Friday, December 03, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Tilly Tawker


C.A. Voight became an anchor cartoonist at the Boston Traveler seemingly out of nowhere, but then again if his recorded birthdate is to be believed, he was just 21 years old at the time. His only earlier series*, hardly worthy of the name since it ran just twice, was Tilly Tawker, drawn for the New York Evening World on February 28 and March 9 1908. Above you witness the entire run.

Tilly Tawker is quite breathtaking. It's very hard to imagine a wet-behind-the-ears kid producing such sumptuous art with wonderful animated anatomy and expressions, well-developed gags and immaculate pacing. This is the sort of work cartoonists aspire to eventually produce after years in the profession. How the Evening World let this kid out of their grasp is anyone's guess, but escape he did.
* In my book I credit a 1902 series from the Evening World to C.A. Voight. It does looks like it could be his early, raw-boned work to me, but it is only signed "Voight", a not terribly uncommon name, and if his birth date is to be believed, he would have been published in one of the important papers in the country at the age of fifteen. Not impossible, but certainly somewhat improbable.


Why did they spell it "Conversazione"?
Is that the Italian version?
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Wednesday, December 01, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Burt Thomas

Burt Randolph Thomas was born on December 4, 1881, in Cleveland, Ohio, according to his World War II draft card and Who Was Who in America (1981). His parents were Martin Lee Thomas and Mary Randolph. He graduated high school in 1899 and attended the Cleveland Art School from 1899 to 1902. 

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Thomas, his parents and older brother in Cleveland at 103 Newell Street. Thomas’ father was the proprietor of a planing mill where Thomas was a bookkeeper. 

Who Was Who said Thomas was an artist on the Cleveland Press from 1900 to 1902. He did advertising illustration from 1902 to 1904. 

Thomas continued his art training at the Detroit Art School from 1903 to 1905. The 1903 Detroit, Michigan city directory listed Thomas at 121 Lysander Street. Directories from 1905 to 1908 said Thomas boarded at 494 Putnam Avenue and was a Detroit News artist. 

In the 1910 census, newspaper artist Thomas was a lodger in Detroit at 22 Adelaide Street. 

Thomas’ address was 310 Merrick Avenue in the 1911 city directory. On June 3, 1911, Thomas married Margaret Yarger in Detroit. Their address in the 1912 city directory was 657 Lothrop Avenue. 

Cartoons Magazine, October 1914, published Thomas’ “Utopia Under the Big Top”.

Thomas’ Our Neighbors ran from February 5 to August 17, 1915 and was syndicated by Herbert Ponting. 

Thomas was featured in Editor & Publisher, April 7, 1917. 

Cartoons Magazine, June 1918, published a photograph of Thomas’ seventy foot Liberty loan billboard. 

On September 12, 1918, Thomas signed his World War I draft card. The Detroit News cartoonist resided at 629 La Salle Gardens South. His description was tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair. 

Thomas had the same address in the 1920 census. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Thomas produced Mr. Straphanger, for the Detroit News, from February 26, 1922 to 1933. 

According to the 1930 census, Thomas, his wife and daughter were residents of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, at 886 Washington Street. The same address was in the 1940 census. Thomas’ highest level of education was the fourth year of high school. In 1939 he earned over five-thousand dollars and his house was valued over twelve thousand dollars. 

Thomas signed his World War II draft card on April 24, 1942. His address was unchanged. He was employed at the Detroit News. His description was five feet ten inches, with blue eyes and gray hair. 

At some point Thomas moved to California. The 1948 Santa Barbara city directory listed him at 22 East Los Olivos. His office was at 735 State Street in room 334. In 1951 his address was 8 Virginia Road. 

Thomas’ retirement was noted in Editor & Publisher, September 22, 1951. 
Detroit—Burt Thomas, creator of Mr. Straphanger, has retired. His present address is Santa Barbara, Calif., where he has ideas (jokingly) of becoming a beachcomber.

For 48 years, Mr. Thomas drew pictures for the Detroit News. For more than a score of years he was one of the nation’s celebrated editorial cartoonists whose work was syndicated to hundreds of newspapers.
Thomas passed away on July 3, 1964, in Berkeley, California, according to Artists of Early Michigan: A Biographical Dictionary of Artists Native to or Active in Michigan, 1701–1900 (1975). 


One thing that baffles me is that there doesn't seem to be any collections of Thomas' work. Quite a few of his cartoons were reprinted in The Literary Digest, and the Britannica Book of the Year had some of his later work, but considering his relative prominence in the field (and how lovely his art is), no collections.
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Monday, November 29, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Mr. Straphanger


Does Mr. Straphanger really qualify as an obscurity? Well, let's put it down as at least an honorary member of the club. It was the only Sunday comic strip offered by the Detroit News, and as such you could reasonably guess that it would garner little interest from newspaper editors, who'd rather work with more established sources for their syndicated material. But just from my collection I can offer a list of major papers that took it: Milwaukee Journal, Washington Star, Boston Post, Brooklyn Eagle, El Paso Herald, Dallas Morning News, etc.

I hate to admit that newspaper feature editors might actually be able to recognize superb art when they see it; they so rarely show such taste. But maybe in the case of Burt Thomas' Mr. Straphanger their normally sleepy eyes for once were forced open. The strip was seldom very funny, which is odd since Thomas' earlier work impresses me in that department, but the quality of his art, though also not as sumptuous as early in his career, is still impeccably clean and beautifully executed. 

The term 'straphanger', now almost forgotten, once was a colorful term for a suburban commuter, typically an office worker who had to shoehorn themselves onto public transportation at the same rush hour as everyone else in a city -- hence they rarely found a seat, but hung onto the overhead straps in the streetcars and buses. Mr. Straphanger seems to me a little well-heeled for that sort of lifestyle, but his actual position at the office he frequents is never (that I've read) made clear, and in the later years of the series he spent much of his time trying to strike it rich through various schemes.

Mr. Straphanger has a family -- wife, teenage daughter, young son -- but they are barely supporting players, mostly there as window-dressing. The comic generally has the titular star, sometimes along with his canine companion, Elmer, getting into outlandish situations by his own devices. The strip also had a little continuity -- the top example here is from a set of strips about him losing Elmer the dog, for instance. Later in the run the continuity came much more to the fore, in my opinion to the detriment of the humor.

Burt Thomas was the Detroit News' well-regarded editorial cartoonist, and so Mr. Straphanger wasn't really his bread and butter, but it may be that the character originated on the op-ed page. Some histories state that Mr. Straphanger was originally a character used in his editorial cartoons to represent the commuting people of Detroit versus the 'traction trust' that was railed against in most major cities at one time or another. 

The Mr. Straphanger Sunday page began on February 26 1922* and ended sometime in 1932, almost certainly on April 10 1932**, a page that appears to be a sort of farewell, with Mr. Straphanger finally striking it rich in a strip titled "The Fade Out". However, the strip was advertised in the 1932 E&P Directory which comes out around August, which would seem to indicate it may have run longer. Unfortunately I ran out of time with the Detroit News microfilm in the Library of Congress before I could find a definitive end date.

After the original run of the strip ended, some of the material was resold to World Color Printing. They seem to have only bought the tail end of the strip's run. They began running Mr. Straphanger on May 20 1934, and ended on February 17 1935* with "The Fade Out", which makes a strong case for it being the end of the original series as well.

