Saturday, March 19, 2016
Wednesday, November 11, 1908 -- Herriman attends a night of boxing at the Jeffries Athletic Club. The main attraction is Terry Mustain v. Al Kaufman, which Kaufman won, but George also gives a nod to a few others on the card. Hobo Dougherty, in his first pro bout, takes on Young Hugo, in his only pro appearance, and loses. Jack O'Keefe chalks up a win against Lee Flanders, who also was making his only pro appearance.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 18, 2016
Walt McDougall's This is the Life: Chapter 11 Part 2
Chapter Eleven (Part 2) - But No Worse Than The Others
The exterior aspect of great men has always been to me a mystery, gifted as I was, by birth or practice, with the trick of reading at a glance, in most cases, the lines of concealed vanities, conceits, stupidity, kindliness or lust that Time always stencils on the human face. Tom Read, who in spite of his fat seemed stern and even quite fierce, melted to delightful bonhomie in private, Grover Cleveland even when shooting or fishing seemed grumpy, yet a flash of profane humor often lighted his bold features. Once in Newark when a long file of hand-shaking school-teachers had been temporarily halted, he turned to me and gruffly whispered:
"Why in hell can't they send in a few good-lookers?"
Woodrow Wilson's easy affability never seemed genuine to me; he had a sort of swift floorwalker's smirk that was suspicious; a sort of parlor veneer that curled up and dropped off suddenly. Like William Jennings Bryan's attempts at humor, I always regarded Wilson's near-levity as bait.
We had Bryan one night at a free-for-all, catch-as-catch-can contest of wits at the Wilkes-Barre Press Club, where the prodigiously clever Dan Hart, the author of "The Parish Priest," and Frank Ward O'Malley and others as gifted in repartee kept us in roars for two hours while William J. scarcely cracked a smile. In sooth, he seemed rather dazed, and during a walk I took with him afterward he never once referred to the fact that we had witnessed a rather remarkable exhibition of mental gymnastics. I doubt if he really knew it. I have often been with him, but never saw him relax from his prairie frock-coat dignity.
On the other hand, some great men are instinctively kindly and gracious; indeed, all great men are. In the Hotel Bellevue-Stratford, after a banquet one night, a friendly hand helped me on with my overcoat and, turning to thank my helper, I found he was Ambassador Bryce! At the dedication of Grant's Tomb I sat on a rail fence (on Riverside Drive!) beside a coatless perspiring man in black with whom I fell into conversation. He expressed a wish for a drink, and quite wilted when informed that the nearest saloon was at l10th Street. I told him of the booze tent provided for notables back of the Tomb.
"Why! I have an invitation for that!" he exclaimed. "If only my staff were here! I'm Governor Pattison of Pennsylvania."
Whereupon I escorted him to the sacred pavilion, where he found his official staff in full force. You can trust the average Pennsylvania official to find such a place by instinct.
I became acquainted with Sir Thomas Lipton in a similar manner. It was at the great Dewey Parade. Seated together in the grandstand, we fell to talking by his casually noting that we were the only two men in the grand stand wearing soft hats, which led to further remarks, and just as we were beginning to appreciate each other's charms the ex-secretary of the Navy of Cleveland's administration, William McAdoo, approached and informed Sir Thomas that he was seated beside a most dangerous man. Then he introduced me.
But a more notable incident was prefaced by my asking my seatmate on a N.Y. Central train, a distinguished-looking man of advanced years, if he knew anything about Yonkers. When I further inquired as to the best means of reaching Samuel J. Tilden's residence, "Greystone," he assured me that a carriage would be found at the station to take me thither, and then he began to question me. Finally he adroitly drew from me both my name and my purpose in going to Tilden's home, whereupon he informed me that he was Mr. John Bigelow, then writing Tilden's biography, and said that he would take me up to "Greystone" in his carriage.
