Saturday, July 23, 2011

 

Herriman Saturday

Saturday, February 8 1908

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Friday, July 22, 2011

 

DC Doin's

I just got back from a two week visit to Washington DC. Although I was there for other purposes this time 'round, I did manage to steal four days for research at the Library of Congress. I didn't have any grand purpose in mind for my time there, no paper in particular that desperately needed indexing, so I just started hitting whatever happened to catch my fancy on the very long "To Be Researched" list.

Following is a quick summary of the research work that was accomplished:

* Decided to track down Dok Hager's work at the Seattle Times. I had a note that he was there 1911-17. Turns out he was there longer, at least 1910 to 1923 and maybe longer. I ran out of time to find his ultimate start and end dates but did manage to get the running dates for Dippy Duck, his very long-running daily series. I didn't get start or end dates for The Weather, aka The Umbrella Man, because it started before 1911 and lasted beyond 1923. I also picked up a few short-run series by Hager and another local cartoonist named Jenner. The most fun item I found was a weekly panel titled Hans Und Gretchen that started off seeming like a come-on for vacationers to come to Seattle, but eventually turned out to be an ad panel for a local brewery!

* Finally got around to tracking down the running dates for the Comicfix stuff (Speed Racer, Biografix, Molly the Model) that ran in the NY Post 2000-2001.

* Right before leaving for Washington I received a set of Sunday magazine inserts called Three To Get Ready -- a kid's magazine from 1981. The batch I got were all from volume 2 of the series. By sheer chance I stumbled upon a run of volume 1 in the Dayton Daily News. Nice catch if I do say so! Both volumes included a pair of continuing comic strip series.

* Took a gander through the NY Post for 1945-48 to see if mystery strip Punchy and Judy did indeed appear there (it did), and ended up with some good little bits and pieces from the late 40's, including much better info on Illustrated Classics (the Classics Illustrated series for newspapers) than I had before.

* Looked at just one reel of the Detroit Free Press and saw to my amazement that Guindon was STILL running in 1992. No time to research that issue further.

* Checked Amsterdam News for a feature called Our Roots that supposedly ran there starting in 1997. Turned out that bit of info was baloney -- no such thing.

* Did a quick check on the San Francisco Examiner for 1965 to see if Ping was still running. It wasn't, but no time to work backwards to find it.

* The Cincinnati Enquirer, which I initially looked at just to get start and end dates for Seckatary Hawkins, turned into a minor treasure-trove of good info on oddball syndicated features. Got a lot of magazine cover feature dates, too, until they started to come up missing on the microfilm. Looks like the collectors got there before the microfilmers. By the way, the Seckatary Hawkins strip ran nowhere near the 1926-42 dates that have been quoted elsewhere...

* I hit the Long Island Newsday to get info on Cliff Rogerson's features. Found that Rogerson's recounting of his work there was pretty darn accurate --a minor miracle! It is rare to get good dates from creators, especially when they are recounting their work of long ago! I would hate to index Newsday in depth -- that is one hefty tabloid paper.

* I checked the 1897 New York Herald on a tip from Cole Johnson. Sure enough, I found that the Pudding Brothers feature, previously documented in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1898, actually originated at the Herald in 1897. The Inquirer run was merely reprints of the series -- still counts as very early syndication though. The Herald is a very strange paper. They had a lot of great cartoonists pass through (Gustave Verbeek and Gene Carr to name two in 1897), but they gave them so little to do. They didn't have a real comics section until 1900, and before then it seems like they just couldn't make up their minds. They'd sometimes devote a couple pages to 'proto-funnies' for months at a time, and then they just disappear for long stretches. I only came up with two other recurring features in the whole year, and one of those is more of a fairy tale kiddie feature. Oddly enough there was a lot more comic content at the start of 1897, it peters out during the year as they concentrated more and more on half-tone photos, of which they were justly proud. I think 1896 is probably worth indexing, but it will have to wait for my next trip. Oh, one other thing about the Herald. I noted use of the term "yellow journalism" in an October 1897 article -- very early use of that term! Unfortunately it seems as if the term was even then not new, as the writer felt no need to explain its meaning or origin -- leaving open the still contested question of whether the term derives from the Yellow Kid or not.

* While twiddling my thumbs waiting for film to be delivered I also looked at a reel of the Indianapolis News and found a mystery strip -- Walk On was appearing there. No time to pursue start and end dates though. Some of my most interesting finds come from picking around in the microfilm return bin while I'm waiting for my next delivery.

