filmed 39 cartoonists, including Gregg.
Lewis Crumley Gregg, cartoonist for the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution, was married to Miss Mamie Ansley in Atlanta on the evening of October 11. Mr. Gregg, for fifteen years connected with the art department of the Constitution, is a graduate from the Art Students' League of New York. He is better known to the newspaper world and to the public as the originator 'of the famous “Gopher,” the little animal which appears in all of his cartoons. Miss Ansley, now Mrs. Gregg, is one of the leaders in Atlanta’s social set. She is the daughter of Edward P. Ansley, a prominent real-estate man of that city. Immediately after the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. Gregg left for New York, where they spent their honeymoon.
On September 12, 1918, Gregg signed his World War I draft card. The cartoonist lived in Atlanta at 220 Ponce De Leon Avenue. The description said Gregg was five feet, eleven-and-three-quarter inches and 210 pounds with gray eyes and light brown hair.
Gregg’s home in Atlanta was at 3 Durant Place in the 1920 census. A 1925 city directory had Gregg’s address as 30 Polo Drive.
The Macon Telegraph (Georgia), July 11, 1929, noted Gregg’s plan to study abroad: “Lewis C. Gregg, for 26 years a cartoonist with the Atlanta Constitution, sails tomorrow from Jacksonville for a year of study in Paris and London. He will be accompanied by Mrs. Gregg.” Passenger lists at Ancestry.com said Gregg departed July 23, 1929 and returned August 21, 1930.
City directories for 1938 and 1956 and the 1940 census said Gregg was a portrait painter who continued to live in Atlanta at 30 Polo Drive.
Gregg passed away March 19, 1957, in Atlanta. He laid to rest at Oakland Cemetery.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Saturday, February 18, 2017
January 4 1909 -- This week Angelenos will go to the polls, and one issue is whether to approve a new bond issue to build additional schools. Believe it or not, Los Angeles in 1909 was in need of money to build their THIRD high school.
When I first saw this cartoon, I thought, "Geez mother, if you want the bond issue, stop whining at your hubby and vote for it yourself." Oops -- no can do in 1909!
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, February 17, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from a Mystery Cartoonist
This divided back card offers no copyright info on the reverse, and the artist has chosen not to sign it. The style and the metamorphosis subject all point me to Winsor McCay, but I'm not aware that he did any postcard work. Even the Little Nemo series of postcards does not sport the Master's own artwork. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to our mystery cartoonist?
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Pure Self-Promotion: Your Host as a Superhero
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Mystery Strips: Lumer + Questions For the Brain Trust
I came upon a short stack of miscellaneous Sunbury (PA) Daily Item 1972 comics pages in my "to be filed" tower (the word 'pile' having been given up as a gross underestimation at this point). I came upon a single page, dated July 1 1972, that included the above strip, Lumer by Jerry Beaver. Other pages from late June did not include the strip. I had no comics pages from later than this date. Since I have no other record of the strip or the cartoonist, I pose the question to you -- does anyone have any info on the strip or Jerry Beaver? Since I have only the one example, I can't even list it as a series.
* Does anyone know of an online resource that identifies if and where a digital archive for a particular newspaper title is available? I spend a lot of time looking for newspaper titles (like for instance the Sunbury Item), checking newspapers.com, Google, Library of Congress, state archive websites, etc., and it sure would be great if that information was available in some central repository -- the Wikipedia page for the newspaper would get my vote as ideally convenient.
* a correspondent has asked me to tell him, in great detail, how newspaper comics get from the cartoonist's drawing board all the way to the printed page. He wants to know about the whole technical process, in layman's terms. Given that I don't have the free hours to do a complete brain dump, and that I'm likely to get some details wrong anyway, any suggestions for online sources where he can read up on this process? He is, of course, interested in how things worked in the bad old days, not in our new digital world.
Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 specifically, but there are others. I would very much like to hear from anyone who has one of these, or knows how well they work, or can offer any suggestions on the particular brands and models that work best. The online reviews for the Fujitsu are decidedly mixed, and the reviews for the lesser brands are downright awful, so I'm wondering if I need to wait until the 'bleeding edge' days have passed. I have fantasies of digitizing my collections of various journals and getting rid of many running feet of bookcase space. Ooh, to have searchable digital versions of my long runs of Editor & Publisher! Nirvana!
Here's the copyright entry for the May 5, 1971 strip: https://books.google.com/books?id=IDQhAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=jerry+beaver+sunbury+pa&source=bl&ots=pwzy9hQ2B0&sig=-gAHaiAyHuwBiCFuTlggbaZb9-A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7k8Gd3pPSAhWs3YMKHd8hDDkQ6AEINjAF#v=onepage&q=jerry%20beaver%20sunbury%20pa&f=false
1) "Wikipedia: List of online newspaper archives". Note that if an American newspaper is listed as "Free" it could be a "Newspaper Archive" subscribed site freely available to a local public library and not nationally. If this link doesn't work type the title into Google. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_online_newspaper_archives
2)Library of Congress U.S. Newspaper Dirctory 1690-present. Very useful for searching papers in the LOC collection, although they haven't digitized anything after 1924. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/
3)Newspapers Guide from The University Library and the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This resource does included links to more widely available newspapers and not just the one available from the library. http://guides.library.illinois.edu/newspapers
Also search for "digital newspapers" every so often in news.google.com for news stories & press releases on newly digitized newspaper collections.
Thanks for the links. Looks like Beaver did intend the strip to be ongoing, since he filed for copyright, but it seems he didn't manage to produce strips enough for daily frequency, since I have June issues that don't run the strip. I guess until I get to the Sunbury microfilm someday, or someone digitizes it, I'll have to table it.
Thanks for the wiki link. Although it is far from authoritative, it is another excellent weapon for my arsenal. Thanks!
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Ink-Slinger profiles by Alex Jay: Gaar Williams
The same address was recorded in the 1900 census. Williams had a younger sister, Inez, and his father was a bookkeeper. The Richmond High School yearbook, The Pierian 1909, said Williams, class of 1900, was a “Student in Art School, Chicago; cartoonist for the Chicago ‘Record Herald;’ now with the Indianapolis News.”
The Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1935, said Williams, while in high school, studied at the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts during vacation breaks. After graduating high school, Williams continued his studies at the Chicago Art Institute. Williams initially pursued commercial art but switched to the newspaper field where he drew political cartoons for the Chicago Daily News. According to the a brief profile in the collection of the Indiana State Library’s Rare Books and Manuscripts, Williams was a staff artist on the Chicago Daily News from 1904 to 1909. A 1905 Chicago city directory had this listing: “Williams Gaar C artist 1702, 77 Jackson bowl H2667”. The listing in the American Art Annual (1905) had this address: “Williams, Gaar C, 1712 Great Northern Bldg.. Chicago, Ill. (P.)”.
Williams produced a number of bookplates which were printed in Brush and Pencil, August 1905, and Indiana Bookplates (1910).
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Williams produced a series for the Chicago Daily News. Buttons and the Butler ran from December 18, 1906 to January 11, 1907. Williams was one of several artists to draw the Chicago Daily News’ Tiny Tinkles. Williams’ run went from January 11 to January 29, 1907.
In 1909 Williams joined the Indianapolis News and stayed for twelve years. The 1910 census said newspaper cartoonist Williams was an Indianapolis resident at 947 Pennsylvania Street North. On April 22, 1911, Williams married Magdalena Englebert. The couple lived at 140 East 44th Street according to Williams’ World War I draft card which was signed on September 12, 1918. The description of Williams was tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair.
Williams illustrated a number of books including Keeping Up with William (1918), Days Gone Dry (1919), The War in Cartoons (1919), and The Young Immigrunts (1920).
