Thursday, August 22, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Alfred Frueh

Alfred Joseph Frueh was born on September 2, 1880 in Lima, Ohio, according to birth information on a passport application and his World War I draft card which also had his full name. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Frueh was the oldest of four children born to Henry, a brewer and German emigrant, and Annie, an Ohio native. The family resided in Bath, Ohio.

The New York Times, September 18, 1968, published Frueh’s reply to a 1933 questionnaire on his early life. Frueh pronounced his name “free” and said he was born on Main Street, Lima, Ohio, 1880, and brought up to be a farmer then a brewer.

Mr. Frueh once told his daughter that it was the study of Pitman shorthand in a Lima business college that aroused his interest in drawing. When he got bored in class, he would turn the Pitman symbols into faces of his teacher and fellow students. …
He was at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1904 to 1908. 

Frueh received his passport on November 16, 1908, and a second passport June 25, 1912, according to Frueh said
… Loafed in Paris, London, Rome, Munich, Berlin, and Madrid in 1909. Came back and loafed on The N. Y. World 1910 to 1912 1/2. Went to Europe again and married in London in 1913.
The New York Dramatic Mirror, July 9, 1913, reported the marriage.
Announcement is made here of the marriage of Giulietta Priscilla Fanciulli, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francesco Fanciulli, of 128 West Fifty-eighth Street, to Alfred J. Frueh, of New York in St. Giles’s Parish, London, on June 12. The bride is the daughter of Francesco Fanciulli, musical director and composer, former leader of the United States Marine Band. Mr. Frueh is a well-known caricature artist, noted for his striking cartoons of prominent players, who came from Cincinnati and for some time was employed on one of the dally New York papers, until he went abroad for study. Mr. and Mrs. Frueh do not expect to return to this country until next year.
A passenger list recorded Frueh, his wife and five-month-old daughter, Barbara, who was born in Paris, on the S.S. La Touraine, which arrived in New York City, from Havre, France, on September 13, 1914.

The Times said Frueh was at The World from 1914 to 1924.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Frueh produced two series for The World: Gabe, from July 2, 1911 to August 18, 1912, and The Goat-Getter, from May 22 to 30, 1912. Frueh’s trio for Press Publishing were Rush-Hour Jones, from September 26 to November 1, 1916; Hem and Haw, from June 13, 1920 to February 6, 1921; and For the Love of Juliet, from July 24, 1921 to March 5, 1922.

In 1915 Frueh and Irwin Leslie Gordon produced the art for The Log of the Ark. The same year saw the Evening Public Ledger feature Frueh’s cardboard animals.

Frueh illustrated Chester Cornish’s Beating ’Em to It or The Sultan and the Sausages (1917).

Frueh signed his World War I draft card on September 5, 1918. His address was 22 Maple Place in Nutley, New Jersey and his employer was the New York World. The newspaper artist was described as tall, medium build with blue eyes and light brown hair.

Cartoons Magazine 5/1918

Frueh’s residence was the same in the 1920 census. His household included his wife, three children, Barbara, Robert and and Alfred, his mother-in-law, Amanda Fanciulli, and brother-in-law, Romolo Fanciulli, a newspaper journalist.

The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre (1996) said “Ohioan Alfred J. Frueh drew prolifically for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and later for the New York World and New Yorker; his early caricatures were compiled for a book called Stage Folk (1922).”

The 1925 New York state census counted Frueh, his family and mother-in-law in Manhattan, New York City at 34 Perry Street.

The Times said Frueh joined The New Yorker in 1925 and the first issue had two cartoons by him. He did the cover art for the second issue. He was the magazine’s theater cartoonist to 1962.

The Times said Frueh purchased, in 1926, a 100-acre nut farm in Connecticut, where he planted 7,00 pine trees and several hundred chestnut trees. He experimented, unsuccessfully, grafting nut trees to create a soft-shelled black walnut.

Self-employed artist Frueh was at the same address in the 1930 census. His mother-in-law was not there.

Frueh’s mother-in-law rejoined the household in the 1940 census which recorded Frueh at the same location. Frueh’s highest level of education was the eight grade. He was a magazine cartoonist.

Frueh’s wife passed away October 19, 1967, as reported in the Harlem Valley Times (Amenia, New York), November 2.

Frueh passed away September 14, 1968, in Sharon, Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Death Index at The Social Security Death Index said Frueh’s last residence was Falls Village, Connecticut.

Further Reading and Viewing
Archives of American Art
Museum of the City of New York
New York Public Library

—Alex Jay


Alex, when are you going to post your 10 favourite pictures of Pauline Hickey on here ?.
Tony, i hear ya` pal. I`m actually still in the midst of preparing a Pauline Hickey extravaganza (as it were), soon you`ll see over 100 pictures of that amazing mega-titted beauty on this site, it`ll be truly astonishing ! ! !.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Gabe

Famed caricaturist Alfred Frueh started his career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but as far as I know he never produced a comic strip series for them. When he was transferred to the New York World in 1911, in addition to caricatures he was assigned his first comic strip series, which premiered on July 2 1911. Gabe got pride of place on the cover of the Sunday funnies section pretty consistently for months, a tribute to Frueh's elegantly simple and tremendously expressive art.

Frueh's lovely art is in service here to an overdone concept, the city kids versus the country kids. In Frueh's take on the subject the city kids are initially practically homicidal maniacs, and the country kid is about as dumb as a bag of nails. Frueh slowly began to find his footing, with the final example shown above toning down the Katzenjammer-esque antics and offering some real humanity to the proceedings. This is how the strip would be written from then on, featuring more gentle humor and a little compassion for the country kid Gabe, especially in his attempts to woo Cinthy.

Gabe ran for over a year, ending on August 18 1912. As the strip got better, ironically it was more and more often relegated to an inside half-page. Frueh would not make it back into the Sunday section for eight years after this, finally returning with Hem and Haw.


I love the little dog in "Gabe", it's fun to watch it running through the panels and wagging it's tail. The August 13th strip is particularly charming as the little dog is joined by two rabbits that lope through the countryside making circles from foreground to background. They seem to be having an argument in the last panel. This is the best Al Frueh art I've ever seen.
Thanks for posting the GABE strips and the bio on Frueh. The auto strip's reprinted in the Sunday Press volume SOCIETY IS NIX. Freud's one of my favorites and got so much from the fewest lines. Interesting that his later cartoons were more elaborate with shading and such, as seen in the New York Public Library book collection FRUEH ON THE THEATRE. Thanks again, Allan!
Congrats to Brian for making the most appropriate Freudian slip I've ever encountered.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Gene Autry Rides!

The popularity of movie cowboy Gene Autry, and the star's penchant for improving his bank balance by cross-marketing his fame, led inevitably to a newspaper comic strip offering. Well, two actually, but in a case of putting the cart before the horse, we already covered the second Gene Autry strip waaaay back in 2007.

