Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Jeff Keate
In the 1930s Keate moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan (his father’s birthplace) to attend college. Next, he enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and graduated in 1936. He was listed in the 1936 Grand Rapids City Directory: “Keate Robt J cartoonist r215 Paris av SE”. In the 1939 directory he had replaced Robert with Jeff.
According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Keate was the writer on the strip Filbur McFudd, which was drawn by Leland S. McClelland. It debuted November 1, 1937. Keate was named twice along with several cartoonists in a 1938 or 1939 issue Judge magazine.
The 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded Keate in Chicago, Illinois at 30 West Chicago Avenue. He was a cartoonist who had two years of college. On August 14, 1940, Keate became a naturalized citizen of the United States. During his time in Chicago he dated Phyllis Diller as reported in the Vancouver Sun, June 18, 1962:
She admitted she once was quite enamored of ex-Vancouver cartoonist Jeff Keate.
That was when he was writing gags, didn’t own a typewriter of his own and used to sit up all night using the machine in the office of the Lawson YMCA in Chicago, where he lived.
Another version was in Diller’s book, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse (2006):
My next relationship was with a cartoonist called Jeff Keate, who specialized in sports cartoons on which he’d work all night long. When I’d arrive for the breakfast shift at the Lawson building at six in the morning, he would be in a nearby office mailing out his night’s Work. That’s how we got acquainted, and soon we began dating….
A short time later, when I returned from a visit to Lima, Jeff dropped me for a girl who he was probably screwing. We’d nevertheless remain lifelong friends, and he would end up marrying three times. The first wife reportedly met with his family’s approval, but thereafter it was downhill all the way, and his last marriage was to a butchlooking pianist whom I met while we were both performing on the Dutch cruise ship Prinsendam. She was about six foot one and had the face of a bulldog. I’ve still got letters from Jeff in which he wrote, “Oh, if I had only married you when I was young…” He realized what a big help I would have been, especially with my interest in comedy.
Keate sold cartoons to various periodicals. He was the writer on Dotty Dripple, which ran from June 26 to October 14, 1944. His career took off when he moved in 1945 to New York City. A 1946 Manhattan City Directory listed him at 321 East 43rd Street.
He was one of seven contributors to Today’s Laugh, which began September 1, 1947 with his art. In 1946 and 1947, the panel, Time Out, was drawn by Berger and Keate; they alternated days or weeks at a time. Keate took over from 1948 to 1984. He advertised for gags in the Writer’s Market 1975 and 1980:
Jeff Keate, 8 Maple Grove, Westport CT 06880. Cartoonist since 1936. Interested in general situation and timely gags, sports gags (all sports in season) for “Time Out” sports panel and “Today’s Laugh,” general situation panel. “Be Funny. No puns. No oldies. No old hat situations.” Has sold all of the major publications over the past 30 years. Currently doing syndicated newspaper cartoon panels for Publishers-Hall Syndicate and Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. Pays 25% commission. Bought close to 200 gags from freelancers last year. Holds unsold gags for “approximately 2 years unless gagwriter requests gag back sooner.” Returns rejected material immediately. Enclose SASE for return of submissions.
Jeff Keate, l322 Ensenada Dr., Orlando FL 32807. Cartoonist since 1936. Buys 193 gags/year; sold about 500 cartoons last year. Has sold all of the major publications over the past 30 years. Currently doing syndicated newspaper cartoon panels for Field Newspaper Syndicate. Pays 25% commission. Holds unsold gags for “approximately 2 years unless gagwriter requests gag back sooner.” Returns rejected material “immediately.” SASE. Needs: General situation and timely gags, sports gags (all sports in season), for “Time Out” sports panel. “Be funny. No puns. No oldies. No old hat situations.”
Some of his comic book credits are here, and an interest in jazz is revealed here. A photograph of Ben Thompson, Keate, and Mort Walker at the 1965 Connecticut Cartoonists Gold Tournament is here.
Public records at Ancestry.com show that he resided in Florida, at various times, in Nokomis, Orlando and Venice. According to the Social Security Death Index, Keate passed away May 22, 1995. His last known residence was Nokomis.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Can someone there provide me with an email address where I can send the photo? I would like to get more information about it. Thank you.
This included two new strips it seems found no where else, including a dog humor comic by Jeff Keate called Rufus.
-Ray Bottorff Jr