Thursday, May 28, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: Phyllis and Fang

Phyllis Diller, one of the first female stand-up comedians, was near the top of her career in 1968 when she teamed up with the Register & Tribune Syndicate to offer a daily comic strip featuring her self-deprecating humor. If you are over 50 and had a TV growing up, you certainly remember her fright wig, loud dresses, cigarette holder, and cackling one-liners on the variety programs and celebrity game shows, in which a favorite subject was her lazy, boozing, good-for-nothing husband "Fang".

Her comedy, some of which was written for her by cartoonist ghost-writer Mary McBride, was full of one-liners, making it seem like a natural for comic strips. However, the constant references to alcohol and other quasi-adult topics probably made newspaper editors a little nervous. They also might not have seen the appeal of the artwork supplied by Marvin Myers. Myers' style was definitely avant-garde compared to the normal comics page fare, and it did take some getting used to. It certainly didn't help that due to some odd production problem the strip was often full of type lice, which make Myers' noodly lines look like an unholy mess (the samples above have had the problem corrected).

Phyllis and Fang debuted on January 29 1968 in very few papers, and it only took four months for the syndicate and creators to give up on the strip. In the Des Moines Tribune itself, home paper of the syndicate, which may be the only paper that ran the series from beginning to end, the strip ended on June 1 1968.

In case you are too young to remember Ms. Diller's striking stage presence, here's a little taste:


Hello Allan--
Phyllis was funny, at least at first. I think she was oversold,until any novelty she had was drained out. Same thing happened to Steve Martin. Maybe you or some readers will recall her sitcom, "The Pruitts of Southampton"? They put her into something that erased her wacky, witchy persona and cast her as a member of a poor but lovable family of grifters that bluffed their many creditors while living in their mansion (the Biltmore Estate in N.C.!), sort of like "The Rogues". I know, few remember that show either, but suffice to say, it stunk, and gave Phyllis's career a blow.

I remember this strip, it ran in the Philadelphia EVENING BULLETIN. I liked it, although I was a child at the time. I'll guess that the strip was a failure not from the gags, but because it just looks so terrible. If I'm any judge of potential client editors, I would think Miss MacBride's amatuerish scrawl style was a quick turn-off.
If I recall it right, one day the Bulletin dropped it and offered an excuse like, "Phyllis and Fang are on hiatus while Miss Diller is on tour" or some such nonsense.

The Register and Tribune's strips are always the worst-reproduced on any comics page. I discovered that they sent out a daily strip for Cecil Jensen's "Elmo" that had a hair photographed on it. I would guess they used the lowest-quality materials for whatever they supplied newspapers. They weren't alone--e.g., the newsprint proofs King Features sent to newspapers to shoot from. I've seen one for a week of "Bringing Up Father" daily strips.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Chester Sullivan


(The following profile is based on finding only one artist named Chester Sullivan. An article identifying him as the artist of Men Who Made the World was not found.)

Chester Milo Sullivan was born on March 12, 1898, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to his birth certificate at His parents were Frank and Margrethe. Sullivan’s middle name was on his World War II draft card.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census Sullivan was the youngest of four siblings. His family resided in Minneapolis at 759 Washington Street NE. Sullivan’s father was a post office clerk. The family’s address was the same in the 1910 census.

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

During World War I Sullivan enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 3, 1918. He was a gunnery sergeant stationed with the Central Reserve Division.

According to the 1920 census, Sullivan’s mother, a widow, was the head of the household. They lived at the same address. Sullivan was unemployed.

Sullivan continued his education at the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, and the Aero Club.

Minneapolis city directories from 1922 to 1928 listed Sullivan as a commercial artist and his home address.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Sullivan was the first artist on the series, Men Who Made the World, which ran from September 21, 1925 to April 16, 1927. The following artists were not credited. Writer Granville E. Dickey was replaced by Dr. Elliott Shoring who may or may not exist. John F. Dille Company was the syndicate.

In 1929 Sulllivan’s address was 2555 Bryant Avenue South. The 1930 directory said he was married to Marian and resided at 2808 Chowen Avenue South. The same address was recorded in the 1930 census. Sullivan was a self-employed advertising artist. He had a five-month-old daughter.

The Sullivan trio lived at 2100 Dupont Avenue South in Minneapolis. Sullivan operated an art studio.

On February 16, 1942 Sullivan signed his World War II draft card. His home and studio was at 3517 West 28th Street in Minneapolis. He was described as five feet eight inches, 150 pounds with gray eyes and brown hair. He enlisted in the Army on on June 24, 1942. His rank was first lieutenant.

The Army Air Force magazine, Brief, August 15, 1944, mentioned Sullivan’s contribution to the Tarawa Cricket Club.

Acutely conscious of certain trends, 1st Lt. Robert North of Alhambra, Calif., decided that something drastic should be done to offset the inroads made in the Pacific by that amiable, sprawling outfit labeled the Short Snorters.

He conferred with M.Sgt Norman Hoch, a citizen in good standing of Oklahoma City, and they decided that there was a crying need for some sort of exclusive organization in the South Seas, where all sorts of improbable things happen. The Short Snorters, they opined, was getting pretty loose. It used to be limited to those persons who had flown over a body of water, but now it could happen to anybody, like Athlete’s Foot, or rundown heels.

So they founded the Tarawa Cricket Club, and might have run something up a pole to commemorate the occasion, but poles are scarce in that country. Instead, they enlisted the aid of Maj Peter S. Paine of New York City, and Maj Chester M. Sullivan, of Minneapolis, Minn., to help them get under way.

In case you've wondered, the name comes from the fact that there are a lot of idle cricket fields laid out on the islands. The English used to play the game there before the war, but have given it up for more strenuous activities.

Maj Sullivan designed a stamp, and unless you’ve had some business in the Pacific war you won’t ever get any closer to it than you are right now. That’s how the thing was made exclusive. Stamps are being distributed to other points—there will be a Kwajalein Chapter, Saipan, Guam, perhaps a Truk Chapter, a Philippines, and no doubt a Tokyo Chapter under the parent Tarawa nucleus.

The stamps will be held on each island by some responsible officer, probably the S-2, and if you care to join, look him up and he’ll stamp a replica of the informal coat of arms on your stationery, birth certificate, a pair of souvenir panties, or anything else that will take the ink. It costs you a dollar, which is used to buy more stamps for other chapters.

It was felt that the club would promote a certain comraderie [sic] among the men, for it is a thing that is really exclusive. No outsiders can join—you absolutely have to be on the island before you can join.

You can have a bill stamped and dash around collecting signatures if you like, but the originators look down their noses frostily on the practice.

The club is open to everyone from Dogfaces up, and there’s some highpowered company in it. Even generals—especially generals—are potential members, and some belong now. Maj Gen Willis H. Hale belongs, and plugs the club for a commendable venture, according to Lt North.

Membership won’t make you any money or when you get back home (wars always HAVE cure very many of the ills man is heir to, but ended) you’ll have something as exclusively South Seas as atoll-fishing.

