Saturday, June 28, 2008


Herriman Saturday

On this Herriman Saturday we have two more cartoons about the road graft investigation, published on March 15 and 16.

For the Sunday edition of the 17th Herriman produced a pair of cartoons. The first, a cartoon of Robert Emmet, Irish patriot accompanies one of those sleep-inducing Arthur Brisbane Sunday Hearst editorials, this one in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The cartoon was run at a gigantic size, 10" x 15". The final cartoon, a delightfully drawn piece for the automobile section, came out extremely dark on the photocopy, so some of the detail is quite muddy. Sorry about that.


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Friday, June 27, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Just Kids

Here's yet another version of the most used comic strip title of all time, Just Kids (6 separate series by my count). This one takes the prize as the first ongoing use of the title and also as the shortest-lived version.

Charles Reese's elegantly drawn version ran from November 9 1902 to February 8 1903 in the New York Tribune's Sunday comic section. In a very odd coincidence, T.S. Allen picked up the title for his series in the New York Evening Journal starting the very next week. One has to wonder if there isn't more to the story.

In the short period of 1902-04 Reese really made the newspaper rounds, creating short-lived series for the Tribune, the New York World, Boston Herald and Philadelphia North American. I also seem to recall that he did a bunch of one-shot strips and panels for the McClure Sunday section in this period. He did a lot of straight illustration work as well.


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Thursday, June 26, 2008


George Carlin RIP

George Carlin was a hero to me, a magnificent wise philosopher whose 1970s comedy albums affected me greatly in my formative years. His later material, honed to razor sharpness, continued to challenge and liberate right to the end. Oh, and he was funny as hell, too. I'll miss you George.

Check out a George Carlin animated cartoon on YouTube. Warning: rough language and nudity (you would expect any less from George?).

hello Alan,

just 'had a look at the cartoon (!) and I am wondering where it possibly was initially shown?
the movies? TV?

From the comments I gather it was part of one of his HBO specials.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Kids

If you recall, a couple weeks ago we discussed Teddy, Jack and Mary, Tom McNamara's kid strip that got publicly dumped on by the Chicago Tribune's readers in a popularity contest. Well, McNamara originally got his Tribune berth by giving the heave-ho to yet another kid strip called Kids.

The creator of Kids, Bert Green, had just a few short-lived syndicated features back in the teens, one with NEA and another with the New York Evening Telegram. But if memory serves he was gainfully employed as a bullpen artist throughout the teens and twenties. Kids was his first 'bigtime' syndicate contract and started appearing February 19 1928. He got the hook on May 12 1929 and Tom McNamara's strip premiered the week after.

It's possible that Bert Green gave up the strip voluntarily. In 1929 he published a book of prose and cartoons titled Love Letters of an Interior Decorator which did pretty well. Perhaps he thought he'd discovered greener pastures?

By the way, the book is a delightful zany romp -- if you come upon a cheap copy I recommend you pick it up.


I was surprised to see that Bert Green did comics strips. He was a giant in the early animation business - since most of those guys worked on comic strips too, it shouldnt have surprised me. anybody know when he moved to California? he was there from 1932-c1938, he was working for Hal Roach (they say) in 1932. Could he have gone Hollywood earlier?
I would like to know how I can see more of the 'Kids' images from Bert Green's strip. It turns out that he was my mother's uncle and he used her pet name, Bebe Porter, for a character in his strip. Are those strips available somewhere?

Lynn Sachs
Microfilm of the Chicago Tribune, or Proquest's electronic version of same, would be your best bet.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


News of Yore 1952: Don't Tread On Me

$1,000,000 Damage Suit

(E&P, 8/23/52)

A $1,000,000 damage suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court this week against the Na­tional Broadcasting Co., the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Young & Rubicam, Inc., Talent Associates, Ltd., Fred Coe and David Shaw by Jerry Siegel, who in 1935 ori­ginated the "Superman" comic strip but was unable to retain con­trol of the feature.

Mr. Siegel's complaint charges that the plot of a television play called "The Lantern Copy" broad­cast May 25 closely parallels his own career to a point, but por­trays the cartoonist as "a person of immoral, vicious, disreputable and criminal character and na­ture." Defendants are the net­work, sponsor, advertising agency, script agency, producer and au­thor, respectively.

Mr. Siegel's complaint, inci­dentally, states that TV rights to "Superman" have been sold "for a sum reported to be in the neigh­borhood of thirty million dollars." McClure Syndicate distributes the strip.


Wndering what happened to THAT lawsuit (At least we DO know about the other one he have at the time)!!!!

Except, he didn't sold the rights to the "Adventures Of Superman" series-DC have the rights to the series (And, still own it to this day).
Googled it and found that it was the first episode of The Goodyear Television Playhouse, a 60 minute live presentation that was aired on May 25, 1952.

The director was Delbert Mann (the director of Marty, another Goodyear Television Playhouse presentation which he remade himself as a movie), who left his papers to the Vanderbilt library in Nashville. I for one would love to see if a script survives.

Next time I am in LA I will have a look at the Museum of Broadcast to find more.