 PS -- In the 1931 E&P Syndicate Directory the strip is listed as a daily and Sunday feature. I think this was a typo as I've never seen a daily version of the strip.

* Source: Detroit News

**  Source: Monroe Morning World

*** Source: Mexico Intelligencer


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Sunday, November 28, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Schulz


Here is a Peanuts postcard issued by Hallmark. This one is coded 50PST 302-8 on the back, whatever all that means. Oddly, the copyright line on the reverse is for Linus only; usually these cards say "Peanuts Characters" are copyrighted. Is each Peanuts character separately copyrighted I wonder?


Sure they are. Rather heavily, too. all characters worth licencing are. if you forget to, they soon become Public Domain, and so whatever licencing you want to do, might end up as free publicity to a now competing product. Remember Superman's "Bizzaro" world, where everything was the illogically a reverse image version of the normal world? D.C. didn't copyright it, and it became a PD term.
Ever wonder why Bluto became "Brutus?" Because KFS didn't copyright Bluto.
I believe "Bluto" became "Brutus" because some King Features legal minion was uncertain in the late '50s whether KFS actually owned the Bluto character.

At the time, the syndicate was unable to determine whether Segar had created the character for the "Thimble Theatre" strip (which would mean that KFS owned it) or if the Fleischers had created Bluto as a foil for Popeye in theatrical cartoons (which would mean that the Fleischers or Paramount owned copyright to the character).

Since Segar had indeed created Bluto (for a 1932 "Thimble Theatre" continuity), King Features did own the character... but since KFS didn't know that, the company simply developed "Brutus," an amazingly similar character, for use as Popeye's chief antagonist in the hundreds of inexpensive made-for-television cartoons King produced in the early '60s.
Hello Griff,
When Bluto was created in 1932, it was to specifically have a recognizable adversary for Popeye when the animated cartoons came out. Segar devised Bluto in a 1932 series(a year before the animated version debuted) with this in mind. I guess he didn't have interest in the character to ever bring him back in the strips.
In fact, Bluto reappeared in the strip again briefly in the 1950's when it was done by Ralph Stein. but it was also the last time,as apparently it was determined that Bluto was not ours,as we copyrighted the strips he appeared in, but Paramount copyrighted the characters for their cartoons. "Screen Rights" one would call them. When Sagendorf took over the strip in 1959, he had occasionally used a Bluto-like character who didn't have a name...."Big guy" was about all the name he had, indicating we were hesitant at naming the character, yet definately didn't want him named Bluto. We were gearing up for the TV cartoons. With their launch in 1960, another Blutoesque villian had appeared, as Popeye needs such a story catalyst, but his new handle was "Brutus", a name we could copyright. Sagendorf's "big guy" became "Brutus" too. That confusion would follow was not a concern.


Thanks for the clarification regarding "Bluto" and "Brutus"! I much appreciate hearing the real details on this.
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Saturday, November 27, 2021


Herriman Saturday: March 4 1910


March 4 1910 -- As in yesterday's Examiner, Herriman is enlisted to provide one piece of art to cover multiple stories. Odd...

The top story concerns a a fraternal organization known as "The Mysterious 10"; they had an election to determine their new grand poobah, and for some reason despite a substantial majority of the votes going to one fellow, another fellow was crowned, or anointed, or whatever they do. How this tempest in a teapot made it into court I cannot imagine, but a Solomon-like judge seems to have made sense of the election and the members of The Mysterious 10 left happy -- except presumably for the fellow who was ousted as Grand Wizier. 

The bottom cartoon concerns a thief by the name of Chow Gow who made off with a goose and rooster from a local home. Apparently when pursued by a posse Chow Gow decided the birds were too hot to handle; he dumped them in a secluded spot and flew the coop.


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Friday, November 26, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: The Cheerful Primer


The Cheerful Primer was one of Charles Kahles' contributions to the Evening World, running pretty consistently twice a week from January 28 to July 31 1907. The idea was to satirize the form of a child's schoolbook, a concept that had been done plenty of times before. Kahles' take on the idea seemed rather perfunctory, with the gags seldom really relating or depending on the framework. Not that the gags don't work (I got a good chuckle out of the sample above) but the McGuffey's Reader thing seems to be pointless. 

Here's a coupla factoids to brighten up this post about kind of a yawner of a strip. During Charles Kahles' long tenure at the New York World he was unusual in two ways. First, he seemed to be able to moonlight to other syndicates openly and freely whereas most other artists did so clandestinely. Second, he produced material for both the Sunday funnies and the weekday Evening World, which was a surprisingly unusual occurrence --- but then again, Kahles was a veritable comic-producing machine, so there's that to factor in. 


Hello Allan-
Kahles's daughter, Jessie, would proudly boast that CWK had created or worked on twenty-three series, yet I know there were more, she never considered the "weekday" strips from early on, like this one.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2021


Toppers: Jane Arden's Wardrobe

Art by Russell Ross

Art by Jim Seed

Art by William Hargis


Jane Arden was a successful strip about a female reporter that ran for over three decades, debuting in 1928. One might also call it pioneering as the first major strip, I think, to star a professional woman outside the traditional stenos and secretaries. Unlike later strips to star women, this one never had a female writer or cartoonist during its long run.

I confess that I've never been able to bring myself to read enough of Jane Arden to say what I think of the stories. The art, though by many different hands, was so uniformly stodgy or just downright bad that I can't get past it to find out if the writing is good. So have you tried reading Jane Arden? Tell me what you think about the strip in the comments please. Maybe I'm missing out on something fantastic?

The Jane Arden Sunday page started in 1932, and after a few months running topless added a topper strip, Lena Pry, and a paper doll feature, Jane Arden's Wardrobe, on December 4 1932*.  

The daily strip art at this time was by Frank Ellis, but his work was so primitive that when the Sunday was added, they brought on a new hand for the page. This was Jack W. McGuire, whose art was not that much better but impressed the Register & Tribune Syndicate enough for him to get the gig. 

Two years later McGuire was needed to take over the art on R&T's western strip, Bullet Benton, and after trying to keep both plates spinning for awhile, he was dropped from the Arden strip in favour of Russell Ross. Ross had taken over the daily a few years earlier, and became the artist on the Sunday, including toppers, starting February 17 1935*. Ross was a much better artist, but his artwork has a sterile quality to it. There just never seems to be any joy, any attempt at fireworks; the art just sort of lays there on the page with all the flavour of a hothouse tomato.  

Ross had by far the longest tenure on the strip but you'll never know that from the strips themselves, because for some reason he stopped signing the daily back in the late 1930s, and the Sunday was uncredited most of the time after the death of the original writer, Monte Barrett, in 1949. Why he preferred to work anonymously I have no clue. Ross' art is distinctive enough that I feel pretty comfortable in saying that he was at the helm, probably with more and more assistance as time went on, on the Sunday until 1956 when Jim Seed began getting art credit with the January 29 Sunday**. 

Seed's art is very much in the Mary Worth/Judge Parker mold, draining what little attractiverness Ross had brought to the party. That sort of art was in vogue, though, so Seed was just following the market. With Seed's tenure the paper doll each Sunday was now just a stat of the same very unattractive Jane Arden figure. I mean seriously, Jane is wearing her frumpy granny's underthings and looks like she's steeling herself to undergo a painful medical procedure. 

