Friday, August 15, 2008


News of Yore: A Collection of 1952 E&P Short Items

Cartoonist Uses Drawing Board As His Pulpit

Waco, Tex. - The biggest job and least remunerative for Jack Hamm, a member of the art facul­ty of Baylor University here, is syndicating free of charge a week­ly religious cartoon to more than 300 newspapers in English-speak­ing countries around the globe.

Mr. Hamm's life story is one of vocational conflict. He wanted to be a cartoonist and he wanted to be a preacher. He has done both. He preached in small churches in his native Kansas and in and around Chicago while he attended Moody Bible Institute.

But financial rewards in churches were not enough to meet expenses. He turned to art and filled several good jobs on syndicated strips. He illustrated "Let's Explore Your Mind" and also helped on such strips as "Boots and Her Buddies," "Alley Oop," "Horace and Babe" and "Bugs Bunny." When a syndi­cated asked him to start a detec­tive strip of his own. Mr. Hamm declined. He figured it would mean he would have to give up a drive to preach the gospel. So he packed his bags, resigned, went to Baylor to study religious work. He preached at a rural church near Waco. During World War II, he spent 18 months as edi­tor of the Army newspaper in the Aleutians. After the war he took his degree and joined the Baylor art faculty.

Finally, he reached a decision to reconcile his desire to be a preach­er. He would use his drawing board as a pulpit. It costs Mr. Hamm and his friends over Texas about $100 a week to supply the newspapers with the free cartoons, all of which emphasize faith in God as a solution to all problems - personal, national and world. Sometime, he digs deep into his own income to meet the weekly expense.

Said Dr. Daniel A. Poling, noted clergyman in New York: "No bet­ter example of the cartoonist's art dedicated to faith in God and country has been seen in this gen­eration."

Mr. Hamm recently won $200 from the Freedoms Foundation for a cartoon to promote the Ameri­can way of life.

Why doesn't he charge news­papers for his drawings? Says Mr. Hamm: "If I charged newspapers for the service, many would be unable to use it, and I believe this tension-filled world needs any word of hope it can get."

King Features Offers Stalin Story Strip
"The Story of Stalin," a seven-part story strip originally re­leased in 1939, has been brought up to date and is offered for re­lease at will by King Features Syndicate. The original drawings by the late Clifton Crittenden have been brought up to 1952 by Alfred J. Buescher, and William Ritt, author of the series, has updated his text.

The series includes the com­plete life of the Soviet dictator up to his conjectured death, and may be used immediately or when the big news comes. KFS is also dis­tributing a matted picture page on Stalin for obit use.
[Note: I've been unable to find any examples of this short-run strip in either the 1939 or 1952 run. Anyone have samples? -- EDIT -- Found the 1952 version -- 1939 version anyone?]

KFS to Syndicate Walt Disney Page
"Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales," a new color Sun­day page, is offered as a continu­ing feature for first release July 13 by King Features Syndicate.

The strip will feature a com­pletely new story every four or five months. Some of the stories will be realistic adventure stories, while other will be fantasies or fairy tales. First release scheduled is "Robin Hood," which will run for 25 weeks. Among other stories planned are "Peter Pan," "When Knighthood was in Flow­er," "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "Sleeping Beauty."

Eisenhower Story Strip From Mirror Syndicate
"The Life of General Ike," a 36-installment story strip, is offered for release on or after May 19 by Mirror Enterprises Syndicate, Los Angeles. Drawn by staff artist Bill MacArthur, the strip covers the life of General Eisenhower from his birth to the present day. Available in five-column mat form with manuscript text or in reproduction proof form with manuscript text.
[Note: another short-run strip I've been unable to locate. Anyone? -- EDIT -- Found in San Mateo Times, running 7/21 - 8/30/52]

Top Ten in Salina
The top 10 comic strips and panels in the Salina (Kan.) Jour­nal, according to a reader prefer­ence poll conducted recently, were:

Among men: "They'll Do It Every Time," "Blondie," "Dick Tracy," "Gasoline Alley," "Neigh­borly Neighbors," "Henry," "Li'l Abner," "Smilin' Jack," "The Nebbs" and "Jane Arden."

