Saturday, June 09, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


August 3 1909 -- Jim Jeffries has posted a 'forfeit deposit' of $5000 to basically guarantee that he is willing to fight Jack Johnson, and Jack Johnson has just replied with the same deposit. His, however, adds a stipulation that Jeffries must meet Johnson outside of the ring in the very near future to make specific plans for the location and details of the match. Both fighters have hectic schedules already and there is talk that they can't possibly meet within the specified period.

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Friday, June 08, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Dwig


This Dwig postcard is from Tuck's Series #165, "Knocks Witty and Wise". There is lovely gold embossing on the frame of the card, which doesn't scan at all well unfortunately. I guess the fellow is meant to be a doctor, but his operating tools certainly don't inspire my confidence in his 'trimming' abilities.

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The Tuck cards were considered the Cadillac of post card publishers, or as they were British, the Rolls-Royce. They were always on a better grade of stock, printed in high quality colors and had a lithograph look to them. The embossed frame is a typical extra touch.
 
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Thursday, June 07, 2018

 

Obscurity of the Day: Pink Panther





The heyday of making comic strip spin-offs of licensed characters was long gone by the 2000s, but a trickle of them continued. One that tested the waters was the Pink Panther. The character originated in an unusual way, as the animated intro to the 1963 movie The Pink Panther, starring Peter Sellers as the hilariously inept police detective, Inspector Clouseau. The Pink Panther was actually the name of the diamond that figured in the plot of the movie, but was visualized as an actual pink panther in the animated title sequence.

The movie was a big hit, and the animated character migrated to a series of theatrical shorts, and then to a successful Saturday morning cartoon series. The Saturday morning cartoons were very popular ion the 1970s, but by the end of the decade interest had pretty much run its course. A few attempts were made to revive the franchise with lukewarm success. The character remained alive in the popular imagination primarily as a series of TV ads for an insulation company.

Eric and Bill Teitelbaum, creators of the long-running business cartoon Bottom-Liners, were fans of the Pink Panther animated cartoons, and helped spearhead a drive to bring the character to the newspaper comics page. The owners of the franchise worked with the Teitelbaum's syndicate, Tribune Media Services, to come up with a version that was a Sunday-only strip format (though it was generally a single-panel).

The feature debuted on May 29 2005* (as Pink Panther, not 'The') in a very small number of client papers. My guess is that this modest rollout had a couple reasons: first, the character was really only iconic to the 40-and-over crowd, and second, the feature frankly didn't recapture the surreal comedy magic of the old cartoons. The muddy computerized color looked terribly out of place, and the gags were often based on subjects totally foreign to the 'classic' character -- online dating, for example. I also wonder if younger feature editors might have seen the promo material and were mystified why a character that hawks Owens-Corning Fiberglass insulation would merit his own comic strip. Buy an ad if you want in the paper, Owens-Corning!

Eric and Bill gamely kept with the feature, but it never gained any traction. Finally after four years of a completely cold reception the strip was cancelled, last appearing on May 10 2009**.

* Source: mycomicspage.com
** Source: gocomics.com

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Did they license the character? Or were they hired by whatever company now owns it? If the latter, conceivably the owners paid to keep it alive as part of a bigger revival plan.

I always wondered about "Robotman", which existed as a line of toys and what looked like the pilot for a TV series as well as the comic strip, which was totally unrelated to the toys and show. In time the strip evolved into "Monty", and the former title character made his exit in a "Star Trek" parody.
 
That's an interesting question, Donald, and I don't know the answer. I read and listened to several interviews with the Teitelbaums, and they did not discuss that point.

--Allan
 
There were attempts to bring "Pink Panther" to newspapers back when the cartoons were still being made. I've seen a few samples they did as part of the pitch, and I think I still have a copy of one of them somewhere. For whatever reason, those didn't take off.
 
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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Walter


Harold Frank “Jerry” Walter was born on November 25, 1915, in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, according to his Social Security application which was transcribed at Ancestry.com. The same birth information was reported in the Post-Star, November 9, 2007. However, the Social Security Death Index has Walter’s birth month as October which may have been a clerical or typographical error.

Walter has not been found in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. A search at Ancestry.com has links to travel records in Brazil for Walter and his parents who may have been out of the country during the census enumeration.

The 1930 census recorded Walter and his parents, Pliney and Clara, in Westfield, New Jersey at 307 Hazel Avenue. His father was a planning engineer of telephone equipment.

The Post-Star said Walter “graduated from Colgate University in 1937, where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He also studied at the New School and at the Art Students League in New York City.”

According to the 1940 census, Walter was an advertising writer. He lived with his parents in Westfield, New Jersey at 731 Coleman Place. The Post-Star said Walter was “a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson, at McCann-Erickson and at BBDO.”

The New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, at Ancestry.com, includes a “Harold F. Walter” who married “Ethelynde Stimpson” on October 2, 1940 in New York City.