Sullivan’s veteran’s file said he was a lieutenant colonel at his discharge on September 9, 1944. Presumably Sullivan resumed his advertising career in Minneapolis.

Sullivan passed away on February 10, 1973, in Minneapolis. He was laid to rest at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.


—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Granville E. Dickey

Granville E. Dickey was born on June 24, 1902, in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), according to his World War II draft card. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Dickey was the oldest of two children born to Raymond and Rose. The family and two servants resided in DC at 1358 Otis Place. Dickey’s father was an attorney. At age six Dickey was hit by a truck as reported in the Evening Star, February 13, 1909. Dickey attended Central High School where he excelled in swimming the backstroke.

The Dickey family continued to be DC residents, at 1702 Kilbourne Place NW, in the 1920 census. In 1924 Dickey graduated from the College of Journalism of Northwestern University in Chicago. He was a member of the varsity swimming team, and in his senior year was named a member of the all-American swimming team.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dickey was the first writer of Men Who Made the World, which was drawn by Chester Sullivan. The strip started on September 21, 1925 and after five dailies Dickey’s name was replaced by “Dr. Elliott Shoring, Noted Eminent Historian”. Records of this person have not been found. Shoring may have been a pen name. The John F. Dille Company series ran for many years as reprints.

The Evening Star, April 4, 1928, reported Dickey’s wedding.

The marriage of a former Washingtonian, Mr. Granville E. Dickey, to Miss La Verne Carnes will take place this afternoon in Chicago, the home of the parents of the bride. After an extensive trip to Cuba and Spanish Honduras, they will return to Chicago, where Mr. Dickey is advertising manager for a large wholesale house.

He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Dickey of 1702 Kilbourne place. In 1920, when he graduated from Central High School, he was captain of the swimming team and a captain in the Cadet Corps.

According to the 1930 census, the couple resided in Oak Park, Illinois at 402 South Cuyler Avenue. Dickey was an advertising copywriter.

At some point Dickey moved. The Official Register of the United States 1938 listed Dickey as a statistician in DC. On November 25, 1941 Dickey testified before the House of Representatives’ committee hearings on the conservation of wildlife.

On February 14, 1942, Dickey signed his World War II draft card. He lived in Silver Spring, Maryland at 8003 Eastern Avenue, apartment 104. Dickey was employed at the U.S. Conservation Corps in DC. His description was five feet eight-and-a-half inches, 145 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. Dickey had divorced in 1941.

An Evening Star death notice said Dickey’s second wife passed away April 5, 1945.

Dickey passed away on January 28, 1948. A death notice appeared in the Evening Star, January 29, 1948. 
Dickey, Granville E. On Wednesday, January 28, 1948. Granville E. Dickey, father of Rosemary Dickey, son of Rose M. Dickey and the late Raymond B. Dickey, brother of Mrs. Alice Beaton, John Maxwell Dickey and Raymond R. Dickey. Funeral from the W.W. Deal Funeral Home, 4812 Georgia ave. N.W. Notice of time later.
He was laid to rest at Cedar Hill Cemetery.


—Alex Jay


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Monday, May 25, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: Men Who Made The World

Once J. Carroll Mansfield's Highlights of History proved itself a surprise hit, other syndicates began dipping their toes in the history comic strip genre. John F. Dille was keenly interested in educational features anyway, so he was one of the first to jump in with a me-too strip.

Dille's offering was called Men Who Made The World, and the daily strip offered biographies of important figures in history. The strip debuted as early as September 21 1925*, though many papers started it later. The strip began under the helm of Granville E. Dickey, who was billed as an historian, but whose only other credit I can find is editing Dille's weekly college humor round-up page. Art was provided by a complete unknown, Chester Sullivan. In a bizarre twist, Dickey's name was stricken from the feature after a mere five dailies and the new writer was "Dr. Elliott Shoring, Noted Eminent Historian." That eminence is debatable, or at least I can find no other proof of the fellow's existence other than this single credit.

Despite being put together by a pair of questionable unknowns, the strip was actually pretty darn good. They started off with a biography of Alexander the Great, which managed to be both entertaining and quite thorough. The bio ran for 33 strips, with lots of well-written text accompanying Sullivan's reasonably attractive art.

When Alexander the Great ended, a much longer bio of Napoleon ensued, but the art chores were taken over by Dick Calkins, a Dille go-to guy who would later rocket to fame as the artist on Buck Rogers. Calkins was a good fit for the assignment, since his art tends to look a bit like woodblocks out of a medieval manuscript, a nice look for a history feature.

The next story was Joan of Arc, which caused some clients to rename the strip Personalities that Made the World given the subject personage. Many clients seem to have given Joan a pass; whether that was an anti-Catholic bias, an anti-woman bias, or just because the art on this story was by a rather unappealing anonymous hand (or two, actually -- I think Calkins might have been brought in to finish off the story), I don't know.

For the remainder of the series, though the art was very rarely signed, I'm pretty confident that it is mostly or all Dick Calkins. Here's a rundown of the stories and their lengths:

Story Artist # of Strips
Alexander Chester Sullivan 33
Napoleon Dick Calkins 69
Joan of Arc Anonymous artist possibly followed by Calkins 27
Julius Caesar Dick Calkins 45
Fernando Cortez Dick Calkins 59
George Washington Dick Calkins 55
King Richard I Dick Calkins 55
Sir Francis Drake Dick Calkins 60
Peter the Great Dick Calkins 48
Louis the XIV Dick Calkins 41

I have yet to find a paper that runs this strip with perfect regularity or runs all the stories, but if such a paper were to exist, the series would have ended on April 16 1927. Although Dille closed up shop for new biographies, he certainly didn't stop trying to sell the ones he had. I have seen parts of this series running in papers as late as 1947!

* Source: Windsor Star


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Saturday, May 23, 2020


What the Cartoonists are Doing, June 1916 (Vol.9 No.6)

[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.]

Under royal patronage in Montreal and under the distinguished patronage of His Honor the Lieutenant Governor and Madame Le Blanc, Sir Lomer and Lady Gouin, and His Worship the Mayor and Madame Lavigueur in Quebec, A. G. Racey, cartoonist of the Montreal Star, delivered his lecture entitled “The War in Cartoon.” The proceeds went to the Red Cross society. Both occasions served to bring out Canadian expressions of patriotism and loyalty. Mr. Racey had prepared the lecture at the request of several members of parliament. In the course of his remarks he stated that everything in Germany had been made subservient to militarism; that Prussia had prepared so well for war that she only awaited the chance to strike. He showed on the screen the signature of von Buelow to the now famous “scrap of paper,” guaranteeing Belgium's neutrality.

The difficulties that confronted Great Britain in the earlier stages of the war were depicted. A series of cartoons reviewed Germany's submarine warfare, the Balkan developments, the attitude of the United States, Germany's dream of an Egyptian conquest, and other features. The cartoonist expects to realize more than $30,000 for the cause.


