Saturday, December 31, 2011

 

Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, February 25 1908 -- Herriman attends a city council meeting in which the phone company makes its plea to up rates, and is not all that impressed with the meeting or the council members.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

 

Obscurity of the Day, Disqualified Division: Do You Believe





One of the entries on my E&P Mystery List is Do You Believe, a feature listed in their directories from 1955-1962 as a daily panel cartoon by Steve Feeley and Ed Kuekes. The feature was finally unearthed by Alex Jay in the Aberdeen American-News. He sent me samples which you see above.

This illustrates one of the problems with relying overmuch on the E&P listings. Do You Believe is, in my opinion, a column feature with an incidental illustration, not a panel cartoon. As such it does not qualify for listing in Stripper's Guide. It is a great case in point for the principle that I must see a feature with my own beady li'l eyes before it gets listed in the Guide.

Sorry to sound like I'm on my high horse about this, but I sure do wish others would set the bar a little higher rather than making claims based solely on E&P listings. You can find Ed Kuekes bios in which this feature is described as a panel cartoon, or even a panel cartoon strip (whatever that is) on several sites on the web. Sigh.

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I feel your pain. Every researcher has faced published authors and internet sites that have the facts wrong.

In my case it is TV. You can show them the actual work and recorded facts from original sources and they still go in denial or don't care enough to change their misinformation.
 
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Dennis McCarthy



Dennis Bartholomew McCarthy was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 18, 1893, according to his World War I draft card. However, the Social Security Death Index said his birth year was 1892, and the 2011 exhibition catalogue, Southeast Texas Art: Cross-Currents and Influences 1925–1965, said he was born in San Francisco, California.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of four children born to Barth and Nellie, Irish emigrants. They lived in Denver, Colorado at 2449 West 28 Avenue. According to the census, McCarthy was born September 1881 in Illinois. His father was a laborer.

Ten years later, the McCarthys remained in Denver. He was the oldest of nine children and was employed as a machinist. The date of his move to Chicago, Illinois is not known. He signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. He resided at 507 North Lawler Avenue and was a cartoonist at the Chicago Herald. His description was medium height and build with blue eyes and black hair. During his service he was in San Antonio, Texas, the location of the aviation site Kelly Field. The book Kelly Field in the Great World War (1919) said:


The Kelly Field Eagle [newspaper] was fortunate in having as members of its staff men who were specialists in their line. Sgt. Dennis B. McCarthy, a cartoonist who had long been well-known in newspaper circles, immediately began to develop a series of what might be termed "punch" cartoons, with the result that his work was soon copied extensively….


In the 1920 census, McCarthy was married and lived in New Orleans, Louisiana at 2026 St. Charles Avenue. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Southeast Texas Art said, "…McCarthy worked for 15 years at the Hearst Enterprises in San Francisco and New York. Before 1925, McCarthy was a cartoonist for the Fort Worth Record. In the 1930s and 1940s, he worked for the [Texas newspapers] Beaumont Enterprise and Beaumont Journal as a cartoonist and journalist, illustrating his own articles on topics of historical, biographical, and political interest…."

McCarthy has not been found in the 1930 census. Editor & Publisher mentioned his strip for the San Francisco News. During World War II he contributed work to North American publications, an aircraft company. Flying Magazine, August 1944, noted the popularity of McCarthy's aviation industry creation: " 'Willie Wingflap,' an impish cartoon character, is drawn by a North American artist, Dennis McCarthy, and has proved so popular that the cartoons are being collected in book form for immediate publication….

After the war Southeast Texas Art said, "…A specialist in watercolor, he taught classes and provided lectures for many years at the Beaumont Art League. McCarthy also exhibited frequently at the Beaumont Art Museum…" Some of his watercolors can be viewed at the online catalogue on pages 65 through 67; at the bottom, enter a page number or click on the arrows or click the bottom corner of the page.

According to the Social Security Death Index, McCarthy lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. He passed away on May 22, 1973 in Prescott, Arizona, and was buried at the Prescott National Cemetery, according to U.S. Veterans Gravesites at Ancestry.com.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

 

Obscurity of the Day: Unforgettable Episodes in the Lives of Chicagoans



Newspapers occasionally tried to curry favor with local businesspeople (and potential advertisers) by featuring them in cartoons. The gimmick was sometimes artfully handled -- take, for instance, Billy Ireland's The Passing Show.  D. McCarthy of the Chicago Sunday Herald, however, lets it all hang out as a transparent attempt at posterior worship with this series of not-particularly-funny cartoons based on the boyhood reminiscences of Chicago businessmen.

The weekly series appeared in the Herald starting on February 4 1917 and ran until July 22 of that year.

D. McCarthy is either Dennis or Daniel, both of whom were cartoonists in this era. I'm too full of Christmas cookies this morning to bother hunting down which it is.  