Seed left the strip after the Sunday of September 4 1960, to be replaced by William Hargis. Hargis' art style is very similar to Seed's, and he used the same frumpy vision for Jane in her skivvies as his predecessor.

By this time the Jane Arden Sunday was running in a tiny list of papers, and so it was dropped on September 3 1961***, making that the end of the topper Jane Arden's Wardrobe as well. 

* Source: Des Moines Register

** Source: Most info on the Sunday strip in the 1950s and 60s is from the Toronto Star.

*** Source: Editor & Publisher, July 29 1961.


Always glad to lend a hand...there are a couple of late 1940s Jane Arden reprint comics over at Comicbook+. "Pageant of Comics" #2 reprints four daily continuities credited to Barrett and Ross. I read them to save you the trouble.

The stories are all whodunits with Jane, a police inspector, and occasionally a standard Handsome Guy Friend picking up clues and finding the murderer. The writing is much like the art: simple, diagrammatic, excitement-free.

From Russell Ross' artwork I gather that either he was either totally unimaginative or totally unmotivated. His drawings are pretty good, though composed in endless static, eye-level shots. But whenever there's the least hint of a complex scene--Jane discovering a ransacked room, the cops photographing a murder scene--Ross goes out of his way to draw as little as possible. There are a remarkable number of shots of peoples' feet. Maybe after twenty-something years he was just tired of it all.
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Monday, November 22, 2021


Mystery Cartoonist: "Kaulee"

I was recently contacted by Karen Green, curator of comics and cartoons at the Butler Library of Columbia University regarding some comic strips she found. They were discovered in the papers of the Society for the Prevention of Crime (ironically, an organization that vilified comic books). What she found were a couple of proof sheets for strips titled Hopeless Henry and The Same Old Hokum, bylined by "Kaulee." 

Green contacted me on the chance that I might be able to ID the artist. Unfortunately I could not do that, and I had never seen the comics strips either. 

Online research led me to an obscure set of series evidently issued through the auspices of the United Nations. There seems to have been three series, the first of which was titled Hopeless Henry. In this series the UN keeps a relatively low profile, concentrating more on material about European war relief. Some strips don't even mention the UN. Green has two proof sheets for this strip, with the strips numbered 1 through 7, which appears to be the extent of the series. Here are some samples:

The proof sheets credit Community Relations Service, located at 386 4th Avenue in New York City. I can find little on this organization, but it seemed to be in the business of issuing pamphlets and other printed materials for various religious, community and social do-gooder organizations. Whether "Kaulee" worked for them, the U.N., or some contracted art agency is unknown, but the latter seems like the best bet.

Hopeless Henry strips were issued as freebies to newspapers, and so assigning definitive dates to the series is relatively meaningless since the issuer does not seem to have prescribed specific running dates. Very few papers took the bait to run strips from this series, and I found none that printed all seven. Of those few who did use Hopeless Henry, the earliest I can find ran it in July 1947. 

Although Hopeless Henry failed to get many takers, a second series was issued, this time titled Hopeless Herman. Why the name change? I dunno. Maybe they ran out of rhymes for Henry. But the new series was also credited to "Kaulee". Here's a few samples:


For this series we don't have the benefit of proof sheets, so these samples are from digitized microfilm. The highest number strip I can find is #6, but it wouldn't surprise me if this series also consisted of seven strips. This series is more openly cheerleading for the U.N. and lobbies primarily for the Universal Bill of Human Rights, which would be passed in December 1948 and would become quite influential in world politics. The earliest I can find Hopeless Herman strips running is in October 1948.

Finally there is a third U.N. series, yet again with a new title, this time the cheerier outlook of Hopeful Herbert. "Kaulee" is credited once again, and once again the series seems to consist of seven strips. Here are some samples from microfilm:

The earliest printed example from this series I've found is from October 1949. 

This appears to be the last U.N. series produced, but "Kaulee" has another credit, on The Same Old Hokum, a series that uses the same style and format as the U.N. ones:

This series is aimed at combating racism and promoting ethical behavior in veterans. It is not at all obvious who paid for this series to be produced, but it seems unlikely to be the U.N. as the subject seems a little out of its purview. This was apparently quite a long series in comparison to the others; the highest number found is #22. It also varies from the other series in that it appears to have only been distributed to military base papers and veterans' publications (thanks to Alex Jay for ferreting out these appearances).This series has been found running as early as 1947 and as late as 1949. 

"Kaulee" also produced some other material for Community Relations Service, including a pro-immigration booklet titled The Face At The Window, which impressed the editors of the Des Moines Tribune enough to run it on their op-ed page. The pamphlet seems not to have credited the work, but it is obviously our "Kaulee":

 Green alerted me to another booklet obviously produced by "Kaulee", this one about workplace discrimination and unionism. It was titled "Discrimination Costs You Money" and it was produced for the National Labor Service:

In researching this pamphlet I came upon several different versions of it floating around the interwebs. The typical version, as usual, offers no creator credits, but finally I hit paydirt on the Civil Rights Movement Archive website, where they have a digitized version of the pamphlet that offers full credits at the back. And that's where the mystery ends, because they tell us that "Kaulee" is  the team of writer Sonya Kaufer and artist Lee Levy. 

Sonya Kaufer pops up in newspaper archives during the 1950s as a pamphlet writer, poet and civil rights activist, but sadly for artist Lee Levy the trail goes cold.


I've seen some of these UN handouts in several papers in different states. They apparently came with further UN propaganda in the form of editorials, columns and photos to the same papers.
Poking around a bit, there's a listing for a Sonya Firstenberg Kaufer, nee Sonya Ruth Firstenberg, born January 7, 1921 in Bialystok Poland, and who died August 21, 2004; if these strips came out in the mid to late 40s, they were done when she was rather young. Since at least 1977 through 2002, she lived in Putnam Valley, NY; in the 1930 census, she's listed in the Bronx (under "Sonya Firstenperg" [sic], having come to the US in 1928 (as a Yiddish speaker) and in 1940, as "Sonia [sic] Firstenberg," a clerk in a cleaning and dyeing shop, living in Brooklyn; she'd briefly attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn.

One item that caught my eye in noodling around was that there was a comic artist for DC comics named Harris Levey, also born in 1921, who worked under the pseudonyms Lee Harris, Leland Harris, and Harris Levy. Could it be possible he also worked under the name Lee Levy, mixing names from two of his pseudonyms? I admit that's a longshot, but it's a very curious coincidence. As of February, 1942 (his draft registration card), at the age of 20, he was living in the Bronx, and working for "Superman, Inc." He died, it seems, in 1984, up in Lake Placid.
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Sunday, November 21, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis


Here's another Argus Communication Garfield card, this one coded #P2100.


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Saturday, November 20, 2021


Herriman Saturday: March 3 1910


March 3 1910 -- Famed editorial cartoonist Homer Davenport is making the lecture circuit in California, and to ensure he gets plenty of press coverage of his visit he brings with him a rather unusual personal valet -- an Arab who dresses in the traditional garb of his region and who conspicuously prays to Allah in the hotel. If the story is to be believed, Davenport visited some Arab bigwig in the Middle East and was given this servant as a gift. 

Davenport is making news for the messy divorce he's going through, too, but the Examiner finds the Arab servant also worth a photo, a few Herriman vignettes, and some lineage. 

I'm going to guess his personal appearances were sell-outs given his smart manipulation of the press.