Chapin, of the St. Louis Republic, has drawn a cartoon which is being used by the St. Louis Provident Association in a campaign to raise $23,000 for its summer work. The drawing pictures the rise of a family from despair to hope, the steps to independence being respectively Relief, Encouragement, Help, Employment, and Opportunity.

Jack Flanagan, one of the youngest of the Australian cartoonists, who has achieved the distinction of full-page cartoons in the Sydney Bulletin, has reached the United States via Vancouver, and intends to locate in New York. His ambition is to illustrate an edition of the Odyssey. Mr. Flanagan will be followed shortly by Harry Julius, who illustrates the theatrical page of the Sydney Bulletin, and who has something new in the way of animated cartoons that he wishes to introduce in America.


Don Barclay, a comedian of the “Maid in America” company, and a former St. Louis cartoonist, claims to be the originator of the Charlie Chaplin walk. His specialty as a cartoonist was drawing funny feet, and from this he developed a vaudeville act, he says, that the famous film artist has imitated.

The Rev. Cauley H. Perrin, who is a cartoonist as well as a clergyman, has been giving a series of cartoon sermons, portraying the progress of the modern pilgrim through the various stages of life's journey. Mr. Perrin is the pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Watertown, N. Y.


John Campbell Cory, formerly cartoonist for the Chicago Journal, is now syndicating his work through the Publishers' Feature Bureau of Chicago. He has a summer home at Wadsworth, Ill.


Commenting on the tendency of cartoonists to picture Britain as a bulldog, standing square to the world, and ready to grip with the grip that never lets go, a writer in Town and Country says: “Personally I think a bulldog rather unattractive and I think its reputation for courage and tenacity rather exaggerated.”

At the recent dinner given by the Evening Star Club at the Raleigh Hotel, Washington, each guest was presented with a copy of the “Morning Star,” a souvenir newspaper edited by the Evening Star staff, and illustrated with cartoons drawn for the occasion by Clifford K. Berryman. Mr. Berryman received as a special tribute during the evening a big Teddy bear, so lifelike that it might have stepped out from the corner of one of his daily cartoons. Mr. Berryman in his turn presented to Uncle Joe Cannon, one of the honor guests, a huge cigar. After having drawn more than sixty cartoons for the dinner souvenir, Mr. Berryman was ordered to draw one of himself, which is presented forthwith.

A recent cartoon drawn by Harry J. Westerman, of the Ohio State Journal, and depicting the contrast between the fate of the clown, “Slivers,” and Charlie Chaplin, the movie comedian, so appealed to Mr. Sam McCracken, the noted sportsman, that he purchased the original and had it framed for his office. “Slivers,” it will be remembered, committed suicide at about the time that Mr. Chaplin's half-million-dollar contract was announced. Mr. McCracken was perhaps “Slivers” closest friend. It was he who staged the Willard-Moran fight in New York. “Slivers” was undoubtedly the world's greatest clown. It was his privilege to make thousands of grown-ups and children laugh, but his later days were days of tragedy.


The New York Tribune Sunday magazine is running a series of four-column cartoons by Robert J. Wildhack, captioned “How to Make Money.” There isn't any doubt that Bob Wildhack himself knows how to make money for he has just added the third car to his automobile stable.


H. T. Webster, of the New York Globe, has taken delivery of a new Marmon car. It is a bachelor's runabout. Had Webbie been a marrying man he might have bought a Mormon car. Webbie was measured for the car and then the car was made to Webbie's measure. Standing upon the equator Webster would be head and shoulders above the arctic circle, so no stock car would accomodate his reach. Pushing the motor forward 18 inches and moving the seat back so that it overhangs the rear axle gives Webbie ample leg room.

Of course the car suffers some in appearance. On the leading drives about New York, Webbie's car has already been named “the Dachshund.” It is long like that. It has two steering wheels, one to operate the front pair of road wheels, and a second one for the rear wheels like an aerial-ladder fire truck. Managing two steering wheels would ordinarily be a busy job, but for a cartoonist who draws with one hand while he lights a load of soft-coal tobacco in a base burner pipe with the other, it is a cinch.

The report that Herb Roth was going to Spain for a couple of years has been officially denied. Instead Herb has signed another two-year contract with the New York World. The night shift of New York's gaiety workers is relieved by this announcement. Now they know the worst. Herb Roth is a truthful cartoonist. With the mathematical certainty of the magnetic compass which always points north, Herb plants a laugh even if he does not adorn a face. His recent picture of the Fakirs' Ball at the Hotel Vanderbilt showed 50 persons and every one was a speaking likeness. The “Met section” would be something else if Herb should go to Spain.

Charles Richardson, a Washington, D.C., shopkeeper, was summoned to court recently to account for a cartoon in his store window depicting President Wilson as a gladiator standing over his victims with a sword dripping with blood. Action was brought by the police under the statute which forbids the display of pictures dealing with crime, or intent to commit a crime.


Readers of the old school who remember “Rudder Grange” still dream, perhaps, of living in a house made out of an old boat. Clare Briggs, the author of “Skinnay” and “When a Feller Needs a Friend,” has built such a dream house at New Rochelle, N. J. It is such a house as Frank R. Stockton or Robert Louis Stevenson would have delighted in, and the name of the house is “The Blue Anchor.”

A writer in the Utica Observer, describing a visit to the home of the “Mark Twain of cartoonists,” says:

“A striking feature of this house is a framework of ship timbers, taken from a water-logged schooner, wrecked on a bar undoubtedly, and procured from a salvage firm in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Some of the lumber used in the construction work is only 250 or 300 years old; and one does not have to look hard or long to see timbers 14 by 12 inches in size by 35 feet in length, which, in course of time, will be hand-carved.

“The supposedly front elevation is the rear of the house, the latter being half surrounded by a stone wall, embedded in which are parts of the hull of the same old schooner.

“The dining room is large and comfortable, surrounded entirely with quartered white oak panels, six feet in height, stained most beautifully by Father Time himself. The ceiling is beamed with those old water-logged timbers. The window frames are made from the old planking, which more than a dozen hardwood turners refused to touch with their tools.

“To the modern builder every stick of timber in ‘Blue Anchor' is subject to condemnation. Holes, dowels and splints are everywhere, and cracks half an inch wide are the rule, and why not in a house 300, or shall we say 400 years old?

“Remember we are in the dining room, and its windows are of leaded glass, as are all the windows throughout the house. In each window there may still be three or even 10 pieces of the old glass, opaque but not transparent, which was the best that glaziers could produce when ‘Blue Anchor' was built 400, or shall we say 500 years ago? And then there is sure to be found in every window one or more descriptive pictures, for once “Blue Anchor' must have belonged to an artistic individual who was most lavish in his expenditures, for he replaced the old glass with the most unobtrusively blending pictures one can imagine.

