Saturday, March 22, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Thursday, June 4 1908 -- An unusual sports star and physical fitness guru visits Los Angeles today, and gets a full page treatment featuring this delightful portrait by Herriman.

Edward Payson Weston was widely known in his day as the fellow who popularized 'pedestrianism' -- that is walking to us plain folk. But we're not talking about a pleasant stroll around the block. No, Weston didn't really feel like he had begun to stretch his legs until the hundredth mile or so. Some of his walks, which were done at a tremendous brisk pace, were multi-thousand mile jaunts.

By the time he visited L.A. in 1908, Weston was pushing 70 years of age, and was still walking strong. Just the previous year he had bested his own record time, originally set at age 40, for a 1200 mile walk from Maine to Chicago. His last great walk wouldn't be until 1913, when he walked from New York to Minneapolis, 1546 miles in 51 days.

He died in 1929 at age 90, proving to any doubters that walking is a great exercise.


Talk about walking the walk
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Friday, March 21, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, October 4 1936, courtesy of Cole Johnson. Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, March 20, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: William F. Hanny

William Frank Hanny was born in Burlington, Iowa in November 1882. There are three different birth days: a profile in the Literary Digest, September 2, 1933, said the day was the twenty-first; Hanny’s World War I draft had the twenty-second, while his World War II draft card said the twenty-third and named his birthplace.

Hanny has not been found in the U.S. Federal Census records for 1900, 1910 and 1920. Hanny’s obituary named two surviving sisters, so, with this information, I was able to find his parents, who were Gustaf, a German emigrant, and Louisa, an Iowa native.

In the 1900 census, Hanny’s parents and six younger siblings resided in Burlington, Iowa. In the Literary Digest, Hanny said:

…Educated in a grade school and the Free Public Library After five years in a sawmill heard that people got money for writing jokes. Acquired an old typewriter and found that the same was true. Discovered later that a comic picture would sometimes sell a weak joke; so learned to draw.
Hanny’s army draft cards revealed that his left hand was missing four fingers, possibly related to his sawmill employment.

The New York Times, December 21, 1947, and the Literary Digest said Hanny moved to St. Joseph, Missouri and was a News-Press cartoonist beginning in 1912. He stayed there until 1922 except for one year in New York city to study art and said in the Literary Digest: “Learned little art but found that city people weren’t any smarter than country folks. That was a great relief.” The University Missourian, (Columbia, Missouri), May 2, 1916, reported Hanny’s talk:

William Hanny, cartoonist for the St. Joseph News-Press, spoke on “The Nature of the Cartoon.” 
“Some people, chiefly the higher art critics, say that there’s nothing to the cartoon and that it is passing away,” said Mr. Hanny. “But if this is so the publishers of the newspapers have not yet found it out. At any rate they are giving more and more attention every year to the cartoon as an entertaining and instructing feature of their journals.
“The field for the cartoonist with ideas and ideals is growing all the time. There’s scarcely a daily paper in the country that does not use cartoons provided by a man on the staff or by a syndicate. The reason is that editors know that the people read the picture story of the news and like it. Of course art critics are opposed to it because it is too simple and lacking in tone, color, atmosphere and similar qualities that please their high-brow tastes. But the man with a dinner pail revels in it, for he can see the idea at a glance.”
A collection of his cartoons were published in book form, Looking Backward: Being Cartoons from the News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo.

The St. Joseph city directories for 1913 and 1915 listed Hanny as a News-Press cartoonist who boarded at 1017 Sylvanie. (A 1914 cartoon is here.) The 1916 and 1917 directories had his address at 1815 Felix. That address was found on his World War I draft card, which he signed September, 12, 1918. He named his wife, Alida, as his nearest relative. The description on the card said he was of medium height and build with brown eyes and hair. Hanny’s wedding was noted in the Editor and Publisher and the Journalist, October 9, 1915: “William Hanny, cartoonist of the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press, and Miss Alida Wikoff, of Chillicothe, O., were married at the home of the bride’s mother at Chillicothe, on September 24.”

From 1922 to 1924, Hanny said he was in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a cartoonist and art editor on the Pioneer Press. The 1923 St. Paul city directory listed him at 622 Grand Avenue and an artist with the Dispatch & Pioneer Press. The next year his address was 636 Grand Avenue.

According to Hanny, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1924, and was editorial cartoonist of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 1930, Hanny and his wife resided in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania at 119 Yale Avenue. His home was valued at $15,000. In the Literary Digest, Hanny said: “Have no hobbies except a deep aversion to bridge and golf.” (A 1932 cartoon is here.) The Times said after ten years with the Inquirer, Hanny spent two years with the Chicago Herald-Examiner and a year with the New York American. (The original art to one of his cartoons is here.) His cartoons were syndicated through King Features. In 1937 he retired.