My object in going to "Greystone" was to make a sketch of the great lawyer. Bigelow very kindly induced him to pose for me and, I suspect, to ask me to dine with them. After dinner, seated in the wonderful library, which is the only thing that has ever caused me to envy another human being, there followed a memorable evening during which there came up for discussion many topics to which, of course, I contributed nothing but two or three frivolous stories, until that of alcoholic beverages was broached. Mr. Tilden was as great an authority on alcoholic matters as he was on books or the law. He rang for his butler and instructed him to bring a certain bottle of Santa Cruz rum which, when decanted, looked like olive oil!
It was, as near as I can remember, some seventy or eighty years old. Rum under any alias had always been to me a detestable drink, but as I almost shudderingly took a sip of this adorably scented ambrosia, I realized what age can do to all things. It was as innocently, seductively soft and delicate as it was innocent-seeming and dynamic. I lapped it lingeringly, prolonging the bliss of about three fingers, perhaps, of the nectar, listening to the Sage of "Greystone" descant upon its virtues at length, a subject plainly very agreeable to him. The draft was finished all too soon. Suddenly I observed his slim wasted form slowly and then more rapidly receding from view into the book-filled background and, turning to Bigelow, saw that he too was removed to an incredible distance. It was like looking through the big end of the telescope.
As I struggled against this manifest delusion, a vast bluish curtain shot with streaks of amber light shut out all vision. Then I felt myself lifted and borne carefully into the upper regions. I recall dimly my shoes being removed. I did not care if they took my appendix away.
Next morning Tilden's valet awoke me, as fresh as a violet. While dressing, I endeavored to extract from him the particulars of this mystic occurrence, but he pretended to know nothing. "At least tell me," I implored, "was anybody else affected as I was?" He grinningly admitted that he had heard that both Mr. Tilden and Mr. Bigelow had retired very early after my knock-out, but his grin made me think that my rum had not been drugged. Long afterward Bigelow said that he believed the normal dose of that brand of Santa Cruz should be about one thimbleful in water, but he would not confess to seeing any optical effects or mirages.
I told the story to Old John Chamberlain, Bill Gilder and Tom Ochiltree, and with tears in his eyes Tom moaned: "My God! Think of being able to have outstayed those two and being left alone with that old bottle! I'd have been pickled for a week!" Chamberlain regarded me with pity and disgust mingled.
"Huh! It's plain you have damn little Scotch blood left in you!" he muttered. "I'd be ashamed to tell such a story on myself!"
He went into old General Longstreet's room and I heard him shouting the tale into the General's ear trumpet. Dear old, grizzly-looking, bearded Longstreet! Crusty without, but all cream and honey within! Once in New York he expressed a desire to obtain a copy of Fox's "Book of Martyrs," having heard of a small-sized edition with all of the old pictures reproduced. I suggested that we walk over to the American News Company in Park Place and see what we could find. We were attended by a languid clerk with a one-way brain who, when I asked for the book, murmured: "I think you'll find it up in that gallery there. All the Fox publications are on those shelves."
We climbed up to find ourselves facing all the literature ever issued by Richard K. Fox of the Police Gazette! When we got outside I burst into laughter, for which the General demanded an explanation, and as he was very deaf I had to tell the story to all lower New York. That is what always happens when you tell a good one to Thomas A. Edison; consequently he loses many of the very best.
James Gordon Bennett the younger was one of the individuals whose austerity was undisturbed even when behaving most erratically. Sam Chamberlain, who had been his private secretary for a few years, told me that when they were cruising off the coast of Greece, Bennett took him ashore with him to inspect an ancient monastery wherein was a sacred lamp that had been burning more than a thousand years. A monk as old, apparently, as the lamp conducted them to the sacrosanct relic smoking in a niche in the wall. Bennett examined it with great interest and, turning to the monk, asked:
"Do you say that this lamp has been burning for a thousand years? Never been out in all that time?"
"Not in more than a thousand years," asserted the monk proudly.
"Well, it's out now!" snapped the alleged great editor as he blew out the tiny flickering flame.
Sam said he did not know what this characteristic bit of eccentricity cost his boss, but he said that for a time it looked as if both of them were doomed to be cut up by the enraged eremites and fed to the monastery pigs. Bennett finally squared himself with the exalted ruler of the monastery in a private interview during which Sam endured insults in fourteen languages from irate and vermin-infested monks. Sam was always extremely natty and, indeed, immaculate; Bennett was as proud as Lucifer for weeks over this prank.