“From the dining room one passes through a spacious hall, into the living room, two steps below. The room occupies half the house, and is finished—Well:

“Its floor: Planking four inches thick, sixteen or eighteen inches wide, 30 feet long; the seams are calked with oakum and tar, for those planks have lived many a year on that diet. Scars and marks on the floor show where stays were fastened in them aboard ship.

“At the far end is a stone fireplace. At its left a secret panel gives entrance to a winding stairway in the chimney, and either to Mr Briggs' grill room below or to Madame's boudoir above, past the minstrels' balcony, one within the holy of holies of this family can go.

“The huge rudder of the schooner 15 feet long and with its massive iron pivot and chains weighing nearly 1,400 pounds was not thrown onto the junk heap, but has been given the most conspicuous place in the grill room. It serves as chimney breast, over a glorious fireplace. At the other end of the grill, directly opposite the fireplace, is a huge anchor, a gift of a friend, J. K. Stewart. This cute toy weighs a ton and a quarter.”

R. M. Brinkerhoff, of the New York Evening Mail, has bought himself a studio and living apartment in the big structure which Penrhyn Stanlaws is building on 67th Street and Central Park, West. Each tenant owns, in fee simple,—whatever that is— the right and title to his own apartment with trespass rights in the public halls, elevators, and the sidewalk fronting.

Brink is now shoppng to furnish his new home. He is to have Chinese rugs, Turkish corners, French pastry, German fried, Swedish massage, and Bull Durham, while the decoration will be largely Hungarian goulash and all very Chile con carne.


Clifton Meek, formerly cartoonist with the New York Evening Journal, is now in business for himself, and is connected with “The Silent Partner,” a “magazine of inspiration” published in New York.

An exhibition of original cartoons by Clifford K. Berryman, of the Washington Star, has been attracting many visitors to the Corcoran galleries of the capitol city. It was the first time the gallery had ever placed on view a collection of drawings in black and white.

Among the best known of the pictures to be shown is the “Why Didn't I Think of That?” cartoon of Roosevelt, which shows him reading reports of President Wilson's first personal address to congress. This cartoon was reproduced all over the country, subsequent to its publication in The Star. Another famous cartoon in the collection is the “To Go or Not to Go” commemoration of Roosevelt's retirement from the White House on March 4, 1909. The picture shows the famous Berryman Teddy bear on the steps of the executive mansion, regarding with pensive gaze a large moving Van.

The Baltimore convention of the democratic party in 1912, the German submarine controversy, Roosevelt's trip abroad and in Africa, the Mexican controversy, “Uncle Joe” Cannon and Speaker Clark, all come in for their share of the friendly satire of Mr. Berryman's pen.


A fine point in newspaper law has developed in connection with the alleged misuse by Dr. John R. Davis, of Mena, Ark., of an “Everett True” cartoon by Condo, of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The cartoon, as originally drawn, showed the redoubtable Everett belaboring with his umbrella the head of a congressman who, instead of attending to business, spent most of his time at pink teas.

Dr. Davis, who was a congressional candidate in a hot primary fight in his district, altered the cartoon by lettering in the name of his opponent and distributed it in circular form, the attorneys for the syndicate claim. The N. E. A., therefore, has brought action against him for the misuse of a copy righted cartoon.

Mutt and Jeff, in the opinion of the Russian embassy at Washington, are not fit companions for the czar of Russia. Followers of Bud Fisher's cartoons will remember that the czar was commandeered by Mutt and Jeff and introduced into the mysteries of draw poker. The Russian embassy, however, didn’t like the idea, and made a protest. As a result the fact was disclosed that it really wasn’t the czar, after all, who accompanied the comic-strip celebrities to America, but the czar's valet in disguise.


Mrs. John Barr McCutcheon, the mother of John T. McCutcheon, the Chicago Tribune cartoonist, George Barr McCutcheon, the novelist, and Benjamin F. McCutcheon, died recently at her home in Chicago.


The first gun in what is to be a nationwide fight against moving-picture censorship has been fired by Charles R. Macauley, formerly cartoonist of the New York World. Mr. Macauley's shot is in the nature of the cartoon presented herewith, and showing a “holier-than-thou” individual veiling a screen with a banner which bears the legend “Pre-publication Censorship.” This, with others, will be shown in the cinema theaters throughout the country as part of an organized crusade.


H. T. Webster, of the New York Globe, and R. M. Brinkerhoff, of the New York Evening Mail, have been spending a week in Washington, D. C., getting acquainted with the celebrities in order that their cartoons hereafter will bear a semblance to the truth. They have been studying President Wilson, Secretary Baker, and others at first hand. The trip was made in Web’s new touring car.


Jack Flanagan from Australia was John R. Flanagan, who soon became one of the great pen-and-ink illustrators of the 1920s. He drew many illustrations for Collier's, including the popular Fu Manchu series following J. C. Coll. Flanagan was just 21 when he came to New York, having already established himself as a newspaper cartoonist back in Australia. Fun to see him right at the start of his career.
I found the Slivers/Chaplin bit riveting, and went and looked up the backstory on it. Fascinating. That bit alone was worth the price of admission, today, and I greatly enjoy these "What the Cartoonists Are Doing" bits.
It is rare and amazing to see Chaplin commented upon so near to the beginning of his rise to immortality. Here he is still a mere mortal, and a target for carping comments. On the other hand, I have never heard of poor old Slivers. Lost in the obscurity of the past, after a tragic end. I have contemplated suicide many times — who hasn't? — but one thing that has always stopped me is the thought that I might regret it later. Who knows what successes may have awaited Slivers if he had stuck around?
I, too, really enjoy these slice of life glimpses of the cartooning world, so long ago. I have always loved the "really old" strips, so it is an added enjoyment to read about the cartoonists too. Thank you, Allan!
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Friday, May 22, 2020


Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis

Here's another Garfield postcard, this one is coded #P5530, from Argus Communications. I'm not a big Garfield fan, but IMHO this is one of the funniest postcards ever.


I hate Garfield, but it should be noted that it is the last comic strip creation that generated a huge lot of fans and licensing, a fad, of sorts. At the current pace, it may be the final one as well.
I only read the "Garfield minus Garfield" blog. That's enough Garfield for me.
Some decades ago, at the height of the Garfieldmania, there was a TV special that centered on Davis. He not only offered a guided tour of his empire, but showcased the main artists who assisted on the strip (showing exactly what they did), produced product art, worked on the animated specials, etc. He came off as enthusiastic about their work, impressed with their talent, and frankly proud to show off these guys working for him. Maybe it was just exceptionally adroit PR, but I've had a level of respect for Garfield ever since.
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Thursday, May 21, 2020


Magazine Cover Comics: Petty-June at College

Fish, the great British cartoonist, had a long relationship with the American Weekly, producing quite a few series over about a decade and a half. Here's an early offering, Petty-June at College. This one is about a vacuous little John Held-style flapper-deb. The series appeared on American Weekly covers from November 18 1928 to February 10 1929, and was popular enough that the character returned for a second series, Petty-June Does Europe.