Hanny’s address was the same in the 1940 census. He continued as a cartoonist, having worked 40 weeks in 1939 but earning no income. The Times said Hanny contributed “prose to the old Life and Judge magazines…a student of the life of Abraham Lincoln and an authority on Mark Twain.” Retired or not, he also did a comic strip, Hoyman, that was published in early issues of the Chicago Sun, which was founded in 1941. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), the strip ran from December 4, 1941 to March 7, 1942. Hanny was one of the cartoonists who drew the daily panel Noozie, which ran from 1915 to 1995. The panel was unsigned or, at times, had the initial H.

Hanny signed his World War II draft card, April 27, 1942, which said he was retired.

Hanny passed away December 19, 1947, in Swarthmore. The Times published his obituary the following day and said he was “cremated and the ashes were scattered on the Mississippi River.”

—Alex Jay


I have a copy of his cartoon book entitled 1915 The Passing Show of cartoons printed in the News-Press. I would like to get an idea if this has some value. My e-mail is Thank you

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank W. Hopkins

Frank Warren “Hop” Hopkins was born in Ogden, Utah, on March 28, 1884, according to his World War II draft card. His parents were Franklin and Florence, who made their home in Joliet, Illinois, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.

In the 1900 census, Hopkins’ mother, a widow, was the head of the household. Hopkins was the fourth of five children. They resided in Chicago, Illinois at 520 West 60th Street. Information regarding his education and art training has not been found. In Chicago, Hopkins had access to classes at the Art Institute, the Academy of Fine Arts, and Frank Holmes School of Illustration.

Bascom Byron Clarke’s The Musings of Uncle Silas, published in 1904, was illustrated by Hopkins when he was around 20 years old.

An article in Billboard, April 13, 1946, placed Hopkins at the Chicago Daily News in 1904.

New York, April 6.—Harry Hershfield makes more cash from his Coming to Dinner and his Can You Top This? airings than from his cartooning but he's never drifted far from his inked finger days. When he introed Frank Hopkins, winner of the model section of the NBC “What’s a Durward Kirby” contest, he told Hopkins that his modeling really was out-of-this-world and a lot better than his cartooning. Hopkins was a cartoonist with Hershfield 42 years ago on The Chicago Daily News and altho Hershfield hadn’t seen him in 42 years he still remembered him as a pen and inker who wasn't too hot. Hopkins insisted that he had seen Hershfield 16 years ago at dinner, but Hershfield didn't recall a thing after 1903.
It’s not clear where Hopkins resided when he produced the Sunday strip, Willie Learnit, which ran from October 6, 1907 to January 5, 1908. It was syndicated by the Philadelphia Press.

At some point, Hopkins moved to Denver, Colorado. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), he produced Binks (January 1908–1910) and Kermit’s Photos of Papa in Africa (July 4–August 29, 1909; on June 27, the title was used but Binks was featured as a photographer, wearing a pith helmut, in Africa) for the Sunday News-Times, a joint effort of the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Times.


The 1910 census recorded Hopkins in Denver, Colorado at 526 High Street. He was married for two years and had an 11-month-old son, Frank Jr.

Hopkins produced the strip, Scoop the Cub Reporter, which debuted February 5, 1912. The Bismarck Daily Tribune (North Dakota), January 31, 1912, promoted the upcoming strip. The Evening Standard (Ogden, Utah), November 19 1912, recognized their native son:

‘Scoop’ Is an Ogden Boy of AbilityMany having been asking who is the cartoonist responsible for the funny pictures running in the Standard under the heading, “Scoop.”
Scoop is the creation of an Ogden boy, Frank W. Hopkins, who was born here in 1884. He has been a resident of Denver for a number of years and Frank Q. Cannon, who is on a visit from the Colorado metropolis, says he is well acquainted with the cartoonist who served on the Denver News during the time his father was editor of that paper.
Hopkins has become a cartoonist of nation-wide reputation.
The Niagara Falls Gazette (New York), August 16, 1927, noted a local item reported 15 years earlier, August 10, 1912: “LaSalle made famous throughout country by comic strip. Doings of “Scoop,” a cub reporter, at up-river village, portrayed by cartoonist, whose uncle, John Hopkins, is well known LaSalle citizen.”

A family tree at said Hopkins’ wife, Sarah Eileen McDougal, was Canadian and passed away around 1912. At the time, Hopkins had three children to care for, so he probably returned to Chicago for help from his mother or sisters.
American Newspaper Comics said Hopkins produced Don, Dot and Duckie and Hop’s Skips and Jumps in 1914.

