Saturday, March 27, 2010

 

Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, November 5 1907 -- Reviewer William Hamilton Cline gives a mixed review to a production of "The Local Girl." Lewis Stone is too nice to go over as a boxer, Dick Vivian is miscast, and a female lead (name not on the surviving portion of the article) is badly dressed. On the other hand, John Daly Murphy is excellent as a reporter (a role he once had in real life) and Charlie Ruggles is "very clever" as Lumley.


Tuesday, November 5 1907 -- Herriman may have been a great cartoonist, but a delineator of beautiful women he most certainly was not. Rest easy Gibson and Flagg, your places are secure. I've heard of bee-stung lips, but bee-stung eyelids?

Today is election day in San Francisco, and the Examiner is urging the voters there to choose a slate of reformers, which they did, and apparently to vote for an amendment to the city's charter allowing the recall of corrupt politicians, regarding which I can't find any mention of in online papers.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

 

Obscurity of the Day: Funny Fizzles




Do you remember back in the '70s when fads seemed to come fast and furious out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly? Here's one I remember well -- the fad of oddball antique inventions. Seemed like every paper, magazine and TV show was crowing about crazy inventions like chicken-powered butter warmers and shaving cream for babies. I particularly recall a game show where a panel of celebrities (B-list luminaries like Charles Nelson Reilly) were presented with some antique doodad. Each member of the panel would come up with a story about the item's intended use and the contestants had to guess who was telling the truth. Watched it religiously but don't recall the name.

Anyhow, here's one product of that short-lived fad. Funny Fizzles was a Sunday-only panel distributed by NEA. For some reason it was not in the NEA archives at Ohio State University, so I only learned about it recently when I stumbled upon a run in the Miami Herald. The running dates there were May 9 1976 to July 31 1977. The creators were James Molica, writer, and William Nellor, art. Neither has any other newspaper feature credits that I know of.

As I was preparing this post I discovered there was a reprint book of the feature issued in 1978. I ordered a copy and maybe it will reveal a little more about the creators.

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Hello, Allan----That show you remember with the oddball gadgets was THE LIAR'S CLUB.--Cole Johnson.
 
You have entirely too much information stuffed away in that giant noggin of yours, Cole. You're absolutely right, of course. For extra bonus points, who was the host and who was the regular panelist on that show. I remember one guy was always on the panel (the others changed regularly) and he was really funny and inventive with his stories (or rather in hindsight I suppose the writers gave him the best material). I remember his presence but can't recall who it was. It wasn't that annoying Charles Nelson Reilly, of that I'm certain. I wouldn't have watched it if he was on there.

--Allan
 
That show actually had two hosts during its run but I can only remember one of them: Allen Ludden. And the panel regular was Larry Hovis from "Hogan's Heroes" though I believe David Letterman was an occasional panelist as well. (I remember way too much about this considering it wasn't a show I was all that fond of.) - Tony
 
Larry Hovis sounds right. Never would have been able to pull that name out of the memory banks.
 
I have no sources for the following but my notes have the feature beginning sometime in March of 1976,
I have no end date for the comic.
Also - I have the Bill Nellor as artist and Jim Molica as writer,
again no source.
It did run in one of my local papers,
my very incomplete indexes of that time are buried somewhere.
 
Hi DD --
I assume something I saw in the Miami paper caused me to make the credit choices I did, because normally on iffy writing/art credits I'll say in my notes that they're questionable. Hopefully the reprint book will clear things up.

--Allan
 
The Liar's Club's first version was the late 1960's and early 1970's one with Rod Serling hosting. Wasn't that the one with the strange objects?
 
I remember this strip! As I recall, my local newspaper (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Calif.) published a feature article and ran the strip because one or both of its creators were local guys inspired to do a comic after taking a cartooning class that Charles Schulz taught at the junior college. Don't remember the details, but Schulz may have provided some encouragement and coaching. An odd connection in the annals of cartoon history.
 
Dear Mr. Holtz---How dare you say I was annoying? Just because I'm dead doesn't mean I don't read Stripper's Guide very day. Hunh-Hunh-Hunh! ----Charles Nelson Reilly.
 