I think Fish did tremendous work, and I'm surprised no retrospective book of her cartoons and illustrations has been produced. Am I alone in my admiration for her work?


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Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Giacoia

Francesco Carmine “Frank” Giacoia was born on July 6, 1924, in Latronico, Italy. Giacoia’s first name was on a passenger list and middle name from his Social Security application (transcribed at which also had his birth information. However, Giacoia’s World War II draft card had Potenza, Italy as his birthplace.

On April 7, 1932, Giacoia and his mother, Domenica, were aboard the steamship Augustus which departed Naples, Italy. They arrived in the port of New York City on April 18. Giacoia’s father, Giuseppe, paid for their passage. His address was 2614 Hoyt Avenue, Astoria, New York, which is in the borough of Queens.

The 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded Giacoia, his parents and two younger siblings in Astoria at 32-12 Astoria Boulevard. The census said Giacoia’s father was a building construction laborer who was born in Brazil, South America. Giacoia’s mother made dress trimmings.

Giacoia attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. His classmates included John Belfi, Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane. Giacoia dropped out of school. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said he worked at the Harry “A” Chesler and Fred Iger Studios.

A profile in All-Star Companion, Volume 1 (2004) said “… In the early ’40s he inked such Timely series as Captain America, Jack Frost, Captain Wonder, and Young Allies; by 1948 he was inking Carmine Infantino and occasionally Alex Toth on Green Lantern, et al., for DC. …”

On December 11, 1942, Giacoia signed his World War II draft card. His address was 28-19 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria. His employer was Timely Comics. Giacoia’s description was five feet seven inches, 149 pounds with brown eyes and hair. His father adopted the name Joseph. 

Giacoia’s Department of Veterans Affairs file said he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp on June 5, 1943. A muster roll, dated July 31, 1943, listed Giacoia as a private, stationed at the Third Recruit Battalion Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. The October 31, 1943 muster roll said he was a private first class at the Aircraft Engineering Squadron at Cherry Point, North Carolina. According to the July 31, 1944 muster roll Giacoia was a cook at the same location. On April 30, 1945 Giacoia was a corporal at Songaree Field, Columbia, South Carolina. Three months later he was back in Cherry Point, North Carolina. San Diego, California was Giacoia’s home on the October 31, 1945 muster roll. In 1946 his final station was the Headquarters Squadron-33, Marine Aircraft Group-33, Marine Air, West Coast, U. S. Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, Santa Ana, California. Giacoia was discharged June 22, 1946.

After the war Giacoia continued working in the comics industry.

Bowling was one of Giacois’s hobbies. The Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), October 28, 1949, said

Giacoia Hits 546 Series to Pace Ditmars Loop
With Frank giacoia rolling a 546 series to pace the league, Team No. 2 swept its match with Team No. 4 in the House Bowling League at the Ditmars Center, Astoria.

Giacoia, bowling in the No. 4 position, hit games of 205, 166 and 175 as his team prevailed by more than 100 pins in each of the first two games and annexed the finale with a 45-pin margin. …

The Star-Journal mentioned Giacoia in its November 4, 1949 report.
… Team No. 2 registered a new high team game score of 882 to break the record of 868, held by Team No. 6, which dropped an odd-game verdict to the the new record holders. Frank Giacoia hit 200 for the winners. …
On October 27, 1951, Giacoia and Phyllis M. Zupa obtained a marriage license in Manhattan, New York City. Phil Zupa was one of Giacoia’s pen names. 

Alberto Becattini said Giacoia assisted Ray Bailey on his strip, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, in the early 1950s. Giacoia was living in East Meadow, Long Island, New York when he drew Sherlock Holmes. The strip, which was written by Edith Meiser, ran from March 1, 1954 to November 17, 1956. Becattini said Giacoia was assisted by Mike Sekowsky, Sam Burlockoff, Joe Giella, and Gil Kane. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Johnny Reb and Billy Yank was Giacoia’s next syndicated strip. It ran from November 18, 1956 to May 24, 1959. He had help from Jack Kirby, Mike Sekowsky, Gil Kane, Sam Burlockoff, Joe Giella, Joe Kubert and Sy Barry. Thorn McBride debuted September 12, 1960 with Giacoia and writer, Kenneth Simms. Mel Keefer did the art starting January 23, 1961. During the 1970s Giacoia worked on Big Ben Bolt, Flash Gordon, Amazing Spider-Man, and Incredible Hulk.

Giacoia passed away on February 4, 1988 according to the Social Security Death Index.


Further Reading and Viewing
Inkwell Awards
Kleefeld on Comics
Lambiek Comiclopedia
Grand Comics Database
Alter Ego #155
What If Kirby

More Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books
Plate 38

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: Thorn McBride

Frank Giacoia never had much luck picking a blockbuster newspaper strip; part of that was his choice of syndicates. His first two strips, Sherlock Holmes and Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, were distributed by the New York Herald-Tribune, which had great taste in features but couldn't sell them to save their souls. His third try, Thorn McBride, managed to find an even worse distributor. Copley Press, which operated a substantial chain of newspapers, couldn't even seem to convince their own papers to run their strips. Now that's pathetic.

Maybe with Thorn McBride those Copley papers weren't so dumb. Giacoia's art, always superbly professional if not especially flashy, was paired with the awful writing of a fellow named Kanneth Simms. Simms was in love with what he thought was snappy dialogue. He obviously wanted to be the next Milton Caniff, but what came out on the page was confusing, herky-jerky and worst of all, verbose. Poor Giacioa sometimes has to shoehorn talking heads into panel corners just to remind us that it's a comic strip. To his credit, though, he worked hard on this dog. Check out the extra bits of business Giacoia adds in some of these strips above that could have been just a series of talking heads. 

Debuting on September 12 1960* as a daily-only strip, Thorn McBride concerns the adventures aboard a US Navy nuclear submarine. This was a hot topic at the time because the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear sub, had just made headlines by 'sailing' under the North Pole. There was also a big budget nuclear sub movie in the works, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The concept seemed like a surefire hit for a strip, but the quality of the writing combined with the inability of Copley to sell their wares had this ship sinking a lot faster than subs ought to.

Frank Giacoia jumped ship after just four months, handing the reins over to another fine cartoonist, Mel Keefer (see the final example above for a Keefer strip), on January 23 1961**. Keefer proved much more game to ride on the Thorn McBride ship, and lasted until its demise on December 29 1962***.

Copley advertised the availabiltiy of the strip in 1963, but someone there was apparently a little behind on reading company memos. As proof I can offer that one paper ran a blank space for a week after the cited end date, with the text "Thorn McBride has been discontinued by the Artist."

One other minor postscript; Copley was seemingly unable to handle the distribution of a daily comic strip themselves, so they recruited United Feature Syndicate to handle the distribution.

* Source: Charleston Daily Mail
** Source: Washington Star
*** Source: Hayward Review, Long Beach Press-Telegram.