Gene Autry Rides debuted on January 14 1940* as a Sunday-only strip written by Gerald Geraghty and drawn by Till Goodan. The strip was distributed by the Register & Tribune Syndicate, but the copyright was held by Mr. Autry. The comic strip market was not flooded by cowboy strips like it would be a decade later, but Gene did face competition from Broncho Bill, Red Ryder, and probably a few others that don't come to mind. Some help?

Anyway, the strip was an uneven though generally handsome looking production, and the storyline, which apparently was often tied to the star's movies and serials, was fast-paced and full of action. Oddly, though, it found very few takers. Why? My guess is that Gene Autry felt that his name on a comic strip was worth a surcharge over other comic strips, and directed the distributor to put the screws to potential clients. I have no inside information to back that up, but the fact that very few papers picked up the strip, and those were major ones who could afford to try out an expensive addition to their comics pages, lends credence to my hypothesis.

When Gene Autry Rides failed to make much of a blip on Sunday newspaper sales, those same big clients were just as quick to drop the strip. No definite end date for the strip has yet been determined, but the latest I have in my collection is a January 19 1941 episode from the Washington Star, and a note that the latest I've seen on microfilm was April 20 1941**, except that I stupidly forgot to write in the name of the paper.

Artist Till Goodan was an honest to goodness cowboy who came off this assignment running. He went into comic books afterward and produced lots of western material for them in the coming years. He also produced illustrations and some fine art, all of the western genre, along the way. According to a website that I suspect is run by his family, he died relatively young in 1958, but the Grand Comic Book database has credits to him running into the 1970s. Some are probably just reprints, but many are oddball items outside his usual genre, so not sure what the explanation might be.

Gerald Geraghty was a film screeenwriter whose output was primarily westerns. He was quite prolific, with his filmed screenplays numbering well over fifty. He also died quite young in 1954.

* Source: Atlanta Constitution
** Jeffrey Lindenblatt tells me the strip ran to this date in the Cincinnati Enquirer, and he thinks this was probably the actual end date. 


Like the singing cowboys movies themselves, it looks a cross between the 19th century Old West and 20th century technology.
I've seen the strip in The Detroit Free Press and The Boston Globe. I also think 4/20/41 is the final strip.
The strips were also reprinted in Fawcett's Gene Autry comic book.
The Comic Strip Project website quotes Ron Goulart’s The Encyclopedia of American Comics: From 1897 to the Present as indicating 1939 for the strip - would like to see a copy of Goulart’s book to see if it cites a a primary source.
Hi comicstripfan -- No, Goulart cites 1940 in his Encyclopedia. --Allan
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Monday, August 19, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Matt's and May's Matinees

C. J. Budd spent most of his working years producing illustrations and cartoons for magazines, but he did take the plunge into newspaper comics one time. Matt's and May's Matinees was produced by him for the New York Herald Sunday sections from July 30 to September 24 1911*. This was an unfortunately short visit for newspaper readers with the fine work of Mr. Budd's pen.

Matt's and May's Matinees concerns a brother and sister who have the theatre bug. They stage plays for their own amusement, using household items for props and enlisting their long-suffering pets, a cat and a dog, to play bit parts. The kids are delightful, neither angelic or devilish but acting like real kids, and the cat and dog, who talk among themselves, offer up good comedy.

Matt's and May's Matinees must have been such a breath of fresh air to newspaper readers who had been inundated with rotten little scoundrels like the Katzies and Buster Brown for years on end. Here finally are kids who get into funny situations, and even big trouble, with not a single drop of vitriol influencing their actions. When their parents find the messes thay've made, they'll be punished and no doubt will be truly sorry for what happened. The originality of the concept is downright mind-boggling, isn't it?

Unfortunately, all my samples of this strip are from papers that took the strip in syndication and they are all printed as either mono or two-color jobs. I do not know if in the original Herald run of this strip these delightful full-pagers appeared in full 4-color splendor or not.

One postscript: as we've discussed in the past, cartoonists in these years were still not quite all up to the task of making sure that word balloons could be read from left to right in proper order. C.J. Budd, obviously recognizing the problem but not quite up to the task of organizing his panels to eliminate the problem, has opted to number the word balloons to tell the reader what sometimes cicuitous route their reading should take.  I don't recall seeing anyone else use that solution.

* Source: Ken Barker's New York Herald index in StripScene #20.


I love the line “I’m not megaphoning it!” Probably first and only time anyone’s used that word...
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Saturday, August 17, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing: December 1913, Vol. 4 No. 6

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.

Illustrations used here did not necessarily appear with the original articles.]

"Vic" Gauntlett Cartoonist of the Seattle Star
About the biggest nugget ever picked up on Gold Beach, Oregon, weighed 10 1/2 pounds at birth. His fond parents named him Victor Gauntlett—and that was less than twenty-one years ago. Today “Vic” Gauntlett is the Star cartoonist in Seattle. And the readers of the Star, their name is legion, insist that “Vic” is one of the cleverest of his craft.

“Vic” Gauntlett came by his artistic proclivities naturally, for his grandfather was an artist and an aunt won a name as a painter, too. So that “Vic's" success is rather due to inherited tendencies than a sporadic outbreak of genius. The Gauntletts moved to Alaska when “Vic” was six years old, and for five years the budding prodigy viewed the scenery of the Aleutian Islands and called Unalaska “Home.” Here he learned to draw. Pushing a pencil was the great indoor sport in the long winters when the mercury lay dormant, hibernating at the bottom of the tube. During the day he drew his sled; at night “Vic” drew boats, boats being about the most exciting thing at Unalaska, a mere coaling station on the islands, and his boats were recognizable as boats even by those not skilled in the art.
Later, when the Gauntletts returned to the states, “Vic” went to school and evinced a decided leaning towards the artistic. He steadily kept at his pencil sketches and at the age of 18 the Seattle Star gave him a try-out, “just to see what he could do.” There was nothing so dreadfully amateurish about the cartoons he turned in for the inspection of the managing editor and his pictures had a place in the make-up from that day.

Now, not yet twenty-one, he is admittedly one of the great little cartoonists in a territory which has produced a Homer Davenport and a Harry Grant Dart. Good work already done has not dulled the zest with which he attacks the new assignment, and he is working harder now to accomplish real finished, accurate, pictorial comment on the stirring events of state and nation, than he ever did when he was striving to turn that try-out into a steady job. Critics say that Gauntlett's cartoons have the “punch,” and “punch” is the 100 h.p. motor that carries the cartoon around the world.

“I’m glad to be back home,” said R. L. Goldberg, the famous cartoonist of the New York Evening Mail when asked how he liked his recent jaunt through Europe. “That's the biggest thing I know right now and it means a lot, too,” he continued.

“I hope I get over some of the funny habits I acquired in Europe so I can continue to have a home. Funny how a habit will stick to you. I caught the tipping habit so badly that I try to tip everyone I meet. “It’s automatic; I do it before I think and I'm getting scared that I may be wearing one of those bed-post eyes before I get over it. I’m busy all day long dodging the boss. If I ever, try to tip him somebody will have a fine chance to hire a cartoonist.