The Evening News (North Tonawanda, New York), July 3, 1953, said “…Married shortly before Pearl Harbor, the Walters worked for an advertising agency before Mr. Walters [sic] became a navigator for the Atlantic Transport Command….”

The Post-Star said Walter “served for three years in World War II, as a 1st lieutenant, where he was a navigator in the Army Air Transport Command, stationed in Washington, D.C.”

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Walter and his wife produced Susie Q. Smith, which started as a panel in 1945 with the King Features Syndicate. The McNaught Syndicate continued the series as a strip on February 9, 1953. It ended November 28, 1959. The series was bylined “Jerry and Linda Walter”. The couple created Jellybean Jones for King Features which syndicated it from March 4, 1946 to 1949. The panel was credited to “Frank Walter”. For Newsday Specials, the Walters did The Lively Ones which debuted May 17, 1965 and ran into 1966.


Evening News 7/3/1953; Jerry and Linda working on Susie Q. Smith

In 1950 Walter illustrated an educational workbook.

The Post-Star said Walter wrote gags for stand-up comedians, and exhibited his abstract paintings at the Chase Gallery in New York City. Walter’s memberships include the “Cartoonist Society, Glens Falls Country Club, Hyde Collection, the Lake George Art Project, Southern Vermont Art Association in Manchester, Vt., the Society of Chambers in Woodstock, N.Y., Woodstock Art Museum and Woodstock Golf Club.”

At some point Walter and Linda divorced. Walter remarried to Clarice O’Hara.

Walter passed away November 7, 2007, in Glens Falls, New York. Walter was laid to rest at Pine View Cemetery



Further Reading
Post-Star, May 9, 2011
Cartoonist who left millions to charity moved to Queensbury from Woodstock

Daily Gazette, July 29, 2011
Queensbury cartoonist’s paintings to be auctioned


—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Linda Walter


Information about Linda Walter is scarce. What is known about her comes from several newspaper and magazine mentions.

Two 1942 issues of New Horizons named her. 

Page 42: Most appropriate reference was a cartoon drawn for The Saturday Evening Post by Linda Walter, whose caption pointed up the air-mindedness of the younger generation (see cut).

Page 70: Last month on page 10, New Horizons proudly displayed Linda Walter’s becoming cartoon reprinted from one of the Saturday Evening Post's April, ’42 issues. The cartoon depicted three youthful figures, one of whom is saying to the others: “Mayflower—Phooey…our uncle came over on the Clipper!”
Linda and her husband Jerry were Woodstock, New York residents. Linda was mentioned and pictured in the Kingston Daily Freeman (New York), July 16, 1947, “…Linda Walter, Woodstock, who, with her husband, Jerry Walter produces the widely-distributed cartoon series, Susie Q. Smith…”

The 
Kingston Daily Freeman, June 23, 1948, reported the opening at the Woodstock Playhouse and said “The group exhibition by Woodstock’s cartoonists created much interest. Those represented in the in the lobby of the Playhouse are John H. Streibel, creator of the Dixie Dugan strip. Carl Hubbell, Jerry and Linda Walter; Jay Allan. David B. Huffine, and Edmund Good. Good formerly did Scorchy Smith, the Associated Press strip, but is now known for Breeze Lawson in the Sky Sheriff.”

The 
Kingston Daily Freeman, June 11, 1951, noted “Expressions of appreciation were given to Mrs. Linda Walter, who has been teaching dancing and ballroom deportment at the school…”

The 
Kingston Daily Freeman, September 26, 1951, said “At the recent annual meeting of the Woodstock Guild of Craftsmen the following officers for the coming year were elected: …Anita Stallforth and Linda Walter, house committee…”

The Kingston Daily Freeman, December 20, 1951, publicized the upcoming exhibit.

Illustrators’ Exhibit Is Scheduled Friday
Woodstock, Dec. 20—An Illustrators’ Exhibit will open Friday, Dec. 21, at the S S Sea Horse, with a reception from 6 to 8 p. m. Hot hors d’oeuvres will be served by C. J. McCarthy. The paintings, drawings and sketches of the following illustrators will be shown: Ethel Adams, Jay Allen, Charles W. Chambers, Heine Drucklieb, Harvey Emerich, Anton Otto Fischer, George Green, Gerald Green, Karl Hubbell. Dave Huffine, William H. MacReady, C. J. McCarthy, John McClellan, Joseph Morgan, John Pike, Pamela Ravenel, John Striebel, Dudley G. Summers, Harry Temple, Mark Von Arenberg and Jerry and Linda Walter.
The Kingston Daily Freeman, August 18, 1954, reported the benefit for the Woodstock Recreation Field. One paragraph included the following.
Silk Screen Tags
A colorful feature of the carnival will be the silk screened admission tags, designed by 18 famous artists, autographed and available for 25 cents apiece. Each one a collector’s item, entire sets may be purchased. The artists who are now working on the tags are as follows: James Turnbull, Howard Mandel, John Pike, Edmond Good, Karl [sic] Hubbell, Anton Refregier, Linda Walter, Dave Hufflne, Ethel Magafan, Edward Chavez, Miska Petersham, Lucil Blanch, Phoebe Towbin, Marianne Appel Mecklem, Reginald Wilson, Jay Allen, Edward L. Chase and John Striebel.
The Evening News (North Tonawanda, New York), July 3, 1953, announced the addition of Susie Q. Smith to its comics page and said about the creators:
Jerry and Linda Walter are an attractive young couple who can pinch-hit for each other in turning out the feature. Jerry normally dreams up the gags and Linda does the art work, but they can switch about when the occasion demands.