At the National Convention of 1904, I think, or it might have been earlier, roving about the hotel lobby I came upon a short, cheeky-looking young man dressed very conspicuously and adorned with a beard of carmine hue. This beard alone would have served as a spotlight had its wearer been modest and retiring, but in the forward push of the roseate alfalfa, the impertinent nose and the keen blue eyes, there was revealed consummate assurance, immense egotism and 50-horsepower vanity. I immediately sketched this apparition and then asked his name.
He was Ham Lewis, then an obscure alternate from, I think, Oregon, but he was utterly unknown. It being a dull day, his picture was published and of course attracted attention, and he became one of the Convention sights. It placed him in the limelight temporarily, but that was sufficient for Ham. He kept to the front whenever cameras gathered, and has demonstrated that to get to the top in politics all that is needed is a flossy scarlet beard, a peacock vest and a steady push. Lieutenant-Governor Woodruff devoted much time to reverberating waistcoats, and no one may say it was time lost, but he never reached the height Senator Ham Lewis attained.
Ex-Gov. Bill Sulzer wore a mask of severe dignity that was relaxed only when he was lit up by high spirits, when he became perfectly human. Bill, whom I've known since his boyhood days in Elizabeth, N.J., and who was keenly aware that the least evidence of humor is fatal to a politician, although satire is an invaluable asset, was, in spite of his Henry Clay frown, an exceedingly jovial and generous-souled chieftain with a multitude of friends whom he still retains, and that is more than any other ex-Governor of New York can say. Hughes has a Christmas-tree smile that is as adjustable as an automobile license-tag which to the inexperienced observer closely resembles the real thing, but it is a synthetic product and nothing like the "I-have-swallowed-the-canary" article such as Al Smith and Charley Schwab can deliver.
Richard Mansfield also carried one of those self-feeding smiles that last longest in a photograph. I was preparing a story about actors' make-ups, for which Nat Goodwin and Henry E. Dixey had already posed, and went to Ed Price, Mansfield's manager, to see if I could not add his method to that of the others. Ed thought it a splendid idea and took me to Mansfield's room. When I had explained my purpose he said that it ought to make an attractive article.
"That is what both Goodwin and Dixey thought," I rejoined.
"Are they going to be in it?" he demanded, his smile vanishing just as rabbits vanish as soon as the game laws are up.
"They've both posed for me," said I.
"That lets me out!" he exclaimed. "I can't appear in a newspaper article with any other artist!"
Diffident and reticent as I am by nature, I had to tell him in a few unstudied words what I thought of such egoism, and I am afraid he never thought much of me afterward.
I moved in 1893 to Glen Ridge, then just incorporated, where Edward C. Mitchell, editor of the Sun, was my next-door neighbor. We two gave tone to the tiny burg until a goodly number of taxpayers, golf-players and commuters were gathered. That year, the year of Cleveland's second occupation of the White House, arose the famous "Sugar Scandal." Pulitzer was still inimical to Cleveland, and a World man disturbed his equanimity, but Senator Jim Smith, bless his soul! was a firm friend, as was Senator David B. Hill, who lived at the Normandie, and William McKinley, growing in reputation and influence, was very companionable. He was as genial as was Harding later, but gave the impression of more reserved strength. Harding was the typical jovial Elk whom everybody called "Warren," but I never heard anybody call McKinley "Bill," although many really loved him.
Now Brisbane and I were sent down to bust this devilish Sugar Trust, and in addition de Thulstrup was commissioned to draw a number of portraits of Cabinet officers and other notables. I lived in John Devine's new Shoreham Hotel and loafed a lot at Chamberlain's, where Eddie Somborn, Gene Earle, General Longstreet, Ochiltree, Phil. Thompson, old Senator Teller and other lovers of terrapin and canvasback made their headquarters.
