Monday, March 13, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: Mrs. Knitt, Boarding House Keeper
Here's another obscurity from my favorite syndicate, World Color Printing. Mrs. Knitt was done by Eddie Eksergian, who signed himself Eddie Eks most of the time. Eddie was one of the real workhorses at the WCP in the years 1902-1904. Before then he made an appearance in the McClure Syndicate sections in 1901, and in late 1904 he left the St. Louis-based WCP to work at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, where he produced lots of one-shot comics ending partways through 1905. What happened to him after that I dunno.
Interesting thing about Eddie was that he had some sort of weird fixation on umbrellas. I don't know if he thought they were inherently funny, or he'd been whacked with them a lot as a child, but they show up constantly in his strips. Today's strip doesn't feature the umbrella, but you'll notice that it is there nevertheless. Some sort of comedic talisman? Eddie did plenty of strips that actually star umbrellas, though, like his Umbrelladom series.
Much of Eddie's World Color Printing output may not be 100% quantified in Stripper's Guide because I'm not sure I've found their complete output for the years 1902-03. The St. Louis Star ran only two pages of WCP material, as did the Meadville Tribune-Republican. If there exists a full four page section of World Color Printing from that era, I haven't found it (have you?).
Anyway, back to Mrs. Knitt. In the St. Louis Star I documented a run 7/31 - 8/14/1904, but I also have a hand-dated example (paper unknown) claimed to have run on 6/12/04.
EDIT 11/28/2019: Despite the subject matter and byline seemingly make this strip a slam dunk as an Eddie Eks production, even an umbrella cameo to put the last nail in the coffin, Mark Johnson has rightly pointed out that the art on this strip is quite unlike anything else Eddie Eksergian was producing. I therefore amend the credit to be to some anonymous "Eddie". Clearly "Eddie" was a fan of Mr. Eksergian, though!