Sunday, April 11, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael

 

Here's another example of Carmichael's "Gee, I Wish I Had a Girl" series, this one turning the camera around and focusing on a poor single gal. The motto of this example is "Let Us Splay Our Fingers."

This series was issued in 1909 by Taylor Pratt & Company as Series 568, but this particular example has no such credit on the back.

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 27 1910 -- Residents of the ultra-posh Westmoreland Tract neighborhood of Los Angeles are fed up with cows, goats and other livestock roaming their streets and yards. Looking at the Westmoreland developments on Google Earth today, small neighborhoods of gorgeous arts and crafts piles in amongst the far less tony warehouses, strip malls and bodegas of central LA, one can hardly even imagine a day when farm animals roamed there.

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Friday, April 09, 2021

 

The Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate, Part V

 In the waning months of 1925 Wheeler-Nicholson launched other series along with the Great Mystery and Adventure comic strip; in fact they began to advertise themselves as a 'blanket service'. What that means, in theory, is that a newspaper can pay one syndicate for access to its entire output, and it would offer the subscriber such a complete range of features that the paper would have no need to add features from other syndicates. 

In the case of Wheeler-Nicholson, the term 'blanket service' seems laughable. But we cannot dismiss the concept out of hand, since the syndicate never seemed to get around to telling in their advertising just what exactly was included with their service. 

So far we've seen two comic strips, a panel cartoon, and a theoretical serial story (unseen but advertised). That's certainly no blanket service by any stretch of the definition. Lucky for us, though, in October 1925 a few papers to which we have access finally took the Wheeler-Nicholson bait and began to run more of their offerings. We know they didn't use everything, because they didn't run Adventures of Vivian Vanity, but at least they give us some proof that Wheeler-Nicholson was bringing to market a wider roster of features. 

A number of columns have been found in the Buffalo Sunday Express. Column features are always tough to pin down because most papers remove the copyright slugs. The Express sometimes removed slugs, sometimes didn't. Lucky for us, they occasionally left the Wheeler-Nicholson slug. For some reason they seem to have only used the W-N syndicate material on Sundays (or perhaps they were better about removing slugs on weekdays).



The first Wheeler-Nicholson column they used is Studies In Personality by Henry Gaines Hawn, the earliest apparance was in the October 18 1925 edition.  In this November 8 page we also have Snappy Chips, a collection of quick little one-line gags. These sorts of things were popular with newspapers for plugging small holes, they were seldom collected together like this and given a title.


 

On November 1 they ran Living on 19 Cents a Day by Winfred Harper Cooley (her name is actually Winnifred, the paper got it wrong). The real name of the column may have been Practical Dietetics, which is how it was known on its one appearance in the Elmira Star-Gazette


 

Squeezed into the corner here is a column on fashion by Elizabeth Forbush, the only one I could find  appearing in the November 15 edition. 

 


On December 6, we get samples of several columns. Tip Topics by Tip Bliss is a snarkily comedic news commentary interspersed with other theoretical humor. My Mother tells stories of the mothers of the rich and famous. This one doesn't rate a byline. Finally, there is The Scrap Basket by our comic strip writer, N. Brewster Morse. He contributes little gags, anecdotes, news commentary and poetry in an aptly named column. 



On December 20 a fashion column by our comic strip gal, Vivian Vanity, appears shoehorned in next to W.E. Hills Among Us Mortals (not a Wheeler-Nicholson product). 



On a January 10 1926 page we have a bumper crop of Wheeler-Nicholson columns, including the already mentioned Scrap Basket. Where Are They Now? tells stories of bygone celebrities; this one doesn't rate a byline. Next there is Everyday Behavior Problems, a "Dear Abby"-style column (yes they existed long before her) credited to Janet Paige. Ms. Paige may be a pseudonym, as was often the case with these so-called 'sob sisters.' A Janet Lee Paige did byline a column called Good Housekeeping earlier in the 20s -- same writer?

Finally, there is Holding Your Husband by Lorene Bowman, a column of romantic instruction and advice; another popular subject of the era. This one sports a nicely drawn title cartoon, but I can't make out the artist signature. 

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the next installment of this series (Monday) we'll finish off Wheeler-Nicholson's 1925 offerings with  some additional illustrated features; there were a few more in addition to Vivian Vanity and the Great Mystery and Adventure Series.




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Thursday, April 08, 2021

 

The Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate, Part IV

 So far in our history we have Wheeler-Nicholson, Inc. with but a single ongoing feature  -- The Adventures of Vivian Vanity (see yesterday's post). That feature debuted at the end of September. But the syndicate wasn't standing still by any means. On October 17 they placed a small ad in Editor & Publisher. It stated that they were inaugurating a new serial story service, and the first serial would be "Wits and the Woman" by Violet Irwin. The small ad promised that each installment would also include a two-column illustration. 

Unfortunately I cannot find a single paper that ran this serial, which means I also don't know who drew the illustrations, though one might reasonably say that Nick Afonsky would be a good bet. It's not all that surprising that clients didn't flock to this -- the story was published in book form in 1919, so it was probably still available in the remainder bins half a decade later. 

In October the syndicate began what proved to be its most popular feature, a comic strip titled The Great Mystery and Adventure Series. The feature adapted classic stories in strip form -- not the most original idea ever hatched for a newspaper feature -- but for some reason it seemed to click with editors, at least more so than the previous Wheeler-Nicholson offerings. The popularity might have been helped by the promotion budget they put behind it. Here's a full page ad from Editor & Publisher:



The Great Mystery and Adventure Series sported art and writing by the same pair who did Vivian Vanity -- Nicholas Afonsky (as Meetrich again) and N. Brewster Morse. As we learned yesterday, Morse jumped ship at the end of January 1926, and so afterward the adaptations were handled by Ruth Jane Williams. 







Above are the first six strips of the first story, Treasure Island (not counting an intro strip which we'll see in a later post). What could have stimulated editors to buy this series? The Afonsky art is good, but the editing is non-existent. Afonsky doesn't have a clue what a cutlass looks like, and Mr. Morse uses the word "pour" when he means "pore" -- all this within the first week of the adaptation, and things will not improve later on. For the record, the strips above are restored from paper tearsheets, while all other images in this series will, unfortnately, be from digital sources.