Williams’ address was unchanged in the 1920 census. In 1921 Williams joined the Chicago Tribune. According to American Newspaper Comics, Williams produced a Chicago Tribune cartoon panel from 1922 to mid-1935. The panel was known by a number titles: A Strain on the Family Tie; Among the Folks in History; How to Keep from Growing Old; Just Plain Folks; Our Secret Ambition; Something Ought to Be Done About This; Static; When Words Fail Yuh; Wotta Life! Wotta Life!; and Zipper. The strip Mort Green and Wife, and its topper, Zipper, debuted October 4, 1931 from the Chicago Tribune.
Williams and his wife vacationed in Europe. They departed Cherbourg, France, on May 27, 1928 and arrived in New York City June 4. Their address on the passenger list was 90 Lakewood Road, Glencoe, Illinois. The same address was recorded in the 1930 census.
Williams passed away June 15, 1935, in Chicago. His death was reported the following day in the Chicago Tribune. Williams was laid to rest in Earlham Cemetery.
Gaar Williams, 1880-1935: A Checklist of the Blanche Stillson Collection in the Irwin Library of Butler University (1981)
Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2012)
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, February 13, 2017
Although Gaar Williams is for the most part forgotten today, in the 1920s and 30s he was very well-known for his cartoons in the mode of Clare Briggs and H.T. Webster. One of his continued series from that weekday panel was A Strain on the Family Tie, and eventually the Chicago Tribune, his syndicate, asked him to add a Sunday page of the feature.
Originally titled Mort Green and Wife when it debuted October 4 1931 (it was later retitled to agree with the daily panel), it had a topper titled Zipper, about a dog. This topper strip was another of Williams' continuing weekday series. It was a pretty low-key effort, but consistently worth perusing. It was wordless, or nearly so, which was a pleasant change from the main strip, which tended toward excessive verbiage.
Zipper was discontinued on October 8 1933, two weeks after the strip's name was changed to A Strain On The Family Tie. I have no idea what the two events might have had to do with each other. From then on the Sunday did not include a topper strip.
Labels: Topper Features
Saturday, February 11, 2017
January 4 1909 -- Hoo-boy, Jim Jeffries is starting to listen to the crazy idea that he should fighht Jack Johnson. Jim, you're old and flabby and you're going to look mighty silly if you do!
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, February 10, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from R.F. Outcault
Here's a Tuck Series 106 Valentine rebus postcard (undivided back) featuring art supposedly by our good Mr. Outcault. Well, Mary Jane might be Outcault, but that boy and dog I'm guessing are tracings.
What I do really like is the delightfully enigmatic message from M.M.F. Much harder to divine the real meaning of that than the rebus.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, February 09, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ed Kudlaty
In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Kudlaty was the last of eight children born to Michael and Anna, both emigrants from Galicia, Austria. His father was a laborer at a furnace. The family resided in Cleveland at 1603 Branch Avenue.
The 1930 census recorded the Kudlatys in Cleveland at 4219 Woburn Avenue. An indication of Kudlaty’s talent was mentioned in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), June 2, 1936.
Announcement was made yesterday by Henry Hunt Clark, director, of the result of the annual competitive examination in the senior classes of public and parochial high schools of Cleveland and nearby cities for scholarships in the Cleveland School of Art.The same address was in the 1940 census which said Kudlaty completed four years of high school. His occupation was laborer at a brass factory. Kudlaty enlisted in the army April 1, 1941. Details of his service are not known. Kudlaty was discharged September 18, 1945.
Honorable mentions were given to: …Edward Kudlaty, 4219 Woburn Avenue S.W….
Ninety students entered the contest. Their work was judged by Clark, Otto F. Ege, head of the teacher training department; Alfred Mewett, registrar, and Alfred Howell, supervisor of art; Cleveland Board of Education.
After the war, Kudlaty furthered his art training. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 3, 1947, reported the graduation of the School of Art.
