Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Larry Antonette


Lawrence Jospeh “Larry” Antonette was born in Tacoma, Washington on August 31, 1909, according to the Social Security Death Index and the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. The census recorded him as the only child of Joseph and Florence. They lived in Tacoma, Washington at 4051 South Tacoma Avenue. His father emigrated from Italy and was a grocery salesman.

The Antonettes remained at the same address in the 1920 census. Tacoma city directories for 1923 and 1924 show Antonette worked in his father’s grocery store. The 1928 directory listed Antonette as a student.

The 1930 census recorded the family at 1912 South M in Tacoma. Antonette was a cartoonist working in advertising. His father was a salesman for a mining company.

Senior Antonette was pictured several times in the Washington State College 1931 yearbook, The Chinook, where he was on the editorial staff in charge of features. Antonette was a fine arts major; the treasurer of Delta Phi Delta whose purpose was “To promote art in America; to recognize scholarship and foster true friendship.”; and chairman of the Fine Arts Ball. He was a member of the Montezuma and Senate Clubs.

At some point, Antonette moved to New York City, where, according to Lambiek, “…He…attended the Grand Central School of Art”. The 1940 census said Antonette and his wife, Eileen, lived in Sunnyside, Queens, New York, at 4141 46th Street, since 1935. In 1935 Antonette produced three strips. The first was Bozo and the Baron for the Van Tine Features Syndicate. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1935 New Series, Volume 32, Number 9 had this entry:

Antonette (L.) Bozo and the baron. v. 1. © July 16, 1935; AA 184135; Van Tine features syndicate, inc., New York. 27211

Marysville Tribune (Ohio) 11/17/1936

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).

His second strip, Biff Baxter’s Adventures, syndicated by Lincoln Newspaper Features, followed in December 1935. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1935 New Series, Volume 32, Number 12 recorded the registration:
Antonette (Lawrence) Biff Baxter’s adventures, by Bob Dart [pseud.] © Dec. 6, 1935; A 69964; Lincoln newspaper features, inc., New York. 37491

Key West Over-Sea Sunday Star (Florida) 4/12/1936

Less than two weeks later, Dash Dixon was the third strip, also syndicated by Lincoln, to be copyrighted. The following entry is from the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1936 New Series, Volume 33, Number 1:

Antonette (Lawrence) Dash Dixon, by Dean Carr [pseud.] © Dec. 19, 1935 : A 70681; Lincoln newspaper features, inc., New York. 204

Key West Over-Sea Sunday Star (Florida) 4/12/1936

Since Antonette’s name was on Van Tine’s Bozo and the Baron, two pseudonyms were used for his strips from Lincoln Features, which was operated by H.T. Elmo. It's not known who came up with the pseudonyms “Bob Dart” and “Dean Carr”; my guess would be Elmo since he was the owner. Another artist, Jack Kirby, drew Facts You Never Knew for Elmo’s syndicate and signed the strip as “Bob Dart”.

A few years later, Antonette found work in the comic book industry. He was at the Eisner and Iger Studio then Funnies, Inc. An overview of his comics career can be viewed at Who’s Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Some of his comic book work is identified at the Grand Comics Database.

He collaborated with fellow artist Carl Pfeufer; their work was recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, etc. 1945 New Series, Volume 40, Number 10.

Antonette, Lawrence J. & Pfeufer, Carl T. 11466, 11467Pfeufer, Cart T. :Alfy and Bugs. — Alfy and Bugs. They hit the water. © 1 c. each Oct. 8, 1945 ; G 46256, 46257.
Eventually, Antonette returned to Tacoma where he was the director of the Northwest School of Art at 3605 South 52nd Street. The school offered classes in commercial and fine art. A 1949 city directory said he resided at 4025 Sound View. He advertised the school in American Artist magazine.

In the 1953 directory Antonette’s occupation was artist. According to a 1956 Renton, Washington city directory, his residence remained Tacoma but he worked in Renton as a writer for “Military Manuals.” In the 1957 Tacoma directory, Antonette was a draftsman at the Western Boat Building. His was an artist in the 1958 listings.

Lambiek said Antonette was head of Television Art for the Tacoma Public Schools.

Antonette passed away on February 23, 1997 in Tacoma, according to the Social Security Death Index. His wife predeceased him by 22 months. Their Social Security numbers were issued in New York state, so it’s possible they met and married in New York City. They were buried at Calvary Cemetery in Tacoma.

—Alex Jay


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