No paper has yet been found that can offer us anywhere near a complete and unbroken run of the Great Mystery and Adventure Series, but by triangulated on a number of incomplete, out of order and sporadic runs, I've come up with what I believe might constitute a perfect run of the strip. The most puzzling thing about this series is that newspapers did not seem to run the stories in any particular order -- therefore even the order given in the following table is merely a figment of my imaginary perfect run.

Title

Start Date

End Date

Treasure Island

10/19/1925

1/23/1926

The Three Musketeers

1/25/1926

4/17/1926

Ivanhoe

4/19/1926

7/19/1926

The Gold Bug

7/21/1926

8/3/1926

Attack on the Mill

8/4/1926

8/19/1926

The Sire de Maldetroit's Door

8/20/1926

9/2/1926

The Vendean Marriage

9/3/1926

9/16/1926

The Beauty Spot

9/17/1926

10/7/1926

The Bottle Imp

10/8/1926

10/22/1926

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

10/23/1926

12/24/1926

 That covers Wheeler-Nicholson's only series that could really be considered a success, and we're defining success here in the most modest of terms. Tomorrow we'll cover other early series from Wheeler-Nicholson.


Comments:
By chance I've just been "pouring" over my collection of Treasure Island adaptations. It was one of the favorite books of my youth. Gotta say this version doesn't excite me. Afonsky's ho-hum art is squeezed by the enormous lettering. I've wondered about newspaper strips adapting classic stories like Treasure Island. I'm sure that even in 1926 almost everyone already knew the story. I don't picture kids who didn't know it being pulled into this version because of its messy presentation. Anyway, Nick not only didn't know what a cutlass looked like, he also didn't know how to spell it.
 
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Wednesday, April 07, 2021

 

The Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate: Part III

 After Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson launched his corporation near the end of August 1925, he wasted no time putting material out into the field. Unfortunately, he missed the deadline for E&P's 1925 Syndicate Directory, so we need to find this stuff on our own, in piecemeal fashion and in the very few papers that took it. 

The first definite Wheeler-Nicholson product we know of is a comic strip, The Adventures of Vivian Vanity, which started on September 29 1925. This strip about a glamor girl has only been found starting in one newspaper on time, the Syracuse Herald. This run was discovered by Leonardo de Sa, and I don't have any samples to show. De Sa also found that the Washington Post printed the strip for awhile in November-December. 

The strip was written by N. Brewster Morse, who was already known as a playwright and movie scripter. The art was by "Meetrich", a known pseudonym of Nicholas Afonsky. Why he chose to use a pen name for his first syndicated strip is unknown. 

Along with the strip,Wheeler-Nicholson also made available a companion panel cartoon series, Vivian Vanity Says. This was in the mode of Flapper Fanny and other popular pretty girl panels of the day:

 


While this feature may have started concurrently with the strip, the earliest I can find are from November 1925. It is in November that I can finally find a newspaper running a selection of the Wheeler-Nicholson product. The Elmira Star-Gazette ran Vivian Vanity Says sporadically. Both the strip and the companion panel ended in January -- the panel on an unknown date, the strip on January 30 1926, as per the Syracuse Herald

On a side note, in my book you'll find a note that Vivian Vanity Says does not merit a listing because the art was reused from day to day. As the above samples attest, that turns out not to be true.

There is good reason to believe that the end date from the Syracuse Herald is spot on. It was right at this time that N. Brewster Morse and Afonsky decided to jump ship from Wheeler-Nicholson. Here's a short article that ran in Variety on January 27 1926:

Two newspaper syndicates are in legal battle over the artistic output of Nicholas Afonsky and N. Brewster Morse. Wheeler-Nicholson Inc. claim a prior contract with Morse for both his and Afonsky's output and is suing the McClure Syndicate, alleging it is damaging them through having wrongfully entered into another agreement with Morse to release through the McClure channels. An accounting is asked for to determine the amount of damages. 

As best I can tell, McClure backed down from poaching these two creators, but Morse did definitely leave Wheeler-Nicholson's employ. He spent the next few months writing the play The Half-Naked Truth, which was ready for rehearsals by May of that year. In an announcement about the play in Variety, Morse was credited as the former editorial director of Wheeler-Nicholson. 

Afonsky, on the other hand, capitulated to Wheeler-Nicholson and stuck with the syndicate, even to the extent of being credited by his real name from there on.  

Tomorrow we'll look at other early offerings of Wheeler-Nicholson, Inc.


Comments:
I found a few "The Adventures of Vivian Vanity" strips (and I use the term loosely) in the August 1926 Winnipeg Tribune. It's credited to Ruth Jane Williams and S. Delevante. Can't find any copyright.

Is this the same strip, resyndicated?


 
My delvings into the 1920s have on several occasions prompted leaps to conclusions that turned out false. After 2 years of hearing the whining of infallible lying politicians (2017 and 2021), so straightforward an aside as "that turns out not to be true" is joyfully refreshing; cheered me right up.
 
Chris : you have found samples of the second version of the strip, which we'll be covering about a half-dozen Wheeler-Nicholson posts from now. Stay tooned!

Hank: glad to have refreshed your joy; as many mistakes as I make, I should be able to send you to absolute niravana!
 
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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

 

The Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate Part II

 Yesterday we learned that Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson had a job in January 1925 selling for the Famous Features Syndicate. This evidently inspired him to enter the syndication business himself, and he certainly wasted no time getting right to it. 

The first evidence I can find for the existence of Wheeler-Nicholson syndicating material is on July 10 1925, and this is an outlier to everything else produced by the syndicate. Here is the front page of the Camden Post-Telegram on a most historic date, the opening day of the Scopes Monkey Trial:

Under the editorial cartoon is a copyright slug to "Wheeler-Nicholson Press Service". The cartoon is by the famed caricaturist Al Frueh. Frueh at this time was just getting established with The New Yorker, but he was already well known; his caricatures and comics had been syndicated by the New York World since the early 1910s. How and why Frueh hooked up with Wheeler-Nicholson -- possibly for the sale of a single cartoon -- is a mystery.

As far as I can determine this one cartoon was a unique occurrence, and I cannot find any other paper that ran it, the implication being that that Wheeler-Nicholson was just testing the waters around his home base of New York City.

Did Wheeler-Nicholson offer anything else to the Post? Unfortunately, the Camden paper was quite assiduous about removing copyright slugs, so this is the only one in the paper. If Wheeler-Nicholson supplied any other material, the evidence was wiped clean.