Students in the largest graduating class in history of the Cleveland School of Art will receive diplomas this afternoon in the auditorium of the Museum of Art, beginning at 3:30.The Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, at Ancestry.com, said Kudlaty married between 1946 and 1948. Cleveland city directories in 1950s listed artist Kudlaty and his wife, Veronica, at 10614 Snow Road. The same address was in telephone directories in the 1990s into 2002.
…Nothing has been left out of the essential training of art students, as is apparent by the long list of graduates with the subjects in which each of them majored, and there remains a familiar ring in such titles as design, illustration and design, teacher training, advertising art, industrial design, handicrafts, sculpture, mural painting, and painting.
Graduating in these subjects are: …Edward A. Kudlaty…
The date of Kudlaty’s employment with the Newspaper Enterprises Association (NEA) is not known. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Kudlaty drew the Story of Old Glory from June 9 to 14, 1952. It was written by Jay Heavlin. His next NEA series was Generals Who Became President which was written by Ray Ellis. Their strip ran from January 12 to 19, 1953. Kudlaty and writer Russ Winterbotham produced the Kit Carson strip from October 12 to November 8, 1955.
Kudlaty covered the 1954 trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard. Photographs of his NEA courtroom drawings are at the Library of Congress.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 23, 1957, reported the winners of the Freedoms Foundation’s George Washington Honor Medal. Kudlaty was recognized for his cartoon, “Recommended Reading.”
Kudlaty’s portrait of Pope John XXIII was published in many newspapers including The Kokomo Tribune (Indiana), November 4, 1958. The portrait was also available for purchase.
During the 1964 presidential election, Kudlaty drew Conventions and Crisis which featured first, the Republicans, followed by the Democrats.
In 1973, Don Oakley and Kudlaty produced the 12-part A Splendid Little War. The next year, Kudlaty drew the six-part Gerald Ford: The Man from Michigan. For the 1976 presidential election, Kudlaty drew Conventions in Crisis which reused some of his art from the 1964 series, Conventions and Crisis.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Kit Carson
NEA's practice of offering short-run comic strips about factual subjects usually tied the subject to current events or an anniversary. Kit Carson, offered by the syndicate in a 24-part series, seems to have been issued as a corrective to the popular 1950s Adventures of Kit Carson television series, which portrayed the historical figure with not even a nodding acquaintance to the fellow's actual life story.
The story, penned by Russ Winterbotham, made an attempt to be more factual, but this was still the 1950s, and Carson, who would later be reconsidered by historians as a ruthless killer of Native Americans, was given an unabashed hero treatment. Ed Kudlaty, an NEA bullpenner, provided slick art for the series.
As was often the case with NEA's closed-end series, running dates are all over the map. The earliest I've encountered the strip starting is October 3 1955, but the intended start date was October 12, which places it starting the next day after the conclusion of another NEA closed-end series, Daniel Boone. Kit Carson is quite unusual for an NEA closed-end strip, since it actually carried running dates. The strip reached its conclusion on November 8 of that year.
where one closed-end series began right after another ended?
When I indexed the NEA Archives at OSU many moons ago, I could see no rhyme or reason to when these closed-end series were released. I didn't realize until later that many of the NEA closed-end series had not been archived, so naturally I would not have seen a regular schedule of any kind, even if there was one.
Therefore, it may be that they were issued on a standardized schedule, but I'd have to have more perfect knowledge of what NEA issued and when.
The question is made more complex by the fact that I did not, and do not, consider all the series to be qualified as comic strips. For instance, you'll see in Alex Jay's profile of Kudlaty that he shows examples of "Conventions in Crisis". This series is so over the top text heavy that I could not in good conscience index it as a comic strip. There are quite a few other examples of series that I felt did not qualify. Thus I do not have an exhaustive list of these closed-end series even now from which to glean a schedule.