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Monday, May 18, 2020


Mystery Cartoonist: Lynn Daily Evening Item Circa 1921 -- JB? BJ?

As I go through my boxes upon boxes of files awaiting sorting, I come upon the occasional mystery item. Here's a couple clippings from 1921 issues of the Lynn (Massachusetts) Daily Evening Item, featuring an editorial cartoonist who signs him or herself  with what looks to me like an interlocked J and B. Searching around I cannot find a cartoonist who was associated with that paper that has these or similar initials. Can you identify the mystey cartoonist?


From Editor & Publisher August 23, 1924 (via GoogleBooks):
"Jack Beckwith, for the past 22 years cartoonist and all-round artist for the Lynn (Mass.) Daily Evening Item..."
Thanks DD (and Alex Jay who wrote privately), your web searching skills beat the heck out of mine. If I could search this well I might be dangerous.

Gonna have to find something really challenging -- maybe a tiny scrap of paper with a stick figure from an unknown paper.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, May 1916 (Vol.9 No.5)

[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 publication in Punch, and other British journals, of cartoons deliberately unfriendly to America has aroused quite a storm of protest. Sir Edward Grey, British secretary for foreign affairs, speaking in the House of Commons, expressed the opinion recently that the friendly relations between the United States and England had been jeopardized to some extent by such cartoons, which, however, could not be suppressed unless they transcended the law.

Discussing the Punch cartoon comparing President Wilson to the prophet Job (reproduced in the April Cartoons Magazine), the Syracuse Post-Standard says that the drawing is but a mild rebuke when one considers certain British cartoons on the subject of Secretary Lansing’s “Ancona” note. The German cartoons picturing Uncle Sam stuffing his pockets with gains from munition selling at the expense of the Teuton cause, this newspaper points out, are even more vitriolic.

“One wonders,” it adds, “what would have happened to Punch if that estimable journal had printed the cartoons of Carter, Starrett, Cesare, or Kirby.”

 Says the Buffalo Enquirer:

“Cartoonists have little sense of responsibility and rarely withhold a shaft for the harm it may do. The cartoonists should give serious attention to Sir Edward Grey's reply to the question whether friendly relations between the United States and Great Britain had been injured by the English cartoons reflecting on American diplomacy. Every American who has felt his wrath rise when looking at British cartoons will confirm the secretary for foreign affairs. Still better proof is the fact that foes of the British circulate British cartoons in the United States for the purpose of arousing American ire. It is equally true, of course, that American cartoons madden the British and Germans just as British and German cartoons anger us."


Boardman Robinson, the former New York Tribune cartoonist, since his return from the war zone, has been delivering a lecture called “From Saloniki to Petrograd.” It deals with the artist’s experiences in the typhus hospitals of Serbia, on the battlefields of the east front, and in the Russian jails.

When Fourteenth Street, New York, was the real Rialto and hang-out for actors, both good and bad, says “Zim,” Grant E. Hamilton and I used to take our noonday bite at the famous Lüchow restaurant opposite Tammany Hall, and I know by the way those Shakespeareans and comedians sized us up we were mistaken for a fat song-and-dance team. It was our before-dinner delight to assume every aspect of the exalted race that was basking in the meridian sun during its off-duty hour, and often we'd catch wireless remarks as to our bookings. Once during my absence, “Ham,” as I called him, ran the gauntlet of inquisitive eyes alone. On this trip he recorded many remarks about the other fat one. “He’s alone today—wonder where his partner is.” This was our opportunity to study stage characters in real life. Every man to the lowest and basest comedian felt himself an important cog in the theatrical machinery. Each was attired in his best raiment, some having their entire estate upon their backs, surmounted by fur collars overhung with curly locks of varied hues. I once spoke the name “Ham” rather loudly in addressing my partner Hamilton, and as “Ham” is a show term for Shakespearean actor, many eyes were riveted my way, causing me, of course, to draw my head within my shell. The movies have wiped out this interesting feature of artistic life and circumstances have dissolved my attachment for the place.

N. L. Collier, cartoonist of the Chicago Journal, having the distinction of being named after an oceanic coal hod, has been amusing himself by clipping headlines from the newspapers. Pasted on his desk are such captions as:


"Who,” he asks, “would want to be a collier?”

The good ship “Breakfast Food,” which is allegorical for your morning paper, made a short cruise at the annual dinner of the Dutch Treat Club at Delmonico's, New York, recently. The Dutch Treat Club is an organization of artists, cartoonists, and writers. The “Breakfast Food” made its appearance in the opening scene of the comedy, “The Breath of Scandal,” written by James Montgomery Flagg, who played a leading role.

One of the features of the evening was the presentation of birthday honors to deserving members of the club. Arthur William Brown, who illustrates the stories for the Saturday Evening Post, received the Order of the Kodak, which gives him permission to take two negatives of any pretty girl who is without a chaperone. Herb Roth was awarded the Order of the Cave Gentleman, and will be allowed to flaunt an electric sign above his studio door with the inscription “Chez Herb.”

Abe Kabibble, Harry Hershfield's perennial delight, broke into the League of Cook County Women's Clubs at Chicago recently. In other words, Mr. Hershfield was invited to address the meeting, and to introduce Abe and his cigar to the ladies.

In his talk Mr. Hershfield told why he had created Abe.

“Abe Kabibble is intended to exemplify a higher type of Jewish humor,” he said. “Previously there had been shown on the stage and in burlesque a type of alleged Jewish humor not at all complimentary to the Jewish people and not at all justified. So I decided to make ‘Abe Kabibble' a clean-cut, well-dressed specimen of Jewish humor.

“In drawing a cartoon I believe the public should be taken into the artist's confidence. The idea should be brought home to them.

“I am a Jew and know the life of my people well. The names of the people mentioned in the cartoons are not fictitious. They are the names of people whose families I know.”


Commenting upon the much advertised salaries of Reub Goldberg and other comic artists, the Christian Science Monitor says:

“What would Artemus Ward, Josh Billings, Petroleum V. Nasby, Thomas Nast, and other of the well-known humorists and cartoonists of the nineteenth century, say if they were to know that a humorist who draws ‘comics' has just been guaranteed a minimum salary of $50,000 a year, and that he expects to make as much more in work 'on the side’? Before they could make any discriminating reply they would have to consider two facts: the syndicate system, by which a clever man's work now appears simultaneously in hundreds of papers, and the altered standards of humor.”


Speaking at Valparaiso, Ind., recently, William J. Bryan said that if he were an artist he would go the world over and reproduce one of John T. McCutcheon's cartoons in which anarchy's slogan is represented as “Dynamite makes right.”