Only one month later, Wheeler-Nicholson was ready to get serious about newspaper syndication. The following incorporation notice appeared in the New York Times  on August 26:



Starting a syndicate on $15,000 should not have been too hard -- that was pretty big money in 1925, probably about the equivalent of a couple hundred thousand dollars today. Since Wheeler-Nicholson himself is not known to have been a wealthy man, presumably the listed partners, R.T. Hardy and V. Irwin, were the ones with the deep pockets. Unfortunately I know nothing about them; a shame they didn't list full names. 

During the same week Wheeler-Nicholson also placed an ad in the Times:



We can tell by the ad that Wheeler-Nicholson seemed to have no existing sales force, as the salesman was promised to become the sales manager in one month. That manager would likely not have had anyone to manage, though, as the company placed no further ads offering positions. 

~ ~ ~ ~ More Tomorrow ~ ~ ~ ~


Comments:
Thanks for these blog posts about the early career about the man who would found what we know of today as DC Comics.
 
In theory, you could check with the New York Secretary of State's office to pull the original incorporation documents; a corporate filing service could do that for you. The fact that the corporate records are from 1925 is no block, they have all the records on micorfilm. The corporate documents would have more information on Hardy and Irwin.
 
Here's the information how to do it: the cost would be $5 for a plain copy. https://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/faq_copies.page.asp
 
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Monday, April 05, 2021

 

The Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate Part I

 Ray Bottorff Jr. recently pointed out to me a new paper online that briefly used the Wheeler-Nicholson syndicate offering, and that got me off my duff to revist this syndicate. Due to other new sources that have come online, I was surprised to find a much fuller picture of this obscure syndicate than I've had before. 

Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the president of this syndicate, is of intense interest to comic book fans. He is the fellow who, a decade after his foray into newspaper syndication, ran the company that introduced the world to Superman, Batman and the rest of the DC line-up of men and ladies in tights. While the Major's newspaper syndicate did not offer any superheroes -- so don't get your hopes up comic book fans -- comic book history buffs are nevertheless interested in his earlier involvement in this different part of the cartoon business. 

I was surprised to find, first, that I have never done a post about any of the Wheeler-Nicholson offerings, and second, that I don't really find that anyone else has, either. The Major's grand-daughter is on record as working on a full biography of him, but that hasn't seen the light of day yet.  So it's high time that we shine some light on Wheeler-Nicholson Inc., and that's what we'll do over the next series of posts. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson had a distinguished career in the armed forces, and an even more interesting episode that caused him to part ways with the military. This series of posts, however, does not claim to offer a biography of the man; I'm just going to cover what I know about his brush with the newspaper syndication world. Therefore, we're going to start things off with a brief look in at him in 1923, after he had parted ways with the military. Evidently his first stab at making a living in the civilian world was as a farmer, as we see in this clipping from the Fort Collins Courier of April 10 1923:


A restless soul like the Major seems unlikely to have been happy eking out a living selling eggs, so it is no big surprise that this did not last. Unfortunately, I do not find any trace of him through the rest of 1923 and throughout 1924.

At the beginning of 1925, though, we are back on the trail. In a minor blurb in the Poughkeepsie Eagle News of January 30 1925, we learn that he is now a "representative of the Famous Features Syndicate of New York City."



'Representative', of course, is the genteel way of referring to a salesman. So Wheeler-Nicholson had entered the syndication business from the ground up, trying to line up newspaper clients for a small syndicate. 

When I found this blurb I'd not heard of Famous Features Syndicate (well, not this iteration of the name, anyway -- it was later used by another company). Curious as to what the Major was trying to sell, I did a little searching. Turns out that Famous Features, which came and went pretty quickly, initially offered a small roster of newspaper columns and features. Their main claim to fame was a column they were commissioning from a female reporter, Zoe Beckley, who had a measure of fame in that day. More importantly, though, Ms. Beckley was instrumental in getting Queen Marie of Rumania to write a column, a rare 'get' to have actual royalty writing for newspapers. Here is a large article from the Bimingham News (November 8 1925) in which the owner of the syndicate gets to crow over the achievement:


 Famous Features gained another famous name in 1926, when the 70 year old S.S. McClure, practically destitute, came onboard as an editor and also penned a minor column that didn't sell well. He seemed to have good success at bringing in some fiction writers, his specialty, but the syndicate was on the skids.When Zoe Beckley jumped ship in 1928, that was about the end of the syndicate. 

Famous Features did not ultimately become an industry player, but one thing it did do was inspire Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson to enter the syndication business himself. 

** Continued Tomorrow **





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Sunday, April 04, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Reg Manning

 

Reg Manning's Arizona postcards were very popular -- they are ubiquitous and generally found in used condition, so we know the commonness is not just a big warehouse find.

This "travelcard" was issued in 1941 by Curteich and distributed by Lollegard Specialty Company of Tucson Arizona. It is number 3-41 in this series, which I take to mean card #3 from the 1941 series.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1983 -- Overall Results

Between 1982 to 1983 we see the beginning of what was happening to papers in many cities; the loss of second or third papers in larger cities. In the case of The 300, Des Moines, Minneapolis and Tampa. What often happened is that the remaining paper either took part or all of the axed paper’s comics,  and  then over time drops the less popular strips. For example, in the survey we have two Philadelphia papers; I was always surprised that neither the Inquirer nor the Daily News had Peanuts on their comics pages. What I did not realize was that Philadelphia had at this time a third daily paper, the Bulletin. In 1982 the Bulletin went out of business and many of their strips moved to the Inquirer or the News. In this case Peanuts went to the Inquirer.

Because a few papers on newspapers.com were missing information for December 1982-January 1983 this year’s survey paper total is down to 281.

 As mentioned in the previous article about the gainer and losers, the big difference between 1982 and 1983 is that Doonesbury has taken its 22-month hiatus and will not be in the next two surveys. Many papers took the opportunity to add strips like Bloom County and Garfield

This is the first year that no rookie strip would hit the Top 30. This year we saw four strips crack the Top 30: Cathy, Ziggy, Bloom County and Tank McNamara. The strips that fell out, led of course by Doonesbury, were The Muppets, Archie and Priscilla’s Pop. Priscilla's Pop, by the way, will be cancelled this year, despite having quite a healthy number of papers. 

