Thursday, August 09, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: The Story of an Ambitious Man Who Made Jobs for Thousands Through Free Enterprise
I think this feature may very well take the grand prize for the longest comic strip title of all time. Edward Geller produced the Sunday strip for the Detroit Free Press starting in 1947 and continuing at least through 1951 if not longer. The strip told text-heavy inspirational biographies of industrialists and businessmen.
The strip was copyrighted to E. and I. Geller, but nowhere in my documentation of the strip is there any mention of the identity or role of this I. person. According to Geller the art, which was usually drawn anonymously, was by Frank Williams. However, I have samples (one shown above) signed by Max Rasmussen, and the uncredited strips are in at least two if not more styles, so others were also involved.
Here's an article about the feature that ran in a 1951 issue of E&P:
Prize Cartoon Feature Has 160 Sponsors
Edward Geller of the Detroit Free Press advertising staff is the creator of "The Story of An Ambitious Man," Free Press Sunday comic section feature which won second place in the cartoon strip category of the Freedoms Foundation Awards. (E&P, Feb. 24, page 13.) Mr. Geller received a medal and $300.
The organizer of Freedoms Foundation, E. F. Hutton, and Guy M. Rush, vice-chairman of the group, had this to say about Mr. Geller's feature: "We do not know who killed Horatio Alger but you have brought him back to life."
"The Story of An Ambitious Man who made jobs for thousands through free enterprise," depicts in full-page color cartoons the lives of men who have progressed from rags to riches in the best American tradition. The series has appeared since 1947.
Mr. Geller has told the cartoon-stories of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Walter P. Chrysler, S. S. Kresge, Bernard M. Baruch, C. F. Kettering, R. E. Olds, K. T. Keller, William Knudsen, the Dodge brothers and many others.
He is working on a book of the cartoons which already have appeared. He said he will dedicate the book to C. W. Cosgrove, advertising director of the Free Press, because of Mr. Cosgrove's encouragement and aid.
"The Story of An Ambitious Man" now has 160 sponsors, most of them presidents or board members of Michigan concerns.
Mr. Geller, 57, has been a creator of special pages for the Free Press for 15 years.
Note: the samples reproduced above are from the reprint book - the strip as printed in the newspaper also included a large title panel and was printed at full page size.