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Irving S. Knickerbocker
The 1910 census said Knickerbocker had two more siblings, and his maternal grandmother was part of the household. Auburn was still their home. The Plain Dealer wrote about Knickerbocker’s activities in this decade.
He started out to find adventure when a youth and worked on a farm in New York state, was a saw flier in a lumber camp, worked on a railroad and did many things. He served with the medical corps in France in the World War.The Rockford Morning Star (Illinois), January 29, 1930, said, “After the war he spent some time as a sailor on an ocean liner and then came ashore and studied art.” Additional information was found in the Seattle Daily Times (Washington), January 30, 1930: “He graduated from Auburn High School in 1916 and served overseas during the two years following. Returning he became active in Seattle shipping and commercial life, until going to Ohio.”
The War Department O.Q.M.G. Form 623, Application for Headstone, recorded Knickerbocker’s military service. He was a sergeant in Signal Corps, #116, Field Signal Battalion, 41st Division in Washington.
According to the 1920 census, Knickerbocker, unemployed, and two younger siblings lived with their parents in Auburn at 700 West Second.
In the mid-1920s, Knickerbocker moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland city directories listed him at 2019 Brown Road, in 1926, and 1351 West 76th, in 1929. Knickerbocker worked for the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA). He signed his work “Knick”.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Knickerbocker created and worked on several projects for the NEA. Knickerbocker was the second of six artists on the weekly strip, Bugs, which started on March 12, 1924. Following Roy Grove, Knickerbocker’s run was from November 11 1925 to April 7, 1926. He was followed by Charles D. Small, George “Swan” Swanson, Arthur Sefcik and Don Wootton. Little Joe Says was started by Storm, who was followed by Larry Redner. Next was Knickerbocker who worked on it in 1926 to March 7, 1930.
Knickerbocker’s The Papers Say started April 21, 1926 and ended January 13, 1927. The Tinymites was written by Hal Cochran and debuted October 8, 1926 with artist Larry Redner. Knickerbocker took over from January 10, 1927 to February 18, 1930. He was followed by Joe King and George Scarbo. The art on Ad Fables (1928) resembles Knickerbocker’s style.
Knickerbocker drew J. Disraeli (Dizzy) Dugan (aka Dizzy Dugan), which was the Sunday topper to Salesman Sam, from October 9, 1927 to March 23, 1930. Mac (aka The McCoys) was created by Knickerbocker who produced it from May 10, 1929 to March 7, 1930. It was continued by Munch, Howard Boughner and Bob Moyer.
Knickerbocker passed away January 26, 1930, in Cleveland, as reported the following day in the Plain Dealer. In an automobile accident, his “...skull and jaw were fractured and his lung punctured.“ “…He died in St. John’s Hospital several hours after the accident.”
The Morning Star added the following about Knickerbocker’s death.
Two coincidences, striking in the light of the tragedy that befell him, marked his last day of life.Knickerbocker was laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn, Washington.
Just before leaving his office for the last time, “Knick” dropped five “Tinymite” drawings on the desk of Hal Cochran, NEA art director, and remarked, “Well, that’s ‘30’ for me.” “Thirty” is the newspaper expression for “the end.”
The last sports cartoon Knickerbocker drew appeared on the day of his death. Over it Knick had written the heading, “It Was Fun While It Lasted.”
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, February 06, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Little Joe Says
There seemed to be an almost insatiable appetite in the 1920s newspaper offices for little one-column panel cartoons, and the syndicates were only too happy to oblige. Most of the little one-column jobs were of the 'pithy sayings' variety, whether voiced by flappers, Asians, mammies, or most any other stereotype you can think of.
Perhaps a character that wouldn't immediately come to mind is Little Joe, a weird cross of portly middle-aged man and baby that is as creepy as they come. While the sayings were sufficiently pithy, the drawings of the man-baby could be downright disturbing. It's his little tiny feet that were often depicted that really set the hair on the back of my neck a-tingling.
