Monday, May 10, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Oh, There Goes My Car

Here's a rarity from the Los Angeles Examiner. A.C. Fera made a quick stop at that paper in 1909. I recall that he also worked for a much longer stint at another L.A. paper, but I can't seem to find that information at the moment. Looking through the standard references I find essentially no biographical information on Fera at all.

Fera later had good success with his syndicated Sunday strip Just Boy, but back in the oughts he was just another local cartoonist in southern California. During his time at the Examiner he created two weekday strips; we've already discussed What You Lafin' At?, and here's the other, Oh, There Goes My Car. The title puts me in mind of a slapstick strip about runaway autos, but it turns out that the cars referred to are trolley cars. The gag is that some poor shlub in need finds a real 'hail fellow well met' buddy who is delighted to see him until comes the time for asking a favor. Then the jovial buddy takes it on the lam, yelling that he must catch a trolley.

The strip ran on just a handful of occasions from October 30 to November 24 1909.


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Adolph Christian Fera was born on September 14, 1877 according to his World War I draft card. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of two sons born, both in Illinois, to Charles and Mamie. The family lived in Danville, Illinois.

The beginnings of Fera's cartooning education and career is not known. In the book, "Artists in California 1786-1940," the author, Edan Hughes, wrote:

Fera settled in Los Angeles in 1909. For many years he worked
there as a cartoonist for the Hearst papers.

The 1910 census has Fera living in South Pasadena with his father and aunt. Fera's occupation was cartoonist at a newspaper. That same year a collection of his cartoons was published under the title, "Post Cards of a Tourist (Mr. 'Skinny' East): Cartoons of Southern California". Below is a description from "Art Books, 1876-1949."

The cartoons used in this volume were originally published in
"The Los Angeles Express" excepting six drawings which
appeared in "The Los Angeles Herald."

Fera married in the mid-teens and started a family. He registered for the draft on September 12, 1918. On the draft card it said he was living in Los Angeles as a cartoonist, working for the Newspaper Feature Service in New York.

In the 1920 census, he was married to Mabel, had two sons, Gilman and Donald, and lived in Los Angeles on Western Avenue. In 1930 the Feras were still in Los Angeles, where they resided on South New Hampshire Avenue. He continued cartooning for a newspaper.

Fera died on June 15, 1941 in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index.
I really like these old cartoons you unearth. They brighten my days.
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