Every bit of Washington gossip, and the city was as permeated with mean and absurd scandal as it is to-day or nearly, collected here as in a cesspool, and had I been a writer I would have been able to dish up some very dreadful-smelling material, but as it was known that I never reported what I heard except funny stories, I heard much. It was on this trip that Brisbane won a large sum, said by him to be six thousand dollars, from four influential Democrats in a poker game and the next day invited me to go with him to purchase a pair of saddle horses. He was so busy riding these animals that he never had time to attack the villainous Sugar Trust at all, and as I could not battle with a trust single-handed, knowing almost nothing about sugar in large gobs as Arthur did, I took Phil. Thompson's word that I was wasting my time, and went off fishing up the Potomac with Amos Cummings and "Terrapin Tom" Murray, who kept the restaurant in the Capitol.
It was my first and only experience of river bass-fishing, which is why it lingers in the memory. Far up the Potomac we journeyed to a foam-footed dam in a wilderness of farms and spent a notable day filled with laughter, wisdom and "fisherman's luck," for we caught nothing, and at eventide we sought a farmhouse to which Amos had been directed by F. Hopkinson Smith, the painter. I scented mint as Cummings asked the aged proprietor if he could put us up for the night and found myself standing in a bed of it beside the door. After supper we talked, with the aged farmer as audience, of many things, sugar, scrapple, strange dishes, travel and fish, and when flying fish happened to be the topic I described their gliding flight as I had seen it in the Caribbean Sea. Suddenly the old farmer burst into wild laughter. "Flying fish!" he chortled. "That's as good a yarn as Hop Smith's about the houses in New York bein' so close together they touch each other!"
Then I went out, cut some mint, and made mint julep to the immense appreciation of our host, who, when our bottle was finished, produced another, demanding that I make mint juleps all night!
Some years afterward I met Tom Murray in New York, where he started a restaurant only to fail, and he asked me if I remembered the ancient farmer on the Potomac. "Well, I went down there a year or two later," he said, "and the old boy had planted thirty-seven acres to nothing but mint!"
During my summer at the Shoreham I used to eat many meals with an estimable and companionable man, E. Barton Hepburn, who was the Republican hold-over Controller of the Currency. I formed the acquaintance of a tall lean Chicago lawyer named James B. Eckels, of my age, who was seeking the position of District Attorney of that section. We talked much together while loafing about the hotel, and became quite chummy. One noon as I sat in the window with Eckels, I signaled to Hepburn that I would join him at lunch just as Jim received a letter by messenger and opened it. He paled and looked rather wildly about, then handed me the letter. It was from President Cleveland, appointing Eckels Controller of the Currency. After congratulating him and partly calming his excitement, I walked over to the waiting Hepburn and told him of this rather queer coincidence, whereupon he asked me to bring Eckels to lunch. Cleveland had taken a fancy to Jim and appointed him on an impulse. He served with distinction, then went into banking in Chicago, and later I heard that he had met with reverses that caused him to end his own life.
Another acquaintance of that period, and one which has always endured, was that with Henry E. Eland, now of the Wall Street Journal, and no longer the rollicking, hilarious boon companion of historians and deep-sea vikings. He was my second in a near-duel that has tainted my reputation for leonine courage for years. I had published some flippant sketches of an old ex-Confederate Major who hung about the Ebbitt House and who, incited, as I have always believed, by Jack Tennant, now editor of the Evening World, promptly challenged me according to the code. As the challenged party I had the choice of weapons, and I chose hatchets. I never heard any more from the Major, but a number of envious reptiles still continue to assert that I was afraid to meet him in mortal combat. It is consoling to me that Eland has always believed in my untarnished honor.
Labels: McDougall's This Is The Life
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Howard Boughner
Howard Robert Boughner was born in Cadillac, Michigan, on December 16, 1908, according to the Social Security Applications and Claims Index at Ancestry.com.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Boughner was the youngest of three children born to Robert, a railroad conductor, and Emma. The family resided in Cadillac at 205 East Bremer.
In 1920 the family of five had moved a few blocks to 492 Crippen Street. Boughner continued to live with his parents at the same address in the 1930 census.
Who’s Who in Writers, Editors & Poets (1989), said Boughner used the Landon correspondence art course. The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), June 26, 1990, said Boughner “studied art at Eastern Michigan University and the Detroit Art Academy.”