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Friday, November 19, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ralph Reichhold

Ralph George Reichhold was born on November 3, 1894, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, according to his World War I and II draft cards. Who’s Who in America, 1952–1953 said his parents were William Reichhold and Mary Elizabeth Giltenboth. 

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Reichhold was the second of three brothers whose father was a day laborer. The family resided in Pittsburgh at 6726 Hamilton Avenue. 

The 1910 census recorded the family of five as Pittsburgh residents at 543 Lowell Street. 

The 1913 Pittsburgh city directory had two listings for Reichhold: first as an artist, and second as a student with his surname misspelled “Reichold”.

It’s not known where Reichhold had his early education. Who’s Who said Reichhold studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1914 to 1916. 

Editor & Publisher, June 25, 1949, explained how Reichhold got his start with the Pittsburgh Press.
When he was still in knee pants, Ralph like to draw. He used to hang around a drug store, the proprietor of which was an enthusiast of Indian lore. Ralph drew some Indian pictures and the druggist exhibited them in the store. By and by, a man of some influence saw them and suggested that Ralph, all of 18 years old, go see T. R. Williams, then managing editor of the Press.

Ralph did, but it didn’t do much good. The twig was bent, though, and for six months, Mr. Williams had a frequent visitor, a lad with a handful of sketches. Since he couldn’t very well blockade the Press entrance, Mr. Williams, in desperation, hired Ralph at $8 a week.

Ralph plugged away and in eight years was doing a local panel—Rambling With Reichhold—centered around one incident of everyday life. It was a Press feature for nearly 10 years. 
On June 5, 1917, Reichhold signed his World War I draft card. He lived with his parents at the same address. Reichhold was an artist with the Pittsburgh Press. His description was medium height and build, with black hair and brown eyes. The Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, at, said Recihhold served in the Navy from September 6, 1918 to February 8, 1919. His Pennsylvania Veteran’s Compensation Application said Reichhold was in the naval reserve and was stationed at the Wissahickon Barracks. He was not involved in any engagements and honorably discharged on September 30, 1921. 

Who’s Who said Reichhold married Minnie Margaret Elizabeth Scheller on September 14, 1917. The Pittsburgh Press, July 31, 1917, said 
Miss Minnie Margaret Scheller, daughter of Mrs. Laura M. Scheller of the Eastend, has chosen Friday evening, Sept. i4, as the date for her marriage to Ralph George Reichhold, son of Mrs. Mary E. Reichhold, also of the Eastend. The ceremony will be solemnized in Christ Evangelical Lutheran church, Margaretta and Beatty sts., with the rector, Rev. John I. Shaud, officiating, at 8 o’clock. Miss Margaret P. Allan will play the wedding music and the only attendants will be four ushers, Edwin J. Scheller, brother of the bride: Elmer L. Reichhold and Harold W. Reichhold, brothers of the groom, and J. Arthur Allan. A wedding supper for the bridal party and the immediate families will follow the church ceremony. Mr. Reichhold is a member of The Press staff of artists. 
According to the 1920 census, Reichhold and his wife lived in Pittsburgh at 5435 Columbo Street. The newspaper cartoonist owned the house. Ten years later their new home was in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania at 121 Vernon Drive. Reichhold’s oldest son was 9 years old and the youngest 10 months. 

Reichhold’s Radiotoon activity feature ran on Sundays in the Pittsburgh Press during 1927. 

During the 1930s, Reichhold contributed cartoons to Editor & Publisher; samples are here and here

The 1940 census said Reichhold’s address was unchanged. In 1939 he worked 52 weeks and earned five-thousand dollars. 

In 1942 Reichhold signed his World War II draft card and did not serve. 

Editor & Publisher, February 27, 1943, reported Reichhold’s newspaper creation. 
Donnie Dingbat Is Weather Predictor
A year-old half-column bird is the current toast of Pittsburgh news readers.

He is Donnie Dingbat, the Pittsburgh Press weather predictor and commentator extraordinary.

When the war forced the curtailment of weather predictions, Phelps Sample, Press rewrite man, injected topical conversation into his page one daily forecasts. The stories caught on so well that editor E. T. Leech asked editorial cartoonist Ralph Reichhold to create a character to be used as a half column illustration.

Wishing five minutes Donnie Dingbat was born and made his first public appearance in the next edition.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Reichhold produced the panel, This Is Pittsburgh, for the Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh. The panel appeared in Pittsburgh papers during 1948.  

Reichhold advertised his services in Printers’ Ink
For sales promotion, ads, house organs by cartoonist listed in “Who’s Who.” Years experience with national accounts. Write Ralph Reichhold, 121 Vernon Drive, Pittsburgh 16, Pa.
One of Reichhold’s Pittsburgh Press cartoons drew the attention of Presbyterian Life, October 30, 1954;  Presbyterian Survey, June 1955;  and Editor & Publisher, February 5, 1955. 

Reichhold passed away son January 2, 1989, in Dover, Delaware. He was laid to rest at Epworth Methodist Cemetery. Editor & Publisher, January 14, 1989, said 
Ralph G. Reichhold, 94, retired artist and writer for the Pittsburgh Press, died Jan. 2 in the Courtland Manor Nursing Home, Dover, Del. He had retired in 1955 and moved to Rehoboth Beach, Del., after a 42-year career at the paper. Reichhold created a cartoon character, “Donald [sic] Dingbat,” a small bird which appeared with the daily weather forecasts for 37 years. He also drew a panel comic and editorial cartoons.

Further Viewing
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection
Life, November 28, 1938: Caricatures of Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Wednesday, November 17, 2021


From the Sub-Basement of the Archives: Radiotoon


If there were a prize for the most cryptic cartoon feature ever, it has to be Radiotoon. Cryptic, that is, until you read the lengthy instructions for decoding the cartoons.

Radiotoon actually looks like someone's conception of radio waves emanating from a hodgepodge of sources, which is pretty cool and quite inscrutable. But all will be revealed, kids, when you listen to Uncle Kay-Bee on the radio. He will give you a list of numbers and if you draw lines between them a cartoon will be revealed. In other words, this is just a connect-the-dots puzzle, but the connections must be made by following the 'radio waves' from number to number. 

Usually the hidden pictures in connect-the-dots puzzles are pretty easy to figure out just by looking at the pattern of dots, but in this case, with all those 'radio waves' obfuscating things, the revealed picture will really be a surprise. Nicely done Ralph Reichhold, creator of this feature. 

Being an activity feature, Radiotoon sadly doesn't qualify for Stripper's Guide, but I couldn't resist showing you this neat feature. It ran in the Pittsburgh Press on Sundays in 1927.


Hello Allan-
I can't find any transcriptions of Unc's instructions, and it'll be quite a wait until they rebroadcast him, so I tried doing the puzzles on my own. But I had to chuck in the towel, as I developed a case of Venn poisoning.
The second picture seems to be a profile of a boy holding a ball. The first seems to be portrait although I cannot make out the features of the face. Maybe a clown?
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Monday, November 15, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: The Chubbies


The Brownies, the Ting-Lings and other bands of diminutive troublemakers were popular denizens of the Sunday color sections in the early days of comics. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat tried out their own race of impish wee folk back when their comic section was a homegrown affair. 