“Europe is a great place; you ought to get shaved there. A real European shave is warranted to last for years. Even if you live through it the chances are that it will be many years before you will have grown enough face to take to a self-respecting barber.

“Another great European novelty is what is called coffee. It is in some ways like the famous American beverage of that name. It has a brown color and is served in a cup. Right there is where we diverge. No pen can do this subject justice. Try to imagine some strong, hot, gritty mucilage that has been poured into a cup that contains a plentiful amount of kitchen soap in it and you will have a faint conception of my meaning. We will change the subject, for this is a painful memory.

“I was much impressed by the European newspapers. At times I was even moved to tears, I laughed so hard. The French papers are particularly joyous. Dirty, broken type, cheap paper and not an illustration. I’d starve to death over there. Then there's the London Times. That paper didn't suit me at all. My greatest trouble in England was keeping awake, and if I started on the Times I’d fall asleep standing up.”—The Fourth Estate.

Secretary Bates (Pacific Northwest), Portland, Ore., sends a copy of the resolution in reference to the Homer Davenport Memorial movement, adopted at the annual convention of the Oregon State Editorial Association, October 17-18. The resolution reads:

“That the newspapers of Oregon give publicity to the movement and accept subscriptions from their communities;

“That the newspapers of Oregon be requested to forward the movement by giving for one year 25 cents a month on each thousand of their circulation;

“That the newspaper men of the state be requested to write their newspaper friends in other states giving them opportunity to contribute to the fund but in no way importuning them to do so;
“That the proposition of selling clippings from the poplar tree of Homer Davenport's mother be given consideration; and used if practicable;

“That all further methods be left with the general committee now having the matter in charge, consisting of Governor West, State Treasurer Kay, and Secretary of State Olcott, as custodians of the fund, and Shad O. Krantz, of the Oregonian, and H. E. Hodges, of the Silverton Appeal, as advisory members."

Under date of October 22, Governor West writes Secretary Bates:

“Dear Sir: This is to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 21st instant, advising me of my appointment as Chairman of the Homer Davenport Monument Committee, and enclosing checks, covering contributions to the fund, aggregating $42.00.

“The money has been deposited in Ladd and Bush's Bank at Salem to the credit of the “Homer Davenport Monument Fund. Further remittances forwarded to this office will receive like attention. I will be glad to add my contribution. Yours sincerely, Oswald West."

The Portland Journal says: “Homer Davenport was born in Silverton March 8, 1867. He died in New York in May of 1912. His art school was a barn door on his father's farm, his models the horses, cows, chickens and the family dog. Such things as these, the homely, natural, everyday things, gave him that fine insight into elemental truths which he so vividly visualized with his pen in his fight for the common weal and uplift of the toilers.

“And now, in recognition of his widespread influence for better things and justice, funds for a fitting monument are sought. Donations from every class are asked, and a 10 cent piece given in this spirit will be as welcome as a $100 bill.”

On October 21st the fund was $350.

Forain has exhibited his drawings. To those who knew him only as the cartoonist of Le Figaro it was a surprise to see more valuable work in his etchings and oil painting. The fact, however, is simple. A man who feels deeply on certain subjects worthy of the deepest feeling, reticent to express himself unscrupulously, has found that his convictions illumined critically the daily issues of life about him. The step is shortest from the sublime to the ridiculous, when the ridiculous becomes a defense of the sublime; he takes it. Reflection generates criticism; which he decks out with figures and dialogue; the figures often observed in public places. These designs are published; and Forain's wit is applauded (as if wit were genius!) and Forain's eye is feared, because the dummies are recognized true to type. By this evolution we get the caricaturist. For years Forain was publicly known as a caricaturist, and nothing else. Now with this exhibition we come on his beliefs, as the man himself; a gain, says a Paris correspondent of the Boston Transcript.

Forain is the first of living caricaturists. But if none of the French satirists before him have been great as artists, it must prove his distinction that he broke and redeemed the tradition. At his best he is not too far from Rembrandt, in the etchings. To compare him with his American counterparts would be therefore a flattering estimation of the cartoonists, Robinson, Kirby, Minor and Cesare, men whose power to influence American ideals implies the corresponding responsibility that they employ it—not harmlessly but intelligently.

One begins by observing his great respect for the people. Like Hokusai, with whom he shared the exhibition, he was born into their class—to his great credit. He was the son of a workman; no other class is so kindly observed. It is this fellow-feeling which has provoked his finest conceptions.

* In an attempt to reduce the visible supply of bears, elk, deer, and other natural fauna of Arizona, John T. McCutcheon, the Chicago cartoonist, and party invaded that portion of the Great American Desert, armed with rapid fire guns and plenty of ammunition. In addition to McCutcheon, W. K. Brice of New York, and several newspapermen spent two weeks in the wilds accompanied by fifteen Indian hunters led by Dr. Carlos Montezuma, a full blood Apache, one of the leading spiritualists of Chicago. In checking up the notches on the guns of the party, on their return to civilization it was found that the Indians killed eighteen deer, and the whites none. While McCutcheon can hit the bulls-eye in a cartoon, not even the professional skill of Dr. Montezuma was able to materialize a hit for him there. His game bag was filled, however, with “atmosphere," "local color” and "impressions”, which, no doubt, will in due time appear to delight his thousands of friends in a series Bears that I have missed.”

* During the municipal campaign in New York a novel use was made of cartoons by the Citizens Municipal Committee. A banner swung across Fifth avenue at Twenty-fifth street carried the names of the fusion candidates for office and a huge cartoon graced the center of the design. From week to week the cartoons were changed, making  the banner an active campaign asset, a sub-committee being appointed whose business it was to select suitable cartoons from the New York papers to be used at the point noted and other street intersections in the down town district.

* Cartooning will be a feature in the free hand drawing course at the Young Men's Christian Association in Portland, Ore., this winter. J. E. Murphy, the well known cartoonist of the Oregon Journal, has been engaged to take charge of this class, which will also include commercial art, landscape and modeling.

Murphy’s cartoons have been a feature of the Journal's pages, and he is recognized as highly qualified to direct such a course as planned by the association. Cartooning is a brand new institution in the course, no former classes ever having had an opportunity to take up instruction in this branch of art. The innovation is a good one and under the direction of Mr. Murphy the class is bound to develop results.

* Cartooning is being recognized as a real vocation by the educational institutions of the country, the Wichita High School being the latest to employ an instructor. Classes in drawing and cartooning have been organized by W. Anderson, supervisor of penmanship in the Wichita public schools. “Wichita is large enough,” said Mr. Anderson, “for a night class in cartooning. I believe we can furnish instruction to many who have the talent, but not enough time during the day to work at it.”

* Jay N. Darling, known as “Ding,” the cartoonist whose work on the Des Moines Register and Leader is attracting so much attention, has been on a hunting trip in the Northwest. “Ding” started to draw a salary' on the Sioux City Journal several years ago and has built up a reputation for clever, timely and forceful cartoons which show a grasp of national and state affairs. “Ding” was, for a time, connected with the New York Globe and his cartoons were widely commented on. During the hunting trip he spent some time at Devil’s Lake, which in the manner of speaking, is “no place for a minister's son.”