DD is right, I had the creator credits reversed. It is now fixed.
 
I am the creator of Funny Fizzles and still alive at 87 and pursuing the arts in Santa Rosa, CA. Jim Molica was a former account executive with Young & Rubicam San Francisco where I also served as Art Supervisor. Molica did the research and contact with the newspaper agency. He also talked Schultz into adding an intro to the book published by Signet Pocket Books, since Schultz lived in the Santa Rosa area, otherwise Schultz was totally uninvolved in the project.

After many years in advertising in San Francisco and with my own advertising agency in Santa Rosa I retired and spent 10 years designing items for the tourists trade in Maui. Since returning to Santa Rosa I enjoy painting and contribute cartoons to the Sierra Club in their Northern Ca tabloid.

Funny Fizzles was done on a whim but soon became too much of a time consuming burden that interfered with my advertising projects. After having it published in pocketbook form by Signet Books we decided to terminate it.
 
Thank you for writing, Mr. Nellor! Any chance that you know the official running dates of your feature?

Thanks, Allan
 
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

 

Obscurity of the Day: Father Goose

This post is equal parts obscurity and mea culpa.

In 1899 L. Frank Baum's and W.W. Denslow's Father Goose - His Book was published and sold like the proverbial hotcakes. As the Christmas season of 1899 approached, which promised to be a bonanza of sales for the already-popular work, the New York World published either one or two comic section pages based on the book -- an early example of cross-marketing. But things get a little murky here. Ken Barker's New York World index lists only one 1899 page, on 11/19/1899, and says the writing was credited to Baum but that he couldn't identify the artist. I also have an earlier page listed in the Stripper's Guide index, dated 11/12/1899, and I credit both pages to Denslow as the artist. I think I got this info from Cole Johnson but my source notes are mute on the point.

Then in 1900 there were two more pages, one on January 21 and a second on July 22 (pictured). Barker's index gives no writing credit for these pages, but I misinterpreted his listing and credited the pages to Baum in the Guide listing. Then the above sample showed up from Cole Johnson and we see that Paul West did the writing at least on the second and final page. I received this sample early enough to fix the Guide listing for publication, but didn't notice the credit at that time. So the published Guide will have the information for this unusual feature wrong in several different ways, and there are still unanswered question about just exactly how many installments really ran, three or four, and who the credited writers were on each one.

Given the popular interest in Baum I feel really bad about the mistakes in the index, so herewith my public apology. Now ... can anyone unravel this mystery and supply the definitive running dates and credits?

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan!

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Hi Alan:

This series was done by Denslow alone (or intandem with Paul West). Since Denslow copyrighted his illustrations to Baum's books he felt that he had a right to use them for his own purposes. Hence, the Fahter Goose pages, as well as his later comic "Denslow's Scarecrow & Tin Man," which ran in 1904-05, the same time as Baum's oz comic page, "Queer Visitors From the Marvelous Land of Oz," which was illustrated by pionweer comic artist Walt MacDougall.

Sunday Press Books just published all of these pages in a sumptious new book, along with a complete Denslow credit listing. I urge you to seek it out.
 
Hi Nasal --
I scanned over the Sunday Press book looking for info on this series and I see no mention of it. Hate to be so dense, but could you give me a page number? I see no "complete Denslow credit listing" at all. Is my copy a page shy of complete?

So if Denslow wasn't working with Baum on this series, did Paul West do all the writing? Just the last one? And why would Barker credit the 1899 page to Baum if he wasn't credited on the page? That's not like Barker to just make assumptions about writers.

--Allan
 
I just checked Alfredo Castelli's "Here We Are Again". I neglected to do this before because I thought his listing for this series would have come from Barker. It isn't, though, and he provides some clarification (though translation of the text in Google is spotty). It appears that the 1/21/00 was credited to Denslow alone, and the 11/19/99 to Baum and Denslow. Although Castelli does list an 11/12/99 episode he doesn't say anything about the credits on that one.