There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about DeVoss Driscoll's The Chubbies, a gang of egg-shaped small fry, but they go about their business in the cute and rascally manner that we expect of our little folk. Driscoll, who was drawing pretty much the whole G-D section, took a lot of care with this feature. He cranked up the art to maximum quality, better than his adequate but not outstanding typical fare. He must have been pretty proud of this work because he bothered to copyright the first page to himself, something he did not do with any of his other many series.

The Chubbies might have proved too much work or failed to set the world on fire as hoped, because Driscoll dropped them very quickly. The series only ran from December 25 1904 to February 26 1905.


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Sunday, November 14, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Percy Crosby


Here's another postcard from Series 580 (or S80) from an unknown publisher. As usual Percy Crosby lets us know with slapdash art that he was not happy about doing this job. This is the second card from the series that concerns doctors and offers a pretty pathetic pun. As I often wonder with these lesser cards, who actually opted to pay a penny for it (other than, obviously, Robbie's Grandma)? 

As usual, I can't help but wonder about those black letters. Can 

        T    Y    E    D    E    L    O    P    I    S

be some sort of anagram? How about "SPOILED YET".


TYEDELOPIS is the medical term for a rash acquired by wearing too much tye dye t-shirts and jeans. This condition affects mainly Hippies, dropouts, and nonbathers.
No, wait a mo- It's the name the in ancient Bacterian language they gave to the city of Atlantis in their epic five-page creation myth; WUDEHELIZIS.
Actually, it's nothing. You keep hoping that ol'Perc' was better than he was, and the filled in letters in his post cards have some intelligent design to them, but it would seem they are always pointless, randomly chosen characters.
His ineptitude is again on display, One might assume the "Doctor" is holding a tin cup, classic equipment of beggery, but the Crosby grasp of perspective might confuse a reader to think the doc is presenting a card.
How does the sign stay on his chest? And of course, yet again, Crosby has a problem with limbs. He couldn't WANT to draw one leg six inches too short, could he? But couldn't he see how it looks, long before he'd ink, color and print it? Either he didn't care or he was a DADAist.
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Saturday, November 13, 2021


Herriman Saturday: March 1 1910


March 1 1910 -- Herriman's cartoons play host to a round-up of Valentine's Day bloopers, cases of Cupid needing to don spectacles before letting go with those arrows. All these wacky stories supposedly occurred in the L.A. area in the near past.

Cartoon 1 is pretty self-explanatory; the young swain sauntered into the wrong house for his date with fair damsel. He was hauled into court for disturbing the peace. His sweetie shows her unflinching love for the myopic Romeo by paying his fine for him.

In the second cartoon, a husband was so annoyed by his wife's 'love potions' -- pouches of table salt tied into his jacket -- that they finally had the opposite effect -- her souvenirs d'amour resulted in him giving her a highly ungentlemanly violent payback and a subsequent appearance before a judge. 

In the third cartoon, a Russian immigrant, owner of a luxuriant beard, has just wed his sweet babushka, who soon asked if she could have $2 to purchase a new dress. The man refused and the bride expressed her displeasure by ripping most of his beard off his face. The groom brings his new wife to court seeking redress only to find that giving someone an involuntary shave is nowhere on the books as being against the law.


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Friday, November 12, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Did It Ever Happen To You?


Mort M. Burger, as we've covered before, was a pretty awful cartoonist but an absolute bulldog when it came to following his dream of being a famous newspaper ink-slinger. In the period 1915-16 he went the self-syndication route with two strips, Heeza Boob and Did It Ever Happen To You? Not only are they both inept, but the lack of care in their execution and distribution makes you wonder why any paper, no matter how poor and in need of material they were, would run this stuff, much less pay for the privilege. 

Note, for instance, that in the top strip Burger has got most of the word balloons in backward order. While he was certainly not the only one guilty of that sin, I've never seen a strip that had practically all the balloons bass-ackward -- normally the cartoonist manages to at least get the first panel oriented properly before trouble begins to erupt. 

Then there is the physical quality of the materials he sent out. The extreme type lice, of which I cleaned off the worst for these samples, seems to indicate that the plates or mats were produced by the blind, and Burger, presumably sighted though one wonders, gave these messes the thumbs up. Even the byline, which I think is actually part of the plate, actually misspells Burger's name! (EDIT: Ok, fine. Mark Johnson says the byline was added by the paper. One point back in Burger's favour then.)

No paper found thus far ran this strip with perfect consistency, but based on Burger's other self-syndicated strip I assume it was meant to be a daily. Running dates of March 27 1915 to April 13 1916* are probably not definitive for the series, but until a paper is found that ran the strip on a consistent basis, they are as close as we're likely to get. The Kansas City Gazette Globe, for instance, ran the strip into January 1917, but they were probably running material late.

* Alex Jay based on Salem Capital Journal.


oh man, as I read the strip I was increasingly puzzled as to how this was published...was this one of the very first strips where they hadn't figured out placement of word balloons or perhaps this is the first instance of word balloons altogether, I thought.

Nope, just bad execution by the creator, lol.
Maybe Mr. Burger, or "Buger," was hoping to get his comics translated in a Japanese manga where they read right to left.
Okay, this one of the worst comics I've ever seen. Do you have a category for "worst comics", so we can start keeping score?
To be fair, The header for the strip is not a ready to use boilerplate, the paper you have culled these examples from set the type and misspelt Mr. Burger's name, hopefully not on purpose. The proper spelling is seen in other client papers.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 -- Overall Results

One of our papers, the Pensacola News, published its last edition in May of 1985, and we did not have information on 7 of our papers in the first month of 1986. So this survey has only 278 papers surveyed.

We have two strips entering the Top 30. The Far Side with its gain of 35 papers enters at position 19 and Berry’s World, which gained 5 papers, enters at 29. The two strips they knocked out of the Top 30 are Eek and Meek and Heathcliff.

The biggest movers in the Top 30 are Bloom County, moving up 4 spots to #13 and Shoe, which moves up 3 spots to crack the top ten at #9. Shoe also gained 10 papers to join the 100-paper strip club; that exclusive club now has 12 features. Bloom County just missed joining by 2 papers, but the way the strip is gaining popularity it will surely join the 100-club next year. Garfield with its 10-paper gain is about to crack the 200 strip-club which currently has only has 2 members, Peanuts and Blondie.

Here is the Top 30:



Top 30 Movement

Plus/Minus Papers

Total Papers
















Beetle Bailey





Hagar the Horrible










Family Circus





Wizard of Id







Up 1





Up 3



Hi and Lois





Frank and Ernest


Down 2



Bloom County


Up 4



Andy Capp


Down 1



For Better or For Worse


Up 1



Born Loser


Down 2



Dennis the Menace


Down 2





Up 2



Far Side





Mary Worth


Down 1



Barney Google and Snuffy Smith


Down 2





Down 1





Down 1



Rex Morgan


Down 1





Down 1





Down 1



Tank McNamara


Down 1



Gasoline Alley


Down 1



Berry's World







Down 1




Let’s look at the growing popularity of the universal comic section this year. More papers this year are become more like other papers with the Top 2 to 11 strips appearing in more papers then last year.