Married shortly before Pearl Harbor, the Walters worked for an advertising agency before Mr. Walters [sic] became a navigator for the Atlantic Transport Command. After the war, they dreamed up Susie and have had a highly popular gal on their hands ever since.


Jerry and Linda working on Susie Q. Smith

At Ancestry.com the New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes recorded the issuance of a license to “Ethelynde Stimpson” and “Harold F. Walter” on October 2, 1940. (Jerry’s birth name was Harold Frank Walter.) Ethelynde could be Linda. Looking at census records, Ethelynde was born around 1918 in New Jersey and her parents were William and Ethelynde. They lived in New Castle, Westchester County, New York in 1920. The 1930 and 1940 censuses said Ethelynde resided in Cranford, Union County, New Jersey. According to the 1940 census, Ethelynde was a secretary at a welding and metal company.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Linda and Jerry 
(under the name Frank Walter) also created Jellybean Jones for King Features Syndicate and The Lively Ones for Newsday Specials.

The Times-Union, (Albany, New York), December 8, 2017, published the article “Woodstock Artists Cemetery good place to ponder art's power” which said in part, “…Look over there—the gravestone for Ethel Magafan Currie, American landscape painter. And there—actor Joseph Leon, Dr. Blackstock from "Sophie's Choice." And another—poet and cartoonist Linda Walter, who created “Susie Q. Smith” with her husband, Jerry….”

The Social Security Death has a “Linda Walter” who was born January 18, 1918 and died March 28, 2009. Her last known residence was Lake Hill, Ulster County, New York, which is about fives miles/8 kilometers west of Woodstock.



—Alex Jay

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Monday, June 04, 2018

 

Obscurity of the Day: Susie Q. Smith







We've discussed the Walters, the dynamic married cartooning duo, before here on Stripper's Guide. Both Jellybean Jones and The Lively Ones failed to make any impression at all on newspaper readers, but Susie Q. Smith, their most successful outing, actually did pretty well -- it is only an obscurity in that it has fallen off the cultural radar completely since its demise.

The Linda and Jerry Walter trilogy of syndicated features forms a neat triptych -- one about a little kid, one about a teenager, and one about senior citizens. Somehow the Walters failed only to hit on that middle part of life, adulthood.  The other interesting commonality is that all three features were daily panels (to which a glance immediately upward on this page would seem to disagree, but bear with me).

Susie Q. Smith, whose title was often abbreviated by lazy typesetters as just Susie Q, debuted with King Features on the first day of 1945, and garnered enough clients to be considered at least a modest success. The panel about a teenage girl hit all the familiar hot buttons -- dating, school, dealing with parents and siblings. What set it apart, at least slightly, was that it was unusually frank about Susie's romantic life. Susie and her pals are often depicted in the midst of communal make-out sessions, something you'd rarely if ever see in the typically modest teenage features like Harold Teen, Aggie Mack and the like. For some reason the newspaper comics page could not rise to the level of frankness of popular movies and radio shows, and teens in the newspaper were, other than Susie, almost embarrassingly unsexual.

In a very odd turn of events, in 1953 the Walters chose to leave King Features behind and hitch their wagon at the McNaught Syndicate. (King is notoriously lax about cancelling underperforming features, so I'd be surprised if the axe came down -- I'm convinced it was the Walters who made the move.) Rejecting the sales powerhouse of Hearst for the comparatively sleepy environs of McNaught seems strange, but the Walters shook things up in an even more unusual way by changing their daily panel into a comic strip at the same time. The combination of a new syndicate and a new format actually seemed to click with newspaper editors. The feature added clients and became more visible  in the next few years than at any other time in its history. Unfortunately for the Walters the honeymoon didn't last and clients began to fall away. Perhaps the juggernaut of the Archie strip, which tread the same ground but with considerably more pizazz, was too much competition. Susie Q. Smith was cancelled on November 28 1959




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How common is it for a comic to switch from a panel format to strip format?

The only other example I can think of is "Andy Capp", although by the time the comic made it to the US papers it switched to strip format.
 
It's a pretty darn rare event, Charles. I have no simple way of looking that information up in my database, but I'd lay odds that if we limit our data set to normal syndicated features, the number would be in single digits.

--Allan
 
Just checked "Walt before Skeezix" and noted that "Gasoline Alley" started as a panel and quickly began flip-flopping between panel and strip.

Also, it seems the majority of panels turn to strips on Sundays (a handful would do a few unrelated gags to offer a flexible format).
 
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