Little Joe Says was an NEA daily offering that debuted on February 21 1924. The first five days of panels were untitled (by mistake?) so Little Joe didn't actually get his moniker until February 27. Although the panel was seldom signed, it did happen enough that we can track credits. The first artist to work on the feature was 'Storm', whose signature appeared rarely from February to November 1924. Thing about this 'Storm' fellow is that his art looks just exactly like that of the next artist, Larry Redner. My guess is that 'Storm' is just a pseudonym.
Redner stayed on the daily feature until June 19 1926, when he stepped aside to give Charles D. Small a whack at it. Small didn't last too long, because he was taking over Salesman Sam at this time, and his last work appeared on February 5 1927. Irving Knickerbocker became the final artist on Little Joe Says, and his tenure was the longest. The weird man-baby was put to bed permanently on March 7 1930.
I worked at a newspaper in the days just after cold type replaced linotype, but before pagination. The guys in Composing pasted up pages using layouts sent from the Copy Desk. PR produced scores of strange little filler ads so Composing always had something at hand when an article or an ad didn't fill the allotted space, and it was too late for the Copy Desk to provide a short item to fit. I never saw cartoons used as filler -- they only ran as scheduled features.
Some papers ran these little guys as standard daily features, but others definitely ran them ROP. Yet others seemed to have a standard daily spot assigned for them, on the editorial page say, but if something else ran long, they got the boot.
Saturday, February 04, 2017
January 3, 1909 -- In his first cartoon of 1909, Herriman endeavors to render assistance to Examiner readers. The story of Carmen, which is playing at the Mason Opera House, is simplified to a series of explanatory cartoons.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Could easily be a coincidence, though.
Friday, February 03, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from Norman Jennett (probably)
This divided back postcard has no copyright info on the reverse, and just a couple of unhelpful notations on the front. The artist failed to sign this card, but I'm pretty confident that it is Norman Jennett.
Thursday, February 02, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Little Mrs. Thoughtful
Munson Paddock, whose life story turned out to be a lot more prosaic than his misinformation-based legend, penned the one-note series Little Mrs. Thoughtful for the New York Evening Telegram. It ran on a weekly schedule in the Saturday edition of the Telegram from February 8 to June 6 1908, then took a hiatus, and returned on Wednesdays from September 16 to October 7.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample.
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: The Baxter Beasleys
The Baxter Beasleys, by the always competent and often terrific Gene Carr, has a checkered history. It seems to have been produced for the McClure Syndicate while Carr was on some sort of hiatus from his Pulitzer daily feature, Everyday Movies (aka Metropolitan Movies). The daily begins on June 23 1924, and the latest I can find it running is January 31 1925. The daily is very much in the mold of a popular new genre at this time, which doesn't really have a name. In this genre there is a husband always trying out some brainless scheme, and his family, generally smarter than him, tries to save him from himself, or contents themselves with mocking him. Examples are The Bungle Family, The Nebbs, The Gumps, The Man in the Brown Derby, Cicero Sapp, etc. Anyone got a suggestion for what we could call this genre? Anyway, The Baxter Beasleys daily is firmly in this mold, and because it's Gene Carr the strip does a predictably good job of going through the familiar paces.
The Sunday, however, as you can see above, is a pretty nondescript piece of fluff. What is interesting about it is that it is beyond rare in its original run. Because of that I cannot offer you any specific dates. In fact the only Sunday I have even seen from the original run is the one you see above, which was courtesy of Cole Johnson. You'll note that it ran in the notorious New York Evening Graphic, which I did not know ever even HAD a Sunday edition. Yeah, we're talking RARE.
I have, however, seen plenty of the Sundays, though. Just not in the original run. McClure sold the Sundays off to World Color Printing, and WCP ran them as part of their Sunday sections from October 1927 until late 1928. That would seem to indicate that Carr produced about a year's worth of them, and thus the Sunday had a longer run than the daily. I just can't offer the actual running dates; perhaps if I triangulated from this one Graphic example, and assumed that the WCP run is in order, I could ... nah ...
