Wednesday, January 26, 2022

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1988 -- Overall Results

 For the 1988 survey we had two papers that printed their last editions (Springfield Leader and Press (MO) and News (Paterson, NJ)) also we had 5 papers missing their information for this month so for this survey we had 273 papers.

In the Top 30 strips this year we had 31 because the 30th position was a tie. Two strips enter the Top 30, one new and one returning after dropping out. Calvin & Hobbes is our new entry and Berry’s World is the returning strip. The strip that fell out of the Top 30 was Funky Winkerbean.

The biggest movement was the Far Side which gained 5 places, going from 13 to 8. Andy Capp makes the biggest drop, losing three spots and going from 16 to 19.

Garfield gained 4 papers and now is one strip away from knocking Blondie out of the 2nd spot. No new strips entered the 100-paper club keeping its membership at 15, but a few strips are getting closer to that magic number. Cathy and Born Loser continue their small gain and if Calvin & Hobbes continues its big gain, it should join the 100-club next year.

Here are the Top 30 strips:

TitlePlaceRankPapers +/-Total Papers
Peanuts1Same4216
Blondie2Same0207
Garfield3Same4206
Beetle Bailey4Same-2192
Hagar the Horrible5Same2155
Doonesbury6Same2146
Family Circus7Same8139
Far Side8Up 527133
Bloom County9Down 19127
Wizard of Id10Down 18124
Shoe11Down 14117
B.C.12Down 11111
Frank and Ernest13Up 17110
Hi and Lois14Down 2-1106
For Better or For Worse15Same3104
Born Loser16Up 1694
Cathy17Up 2488
Dennis the Menace18Same187
Andy Capp19Down 3-386
Calvin and Hobbes20Entering4882
Marmaduke21Same266
Mary Worth22Down 2-363
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith23Down 1-259
Herman24Down 1-354
Ziggy25Down 1-253
Rex Morgan26Down 1050
Marvin27Same248
Gasoline Alley28Down 2-245
Winthorp29Down 1-342
Berry's World30Entering741
Tank McNamara 30Down 1-341

The popularity of the universal comic section continues to grow. Here is the breakdown:

Top 2 – 178 (Up 3)
Top 3 – 156 (Up 6)    
Top 4 -     131 (Up 7)
Top 5 – 85 (Up 2)    
Top 6 – 57 (0)    
Top 7 – 37 (0)    
Top 8 – 33 (Up 4)
Top 9 – 27 (Up 6)    
Top 10 – 18 (Up 4)
Top 11 – 13 (Up 2)
Top 12 – 10 (Up 2)
Top 13 – 2 (Down 3)
Top 14 – 1 (Up 1)
Top 15 – 1 (Up 1)

The Tampa Tribune takes back its crown of the most universal comic section with every one of the top 15 strips.

Here are the remaining strips that appeared in the Top 300 papers, ranked by newspaper count and increase/decrease:

40 – Funky Winkerbean (0), Mother Goose and Grimm (+2)

36 – Alley Oop (-3), Heathcliff (-1), Sally Forth (+3)

34 – Eek and Meek (-5)

33 – Lockhorns (0)

32 – Judge Parker (+1)

31 – Arlo and Janis (+1)

29 – Bugs Bunny (-5), Nancy (-2)

27 – Amazing Spider-Man (-5)

24 – Apartment 3-G (+2), Tiger (-4)

23 – Dick Tracy (-7), Geech (-1), Phantom (-2)

22 – Grizzwells (R), Kit N Carlyle (0)

21 – Tumbleweeds (-3)

18 – Broom Hilda (-1), Mark Trail (0)

17 – Captain Easy (0), Luann (0), Snafu (+1)

16 – Archie (-4), U.S. Acres (-16)

14 – Buz Sawyer (-2), Rose is Rose (+4), Steve Canyon (-6), What A Guy (R)

13 – Fred Basset (0), In The Bleachers (+6), Kudzu (+1), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-1)

11 – Brenda Starr (+2), Crock (-5), Drabble (+1), Dunagin’s People (-3), Gil Thorp (-1), Mr. Boffo (+2), On The Fastrack (-3), Redeye (-3), Small Society (+2), They’ll Do It Every Time (-1)

10 – Adam (0), Donald Duck (0), Gummi Bears (-11), Hazel (-3), Little Orphan Annie (0), Middletons (+4), Momma (-1), Mr. Tweedy (0), That’s Jake (-3), Zippy (+4)

9 – Willy N’ Ethel (0)

8 – Animal Crackers (0), Francie (-3), Grin and Bear It (0), Motley’s Crew (-1), Mr. Men and Little Miss (0)

7 – Bizarro (+2), Neighborhood (-5), Our Fascinating Earth (+4), Robotman (0), Ryatts (-1)

6 – Crankshaft (R), Gamin & Patches (R), Graffiti (-1), Heart of Juliet Jones (-2), Pavlov (0), Pop’s Place (-3)

5 – Better Half (-1), Elwood (-1), Hocus Focus (0), Love Is (-3), Outcasts (+1), Sylvia (+2)

4 – Belvedere, Caldwell, Flash Gordon, Flintstones, Girls, Hartland, Henry, Laff-A-Day, Love Handles, Miss Peach, Moose Miller, Out of Bounds, Play Better Golf with Jack Nicklaus, Rip Kirby, Sherman on the Mount, Tales of Hans Christian Anderson, Trudy

3 – Agatha Crumm, Amy, Arnold, Boomers’ Song, Briefcase, Catfish, Charlie, Ferd’Nand, John Darling, Professor Doodles, Quigmans, Scamp, Single Slices, Smith Family, Sniglets, Winnie Winkle, Wright Angles

2 – A Little Leary, Ben Wicks, Boner’s Ark, Bringing Up Father, Captain Vincible, Dollars and Nonsense, Duffy, Inside Out, Mickey Mouse, Off The Leash, Popeye, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Winnie the Pooh

1 – Better Tennis with Stan Smith, Betty Boop and Felix, Brother Juniper, Ching Chow, Eyebeam, Furtree High, Good News Bad News, Guindon, Guinness Factflle, Gumdrop, Iota, Kaleb, Laffbreak, Modesty Blaise, Mr. Abernathy, Ponytail, Rivets, Sadle, Sam and Silo, Salt Chuck, Strahle’s Bailiwick, Wild Life, Wordplay, Yecch Is

As always, you can get a complete list of features and the specific newspapers in which they appeared, just shoot an email request to strippersguide@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 For 1988 -- Biggest Gainers and Losers

The biggest gainer for 1988 was Calvin and Hobbes, which had tied for second place last year with an increase of 20 papers. This year the strip gained a massive 48 papers. Coming in second was last year’s biggest gainer The Far Side with 27 papers. Over the last three years The Far Side has gained a total of 92 papers. The rest of the biggest gainers continue their trend in gaining more papers. Here is the rest of the best.