* English cartoonists are demanding that the traditional figure of John Bull give way for a more simple national symbol. “It requires half a day,” so they declare, “just to draw John Bull's vest !” They should worry! If Ireland should be cut off, the size of the vest would grow beautifully less, and the cartoonist would automatically have less to do.

* The first offering in the lyceum course given by the First Presbyterian church of Wichita, Kans., was “An Evening with the Cartoonist,” Ross Crane being the entertainer. He uses crayon, clay and moulding boards and plays upon the piano.

* The Berkley School of Art, Newark, N. J., has recently been incorporated with a capital of $50,000 by F. M. Berkley, and M. J. Ready of Newark, and F. J. Dever of New York City, to conduct schools of art, cartooning and caricature.


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Thursday, August 15, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: His Mother-In-Law

One of Clare Victor Dwiggins' strips for the New York Evening World serves as a good example of how a good but repetitive idea could work much better as a weekday strip than as a daily. His Mother-In-Law turns the tables on the traditional comical battleaxe and makes her turn out in each episode to be a very cool old gal. If run daily, an idea like that would get old faster than a mayfly, but when readers encounter it on a sporadic schedule they are likely to be unprepared for the gag and get surprised each time for a good long while.

Dwig's His Mother-In-Law ran in the Evening World from January 12 to March 9 1911; not a long run, granted, but he got a lot more mileage out of it than if he'd been forced to trot out the same gag each and every day.

My question about the premise is this: why in the world does daughter not seem to have a clue about her own mother's personality? In each strip she seems certain that mom is going to see things her way and put some new dents in hubby's head with that handbag. Ah well, it seldom pays to think too hard about these things ....


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Jim Davis Early Newspaper Comics Discovered

A Youtube maven and Garfield fanatic who goes by the moniker Quinton Reviews has uncovered some very early work by Jim Davis. He found the strip Gnorm Gnat, which many thought to be a mere myth cooked up by Davis as interview-fodder. But that's just the warm-up for his major discovery, the original weekly run of Garfield, then known as Jon, in which the famed lasagna-loving feline was born in a small local weekly newspaper two years before the strip hit the big time in syndication. Davis, for reasons unknown, has kept the existence of this feature to himself for the past forty years!

Quinton Reviews explains all this in a very entertaining video, so click below and enjoy:

For some reason links to that video don't work (all part of Jim Davis' plan to keep us in the dark?!?!?), so click on the Quinton Reviews link above and select the video titled "Finding Lost Garfield Comics". Sorry for the glitch.

Once you've watched the video, if you'd like to see lots of the Gnorm Gnat and Jon strips, here's a 47-page PDF (takes a few moments to load) with lots of samples.

My two comments: first, congratulations Quinton on a fine piece of comic strip archeology! Second, don't leave us hanging ---- get the start date of Gnorm Gnat please!!

The video was missing, so I browsed the PDF.

Gnorm Gnat looks like the work of a big Tumbleweeds fan, while Jon/Garfield is so different as to feel like a different (and less polished) artist. I'm guessing that Jon represented a very self-conscious effort by Davis to find a new style. Note that over time Garfield became even more precise and polished than Gnorm Gnat -- Davis's original style reasserting itself? The writing evolved away from Tumbleweeds, but still favors dry, sarcastic humor.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Topper Features: Cosmic Radio Television

Here's a topper panel from the Buck Rogers strip titled Cosmic Radio Television. Much like a 25th century StumbleUpon, this topper panel offered readers a glimpse of weird life forms on whatever world the Cosmic Radio Television happened to focus upon.

According to Eugene Seger, the Cosmic Radio Television feature ran on Buck Rogers pages 166 through 184, which means that the very last episode (if my ghosting credits are right) would have been drawn by Rick Yager, while all the rest were done by Russell Keaton. Those episode numbers, in a perfect world, would have run on May 28 to October 1 1933. However, Buck Rogers was often run late by subscribing papers, and as you can see the Chicago American was over two months late chronicling the adventures of Buck.


As the John F. Dille strips were sold like British syndication, in lots, either the run of a continuity story, or in blocks of a one or two hundred gags, the official start and stop dates don't mean that much. I would guess that the only places they were met would be in papers that ran the series from the start or ones that started with some story on the exact start date that it "officially" began, and then they'd just go along from there.
The usual state of Dille strips is that when a client took the series, they would be started off with a story from it's first installment, even if it had started officially and in other papers months ago.
Your sample is from the Chicago American, the Hearst evening paper in that city. Those would have Saturday comic sections, and the comics would be dated for a Sunday use, though the strips were usually for tomorrow's use, they often were intended to be for the previous week.
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Monday, August 12, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Brown - City Farmer

The last original comic strip that Raymond C. Ewer came up with for World Color Printing was Brown - City Farmer. It was a table-turning idea on the hackneyed 'hayseed in the big city' formula that was almost as ubiquitous in early comics as rotten little prank-pulling kids.

Brown - City Farmer debuted on May 15 1910, with the first few installments titled Brown, Would-Be Farmer. The plot had a couple move from the big city onto a farm, looking for the bucolic country life. Of course in comic strip land, farms are the sites of violence, noise, danger and general mayhem that can put Hell's Kitchen to shame. Ewer was given the headline full-page position on the World Color Sunday sections, making him the biggest fish in the WCP's not-very large pond.

Brown - City Farmer used frenetic action as a substitute for real humor, and it really didn't amount to much. It wasn't too surprising then that when George Frink, the creator of the Chicago Daily News' popular Circus Solly came to call at the syndicate months later, Ewer's strip was immediately downgraded, with Frink's Slim Jim and the Force, merely a renamed Circus Solly, moving onto the front page position.

Ewer, perhaps recognizing that this strip wasn't his ticket to fame, soon dropped it, the last installment running November 6 1910. He'd have the last laugh, though. Under unkown circumstances, Frink soon left World Color, and apparently offered no objections to WCP continuing the feature he brought to them. Ewer became the cartoonist of Slim Jim for the next four years, taking back the pride of the headliner position on the WCP comics section.


Was there supposed to be a punch line in those comics? Yeeesh!

p.s. I came across your blog recently - love it.
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Saturday, August 10, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing : November 1913

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.

Illustrations used here did not necessarily appear with the original articles.]

European artists have reproached American illustrators with inane prettiness and there has been some grounds for criticism. But we are sure that prettiness is better than the American imitation of the prevalent French and German cult of the ugly. Following one of the monthlies, one of the weeklies, which has changed hands without abandoning its claim to be a journal of civilization, has become so repulsive in the sheer brutality of its illustrations that families which have a care for the artistic taste of their members will probably dispense with it altogether.