Among women: "Blondie," '•They'll Do It Every Time," "Dick Tracy," "Jane Arden," "Henry," "Gasoline Alley," "Neighborly Neighbors," "Li'l Abner," "The Nebbs" and "Little Orphan An­nie."

Cartoonist Is Dead
Phoenixville, Pa.-Cartoonist W. Kemp Starrett, 62, died July 9 at his farm, "The Grindstone,"
near here. His first cartoon was published in the Brooklyn (N. Y.) Eagle when he was 18. He drew the "Vignettes of Life," a feature which has appeared in many newspapers. He started his career as a political cartoonist on the Philadelphia Times about 1916. Later he held similar positions on the New York Tribune and on papers in Albany, N. Y., and Providence, R. I.

Ralph Yardley Retires After 57 Years

Stockton, Calif.-Cartoonist Ralph Yardley has retired from the Stockton Record after 57 years of newspaper work.

Mr. Yardley, now 73, was the Record's first car­toonist and has been on the staff for the past 30 years. Prior to his Record career, the artist drew for the San Fran­cisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Call, San Francisco Bulletin, New York Globe and Honolulu Advertiser, His first job was with the Examiner.

Offers 'Hell Bomb' Strip
Timed to tie in with newly-an­nounced atomic weapons tests at Eniwetok this fall, NEA Service has issued a picture-story strip on "The Hell Bomb." In 12 daily re­leases it describes the Hydrogen Bomb-including its devastating potentialities, its peacetime use and its underlying principle.

The picture strips are by writer Jay Heavilin and artist Ralph Lane, who have collaborated on several other NEA story strips. First release is Oct. 6.


For the Stalin strip, you might also want to look in 1953, since the syndicate contemplated that newspapers might want to hold it until Stalin died.
Fascinating stuff! The observation in the first article re the religious cartoon being the best fusion with faith in a generation was somewhat amusing, given Charles Schulz' work in church comics a few years earlier.
Thanks for the suggestion, Anon, found the strip running in March 1953 in the Newport News and Pottstown Mercury.

There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding The Story of Stalin strip(s). I don't think you have found the KFS strip.
According to the March 10, 1953 Warren (Pa) Times-Mirror (page 5) the half fumetti/half art strip I think you have found is from AP.
The intro slug to the strip reads:
"This picture strip is the first in a series of six on the life of Stalin.It is made up in part of idealized conceptions by Soviet-blessed artists, plus several photographs, and three drawings by AP staff artist Ed Gunther. The running story is by Charles Mercer, an AP Staff writer"
That is at odds with the KFS strip described above.
"A picture biography by Clifton Crittenden, supplemented by Alfred J. Buescher and William Ritt of King Features Syndicate."
So reads the introduction at the top of page seven of the April 12, 1952 issue of The Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal. That page prints all seven of the strips under the heading "The Story of Josef Stalin"
and distributed by the Central Press Association.

That is the 1952 edition as described in your post. It is closer to a real comic strip than the AP version, which was more a series of panels (drawings and photographs) above several columns of text.

I couldn't find the 1939 series.
Hi DD -
Thanks very much for double-checking me on that Stalin strip. I thought I smelled a rat on that 1953 series which was mostly fumetti but in the papers I found it in I saw no credits so pretty much just shrugged it off and made stupid assumptions.

And not only did you fix my mistake, you found the right series as well! Thank you doubleski, comrade DD!

Mr. Holtz--are you referring to Baylor University in Waco, Texas?
Hi Anita -
I presume that's the school the article is referring to.

Hmm, this is interesting ...I cannot find him in the Baylor University directory.
Umm ... are you looking in the 1952 directory...?
Ya know, I wasn't. How silly of me. There wasn't a date on that article, and I only read that article, so the whole 1952 theme here went over my head. Thanks.
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