Saturday, April 14, 2012


Herriman Saturday

Monday, March 2 1908 -- Tomorrow is the big fight between Jimmy Britt and Battling Nelson. Which one will win and go on to a long career in the ring, and which will lose and soon put up the gloves for good? And will Herriman ever bring to a conclusion the Hen Berry weasel hat story?


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Friday, April 13, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Punjabs

Not being much of a fan of puns, and not knowing a whole lot about Bob Gumpertz, I don't have much to say about today's obscurity, Punjabs. The single panel series was syndicated by Adcox Associates from December 5 1960 (with 'teaser' episodes starting November 29) to January 19 1963.

The San Francisco Chronicle, which picked up the feature late, gave some information on Frisco resident Gumpertz in their January 1 1961 issue:

Gumpertz got the idea for Punjabs in 1958 while he was an art director for Guild, Bascom and Bonfigli, San Francisco advertising agency. He said it took him two years to work it up to the point where he could syndicate it. Gumpertz cartoons have appeared in the Saturday Review, Punch and Playboy as well as a number of European magazines. The New York Times buys many of his line drawings of scenes in Europe.


I was disappointed to find that the strip doesn't involve any Indians or Pakistanis.

Here's an author's biography from the back of a book called The International Dog (1968):

"Bob Gumpertz is the wag who tailed the dog to five different countries to record hitherto buried aspects of the dog's life. A native Californian, his research has been conducted in Paris, New York, and Mexico as well as San Francisco, his current base of operations. His cartoons have appeared in Saturday Review, Punch, Playboy, The New York Times, and many other publications; a syndicated cartoon feature called 'Punjabs' ran in thirty papers for several years."

The book is a collection of cartoons about dogs with punning captions. Charles Schulz wrote an introduction in the form of a cartoon of Snoopy.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: George Clardy

George Daniel Clardy was born in Dubuque, Iowa on January 28, 1886, according to Iowa, Births and Christenings Index, 1857-1947 at In the Iowa State Census, 1895, he was the oldest of two sons born to Joseph and Lucy. The lived in Dubuque.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he lived in Julien Township, in Dubuque, at 1280 Rhomberg Avenue. His father was day laborer. He has not been found in the 1910 census. The Rockford Register-Republic (Illinois), August 19, 1935, published a Believe It Or Not panel, "George D. Clardy wrote a letter a mile long!"

An explanation appeared the following day.

Mile-long Letter

In 1913, George D. Clardy was doing a novelty act in vaudeville which required a 36-inch roll of newspaper stock. A roll he purchased for the purpose was too wide, necessitating the sawing off of a 4-inch end. On this huge reel of paper Clardy wrote a letter using large lumber crayons, writing and rerolling until finished. The letter was then crated and shipped to Ed P. Quinn in Panama. Mr. Quinn waited until he had a day off, then unrolled it along the ties of the Panama railroad to read the letter, which reached from Empire to Culebra.
According to a passenger ship list, he returned, from Cristobal, Panama, to New York City on March 1, 1914. He may have been the cartoonist of Old Sport Owl. The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1915, New Series, Volume 10, Number 2 has an entry for him:
Clardy (George D.) Dubuque, la. [13957Little Casey Jones. Clippings from roll. © title, description and 2 prints recd. May 19, 1915; M 324.
Clardy found work in the animation field. An issue of Movie Maker, Volume 6, Issues 7-12, 1972, said: "…By 1917, [Pat] Sullivan was putting out a new 500-ft cartoon a fortnight, and had enlarged his staff with such animators as George Clardy, Will Anderson, Joseph Harwitz, Bill Cause and Otto Messmer…." Clardy was credited in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1917 New Series, Volume 14, Number 1:
Boomer Bills' Awakening; cartoon comedy by Pat Sullivan, animated by George D. Clardy. Split reel. [1243© Jan. 13, 1917; 17 c. and description Jan. 15. 1917; M 822; Universal film mfg. co.. inc., New York.
An issue of Photographica, Volumes 9-12, 1977, noted Clardy's inventiveness in " 'Clardy Camera; Autocinephot 35— First with a Motor Drive'; In 1917, George Clardy of New York City applied for a patent on a 35mm camera which was never produced." On September 12, 1918, he signed his World War I draft card. He lived in Passaic, New Jersey at 223 Gregory Avenue. His occupation was illustrator for "D.L.W. R.R. Passaic". His wife, Charlotte, was his nearest relative. HIs description was short height, medium build with blue eyes and brown hair. Photo-Era, December 1919, reported this item: "A new type of camera, patent, number 1318966, was issued to George D. Clardy, of New York, NY, who assigned a one-third interest to Norman T. Whitaker of Washington, D.C., and a one-tenth interest to R.E.B. Wakefield, of Washington, D.C."