Prize fights, which used to be relegated to pink weeklies of the levee bar room and barber shop, tough cabarets and other scenes offensive to taste, if not to morals, seem to be establishing themselves as regular features. A new cartoon style seems also to be impending. Instead of the kindliness which has been the prevailing trait of American satire, excepting the political work of a certain string of journals, hideous caricatures, not merely of individuals, but of humanity, have found their way into print here and there, as examples of the European manner. We shall be fortunate if we escape imitations of the madhouse productions of futurist pen and brush.

George McManus, 1908
First we are asked to satisfy curiosity by viewing reproductions of European fashions; then American artists here and there are tempted to try their hands in the same genre; and at last satire loses dignity, and force in abandoning measured restraint. It will not have to come to this, but it may come, unless readers revolt in the beginning.—Knoxville (Tenn.) Sentinel.

George McManus, cartoon author of “The Newlyweds,” returned from a motoring vacation in the back woods, with the following story which he tells in the Buffalo Enquirer:

“We were driving near the Berkshire Hills, and stopped off to fix a tire on one of the roads. While the chauffeur was busy at his work, and Sheehan was admiring the blue sky, I took a stroll. I came across four chaps that were as amusing as they were pathetic. They were four consumptives, in the hills for their health. Each one had a fierce cough, but each one was trying to look at the bright side of life, even if it had a gloomy outlook for him. Each believed he was a good singer, so when they told me they had a quartette I asked them to sing. Well, I hate to admit that I laughed, but one couldn't keep his sides from aching as they ripped off a few bars of their vocal music. They even had to laugh themselves.

“You see they were all coughing at some time or other. So one would sing a line of the song and then cough. The other fellow would sing the second line and cough, and so on, till the four had sung the song, and with a good breath and an extra effort they would wind up in a barber-shop 'cough'. I never saw fellows as good-natured and as happy as they were under such circumstances. Why, one of them was a tombstone carver, and the others were afraid he would cash in before he finished the design for their tombstones.”

Dr. F. M. Wood, in the Chicago Daily News, protests against cartoons of a low order and writes:

“Many of the trashy cartoons are of the character which teach disrespect to those who are older. Some even teach disrespect to parents. This is the surest way to breed lawlessness in the young, and lies as one of the most potent causes of juvenile delinquency and crime. Here is surely one of the causes of the “fresh” young fellow of the rising generation who takes no advice from any one.

"Many cartoons are of a very fine humor and distinctly educational in character. Such cartoons we praise and advocate. But there is great room for improvement, and we therefore need a crusade to wipe out these wicked cartoons.

“Cartoons which lampoon a great man of high character, showing him to be what he is not, will be suppressed by editors who discriminate. Cartoons which teach unnatural life will die. Cartoons which teach truth, and righteousness are alone fit for the eyes of a virtuous nation.”

* Clare Briggs has issued a volume of humorous cartoons including the popular “Skin-nay” series. Wilbur D. Nesbit supplied appropriate verse to accompany each picture.

* Dennis McCarthy and Harold E. Smith, two Denver, cartoonists, were held up by a gun man and robbed. A policeman had his thumb shot off in a furious struggle with the thug, who was finally landed in jail.

* Sir John Tenniel, the greatest of English cartoonists, is now in his 94th year, and despite his great age is in good health. He joined the staff of Punch in 1851, retiring in 1901. Though probably most widely known for his political cartoons, he won undying fame by illustrating the “Alice” books and “Lalla Rookh.”

* The summer colony at Twin Lakes, Wash., gave a fleet parade in honor of cartoonist W. C. Morris.

* Harold. Heaton, cartoonist on the Inter Ocean, Chicago, has written a vaudeville sketch, which will be produced this winter. It is entitled “Dressing for Dinner.”

* Mrs. Battling Nelson (Fay King), recently cartoonist on the Denver Post, has been drawing and giving monologue at Pacific Coast vaudeville houses.

* Ross Cane is doing cartooning and clay modeling for a lyceum bureau.

* D. R. Fitzpatrick has left the Chicago News and gone to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he succeeds Minor, who goes to the New York World.

* K. K. Knecht, the cartoonist for the Evansville, Ind., Courier, took a ride in the air with aviator Roy N. Francis. The trip was made at Evansville, on the Ohio River. The flying boat used by Francis is the one he used in the Great Lakes cruise a month or so ago. A height of 1,200 feet was reached during the trip and it gave Knecht plenty of good material for a bunch of cartoon sketches and a chance to write a yarn of how it feels and how Evansville looked from the clouds.

* Tom Thurlby, who for the past two years has been secretary to Mayor Hartley, Everett, Wash., has returned to the fold and joined the Post-Intelligencer staff. Previously he was on the St. Paul Globe and Everett Tribune for several years.

* Don Marquis, in the New York Sun, takes a fling at various writers and asks cartoonists “why not occasionally, after a disaster, do something original, like a death's head?” What would he suggest as more appropriate, a jack-o'-lantern?

* Princess Patricia, daughter of the Duke of Connaught, is a very clever cartoonist. She delights to cartoon the nobility. “Pat” cartoons are all the rage.

Howard Macon, of Denver, connected with the daily papers there, died recently. He had been in poor health for some time.

Miss Maria Stockton Bullit, a popular member of the younger set in New York society, was one of the victims of the recent New Haven road wreck. Not content to be a mere social butterfly, she was rapidly gaining attention for her clever cartoons of society folk which were published in the New York Evening Times.

Roscoe Semmel, cartoonist on the staff of the Rochester, N. Y., Herald, died at Tucson, Ariz., where he had gone in the hope of prolonging his life.

Compiled by the gentleman who borrowed our shears and forgot to return them:

"What sort of a pen do you use?”

“Say, you ought to know a friend of mine. He can’t draw, but he's just full of ideas.”

“Gee, you’ve got an awful cinch. Getting a day's pay for doing one or two little pictures. Why I bet I could do that in an hour.”

“I used to could draw pretty good myself, but I sorter got out of the way of it after I quit school."

“Say'll you draw me a little picture to send to a friend of mine? Make a man, going across the street leading a dog and an automobile coming around the corner and hitting him, and a brass band going by on the other side and a crowd looking on. It'll only take you about 10 minutes and my friend is just crazy about your pictures.”

“I've got a little nephew and he's some, punkins on drawing. Why he's got Gibson and Flagg and the rest of them big guns lashed to the mast.”— Milwaukee Journal.

Do you remember the days in school when you showed your contempt for Bill Simpson by “making pictures” of him on your slate, holding the slate so that he and a few choice cronies of your own could see? It didn’t matter whether you could draw or not. You could make something that looked like Bill by drawing a particularly big mouth that turned down at the corners, seven hairs that stood up straight on his head, freckles that looked like polka dots, teeth like tombstones, no body and two sticks for legs. That was when the cartoon was born.

Some of those that are being used today by grown-ups who want to “make faces” at one another have about as much raison d'etre, as little art and humor as the pictures that were drawn on slates in the little red schoolhouse. A good cartoon is a delight as well as an effective weapon. Some of the strong ones do as much damage as cannon balls. The more clever ones linger in the memory like the rapier thrusts of a keen satirist.—Stockton (Cal.) Record.

“Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school.”