Thanks very much to Cole Johnson for samples of this feature!

Edit: Alex Jay, apparently not suffering so much from after-Christmas inertia, tells me that this would be Dennis McCarthy, as Daniel was long dead by 1917, and will offer an Ink-Slinger Profile tomorrow. What service!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Raoul Barré


Vital Achille Raoul Barré was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on January 29, 1874, according to The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons (1999), Who's Who in Animated Cartoons (2006), Wikipedia, and Robert Edwards' biography at Find a Grave. Barre's life and career is thoroughly covered in these four sources. This profile will focus on just a few things.


Barre's only American strip was Noahzark Hotel. The strip has been titled incorrectly as Noah's Ark by many sources.


In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Barré, wife Antoinette, and daughter Marguerite lived in Manhattan, New York City at 609 West 127th Street. His occupation was illustrator. The census said he immigrated in 1903.

In 1913 Barré formed his own animation company, Raoul Barré Studio, according to the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons. However, in Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat (1996), John Canemaker said the company name was, "…Raoul Barré's Animated Cartoons, Inc., in the Fordham section of the Bronx."


The Riverside Enterprise (California) published this item on May 18, 1915.


Barre, Edison Cartoonist
Edison is to release regularly, beginning with "The Animated Grouch Chaser," a series of animated comic cartoons by the noted French cartoonist, Raoul Barre. The cartoons will be considerably different, in several features, than some that have already appeared, as the pictures will combine both acting by the Edison players and the animated cartoons, both being interestingly and funnily blended. Mr. Barre will personally stage the part of the picture devoted to the players so that the infectious strain of fun will run consistently through the picture and work out his ideas perfectly.





New York Dramatic Mirror, 8/25/1915



In 1916, Barré and Charles Bowers formed the Barré-Bowers Studio to produce Mutt and Jeff animated cartoons. The Trow Directory New York City 1916 listing was "Barre Raoul 2524 Webster av". The 1917 entry was "Barre Raoul cartoonist 2553 Webster av". The addresses were in the Bronx borough.


In 1918, Barré suffered major setbacks. Who's Who in Animated Cartoons said, "A year later, in early 1917, Fisher took control of the series, forming Bud Fisher Films Corporation and setting up a studio with Bowers in the Bronx, producing fifteen cartoons that year and gradually squeezing Barré out of the operation." Edwards said, "But there was friction between him, Bowers and Fisher, and Barré abruptly quit in 1918." World Encyclopedia of Cartoons said, "Personal and financial disputes between the partners led to Barre's withdrawal in in 1919." Wikipedia said, "Mutt and Jeff was a strong money-maker for Barré, Bowers, and Fisher, but Barré began to get tired of it all as the years passed, due to personality conflicts with both partners. Barré retired from animation in 1919, amid rumors of a nervous breakdown."

Barr
é's World War I draft card revealed that he was institutionalized at the Central Islip State Hospital in 1918. The date of his admission is not known. Below is the information on the card:


Name: Rauel [sic] Barre
Address: 1 Northern Avenue [illegible]
State: New York
Age: 44
Birth Date: unknown 1874
Race: White
Alien: England (Canada)
Occupation: None
Employer's Name: A patient in Central Islip State Hospital
Employer's Address: Central Islip, Suffolk, New York
Nearest Relative: Antonette [sic] Barre, wife/1811? University Avenue, New York City [Bronx], New York
Signature: refuses to sign
Height/Build: Tall/Stout
Color of Eyes/Hair: Blue/Brown
Disqualification: Insane
Date of registration: September 12, 1918


Barré's draft card



The date of his release from the hospital is not known. In the 1920 census, the family of three lived in Glen Cove, New York at 49 Sea Cliff Avenue. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Barré returned to animation in 1926 but ill-health forced him to leave and return to Montreal, where he passed away on May 21, 1932.

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Great Post! If you can find Izzy Klein's article on Charlie Bowers online it discusses in great detail Barre's retirement from Mutt and Jeff, which had very much to do with the decline of Barre's mental health and also with Bowers allegedly cheating Barre out of money, which later lead to Bowers being replaced by animator Dick Friel as studio head in 1920.
 
Thanks, Charlie. Michael Sporn Animation, www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/?p=981, posted the Cartoonist Profiles article; an unstable Barre is mentioned on page four.
 
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Monday, December 26, 2011

 

News of Yore: George Swanson



Comic Strip Artist 'Kidded' Into Profession

George Swanson Creator of 'Flop Family' Calls Wife Severest Critic

Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York) 8/1/1962




by Susan Rohan

George Swanson, the cartoonist who does "The Flop Family" strip, is the only comic artist who was "kidded" into the profession.

In the years just before World War I, Mr. Swanson left Curtis High School in Chicago and worked as an office boy for the Pullman Car Company in suburban Chicago. The Pullman organization published a house organ monthly and a regular contributor to it was a man by the name of Ralph Swanson, no relation to George.