Bloom County - 9
Family Circus – 8
Wizard of Id – 8
Frank & Ernest – 7
Berry’s World - 7
Born Loser – 6
In The Bleachers – 6

The biggest losers are two recent strips, U.S. Acres down by 16 papers and Gummi Bears dropping 11 papers. The rest are the adventure strips on their slow downward spiral, and the incremental loss of popularity of the NEA package. Here are  the rest of the biggest losers:

Dick Tracy – 7
Steve Canyon - 6
Eek & Meek – 5
Bugs Bunny – 5
Amazing Spider-Man – 5
Crock – 5
The Neighborhood – 5

And again we track the continued losses of the adventure strips. The only one gaining was Brenda Starr, perhaps reflecting the writing of relative newcomer Mary Schmich, a respected name in newspaper circles:

Alley Oop – 36 (-3)
Amazing Spider-Man – 27 (-5)
Dick Tracy – 23 (-7)
Phantom – 23 (-2)
Mark Trail – 18 (0)
Captain Easy – 17 (0)
Buz Sawyer – 14 (-2)
Steve Canyon – 14 (-6)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 13 (-1)
Brenda Starr – 11 (+2)
Little Orphan Annie – 10 (0)
Flash Gordon – 4 (0)
Rip Kirby – 4 (-1)
Popeye – 2 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Brick Bradford – 0 (-1) – strip ended
Secret Agent Corrigan – 0
Mandrake the Magician – 0
Tim Tyler’s Luck – 0

Adventure strip slots are down 26 from last year; that is a 10.7% drop.

It is interesting that 1988 will be the last year for both Steve Canyon and Captain Easy. When we started this survey with the year 1978 Steve Canyon had 62 papers and Captain Easy only had 42 papers. Now in its last year Captain Easy had more papers than Steve Canyon, though of course both are way down from those 1978 figures now. Maybe in the future we can go backwards and see what their highest totals were. Also, it is clear that the syndicate did not want to continue with Steve Canyon after Milton Caniff passed away. I wonder how many years the strip would have continued if Caniff hadn’t passed away.

On the soap opera strips it was a much better year, They only lost 4 spots.  

Mary Worth – 63 (-3)
Rex Morgan – 50 (0)
Judge Parker – 32 (+1)
Apartment 3-G – 24 (+2)
Gil Thorp – 11 (-1)
Heart of Juliet Jones – 6 (-2)
Winnie Winkle – 3 (-1)

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Monday, January 24, 2022

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1988 -- 1987's Rookie Features

The most popular rookie strip starting in 1987 continues a pattern we had in previous years -- a strip from the NEA package replacing another NEA strip that was cancelled. The last time this happened was in 1985 when Arlo and Janis replaced Levy’s Law. This time we had the Grizzwells replacing Snake Tales. The Grizzwells debuts with 22 papers which is an increase of 5 more papers than Snake Tales had in 1986.

Coming in second is What A Guy with 14 papers. This is by Bill Hoest, who now offers his third comic strip, along with Agatha Crumm and The Lockhorns. This is case of the previous success of the artist being rewarded with editorial trust and approval.

The rest of the rookies of 1987 did not make much of an impact on the daily newspapers, at least early on. The best only ran in 6 papers. The trend continues to be that editors are being very conservative in changing their features, mainly adding strips that have been successful in other newspapers. Here is the breakdown of the rest of the rookies.

Crankshaft – 6
Gamin & Patches – 6
Love Handles – 4
Tales of Hans Christian Anderson – 4
Briefcase – 3
Single Slices – 3
Guinness Factfile, Iota, Sadie (aka Clyde), Wild Life (local feature), Yecch Is (local feature)– 1

Top Strips that began between 1977-1987

Garfield (1978) – 206
Far Side (1979) – 139
Bloom County (1980) – 127
Shoe (1977) – 117
For Better or For Worse (1979) – 104

Top Strips that began in the 1980’s

Bloom County (1980) – 127
Calvin and Hobbes (1985) – 82
Marvin (1982) – 48
Mother Goose and Grimm (1984) – 40
Sally Forth (1982) – 36   

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Hoest also had a weekly panel in Parade, the syndicated Sunday supplement. It was about Howard Huge, a lovable Saint Bernard.
 
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Sunday, January 23, 2022

 

Wish You Were Here, from Rube Goldberg

 

Here's another Foolish Questions postcard from Rube Goldberg, issued as part of series #213 by Samson Brothers. Another lackluster entry in this series, which seemed to use Goldberg's cartoons more or less at random, offfering both masterpieces and clunkers from that very popular series.

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Saturday, January 22, 2022

 

Herriman Saturday: March 12 1910

 

March 12 1910 -- I know what you've been thinking. Sure, it's all well and good for Herriman to be doing all these sports cartoons, but when will he get around to an editorial cartoon about prunes? 

Well, my friends, that long-awaited day has finally come. It seems that food prices have been going through the roof, led by meat, dairy and grains. Luckily for Californians the state is practically awash in dried fruits, including that king of dessicated fruit, the prune. Herriman extolls their virtues for replacing all that other expensive stuff in the Angeleno diet.

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One of the issues in those days, before wide-spread home refrigeration and industrial food freezing, was that certain foods, especially fruits and vegetables, would become scarce until the new crops came in. I recall a Ding Darling editorial cartoon on the subject, showing people adrift on a raft, relying on their home-canned vegetables from the previous summer. Dried fruit, like these prunes, would have been shelf-stable and relatively cheap.
 
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Friday, January 21, 2022

 

Obscurity of the Day: Billy the Bell Boy

 




I'm always delighted to feature our favorite completely bonkers cartoonist, Eddie Eksergian, on the blog. Today we cover one of his highest profile series, Billy the Bell Boy. This strip generally ran on the front page of the St. Louis Star's comic section during its run. 

The strip's unvarying plot involves the dream fantasies of a sleeping bellboy. The kid imagines himself being cuddled, coddled and generally treated like royalty, only to be rudely awakened by the desk manager, who flings a city directory (the precursor of the phone book) at him. 

The art is as wild as anything in the Eks pantheon, but I get the feeling that Eddie was holding his bizarre imagination in check on this feature. Billy's fantasies are pretty firmly grounded in the comic strip version of  reality, not the Bizarro world we often visit in an Eddie Eks production. Maybe with Billy the Bell Boy occupying a marquee position on the comics section covers he wanted to offer a more reader-accessible version of his esteemed brand of dementia. 

Billy the Bell Boy ran from February 8 1903 to June 19 1904. While I think of this (and all Star material) as having been distributed by World Color Printing, it was not the version that was contracted through the New York Daily News, but rather the homegrown material that ran in the Star and a few syndicate client papers. For the extended discussion on this whole Star-WCP brouhaha, check out this post

Thanks to Cole Johnson for supplying the samples.

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Hello Allan-
Finally got to Billy! For some oreason, I thought that Billy was Eksergian's most important character, yet when you think of it, none of his creations meant anything the day after they stopped being printed.
Notice the October 1903 page above guest starred heavyweight boxing great James Jeffries. there was another episode that featured master detective William J. Burns, the head of the Bureau of Investigation, precursor to the FBI.
I guess you, Cole and I have thrashed out the enigma of Star/WCP so many times and for so long I'm having umbrella handle-themed nightmares, but I have, yes, another theory. Like to hear it? well here 'tis, anyway;
Maybe The St. Louis Star did have their own syndicate. (Notice Billy works at the "Star Hotel") And in 1904 they decided for some reason, to throw in the towel and just take the comic section offered by the new WCP company that happened to be produced across town.
It would seem to be a cheaper option, considering they (The Star) offered only two pages of material, sometimes one, and though it might have been prestigeous to run, in 1903-4, the Hearst material in the Star's own Sunday comic section was probably expensive for them.