One sentence of Shakespeare has made all cartoonists akin. We have come upon in our exchanges, it seems, some hundreds of cartoons, all of which show the schoolboy going to school with the heaviness with which a man goes to the county treasurer's to pay up delinquent taxes. They show him taking a last regretful look at the old swimmin' hole, pleading a sudden illness, expressing a hope that the schoolhouse will be struck by lightning, rebelling against soap that blinds and tastes like sin, making a face over an irksome collar and putting on the air of the chief mourner at the funeral when the teacher remarks that she is glad to see so many bright and shining faces, eager for the year's studies.

Cartoonists are like poets in that they are constitutionally timid about beating down new paths. What one does they all do; what one did a half century ago, so will the pack of them be found doing today. Yet there will be a break some day when one of them, instead of leaning on Shakespeare and the rubber-stamp of the craft, goes forth and watches the children the first morning of school.-Toledo (O.) Blade.


I'm taken aback by the level of negativity in these excerpts, especially since they appeared in a magazine about cartooning. Are they typical of the entire issue? I hope someone out there can identify the monthly and the weekly "journal of civilization" the author reviles. I don't know the period well enough.

The only circa-1913 cartoons I have in any quantity come from Judge via the "Caricature" collections. Most of those cartoonists are firmly in the classic American penanink camp, showing heaps of Gibson and Flagg influence. The only cartoons I can think of that might be considered "brutish" are the faux woodcuts by "Johann Hult" (John Held) and a couple by Robert Minor, whose crayon style sticks out among all the steel nibs.
Hi Smurfswacker --
The "Journal of Civilization", as proudly stated on their mastheads, was Harper's Weekly. It was indeed a shadow of its former self by the 1910s. The issues of 1913 are all digitized, so you can decide for yourself:

Most of the highly negative (and often badly written) pieces for What The Cartoonists Are Doing are reprinted from newspapers (as credited at the end of each article), so presumably Cartoons threw them in more to take up space than as a seriously considered editorial decision. The magazine always suffered, IMHO, from a very weak editorial hand. I think job one with Cartoons was to fill that enormous page count of theirs every month, and editorial direction was a secondary consideration.

There was some in-house negativity in addition to those reprinted articles, as you will see next week. A bizarre piece about the French caricaturist Forain had me goggle-eyed as I typed it into the post. Absolute venom, and almost completely unintelligible to boot. Be sure to check it out.

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Friday, August 09, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dave Breger

Dave Breger sold quite a few Private Breger cartoons off to postcard manufacturers during World War II, so why stop after the war? Here's a much later card; no copyright year is given and the card is unused but I'm going to say late 1950s?  This one was part of a series published by Nyack Art Pictures.


Hello Allan-
It would seem Breger retained control of his cartoons, KFS never reran them at the point of his death in 1970 (he was just redrawing the same gags, practically in date order for years anyway), except for a brief stint in the "weekly service" package made for weekly papers.
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Thursday, August 08, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Walter Sinclair

Walter Archibald Sinclair was born on January 6, 1882, in Chicago, Illinois, according to his World War II draft card. However, the Parsons Family: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons; Springfield, 1636–Northampton, 1655 (1912) said Sinclair was born in December 1881.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Sinclair, his widower father, Hector, and older sister, Harriet, and a servant in Chicago at 5513 to 5525 Monroe Avenue. Sinclair’s birth was recorded as January 1882. He was a newspaper artist. Information about his art training has not been found.

The Chicago Ledger published his stories, “The Lieutenant of Engine Ten” on November 7, 1903 and “The Nitro Handlers” on January 26, 1907 (see page 12).

At some point Sinclair moved to New York City. His earliest work appeared in the New York Evening World starting in 1904 and ending in 1907. Most of his material was writing verse but he did illustrate some of his work such as Glad Rags on September 23, 1904. 

Evening World 3/7/1906

A photograph of Sinclair accompanied his piece, Santa Claus’s Understudy, in the December 25, 1905 Evening World.

Sinclair’s provided serialized material for the Evening World. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said The Two Cons ran from July 9 to October 18, 1904.

In 1908 Sinclair moved to the New York Evening Telegram where he produced a number of “versitorial” cartoons and illustrated his columns Dottie Dialogues, The Tired Businessman, Mrs. Gadd, the Restorer, and The Innocent Bystander. American Newspaper Comics said Sinclair produced two series, Neighborly Miss Nosey (September 5, 1908 to March 6, 1909) and Sentimental Sidney—He Imagines (March 13 to October 23, 1909). He also drew the final strip of J.E. Cosgriff’s The Visit of Caesar and Antony on September 9, 1908.

 Evening Telegram 8/7/1908
 Evening Telegram 11/26/1908

 Evening Telegram 12/1/1909

 Evening Telegram 6/20/1910

Evening Telegram 3/2/1913

Parsons Family said Sinclair married Enid Kerr in 1905 but did not identify the location.

In 1910 newspaper cartoonist Sinclair, his wife, two children, Milton and Elaine, and a servant resided in the Bronx at 843 Manida Street. His occupation in the 1911 New York City directory was reporter and his address was unchanged.

Sinclair was found in the 1915 New York state census in Hollis, Queens County, New York on Villard Avenue. The newspaper writer had a third child, Lois.

On September 12, 1918 Sinclair signed his World War I draft card. His address was the corner of Husson and Belleview in Hollis. Sinclair was a news writer for the “Y.M.C.A. War Work Council”. He was described as tall, medium build with blue eyes and brown hair.

Sinclair resided at the same location in the 1920 census. He was a publicity agent for a paper agency.

Sinclair’s home in the 1940 census was 110 Lincoln Avenue in Mineola, Nassau County, New York. He was director of public information at the American Red Cross. He and his wife were empty-nesters.

Sinclair signed his World War II draft card on April 26, 1942. He lived in Mineola but at 100 Bradley Place, and continued working at the New York Chapter of the American Red Cross. His description was five feet six inches, 160 pounds with blue eyes and gray hair.

Sinclair passed away April 10, 1979, in West Bend, Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin Death Index at

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, August 07, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Neighborly Miss Nosey

Walter Sinclair was primarily a writer of humorous prose and verse when he was employed by Pulitzer in the early years of the century, and he wasn't bad at it. But he also fancied himself a cartoonist, a belief to which I do not subscribe. Sinclair's cartoons were generally rather amateurish, but much worse, when he applied his talent to comic strips they were obviously slapdash, with no real effort expended. Sinclair was not totally inept, as can occasionally be seen in his work, he just didn't seem to care for drawing strips. The lettering was especially awful, in fact it was sometimes almost totally illegible. So why was it that editors at Pulitzer and then at the New York Herald allowed the fellow's cartoons to appear in print?

That's not a question I can answer, but I can show you samples to back up my claim. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I commend to you the Neighborly Miss Nosey strips above as proof. I rest my case.

Neighborly Miss Nosey ran as a weekdays strip in the New York Evening Telegram from September 5 1908 to March 6 1909.