The Brooklyn Times comes nobly to the defense of the newspaper artist in an editorial reply to Mr. Frederick Dielman, “once president, we believe, of the National Academy of Design.” Mr. Dielman is quoted as saying that there were things published in New York under the name of art which were “simply horrible.” He referred to the cartoons and so-called funny sections of the metropolitan newspapers, and added: “Youngsters come to me who have heard of the large salaries paid to men who draw these things, and are ambitious to become artists of this type.” Says the Times:

“In the name of a discriminating public we rise to ask, who is Frederick Dielman? We know Goldberg, who gets a salary only a trifle less than the annual stipend of Charlie Chaplin; we know Opper; we know Bud Fisher and we know Tom Powers. We feel that we know Art from ‘A’ to ‘T.’ But this Dielman person, who ever offered him fifty thousand a year for a series of comics? By what authority does he speak for Art? Upon what colorful supplement has he scrawled an illegible but glorious signature? Yet, he has the presumption to declare Hans Katzenjammer is not art. He would have us believe Abe Kabibble is something a little lower than a cubist caricature. He cannot find a place for Mr. Jiggs in the classic, the compressionist, the impressionist, the post impressionist, or the depressionist school. Fie on Mr. Dielman! As Leonardo da Vinci once said to Mike Angelo, “Where does he get off?’”

Hal Coffman, the cartoonist, who for some weeks had been trying to locate a mysterious impersonator who was using is name, finally discovered that a Joseph Harold Coffman Welsh, of the Mills Hotel, New York, was the person he was after. The latter, summoned before a police magistrate for disorderly conduct, admitted that he had shortened his name, and had been posing as the cartoonist. The temptation to be known as an artist, he said, had been too much for him, but he was “very sorry.”

The Students' Art Magazine in an effort to discover from its readers who is America's greatest cartoonist, appears to be still in the dark. As the result of a vote taken, no two readers selected the same cartoonist, each naming a different one. The logical inference, observes the editor, would be that the present age has produced a great many good cartoonists, but none whose claim to renown stands out preeminently above those of his fellows.

Rube Goldberg
Reub Goldberg's new animated cartoons, a writer in the New York Telegraph observes, are a reminder that two years ago this artist wrote a number of scenarios for the movies. A New York literary critic said at the time of the films:

“They were so funny that they defeated their own purpose. Hunchbacked generals riding billy goats led scarecrow soldiers to battle, and let 16-inch cannon balls bounce off their bosoms. There was no point of view from which to get an angle on the crazy comedy. No moments of tragic relief. Tragedy to be effective has to have its period of comic relief by way of contrast. The same holds true for comedy. It must start from the normal and proceed to the absurd. The simplest laugh in the world is a man slipping down on a banana peeling. It is laughable because the man is walking along normally with no intention of springing any funny stuff. The sidewalk flies up and smites him in the back of the neck, while his arms and legs fan the air like an overturned turtle. The beholders laugh hysterically. The unexpected transit from the normal to the absurd is comedy. The Goldberg scenarios were so continuously comic that they never switched back to a normal status for the beholder to get his breath and start laughing.”

“We don't like to be criticising our superiors all the time,” remarks the Ohio State Journal in a moment of pique, “but it does seem to us that, if we got $105,000 per annum for doing no more work than Mr. Bud Fisher does, we wouldn't put the syndicate to the necessity of explaining at least once a week that, owing to circumstances over which it had no more control than a rabbit, we were unable to do our daily stunt yesterday.”

Because the modernists have stolen their stuff and called it art, the Society of Amateur Fakirs of the Art Students' League of New York, was forced to give a costume dance this year to raise their annual scholarship fund. The dance was given at the Vanderbilt Hotel on April 5. Formerly the “Fakirs” sold their travesties on the National Academy's pictures, but since the advent of the modernists, who regard such atrocities as real art, the “Fakirs" have been hard put to it to gain recognition.


A recent cartoon by Cesare in the New York Sun, showing Bryan in the act of scuttling the Ship of State, gains in verisimilitude, observes the Brooklyn Eagle, from the fact that the auger is inserted only above the water line.

Chapin's cartoon in the St. Louis Republic, showing D. R. Fitzpatrick, the Post Dispatch cartoonist, “breaking into the big league” with his first mustache, is said to be responsible for a mustache epidemic in the suburb of Piedmont, where Chapin lives. More than a score of young men, most of them unmarried, inspired by the cartoon, pledged themselves not to touch a razor to their upper lips for sixty days.

Lee Stanley, of the Central Press Association, is very youthful in appearance. The other day he presented Bill, the office boy, with a pair of theater tickets. Bill, elated at the prospect of an evening's entertainment with all expenses paid, skipped out of the office relating his good fortune to everybody. “Where'd you get the tickets?” he was asked. “Th' kid what makes the cartoons give 'em to me,” was the reply.


W. A. Rogers' cartoon in the New York Herald, entitled “They would never have given up the ship,” should, in the opinion of New York Town Topics, be painted as a historical picture, and hung in the White House. The cartoon depicts President Wilson, pale and haggard, at his desk, considering the “Lusitania” settlement, while behind him are grouped all the former presidents. Mr. Rogers, declares Town Topics, has described the situation exactly.


The Petey statuette, the counterpart of C. A. Voigt's popular little cartoon character, is now completed. The artist modeled the figure from sculptor's clay, and will use it as a pattern for the plaster figures that are to follow.  Petey is shown in his favorite chair, his mouth open, and a frown upon his brow. Apparently he has been caught in the act of giving Henrietta a dressing down for wearing a too frivolous costume.

The real Petey Dink, it is said, lives in Rochester, N. Y. He is a successful banker and manufacturer, is short and irascible, and objects very much to being reminded of the fact that he resembles a cartoon.

None of John Roche's cartoons in the Los Angeles Express is complete without a certain little bug—a namesake, by the way, of the cartoonist. One of the engravers on the paper must be given credit for the first one that appeared. He took the liberty of adding it to one of Roche’s cuts, and, though it was a crude affair, it helped to carry the idea. What was meant for a joke turned out to be a tragedy, for it cost the engraver his job. Now, however, the little cockroach appears on every drawing Roche turns out, while its clever side comments are always appreciated.


By J. N. M. Brown

The writer of the following human document is so far distant that it required three months for his manuscript to reach us.-Editor.

Now that the mercury, as Mrs. Wiggs would say, has riz to zero, I feel sufficiently thawed out to hold a pen. Strange things happen at the north pole. You may doubt it, but one's brains tend to congeal at a temperature of sixty below zero. At forty below the blood runs thickly, and feeling slowly leaves the extremities. One's nose, ears, and cheeks freeze, and a thin film of ice forms over the eyeballs. At the very lowest temperature the native leaps head first into a snowdrift, and after thawing out in its genial warmth, plunges forward into the next drift.

Probably you are wondering where I live? If I were to tell you, my community would doubtless cast me out as being too veracious. Suffice it to say that the north pole is adjacent. Frequently it comes and camps in our back yard.

In summer the thermometer goes up to 90, and in the winter, down to 90. This trifling difference of 180 degrees, doesn't seem to trouble those who have farms or real estate to sell. They say, “Oh, but you don’t feel the cold up here! It's so dry.” The moment they sell out, they take the train to Panama, where it is warm all the time.

