Saturday, June 05, 2010
Baldwin used his wealth to indulge an interest in horse-racing, and was quite successful at it. In 1907, as seen in the cartoon, he opened Santa Anita Park, a racetrack with all the most modern amenities, including electric lit stables and a parking lot for automobiles.
Lucky died in 1909 and eventually his racetrack was closed. However, the facility was later upgraded and re-opened in 1934 to become the Santa Anita Park we know today, one of the most famous tracks in the world.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, June 04, 2010
Obscurities of the Day: The Good-To-Eat Children / The Good-To-Eat Alphabet
The Good-To-Eat Children came first, debuting on July 15. After a few installments he switched over temporarily to The Good-To-Eat Alphabet for a pair of episodes on August 12 and 19, then reprised the original series title until September 2.
A bow to Cole Johnson who supplied both the samples and the correct running dates for these series.
Reminds me of the talking cow in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" that came to your restaurant table so you could choose your cut. Or Donald and the Nephews eating roast duck for dinner.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: Uncle George Washington Bings, the Village Storyteller
The star of the show was that staple of small-town life, the old-timer who loved to tell tall tales to anyone who would listen. This sort of character was a regular in prose humor of the day, but curiously enough few of these leg-pullers were employed on the comics pages.
Although the series ended in 1908, McClure occasionally used a reprint of the strip to fill a hole in later sections, and Uncle George can be seen every once in a while popping up as late as 1912.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: Best Seller Showcase
Adapting popular novels to comic strip form has rarely been a recipe for success (see Book-of-the-Month for one example) and Best Seller Showcase ran true to form. As with previous attempts, newspaper editors seemed to take an initial interest, then after the first few adaptations the feature lost clients at a steady clip.
Universal Press Syndicate, no stranger in the 70s to throwing features against the wall to see what might stick, distributed Best Seller Showcase with a considerable marketing push before its debut. Part of the supposed attraction was that the adaptations would only be eight weeks long, which of course did no favors to the book being adapted nor to the quality or depth of the strip. Notice above in the samples from The Chancellor Manuscript adaptation that artist Frank Bolle desperately tries to maximize his paltry space by sometimes shoehorning two scenes into one panel. You've got to hand it to Frank for doing his best to show a cohesive narrative despite the restrictions.
Elliot Caplin, that comic strip ghost writer with a list of credits as long as your arm, is said to have written all the adaptations for the series. The ever-capable Frank Bolle and Gray Morrow took turns at the adaptations (with one possible exception). The adapted stories are as follows:
Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler, art by Frank Bolle, 8/15 - 10/9/77
Storm Warning by Jack Higgins, art by Gray Morrow, 10/10 - 12/4/77*
The Chancellor Manuscript by Robert Ludlum, art by Frank Bolle, 12/5/77 - 2/12/78 (10 weeks)
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, art by Gray Morrow, 2/13 - 4/9/78
The Second Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders, art by Frank Bolle, 4/10 - 6/18/78 (10 weeks)
Illusions by Richard Bach, art by Gray Morrow, 6/19 - 7/30/78**
* The art on Storm Warning is unsigned, and I've heard it being credited to Winslow Mortimer or Jack Sparling, but it looks like Morrow to me.
** End date corrected as per Mark Taylor, based on run in Chicago Tribune.
Some sources claim that this Sunday and daily strip ran until 1979, but I've never seen any further adaptations after Illusions, and it took me years to find a paper that even ran the feature that long. Would love to hear from you if you know of a later run of the strip. I'm told that an adaption of James Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful followed Illusions.
Booksteve's Library has reprinted The Sword of Shannara storyline. Here's a link to the first post.
I had completely forgotten the ILLUSIONS adaptation even though I remember clipping it out because I thought it was a particularly odd choice to adapt! If I still have it, though, I don't know where it would be.
As I've pointed out elsewhere, part of the problem in developing a loyalty to this type of strip was the fact that one who enjoyed spy strips might dislike fantasy strips, etc.
Barbara Cartland Romances was a separate strip, which we'll cover one of these days as an obscurity.
"All Things Bright and Beautiful" with art by Frank Bolle dated 6-Aug-1978, 13-Aug-1978 and 20-Aug-1978.
Uh-oh, that means the end date on Illusions is incorrect. Can you tell me what paper ran your samples? Does the August 20 episode end the adaptation?
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: Rice and Tapioca, the Famous Pudding Brothers
Rice and Tapioca, the Famous Pudding Brothers ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer from April 24 to July 3 1898. It was one of several features the Inky ran that were 'syndicated'. I put the quotes around that term because there's no evidence that these strips (the two others are The Country School and The Barnyard Club) were sold to any papers other than the Inky. Pudding Brothers is different than the other two -- the others might have been sold directly to the Inquirer by Outcault, whereas this one includes a copyright by the New York Herald on some episodes. Does this represent the very earliest syndication attempt?
The Herald did not run this feature (or have a proper Sunday comic section at all until 1900)*, so if it was producing it solely for the Inquirer in my opinion it's not a case of syndication unless we're prepared to take serious liberties with the term.Cole Johnson tells me that several episodes refer directly to Philadelphia, so it would seem the series was produced with the Inky in mind.
The other part of the mystery, just as intriguing, is the question of who drew these gorgeous strips. The verses are credited to Roy L. McCardell, whose prose and poetry were fixtures at Puck and various New York newspapers starting in the 1890s, but the art is unsigned. Who would take such care on the drawing of a feature yet not sign it? The most likely answer, it seems to me, is that some cartoonist from another paper was moonlighting (Archie Gunn maybe?). Or maybe it was one of McCardell's buddies at Puck who felt newspaper cartooning was beneath him. Or maybe it's Charles De Yongh, the only cartoonist I know of who did a series for the Herald in 1898. What do you think?
Much thanks to Cole Johnson who supplied these lovely samples of a great strip.
* Taking a second look at Cole's notes on this feature, I think he is saying that the top sample DID appear in the Herald, on January 10 1897, over a year before the Inquirer run. I didn't index the Herald before 1898 (there seemed no reason to) so I can't say if they ran just the single example or the whole series.
EDIT: I have now indexed the New York Herald for 1897, and this series DID in fact run there over a year before the Philadelphia Inquirer printed it. In that appearance the first few installments are uncredited (but I'm getting pretty firm about the first installment only being the work of Archie Gunn). Most of the series, though, is signed and credited to someone whose signature looks to be L.M. Pillet.
Proof, then, that the web doesn't offer absolutely everything. A search on Pudding Brothers comes up dry. I guess Vaudeville REALLY IS dead!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: This Man's Army
The strip was created by Henri Arnold, who is best known for his Jumble puzzle cartoons and for his fourteen year stint on that Daily News institution, Ching Chow, and for its more politically correct replacement, Meet Mr. Lucky.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
In case you get this before I write snail mail or see you... the Queen and I made a trip to Orlando Saturday. We called to see if we could take you out to a late breakfast or early lunch, but there was no answer.