In the last strip I'd swear it looks like "Daughter" is not wearing a top!
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Tuesday, August 06, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Don Wilson

Don C. Wilson was born around 1881 in Lincoln, Nebraska. His birth date is based a census record and the birthplace was identified in magazine and newspaper profiles. Wilson has not yet been found in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Censuses.

A profile said Wilson was self-taught. Here is a rough timeline of his career.

Late 1890s
Wilson was hired by Colonel D. R. Anthony to work at the Nebraska State Journal and, later, the Leavenworth Times (Kansas).

Wilson resided at 1939 N Street, in Lincoln, Nebraska, when his cartoons were published in The Inland Printer’s October and November issues. 

Late 1901 or early 1902
After the The Inland Printer magazine exposure, Wilson was hired by Mr. H. H. Fish of the Western Newspaper Union and employed for about eight years.

Wilson’s cartoon appeared in the October issue of the Satellite published by Hal Bixby from Chicago.

Wilson illustrated the newspaper serialization of Mary Devereux’s 1902 novel Lafitte of Louisiana

William Schmedtgen hired Wilson to be sports cartoonist at the Chicago Record-Herald. Wilson was mentioned as a Record-Herald cartoonist in the Marion Daily Mirror
(Ohio), September 11, 1908.

Wilson was employed at the Chicago Daily Tribune, where American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Wilson drew Let the Little Tribune Wan-Tads Get It for You.

The January issue of The Inland Printer featured Wilson again. 

The “Tip” and “Pull” Man of the Chicago Tribune.

There are cartoonists and cartoonists — cartoonists who command the most conspicuous space on the first page of the metropolitan daily newspaper; cartoonists who cover topical events of the day; cartoonists who go in for sporting events; cartoonists who both deride and encourage the dramatic arts. All these cartoonists have long been recognized as necessary to the make-up of the city newspaper, but who ever heard of a want-ad. cartoonist who could shine in his own line?

Don Wilson, the Chicago Daily Tribune’s own special want-ad. cartoonist, has evolved a pair of most engaging and persuasive twins, called “Tip” and “Pull,” who work together persistently and satisfactorily; and, despite the fact that the “stunt” is an advertising one, the quaint gnomes are droll and really humorous. There is a weirdness in their prompt execution of orders; the man or woman who happens to cross their path has no chance of escaping a good job. They cover every field of endeavor — sell things, buy things, get you a job, get you an employee — “put you wise” to every good thing you may desire.

Don Wilson, when spoken to on the subject of his creation, said: “This interview stuff gets my goat. Every time I read an ‘interview’ I feel sorry for the boob who has to stand for it — unless he’s an actor. Actors feed on such fodder, you know — but the personal note in an article of this sort sounds too much like bunk.

“Yes, The Inland Printer was kind enough to give me a boost some nine or ten years ago. I was fooling with the dangerous art of cartooning in the old chalk-plate days on the Nebraska State Journal. Old Colonel [D. R.] Anthony (who is about the last of the old-time ‘fighting’ editors) used me afterward on the Leavenworth Times. One day I sent you a bunch of really funny pen-and-ink drawings (funny because they were rotten), and you told the world about me and showed me up with my stuff. Mr. H. H. Fish, of the Western Newspaper Union, sent for and got me. Some eight years in his service put me all to the good. Afterward, Mr. William Schmedtgen, of the Record-Herald, took me on as sporting cartoonist. Following this momentous period, while the whole United States held its breath, I did a lot of good bum stuff. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the Chicago Tribune, recognizing my supernal gifts and the excessive merits of my ‘Tip’ and ‘Pull,’ grabbed me up.

“Speaking seriously, I really think I have created something positively new in ‘Tip’ and ‘Pull.’ There never were two characters in all comic art so dissimilar, yet so cooperative, so original, or unprecedented. To myself I hug the unction that no one can find their individual or collective doubles in any publication of any date, in Europe or America. They stand alone.

“There are curious coincidences in my connection with the great Chicago Tribune. Not to mention Mr. Bryan, of perennial president fame, who hails loudly from Lincoln, Nebraska, U. S. A., there are quite a few who have attained equal, or less, distinction in other lines, who come from the same old town. Herbert Johnson, of the Philadelphia North American, is another; Claire Briggs, of the Chicago Tribune, is another; Don Wilson is another. It must be understood, however, that no blame is laid to Mr. Bryan.

“I can’t say enough about The Inland Printer. I really got my first start in the art game through its columns. Not only am I grateful, but I am always impatient to see the next number. It represents the art preservative as the Bible represents all religion. You will find The Inland Printer in nearly every office in the Chicago Tribune building. You will find it in my fifteen-year collection of art works. I am quite glad that you have paid attention to me.”

Mr. Wilson was born and reared in a printing-office, and is thoroughly imbued with the newspaper instinct. His rise was inevitable, and more will be heard from him later. To be employed jealously by so great a newspaper as the Chicago Tribune is an honor coveted by many another ambitious newspaper worker.

The accompanying pictures disclose Mr. Wilson’s peculiar views of humor and will particularly amuse The Inland Printer’s readers.

Wilson was featured prominently in the State Journal, September 24, 1911 article about Lincoln, Nebraska cartoonists.

The New York state census counted thirty-four year old artist, Wilson, at 1947 Broadway in Manhattan, New York City.

The New York Sun, October 31, 1917, reported the death of six men, including Wilson, from drinking wood alcohol.

Six Dead from “War Whiskey” Sold as Drink
One Other Dying and Bleecker Street Saloon Keeper in Custody.

Labelled as Bourbon

Symptoms Indicate Wood Alcohol Sold in Bar as “Kentucky’s Best.”

Six men died yesterday as the result of drinking “war whiskey” and another is in a serious condition from the same cause. Six of the victims lived in the Mills Hotel in Bleecker street and the seventh lodges in that vicinity.

The “war whiskey” is believed to have been made of wood alcohol or some other inexpensive poison to substitute for the liquor which saloon keepers were able to dispense for ten cents a drink previous to the increase in taxes. An autopsy will be performed on one or more of the men to establish the exact poison that is being sold, but there !s enough evidence from the condition of the victims to warrant strong suspicion of wood alcohol. Those of the victims who were attended by physicians before death or lapsing into a coma were found to have suffered complete paralysis of the optic nerves.

There is no bar at the Mills Hotel. Furthermore, it was pointed out at the hotel that two or three of the men were found not in their rooms, but on the street.

Saloon Keeper Arrested

The first case that came to the attention of the police was that of Charles Collins, who early Monday morning was found lying in Bleecker street, near Macdougal. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital suffering apparently from alcoholic coma. He died early yesterday morning. Collins, it is said, was a porter in a saloon at 155 Bleecker street Late last night Antonio Dealfanso, the proprietor, was locked up pending an investigation. In the saloon were found bottles labelled “Kentucky’s Best Whiskey.”

A bottle of whacky bearing that label was found in the room at the Mills Hotel. Clinton Arnold, a salesman, who died shortly after 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon, a few hours after being taken to a hospital. One victim, according to the police, said last night in St. Vincent’s Hospital he had purchased the liquor which caused his illness at the Bleecker street saloon. Dealfanso told the police he had purchased his stock from an express man.