The 1920 census recorded Clardy and his family in Passaic, New Jersey at 223 Gregory Avenue. He was a newspaper illustrator. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art…, 1921 New Series, Volumes 16, Number 4 had this entry:
Clardy (George D.) Passaic, N. J. [13508 Petey doll. Model of comic tramp figure with wings, standing in barrel. © 1 c. Aug. 29, 1921 ; G 63541.
He was listed in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, April 11, 1922: "Clardy, George D., Allwood. NJ Statuette. No. 60778; Apr. 11." Trow's New York Directory 1924–25 included him: "Clardy Geo cartoonist h429 W50th". He received a patent for a hair-trimming device. The New York Times, July 6, 1925, reported a major fire at his address.

Women Dies in Fire; Baby Saved by Toss
Rescuers Catch Infant Flung from a Fire-Escape Ladder by Father.
Several daring rescues were made before the building was cleared of all its tenants. The fire spread so rapidly that many tenants hardly had time to flee to the fire-escapes. George Clardy and his wife, when aroused by the shouts of warning and the clatter of the fire apparatus, gathered up their five children and led them to fire-escapes in the rear of the building. Mr. Clardy held in his arms his youngest son, Joseph Jefferson two weeks old.

The Clardy family descended the fire-escape and all went well until Mr. Clardy with the infant tried to let himself down from the second floor to the ground by means of the detachable ladder. He was climbing down the ladder when he became weak and panic-stricken. He shouted for help.

Mr. Clardy's cries were heard among others by Charles McLaughlin, a neighbor on the same floor, who had led his mother and step-father safely down the fire-escape. Mr. Laughlin was standing under the fire-escape when he heard Mr. Clardy shout:

"Catch the baby."

An instant later the baby came hurtling down. Mr. McLaughlin and another man, who was not identified, jumped forward just in time to catch the infant. Both had hold of the little one when Mr. Clardy either jumped or fell from the ladder. He landed on top of Mr. McLaughlin and the other rescuer of the baby. They broke his fall. Neither Mr. Clardy nor the baby was injured.
In the 1930s Clardy turned to writing lyrics. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, 1939 New Series, Volume 34, Numbers 9 and 11 have entires for him and his collaborator, Jimmy Scribner; music by Willie "The Lion" Smith. The website, I Went Down to St. James Infirmary, has additional details on Clardy.

He signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. He lived in New York City at 777 10th Avenue, and worked at the Beem Company in Yorktown Heights, New York. 

Clardy passed away March 6, 1950 [date corrected 10/28/2013], in New York City, according to Bob Hutchins whose mother was Clardy’s cousin. The interment was March 10 at St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, New York.


please check
It could be related to both George Clardy and Jimmy Scribner.
Congratulations for your awesome blog
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Ain't it Awful, Mabel?

The catch-phrase "Ain't it awful, Mabel?" invaded the public consciousness in 1908 and remained popular for quite some time, well over a decade at least, but it doesn't have an origin I'm able to pinpoint..

It is true that a poem by that name by John E. Hazzard, and a song by W.T. Francis, were both apparently released in 1908, and there are at least two comic strip series that used the name the same year. But what came first? I dunno. It rather sounds like Hazzard was probably the originator, but it just doesn't seem like the nature of poetry to make such a splash out of the blue like that.