 
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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Wood Cowan


Woodson Messick Cowan was born on November 1, 1886, in Algona, Iowa, according to his birth certificate, at Ancestry.com, and Who’s Who in American Art, 1976. His parents were James and Rachel Cowan. Cowan was also known as Wood and Woody. 

In the 1888 Iowa state census, Cowan was a year old and the youngest of four siblings. The family of six lived in Algona. 

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Cowan, his parents and two older siblings in Algona. His father was a brick layer. The 1905 Iowa state census said the Cowan family were still Algona residents. 

Cowan described his early life and career in the Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona), April 10, 1920. 
One day a rash reporter asked Woodie Cowan, the cartoonist and sports writer, to tell him the, story of his life. No more was necessary.

“I’m glad you asked me, old thing,” said the obliging Woodie. “I’ll start at the very beginning and spare neither time nor imagination to make it interesting. To begin with I, was born on Friday at 3:17 a. m. My full name is Woodson Messick Cowan, which you will admit is so full that it staggers. I was a howling, success for six months and then became a democrat. As late as two years I objected to kissing, but I soon learned better. At three, having attained self-consciousness, I turned republican. I showed a fondness for bread and jam in 1896, was dumb at school, but struggled hard and became a bricklayer at 15.

“Work was not in my line, however, so I entered the Chicago Art institute in 1908, where I learned to exist on $2.50 a week. I turned waiter and later sang in cabarets and movies. Then I became proficient in art, and 30 cents sufficed me for a week.

“I first did cartoons for the Chicago Inter-Ocean which is now no more.The rumor that my art was responsible for its demise is false, however. Then I went to the New Orleans Item where I did a humorous column, a court sketch, and a cartoon every day, and slept the other hour. The war found me with the Washington Times. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1914-06-27/ed-1/seq-13/#date1=1777&index=2&date2=1963&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=sn84026749&words=COWAN+WOOD&proxdistance=5&state=&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=wood+cowan&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1 At the opening of the 1916 shearing season, I plunged into Wall street, and am still trying to get even. I am now doing cartoons, comic strips, and articles on sport subjects with a New York syndicate. …
The 1911 Chicago, Illinois city directory listed Cowan at 3021 Vernon Avenue. 

When Cowan was in New Orleans, Variety, December 12, 1913, noted his stage debut. 
New Orleans, Dec. 10. 
Wood Cowan, cartoonist of the New Orleans Item, makes his stage debut next week at the local Orpheum.
Variety’s review of Cowan’s act appeared the following week. 
Local Drawer Debuts.
New Orleans, Dec. 17. 
Wood Cowan, local cartoonist, made his stage debut at the Orpheum Monday. He sings while sketching conventional characters in the conventional way. His act lacks coherency evidencing hasty production. It is hardly pretentious enough for the better grade of vaudeville. Cowan is of the staff of the New Orleans Item.
The 1914 New Orleans, Louisiana city directory listed Cowan at 3712 Pitt Street. 

Cowan was counted in the New York state 1915 census. He was a roomer in New York City at 107 West 47th Street. 

Cowan contributed to Judge including the May 26, 1917, cover

The Scoop, April 3, 1915, said 
Wood Cowan, reporter and cartoonist, who broke into the game on the Journal and afterwards served on the Inter-Ocean and joined Jim Crown’s stellar aggregation down in New Orleans, is doing the heavy cartoon work for the New York Tribune. The Chicago Tribune reproduced one of his cartoons on its editorial page the other day.
Cowan and Charlotte M. Gerbaulet obtained a Manhattan marriage license on March 31, 1916. 

The 1917 New York, New York city directory said Cowan’s address was 615 West 162nd Street. 

The Wheeling Intelligencer (West Virginia), published Cowan’s sports cartoons from 1920 to 1922. 

Editor & Publisher, April 24, 1926, published a photograph of Cowan and C. V. McAdam, vice-president of McNaught Syndicate, at a golf course. 

Cowan made two trips to Europe. He returned to New York on June 22, 1923 from a departure at Cherbourg, France. The passenger list said his address was 48 Charles Street, New York. In 1927 Cowan arrived in New York on April 19 from Cherbourg. His address was 51 West 12th Street, New York.

Cowan and his 26-year-old second wife, Frances Dains Metcalf, visited Havana, Cuba. They arrived in New York on February 11, 1930. Seven weeks later, the 1930 census recorded Cowan and his wife on Newton Turnpike in Weston, Connecticut. Cowan’s house was valued at $15,000. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Cowan continued Loren Taylor’s Mom ’n’ Pop from March 9, 1928 to February 8, 1936. The NEA series was retitled The Newfangles on June 6, 1932. The Waterbury Democrat, June 15, 1934, printed an advertisement for The Newfangles
“Newfangles” Artist Is a Genuine Ruralist
Wood Cowan, who draws “The Newfangles”
Truly rural ... but with a New York accent ...  is Wood Cowan, who draws “The Newfangles.” He lives at the end of the end of the trail ... somewhere in Connecticut ... in an old farmhouse, with oak beams and a flagstone walk. In cold weather, though he becomes a city feller, and moves to a studio apartment in New York. Cowan has a reputation for being one of the finest tellers of tall yarns on the Eastern seaboard ... strong men weep when they hear his imitations of nutmeg Yankees. At 15 he had learned the rudiments of bricklaying ... and three years later entered the Chicago Art Institute. Been a cartoonist ever since. He’s happily married ... has one youngster ... is proud of his home-made wines ... and disapproves of spats ... but wears them.

In 1929, there was a contest to name Mom ’n’ Pop’s cat. A photograph of the winner appeared in the Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota), April 30, 1929. 

The Waterbury Democrat, August 23, 1933, published the syndicated column “In New York” which included the following anecdote. 

O. I. See
One fine old name not in the directory any longer is that of Orbal I. See. Mr. See, who is really Wood Cowan, the comic artist who draws “The Newfangles,” has moved to Connecticut. Some years ago, though, he went into the phone company’s office to apply for service in his town apartment.

“What is your name?” asked a clerk.

“What did you say?” asked the artist.

“I said I must have your name,” replied the clerk, a little impatiently. 

“Oh, I see,” drawled Cowan. 

“And your first name Mr. See?” Inquired the clerk, busily scribbling on a card.

This so amused the applicant that he invented as name on the spot. “Orbal,” he said. And Orbal I. See it was, through four issues of the directory. His friends had heard the story, so they had no difficulty remembering his nom de telephone. 
Cowan’s work appeared in comics books from the late 1930s to mid-1940s. 

According to the 1940 census, Cowan, his wife and two sons were Weston, Connecticut residents. His house was valued at $50,000 and he earned $5,000 in 1939.

On April 27, 1942, Cowan signed his World War II draft card. He lived in Weston–Westport, Connecticut. His employer was the Press Alliance in New York City. His description was five feet nine inches, 180 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. 