--Allan
 
Hi:

Sorry to be so mis-leasding. I hadn't checked my copy of the Sunday Press book so I didn't realize there wasn't a complete listing. Sorry.

According to Denslow's biography, W.W. Denslow by Douglas Green & Michael Patrick Hearn (1976), the first Father Goose page in 1899 was, indeed, by Baum, with illustrations by Denslow. Then on 1/21/1900 the Post carried a full page drawing by Denslow with no verses except the caption, "Father Goose Shows The Children How to Run A Double Ripper," which is a glorious illustration of Father Goose on a tobaggon coming right out towards the readdr, and then the page you have run with verses by Paul West.

Paul West also collaborated with Denlsow on many of the "Billy Bounce" pages and co-wrote, with Denslow, the book "The Pearl & The Pumpkin" which was published in 1904. This has recently been re-printed by Dover Books, I believe.

Hope this clarifies things a bit.

Bill Jannke aka "Nasal Noteworthy"
 
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

 

A Second Helping of "You Know How It Is"




Generally I can't fulfill curtain call requests for features because there's typically a lag of weeks or months from when I make scans to when they actually appear on the blog. By the time you folks request more of a favorite feature the material has all been filed away and it's a major production to dig it back out. Not so with this one, though; I had four more samples sitting on my desk when the post was published. And since I'm just crazy about J. Norman Lynd myself, happy to oblige with four more. That's all I've got though -- the well's dry.

Thanks again to Mark Johnson for these samples.

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Verrrrrrrrry nice stuff!
 
As a Lynd fan, you'll be happy to know that I am working on a book of his work for release near the end of the year. I was unfamiliar with this strip...thanks for alerting me to it, and thanks for such a wonderful blog.

--Joe
 
Hi Joe --
Tell us more! Is it going to be a Vignettes book or a full retrospective or what?

--Allan
 
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond (I've been in fevered production mode on books for both my job and for my new publishing venture).

The Lynd book will be mostly "Vignettes," but only because that's what I have in my collection (probably 250 or so examples). I have a few Life comics by Lynd from the 1920s, a decent run of "Mazie the Motormaid" (maybe 15 or so), and a few examples of illustration work he did for magazines from the 1910-20s. I am also fortunate in owning a couple of orginals by Lynd. I'd love any contributions of more Lynd material from other folks on this board and elsewhere (I wasn't even aware of the "You KInow How It Is" strip until I saw it here!). This book is really a labor of love, and the more material I can include, the better we can honor Lynd's under-appreciated body of work.

I'd also love to find somebody who would be itnerested in writing an introduction/appreciation for the book.

Thanks again, and wish me luck!

--Joe Procopio
 
...and I forgot about three or four magazine covers I've come across by Lynd (American Legion, Snappy Stories, etc.)

Feel free to checkout my Facebook page for "Lost Art Books," until I get my real Web Site launched in July:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=345009783705&ref=mf
 
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

 

News of Yore 1930: Syndicate Emerges from Major News Service

A.P. To Start Comic and Cartoon Service

Nine Strips and Panels Will Be Sent to Evening Papers, March 17 -- Morning Service and Sunday Section to Come Later

(Editor & Publisher, 2/8/30)

The comic strip and cartoons service, for which Associated Press Feature Service has been laying plans for several weeks, will be sent to evening newspaper members, March 17, it was announced this week by J.M. Kendrick, executive assistant to the general manager. There will be nine units in the service including a daily news cartoon, an adventure strip, a pretty girl strip and several panels.

Plans for a morning paper service will soon be developed, according to Mr. Kendrick, and a four-page Sunday comic section will be made up from the cartoons judged to be the best of the list.