Here is the top 30:

Title

Place

Rank Change

+/- Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

+8

210

Blondie

2

Same

+4

196

Beetle Bailey

3

Same

+2

179

Garfield

4

Up 6

+52

142

Hagar the Horrible

5

Same

+11

130

Wizard of Id

6

Same

+6

110

Family Circus

7

Up 2

+11

102

B.C.

8

Same

+1

98

Andy Capp

9

Down 2

-4

97

Frank and Ernest

10

Same

+6

96

Hi and Lois

11

Up 1

+11

94

Born Loser

12

Up 1

+6

88

Shoe

13

Up 3

+13

86

Dennis the Menace

14

Same

-1

80

Mary Worth

15

Same

-3

72

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

16

Up 2

-1

68

For Better or For Worse

17

Up 4

+15

66

Marmaduke

18

Up 3

+5

56

Rex Morgan

19

Same

-2

53

Herman

20

Up 4

+2

52

Winthrop

21

Up 4

+1

50

Nancy

22

Down 2

-4

48

Cathy

23

Entering

+13

46

Ziggy

23

Entering

+11

46

Amazing Spider-Man

25

Down 4

-6

45

Alley Oop

26

Up 1

-1

44

Bloom County

26

Entering

+29

44

Dick Tracy

26

Up 2

+1

44

Tank McNamara

26

Entering

+3

44

Eek and Meek

30

Down 4

-3

43

Gasoline Alley

30

Down 2

0

43

 

Here are the rest of the rankings:

 

# of Papers

Title (+/- Papers)

42

Heathcliff (0)

41

Funky Winkerbean (+1)

40

Berry's World (+1)

39

Marvin (new), Priscilla’s Pop (-4)

38

Bugs Bunny (0)

36

Archie (-7)

35

Tiger (+1)

32

Judge Parker (-4)

31

Tumbleweeds (-4)

30

Steve Canyon (-3)

29

Buz Sawyer (-3)

28

Captain Easy (-2)

27

Phantom (+2)

26

Snake Tales (new)

25

Broom Hilda (+3)

24

Apartment 3-G (0), Lockhorns (+2), Muppets (-46)

23

Kit ‘N’ Carlyle (+1), Our Boarding House (-4)

22

Mark Trail (0), Redeye (0)

21

Crock (-2), Far Side (+10), Sally Forth (new)

19

Great John L (new), Hazel (+3), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-3)

18

Dunagin’s People (+2), Latigo (-1)

17

Levy’s Law (-1), Small Society (+3), They’ll Do It Every Time (-4)

16

Conrad (new), Donald Duck (0), Grin and Bear It (+2)

15

Fred Basset (-1), Goosemyer (-6)

14

Geech (new), Heart of Juliet Jones (+1), Kudzu (-3), Momma (-1)

13

Kerry Drake (-1), Little Orphan Annie (+1), Ryatts (-2)

12

Brenda Starr (+3), Duffy (0), Mr. Tweedy (-1), Motley’s Crew (+1), Rip Kirby (-2)

11

Gil Thorp (-1)

10

Agatha Crumm (-1), John Darling (-1), Miss Peach (0)

9

Animal Crackers (+2), Better Half (-3), Love Is (+1), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (+2)

8

Dondi (-1), Joe Palooka (-2), Pavlov (0), Winnie the Pooh (-5)

7

Catfish (-1), Drabble (0), Flintstones (+1), Girls (+2), Henry (-2), Hocus-Focus (+1), Moose Miller (0), There Oughta Be A Law (0), Willy ‘N’ Ethel (0), Wright Angles (+4)

6

Dallas (-5), Ferd’nand (-1), Ponytail (+2), Star Wars (-7), Winnie Winkle (-1)

5

Citizen Smith (0), Graffiti (-4), Guindon (-1), Lolly (-1), Nubbin (-1), Sam and Silo (-2), Scoops (+1)

4

A Little Leary, Arnold, Belvedere, Ben Swift, Big George, Boner’s Ark, Bringing Up Father, Dr. Smock, Eb and Flo, Flash Gordon, Gordo, It’s Just A Game, Johnny Wonder, Laff-A-Day, Lone Ranger, Outcasts, Rafferty, Scamp, Smith Family, Sporting Life, Trim’s Arena, Trudy, Wee Pals

3

Amy, Charlie, Downstown, Dusty Chaps, Health Capsules, Le Grand Chef, Moon Mullins, The Neighborhood, Quincy, Rivets, Smithereens, Star Trek, Travels With Farley, Vidiots

2

Ben Wicks, Buck Rogers, Carmichael, Evermores, Full Disclosure, Good News Bad News, Inside Woody Allen, Laugh Time, Mandrake the Magician, Mickey Mouse, Mr. Abernathy, Playing Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Popeye, Simpkins, Strictly Business, Sugar, Word-A-Day

1

According to Guinness, Benji, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Ching Chow, Dr. Kildare, Eggheads, Gazebo, Gramps, Graves Inc., Gumdrop, Hello Carol, Hermie, Hubert, Kaleb, Laffbreak, Mark Trail’s Outdoor Tips, Miles to Go, Modesty Blaise, Murphy's Law, Mutt and Jeff, Our Fascinating Earth, Ribbons, Salt Chuck, Secret Agent Corrigan, Selling Short, Sergeant Preston, Sidelines, Sorehead, Superheroes, Teenie, This Funny World, Today’s World, Tom and Jerry, Wordplay

 As always, if you would like the long form of The 300, a list of each paper that used each strip, send Allan Holtz an email with your request. He will send you a Word document with the data.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1983 -- Biggest Winners and Losers

 The biggest change in 1983 happened on the first day of the year, when Doonesbury went on its 22-month hiatus. With over 100 papers running the strip, it would leave a big hole for comic editors to fill. The big winner to fill that void was Bloom County, which gained 29 papers from 1982 to 1983. Overall, though, the biggest gainer for the third year in a row is that juggernaut Garfield, which gained 52 more papers. In the last three years that’s a history-making gain of 122 papers. 

Interestingly, Hotel America, which was Universal Press' suggested replacement for Doonesbury during Trudeau's vacation, was picked up by not a single paper in The 300. 