Top 2 strips – 171 (Up 1)

Top 3 strips – 143 (Up 5)

Top 4 strips – 121 (Up 5)

Top 5 strips – 78 (Up 6)

Top 6 strips – 51 (Up 4)

Top 7 strips – 31 (Up 5)

Top 8 strips – 20 (Up 5)

Top 9 strips – 11 (Up 5)

Top 10 strips – 9 (Up 7)

Top 11 strips – 6 (Up 4)

Top 12 strips – 1 (Down 1)

Top 13 strips – 1 (Same)

Top 14 strips – 0 (Down 1)

The Tampa Tribune now has the Top 13 strips in its section, making it the most universal comic section for 1986. The paper also has 9 other strips that are in the Top 30 – For Better or For Worse (15), Cathy (18), Mary Worth (20), Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (21), Herman (23), Ziggy (25), Marvin (26), Tank McNamara (27), Gasoline Alley (28). That makes 22 out of the top 30 strips appearing in The Tampa Tribune at the beginning of 1986. What else did they run? Duffy, Arlo and Janis, Amazing Spider-Man, Rose is Rose, Nancy, John Darling, Crock, Funky Winkerbean. Those are also all popular strips, so they essentially run nothing unusual at all.

 Here are the remaining strips in the 300:

# of Papers

Features (increase of decrease of papers since last year)


 Heathcliff (-2)


 Alley Oop (-1), Eek and Meek (-2)


 Funky Winkerbean (-1)


 Mother Goose and Grimm (+8)


 Bugs Bunny (-3), Nancy (-7)


 Amazing Spider-Man (-3), Dick Tracy (-4), Lockhorns (0)


 Judge Parker (-2)


 Arlo and Janis (R), Sally Forth (+1), Tiger (-6)


 Tumbleweeds (-2)


 Phantom (+1), Snake Tales (-2)


 Geech (+2)


 Apartment 3-G (-1), Archie (-6), Buz Sawyer (-4)


 Kit N Carlyle (-4), Steve Canyon (-1)


 Broom Hilda (-2), Mark Trail (0), On The Fastrack (+2)


 Captain Easy (-1), Great John L/Babyman (0)


 Crock (0), They’ll Do It Every Time (-1)


 Redeye (-2)


 Luann (R)


 Calvin & Hobbes (R), Hazel (-2), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-1), That’s Jake (+13)


 Dunagin’s People (-5), Fred Basset (-2)


 Donald Duck (0), Gil Thorp (+1), Small Society (-1)


 Hartland (R), Kuduz (0), Momma (-2), Motley’s Crew (-1), Robotman (R)


 Adam (-3), Brenda Starr (0), Drabble (0), Orbit (R)


 Benchley (-1), Duffy (-2), Grin and Bear It (0), Little Orphan Annie (-2), Love Is (+3), Mr. Men and Little Miss (-3), Mr. Tweedy (-3), Rip Kirby (-2), Ryatts (-1)


 Animal Crackers (-1), John Darling (-2)


 Agatha Crumm (-1), Better Half (0), Girls (-1), Neighborhood (-1), Rose is Rose (+1), Willy N’ Ethel (-1)


 Catfish (-1), Cooper (R), Elwood (-1), Heart of Juliet Jones (-2), Henry (0), Perky & Beanz (R), Sydney (R)


 Dondi (-3), Flintstones (-1), Hocus Focus (0), Miss Peach (-3), Muppets (-2), Pavlov (0), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (-1), Wright Angels (+1)


 Arnold, Belvedere, Bizarro, Boner’s Ark, Caldwell, Captain Vincible, Conrad, Ferd’nand, Laff-A-Day, Moose Miller, Off the Leash, Our Fascinating Earth, Ponytail, Quigmans, Scamp, Smith Family, Winnie Winkle


 Amy, Betty Boop & Felix, Charlie, Downstown, Flash Gordon, Graffiti, Inside Out, A Little Leary, Outcasts, Trudy, Winnie the Pooh


 Ben Wicks, Bringing Up Father, Cheeverwood, Eb & Flo, Good News Bad News, McGonigle of the Chronicle, Mickey Mouse, Middle Ages, Moon Mullins, Nubbin, Peter Principle, Popeye, Rivets, Sam and Silo, Tyler Two


 According To Guinness, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Ching Chow, Clout Street, Executive Suite, Eyebeam, Furtree High, Gumdrop, In The Bleachers, Laffbreak, Laugh Time. Luther, Modesty Blaise, Mr, Abernathy, Play Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Pot-Shots, Quincy, Salt Chuck, Secret Agent Corrigan, Sidelines, Stan Smith Tennis Class, Sylvia, Trim’s Arena, Tundra, Vidlots, Winston, Word A Day



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Tuesday, November 09, 2021


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 -- Biggest Gainers and Losers

 The biggest gainer in 1985 was a panel feature, which gained 35 papers and moved into 3rd place in panel category --  The Far Side.  The feature had moved from Chronicle Features to Universal Press Syndicate, and perhaps their more active sales force was responsible for that big gain.

Coming in as the third biggest gainer is That’s Jake, another panel strip which gained an impressive 13 papers.

On the comic strip front, Bloom County gained the most papers with 21, then Cathy with 11, then Garfield and Shoe both with 10. Here is the list of top gainers.

Far Side - 35
Bloom County – 21
That’s Jake - 13
Cathy - 11
Garfield – 10
Shoe – 10
For Better or For Worse – 9
Mother Goose and Grimm – 8
Hagar The Horrible – 7
Doonesbury – 6
Family Circus – 5
B.C. – 5
Berry’s World - 5

The biggest losers this year were a group of long-running veterans.

Nancy – 7
Tiger – 6
Archie – 6
Andy Capp – 5
Dunagin’s People – 5

Adventure strips continued their long slow demise.

Alley Oop – 40 (-1)
Amazing Spider-Man – 32 (-3)
Dick Tracy – 32 (-4)
Phantom – 24 (+1)
Buz Sawyer – 22 (-4)
Steve Canyon – 21 (-1)
Mark Trail – 20 (0)
Captain Easy – 18 (-1)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 14 (-1)
Brenda Starr – 10 (0)
Little Orphan Annie – 9 (-2)
Rip Kirby – 9 (-2)
Flash Gordon – 3 (-1)
Popeye – 2 (0)
Brick Bradford – 1 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Secret Agent Corrigan – 1 (0)
Mandrake The Magician – 0 (-2) – Mandrake does still appear in one paper in the survey but the information is missing from 1985-1999)
Tim Tyler’s Luck – 0 (0)

Strips that have ended and their last counts from the previous year:
Can You Solve The Mystery – 14
World’s Greatest Super-Heroes – 0

The total slots taken by adventure strips  for 1985 was 259, down from 294. That is a 12 percent drop this year.

On the soap opera strip front:

Mary Worth – 68 (-4)
Rex Morgan – 53 (-2)
Judge Parker – 30 (-2)
Apartment 3-G – 22 (-1)
Gil Thorp – 12 (1)
Heart of Juliet Jones – 6 (-2)
Dondi – 5 (-3)    
Winnie Winkle – 4 (0)

The total soap opera strip slots for 1985 was 200 down from 213. That is a 6.1 percent drop. Not as bad as adventure strips but like I’ve said before, the adventure strips are first to go then the soaps will follow.

My understanding is "Tim Tyler's Luck" was in only one US newspaper when it ended, Conroe Courier in Texas.
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Monday, November 08, 2021


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 -- Rookie Features

Since we started this survey one thing has remained constant: when an NEA strip is cancelled and the syndicate replaces it with a new strip, that new strip will have fewer papers than the cancelled strip. This is a normal process during this time because some papers either choose another strip from the NEA package (one they weren’t previously running) or jump ship and choose a strip from another syndicate. 

