Monday, June 01, 2009


News of Yore 1949: Roth Brothers Profiled

Four Roth Brothers Cartoon Way to Fame
By Ogden J. Rochelle (E&P, 3/12/49)

Salo, who draws the daily "Laughing Matter" gag panel for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, is the youngest of four brothers who made fame and fortune through their cartoons. All of them currently create gag panels for newspapers and magazines.

Salo's panels are signed only with his first name. Only Ben, of the four Roth brothers, uses the family name to sign his work. Ben also operates a syndicate which sells reprints of American cartoonists' work to Australia and South America.

Salo's cartoons are caricatures of human foibles—definitely on the hilarious side. His work must pass a severe test. His wife is a strict critic, but if a gag clicks with her she laughs hard and long.
The use of pseudonyms does not indicate a lack of family spirit. On the contrary, the Brothers Roth live near each other in the Bronx, New York. Their wives are good friends, and the families go on picnics and outings together. The Roths advise each other in the field of cartooning.

Irving signs his name as Roir. He draws the color page, "To the Ladies," released by King Features Syndicate in Pictorial Review magazine.

Al Ross, third brother, is said to be the most serious of the four, often works in oils, but also submits gag panels to magazines and does some commercial work.

The brothers are associated in a professional school of cartooning in New York, in which they and five other artists are the instructional staff. The Roths come into Manhattan once a week to grade papers and suggest improvements to the students.

All four were on the staff of the magazine, '47.

Salo, whose contract with CT-NYN was recently renewed, sold the first gag cartoon he ever finished to Saturday Evening Post for $25, about 12 years ago. Now 33, he has had cartoons in most of the slick magazines.

Salo is not like the lantern-jawed characters depicted by his pen. He is shy, even retiring, and regards his work seriously and patiently. His best gags come from hot-tempered individuals talking (usually) to a drowsy and noncommital spouse.

He likes the domestic gags best, often works long hours to achieve precise situations for his "Laughing Matter." Sometimes he redraws a dozen times before he feels he has the right approach.

For relaxation he plays the piano accordion. He attends many sports events, gets some of his best gags from watching prize fights, baseball games and horse races.

His cartoons are frequently requested for reprint in sports trade journals.

Ben, oldest of the brothers, sold his first gag to Colliers while he was in high school. It was a sports cartoon. When the other brothers, working at hard labor, stevedoring, delivering messages, and taking odd jobs, saw Ben's good fortune they, too, decided on art as a career.

They have a sister who, surprisingly enough, is not an artist. She's an accountant, and does their tax figuring.


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