Otherwise, the continuing thread is that a lot of papers were picking up strips that had already been running for years. Three newer strips gained a bunch of papers: For Better or For Worse, Shoe and The Far Side. Here are the biggest winners, and the number of papers they added:

Garfield – 52
Bloom County - 29
For Better or For Worse - 15
Shoe – 13
Cathy - 13
Hagar the Horrible – 11
Family Circus – 11
Hi and Lois – 11
Ziggy – 11
Far Side - 10
Peanuts     - 8
Wizard of Id – 6
Frank and Ernest – 6
Born Loser – 6     
Marmaduke - 5

The big losers this year were all newer strips, including the big rookie from last year The Muppets, which lost 46 papers. The only classic strip that had a big loss was Archie with 7 papers. The strip that started the new boom of adventure strips had it first big drop -- The Amazing Spider-Man lost 6 papers. Here are the top losers and the number of papers each lost:

Muppets - 46
Archie – 7
Star Wars – 7
Amazing Spider-Man – 6
Goosemyer – 6
Le Grand Chef – 6
Winnie the Pooh – 5

The adventure strips this year continued their downward trend, but the losses were generally not as great as in previous years. We even had some strips gaining papers, like Brenda Starr and The Phantom. Here are the adventures strips, with their number of papers, and their gain or loss for the year:

Star Wars – 6 (-7)
Amazing Spider-Man – 45 (-6)
World’s Greatest Superheroes – 1 (-4)
Steve Canyon – 30 (-3)
Buz Sawyer – 29 (-3)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 19 (-3)
Captain Easy – 28 (-2)
Rip Kirby – 12 (-2)
Joe Palooka – 8 (-2)
Flash Gordon – 4 (-2)
Star Trek – 3 (-2)
Alley Oop – 44 (-1)
Buck Rogers – 2 (-1)
Lone Ranger – 4 (-1)
Latigo – 18 (-1)
Kerry Drake – 13 (-1)
Mark Trail – 22 (0)
Popeye – 2 (0)
Brick Bradford – 1 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Secret Agent Corrigan – 1 (0)
Mandrake the Magician – 2 (0)
Dick Tracy – 44 (1)
Sergeant Preston – 1 (New)
Little Orphan Annie – 13 (1)
Phantom – 27 (2)
Brenda Starr – 12 (3)

New adventure strip The Legend of Bruce Lee did not get any papers in The 300. One paper did pick it up when it debuted in May but dropped it by November. The Incredible Hulk, which had 4 papers last year, ended in September 1982. Three of the four papers did run it to the end. Star Wars, Star Trek, Buck Rogers and World’s Greatest Superheroes all continued to lose many papers. Latigo seems to have a kept most of its papers since its debut in 1979, starting with 22 papers and only dropping to 18 papers. The strip would end in May 1983. 

Based on this data I would say that after The Amazing Spiderman, Latigo would be the second most successful new adventure strip for the period of 1977-1985 if we are thinking in terms of long-term client retention. Star Wars had the biggest start, but it did not keep the readers even after the first year.
The total adventure strip spots for 1982 was 392 down from 429,  8.8 percent down this year.


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Modesty Blaise was a British import. Did it do better outside the US? For that matter, did any American strips on the list prosper as exports?

Also, about how many clients would it take to make a strip profitable? That is, enough for an artist to quit other gigs, if so inclined. Noticing some strips credited with only one or two. A creator / franchise owner / syndicate keeping it alive at a loss? Reruns? One or two major clients to be indulged?
 
Not being too 'up' on foreign papers, I couldn't hazard a guess about the popularity of British strips elsewhere, but I'm guessing they did well in British commonwealth nations. That being said, I have not seen much in the way of British strips in Canadian papers.

How many clients to make a strip profitable? Depends a lot on the clients. If a strip can get the LA-Chicago-NYC biggies, that goes a long way compared to a whole bunch of podunk papers. I used to hear that 100 papers were needed to keep syndicate and creator happy, then later I heard that scaled back to 50. Keep in mind that The 300 is a representative survey, not by any stretch does it offer the total client base.

--Allan
 
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Monday, March 29, 2021

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The Three Hundred for 1983 - Rookie Features

 1982 was a year that favored non-rookie strips when papers were looking to add features. However, there were a few successful debuts in the calendar year of 1982 and two of them are still being syndicated in American papers. The big winner with 39 papers was Tom Armstrong’s Marvin, syndicated by Field Enterprises. Coming in second was the Australian import Snake Tales, with 26 papers. This strip was syndicated by NEA and filled a space left when another of the syndicate’s strip was cancelled; in this case it was the end of Short Ribs. Coming in third was another long-term success from Field; Sally Forth debuted  with 21 papers.

Here is the breakdown:

Marvin – 39 – Field Enterprises
Snake Tales – 26 – NEA
Sally Forth – 21 – Field Enterprises
Great John L – 19 - NEA
Conrad – 16 – Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate
Geech – 14 – Universal Press Syndicate
Arnold – 4 – Field Enterprises

The rest of the new strips - Dusty Chaps (3), Evermores (2), Full Disclosure (2), The Gazebo (1)*, Gramps (1), Kaleb (1), Ribbons (1), Sergeant Preston (1), Sorehead** (1), Teenie (1), Tom and Jerry (1)

Bringing us up to date on strips that began between in 1977-1982, here’s how the most successful of those debuts were doing by January 1983:

Garfield – 142
Shoe – 86
For Better or For Worse – 66
Amazing Spider-Man – 45
Bloom Country – 44
Marvin – 39

* sort of a promo strip; it only lasted a month

** actually ran (sporadically) for 15 years starting in 1969, but this is the first time it came within the sights of The 300

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Always love these insights into comic strip history. Thanks for making this happen--
 
I'm vagely familiar with several attempts at a "Tom and Jerry" newspaper strip (one from the 1950s and another that ran in foreign papers), but I don't think I ever ran into the 1980s version.
 
Hi Brubaker -- The one Jeffrey mentions is the Editors Press Service strip, which was only available outside the US (a few of The 300 are Canadian papers).

--Allan
 
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Sunday, March 28, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Charles Schulz

 

Here's a Peanuts postcard from Hallmark, this one featuring a pop art interpretation of Snoopy in his Joe Cool persona. This card is coded 603-3 on the reverse.

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Hello Allan-
This is just a detail of a larger picture where he's holding a tin cup with pencils in it. Maybe not. Actually, if this were put in front of me for an art department approval, I'd question why the glasses don't match the line grade of Snoop's head, mouth or nose, which are apparently to give the look of an extreme close-up of an already printed image, thus the jagged edge. The cheaters are too precise; as if they were superimposed from another source, or only they had been retouched on a finished image.
Quality control guys can be real nitpicking joykillers, you'd think, but as you'll notice, the licencee will blithely disregard the licencor's guidelines. He's paying for it, right? So a less perfect world results.
 