In 1985 we have the opposite; Levy’s Law was cancelled and replaced by Arlo and Janis; the new strip got into 28 papers, compared to 22 for the cancelled strip.  That good start, helped by being an NEA replacement, takes our honors as the top rookie of the year. 

Coming in second this year we have Luann (News America) with 15 papers; this strip of course will eventually earn a place as a perennial top strip. In third place we have a strip that will become a modern classic, Calvin and Hobbes (Universal Press) with 14 papers. 

Other decent debuts were Hartland (King) with 11 papers, Robotman (NEA) and Orbit (Asterisk) both with 10. Asterisk was a new start-up syndicate, and Orbit was their first offering. Here is the complete list of rookies:

Arlo and Janis - 28 (NEA)
Luann  - 15(News America)
Calvin and Hobbes - 14 (Universal Press)
Hartland - 11 (King)
Robotman - 10 (NEA)
Orbit - 10 (Asterisk) 
Cooper – 6 (Universal Press Syndicate)
Perky and Beanz – 6 (Tribune)
Sydney – 6 (United)
Bizarro – 4 (Chronicle)
Caldwell – 4 (King)
Off the Leash – 4 (United)
Inside Out – 3 (Tribune)
Cheeverwood – 2 (Washington Post)
Tyler Two – 2 (Tribune)
Zippy the Pinhead – 2 (San Francisco Examiner)
Executive Suite – 1 (United)
Eyebeam – 1 (Self-syndicated)
Furtree High – 1 (local feature of Ottawa Citizen)
Winston – 1 (News American)
Top 5 Strips that began between 1977-1985

Garfield (1978) – 197
Shoe (1977) – 108
Bloom County (1980) – 98
For Better or For Worse (1979) – 88
The Far Side (1979) – 76    


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Sunday, November 07, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Richard F. Outcault


Here's an interesting Buster Brown card. It was published by the H.H. Tammen Company out of Denver Colorado. Tammen was one of the owners of the Denver Post, and he published postcards as a side gig. 

This card was published in 1906 (postally used in 1907) when Outcault was in the midst of leaving the New York Herald for greener pastures. Tammen's Denver Post was one of his suitors, and the marriage came so close to consummation that they are listed as the copyright holders on one or two Buster Brown items, including one Sunday page. 

If Outcault was willing to have Tammen publish postcards of his stars you'd think he would have given them some proper art to work from: this card looks like a bad tracing of an Outcault original. This card is number #1000, and I have found another online, numbered #1002. The cards from this series appear to be much scarcer than other Outcault cards, probably resulting from Tammen being a jilted suitor.

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Saturday, November 06, 2021


Herriman Saturday: Febuary 28 1910


February 28 1910 -- The Chicago White Sox are on their way to sunny southern California, playing practice games against the local teams along the way. The ChiSox will arrive days after expected due to a number of weather delays. Herriman will be proven very wrong about the local PCL teams.

The Angels will trounce the the Sox 13 to 3 on the 6th, and the Vernon Tigers acquitted themselves very well, winning their game 8-3 and hitting the Sox pitchers like they were bush leaguers. Which they may have been since they only got to play the Sox's second squad team. 


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Friday, November 05, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: The Pixeys


After a decade as the Chicago Tribune's resident children's storyteller, William Donahey's beloved Teenie Weenies Sunday feature was unceremoniously bumped from the Tribune's Sunday comics section. The story behind this is that the Tribune decided that Donahey's creation, which had generally run as a large panel cartoon with text story, would be better marketed in syndication as a comic strip. So the feature, which had mostly run in the magazine or women's section of the Sunday paper, was moved to the comics section and began a transformation into strip form. 

Donahey intensely disliked the idea of making the Teenie Weenies into a comic strip; he thought they were lowbrow. Because he held the rights to the feature, after he had drawn it in comic strip form for awhile he put his foot down and said he'd had it. Being the copyright holder, he decided that he would concentrate on other venues for his Teenie Weenies, and would no longer produce it for the Tribune. It's departure opened up a slot in the comics section for a Sunday version of Little Orphan Annie, so silver lining there..

Surprisingly, the Chicago Tribune did not give Donahey the bum's rush after he took away this valued feature. While Donahey disappeared from the paper for a short while, he soon came back with a series of illustrated children's stories (not featuring the Teenie Weenies), and created a Sunday-only comic strip titled The Pixeys

While the title certainly gives the impression that Donahey was going to do a feature similar to The Teenie Weenies, that's not at all what he'd come up with. The strip was about a middle-class family, and the gags were ... well I won't say grown-up, but they certainly weren't geared to Donahey's usually audience of little kids. The strip was very genteel and low-key and the art was nice enough but with little flair. The response to it was a collective yawn, but at least one reader really took exception. The May 10 1925 issue of the New York Daily News (sister paper to the Trib) printed this scathing letter from a reader:

Why bore your Sunday public by printing such namby-pamby, empty, meaningless, supposed-to-be comics as "The Pixeys" by William Donahey? It sounds as though his great-grandmother wrote the stupid story which accompanies the pictures. The "Teenie Weenies" were all right for the kiddies but, ye gods -- WHY "The Pixeys"?


Ouch! The Pixeys was, not surprisingly, short-lived. It ran from January 11 to August 23 1925.

Donahey pretty much disappeared from the newspapers after that, concentrating his efforts on marketing his Teenie Weenies in book form and licensing them as toys, candies and such. He also illustrated some books for other authors. He returned his Teenie Weenies to the Tribune as a comic strip for a short stint in 1933-34, then disappeared again until 1941. Finally that time the Teenie Weenies made a permanent home, now in their familiar panel and text story format, and ran there for the next thirty years.


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Wednesday, November 03, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Adolph Schus

Self-portrait from 
Best Cartoons of the Year 1944

Adolph Schus was born on June 15, 1908 in New York, New York according to Who’s Who in American Art, Volume I, 1936–37, Who’s Who in American Art, Volume IV, 1947 and his World War II draft card. However Schus was not found in the New York, New York Extracted Birth Index at New York City births were compiled into a book and “Adolph Schus” was not listed and no similar name was found with the June 15, 1908 birth date. linked Schus to Adolph Schusterman who was born on November 22, 1909.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the Schusterman family of four lived in Manhattan at 239 East 40th Street. Schus’s father, Samuel, was a drugs salesman. 

The 1915 New York state census said Schus’s mother, Sadie, was the head of the household which included him, his older siblings, maternal grandmother and uncle. They all resided in Manhattan at 540 West 165th Street.

Schus was counted twice in the 1920 census. In his mother’s household he was at 3605 Broadway. In his father’s household his address was 502 West 179th Street. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded Schus at two locations. He was listed with his mother in Manhattan at 511 West 112th Street. With his father, Schus lived in Brooklyn at 2002 Avenue J. 

Schus attended Manual Training High School in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Standard Union (New York), April 29, 1925, named Schus (Adolph Schusterman) in the staff of The Prospect, the school’s magazine. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and New York Sun, December 3, 1925, reported the winners of the Brooklyn borough-wide Tuberculosis Christmas Seal Card Contest. Schus (Adolph Shusterman [sic]) won second prize at his school.

Who’s Who said Schus’s art training was at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts.

At some point Schus and his parents moved to England. 