Well, I struck out on the origin of the phrase, so let's see if I can do better on the meaning. When uttered in conversation, when someone says (usually in a lowbrow gum-smacking Brooklyn accent) "Ain't it awful, Mabel?", is to say, with a wink, that you are complaining about something that you really have no right or reason to complain about.

Roy Taylor in 1911 (image courtesy of Cole Johnson)
So, for instance, if I was to say, with indignation, that I had to stand in line for the better part of an hour at customs in the Costa Rica airport, I might follow that up with "Ain't it awful, Mabel?" to let you know that I realize the minor inconvenience is small potatoes compared to that amazing vacation.

The point of all this gum-flapping, and I do have one, is that today's obscurity is the first comic strip rendition (aka rip-off) of the phrase. The strip is by our old friend Roy W. Taylor, one of the leading lights of early newspaper cartooning, and presumably he wrote the verses as well, which follow closely on the style of Hazzard's poem. The strip ran just twice, on February 19 and 21 1908, in the New York Evening World. Why just twice? Well, my guess is that the copyright holder called the World and pointed out that there was bald-faced copyright infringement going on.

Here is the poem, by Hazzard, that seems to have started it all. When reading, imagine the speaker to be a cute but air-headed chorus girl talking to her girlfriend Mabel:

Ain't it Awful, Mabel?

It worries me to beat the band
To hear folks say our lives is grand;
Wish they'd try some one−night stand.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Nothin' ever seems to suit—
The manager's an awful brute;
Spend our lives jest lookin' cute.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Met a boy last Tuesday night,
Was spendin' money left and right—−
Me, gee! I couldn't eat a bite!
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Then I met another guy—
Hungry! well, I thought I'd die!
But I couldn't make him buy.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Lots of men has called me dear,
Said without me life was drear,
But men is all so unsincere!
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

I tell you, life is mighty hard,
I've had proposals by the yard—
Some of 'em would 'a had me starred.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Remember that sealskin sacque of mine?
When I got it, look'd awful fine—
I found out it was a shine.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Prima donna's sore on me;
My roses had her up a tree—
I jest told her to “twenty−three.”
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

My dear, she went right out and wired
The New York office to have me “fired”;
But say! 'twas the author had me hired.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

I think hotels is awful mean,
Jim and me put out of room sixteen—
An' we was only readin' Laura Jean.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

The way folks talk about us too;
For the smallest thing we do—
'Nuff to make a girl feel blue.
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

My Gawd! is that the overture?
I never will be on, I'm sure—
The things us actresses endure,
Ain't it awful, Mabel?

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!


R.W. Taylor looks like a long lost cousin of Truman Capote.
John hazzard is my great grandfather I can confirm he did start it!! It was when he was in his dressing room he could hear 2 gossiping actresses and pit pen to paper takin the p**s!! Hope that helps more Info
It’s wonderful to hear even in the old days people like to complain about little things. We are just human. Ain’t it great to have a friend Mabel to listen to us? 😄
I have a photo of my great grandfather from 1908. He pretended to be in a hot air balloon and it had a sign that said “ain’t that something Mabel”. Trying to find what it meant and found this post.
I was wrong. It said ain’t this awful Mabel.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: George Clark

Don Wootton caricature of Clark
Riverside Daily Press 6/9/1934

George Rife Clark was born in Bridgeport, Oklahoma on August 22, 1902. His birthplace was recorded on his marriage certificate at, and the birthdate is from the Social Security Death Index. His middle name was his mother's maiden name. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, he was the second of three children born to Arthur and Georgia. They lived in Bentonville, Arkansas on Elliot Street. His father, who worked for a vinegar producer, died around 1911. His mother eventually remarried.

In the 1920 census, he lived on a farm in Osage, Arkansas. His step-father was Robert Cook, a farmer. Clark's art training included the Landon Course. An advertisement in Boy's Life, November 1920, touted Clark's work for the Oklahoma City Times.

