Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Blumey

Blumey was the pseudonym of Abraham Blumenfeld who was born in New York, New York, on April 3, 1900, according to the New York City Births records at Ancestry.com and his World War I draft card.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Blumenfeld was the oldest of two children born to Jacob, a Russian emigrant, and Annie, an Austrian emigrant. His father was the proprietor of a clothing factory. They resided in Manhattan at 406-408 Ninth Street. According to the 1915 New York State Census, Blumenfeld, his parents and three siblings lived in the Bronx at 882 Beck Street.

On September 12, 1918, Blumenfeld signed his World War I draft card. He lived with his parents and named his father as his nearest relative. The description on the card said he was tall, medium build with brown eyes and black hair. Blumenfeld was a ship builder at the Tebo Yacht Basin in Brooklyn.

Blumenfeld, a silk hose salesman, was counted in his father’s household in the 1920 census. The address did not change. Soon after the census enumeration, Blumenfeld married and moved to California.

Blumenfeld has not yet been found in the 1930 census. The 1940 census said he and wife, Dorothy, had three California-born children with the oldest at 19 years of age. They resided in Los Angeles at 5739 Craner Avenue. Blumenfeld’s occupation was carpenter grip, which meant that he worked in the motion picture industry. The odd thing about the census is that Blumenfeld’s first name was recorded as “Edward.”

I know I have the right person because of the 1937 Van Nuys, California city directory with this listing:

Blumenfeld Abraham (Dorothy) techn [technician] h 5739 Craner av
A nearly identical listing appeared in the 1944 North Hollywood and Studio City directory.

In 1931, Blumenfeld tried to enter the comics pages by creating Don’t Laugh—Superstitious Beliefs. He worked with commercial artist William Mogy who did a sample strip. Blumenfeld applied for a copyright which was granted according to the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works or Art, etc., 1931, New Series, Volume 26, Number 4:

Blumenfeld (Abraham) North Hollywood, Calif. 8548
Mogy (William) Drawing:
Don’t laugh, (superstitious beliefs) by Blumey. A series of cartoons [4 illustrations] of the superstitious beliefs of the peoples of the world [2 forks, dog lying in doorway, girl’s skirt blowing up, and boy being whipped] 1 c. Dec. 22, 1931; G 7669.
For three-and-a-half years the project languished. In 1935 Blumenfeld sold his project to Van Tine Features and it was recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc. 1935, New Series, Volume 32, Number 9:
[Blumenfeld (Abraham)] Don't laugh, superstitious beliefs, by Blumey. v. 1. © July 16, 1935; AA 184134; Van Tine features syndicate, inc. New York. 27300

The strip was credited to “Blumey”. Ernest Smythe, a Hollywood veteran artist, drew the strip at the beginning. Following him were other artists who may have been in the movie industry, too. The Van Tine Features comics were announced, with much fanfare, in the West Seattle Herald, (Washington), June 18, 1936, and the Hastings News (New York), January 10, 1936 (below).

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Don’t Laugh—Superstitious Beliefs ended in 1937.

Blumenfeld passed away August 16, 1985, in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index, at Ancestry.com, which had his birth year as 1901.

—Alex Jay


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