Cowan was involved with over a dozen comic series including In Our Office, Sissy, and American Heroes, here and here

Cowan was mentioned in Life magazine, August 8, 1949. 
... The Westport Artists Club, which was formed only four years ago, already has 148 members. The club’s president: Wood Cowan, who once drew the newspaper cartoon Our Boarding House (Major Hoople) and is now semi-retired.
Who’s Who said Cowan was the editorial cartoonist on the Bridgeport Evening Post, from 1949 to 1959; and editorial cartoonist on the New Haven Evening Register, from 1960 to 1969. He wrote and/or illustrated Them Were the Days, (1926); Teen Topics (1948); Popularity Plus (1950); Flying Andy (1955); Famous Figures of the Old West (1962); and Iowa Cracker Barrel (1972). He was a watercolor painter. 

Cowan passed away on June 10, 1977, in Norwalk, Connecticut. His obituary appeared in the Bridgeport Post, June 12, 1977. 
Wood Cowan, 90, Dies; Cartoonist, Ex-Official
Weston—Woodson Cowan, 90, of Godfrey road, a former First Selectman here and a nationally recognized professional cartoonist best known for “Major Hoople,” died Friday in Norwalk hospital.

Mr. Cowan drew “Major Hoople” from 1931 until his retirement in 1956. He also drew political cartoons for the Bridgeport Post-Telegram and the New Haven Register, as well as newspapers in New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

He was co-author and illustrator of “Famous Figures of the West,” and the author of “Iowa Cracker Barrel.”

Mr. Cowan was born in Algona, Iowa, the son of a pioneer homesteader in that state, where he lived in a sod hut on the Iowa prairie during his first two years. He came to Weston in 1927 and resided here the rest of his life.

He was the town’s First Selectman foam 1955 to 1957 when a dispute with the Republican town committee led to his retirement from politics. Previously, he had also been elected to three terms in the State House of Representatives on the Republican ticket.

During his tenure as First Selectman, Weston obtained its first post office, its first state trooper and the first town fire department, accomplishments Mr. Cowan pointed to with special pride at an Historical society meeting in October 1974.

But the cartoonist’s chief claim to fame was his “Major Hoople,” the fat major who is the chief character in “Our Boarding House,” which still appears in Bridgeport Telegram and Sunday Post.

“When I drew him,” Mr. Cowan said in a 1974 Bridgeport Sunday Post interview, “Major Hoople would do the most outrageous things, but always with a reason. Like crossing a lightning bug with a bed bug so he could read in bed at night.”

Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Frances Cowan; two sons, Thaddeus Cowan [1934–2012] of Manhattan, Kan., and Conrad Cowan [1931– ] of Santa Monica, Calif.; and five grandchildren.

Memorial services will take place Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the Norfield Congregational church, with the Rev. Evelyn Towle officiating. Burial will be private.

The Lewis funeral home, 210 Post road east, Westport, is in charge of arrangements.

Further Reading and Viewing
Syracuse Library
Heritage Auctions, Corporal Fooie and Mom ’n’ Pop original art

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Monday, January 17, 2022

 

Selling It: American Heroes

 





The US Treasury Department, tasked with the relatively easy job of selling War Bonds during World War II, nevertheless wasn't above the hard sell to squeeze the last few dollars they could out of the wallets of those not in uniform. 

The panel cartoon series American Heroes offered tales of heroism from the warfronts, always with a stinger about the need to buy War Bonds. The panels were presumably sent out in batches, and newspapers were free to use them as they wished, whether on a regular basis or to fill holes whenever needed. 

The first batch went out in February 1943, and were bylined "by Leff." In my book I mistakenly assigned these to Mo Leff, but later I looked at the microscopic signatures that were inscribed on a few panels (most were unsigned) and see that it actually says "M & S LEFF", indicating that the brothers Mo and Sam both worked on the series, presumably with Mo pencilling and Sam inking. 

The Leffs were responsible for most of the series, but with the batch that went out in November 1944, the new artist was Julian Ollendorff, who offered up the most hell-raising illustrations for the series (see above), showing that at 60-some years old he still had some lively ink left in his pen.

He didn't last long though, as the batch sent out in April 1945 switched to veteran cartoonist Wood (or Woody) Cowan. The batch by Cowan was the last batch sent out, as the war was soon over, though War Bonds did continue to be sold for awhile after the end of the conflict. Although newspapers continued running the panels well into 1946, I'm pretty confident that Cowan only produced a single lot of them. 

I presume the series was weekly, but I confess I haven't beaten the bushes to figure out exactly how many panels were actually produced. There may not have been enough offered for that frequency. If someone wants to put in the work to figure that out, you'll find plenty of papers running them in online archives. 

On a side note, I was able to verify the stories of the men cited in all the panels above except that of Henry G. Bohlen. No one by that name seems to have won a Silver Star, and I find no trace of the name in wartime newspaper accounts. Did Ollendorff make up a hero from whole cloth?

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I've got a decided oddity for you. There *wass* a Henry G. Bohlen, he *was* from Kansas, and he *was* a decorated soldier...but not in the Pacific!

https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=44700 shows that he was indeed a Technical Sergeant from Osborne Co., Kansas with the 90th Infantry Division, 357th Infantry Regiment, and he won a *Bronze Star* (not Silver Star), and he was killed in action on July 6, 1944. He's buried in the cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, in France.

I have no explanation for this. It could have been something badly garbled, or it could be, shameful to say, an outright lie.
 
A statement in the Bohlen item was eyebrow-raising: he and his buddies killed or wounded 45 Japanese, and got 145 to surrender? That doesn't sound right.
 
It only sounds wrong because you don't know the name he went by in the service -- Sgt. Fury. And if anyone could have engaged the Japanese in Europe, it would be him.

--Allan
 
Now that I read Wilbur's comment, I readily see his point; very few IJA soldiers surrendered in combat, and 145 surrendering in one battle would have been an extraordinary number, indeed, and likely trumpeted loudly. So, yes, I agree with Wilbur, that should be a red flag.
 
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Sunday, January 16, 2022

 

Wish You Were Here, from Rudolph Dirks

 

Here's another of those postcards distributed with Hearst Sunday papers in 1906, the ones they might have called the "Little Arsonist" line of juvenile amusements. 

I wonder if a single person was surprised to see Der Captain magically appear once the heat was applied? You'd think the cartoonists would think just a little about the point of these cards when creating these designs and come up with something ... anything ... a little unexpected.

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Hello Allan-
Your point is well taken; I have yet to see any of these "arson" cards that even remotely had a surprise in them. The possibilities could be vast if that would have been their aim, but they seemed to aim for the exact opposite idea...if we have a card where Si is kicked through the air, there's no suspense in who the hidden kicker is going to be. If Hans and Fritz are lighting a stick of TNT under a chair, there's one guess as to who'll be lounging in it.
Think I've said it before, I've never seen one of these cards that had not been "revealed." So, devoid of any mystery or not, recipients were anxious to see the image anyway. People were hungry for thrills in 1906.
 
Who is Si?
 