* Another 'waiting around' find was the Washington Herald, which in 1915 was running a 4-page McClure section -- a rarity that late. I did pursue that lead, which gave me some good McClure Sunday data until some rotten SOB started pilfering the comic sections around mid-1916. Rats!!

* Indexed the Boston Herald for 1915-17 to pick up some of those hard-to-find Newspaper Features strips. Got good dates now on Titmouse Twins and the Asthma Simpson Sunday.

* The Boston Globe yielded up running dates for local strips Yankee Almanack, Word Wizard and Electric Company in Boston. In the process found two hitherto unseen syndicated features, Full Disclosure and Stockworth.

Think that about does it for my Library of Congress trip this time. It seems that for every new bit of data I manage to pin down I only come up with more questions, most of which await future trips before they'll be answered. Seems that no matter how many layers you peel off the newspaper comics onion, there's still more beneath.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: John F. Hart

John Francis Hart was born in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 30, 1867 according to The International Blue Book (Who's Who in the World, 1938). Peter Hastings Falk, in his book Who Was Who in American Art (1985) has the birth year as 1868. Hart was the fourth of six children born to John and Thurza, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived at 163 Queen Street. Hart's father was the great grandson of John Hart, signer of the Declaration of independence, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer obituary published on January 17, 1904.
In 1900 Hart and wife Caroline resided in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania on Woodland Avenue. He was 25 years old when they married, around 1892, according to the 1930 census. His occupation was artist. His father passed away on January 15, 1904; the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary said he was a portrait painter, and department store accountant.
The International Blue Book said Hart "began his professional career as a wood engraver" and "served as a political cartoonist and puzzle editor for many years on the newspapers of Philadelphia and other cities." He contributed cartoons to the newspaper, The Socialist (Caldwell, Idaho). The Labor Press Project website has a Hart cartoon from the July 28, 1906 issue. He did seven drawings for a socialist pamphlet titled U, which was published in Philadelphia around 1909. It can be viewed at the American Left Ephemera Collection; click on "List of all pages" link.
Hart and his wife lived in Philadelphia as recorded in the 1910 census. He was a newspaper illustrator. Who Was Who in American Art said he was an illustrator at the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Record, and other papers. The International Blue Book said he was "ten years cartoonist on Philadelphia North American, five years on Philadelphia Daily Press." For the Record he produced the comic strips Cousin Sammy Green, Chilly Cholly's Ice Cream Dream and Andy and Agnes, among others.
In 1920 the couple and his mother-in-law lived in Philadelphia at 169 Hansberry Street. His occupation was commercial artist at home. According to Who Was Who in American Art, he produced a puzzle cartoon for the Bell Syndicate.
In the 1930 census the couple remained at the same address. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Apparently retired, widower Hart was recorded at the same address in the 1940 census. His nephew, Herbert Hart, was head of the household, and a clerk in the radio industry. He was married with two children. Hart passed away on October 26, 1948. The Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania) published the Associated Press story on October 28, 1948.

Well Known Artist Dies in Philadelphia
John Francis Hart, well known artist and newspaper cartoonist, died in Germantown Hospital Tuesday at the age of 81.
A native of Philadelphia, Hart was a cartoonist for the old North American, the Philadelphia Press and other newspapers in the state. He specialized in pastels, watercolors and wood cuts.
Many of his paintings were displayed in one-man exhibitions at Palm Beach, Fla., San Juan, Puerto Rico and Port Au Prince, Haiti.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 

Obscurity of the Day: Art Linkletter's Kids






Art Linkletter was a radio and TV star of the 1940s-60s whose most enduring schtick was interviewing  children and eliciting cute repartee. He parleyed his fame into a series of books, but failed to make a big splash in the newspaper world with the King Features-distributed cartoon panel Art Linkletter's Kids.

Although Linkletter was the titular creator of the feature, he most likely had little to do with it, other than perhaps allowing an anonymous writer access to his voluminous files of cute kid sayings. The art was provided by Stan Fine, a veteran gag cartoonist. This seems to have been his only foray into the daily routine of newspaper syndication.

The series began on November 4 1963 and made it at least into October 1964; I suspect it probably got the axe at the end of a one year contract.

The feature had a revolving set of characters whose names show up as subtitles -- the most often used were Klunkhead, Powder Puff, Specs Webster and Terry the Terror.

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I'd guess that Linkletter's name was simply licensed for an existing unrelated panel. Linkletter collected cutesy malaprops and accidental double entendres from real kids, and these are "gaggy" gags with exaggerated characters. It's amusing, but it's so out of sync with Linkletter's reality-based show and books that Linkletter himself (or his managers) may well have pulled the plug.
 
