Saturday, April 21, 2012
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 20, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Frank R. Leet
Frank Rutledge Leet was born in Canfield, Ohio on October 16, 1881, according to his World War I and II draft cards. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of four children born to Eugene and Ida. They lived in Girard Village, Liberty Township, Ohio on State Street. His father was an agent of the Erie railroad. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 8, 1949, said, "He was a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art." The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum's Cartoon Image Database has scans of his panels, A Rhyme of Doting Parents and A Rhyme of a Doting Mamma. Chronicling America has some of his sports cartoons and other work here.
Warren Chronicle: Mr. and Mrs. Frank Leet, of Chicago, Ill., are guests of the former's parents, Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Leet. For a number of years Mr. Leet has been identified with the N.E.A. syndicate as a cartoonist. Mr. Leet has decided to go into business for himself, and has already contracted with a St. Louis, Mo., syndicate to handle his cartoons and strip work, as well as a Sunday supplement sheet. Mr. Leet began his artistic career in the schools at Girard. His first printed cartoon appeared in the Warren Daily Chronicle about 15 years ago.
In the 1920 census, he was at the same address and occupation. His son, Robert, was five months old. His youngest brother, Warren, lived next door at 1668. The Leet family was recorded in the History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio, Volume 2 (1921). In 1928, his first two books, The Clowns' Acrobatic Alphabet and When Santa Was Late were published by the Goldsmith Publishing Company. According to Lambiek, "Leet became ill with a form of encephalitis that left him with a palsy and unable to draw, thus his son took over the drawing of his syndicated comic strip 'Al Acres' when he was just 12 years old . Frank Leet would do the writing and develop the concept and his son would do the drawing." Information substantiating Leet's illness has not been found at this time.
According to the 1930 census, he remained in Lakewood but at a different address, 1533 Chesterland Avenue. His occupation was independent commercial artist. In this decade, he wrote a number of books, illustrated by Fern Bisel Peat, that were published by the Saalfield Publishing Company: The Animal Caravan (1930), The Hobby Horse That Learned to Gallop (1930); Hop, Skip and Jump: Three Little Kittens (1936); The Little Brown Dog (1930); Polka-Dot Cat (1930); and Purr and Miew, Kitten Stories (1931). To the Circus the Children Go (1931) was illustrated by Gertrude Alice Kay. When Santa Was Late, illustrated by Buford Austin Winfrey, was published in 1990.
He was not working when he signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. He and Nell remained at the same address. Leet passed away December 7, 1949. His death was reported, the following day, in the Plain Dealer.
Frank R. Leet, commercial artist, cartoonist and author of children's books, will be buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery following services at 3 p.m. tomorrow in the Saxton funeral home, 13215 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood.
He died yesterday in his home, 1533 Chesterland Avenue, Lakewood, at the age of 68. He was a native of Canfield, O., and had been a resident of Greater Cleveland since early in the century. He was a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. For many years he had a studio in the Caxton Building.
Surviving him are his wife, Mrs. Nell Wallis Leet, two daughters, Mrs. Jean Barger and Mrs. Dorothy Hanna; a son, Robert, and five grandchildren.
Leet's passing was also noted in the New York Times, December 8, 1949, and in an issue of the Wilson Library Bulletin, Volume 24, 1949. His wife passed away the same day in 1974, according to Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007 at Ancestry.com.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Frank Leet. My father, Robert, did indeed draw the strips after my grandfather contracted his illness, which left him bedridden for more than 20 years. He passed on when my oldest sister was an infant, thus my sisters and I never had the pleasure of knowing him. The Internet has provided us with a treasure trove of his work to add to some of his original work that we possess. On behalf of our family, I am expressing our appreciation for your research and for sharing some samples of his prolific work. Thomas R. Leet
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Dic and Doc
Leet was the #1 workhorse cartoonist at NEA from 1907 to 1913. He created over a dozen comic strip and panel series, plus uncountable one-shot cartoons and news story illustrations. His output was so great you have to wonder whether he wore out pen nibs or if they melted from all the furious drawing.