At the Mike Lynch Cartoons website, a reader contributed Schus’ profile which appeared in Best Cartoons of the Year 1943
Born on New York’s upper east side ... lived in Wembly, a suburb of London, where he spent a good deal of his childhood. The zeppelin raids on London during the first world war, sent the family back to America. Except for a year on the continent, during which time he art-edited a publication published in Paris for Americans abroad. He has been residing in New York. Married a Rochestarian in 1938 and their son was born in 1943. Just before the blessed event they bought a home in Harmon-on-the-Hudson, where Schus will continue to do cartoons for the country’s leading magazines.
The Editor & Publisher, March 19, 1949, published an article about cartoonist Lawrence Lariar and his adventures with friends Jack Arthur and Schus. 
… Lariar’s training began in the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. For the first six months he was on commercial illustration, then switched to cartooning. After graduation he started out with two buddies, Jack Arthur, now a school teacher in the New York system, and Adolph Schus, now a designer in fabric house.

The trio set up a cartoon agency in a flat in the 80’s in New York, sold vignettes to College Life, for which the editor wrote two-line captions. They also got in America's Humor magazine, primarily because it couldn’t pay as much as Life or Judge, says Lariar. Arthur, the oldest of the three (he was 21) would contact various outlets and say he represented a dozen different artists, which Lariar, Arthur and Schus tried to prove. One of their “artists” was named Baron de Shebago, who drew a full page of zanies.

In 1927, Lariar went to Paris on a scholarship to the school of dynamic symmetry. He was accompanied by Arthur. Later, the third musketeer, Schus, joined them. They went into the same routine in Paris, and did a big business with British magazines and Fleetway House, then one of the big magazine publishing houses of the world. Much of their work was for The Looker-On, which folded but paid off—fortunately for the sake of their fares back home. They did work, too, for Boulevardier, a Paris publication operated by Erskine Gwynn, an American.

Come Home for Depression

The trio caromed back to New York in October, 1929, a few days after the boom had burst. [Passenger lists at said Schus returned with his parents on August 20, 1929. His birth date was recorded as June 4, 1908. Lariar returned September 4, 1929. Arthur has not been found.]

“To make a living, we did everything,” says Lariar. “We had a service for printers, drew cartoons for calendars, played messenger and did some of the first work for the slicks.”

The boys hit upon a deal that brought home the bacon when they did a series of cartoon postcards, designed to save Boy Scouts time in writing home to mother. They sold over a million of them in a direct-mail campaign.

Flushed with success, they then embarked on a venture that sank them. In Paris, Lariar had picked up a book reproducing the etchings of a Rembrandt exposition. The plates were excellent, and they had sold many of them to friends back home without any other effort than razoring them out of the book. Reproduction by a photographic process was expensive, and they moved in trade as slowly as coal buckets from a hardware merchant’s shelves in the summer time.

“I still see them in shops around town,” remarks Lariar sadly. “They’re very good, too.”

So the combine broke up …
The 1930 census found Schus at two locations. The newspaper artist was with his mother and two siblings at 610 West 113 Street in Manhattan. He was with his parents and sister in Brooklyn at 2016 Avenue L.

The Grand Comics Database has some of Schus’s credits in Life magazines of 1932, and three issues of the New Fun comic book of 1935. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Schus produced the Sunday strip The Topps and its topper, Stupe McLupe, for the George Matthew Adams Service. The strip ran from July 5, 1935 to April 4, 1936. Schus and other artists contributed to the daily panel, This and That, for the George Matthew Adams Service. Schus did a Laff-a-Day cartoon in 1936. The New Yorker, March 19, 1938, published a drawing by Schus. 

Schus married Sonya Pupik, a Russian emigrant and Rochester, New York resident. According to her 1939 naturalization paper, they married on October 31, 1938, in Elkton, Maryland. The document had Schus’s birth date as June 14, 1908. Apparently their honeymoon was an eleven-day cruise, starting November 18, from New York City and back. On the passenger list their address was 215 West 88th Street in Manhattan.

The 1940 census recorded Schus three times. On April 13, “Adolph Schus” and his wife resided in Rego Park, Queens, New York at 62-28 82 Street. Their house was valued at six-thousand dollars. Schus was a self-employed artist who had two years of college. On the same day, Schus was listed as “Adolph Schusterman”, a newspaper artist, at a hotel in Far Rockaway, New York. On April 18, “Adolph Schusterman” was listed with his mother at 9 Lafayette in Hempstead, New York.

Schus contributed two cartoons to College Humor, January 1940. 

Schus signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. His description was five feet ten inches, with brown eyes and gray hair. Some time later, his Rego Park address was crossed out and replaced with 508 West 166th Street, Manhattan. Using his birth name, Schus enlisted in the Army on May 16, 1942. His birth year was 1909. 

The 1942 and 1943 Manhattan directories listed Adolph Schus and Adolph Schusterman at 508 West 166th Street. Perhaps one name was intended for clients and the other for family and friends. His mother and siblings were also listed under Schusterman. 

Schus’s purchase of a house was reported in the New York Sun, August 2, 1943.
The Home Owners Corporation sold a plot of approximately two acres improved with a nine-room residence and garage on Penfield avenue, in the Harmon section, Croton-on-Hudson, to Adolph Schus, an illustrator, through Arnold Krimont of Croton. The residence overlooks the Hudson River.
Manhattan directories from 1944 onward listed Schus and his address as Penfield Avenue Harmon, New York. 

In 1945 Schus was the cartoon editor of Pageant magazine

For the New York Herald Tribune, Schus did Mr. Fussabout which ran from March 7, 1948 to February 13, 1949.

Schus passed away on February 25, 1957 according to the New York, New York Death Index, at, which, due to space limitation, listed his name as “Adol Schusterman”. The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), February 26, 1957, reported Westchester County deaths and said “Adolph Schus, forty-eight, cartoonist, former art editor and designer, of Penfield Avenue, Harmon, at New York City.”

The Citizen Register (Ossining, New York), June 30, 1961, reported the sale of Schus’s house.
One of First Homes in Harmon Sold to Couple from Peekskill
Sale of an eight-room house at the end of Penfield Avenue in Croton designed in  1910 by Stanford White, has been sold by Mrs. Sonya Schus to Dr. and Mrs. Philip H. Smith Jr., formerly of Peekskill, announced Harold H. Hunt of Croton, broker in the transaction.

The residence, southern colonial in style, is located on a wooded plot that overlooks the Duck Pond and the Hudson River. There is a bridge entrance to the hall and there are four fireplaces in the house, Mr. Hunt points out.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred S. Dashiell, now of Franklin Avenue, leased the house from Mrs. Mary Reid, widow of the original owner, before a period prior to its sale to Mrs. Schus and her late husband, Adolph Schus, a well-known cartoonist for many years before his death, the border said.

Dr Smith, employed by IBM, now is occupying the house with his wife. Mrs. Schus, dental hygienist at CET school, has moved to Yonkers. Her daughter, Stephanie, was one of the graduates to speak at CHHS commencement exercises Saturday.

The house sold by Mrs. Schus to Dr. Smith was one of the first to be built in the Harmon development, according to Mr. Hunt. The architect, the late Mr. White, was a partner in the firm of McKim, Mead and White, designers of Columbia University, Pennsylvania Station and other Manhattan buildings.

Further Viewing
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum
Heritage Auctions
Many of Schus’s cartoons for Collier’s and Esquire are here


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