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

 

News of Yore: Charles Lederer



Newspaper Illustrators—Charles Lederer.

by F. Penn.
(Inland Printer American Lithographer, December 1893)


One of the most brilliant of the newspaper cartoonists of Chicago, Mr. Charles Lederer's sketches in the Herald, have been a strong attraction in that handsome sheet for a period of over six years. Mr. Lederer was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, thirty-four years ago. Lederer père was an artist of repute, and imparted to the son that artistic temperament and appreciation notable in the best artists. At the age of fourteen the subject of our sketch was apprenticed to George D. Hammar, a wood engraver, then located at 208 Broadway, New York, the site of the Evening Post building, but a year's application was sufficient—he struck, and took a studio room jointly with Henry Lovie, one of the most prominent artists in the illustrated weekly line in New York; and his first work was in drawing comic valentines for Fisher & Dennison.

His genius developed early, for while a mere boy from fifteen to twenty years old, he did very good piecework for Harper's, Leslie's, Graphic, Hearth and Home, Irish World, Christian at Work, and other publications. At an early age he showed a marked talent for caricature. He was ambitious, and this led him to dabble in the publishing business, at which, according to his own accounts, he was "invariably unsuccessful," although at one time, when only eighteen years old, he was doing a business of $75,000 a year.

In 1877 Mr. Lederer appeared in Chicago, and again tried his hand at publishing an illustrated weekly, at which he struggled with varying success for six months. Then he designed for book publishers, illustrated stories, made occasional cartoons, and for two years helped the National Printing Company paint the bill posters' board red. In 1883 he began making pictures for the daily papers of Chicago, working first on one and then another. Nearly every paper in town had a chance at him, but did not appear to know how to make the most of his talents. When he joined the Herald he found himself in his element. He was not repressed, but was given full latitude and encouraged to higher flights. Apart from the management of James W. Scott, and the editorship of Horatio W. Seymour, it is said that no man has done more than Mr. Lederer to advance the Chicago Herald to its present position. His work at first was solely on the Sunday edition, which he succeeded in popularizing to an unprecedented degree, and as a consequence his services were demanded on the paper every day in the week.

Mr. Lederer is one of the few men who can write entertainingly as well as draw, and the articles published in the Herald over his signature have attracted much attention, and been widely copied. He is a member of the Press Club, and of several other clubs in Chicago. He is unmarried, and one of the most popular young men in the city, his personal friends being numbered by the hundreds.

In his work Mr. Lederer is prolific and versatile. He makes pictures of all sorts, sad, satirical, humorous and attractive. He is quick to perceive the strong points in an article for illustrative purposes. Let a proofsheet be given him, and in an incredibly short time he will find the wit, and with a rapidity truly admirable will fill in a graphic situation to illume and emphasize it. His work is characterized by a vigor and a boldness with a delicacy of touch peculiar to himself.

It has been said that a man is a genius who can take the suggestions of others and make more of them than the originators ever dreamed, and who can, with equal facility, suggest ideas to others, not in words, but with a few quick strokes of a pencil. Lederer is this sort of a genius. He is great when he works with a proofsheet, he is greater when he makes pictures for an article to be written to.

Years ago, it is said, a pretty woman dubbed the subject of our article "Champagne Charley," and "Champagne Charley" he still is—sparkling, effervescing, cheery.


[Charles Lederer was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on December 31, 1856, according to Who's Who in America 1910-1911 and The Book of Chicagoans 1911. In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, he was the youngest of two children born to Jacob and Bettina; his father was a designer. The family lived in Lowell. in 1870 he and his parents resided in Brooklyn, New York; he was in school. The Book of Chicagoans said he was a "cartoonist and illustrator since 1875 for Frank Leslie's, Harper's, New York World, [and] New York Herald…." He has not been found in the 1880 census.

The 1900 census recorded Lederer in Chicago, Illinois at 514 North Avenue. His stepmother and a servant lived with him. His occupation was artist. The Book of Chicagoans said he was a "cartoonist and illustrator…for…[the] Chicago Herald and Record-Herald, [and] Chronicle"…and later "married Bertha Adele Mitchell, of Chihuahua, Colo., Sept. 29, 1907". They spent some time in Europe. According to a New York passenger list, they returned from Genoa, Italy to New York City on December 5, 1907. For a brief time, he and his wife performed together; a brochure for their performance, Fun with Chalk, can be viewed at the Iowa Digital Library. In 1910 the couple lived in Chicago at 1115 East 61st Street; his wife was 26 years old. He was an artist in newspapers of his "own account". He has not been found in the 1920 census. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 1, Books, March 1920 has an entry for him:
Lederer, Charles, 1856-
The Lederer art course; a complete, simplified system of drawing, design, cartooning and color work, by Charles Lederer. New York, Independent corporation [1920] 34 pt. illus., plates. 23cm.
© Mar. 31, 1920: 2c. and aff. Apr. 8, 1920; A 565500; Sam S. Gerstle, Chattanooga. (20-6655) 1476

