Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Paul McCarthy

The following profile of Paul McCarthy is based on circumstantial information. The best available information, although sparse, on McCarthy is Mark Arnold’s The Best of the Harveyville Fun Times! (2006). And that touches just his professional career, while his death, sometime in the early 1960s, was the only personal reference.

A search of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded a “Paul J. McCarthy” whose trade was “Commercial Art” in the “Motion Picture” industry. It appears he worked in animation. The George Washington Hotel in Manhattan, New York City, was his residence. The census said he was single, had two years of college, and, in 1935, lived in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

McCarthy was listed as an artist in the Crawfordsville City Directory for 1930 and and commercial artist for 1934. However he has not been found in the 1930 census, although I did find his parents and siblings. The address was the same in the directories and census, 810 South Washington Street. There was a “Paul McCarthy”, listed in the 1937 Danville (Illinois) City Directory, who was a commercial artist at “1 W Harrison” and resided at the YMCA.

Going further back to the 1920 census, McCarthy was the third of five children born to Daniel, a barber, and O. Isabell. They lived at 810 Washington Street.

Ten years earlier, McCarthy was the youngest of four children. His family lived in Crawfordsville at 214 Walnut Street. The Montgomery County, Indiana, Birth Index, at Ancestry.com, said his full name was Paul Joseph McCarthy, born January 26, 1910.

How long McCarthy worked in animation is not known. He produced Gertie O’Grady for the Chicago Tribune Comic Book; the strip ran from June 30, 1940 to November 14, 1943. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said his next published work was for comic books, most notably for the Harvey Comics title, Sad Sack, from 1950 to 1963. Arnold said:

Paul McCarthy’s artwork graced the pages of the early Sad Sack books for a number of years before his untimely death in the early 60’s. He began working on “Sad Sack” in the early 50’s inking panels that were pencilled by Fred Rhoads. These early stories were the ones that linked gag strips originally drawn by George Baker. What Paul did was to make the transformation in these stories from Baker to Rhoads a little less glaring.

Eventually McCarthy graduated to writing, penciling and inking his own five-page stories….

Unfortunately, little more is known about the artist….Fred Rhoads remembered working with him, but not much else since he passed away so many years ago.

Searching the Social Security Death Index did not produce a “Paul McCarthy” who died in the early 1960s. A military record for him has not been found. Lastly, there was a listing for McCarthy, as a commercial artist, in the 1959 Somerville (New Jersey) City Directory. He was married to Sarah and resided at 602 North Vosseller Avenue, which was in the New York City metropolitan area.


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