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: The Lad That Loved a Lady
In The Lad That Loved a Lady, the great F. M. Howarth did something that was seldom seen in comic strips of his era -- he penned a series of comic strips that ends in an actual conclusion.
The story, set in medieval times, was simple enough: the beautiful and bumptious Isabel, daughter of the Earl of Sourface, falls in love with Alonzo the page, an underling who serves in her father's castle. She eggs on Alonzo to win her fair and square and thus save her from the advances of several very unappealing but high-born suitors. In a series of escapades, Alonzo proves himself to be a master trickster by successfully outwitting the other suitors. And then, in the final strip (seen above), Alonzo even gets the better of the Earl of Sourface himself, and thus wins the hand of Isabel and the grudging approval of her pa.
A couple other comments on the strip. First, notice that the top strip actually has the art panels out of order with the captions below. This is a problem I don't recall ever having seen before in a Hearst Sunday, and I find it mystifying how the problem made it all the way into production and into the Sunday paper. Second, Howarth must have been quite a student of Renaissance romantic literature, because he does an absolutely superb job of writing the captions in that ultra-flowery romantic style. Forsooth, I am by my spurs ever so impressed!
The Lad That Loved a Lady ran in the Hearst Sunday sections from December 23 1906 to April 21 1907.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Campus Clatter
In 1969 college campuses were ground zero for anti-war protests, anti-government groups, drug experimentation, and unrest of just about any kind you'd care to name, So it seems rather odd that the NEA syndicate picked this particular moment to offer Campus Clatter, a daily and Sunday strip which uses that environment for the purposes of light comedy.
Campus Clatter was brought on NEA's roster to replace The Willets, a spin-off of Out Our Way that hadn't really taken hold. The strip debuted as a daily on July 7 1969, and a Sunday was added March 15 1970. The creator of the new strip, Larry Lewis, was a cartoonist in his 40s with a mostly commercial background. He sold NEA on the strip strictly through a mail-in submission, much to his amazement.
Lewis stated that he was able to keep up on the current campus scene because his wife was a college teacher, and his daughter a student. While the strip did make an occasional effort to reflect current events, however, few of the gags would have seemed out of place in a 1930s issue of College Humor.
The strip was further hobbled by having no strong characters; the lead, Bimo Burns, is an everyman with no discernable personality. The strip was pretty strictly gag-a-day, and Lewis liked a regimented group of subjects -- "in a typical week I try to have at least 2 classroom gags, one gag related to sports, one to the administrative end of things, another to social life, and perhaps one to faculty." In fairness, this sort of approach worked very well for Mort Walker, so perhaps Lewis had the right idea.
With Doonesbury taking the comic strip world by storm in late 1970, you have to wonder if Lewis consdered making his strip a little edgier to compete. If he did, he evidently decided against the notion. Campus Clatter stayed true to its roots all through the run, which had Bimo Burns evidently failing a lot of courses so that he could stay enrolled at good old Doolittle College until October 2 1976.
The fathers shared an uncle according to the first appearance making them some kind of cousins. They were probably not first cousins as they didn't seem to know their relationship so uncle probably meant brother of a cousin or something making the father's at best second cousins.
The family had a teen-age son and daughter and a dog.
"Bloom County" was the one that took the Doonesbury spot in the San Jose Mercury -- because of its semi-editorial cartoon status it had a designated piece of real estate between some regular columns instead of the comic page. I developed a perhaps unfair prejudice against Bloom County because it then felt too much like a deliberate Doonesbury knockoff, not helped by an interview where the creator went on about why he was edgier and better. I still suspect the strip owes much of its success to matching the look and feel of Doonesbury when a sub was needed, much as Mallard Fillmore was embraced by editors as the quasi-official "equal time" answer to Doonesbury.