The nine features of the new service will be: "Gloria," a daily pretty girl strip with continuity, by Julian Ollendorf; "Homer Hoopee," a daily family strip by Fred Locher, former creator of "Cicero Sapp" for the New York Evening World; "Colonel Gilfeather." a daily three-column panel, by Dick Dorgan, brother of the famous Tad; "Scorchy Smith," a boy aviation-adventure strip by John Terry; "Rollo Rollingstone," a daily strip by Bruce Barr; "Modest Maidens," a two-column pretty girl panel by Don Flowers; a news cartoon by Lance Nolly, formerly of the Austin (Tex.) American and the Dallas News; and two daily panels which will not carry fixed titles. These will be a three-column village life feature by Oscar Hitt, and a two-column cartoon by Aleyn Burtis.

Ollendorf and Terry have both been engaged in creating animated cartoons for the movies, the former doing "Topics of the Day" and "Sketchographs," and the latter working on sound cartoons.

[Don't hold your breath for those Sundays, AP members -- that 'later' will end up being over a decade -- Allan]

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So when the Hitt and Burtis panels eventually start carrying fixed titles, how do enter that in your Guide?
Do you list all the various titles the panels used previously?

Also with features like Out Our Way, do you list all or just the main subtitles used by Williams, or none of the subtitles?

By the way - the March 16, 1930 Sarasota Herald features the AP comics story on its first page with photos of some of the creators.
 
Hi DD --
In the Guide, the inconsistently titled features -- like Briggs, Webster, and so on -- usually get their primary listing under "Briggs, Clare Comic Strip" or "Webster, H.T. Cartoon Panel" etc. The recurring titles -- "Ain't It A Grand And Glorious Feeling", "The Timid Soul" and the like -- are cross-indexed to the primary listing title. So whichever way you search for info on that feature with any luck you'll find the listing.

In the case of Hitt, I indexed him under "Neighborly Neighbors" since by far the longest part of that series was under that title. But I also discuss in the notes for the feature that it was originally a revolving title feature, and I list and cross-index the recurring titles.

JR Williams goes under "Out Our Way" since he had the good graces to give us an umbrella title, and all his recurring subtitles get the list and cross-index treatment.

Best, Allan
 
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Monday, March 22, 2010

 

Obscurity of the Day: You Know How It Is




The great J. Norman Lynd is on my short-list for "Most Underappreciated Cartoonist of All Time". Just look at the wonderful expressions, the body language, the design on these cartoons ... oh, and they're pretty darn funny, too! Lynd is best known for his incredible work on Vignettes of Life/Family Portraits series, but those were done in his comparative dotage. His earlier stuff shows even more vigor, and fully the level of technical mastery he later achieved in wide syndication.

In 1919 when this series began Lynd had already been working at the New York Herald for years as their jack of all trades -- he did sports cartoons, politicals, news illustrations, you name it. You Know How It Is seems to have been produced in between other assignments and appears to have been issued at the rate of maybe two or three per week. I haven't indexed his work in the Herald directly (the paper rarely ran anything much in their weekday papers), but there seems to have been a minor push in 1919 to sell syndicated daily-style features. This was not something the Herald was known for, though their evening paper, the Telegram, had done well with weekday syndication earlier in the teens.

The longest run of You Know How It Is that I've found was in the Santa Fe New Mexican, where the feature appeared semi-regularly from October 17 1919 to January 26 1920. Appearances in other papers generally started a week or so later than that start date, and petered out in December. Just another example of why the indexing work is never done...

Thanks to Mark Johnson who sent in the samples of this delightful, and unfortunately short-lived, feature.

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These are great. Really, really well drawn!

I'd love to see more of Lynd's work!
 
I'd love to see more too. This guy's definitely up there.
 
Beautiful stuff, indeed! Great post!
 
Wow! That Dec 3 panel is fantastic! What an artist!
 
It's difficult for some people, from this historical distance, to 'get' the humor in Lynd's work. But even if the humor seems faint or obscure, there's no getting around his tremendous skill with a pen, and insight into human psychology via body language and facial expression. Not to mention his inadvertent accuracy in portraying a place and time by means of his observation of such things as clothing, women's fashion, car styles, furniture, interiors... His work is irreplaceable.
 
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

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Love the title of the proposed feature. It WOULD be a welcome addition to papers. I also wish the THOUGHTS OF MAN was still running!
 
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