Title: The Lantern Copy
Date: 25 May 1952
Director: Delbert Mann
Producer: Fred Coe
Writer: David Shaw
Music: RCA Recordings
Distribution: NBC Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
Format: Live Television
Principal Actors: Paul Langton, Neva Patterson, Royal Beal
Supporting Actors: Georgianne Johnson, Mark Daniels
Contents: Memoirs, Scrapbook
Memoirs: Part I, pp. 91, 98D
Scrapbook: Volume I, 1949-1953
Location: Boxes 93, 102
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Monday, June 23, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: The Little Woman, Way Out West and Jimmy And The Tiger

Buckle up, folks, this one's going to be a bumpy ride.

Vic Forsythe first made his presence known to comic strip readers back in the 1910s with a string of features for the New York World. In those days he divided his time between strips and sports cartoons. Late in the teens he struck a minor vein of gold when he created Joe's Car. The strip, starring Joe Jinks, was initially about the trials and tribulations of car ownership, but Forsythe branched out pretty quickly to have Joe engaging in various minor-key humorous adventures. The strip was renamed Joe Jinks in 1928 and Joe got himself into the boxing game, managing a fighter named Dynamite Dunn.

In 1931 the New York World was consolidated by Scripps-Howard and effectively ceased to be, and all its features were picked up by United Feature Syndicate. Perhaps Forsythe chafed at the new management or maybe his pay envelope took a turn south (Scripps-Howard was notoriously cheap), but in 1933 he abandoned Joe Jinks to Pete Llanuza and sought greener pastures.

Apparently he found some hay in the Hearst camp, where he created a new strip that was somewhat similar to Joe Jinks. It was titled Way Out West, and starred a Joe Jinks clone named Jimmy who goes west hoping to find gold. What he finds instead is a rootin'-tootin' cowboy who goes by the name "The Texas Tiger". Way Out West started on January 7 1934.

Though this Sunday strip often reads as if there was a daily adjunct I've never found any evidence of a daily from early in the run. Almost a year in, though, a daily does finally appear. It's not titled Way Out West, though, it's called Jimmy and the Tiger. This badly titled strip (sounds more like a kiddie strip to me) seems to have premiered on November 12 1934. In the daily version Jimmy grooms Tiger as a boxer -- deja vu! The Sunday strip, meanwhile, focuses more on the wild west exploits of Tiger, and Jimmy is left out of the mix more and more.

The Sunday strip initially ran with a topper titled Bunker Bugs, a strip about golfing. But on April 21 1935 a new topper premiered titled The Little Woman. This strip brought Jimmy home where he played the harried husband in a domestic comedy. Although I call this a topper, Forsythe divided his two Sundays as a pair of half-pagers, a marketing ploy that made it easy to replace one or the other with a half-page ad, something that often happened with this strip.

Two months later Forsythe's daily, Jimmy and the Tiger, was renamed The Little Woman. This replacement premiered on June 17 1935. Though the title was changed, the storyline stayed the same, with Jimmy and Tiger still in the boxing game. The daily strip ended December 5 1936 with the Tiger getting married.

The Sunday versions of Way Out West and The Little Woman both supposedly ran until November 22 1936 according to the King Features Microfilm Catalog, but I've never seen one later than June 21st. Given its status as a filler strip, the November date may be right. Has anyone seen the later ones?

And that's the convoluted story of Vic Forsythe at King Features. He returned to doing Joe Jinks for United in 1937 but that didn't last long. According to Ron Goulart he gave it up, this time for good, because of illness.

Thanks to Mark Tague who sent me an email asking about Forsythe's stint at King. I had the timeline all balled up in my Stripper's Guide index, but his questioning led me to do some further research to neaten things up considerably, even if there are still some unknowns.


Allan, when I sent the email off to you asking for information about Vic Forsythe and his King Features strips, I was surprised and pleased by your very quick reply. Now I'm even more surprised that your very next blog entry was a further explanation. All seems much clearer now. Thank you.
In the time since I emailed you with the questions, I managed to pick up April 1-June 15, 1935 of Jimmy and the Tiger. The story was barreling along with Jimmy (last name is Goober, by the way) trying to get fights lined up to build up Tiger's record so they can get a big payday in New York. Jimmy even picks up another fighter, a comical counterpoint to The Tiger, Jawbone Jerry. Then suddenly on May 14th, with no foreshadowing whatsoever, The Tiger decides to quit the fight game. The Tiger wants to go to the ranch owned by Jimmy's dad, where he had been a ranch hand and use his boxing winnings to buy into the ranch. As soon as that's accomplished Jimmy heads back east and reunites with his wife, Dilly, The Little Woman herself.

So, abruptly between May 14 and June 4, the strip completely drops the boxing storyline, returns The Tiger to the ranch to be available for the Way Out West Sundays and Jimmy returns to his wife so that the daily can now be The Little Woman. The last strip I have, June 15th, is still titled Jimmy and the Tiger, but it has become a domestic strip. This abrupt change has the flavor of strong editorial pressure from the syndicate.

Thanks again.
Hi Mark -
It didn't stick, though. Reading through some dailies of The Little Woman I find that Jimmy and Tiger were still setting up boxing matches. In fact they are going to New York in December to set up a match when Tiger sort of out of the blue gets married and the strip concludes.

I am a local historian, and I have what I think is a strip written for the local by Vic. The strip was publised in 1925. If you are interested please contact me.
Hi Eileen -
If you'd like to send a pic my email address is listed in the left sidebar.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

Order Jim Ivey's new book Cartoons I Liked at or order direct from Ivey and get the book autographed with a free original sketch.


ANyone want to purchase an original Bert Green Sketch? I have one in pristine condition!
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