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Saturday, January 15, 2022

 

Herriman Saturday: March 11 1910

 

March 11 1910 -- A very strange cartoon by Herriman, odd enough that one wonders if Garge might have had a little TOO much fun at the ballpark before dipping his pen. Or, maybe if we knew the details of that game everything would be perfectly reasonable. I dunno.

The strip is made only more impenetrable by the condition of the paper. Beyond the typical woes of dealing with microfilm, this paper was torn, missing the upper left side, and looked like it had gotten wet, making the ink blot and bleed. Thankfully most of the Examiner material is in better condition than this.

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The "Murphy" gag refers to Frank Murphy, a player for the Angels who the previous year (1909) had played in the "Three I" (Illinois-Indiana-Iowa) league. He had batted .300 and had hit 14 triples and 24 doubles the previous season. Murphy, who was 34, only batted .228 for the Angels in 1910, which would be his last season. The "Gill/Finney" gag is somewhat obscure, but there was a player named Roy Gill on the Angels who pitched a few innings in 1910 for them. "Criger" is Elmer Criger, who would bat .147 in 40 games for the Angels in 1910. Elmer Thorsen and Andy Briswalter were to other Angels (who batted .183 and .167, respectively). "Daley" is probably Tom Daley, who would bat .262 (with 831 at-bats). The '10 edition of the Angels was not a very good team.
 
It looks like the box on the far right was a reference to Alfonse and Gaston, right?
 
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Friday, January 14, 2022

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ray Hudson



George Raymond “Ray” Hudson was born on July 31, 1919, in Weedsport, New York, according to his World War II draft card.  In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Hudson was the youngest of four children born to George, a railroad mail clerk, and Florence. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded the Hudson family in Brutus, New York, on South Seneca Street. They have not yet been found in the 1930 census. 

According to the 1940 census the Hudsons resided in Irondequoit, New York since 1935. The address was 113 Coolidge Road. Hudson lived with his parents and maternal grandmother. On October 16, 1940, Hudson signed his World War II draft card. His street address was the same but the town was called Point Pleasant. He was a Michigan State College student. His description was five feet ten inches, 150 pounds, with blonde hair and hazel eyes. 

The Chicago Tribune, February 16, 2012, said Hudson earned money for college by working at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, in 1937 and 1938. From 1938 to 1942, he attended Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he was president of his fraternity and the 1942 graduating class. Hudson served in the Army from 1942 to 1945. He was in a psychological testing unit evaluating airmen for mental fitness to serve overseas. 

After his discharge, Hudson enrolled at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He graduated in 1947. Hudson’s studies included painting, lettering, graphic design and photography. In 1948 Hudson was a partner in an advertising agency. He produced Travelin’ Ted, from September 17, 1950 to March 2, 1952, for the Tribune

Hudson was active in the American Legion and was commander of Legion Post 250 in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Hudson pursued a political career and was elected to the Illinois State Legislature in 1970 and served to the mid-1980s. The Illinois State Senate was Hudson’s next office beginning in 1986 to 1994. 

The Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), July 29, 1942, reported Hudson’s marriage. 
Miss Barbara Anderson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Anderson of Chicago, became the bride of G. Raymond Hudson, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Hudson of Coolidge Road, July 9 in the Bryn Mawr Community Church in Chicago. A reception was held in the home of the bride’s parents following the ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson left immediately afterwards for San Antonio, Tex., where Mr. Hudson is affiliated with the Army Air Forces at Kelly Field. Both he and Mrs. Hudson are graduates of Denison University. 
Hudson passed away on February 10, 2012, in Downers Grove, Illinois. 

 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

 

Obscurity of the Day: Travelin' Ted

 


Travelin' Ted was a weekly panel cartoon that ran in the Chicago Sunday Tribune's travel section each week from September 17 1950 to March 2 1952. Each episode would offer information about a particular vacation destination, including a special tip from the panel's mascot, Travelin' Ted himself. 

The creator, Ray Hudson, was employed by the Tribune as a designer, and apparently he was responsible for the much of the very attractive graphic content of their Sunday travel sections, supplying art for advertisers who contracted with the paper for ad design services. 

As far as is known, this was Hudson's only foray into newspaper cartooning.

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Hello Allan-
Despite Hudson's connexion to the ChiTrib, one sample shows it's copyrighted in his own name. Would this be syndicated, perhaps for small town weeklies?
 
That might have been in the back of Hudson's mind, since the Trib allowed him to hold copyright, but my sense is that he didn't pursue it too hard. Comics for Sunday travel sections have been tried several times, and as far as I have seen none ever got any real traction, though some were produced for tiny client lists for years.
--Allan
 
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Monday, January 10, 2022

 

Obscurity of the Day: Sambo Remo Rastus Brown is Now a Policeman

 

Today Clare Briggs is mostly remembered, by those who remember him at all, for his daily series with running titles like When a Feller Needs a Friend, The Days of Real Sport, and Somebody's Always Taking the Joys Out of Life. What is seldom recalled is that in his days at the Chicago Tribune he created a long-running and popular Sunday series titled Danny Dreamer. That was a strip about a kid who's imagination was compared in each episode with considerably different reality.

After about four years milking that plot, Briggs tired of it and shifted the focus to Danny's father, who luckily enough also turned out to have a vivid imagination. Shortly after making that switch, though, Briggs seems to have realized that Senior was too generic of a character for the comics section, so he gave him a wacky black sidekick to liven things up, and dropped the reality vs. imagination schtick in favour of physical comedy with the inevitable racial overtones. 

That sidekick was Sambo Remo Rastus Brown, and he came completely equipped with all the hoary black stereotypes typical of the era. Brown's role in Danny Sr.'s life is never fleshed out, but he seems to live with the Dreamer family, so perhaps he was what was then called a "hired man", sort of the male version of a maid, tasked with all manner of male-oriented work around the house. 

After almost a year of Dreamer Sr. and Brown sharing the spotlight, Briggs decided that Sambo Remo was the only real draw and so he put the whole Dreamer family out to pasture. Since the new star needed to go out on his own, Briggs decided it would be hilarious to have a black man as a policeman. Not that black policemen were totally unknown in this era, but it can be safely assumed that their patrols were generally limited only to black neighborhoods. 

In the new series, with the unwieldy title of Sambo Remo Rastus Brown is Now a Policeman, much of the comedy would come from Sambo Remo interacting with white folk who don't take well to him being a figure of authority. Since you can easily imagine how those gags went, I've decided to instead include the above superb fourth-wall breaking strip that is not at all typical fare for the series. 

Sambo Remo Rastus Brown is Now a Policeman, which I count as a separate series though it has family ties to Danny Dreamer, ran from October 13 1912 to February 23 1913. 

A minor mystery about this series: for some reason Briggs never signed the strip once it gained this new title. It certainly appears to be his work, so I don't know why there would have been such an abrupt change.



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Sunday, January 09, 2022

 

Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael

 

Here's a card from Carmichael's "If" series, published by Samson Bros. as Series 262 in 1910. I think this series represents some of Carmichael's best work; he's really getting the hang of things, and maybe Samson paid well enough that he could afford to spend a little extra time refining his drawings on these cards.