Boy's Life November 1920

His childhood was described in the Meriden Record (Connecticut), April 19, 1954:
…George Clark's drawing began early. He got first hand experience with a paint brush at the age of 10. His father had died the year before, and to help the family he joined a 15-year-old entrepreneur of Bentonville in a painting business—mostly signs, but they would paint anything, from a building to a farm wagon.
At Oklahoma City, where he went to live with an aunt and try high school, he also painted signs, and sold political and sports cartoons to the Oklahoma City Oklahoman for $5 each. There were movie cartoons in Chicago, four years as a cartoonist with the Cleveland Press, and then on to New York.

The Rogers Historical Museum's History of Benton County profiled Clark and said:

George Clark went to high school in Oklahoma City and then attended various art schools, with the majority of his training done at the Chicago Art Institute. When he was 16 he started work as a cartoonist with the Daily Oklahoman, drawing political and sports cartoons. A stint as head artist at the Cleveland Press followed. In Cleveland he took long walks on his lunch hour sketching lakefront scenery. According to his grandson, “his drawing continued long into the night, with his wife a willing model for his pen and pencil.”
Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973, at, said he married Mary Eliese [sic] Conine on May 16, 1924. She was a Bentonville, Arkansas native. The Ottawa Citizen (Canada), April 23, 1937, said he moved to New York City in 1927. For NEA, his panel Side Glances debuted January 19, 1928 according to Yesterday's Papers.

The 1930 census recorded the couple in Yonkers, New York at 808 Bronx River Road. He was an artist. He joined the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate in 1939 and the name of the panel was changed to The Neighbors. The NEA continued Side Glances with William Galbraith Crawford. On creating his cartoons, the Meriden Record said:

...He loves his work, but getting started is torture.

He dawdles and smokes, he rummages thru sketches or clippings. Or he may turn on his projector and display on the wall some candid camera shots he has taken of unsuspecting men, women, and children watching parades or baseball games, or just walking down the street. At last he begins to draw.

"The first one takes forever," said George Clark, the pipe-smoking creator of "The Neighbors." "Then it's easy. I do six at a time, one week's supply."

That the daily portrayals of the foibles of homo Americanus and his wife, children, and friends do not spring without travail from the brow of their creator may surprise some of his millions of readers. Clark is one of America's most popular cartoonists because he seems to point up gently, but unerringly the humorous, pathetic, whimsical human weaknesses that everyone recognizes in himself and his friends.

"There is a certain idealization in my work," he said as he sank into a worn leather chair and put a match to his pipe. "I present what everybody wishes our civilization were like. My work ends before I get to the objectionable qualities in people…."

"...I have to draw genuine people, doing things within the realm of reason," he said. "On my word I can't draw a figure that satisfies me unless I know a situation. For instance, if I just sit down here and draw a boy—it doesn't ring true. But if I see this boy as a kid who's in a jam with his old man—now there's something I can handle. A drawing is feeling rather than conscious thought."
Clark resided in New York City at 12 East 89 Street, as recorded in the 1940 census. He was syndicated cartoonist who had three years of high school.

He received the National Cartoonists Society's Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for his work in 1961. Clark passed away May 25, 1981 and was buried in Saint Charles Cemetery on Long Island, New York, according to the Rogers Historical Museum. He should not be confused with George Clarke who scripted The G-Man and G-Boys, and the artist George Fletcher Clark, whom mistakenly attached "The Neighbors" original art to.

(Updated 4/5/2018)


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Monday, April 09, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: Air-Minded Junior

Air-Minded Junior really ought to be a strip about a forgetful kid, don't you think? But no, the strip is actually a desert dry feature about flying. The plot of each strip is that a kid asks his pilot dad questions about flying, and dad responds.

