Monday, August 05, 2013


News of Yore: Robert B. Davis’ Death

Robert B. Davis was a cartoonist who sometimes signed his work “R.B.S. Davis”. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 connects Davis to “R.B.S. Davis”.

Ron Goulart in his book, Comic Book Culture (2000), identified Davis as the artist of the comic strip Philo Vance. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the hard-to-find strip appeared from 1931 to 1932 in the Atlanta World.

Davis was employed at Funnies Inc. which produced comic book material for various publishers. Goulart noted one of Davis’ contributions: “Dick Cole was the creation of [Bill] Everett’s friend, and Funnies, Inc., colleague. Bob Davis.” An overview of his comics career is here.

A search for biographical information on Davis at has not yielded any results at this time. What is known comes from news reports of his death in a terrible car accident on the evening of November 28, 1941. It was reported in the Daily Argus (Mount Vernon, New York), the following day.

Tarrytown Man Killed in Crash On Saw Mill
Car Hits Guard Rail, Somersaults into River Near Ashford Avenue

Dobbs Ferry—Robert B. Davis, thirty-one, of 40 Benedict Avenue, Tarrytown, was killed last night when his car swerved from the Saw Mill River Parkway, struck a stone pillar and plunged into the Saw Mill River, landing upside down in the water. The accident occurred about 1,000 feet south of Ashford Avenue.

According to police, Mr. Davis was driving north on the parkway when his automobile veered to the left, struck a stone pillar and somersaulted into the creek. The pillar was part of a guard rail on a small bridge over the Saw Mill River. The car landed in the water on its roof, with only the wheels exposed.

Lacked Rescue Equipment

Passing motorists notified Parkway Police who in turn summoned the Ardsley Fire Department. Fire Chief Hans Roeser rushed to the scene with a squad of volunteer firemen but were unable to be of assistance owing to lack of rescue equipment. The Dobbs Ferry Fire Department Rescue Squad, in command of Chief William French, was summoned with full equipment of floodlights, first-aid equipment and rescue apparatus. Dobbs Ferry Firemen Lawrence Dawson, Edward Buckley, John Yozzo and former Fire Chief James Brooks plunged into the river, fully clothed, in an attempt to extricate the trapped man.

The vehicle was so badly damaged that the firemen were unable to get into the interior of the vehicle, even after smashing the windshield and side windows. A tow car was called and the car was pulled by tow-rope on its side. After tearing open a door Davis was removed from the car to the bank of the creek where artificial respiration was administered.

Termed Dead At Hospital

After 15 minutes’ effort at resuscitation, Davis was removed to Dobbs Ferry Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Edward Ceccolinl, resident-physician. Dr. Ceccolini notified County Medical Examiner Amos O. Squire.

Police report that Davis’ wristwatch stopped at 9:10 P.M. and that the body was in the river one-half hour. Police said they were unable to determine immediately if Davis was killed by the impact or was drowned.

More than 1,000 motorists and onlookers jammed the parkway near the scene, of the accident until Parkway police in command of Captain Frank McCabe cleared the roadway.

The New York Times, November 29, 1941, had this information: “…Mr. Davis, who was 31 years old, was employed by Funnies Inc., of New York City. He was married but had no children.”


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