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Saturday, January 08, 2022

 

Herriman Saturday: March 10 1910

 

March 10 1910 -- Fireman Jim Flynn has signed on to duke it out for a third time with Sam Langford, a fighter who pretty consistently had his number. In the first fight he lost by knockout, in the second he was either awarded a close decision or it was a draw, depending on who you believe. 

This fight will be different in that it is scheduled for a whopping 45 rounds, a rare long bout that was generally out of fashion by 1910, and unusual enough for Herriman to devote a strip to it.

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Outcome of the fight:

https://www.boxingscene.com/sam-langford-papa-jacks-ominous-shadow--4701
 
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Friday, January 07, 2022

 

From the Sub-Basement of the Archives: Ads for "All The Funny Folk"

 


Here's a pair of ads for the 1926 children's book "All The Funny Folk", which starred the whole galaxy of Hearst comic strip stars. The Rochester Journal-American is willing to discount the large hardcover book to a mere 98 pieces of copper. I don't know what the regular price was, but I have seen that Cliff Sterrett autographed copies in a Brooklyn department store that Christmas, and charged a buck apiece. Two cents for the autograph of a famous cartoonist seems quite the bargain, even in 1926! 

If you're trying to remember what this book looks like, simply look at the cover of your copy of American Newspaper Comics -- An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. The cover is adapted from that 1926 tome.

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Now Public Domain!
 
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Wednesday, January 05, 2022

 

50% Obscurity, 50% Mystery Strip: Chester Gould's Panel Cartoon Series

 




Chester Gould, later of Dick Tracy fame, spent several years at the Chicago Evening American in the mid-1920s honing his craft and producing a slew of material. Unfortunately this early work by Gould is little known, and the histories I've read only talk of it in vague generalities and offer a lot of incorrect information. To that problem I have not been immune, and the information about early Gould material in my own book ticks both boxes -- it is vague and offers incorrect information.  

For instance, I have since learned from Jean Gould O'Connell's book about her father that The Radio Catts and The Radio Lanes (which I list separately) are actually the same strip -- it went through a title change partway through the run. 

O'Connell also shows a few samples of an untitled panel cartoon series Gould produced, but doesn't really say anything about it in her text. She seems to consider these editorial cartoons, even though most of them are strictly gag-oriented. 

I recently got a sampling of the cartoons, all of them dating from August 1925. Although some are vaguely and limply editorial in nature, like the bottom example here, most are strictly playing for laughs. In fact, there was at least one running title used (Things That Can't Be Done) that would seem to indicate that Gould was trying to achieve something at least adjacent to the Briggs/Webster mold. 

Based on this sampling I believe there was a series worthy of listing in my book, though my information is essentially a mere few shards of a smashed pot. O'Connell's book seems to show a sample of the feature from 1926, so I gather it ran a good long while. I also note with some bemusement from my examples that they are copyrighted to just about any newspaper Hearst owned, the choice apparently being based on nothing more than what the typesetter took a fancy to at the moment. 

If anyone knows of a source for good primary source information on Gould's early series, I'd sure like to know about it. I confess that I haven't kept up with the various Dick Tracy reprint books, wherein there might very well be the occasional article about his early work. Of course, the ideal solution would be a trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield Illinois, the only library that has a substantial amount of Chicago Evening American microfilm, albeit missing some important months. Sadly, crossing the Canada-US border in these days of covid is a major undertaking and I won't be making that trip anytime soon.

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Hello Allan-
I see that "THINGS THAT CAN'T BE DONE" lasted at least to 6 November 1925 in the Rochester Evening Journal, and Gould's (apparent)one shots were there at least to 23 July 1926.However, if you're familiar with the online files of that paper, you'll know it's rife with gaps and missing pages.
It would seem that they were going to have Gould be a lesser member of the editorial cartoonist pool for the Hearst chain papers, which was lead by T.E.Powers, and O.P.Williams. Gould's contributions seem to appear least frequently, maybe every fortnight. A similar thing hapened about 1929-30, with Jimmy Hatlo out of the SF Call, except that Gould had a great idea for a humor panel, and Gould's comics for Hearst, (Like "Fillum Fables") generated no interest.
 
That is, HATLO had a great idea for a humor panel....That being of course, "They'll Do It Every Time".
-MJ
 
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Monday, January 03, 2022

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Richard Brand


Richard Marmon Brand was born on July 25, 1900, in Urbana, Ohio, According to his World War II draft card. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Brand was the only child of Thomas, a dentist, and Bessie. The family resided in Urbana at 403 Church Street. 

On September 12, 1918, Brand signed his World War I draft card. He was a student who lived at 229 Scioto in Urbana. His description was slender build, medium height, with blue eyes and light brown hair. Brand named his mother as next of kin. 

The same address was recorded in the 1920 census. Unemployed Brand lived with his parents. 

Shortly after the census Brand moved south to Cincinnati. The 1921 Cincinnati city directory listed Brand as a Commercial Tribune reporter whose address was 540 West 7th. Editor & Publisher, February 11, 1922, said “Richard Brand has left the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune to go on the desk of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.”  “Richard M. Brand” was his byline at the Dispatch

The Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications, Volume 31, 1922, told the story of Brand’s portrait of Senator Thomas Morris that was drawn based on a person’s memory. 

Brand illustrated at least one of his articles. Below are details of his illustration in the Dispatch, April 25, 1926.



American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Brand produced the Sunday panel, Along Our Street, from September 12 to December 5, 1926, for the Dispatch. Information about his art training has not been found. 

The Dispatch, October 12, 1927, reported Brand’s marriage, to Helen Armpriester, which took place on June 4. The paper said Brand attended Wittenberg College at Springfield and Ohio State University where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

In the 1930 census, the couple were Columbus residents at 55 Hamilton Avenue. Brand was a newspaper reporter. The 1931 Columbus, Ohio city directory listed the same address. He was employed at the Dispatch

According to the 1940 census, Brand had returned to Urbana where he was the head of the household, which included his father, a widower. Brand’s house was valued at $6,000 and located at 239 Scioto Street. He was a self-employed magazine writer who had three years of college education. The Dispatch, March 10, 1952, said Brand wrote true detective stories for several national magazines. 

Brand signed his World War II draft card on February 14, 1942. His address was unchanged. He was described as five feet five-and-a-half inches, 138 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. 

The Dispatch, February 27, 1944, said Brand was named news editor of the Urbana Daily Citizen. He also served several terms as coroner of Champaign County. In 1950 Brand settled in Naples, Florida where he was editor of the Collier County News

Brand passed away on March 9, 1952, in Fort Myers, Florida. He was laid to rest at Oak Dale Cemetery

 

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Sunday, January 02, 2022

 

Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson

 

Here's a Charles Dana Gibson card from the British postcard firm, Henderson and Sons. Others that I've seen are numbered, but this one isn't. It features one of Gibson's more famous cartoons, "The Expert." The expressions on the three subjects make this a real tour-de-force.

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Wonderful! Gibson's art is usually much better than his subject matter, but not here.
 
Any idea what it is trying to say?
 
It would seem, judging by the expressions, that Mr. is anxiously waiting for Cupid to relay his opinion of what is in the heart of Miss, (vis-à-vis HIM)and though her expression is oblivious, Cupe's would imply an unfavorable outcome for Mr.
The allegory is Cupid is a heart specialist, or, expert, like a doctor,and using a stethescope makes the connection.
Weren't the Victorians precious?
 