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Saturday, March 27, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 18 1910 --Local heavyweight Jim Cameron was looking like quite the comer in early 1910, having chalked up 6 wins, 1 loss and a draw. On October 22 1909 he faced Jack Sieberg, whose short record was abysmal, and knocked him out. Why this was such a big deal to Cameron I don't know, but Herriman certainly seems to think he was mighty proud of the feat. His next bout, scheduled for tonight, is with Mexican Pete Everett. Everett had quite a record going in the 1890s, but then was out of the boxing game for long stretches in the 1900s. This fight with Cameron was billed as his big comeback after a four year layoff. Herriman seems to think that Cameron wasn't too pleased to be sharing the spotlight with an old favorite. 

In any case, Cameron was judged the winner in a newspaper decision, and Mexican Pete never did make his big comeback. Cameron didn't fare well either; he continued winning in 1910, but after that went into a long tailspin that left him with a 10-13-1 record.

 Note: Sorry, this strip had so much noise in the background that I just didn't feel like doing all the restoration work.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Diary of a Bad Boy

 


Long before Arthur "Pop" Momand created his long-running Keeping up with the Joneses strip he toiled in the New York Evening World bullpen, turning out mostly forgettable stuff like today's obscurity, Diary of a Bad Boy. This series, like seemingly a billion others of its ilk, concerns the pranks and antics of a rotten li'l kid. The execution is snappy enough, but how many of these kid strips does the world (or the World, for that matter), really need?

The weekday strip ran for eighteen episodes from August 27 to October 27 1906, averaging an appearance every second day until a longish layover befor the last episode.

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Took me a few beats to figure out that "Hot bird! Cold bottle!" meant a dinner with refreshment. Current slang or the cartoonist's own coinage?
 
Would have been current slang, I think, based on a number of references I've seen in the writings of Lucius Beebe regarding the "lobster palace" era. It tends to be used in somewhat louche situations where one is dining with fast women.
 
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Hannah

 





The amazingly prolific Courtney Dunkel had newspaper series published by a bunch of different syndicates, with Hannah his only entry from the McClure Syndicate. It was also one of only two in which he used a continuing character, this time a sweet old lady, and billed as a pantomime. 

Courtney Dunkel was  no stickler, though. When he comes up with a gag about duck hunting, well, why shouldn't an old lady in a maxi-length skirt be involved? And just because the strip is a pantomime, if you can't quite get the gag over, well, what's one little word balloon between friends?

Hannah debuted on November 20 1944, and was sold not only as a pantomime (hey, run it in foreign language papers!) but also as a vertical so that it takes up a mere one column space (fit it in anywhere!). Newspaper editors were generally not too enthused, as there were more and more one-column panels being produced in those days of (supposed) paper shortages. The strip never appeared in more than a modest number of papers, and was quietly retired on December 27 1947** after a three year run.

 * Source: Chicago Sun

** Source: New York Post

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Monday, March 22, 2021

 

From the Sub Basement of the Archives: A Giant Leap Backward to the Bad Old Days

 Ken Kling's Joe and Asbestos was the premier American horse-racing tip strip, running almost a half a century (with a few hiatuses). It started as a syndicated strip in 1923, then eventually settled in at the New York Mirror and when that paper folded, the New York Daily News, where it lasted until 1968. 

Asbestos, the second banana of the strip, was a black character drawn in the typical minstrel-show blackface style of the 1920s. This was the standard depiction of cartoon black characters in those days. In the 1940s, though, that imagery finally started losing traction on the comics page. Some black characters were redesigned in a more racially sensitive style, but most, to be perfectly frank, just disappeared. My guess is that many cartoonists were so used to the minstrel depiction and the mushmouth argot that nearly always went along with it, that they had no clue how to make a funny black character without resorting to those stereotypes. 

Given that Asbestos was a co-star of his strip, Ken Kling stuck with the character. I know that in the 1940s Asbestos continued to be drawn in the original way. Unfortunately I don't have any samples of the strip in my collection from the 1950s, but I have enough circumstantial evidence to say that the minstrel look made it well into that decade, maybe all the way through.

What I do know is that by 1963, when the Mirror folded and the Daily News took on the strip, Asbestos had finally been transformed into a normal looking character. How he made it so long in blackface amazes me, especially in a progressive city like New York, but never underestimate the force of inertia. 

Kling kept the strip running in the Daily News until June 1968, when he was well into his seventies, but then he became ill and the strip faded away without so much as a farewell. Kling passed away in 1969.

Despite Ken Kling going to his reward, the late race track tout somehow managed to sell Joe and Asbestos to a new paper in town. The name of that paper was the New York Mirror. Wait, huh? I just said the Mirror folded. So the name is worth a short digression. When the original Hearst-owned New York Mirror went belly up in 1963, the New York Daily News had purchsed the trademark to the name of their arch-rival paper to assure no one could use it. Apparently, though, they failed to renew the trademark at some point and the name became fair game. So when a new prospective publisher came to town wanting to publish a slightly sleazy tabloid (which is what the Mirror was) he gleefully took the trademark. End of digression.

It is safe to say that Ken Kling probably didn't have all that much to do with the strip by the 1960s. It certainly doesn't look like his artwork. So my guess is that the 1960s ghost is who offered the strip to the new Mirror. The Mirror already had a pullout race track sheet, so they liked the idea. So sometime in 1971 the strip came back from the dead, still bylined and signed by the very much dead Ken Kling. 

So I had to tell you all that as background. The real point of this post is this: I recently found in my giant 'to be filed' piles a short stack of New York Mirrors from July 1971. Checking out the issues, I came across something pretty darn unsettling. My first issue is Saturday July 10 and here is the Joe and Asbestos strip they ran that day:


As you can see, Asbestos is featured in his normal post-minstrel version; the version that had been used for at the very least almost a decade. Now here is the strip of Monday, July 12:

"What's the idea?" is right, lady! Starting on this day, Asbestos has taken a giant leap backward to the bad old days.Not only is he wearing the 'blackface' makeup, he's also using the mushmouth dialect of yore. And this isn't just a strange one-day trip to the bizarro world, this was the new (old) look of Asbestos that would continue at least through the rest of my Mirror issues of July 1971.

I've thought about this a lot, and I'll be damned if I can come up with an explanation that makes any sense. Why in 1971, so long after such images were considered fit for publication, did the New York Mirror decide  that it was a good idea to revert Asbestos to this outdated offensive version? Just a note to those of you reading this who are too young to know the world of 1971 -- no, such imagery was NOT considered okay This was the era of Wee Pals, Quincy and Friday Foster, not Old Black Joe for goodness sake.

Unfortunately, the 1971 version of the New York Mirror has not been digitized as far as I know, so I have no way to find out if there was any sort of reader backlash.  I do know that the strip ran there until December 1971, so the ghost creator and his comic strip obviously did not get summarily kicked out of the paper. This is one of those 'WTF' discoveries that may never be answered, but it sure is weird. And pretty sad, too.









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According to a 1966 Ebony article about
the portrayal of Blacks in The Funnies
http://preview.tinyurl.com/jtb72sj
The Asbestos transformation happened in 1963.
 
Weird. Maybe the 1971 minstrel-looking versions were reruns? Or lazy redrawings of old strips?
 
Long long ago read a piece somewhere, sadly unillustrated, about comics created by black artists for newspapers serving black readers. One was a humor strip about an affable loser. With the advent of WWII the hero was somehow transformed into a super soldier and had serious adventures, some of them fantasies that commented on race and racism. After the war the artist abruptly turned him back into a comical schlepI, dismissing the heroic wartime adventures as a dream. Ring a bell?
 
Sounds like Bunglrton Green by Jay Jackson among others.
 
Bungleton Green
 
Hello Allan-

"Joe and Asbestos" was originally a strip called "Joe Quince" for the Bell syndicate. Joe was more or less, a tall Barney Google. Asbestos joined him as his valet/jockey/flunky early on, and was apparently so well recieved that he managed second billing. Some papers were calling it Joe & Asbestos as early as 1926. It was a regular strip, the tout tips componant came later, I'm pretty sure by 1927. Another strip that DID have the tips of the time was "Moe & Joe they get the dough" drawn by Bob Dunn for the minor league Hearst syndicate "Star Company". I wonder if it maybe came first and "inspired" Kling.
I don't know if there was much licensing, I've seen them used to dress up real tout sheets,probably illegally, from that era. Joe and Asbestos were in a few late 1930s Vitaphone shorts with titles like "Under The Wire" and Boarder Trouble" I don't know who the stars were.
I remember seeing J&A in the 1950s in the Boston Daily Record, and they had been reduced to just a two column headstone with their faces on opposite sides of the title, and a straight rundown of just tips went below.
It would seem these really late ones are all, in fact recycled. Sure remember the gags beings so. That first one was one of Kling's favorites.
I think there was an earlier break in the series. The man that drew the examples presented today was Paul Frehm.
Kling died on 3 May 1970.
I once asked my Grandfather, who was a regular turf supporter in those days, if there was any possible substance to the race suggestions J&A offered and he thought one would have to be stupid or childish to even look at them.

 
DD -- Thanks very much for pinpointing Asbestos' transformation.

DBenson -- prior posters are correct, it is Bungleton Green, which ran in the Chicago Defender.

Mark -- various comments: the horse-racing tips began earlier than I too expected, they are actually seen in 1924.

Kling had his own 'tout sheet' (or it was licensed by him), so that's probably where you saw the duo featured.

J&A were indeed also used as mere 'headtones' in some cases by the 40s, but my impression is that is a separate syndicate offering, a tip column. Given my lack of source materials from the late 40s on, though, maybe there were no strips or they took vacations?

Finally, is your Paul Frehm ID based on art style or some other info?
 
Hello Allan-
Sorry, I meant WALTER Frehm. I have an article in SUBURBIA TODAY (19 July 1981) that gives a bio of him, stating that he did J&A "After the war" among his many freelance gigs. If you look at the style of the two strips, especially the second, wouldn't say that looks like it could be Frehm's later work?
According to Daily Variety (10 December 1924), The strip stopped running tips in the racing off-season, causing precipitous drops in circulation for papers like the Evening World that ran it, and a large increase for papers like the Baltimore Sun when the season reopened. This would probably reflect that cities like NY and Baltimore are in areas heavily populated by race tracks.
Yes, Kling did have a racing publication, but there were others, actually a kind of motif in the tout sheet world was J&A, or fake,nameless close lookalikes would adorn them.
 
Obliged to all. Found a nice bio of Jay Jackson that include several strips, including the one where superman Bun is converted back to schlep Bungleton, after a guy with a sci-fi weapon promises to turn him into a pathetic comic strip character. In those days when such irony and meta-references were rare in comic strips, one can only wonder how fans reacted.
 
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Sunday, March 21, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from F.R. Morgan

 

This is the first postcard we've covered by F.R. (Fred Royal) Morgan. The maker of this series of cards is anonymous, but they did code each card; this one is A-492. It is divided back, so 1907 or later. I don't have any postally used examples, so I'm just going to guess early to mid-teens.

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 18 1910 -- A rare occasion this, Herriman not only provides the cartoon but also writes the copy for a review of a programme of Vaudeville at the Orpheum. Unfortunately I screwed up and cut off part of the article, but you certainly get the flavor of Garge's prose. It is so convoluted and full of wordplay that it is pretty useless as a review, but it certainly is fun to read!

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Friday, March 19, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Sissy

 




Ray Doherty seems to have gotten the syndicate bug when he tried to self-syndicate his one-panel gag cartoon Nuttibits, in 1941. Nuttibits didn't set the world on fire, but in 1944 Doherty was back, trying to syndicate Woody Cowan's Sissy, today's obscurity.  This strip was no great shakes either, but the little girl menace strip managed to find a few clients, including the Chicago Daily News

By early 1945, with the Daily News already having dumped it, Doherty changed tactics and re-offered Sissy, this time as a weekly feature. The material for this re-offering was free to him, because he was just reselling the material already produced by Cowan. Doherty didn't even bother to remove the old date slugs. Once again, he got a few takers but now the revenue would have been truly paltry. 

Doherty kept offering the strip in 1946, though I haven't seen anyone running the strip past 1945. He also solicited a new strip called Red Diamond, a daily adventure strip that, in the E&P article, sounds sort of interesting, but I've never found it actually running anywhere. 