The art course was advertised in periodicals such as Popular Science Monthly and Everybody's Magazine. The Chicago Daily Tribune reported Lederer's passing on December 14, 1925; a snippet from the article, "Charles Lederer veteran newspaper cartoonist dies in county hospital at age of 70". If anyone has access to ProQuest, please help us with details of his death.]

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Hello, Alex, and all---From the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Dec.14, 1925: Charles Lederer was attacked by Bright's Disease, and was initially hospitalized in Racine, Wis., from there he was moved to the Cook County Hospital in Chicago on Dec. 7. He died there on Dec. 13. "So far as his friends know, he left no relatives". A meeting of newpapermen was scheduled to raise funds for his funeral.
 
Thanks, Cole!
 
Hi,

After stumbling across an illustrated book by Lederer recently (called "Queertown"), I was searching for more info on him and his works and came across your site -- thanks very much for posting this bio! I was wondering if you would have any idea on possible resources for finding more of his work. For someone who sounds incredibly prolific, he's hard to find samples of, particularly of his newspaper cartooning... A couple instructional books and one or two broadsides are in some public institutions, but that seems to be it. ("Queertown", incidentally, was a book of illustrated humorous verse that seemed geared towards kids -- a lot of punnery, a lot of nonsensical creatures -- but also had a couple of gentle jokes at authority figures and the like that seemed to be meant a bit more for adults.)

Anyway, thanks again for this post, and any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
 
There is a misspelling of the man's name to whom Lederer was apprenticed. The wood engraver was George Dunton Hammar, who had served as captain in the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry in the early days of the Civil War. After the war, Hammar moved to Cranford, New Jersey, and commuted to his place of business in Manhattan. After some few years, he returned to Philadelphia to practice his trade, where he died on March 30, 1918.
 
Thanks, spelling corrected.
 
Charles Lederer was laid to rest in Mount Hope Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois, on December 16, 1925.
 
I discovered in an attic of an old home in Chattanooga original cartoon/caricature drawings and watercolors by Charles Lederer. I am trying to find someone who might be able to give me some indication of value. I have not found much information except for this post.

Many thanks! Lynn
 
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Monday, July 18, 2011

 

Obscurity of the Day: Turn Me Over




Charles Lederer wanted to turn the world on its ear. He did not just one but two series of the sort where you look at the cartoon normally, then turn it over to (ideally) see an entirely different picture formed from the same cartoon. He wasn't the first nor the best at this genre. In the comic strip realm the gold standard is the famed Sunday comics series UpsideDowns of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo by Gustave Verbeck. Outside newspaper comics there was Peter Newell's Topsys & Turvys, for my money the true masterpiece of the genre -- see a very cool online animated version of book 1 at NonsenseLit. Also be sure to get a copy of the cheap but excellent Tuttle Publishing reprint of the books (far better than the old Dover editions).

Okay, enough shilling for Newell. Lederer is our subject today. Charles Lederer was an editorial and humor cartoonist, mostly working in New York and Chicago during his career. He never made a really big splash but seems to have been well-regarded. He published a cartoon course in the 1910s that seems to have made him some good money -- it was still being reprinted long after Charlie kicked the bucket.

Speaking of kicking the bucket, Charlie did that in 1925, which means that the Turn Me Over series was pretty much the last thing he published. As bad as it is (if you can make out the drawings both ways on all of these, you're doing at least 50% better than me), I guess we must forgive him since he was pushing 70 and maybe not feeling too great.

The feature, which seems to have run from about March - November 1923 (rather hard to track because papers tended to print it ROP), never carried a syndicate stamp. My guess is that it was self-syndicated, or possibly from Bell or McClure based on the other features I tend to see run with it.

As soon as the original run ended the series was bought up by Western Newspaper Union, and they offered the feature through about 1926 to their clients.

Thanks to Mark Johnson for the samples!

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Hi Allan, what was the other upside-down series Lederer did?
Marco
 
We'll save that for another obscurity of the day posting, but here's a clue -- Peter Newell could have sued and won over the title.

--Allan
 
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

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