Thanks Mark. That makes a lot more sense when you put it that way. Interesting look into the minds of another era.
 
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Saturday, January 01, 2022

 

Herriman Saturday: March 9 1910


 March 9 1910 -- Herriman manages to hit a racist trifecta in this strip about black boxers contending for championships:

1. A particularly offensive racial slur in the headline.

2. An image of Jeff Johnson running away with a white woman ... we know what that's all about.

3. A possible new coinage for a racial slur, which actually seems sort of complimentary -- 'maduros' likens Jack Johnson to strong cigars with dark wrappers.

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Four, including "dinge".

I have a hard time understanding how Herriman, a mulatto (though closeted), who no doubt knew many black people when growing up in New Orleans, was so detached from the effects of these kind of offensive stereotypes, even allowing that cartoonists of his circle were pretty uninhibited.
 
I think Herriman's racism has the same explanation as anti-Semites who turn out to have Jewish ancestry, or homophobes who are gay. As Shakespeare said, some people "protest too much."
 
That should say "Jack Johnson" in reference to the black character in the last panel. "Jeff" refers to the white boxer James Jeffries who was going to face Jack Johnson for the championship.
 
Oops, flying fingers betrayed me. Fixed.
 
In response to Herriman I would say your comment says more about our time than Herriman's. I fully agree these stereotypes are offensive now and have been for a long time. But I am not completely sure if they were seen as part of the oppressive culture by the oppressed. It may be that they can only hurt f you are aware of the fact that they were hurtful. Implying that this is similar to Jewish anti-semites or gay homophobes is taking our view into the minds of people 120 years ago.

 
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Friday, December 31, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Along Our Street

 


The Columbus Dispatch is well-appreciated by serious cartooning fans for its deep roster of great ink-slingers -- Billy Ireland, Dudley Fisher, Ray Evans, Harry Keys and, oh, who was that other guy ... oh yeah, Milt Caniff. 

But these are only the cartoonists who made a lasting impression. The Dispatch editors really seemed to have a deep abiding love for cartooning, and there are others who were invited to take a stab at it for the paper. One of those was Richard Brand, who created a short-lived weekly panel of vignettes about autos, public transportation, commuting, well, basically everything that happens Along Our Street.  The cartooning itself was a little rough, but I think Brand's perceptive observational gags work quite well for the feature, not counting the mushmouth black stereotypes.

Along Our Street began on September 12 1926, and used that title through October 3, then changed to using different titles each week. The feature ran until December 5 and was seen no more. Brand may have considered cartooning pretty much just a hobby, because he was also employed as a reporter on the Dispatch, and continued in that capacity for various papers for the rest of his working life.  His obituary didn't bother to mention his apparently short foray into the graphic end of newspapering.



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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Carl Ryman



(This profile is an update of the 2016 version.) 

Carl Ryman was born Carl Adolph Reimann Jr. on May 10, 1903, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to his World War II draft card. Ryman’s birth name was found in his father’s biography in the book, German-American Artists in Early Milwaukee: A Biographical Dictionary (1997). 
Reimann, Carl A., b. 3-13-1873 in Milwaukee, d. 12-17-1937 in Milwaukee. Muralist, religious painter, and designer of stained glass windows whose name is sometimes given as Charles A.F. Reimann. The son of a Swiss immigrant father and German immigrant mother, Reimann grew up in Milwaukee and was educated in Lutheran schools. He was a pupil of Richard Lorenz and later studied at the Weimar Art School under Max Thedy (1858–1924)….Reimann’s name appears in Milwaukee city directories from 1891 until his death, his occupation being variously given as artist, designer, and craftsman in stained glass. His church decoration firm, the Carl A. Reimann Company, went under during the Depression….Reimann’s son, who spelled his name Carl Ryman, was a cartoonist and gag writer living in California.
The 1905 Wisconsin state census recorded Ryman and his parents in Milwaukee. 

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Ryman, his parents and brother, George, lived at 844 Fourth Street in Milwaukee. Ryman’s father was producing art glass works.

The Milwaukee Journal, November 3, 1949, profiled Ryman and said he attended a Lutheran parochial school where he  was “drawing comics for the other kids in exchange for school supplies and candy.” He went to the Lutheran high school and “graduated from Northwestern college, Watertown, where he was welterweight boxing champion and a top swimmer.”

On September 11, 1918, Ryman’s father signed his World War I draft card which had his address as 914 Island Avenue, Milwaukee.

The 1920 census said Ryman was a Milwaukee resident at 168 Wright Street. The Journal said Ryman worked for his father as a stained glass artist and salesman. They also raised dogs. 

Ryman was married with three children in the 1930 census, which said Ryman was 21 years old when he married Edna. The family resided in Milwaukee at 1679 4th Street. Ryman was a designer of art glass. The 1933 Milwaukee city directory listed designer Ryman at 116 East Wright Street. He was a painter, at the same address, in the 1936 directory. The Great Depression ended his father’s stained glass business. 

According to the 1940 census, Ryman’s widow mother was the head of the household which was in Milwaukee at 116 East Wright Street. Ryman was the proprietor and designer of a stained glass studio. He had attended college for three years. 

The Journal said Ryman had been a taxicab driver, brewery worker, swimming pool attendant, tea salesman and gag writer. 

On February 14, 1942, Ryman signed his World War II draft card. HIs description was six feet, 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. According to the Journal, Ryman was rejected for military service, and “worked as an inspector in a defense plant until 1944.”

The Journal said Ryman had a chronic throat ailment and sinus trouble, causing him to experience bouts with pneumonia. In 1944 he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was, at different times, a stained glass worker and caretaker of a park. Ryman’s 1948 voter registration, at Ancestry.com, said he was a Democrat who lived at 7015 St. Estaban Street in Los Angeles.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012) Ryman produced the strip, Alfred, for the McClure Syndicate. Alfred debuted October 17, 1949 and ended in 1954. The Alfred character was created by Foster Humfreville who produced the panel, which was published in Collier’s magazine, beginning in 1941. Editor & Publisher, October 1, 1949, explained how Humfreville and Ryman produced Alfred
The gag-a-day strip ... is the outgrowth of a Collier’s panel drawn by Foster Humphreyville [sic] with Carl Ryman supplying the gags. Mr. Humphreyville relinquished the character to Gag Man Ryman and trained another artist who will draw the strip under Mr. Ryman’s direction. 
After leaving Alfred, Humfreville found work in advertising and the aerospace industry. 

Ryman was selling Alfred original art in Writer’s Digest, January 1953. 
“Alfred” Comic Strips. Genuine Originals of Nationally Syndicated Feature. $2. Three for $5. Carl Ryman, 1012 2nd St., Santa Monica, Calif.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 5, Parts 7–11A, Number 1, Works of Art, etc., January–June 1951, listed three cartoon characters by Ryman. The following year, Ryman and his wife, Edna, received copyrights on two cartoon characters

Ryman illustrated a BarcaLounger advertisement in the December 1952 issue of Esquire.