Charles K. Jones, found on the street near the saloon at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon, died a few minutes later at St. Vincent’s. Patrick Cahill, found in his room ill with alcoholic poisoning earlier in the day, died late last night.

Two other lodgers at the hotel were taken to St. Vincent’s in serious condition. They are Harry Burke and Elmer Smith. Smith died early this morning.

Was Soon to Be Married.

Don C. Wilson registered at a rooming house at 510 Broadway at 1 A. M. yesterday. Apparently he was intoxicated. When an attendant went into his room at 6 o’clock last evening he was lying dead. Wilson, shortly before his death, had written a letter to a friend in which he indicated that until recently his address had been at 1959 Broadway. Several letters in his possession were from a brother who is traveling with a circus.

One letter which Wilson evidently had just written was signed “Uncle Don,” and was inscribed to “Ruth.” It told of his coming marriage to the actress, who, said the letter, was beautiful and charming and talented” and “such as you will be proud of and like.” She had been at various times engaged in productions by leading film companies, had posed for one or two artists and had appeared in the spoken drama. Wilson wrote that his fiancee was accomplished in music. He met her, he said, at the Art Students’ League in 1915.

At the boarding house it was said that the man had spoken of having been a cartoonist and portrait painter, but that he had had recent reverses in his finances. On the police register he is down as a waiter. At the Broadway address, which is a building of many studios, among other forms of apartments, no one could be found last night who knew Wilson.

Societies which have in recent years endeavored to obtain legislation prohibiting the manufacture in the United States of wood alcohol have pointed out that several countries of Europe, notably Great Britain, now have such laws. The drug is one of the most deadly poisons known. Swallowed in exceedingly small quantities it causes blindness and internal disorders. It may cause paralysis of the optic nerves even if only inhaled.

In most cases where deaths have resulted in New York through the drinking of wood alcohol the trouble largely has been through ignorance of druggists or saloon keepers that the liquid was poisonous. It is for that reason that steps have been taken to limit its sale and to prohibit entirely its manufacture.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, August 05, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Let The Little Tribune Wan-Tads Get It For You

There have been a lot of comic strips created to help pull readers into the newspaper classified section, and one of the earlier ones is from the Chicago Tribune. In 1910 they put on a marketing effort that initially placed a strip on one page of the classifieds. The strip starred Tip and Pull, a pair of flying sprites who gave a new lease on life to some poor hapless schmuck in each episode. How did they do that? Why, by directing said schmuck to the classified ads in the Tribune, of course.

The rather loquacious title was originally Tip and Pull - Let The Little Tribune Wan-Tads Get It For You when it debuted on October 17, but it wasn't long before the tads' names were left off in a nod to overworked typesetters.

The strip wasn't terribly interesting, frankly, but then someone in the Trib marketing department had a truly brilliant idea.  They changed it so that each panel of the strip ran on a different page of the classified section. Result: readers had to look through the whole section to read the comic strip. It would only be by the time they got to the final panel that they'd realize they'd been had and there was no real gag waiting for them. Despite the brilliant idea, the strip didn't have a long run, last appearing on December 2 1910.

The strip was created by Don Wilson, who left few footprints I could find. I don't have any other listings for him. He was doing some serviceable cartoon cuts for Chicago's Suburban Economist in the 00s, but his common name makes him too hard for me to track. But fear not, the intrepid Alex Jay has uncovered his story. And it's a sad one, too. Be here tomorrow for Don Wilson's Ink-Slinger Profile.


Hello Allan-
On the topic of the Want Ad genré,some of you onetime readers of the old King features "Ask the Archivist" blog might recall an entry I put together in 2016 about "Cholly The Classified Kid" by Milt Youngren from 1928-9. I had found a short run of this oddball panel, but frustratingly enough, the paper that ran it resisted publishing the feature's name!
At the time, your (Allan's) research suggested the title was Cholly the Classified Kid or Classified Cholly, depending on different sources. I guess I'm asking if any further information has ever been found on it?
Hi Mark --
I just ran the feature through a new battery of searches on, and still no hits.

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Saturday, August 03, 2019


Herriman Saturday

January 4 1910 -- This is the final Mary's Home From College strip until it is revived for a short run in 1919. Herriman sends Mary off with a literal bang in a classic final strip.

BULLETIN: Herriman Saturday is going on a short hiatus. I have more of his Examiner cartoons waiting to be scanned, but my large-format scanner is unavailable until sometime this fall. Saturdays will become a  temporary home for a new weekly feature starting next week, which will move to another day once we have Herriman cartoons ready to go again. Tune in next week to see what we have for a new series!


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Friday, August 02, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Jimmy Swinnerton

This is the first time we've featured a Magic Slate card on Wish You Were Here Friday. This series was a giveaway from the Hearst newspapers in 1907, and the gimmick was that the slate originally appears to be blank. The postcard recipient wets the slate and magically a chalky looking cartoon appears. This process was brand new, with a "patent applied for" note on each card citing the A.B. Woodward Company.

The only problem with this bit of hocus-pocus is that the drawings had to be very simple. On this card I would never know this was supposed to be Little Jimmy if it weren't for the caption.

These cards must have been in the printing pipeline for awhile, because they are undivided backs, which went out in 1906.



The above email address is to one of my old King Features Blog entries, where you can see another in this "slate" series, and some others in a similar vein.
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Thursday, August 01, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Blue Chips

Morrie Brickman tried to make it big in a number of comic strip genres before finally hitting paydirt with the small society. Blue Chips was his last syndicated stop along the way, which was distributed by Bell Syndicate (later Bell-McClure) starting on October 3 1960*.

Blue Chips tried to carve out a niche market on newspaper stock pages, a page that has never really been the location of a big hit. Dale McFeatters' Strictly Business staked a claim, and later Herb Stansbury's Smart Charts, but generally speaking newspaper editors seem relieved enough just to get all that tiny type set for the stock listings and be done with the page. Adding graphic interest seems like it was pretty far down on their priority list.

Blue Chips may have further limited its chances of success by treating readers like they were savvy investors. Gags that depend on an understanding of dividends, stock splits and margin trading no doubt made for fun reading for experts, but the typical newspaper reader would have been mystified.

What Blue Chips did very, very right is to create a character, Mr. Pigeon, who was the put-upon everyman investor, constantly losing in the market and recognizing his luck is probably never going to change. This guy basically got rehired for a starring role in the small society, and once there, no longer complained about the stock market but rather the government and society. His fatalistic belief that things are awful and never going to get better struck a nerve with many people and made the strip the big hit it was.

the small society hit newspapers in May 1966, and Brickman soon knew he had a winner. He continued Blue Chips for a short while, probably working out his contract, and the strip seems to have expired on August 19 1967**.

* Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
** Source: Paterson (NJ) News


I found at least one "Blue Chips" strip where Pigeon said "Hoo Boy". The comparison to the "small society" guy is spot on.
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