In the aftermath of Lindbergh's dramatic trans-Atlantic flight, American kids all seemed to have their heads in the clouds. Newspapers responded with adventure strips like Tailspin Tommy and Flying to Fame, and also with weekly flying pages geared toward kids. One of those syndicated pages was called Junior Birdmen of America, a relative late-comer which seems to have debuted in 1934. The page was syndicated by Hearst, and may never have been picked up by a non-Hearst paper.

The Junior Birdmen page really went all out. There was a club with neat swag for kids who joined, the dashing airplane racer Roscoe Turner was on tap as the figurehead leader, and there was even a club song, "Up in the Air, Junior Birdmen." The song later became notorious as a favorite putdown ditty when aimed at young pilots in World War II.

The Junior Birdmen page almost always had a comic strip or panel cartoon series running as part of the layout, and I believe Air-Minded Junior was the first. It debuted on August 12 1934 and ran on the weekly page until August 11 1935. Presumably by then the very inquisitive Junior had all his questions handled.

The creators of the strip were writer W.D. Tipton and artist J.H. Mason. I know nothing of either of these fellows.


Haven't you found one of your own mystery strips? On April 13, 2006, you asked for info on "Flight - J.H. Mason, W.D. Tipton - Miller Services - daily panel - 1934-35". If not the same strip, then at least the same guys!
Looking further revealed that it is not the same feature, since I found an example of "Flight" (or its successor "The Romance of Flight") in an Australian newspaper of all places, "The Argus" of Melbourne from 31 October 1935.

It seems to have started on 18 July 1935 and ran weekly until 9 January 1936.

It looks as if it ran in the Salt Lake Tribune, but I haven't actually seen it. And it also appeared in "Famous Funnies",
Finally, I think I have discovered who W. D. Tipton was. Colonel William Dolley Tipton even has a Wikipedia article, "He worked as the "staff aviator" for the Baltimore Sun newspaper, " and wrote a newspaper column on aviation between the wars. NO solid evidence so far, but a very likely candidate.

And I have found an actual image from the "Flight" panel in the Salt Lake Tribune,, so it can be removed from the "mystery comics"!
Thanks Fram!! Flight is a separate feature, I'm sure we agree. I'm guessing Tipton and Mason were trying to sell that to Hearst as part of the Junior Birdmen page and were told no thanks. So in '34 they tried to syndicate through Miller in Canada (perhaps unsuccessfully), and then McNaught in 1935. (Maybe it ran in the Baltimore Sun in '34 though). Looks like the McNaught run starts 6/17/35 and peters out in December. I can't get a decent end date because is STILL all screwed up -- highly annoying. Did they even test that new interface before they went live???

So Fram, you're due a goodie box. And since I lost most of my addresses in the big computer crash, please send me your address via email and I'll ship out a big box o' goodies to you!

As mentioned in one of the earlier comments Flight was reprinted in early issues of Famous Funnies, issues 15 thru 37 to be precise (and presumably issue #35 which I don't have access to at the moment). In issue #15 two of the panels of Flight are stamped "McNaught Syndicate Inc., NY". I didn't check all issues, but not all of the comics were stamped with the syndicate name. I find it somewhat interesting that the first run date in newspapers is possibly 18 Jul 1935 per one of the earlier posts, yet it started running in Famous Funnies in their Oct 1935 issue. I've hardly checked all of the Famous Funnies strips, but I've never noticed one run earlier than a year after it's first newspaper print date.

I'm part of the Digital Comics Museum initiative (found online) and we've almost completed scanning of all issues of Famous Funnies and made them available on the web in case anyone is interested in seeing the Flight strip or any others that ran in Famous Funnies or other similar reprint comics.
Hi there,
I am an online reseller and recently acquired a 1936 boys scrapbook which included clippings from "Flight" by W.D. Tipton. I was researching these and came across your posts. I would love to share the pics of these with you if you have an address for me to send them.
Regards, Shelly
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Sunday, April 08, 2012


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Alan - Glad to see the return of Jim Ivey's Sunday Funnies!

Jim - We're going to have to get you to do CHALK TALKS at our breakfast marathons. JB and Rob and others can join in!
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