According to Ryman’s California voter registrations, he was a Republican who lived in Los Angeles at 1311-C 23rd Street in 1950, 1952. Santa Monica, California city directories, from 1952 to 1954, listed Ryman as a cartoonist who lived in the Fairmont Apartments at 1012 2nd Street, apartment 5. The 1958 directory said Ryman was a salesman with the Trans-Western Land & Investment Company in Los Angeles. In 1962, Republican Ryman was a Joshua Tree, California resident on Sunny Vista Road. 

The Journal, July 24, 1963, reported the passing of Ryman’s mother and said in part: 
…Mrs. Reimann, the former Sarah Geiger, died Monday of a heart attack at St. Mary’s hospital. She lived at 116 E. Wright st.

Her husband, who died in 1938, operated the Carl A. Reimann Co., which specialized in church decoration. Their son, Carl, jr., Joshua Tree, Calif., is a comic strip artist. His strip, “Alfred.” formerly appeared in The Milwaukee Journal Green Sheet….
Ryman passed away September 23, 1963, in San Bernardino County, according to the California Death Index. He was laid to rest at Westminster Memorial Park

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Monday, December 27, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Foster Humfreville


D. Foster Humfreville was born on March 1, 1902, in  St. Joseph, Missouri, according to his World War II draft card, Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast (1949), and Who’s Who in the West (1954). His parents were Daniel Louis Humfreville and Helen Boldt Medsker. 

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded Humfreville as the oldest of three brothers. Their father was a physician who had remarried to Josephine Hardesty. The household included Josephine’s sister and a servant. They lived on Ashland in St. Joseph. 

In the 1920 census, Humfreville, his three brothers and parents were Los Angeles, California residents at 5357 Loma Linda Avenue. 

Humfreville was listed in Pasadena, California city directories from 1923 to 1928. His address was 1055 Laguna Road. 

Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast said Humfreville was a student at the University of California. He was an undergraduate in the university’s Catalogue of Officers and Students 1923–24. His photograph appeared in the 1924 yearbook, Blue & Gold


According to Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast, Humfreville attended the Otis Art Institute, in Los Angeles, from 1925 to 1926, and the California Art Institute in 1927. 

A passenger list at Ancestry.com said Humfreville sailed from the Panama Canal on February 15, 1928 and arrived in New York on February 22. 

Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast said Humfreville, from 1928 to 1940, specialized in decorative murals; produced sculptures at the New York World’s Fair, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Rockefeller Center. He began his freelance cartooning career in 1941 which included the creation of Alfred for Collier’s Magazine

For the Works Progress Administration, Humfreville created the 1936 poster “Shame May Be Fatal”. 

The 1940 census listed commercial artist Humfreville in Manhattan on West 99th Street. In 1939 he earned nine-hundred dollars. 

Freelance cartoonist Humfreville signed his World War II draft card on February 16, 1942. His address was 318 West 102nd Street in Manhattan. In 1942 that address was crossed out and replaced with 1055 Laguna Road, Pasadena, California. Later, the street address was updated to 506 Lake View Road. Humfreville’s description was six feet two inches, 145 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

In 1944, the R. M. McBride & Company, published a collection of Hunfreville’s Alfred cartoons called Alfred, Ahoy! A profile appeared on the back of the dust jacket. 
Born in St. Joseph, Mo., Foster Humfreville blossomed in Hollywood and Pasadena, where he was not, he admits, a genius at school, having attended fifteen and having been graduated from none, chiefly because his principal interest was in collecting snakes and lizards.

His first job was in a Los Angeles bank, which he left at the end of two years to attend art school. Later he migrated to New York to become an artist via sculpture, painting, drawing, and designing museum displays. However, having doodled with cartoons and caricatures since childhood, our subject naturally would up as a comic man. In 1941 he sold his first gag to Collier’s and has drawn for that publication exclusively ever since.

In the summer of 1942 the Foster father of Alfred returned to California but continued to entertain Collier's readers with Alfred's antics. 

Humfreville says he knows very little about the Navy and that used to get his ideas and backgrounds by talking to sailors about ships and Navy life. As the war progressed, this proved to be more and more embarrassing, and he has had to curb his queries in order to prevent landing in the hands of certain Federal officials.

Like Alfred, Mr. Humfreville has never been married. “Who would have us?’ He asks. Wistfully, it seems.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 1, Books, 1944, New Series, Volume 44, Number 4, said Humfreville held the copyright to the book. 

In late 1948 or early 1949 Alfred stopped appearing in Collier’sAmerican Newspaper Comics (2012) said Alfred was continued as a strip by the McClure Syndicate, who hired Carl Ryman to produce it. The strip began on October 17, 1949. In 1944, Ryman moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California. Ryman met Humfreville and assisted him on Alfred. Editor & Publisher, October 1, 1949, explained how Humfreville and Ryman produced Alfred.
The gag-a-day strip ... is the outgrowth of a Collier’s panel drawn by Foster Humphreyville [sic] with Carl Ryman supplying the gags. Mr. Humphreyville relinquished the character to Gag Man Ryman and trained another artist who will draw the strip under Mr. Ryman’s direction. 
After leaving Alfred, Humfreville found work in advertising and the aerospace industry. In 1949 and 1950, Humfreville illustrated a number of Haber Hinges advertisements. Who’s Who in the West said Humfreville was an illustrator for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, in California, since 1953. His home address was 301 South Kenmore Avenue, Los Angeles.

The 1963 Glendale, California city directory listed “Humfreyville” and his wife, Eleanor, at 1647 Fernbrook Place. He was employed at Rocketdyne. The Rocketdyne Engineering Personnel Assignment List, January 1965, said Humfreville was in Illustrations, Department 086, Group 309, Engineering Production Support. (See PDF page 70

Humfreville passed away on November 7, 1971, in Riverside, California. He was laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery


Further Reading and Viewing
Naval Historical Foundation: Alfred, Ahoy! Foster Humfreville and His Cryptic Cartoons of World War II 
The Fabulous Fifties: Silent Cameo 

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Sunday, December 26, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Margaret G. Hays

 

Here's a nice Christmas-themed card from Margaret G. Hays. This card is copyright 1908 by the Rose Company, which is the only company for which I've seen her produce cards.

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Saturday, December 25, 2021

 

A Merry Christmas from Stripper's Guide and the Chicago Tribune 'B' Listers

 

The Chicago Tribune ran a half page of Christmas wishes in their Sunday section on Christmas Day 1955. Nice enough, but where are Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, Winnie Winkle, the Gasoline Alley gang, the Teenie Weenies, Moon Mullins .... I guess the 'A' listers got the day off!

 

Merry Christmas Stripper's Guide readers!

 


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Merry Christmas, Allan, All,
It is funny that these are specifically the second team of ChiTrib characters, like it was on purpose. Is it possible there's another special cartoon of just the top drawer stars? Is there any significance that there's no copyright line anywhere? Maybe it's just for Tribune itself, as though the syndicate had many many clients, I'm guessing few would take ALL of these also rans.

 
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Friday, December 24, 2021

 

The Little Tree That Talked: Day 8, Conclusion

 





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Thank you for posting this. It's very nice -- comforting, actually -- to see these holiday strips at this time of year.

Season's greetings and best wishes!
 
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