Saturday, May 21, 2011
Commencement Days, starring most of the usual suspects. Although the play got a good review from the Examiner, it seems not to have caught on big, and I find no reference of it being staged after 1909.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, May 20, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Colonel Daffy-Dil Nutty
The strip was never signed except for an occasional "W" monogram and ran from December 3 1911 to January 26 1913.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Professor Wayupski
Professor Wayupski is a delightful fantasy strip about a fellow who yearns to soar with the birds. In the first sample above he has a pretty standard cartoon dirigible design, but in the second Wayupski seems to have done a radical redesign. How that metal submarine-y thing was supposed to fly is anyone's guess, but I think the basic idea with these fantasy craft was that they were dirigibles with the balloon removed. Or maybe, given the way it crinkles up when it hits the moon, he was riding the balloon itself. Well, whatever. These are the funnies, not Aeronautics 101.
Keep in mind that Kitty Hawk was still a year in the future. Torpedo-like airships stubbornly survived the Wrights, though. Soar on over to see The Bird Boys for a later model that shares the same shape, but adds an interior cabin for comfort.
Professor Wayupski ran from May 25 to June 8 1902, so you're on the observation deck for two out of his three flights. The strip was by Albert Bloch, whose only comic strip credits were at the St. Louis Star in 1901-03.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
Excerpts from a University of Kansas Relations press release (January 24, 1997), and web site, Rediscovering Albert Bloch at the University of Kansas:
…Albert Bloch was trained in a local art school….Bloch began his career
as a newspaper illustrator. He drew cartoons, caricatures and cover
illustrations for the literary weekly The Mirror from 1905 to 1908. In 1908,
Bloch went to Europe to continue his artistic training. In 1911, Kandinsky,
along with his friend Franz Marc, visited Bloch’s studio and soon invited
Bloch to join them in their new venture, the first exhibition of Der Blaue
Reiter (The Blue Rider), which opened in Munich in December 1911.
Bloch showed six canvases in the first Blue Rider exhibition. Thereafter
Bloch participated in other major avant-garde shows in Europe. Following
his return to the United States, Bloch taught for a year at the Academy
of Fine Arts in Chicago (1922-23) before accepting the position of head
of the department of painting and drawing at the University of Kansas
in the fall of 1923. For the next twenty-four years, Bloch taught art and
art history at the University. He died in 1961, survived by his second
wife, Anna Francis Bloch…
A family tree at Ancestry.com said his first son, Bernard, was born in New York City in June 1907. In the 1930 census, Bloch, his wife Hortense and son Walter (13 years old) lived in Lawrence, Kansas at 1015 Alabama Street. He married when he was 23 years old and his occupation was artist teacher at Kansas University. Bloch passed away in December 1961 in Lawrence, Kansas.
A selection of Bloch's paintings can be viewed here, www2.ku.edu/~maxkade/selections_from_absc.htm
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Have You Ever Noticed?
Here's an uncharacteristically low-key series from that master of slapstick mayhem, George Frink. Have You Ever Noticed? Ran on the Chicago Daily News' weekday comics page from February 7 to April 12 1902, appearing a total of nine times in that period.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Hagen, Fagin and O'Toole
The strip was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, but was taken by few papers other than the Daily News. The strip began as a daily only May 4 1964, a Sunday was added on September 13, and the pet show came to a close on July 2 1966.
Although I don't see anything all that memorable about the strip, I've received occasional inquiries about it over the years, so evidently it did have its fans.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Animal Wise Cracks
So anyway, today we've got Animal Wise Cracks by Ralph Wolfe. This was a New York Evening Graphic strip, begun in September or early October 1929, that didn't fit the mold of their usual material. The Porno-Graphic readership was pretty much limited to adults (we hope), so why run an animal strip obviously aimed at children (and rather dull ones at that)?
Well, to ask why the Graphic did anything is to assume a level of intelligence and planning that simply didn't exist at that zany paper. So I'm also not going to ask why the strip was renamed Animal Wisecracks in 1930, or why it was advertised in E&P as Animal Antics. Or why the strip was apparently distributed both by the Graphic (as MP Inc.) and McNaught Syndicate. No, I'm just going to say that it expired sometime in 1930, and that it seems to have been Ralph Wolfe's last syndicated newspaper strip.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
Ralph Allison Wolfe was born in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) on August 19, 1894 as recorded in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. His father, James, was Caucasian, and his mother, Kate, was half-Cherokee. Ralph was recorded as "three-quarter white"; he was the fourth of six children.
In 1910 Wolfe's older siblings had moved; he and two sisters remained with their parents in Vinita, Oklahoma at 101 Miller Street. Some time later, the family moved to Los Angeles, California. Wolfe signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917; his occupation was caddie at the Los Angeles Country Club. His description was medium height and build with green eyes and light hair.
Wolfe's mother was the head of the household in 1920; they lived in Los Angeles at 1260 West 51st Street. His occupation was cartoonist in the moving pictures industry. Apparently in the late 1920s he moved to New York City where he worked on a number of comic strips.
In the 1930 census Wolfe was a lodger at 14 West 68th Street in Manhattan; his occupation was cartoonist for a newspaper. Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928-1999 lists his animation employment at Disney, Warner Bros., and Fleisher studios in the 1930s; when he returned to Los Angeles is not known. During his time at Warner Bros., his name was "hidden" in the cartoons, Have You Got Any Castles?, gregbrian.tripod.com/hidden/hid03.html; and Speaking of the Weather, gregbrian.tripod.com/hidden/hid01b.html.
Wolfe wrote "and now — The Painted Voice" for the Watson-Guptill publication, Art Instruction (1939); "an article describing the new 'shorthand' of hand-drawn sound invented and patented by Dave Fleischer of Fleischer Studios, Inc., Miami, Florida…" Edan Hughes (Artists in California, 1786-1940) wrote, "…He worked for 40 years as a cartoonist for Disney Studios."
According to Who's Who, Wolfe free-lanced in the comic book industry during the 1940s into the early 1950s. The date of his marriage to Enola Richardson (1905-1987) is not known. Wolfe was 90 years old when he passed away on June 20, 1985 in Los Angeles; he was buried at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.
These are Wolfe's animation credits as they appear on my "Albertopage" website:
WOLFE, Ralph Ellison (19 Aug 1884-20 June 1985)
Inbetweener: DISNEY 31-33
Animator/Story: DISNEY 33-
Animator: WARNER BROS.; FLEISCHER c40
I'd like to add that at Warners Wolfe's name inspired the character Ralph Wolf, who appeared in several Chuck Jones-directed cartoon shorts along with Sam Sheepdog.
Wolfe (Ralph) Sawtelle, Cal. [653
Chollychap. [Grotesque drawing of statuette of man wearing derby hat,
tight-fitting coat and large trousers, standing with heels together and
toes turned outward.] © 1 c. Mar. 16, 1915 ; G 49221.
In the mid-1920s Wolfe was involved with producing stop-motion animation shorts under the name, Plastic Art Productions Presents Ralph Wolfe's Mud-Stuff. Three shorts can be viewed here:
Green Pastures, www.archive.org/details/GreenPas1926
Long Live the Bull, www.archive.org/details/LongLive1926
The Penwiper, www.archive.org/details/Penwiper1926