The youthful Swanson was regularly kidded by the 100-odd men in his department when they'd say, "Now there's a Swanson who's done something, he's got initiative. At least one Swanson around here will get somewhere some day."

Novice At Drawing

The jibes hit home with the young man and he went home and grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil. In his 16 years, he never had so much as drawn a resemblance of a straight line. Drawing pictures had never entered his mooned before this episode. What he had in mind at the time was to ultimately become president of Pullman.

He sent his first two cartoons to the company paper and was startled a month later to see one of them in place of Ralph's cartoon.

From then on the paper had a new cartoonist named George Swanson and he was on his way to a new career.

Born in Chicago, the son of Nel's and Anna Swanson, George's mother wanted him to be a violinist. This failed to arouse any interest in the young man, and he tried being an electrician, a wish if his father. This didn't work out either, and then he went to Pullman.

Mr. Swanson attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago after starting his new career. He later went to the Carlson Studio doing movie animations.

His first syndicated strip was "Salesman Sam," which had a seven-year tenure. His next was "High Pressure Pete," also syndicated.

Mr. Swanson and his wife, the former Victorine Turgeon of Cleveland, met while both worked for the same syndicate in Cleveland. Mrs. Swanson was with the bookkeeping department of the syndicate. They have lived in Yonkers since 1940, now at 294 Bronxville Road.

Mr. Swanson works at his drawing board at his home and sends in each week's work to his syndicate. He must work 10 weeks ahead o his daily strip and six weeks ahead on the Sunday strip. He reports that there is no let-up even on vacation, because he must keep up and ahead of schedule.

Ideas From Life

In order to get new ideas for his strip, Mr. Swanson resorts to good, plain, deep concentration. He sometimes sits and thinks for a good long time before he gets the idea he wants to portray. He tries not to look at other cartoons and strips because it is possible to unwittingly use someone else's ideas for his own strip. He also gets other material from extensive reading and from real-life episodes.

Sometimes Mr. Swanson has an idea of what he wants but can't get to the point. When this happens, he draws or sketches the last picture first and then works from there in a backward sequence.

Another difficulty which arises is the fact that his cartoon strip is carried abroad. What may be very humorous here is not always so in foreign lands….

...Besides "The Flop Family" strip which keeps him very busy, Mr. Swanson rounds out his activities as a member of the National Cartoonist Society and the Banshees, an honorary, invitation-only organization.

Mr. Swanson names his wife as his severest critic. "If she says a joke is good, I think she's clever. If she doesn't think it is good, well, we just don't speak for a week." The Swansons are currently on speaking terms.


[George O. Swanson was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 16, 1897, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census and the Social Security Death Index. He was the second of three children born to Nils and Hannah, both Swedish emigrants. They lived in Chicago, Illinois at 1342 North Artesian Avenue. His father was a carpenter. In 1910 the family of six lived in Chicago at 17 East 112 Place. He signed his World War I draft card on August 24, 1918. At the time he lived at 41 West 111 Place in Chicago. He worked for the Pullman Company. His description was medium height, slender build with gray eyes and light brown hair.

The 1920 census recorded Swanson, his mother and youngest sister in Chicago at 417 West 111 Place. His occupation was recorded as bookkeeper. The date of his move to Ohio is not known. In 1930 he lived in Lakewood, Ohio at 11727 Lake Avenue. He married Victorine, around 1923, and worked as an artist for a newspaper syndicate. His mother-in-law lived with them.

Swanson passed away in December 1981, in Bronxville, New York, according to the Social Security Death Index.]

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I've just recently been in touch with his great-niece, who has been selling late Flop Family strips on ebay (for a steal, incidentally). Someone really should do a book on him one of these days.
 
I have just run across what looks like a sketch of Salesman Sam with the 'Swan' signature. May I ask you how to get in touch with his grand-niece? This cartoon was in my father's papers, and he grew up in Cleveland in the 20's-40's.
Thanks so much!
Kass
 
Hi There! My name is Dawne Edwards, the grand niece of my Uncle Swan, known as George Swanson, who is most known for his comic strips Flop Family, High Pressure Pete and Salesman Sam. I have been going through a stack of comics that my mother inherited and am getting ready to put some on ebay- it makes me feel bad to sell them- I would love to be part of seeing them put into a book. Anyone who has any questions I would be happy to try to answer them- you may contact me at dawneedwards@hotmail.com. I am not trying to give them away on ebay- I started them out much higher for months with no interest- so eventually lowered them and unfortunately they sold but only at a lower price. The stack I am going through now is from the 50's - wow! Are they wonderful pieces of art! feel free to take a look at my ebay store- buyfuntoys! thank you! Dawne Edwards, Cleveland Ohio
 
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

 

Merry Christmas from Jim Ivey and Stripper's Guide


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