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Boughner assisted on Dumb Dora in 1934. According to Who’s Who, Boughner was on the staff of the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) from 1936 to 1946. When Irving S. Knickerbocker left his strip, Mac, Boughner continued it from November 9, 1936 to September 22, 1941. Boughner did the same thing on Clyde Lewis’ Hold Everything in 1944. Boughner drew three Christmas strips penned by Hal Cochran: Bobby’s Christmas Dream (1938), Peter and Polly in Toyland (1939) and Santa’s Secrets (1940).
On July 1, 1938, Boughner married Dorothy Peterson, a stenographer. At the time Boughner lived at 2802 Colburn Avenue, and Peterson at 1028 Galewood Drive, as recorded on the Cleveland, Ohio marriage certificate.
The 1940 census recorded Boughner, his wife and sister-in-law in Cleveland at 1028 Galewood Drive. His occupation was newspaper syndicate cartoonist. Boughner also produced material for Fawcett comic books from the mid-1940s to early 1950s.
Who’s Who said Boughner contributed to children’s publication such as Jack & Jill, Treasure Chest, and Children’s Playmate. After 1946, the Plain Dealer said Boughner was “a free-lance commercial artist for television stations, advertising agencies and corporations.” Boughner authored three books: Cartooning Jobs for Beginning Cartoonists (1952), Posters (1962) and Dictionary of Things to Draw (1979).
American Newspaper Comics said Boughner was an uncredited writer of Freckles and His Friends in the 1960s. He also assisted on Penny, created by Harry Haenigsen, from 1968 to 1969. For the Allied Feature Syndicate, Boughner created Mrs. Bee the Working Wife, which debuted April 10, 1967. The Plain Dealer, May 30, 1957, said: “Mrs. Boughner is the woman behind the new cartoon, ‘Mrs. Bee’….Although the real Mrs. B. is a medical secretary at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the comic ‘Mrs. Bee’ will assume many different occupations.” The Plain Dealer said Boughner was a ghost writer on Nancy.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Toppers: When Mother Was a Girl
Dumb Dora began in 1924, and was originally by Chic Young, who left it to create Blondie in 1930. The feature, about a dizzy brunette who often comes out on top despite herself, suffered from a pretty severe case of one-joke-itis, but was always a very pleasant and well-drawn feature.
The strip gained a Sunday page in 1925, and when Hearst decreed that all their Sunday strips needed to have toppers in 1926, Young settled on When Mother Was a Girl after a short flirtation with a strip titled Joe College. This topper, too, was a one-joke strip, in which the genteel and ladylike woman of the 1890s is compared to her daughter, a fast-living, smart young girl-about-town.
When Chic Young abandoned the U.S.S. Dora in 1930, the great King Features bullpenner Paul Fung took over (starting 5/4/30 on the Sunday page), and he produced a strip that looked and read just like Young's, except that he polished the art up just a little bit, because he was just too darn good not to.
In 1932, Fung went on to other assignments, and Dumb Dora was handed off to Bil Dwyer. His style was a little looser, but still maintained a good thread all the way back to Young. Milt Caniff says that Dwyer had trouble drawing pretty girls, and paid him to draw them in Dumb Dora for quite awhile.
Speaking of assistants, expert art spotter Alberto Becattini mentions other assistants -- Bud Counihan, Bob Naylor, Bob Dunn and Howard Boughner -- but I don't know if any of them were particularly involved in producing the topper.
When Mother Was a Girl lasted as long as the Dumb Dora Sunday page, ending on January 5 1936.
If you'd like more Dumb Dora, head on over to King Features' Ask the Archivist blog, where you can see additional samples of this delightful strip, and its topper When Mother Was a Girl.
Labels: Topper Features
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
News of Yore: Requiem for a Failed Cartoonist
CARPENTER'S HANDS, ARTIST'S MIND DIDN'T GO TOGETHER
by Robert Ruark
September 14 1948
NEW YORK -- Last weak a lean, starved-looking young man with wild hair committed suicide here in New York. The papers called him a poet. First he jumped off a building in Greenwich Village and when that didn't kill him, he went home and strung himself up from a pipe.