Ray Doherty Syndicate seems to have hung around for a few more years, but I haven't located any other comics he successfully syndicated. 

Looping back to Sissy, I don't know if Woody Cowan is the same guy as Wood Cowan, who did many strips back in the 1910s, then the long-running Mom 'n' Pop, and then wrote Our Boarding House for a few years after the departure of Gene Ahern. If he is, and I'm guessing it is him, his first known syndicated feature began in 1914, making him quite the veteran by this time. 

Anyone with additional informtion on Ray Doherty, a definite answer to whether Wood and Woody Cowan are the same guy, running dates for Sissy (daily and weekly versions), or any sightings of Red Diamond, will find attentive ears here. I don't ask for much, do I?

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Hello Allan-
"Woody" also did PSA series in 1944-6 for Treasury department War Bond pitches called "American Heroes", which appeared in low wattage weekly papers.
I think it's a safe bet this is the one and only Wood Cowan, the high foreheads and dot eyes on the girls seems very typical of his style.
 
The Wood Cowan collection at Syracuse University contains 88 original Sissy cartoons. Collection came from Wood Cowan and Thaddeus Cowan. So certainly seems to be the same guy.
 
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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Makin' B'lieve

 

Dwig very seldom produced second rate material, but I must reluctantly place Makin' B'lieve in that category. Penned for the New York World's Sunday funnies section from June 2 1912 to January 26 1913, the strip always ran in a quarter page format that might have made him felt like he was merely producing filler (those quarter pages had been introduced to accommodate the occasional quarter-page ads that had started to appear in the Pulitzer Sunday sections). 

The plot was simple and repeated each week with rote regularity; kids come up with a pretend scenario, start acting it out and then some low-key mayhem takes place. Dwig was a master of the mayhem scene, as proven in School Days and other features, but in Makin' B'lieve it was like the economy bargain basement version of mayhem, barely a hair out of place as compared to his normal anarchy. 

On a side note, Dwig seems to have invented the idea of ultra-modern sleek furniture design with that rocking chair. It only took nearly a hundred years for someone to actually produce it:




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I suggest there was a real chair of that design, which Dwig saw somewhere and incorporated for a little visual novelty. It seems unlikely a cartoonist would invent something like that and use it for a generic prop, especially when the rest of the furniture is utterly conventional. It might even be an early case of product placement.
 
I'm no expert, but that does look much more minimalist than usual for the time. I *think* that sort of design only started to catch on with modernism post 1920 (the Bauhaus having been founded in 1919). Skimming through some Google searches, it definitely seems that way, but again, I know very little.
 
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Monday, March 15, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: Don Key O.T.

 





J. P. Arnot's classic pantomime strip The General (check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 of a Stripper's Guide series on the strip), which starred, of all things, a statue, is a tour de force and a favorite of mine. Unfortunately when Arnot returned to the concept later, this time upping the ante by offering three characters (Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and of course, the horse) the concept fell on its face. 

Why? Perhaps in the intervening years Arnot's imagination had lost its fertility, or maybe the chump change he got for producing it made him unwilling to put the effort in, or perhaps his boss forced him to resurrect the strip and his heart was simply no longer in it. Whatever the reason, as you can see from the strips above, they barely even offer anything you can call a gag. 

This was Arnot's last syndicated strip, coming after a hugely productive decade and a half in which he was often producing two daily strips in tandem. He'd been in the Hearst bullpen since 1916, and after the last of his strips got the can in 1928, he was lured off the reservation by Moses Koenigsberg. 

Koenigsburg, as we know from his autobiography that ran here on Stripper's Guide, was Hearst's top syndicate man until the two had a falling out. Thrown out on his ear, Koenigsberg decided to show Hearst that his golden touch didn't depend on a connection to the newspaper kingpin. Koenigsberg created a new syndicate, Kay Features, and got together a small stable of features including Arnot's Don Key O.T. (others included Cuddles by Charles Forbell and the anonymously penned Dinah Says).

The new syndicate certainly didn't make much of a splash. Doubtless some papers passed on Koenigsberg's wares out of a fear of Hearst retribution, but frankly the quality of some features, like Arnot's, just wasn't up to snuff. Worse for the creators was that Koenigsberg lost interest in the syndicate basically as soon as he got it rolling -- he was at the same time formulating a plan to create a chain of one hundred papers with the owner of the Denver Post, a plan that went nowhere, but took up all his energy. Kay Features, meanwhile, withered on the vine. 

Although Don Key O.T., along with most of the Kay Features stuff, was advertised in E&P from 1929 to 1933, I am now 99.9% certain that nothing was produced for Kay past a one year contract, and most if not all for less than that. It seems as if the reason the material was continually advertised is that Kay was soliciting the material to other hole-in-the-wall syndicates to rerun, which did happen in a limited way. 

Don Key O.T., as disappointing as it was, seems to have been Kay's longest running feature. Though it was advertised to start in January 1929, the earliest it is found starting is February 4 1929*. The last paper I can find to print it in its original run is Harrisburg Evening News, which cancelled it on December 28 1929.


* New York Sun, indexed by Jeffrey Lindenblatt

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Sunday, March 14, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis

 

Though some of Argus' Garfield postcards are quite a hoot, this one is pretty meh. This card is coded P2090 on the back.

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Hello Allan-
If you mean by "MEH" that it's not by Mr. Davis, you're right. The semiskilled hack that did this can't do proper perspective, and has never seen (what I guess was his intention) a champagne bottle, a cork, (or is that supposed to be a tiny slice of toast?), motion lines, or the sound effect that attends such an opening.
I could be wrong,though. Maybe ol' Garf is rattling around a lucite towel bar in a ghastly colored bottle of "Tynogr", his eyes shut so he doesn't have to witness the violent fight that's just offstage.
 
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Saturday, March 13, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday

 

January 14 1910 -- There's a big aviation meet going on in LA and Herriman offers up some thoughts on the subject. Regarding the first panel, I guess Herriman wasn't aware that parachutes had already been around for centuries. Granted, he has introduced a new wrinkle making it into a skirt -- well, let's leave the fellow some dignity and call it a kilt.

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There’s a good article in Wikipedia about the 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet. It was apparently a major event.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1910_Los_Angeles_International_Air_Meet_at_Dominguez_Field
 
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