Being an artist, my present activities are confined to caricaturing walruses and Eskimo dogs, making genre pictures of the kitchen stove, and thawing out the water pipes.

Those of you who practice art in more temperate climes may imagine that the immortal fires die out around the arctic circle. But you are wrong. We manage somehow to keep the temperature of our dwellings up to 15 or 20 degrees below the freezing point if there is plenty of fuel. Fuel ran out the other day, and I burned up the dining-room chairs, the beds, the table, and my drawing board.

I claim to be the only artist capable of properly' portraying the aurora borealis. Most pictures of the northern lights are wrong. They remind me of futurist sketches of the sun. The real thing looks as if the British navy were having search light practice during a Zeppelin raid. You see a large ray of light climb slowly through the sky. Then a few more rays climb up to keep it company. Then they all do the Ziegfeid Follies finale to the tune of "It's a Grand Old Rag,” scamper from west to east, die down, flare up, die down again, and fill the heavens with a yellow effulgence.


John T. McCutcheon, the versatile cartoonist and war correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, is back from the war. He has brought his dog with him, and Chicagoans feel immensely relieved now that the little canine is back in the corner of John T.’s cartoons, where he belongs. Mr. McCutcheon was stationed at Saloniki, which stronghold he regards as free from attack for the time being.

“I think the most remarkable condition I have ever seen existed prior to January 1 in Saloniki,” he said. “The allied armies were in control. But the civilian Germans, Austrians, and Turks were in constant and almost necessary evidence.

“For example, it was no uncommon incident to see British army officers dining in a German restaurant, of which there were two. There would be a table occupied by British officers and immediately next to it a table at which sat German officers.

“British, Russian, German, French, and, in fact, the consular and diplomatic officers of all nations might be seen dining in the same room. Of course the representatives of warring nations did not intercommunicate.

“This state of affairs continued until the first of the air raids. Immediately came the arrest of all German and Austrian diplomatic representatives. I am inclined to believe, however, that these raids were mostly for the purpose of taking photographs.

“We heard from time to time news that the Germans would begin their advance 'next week.' The postponements were as frequent as the announcements, and we finally came to believe that these statements were being made for the purpose of causing the allies to hurry all possible reinforcements to Saloniki, thus weakening other points.

“Whether it was intended to weaken the defenses at the Suez canal or on the western or eastern fronts has not developed, I believe.

“One hears much of the length of the war, but it is all speculation.”


Prominent New York newspaper artists, including T. A. Dorgan, of the Journal, and Oscar Cesare, of the Sun, contributed to a souvenir program for the bazaar held at the Grand Central Palace recently for the benefit of the Jewish war sufferers.

America's movie cartoonists, according to a recent announcement made by Charles R. MacAuley, have agreed to raise $500,000 as their share of a $1,000,000 actors' fund. T. A. Dorgan, of the New York Evening Journal, and George McManus head the list of those who have responded to the call for help. The campaign is to be nation wide. Cartoons will be shown in the cinema houses appealing to the generosity of the public. The plans also include a number of public balls and benefits, with a “National Moving Picture Tribute Day” on May 15. Mayors of twenty-five cities will appear on the films in behalf of the movement.

At a dinner given by the publicity committee of the Motion Picture Board of Trade to the cartoonists and newspaper writers at the Hotel Astor, New York, an organized attack was made on the censors. Among those present were Hy. Mayer, Winsor McCay, Fontaine Fox, Rollin Kirby, Frederick Opper, R. M. Brinkerhoff, Ray Rohn, Herb Roth, Cliff Sterrett, R. L. Goldberg, Robert Carter, Hal Coffman, C. Allan Gilbert, George McManus, L. M. Glackens, Gene Carr, H. T. Webster, and W. K. Starrett.


From Cambridge, Mass., comes the report that fair Harvard has been turned upside down by a cartoon booklet entitled “Harvard Inside Out.” The authors are Elmer E. Hagler and Robert C. Bacon, and the idea is borrowed, evidently, from Frank Wing’s “Fotygraft Album.” Thus, Willie Peebles, aged 11, is the interlocutor. Referring to a cartoon of President Lowell, he says:

“That there's President Lowell. Joe says he's jest started a finishin' school fur manly boys down by the Charles River. I shud think it'd interefer with the college a whole lot. Joe says he's a mighty fine man, though.”

A tribute to Professor Hugo Münsterberg follows: “That's Hugo Münsterberg. He's in competition with A. B. Hart for publicity. Jest now Hart's ahead by about 300 lines, but Hugo's got an article on the psychic significance of Charlie Chaplin for the Cosmopolitan that'll put him way in the lead.”


The first cartoonist in need of an idea, suggests the Buffalo Enquirer, might draw a picture of Elihu Root weeping at the grave of Huerta.


An exhibition of St. Patrick cartoons was a feature of a celebration in honor of Ireland's patron saint, given at the Eastern Cartoon School of Philadelphia.

Robert Minor
Robert Minor, the New York Call cartoonist, who spent several months in the war zone, has been active on the lecture platform since his return. “Travel in Europe these days,” he says, “isn't exactly a pleasure trip. One of the conditions is that you spend part of your time in jail.”

Mr. Minor was arrested once in France as a German spy, twice in Italy for the same reason, and once in Germany as a British spy. Of the three hours he spent in Germany, two were behind bars.

The stories of atrocities on both sides, he declares, have been greatly distorted. He denounces the news stories from the front, which he pronounces “half truths which are the blackest kind of lies.”

He has been telling socialistic audiences that there are but two nations in the world, “the nation of workers and the nation of parasites.” He is opposed to compulsory military service in the United States, and says that we will be disgraced if we do not at once take the stand that the workingman has no country, and will not fight for the one that is owned by his exploiter.


A movement to interest prominent illustrators and cartoonists in the plans for an adequate national defense has been launched by the Aero Club of America. Among those who have signified their willingness to coöperate are Henry Rueterdahl, the marine artist, James Montgomery Flagg, W. A. Rogers, cartoonist of the New York Herald, and W. K. Starrett, of the New York Tribune. The idea, it is said, was suggested by the remarkable success attending the Brangwyn recruiting posters in England. The organization plans to distribute “preparedness” posters throughout the United States.


For depicting Tommy Atkins drunk, the proprietors of the weekly journal, the London Bystander, were fined recently under the Defense of the Realm Act. The cartoon, which was considered prejudicial to the recruiting campaign, was entitled “Reported Missing,” and showed a British soldier lying in a rather blissful state under a tree with an empty bottle of rum. The picture was drawn by Lieut. C. E. B. Bernard of the Tenth West Yorkshire regiment.


Robert Henry Schulz has left the art staff of the Baltimore News, and is now staff cartoonist for the Binghampton Republican-Herald. In addition to his regular cartoon work he is launching a comic strip entitled “Veronica Versatile and Flossie Forgot.”


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