His name was Jack DeMoreland. The police knew little about him; the papers less. The art critic whom he visited just before he leaped off the roof knew him scarcely at all. He attracted attention only because his first attempt at suicide failed to kill him.
I knew DeMoreland well. He was a friend of mine for many years before the war. He wasn't a poet. He was an artist -- a painter and a cartoonist. We had worked together on the Washington Daily News. I have several of his pictures.
The anatomy of suicide is a strange, complex thing; rarely the same in any man. I know why DeMoreland killed himself. He killed himself because he saw the most beautiful pictures any man ever saw. They were right there, clamoring to come out of his head, but his hands weren't good enough to draw them forth.
Jack knew what he wanted to put on paper, knew it so well that it hurt him. But when he picked up the brush or the pen it was always a bad distortion of what he was trying to say. He was like a man whose head rings with wondrous music, but, when he opens his mouth to sing, only croaks emerge.
An alienist would say that the man was a definite psychopath, and so, I suppose, he was. He had tried to kill himself once before, long ago, in a fit of horrid depression he had spent a short time in a mental hospital. It was the one true case of complete artistic frustration I ever knew.
DeMoreland used to do little line sketches for me on sports stories, and later illustrated the top city-side feature of the day. During the first days of the war we set him to doing the daily military map. Those maps finally got to him. Here was a guy who wanted to scream out loud with a paintbrush, and he was over in the corner with an inkwell, tracing the progress of the Germans against the Russians, the Japs against the Americans.
Most of the time DeMoreland was a quiet, seemingly 'normal' human being, who wore neckties, shaved, drank moderately, went out with a variety of women, and who rarely talked art. But occasionally the black desperation would stifle him, and he would forget to come home. He would forget to eat, to sleep, to wash.
It was then that a girl reporter used to take him in hand, She would throw a big slug of bourbon into him, feed him forcibly, and plant him on the divan, where he'd sleep for 20 hours or so and snap back to his cartoons and his maps. I think the girl loved him very much, but there wasn't much future in it. His head was too full of pictures -- pictures that couldn't be born.
You meet a lot of dilettante artists in big cities like New York. They live in Greenwich Village, mostly, and spend more time in the smoky little cheap-gin joints looking picturesque that they spend in front of an easel or at a typewriter.
Jack DeMoreland was no dilettante. He was a worker. He would work 24, 36 hours at a crack, striving for a perfection he knew, actually, he'd never achieve. There was no bogus Bohemian in Jack -- at least not through the years I knew him. He dressed like a young business executive, when he was off on one of his "tranquil" stretches, which sometimes ran for a year at a crack. He was a handsome youngster. He talked well. There was never anything "arty" about him.
Something, I guess, finally went really wrong in his head. New York, which he once told me seemed like the answer, obviously couldn't supply the necessary skill his hands lacked. He tried, and he tried again, and finally he got so tired it all seemed too tough to live with.
But a great artist lies in the morgue as I write this. It isn't his fault that he was born with a carpenter's hands.
Labels: News of Yore
Monday, March 14, 2016
Obscurity of the Day: Churchill: A Man and an Era
For those of us too pressed for time to read Sir Winston Churchill's 3-volume autobiography, NEA offered us the next best thing -- a 17-strip summary of his life, titled Churchill: A Man and an Era.
NEA published quite a few of these closed-end strips, most of which covered biographical, historic and scientific subjects, and a heck of a lot of them were drawn by NEA regular Ralph Lane, who seemed to specialize in this sort of thing after his stint as the first artist on the comic strip Vic Flint. Ward Cannel, who wrote this series, was at various times a correspondent, political columnist and entertainment columnist for NEA. As far as I know he did not write any more of these infotainment strips for the syndicate.
Churchill: A Man and an Era was originally issued in 1954, to run from May 3 - 21. However, newspapers were free to run it when they wanted, and you can find it running later in various papers. It was officially reissued to run starting November 29 1961, this time with an 18th episode added to bring the strip up to date. It was again reissued, with one new panel added to that 18th strip, when ChuRchill died in January 1965.