Dic and Doc is one of his earlier series, and a fun one, about a kid who really loves dime novels, and a dog who really loves the kid. Can you imagine the uproar today if a strip had a kid character who smokes! Dic and Doc ran from October 19 1907 to sometime in January 1908
Whether Leet burned out at NEA, decided he wasn't paid enough, or something else, he left in 1913. In 1914-15 he produced a couple of minor features for World Color Printing. Then, according to Lambiek.net, he became ill and was unable to draw. By the early 1920s he was producing a strip called "Al's Acres". I have a nice long run of the strip but have had a devil of a time figuring out where it ran based on the clips -- I think it was in an agricultural journal called Ohio Farmer. Finally, Leet pops up again in the 1930s as the writer of some children's books.
I asked Alex Jay to see if he could find out more about Frank Leet, and he sure did. Look for his Ink-Slinger Profile coming tomorrow!
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Jesse Harrison Mason
Jesse Harrison Mason was born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 7, 1891, according to his World War I and II draft cards at Ancestry.com. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of two sons born to William and Gertrude. They lived in Baltimore at 1610 East Lanvale Street. His father was a butter merchant.
Ten years later, the family lived on the same street but at different number, 1705. Mason was an engraver at the Maryland Lithograph Company. His marriage was recorded in an issue of the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, Volume 14, 1973: "Virginia Baker Heard & Jesse Harrison Mason, April 20, 1912". On June 5, 1917, he signed his World War I draft card. He lived in Baltimore at 1406 Ashland Avenue and had one child. His occupation was advertising artist at the Baltimore News. His description was medium height and build with blue eyes and light-colored hair.
In the 1920 census, Mason lived with his wife, daughter and mother at 4 Holly in Baltimore. He was an artist at an engraving company. According to the Baltimore Sun, January 17, 1969, he founded, in 1924, the Mason Company, an advertising firm. Printers' Ink, Volume 147, Issue 2, 1929, reported his success:
J.H. Mason Leaves Graphic Advertising, Inc.-- Jesse Harrison Mason has resigned as vice-president and art director of Graphic Advertising, Inc., Baltimore, in order to devote his entire time to Mason & Company, advertising illustrators of that city, of which he is a resident.
On July 15, 1929, Mason married Thora Bistrup in Baltimore, according to the Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio), July 26. It is not known what happened to his first wife.
The 1930 census recorded Mason and his family in Linthicum Heights, Maryland on Maple Road. He was an advertising artist. In the mid-1930s, he and William D. Tipton (1892–1945) collaborated on the panel, Flight, and strip, Air-Minded Junior.
His design work was praised in American Aviation, June 15, 1937.
Mason passed away January 14, 1969, in Baltimore. His death was reported in the Sun on January 17. He was buried at Loudon Park National Cemetery in Baltimore.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
News of Yore 1964: Richard Q. "Moco" Yardley Profiled
Labels: News of Yore
Monday, April 16, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Our Ancestors
Yardley was in the vanguard of the so-called new wave of editorial cartoonists. Although he started out with a pretty conventional style in the 1930s, he soon tossed out his grease pencil and stipple board and adopted a clean-lined, animated style more closely associated with gag cartoons. His editorial cartoons, though often packed with details and labels, have an openness, an airiness, about them that is amazing to behold. These qualities made his editorial cartoons stand out from the pack. It also, unfortunately, kept Yardley from being taken very seriously by some of his peers. (However, one who 'got it' was Charles Bissell, whose profile of Yardley in the AAEC News will appear tomorrow here on the blog.)
Yardley used his middle name, Quincy, as the credit line on Our Ancestors, indicating that he either didn't feel any great desire to be associated with it, or that his bosses at the Baltimore Sun weren't happy with his moonlighting. My guess is the latter, since Yardley is reported to have been quite a history buff. I'm guessing he probably delighted in coming up with these history-related gags, even if they often play flat, at least to my ear.
Our Ancestors was added to the NEA line-up on March 27 1961 and was cancelled on September 4 1965. The series was revived, presumably in reprints, for their weekly Suburban Features offering from May 12 1975 to 1981.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics