Saturday, August 16, 2008


Herriman Saturday

This time on Herriman Saturday just two images, cuz next week we'll be starting in on Herriman's second comic strip series for the Examiner. The series will be about Mayor Harper and I need a little time to see if I can decode at least a few of the many in-jokes about LA politics. I read the strips yesterday and I was completely lost. If anyone happens to know of a good information resource about Mayor Harper's tumultuous time in office I'd really love to hear from you.

Back to current business though ... today's cartoons were printed in the April 15 and 17 editions of the Examiner. The caricature of W.R. LeRoy accompanies an article about this fellow who invented some sort of "air motor" and struck it rich. The article fails to make clear just what exactly Mr. LeRoy invented but I find no references to the inventor on the web. Someone with deep pockets must have been impressed by his invention, though, because the formerly poor fellow returned to his old haunts throwing money around like water.

On the 7th we get a recap of the Angels-Seals game. Inexplicably Herriman makes no cartoon comment on the ironic twist related in the headline.


Boy, I just spent one of the most fun hours I've ever had on the net, reading the wonderful strips you've posted here! I'll have to reread them along with your commentary next time! Thanks so much for putting these up!
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Friday, August 15, 2008


News of Yore: A Collection of 1952 E&P Short Items

Cartoonist Uses Drawing Board As His Pulpit

Waco, Tex. - The biggest job and least remunerative for Jack Hamm, a member of the art facul­ty of Baylor University here, is syndicating free of charge a week­ly religious cartoon to more than 300 newspapers in English-speak­ing countries around the globe.

Mr. Hamm's life story is one of vocational conflict. He wanted to be a cartoonist and he wanted to be a preacher. He has done both. He preached in small churches in his native Kansas and in and around Chicago while he attended Moody Bible Institute.

But financial rewards in churches were not enough to meet expenses. He turned to art and filled several good jobs on syndicated strips. He illustrated "Let's Explore Your Mind" and also helped on such strips as "Boots and Her Buddies," "Alley Oop," "Horace and Babe" and "Bugs Bunny." When a syndi­cated asked him to start a detec­tive strip of his own. Mr. Hamm declined. He figured it would mean he would have to give up a drive to preach the gospel. So he packed his bags, resigned, went to Baylor to study religious work. He preached at a rural church near Waco. During World War II, he spent 18 months as edi­tor of the Army newspaper in the Aleutians. After the war he took his degree and joined the Baylor art faculty.

Finally, he reached a decision to reconcile his desire to be a preach­er. He would use his drawing board as a pulpit. It costs Mr. Hamm and his friends over Texas about $100 a week to supply the newspapers with the free cartoons, all of which emphasize faith in God as a solution to all problems - personal, national and world. Sometime, he digs deep into his own income to meet the weekly expense.

Said Dr. Daniel A. Poling, noted clergyman in New York: "No bet­ter example of the cartoonist's art dedicated to faith in God and country has been seen in this gen­eration."

Mr. Hamm recently won $200 from the Freedoms Foundation for a cartoon to promote the Ameri­can way of life.

Why doesn't he charge news­papers for his drawings? Says Mr. Hamm: "If I charged newspapers for the service, many would be unable to use it, and I believe this tension-filled world needs any word of hope it can get."

King Features Offers Stalin Story Strip
"The Story of Stalin," a seven-part story strip originally re­leased in 1939, has been brought up to date and is offered for re­lease at will by King Features Syndicate. The original drawings by the late Clifton Crittenden have been brought up to 1952 by Alfred J. Buescher, and William Ritt, author of the series, has updated his text.

The series includes the com­plete life of the Soviet dictator up to his conjectured death, and may be used immediately or when the big news comes. KFS is also dis­tributing a matted picture page on Stalin for obit use.
[Note: I've been unable to find any examples of this short-run strip in either the 1939 or 1952 run. Anyone have samples? -- EDIT -- Found the 1952 version -- 1939 version anyone?]

KFS to Syndicate Walt Disney Page
"Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales," a new color Sun­day page, is offered as a continu­ing feature for first release July 13 by King Features Syndicate.

The strip will feature a com­pletely new story every four or five months. Some of the stories will be realistic adventure stories, while other will be fantasies or fairy tales. First release scheduled is "Robin Hood," which will run for 25 weeks. Among other stories planned are "Peter Pan," "When Knighthood was in Flow­er," "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "Sleeping Beauty."

Eisenhower Story Strip From Mirror Syndicate
"The Life of General Ike," a 36-installment story strip, is offered for release on or after May 19 by Mirror Enterprises Syndicate, Los Angeles. Drawn by staff artist Bill MacArthur, the strip covers the life of General Eisenhower from his birth to the present day. Available in five-column mat form with manuscript text or in reproduction proof form with manuscript text.
[Note: another short-run strip I've been unable to locate. Anyone? -- EDIT -- Found in San Mateo Times, running 7/21 - 8/30/52]

Top Ten in Salina
The top 10 comic strips and panels in the Salina (Kan.) Jour­nal, according to a reader prefer­ence poll conducted recently, were:

Among men: "They'll Do It Every Time," "Blondie," "Dick Tracy," "Gasoline Alley," "Neigh­borly Neighbors," "Henry," "Li'l Abner," "Smilin' Jack," "The Nebbs" and "Jane Arden."

Among women: "Blondie," '•They'll Do It Every Time," "Dick Tracy," "Jane Arden," "Henry," "Gasoline Alley," "Neighborly Neighbors," "Li'l Abner," "The Nebbs" and "Little Orphan An­nie."

Cartoonist Is Dead
Phoenixville, Pa.-Cartoonist W. Kemp Starrett, 62, died July 9 at his farm, "The Grindstone,"
near here. His first cartoon was published in the Brooklyn (N. Y.) Eagle when he was 18. He drew the "Vignettes of Life," a feature which has appeared in many newspapers. He started his career as a political cartoonist on the Philadelphia Times about 1916. Later he held similar positions on the New York Tribune and on papers in Albany, N. Y., and Providence, R. I.

Ralph Yardley Retires After 57 Years

Stockton, Calif.-Cartoonist Ralph Yardley has retired from the Stockton Record after 57 years of newspaper work.

Mr. Yardley, now 73, was the Record's first car­toonist and has been on the staff for the past 30 years. Prior to his Record career, the artist drew for the San Fran­cisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Call, San Francisco Bulletin, New York Globe and Honolulu Advertiser, His first job was with the Examiner.

Offers 'Hell Bomb' Strip
Timed to tie in with newly-an­nounced atomic weapons tests at Eniwetok this fall, NEA Service has issued a picture-story strip on "The Hell Bomb." In 12 daily re­leases it describes the Hydrogen Bomb-including its devastating potentialities, its peacetime use and its underlying principle.

The picture strips are by writer Jay Heavilin and artist Ralph Lane, who have collaborated on several other NEA story strips. First release is Oct. 6.


For the Stalin strip, you might also want to look in 1953, since the syndicate contemplated that newspapers might want to hold it until Stalin died.
Fascinating stuff! The observation in the first article re the religious cartoon being the best fusion with faith in a generation was somewhat amusing, given Charles Schulz' work in church comics a few years earlier.
Thanks for the suggestion, Anon, found the strip running in March 1953 in the Newport News and Pottstown Mercury.

There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding The Story of Stalin strip(s). I don't think you have found the KFS strip.
According to the March 10, 1953 Warren (Pa) Times-Mirror (page 5) the half fumetti/half art strip I think you have found is from AP.
The intro slug to the strip reads:
"This picture strip is the first in a series of six on the life of Stalin.It is made up in part of idealized conceptions by Soviet-blessed artists, plus several photographs, and three drawings by AP staff artist Ed Gunther. The running story is by Charles Mercer, an AP Staff writer"
That is at odds with the KFS strip described above.
"A picture biography by Clifton Crittenden, supplemented by Alfred J. Buescher and William Ritt of King Features Syndicate."
So reads the introduction at the top of page seven of the April 12, 1952 issue of The Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal. That page prints all seven of the strips under the heading "The Story of Josef Stalin"
and distributed by the Central Press Association.

That is the 1952 edition as described in your post. It is closer to a real comic strip than the AP version, which was more a series of panels (drawings and photographs) above several columns of text.

I couldn't find the 1939 series.
Hi DD -
Thanks very much for double-checking me on that Stalin strip. I thought I smelled a rat on that 1953 series which was mostly fumetti but in the papers I found it in I saw no credits so pretty much just shrugged it off and made stupid assumptions.

And not only did you fix my mistake, you found the right series as well! Thank you doubleski, comrade DD!

Mr. Holtz--are you referring to Baylor University in Waco, Texas?
Hi Anita -
I presume that's the school the article is referring to.

Hmm, this is interesting ...I cannot find him in the Baylor University directory.
Umm ... are you looking in the 1952 directory...?
Ya know, I wasn't. How silly of me. There wasn't a date on that article, and I only read that article, so the whole 1952 theme here went over my head. Thanks.
Do you have any more information on the LA Mirror (Times) staff artist Bill MacArthur?

Hi Inquisitor -- Sorry, I don't have a file on him. Yoiu might check with Alex Jay, who is much better at finding these elusive cartoonists.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Willie Hawkshaw the Amateur Detective

Willie Hawkshaw the Amateur Detective was one of many sleuth strips of the oughts that played off the popularity of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. This entry was signed Hutch which apparently by popular acclamation has been identified as Frank Hutchinson. I'm not so sure about that. I'd have to dig up an example of the only strip that was definitely by Frank (Willie Wise, Tommy Tuff and Simple Sammy, World Color Printing) to see if the signatures and styles match*. There were several different cartoonists going by "Hutch" in the 1900s-20s.

Willie Hawkshaw ran in the Chicago Tribune's Sunday section from August 27 1905 to April 29 1906.

You'll find an interesting discussion about the origin of the term hawkshaw and more samples of this strip over on the excellent Barnacle Press site.

* Update April 2019: I compared art styles and I am satisfied that this is indeed Frank Hutchinson.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Danny Hale

After Norman Marsh's modest success with the Dick Tracy clone Dan Dunn comic strip, a stint in the Marines, and a short run on the detective strip Hunter Keene, he finally found the niche that suited him with Danny Hale.

After World War II William Randolph Hearst became increasingly interested in features about American history and Danny Hale was one of a group of offerings in this vein that started in the late 40s. Danny was a kid frontiersman who found himself tagging along with revolutionary war heroes, accompanying the Lewis and Clark expedition, and generally being in the right place at the right time (even if those times were widely separated) to be a first person observer of history. Marsh had a light touch with the educational aspect of the strip, though, and Danny Hale can be comfortably categorized as a rollicking adventure yarn, much more palatable to kid readers who can smell an educational strip from a mile off.

Norman Marsh's artwork was never his strong point, but you have to give him points for never giving up. His Danny Hale strips often feature dramatically designed if not all that impressively executed crowd scenes, vistas and action panels.

King Features introduced Danny Hale to a relatively indifferent audience of newspaper editors on October 27 1947. After a little over three years the strip still didn't seem to be catching on and King was ready to pull the plug, but Marsh decided he could go it alone and started self-syndicating the feature, apparently with King's blessing, starting with the January 15 1951 episode. Marsh took it upon himself to aggressively market the strip through personal appearances, devoting almost as much time to selling the strip as he did to producing it. Hard work paid off and Danny Hale managed to no only keep many of its clients from the King days but also to add more. He proved particularly adept at signing up smaller papers.

A year after the switch to self-syndication Marsh changed the strip title to Dan'l Hale and aged his hero a bit into a young man. His adventures continued in the same vein, mixing light dollops of history with lots of good adventuring for over ten years, finally coming to an end on October 13 1962, a very impressive run for any strip, much less an awkwardly drawn self-syndicated one.

A 1951 news story about Norman Marsh's marketing campaign can be found here.


I seem to remember Danny Hale having a wife. Am I mistaken?
Hi Richard --
Could very well be that Danny got hitched later in the run, I haven't read a whole lot of the strip.

Best, Allan
Occasionally think about childhood cartoons Danny Hale spring forward. But seemingly the strips were obscured. Until now! I read about Danny in a comics magazine named Kong Kylie (The Little King) in the late forties in Copenhagen, Denmark.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: Babies

Although the panel itself used a revolving set of titles, the official title of this series, as reported in the annual Editor & Publisher listing, was Babies.

John H. Striebel gave birth to Babies on September 21 1925, the Associated Editors syndicate played midwife.

This tall one-column panel was essentially a replacement for a very similar panel titled Pantomime by Striebel for the same syndicate. The only real difference was that Pantomime didn't limit its focus to small children.

The Babies feature did reasonably well, appearing in a creditable number of papers, and even had a jumbo sized version available for Sunday papers. The Sunday version was also in black and white and was designed to plug a space in Sunday magazine sections.

In 1929 Striebel started providing the art for the new Dixie Dugan strip, a feature whose circulation took off like a rocket right out of the gate. Faced with continuing the modestly successful Babies or devoting his time to Dixie Dugan, Striebel made the obvious choice and dropped this series on November 29 1930.


So that's what these're called! We've had them filed under "Various - J.H. Striebel"...

Not sure about your start date, though. We've got some that are clearly part of the Babies motif, going back a little earlier, to August 31 of '25.
Hi Holmes --
All dates that I report are most definitely subject to correction, and that's part of the reason I do the blog so much thanks! There's an unexplained gap between my end date on Pantomime and the start date of Babies that you've closed in a little. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if we eventually find evidence that they follow one another without a gap.

My start date came from the San Francisco Chronicle. For my records where does your new start date come from?

Thanks, Allan
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Monday, August 11, 2008


News of Yore 1952: H.T. Webster Obituary

H. T. Webster Dies; 7 Months' Panels Done

By Erwin Knoll (E&P, 9/27/52)

Harold Tucker Webster, for 50 years a newspaper cartoonist and one of the best-known mem­bers of his craft, died Sept. 22 of a heart attack on a train en route to his home at Stamford, Conn. He had celebrated his 67th birth­day on the previous day.

The Herald Tribune Syndicate, which distributed Mr. Web­ster's daily panels to about 120 newspapers and his Sunday "Timid Soul" feature to about 30 papers, announced that the car­toonist had left a large enough backlog of completed work to permit distribution to client news­papers until next April. Sometime before then the syndicate will de­cide whether to terminate the fea­ture or continue it under Herb Roth, Mr. Webster's assistant.

16,000 Panels
In the course of his long career Mr. Webster drew over 16,000 single-panel cartoons, and contrib­uted to the language such phrases as "the thrill that comes once in a lifetime," "life's darkest mo­ment" and "the timid soul."

He made the name of his chief char­acter, Caspar Milquetoast, a house­hold word in America.
Though known primarily as a humor panelist in recent years, Mr. Webster made his early repu­tation as an editorial cartoonist on Midwestern newspapers. His most famous drawing, still reprinted an­nually on Lincoln's birthday, was executed in 1918, when he was on the staff of Associated Newspa­pers. It was captioned "Hardin County—1809," and showed two
backwoodsmen having the follow­ing conversation on a country road:

"Any news down t' th' village, Ezry?"

"Well, Squire McLean's gone t' Washington t' see Madison swore in and ol' Spellman tells me this Bonaparte fella has captured most o' Spain. What's new out here, neighbor?"

"Nuthin' a tall, nuthin' a tall 'cept for a new baby down't Tom Lincoln's. Nuthin' ever happens out here."

Mr. Webster's humor panels fol­lowed a set weekly pattern, formed some years ago. On Mondays the topic was "The Timid Soul"; Tuesdays, "Life's Darkest Mo­ment"; Wednesdays, "The Unseen Audience"; Thursdays, "How to Torture Your Wife" (or hus­band); Fridays, "The Thrill that Comes Once in a Lifetime," and Saturdays, "Bridge." For his "Un­seen Audience" panels he was once described as "possibly radio's most effective critic," and in recent years their sting was felt by tele­vision too. In 1950 they won for him a special Peabody award.

Cartooning, Smoking
H. T. Webster was born in Parkersburg, W. Va., and spent his boyhood in Tomahawk, Wis. His childhood surroundings were often depicted in "Life's Darkest Moment" and "The Thrill that Comes Once in a Lifetime" car­toons. At the age of seven he formed two lifelong habits — car­tooning and smoking.

When he was 12 he graduated from cigarettes to cigars, and sold his first cartoon for $5 to Recrea­tion magazine. Five years later he left high school and Tomahawk to study art at the Frank Holmes School of Illustration in Chicago. The school folded shortly after his arrival and, after a brief and un­successful fling at freelancing, the young cartoonist joined the art staff of the Denver Post.

In the next 10 years H. T. Web­ster's drawings appeared in the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago American, the Chicago Inter-Ocean and the Cincinnati Post. He did mostly illustrations and political cartoons, but on the Post began to dabble in the humor and human interest panels which were later to become his stock in trade. One series, "Little Tragedies of Childhood," was the forerunner of the "Life's Darkest Moment" panels.

Worked in Advance
In 1911, after a trip around the world, Mr. Webster was hired by Associated Newspapers in New York. Though his contract called for political cartoons, he turned increasingly to human interest topics, and these were enthusiasti­cally received by readers. For the New York Tribune from 1919 to 1923 and the New York World from 1923 to 1931 he abandoned serious editorial cartooning almost completely. He joined the Herald Tribune and its syndicate in 1931.
As demonstrated by the seven months' supply of cartoons now on hand, Mr. Webster had a penchant for preparing work far in advance. In 1927, while preparing for a va­cation, he undertook to supply the New York World with three and a half months' material in one month. The strain of continuous drawing lost him the use of his right hand, and would have ended his career had he not learned to draw equally well with his left. At this time Herb Roth, a World car­toonist, joined Mr. Webster as his assistant. Mr. Webster continued to do pencil sketches and to ink in the characters, while Mr. Roth inked in the background details. This arrangement continued until Mr. Webster's death.


No comment, but I have a question for you regarding H.T. Webster:

Did he have three sons? Was he involved with the Boy Scouts?

I'm doing research on another syndicated individual, and the information would be helpful.

Hi Christie --
Offhand I don't know, but there is more biographical info on Webster in "The Best of H.T. Webster", a book issued by Simon and Schuster in 1953, still widely available on the used book market.

Best, Allan
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Sunday, August 10, 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.



You make an interesting observation about Doonesbury, and I'll bet you're right. I know that Doonesbury seemed like an underground comic to me when I first started reading it... something I'd never really given consideration until now.
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