The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920, at, said Hopkins remarried to nineteen-year-old Eleanor P. Mathews on September 22, 1916 in Chicago. The Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), September 27, 1916, wrote about their visit.
Cartoonist and His Bride Tarry Here
Frank W. Hopkins, Creator of “Noozie,” Visits City with New Mrs. H.
They Are Real Elopers
All the world loves an elopement, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Hopkins of Baltimore, who are staying at the Pantlind, have done much to augment the sentimental public interest in that snappy, independent method of marriage.
Mr. Hopkins is the creator of “Noozie,” the little imp that illustrates The Press weather report daily. The artist also is the originator of “Scoop, the Cub Reporter,” and a number of other successful comics for the International Syndicate of Baltimore.
“Too much physical training for girls does not make for a gentle and submissive wife,” laughed Mr. Hopkins, when interviewed Tuesday, “so I thought I’d get my girl before she finished training and put a crimp in her course at the Chicago Normal School of Physical Training by marrying her. The Chicago papers said ‘Mother,’ (that is, her mother) was surprised. I guess she was, but I wasn’t, because I planned to marry this particular girl from the time I first met her in Ludington two summers ago.
"Did any one else know? No, not exactly, and yet—well, yes, I had to give it to “Scoop,’ but he behaved like a gentleman and kept it under his hat until we were ready to spill it.”
Matriculates at Altar.
Miss Mathews, now Mrs. Hopkins, and her mother registered at the Congress hotel in Chicago last Friday. They had gone to Chicago for the purpose of enrolling the young woman as a senior in the Chicago Normal School of Physical Training, but Miss Mathews and Mr. Hopkins had other plans, and when Mrs. Mathews departed on a shopping trip, they slipped quietly away and were married in a private dining room at the Hamilton club in the presence of a few friends.
“We were going to ask mother, but she can’t stand shocks, said Mrs. Hopkins. “So we had only a few friends who could.”
“Heavens!” gasped the reporter, who noticed Mr. Hopkins busy with a pencil. “Are you drawing me?”
“No, I never could draw a lady,” was the reply. “Excepting one,” nodding toward his wife, “and I’m satisfied now. I’ll never try again. This is a cartoon.”
“Did you marry Mrs. Hopkins to get new ideas for your weather illustrations?” Mr. Hopkins was asked.
“No,” he grinned. “I was low on sunshine.’
Here the interview was brought to a close by the entrance of his chauffeur who had driven down from Ludington.
“I’m so glad,” said Mrs. Hopkins. “Now we can go on our plans to motor through to Baltimore.”
As the reporter was leaving Mr. Hopkins called, “Oh, please quote me as saying that I don’t like your Michigan roads. Look at my bus. It is one cake of mud. And I do not approve of slang. Spill any dope you can get away with, but don’t let your city editor can that.”

The Fourth Estate reported the marriage October 7, 1916.

So far, the earliest appearance of Noozie was found in the Gulfport Daily Herald (Mississippi), October 13, 1915 (above). In 1918, the International Syndicate promoted Noozie in several issues of the Editor & Publisher.

Hopkins signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. The cartoonist resided at 116 9th Street in Wilmette, Illinois, where he operated the Hop Cartoon Service. His description was medium height and build with gray eyes and brown hair.

Printers’ Ink, January 30, 1919 and April 17, 1919, each carried a two-page advertisement for Hop Service.

The 1920 census recorded Hopkins in New Trier, Illinois at 116 Ninth Street. His household included three children from his first marriage, one child with Eleanor, his second wife, and his mother-in-law. Hopkins was an advertising artist.

In Spring 1922, Hopkins began selling Snuggle Pups toys which were an instant success. Crockery and Glass Journal, May 18, 1922, reported Hopkins’ new venture:

Pup Toys Co., makers of toys and novelties and especially “Snuggle Pups,” which have recently sprung into popularity, was incorporated last week for $25,000. The head of the company is Frank W. Hopkins and offices are located at 71 West Monroe Street.
Snuggle Pups advertisements appeared in Billboard magazine, and photographs of Snuggles Pups were published in numerous newspapers.

There were Snuggle Pups dance gatherings such as the one advertised in the Ogden Standard-Examiner (Utah), June 16, 1922. In 1923 the February issue of The Rotarian carried an advertisement for Snuggle Pups, and entertainer Eddie Cantor wrote a Snuggle Pups song. The sheet music cover art was by Hopkins.

The Snuggles Pups were found in the children’s sections of many newspapers including the Buffalo Courier (New York).






12/12/1923; reference to Eddie Cantor


According to American Newspaper Comics, after Snuggle Pups, Hopkins drew Cross-Word Definitions (1925), Daddy Dusk, the Sandman (1926–1927) and McDuffer (1927–1930). He was included in the book, Our American Humorists (1922).

Hopkins’ home in 1930 was in New Rochelle, New York at 25 Meadow Lane. He was a commercial artist in the cartoon industry.

The 1940 census recorded Hopkins in Meriden, Connecticut at 63 Sherman Avenue. He was a freelance artist who had completed one year of college.

Hopkins signed his World War II draft card on April 12, 1942. He and his wife lived in Branford, Connecticut on Mariners Lane Stony Creek. His studio was there, too. The description on the card said he was five feet eight inches, 182 pounds, with blue eyes and gray hair.

According to the Connecticut Death Index at, Hopkins passed away September 15, 1956, in New Haven, Connecticut.

—Alex Jay


I have an oil by Frank Hopkins of the Stony Creek harbor which he did for my grandmother to pay off a debt.
I created a long comment which was deleted while I tried to log in to Google. Here goes again. Frank Warren Hopkins was my grandfather. In addition to the comic strips, he also was a commercial artist and fine artist who did engravings for golf trophies, golf courses, rodeo and fair advertisements, and other venues. I have several watercolors, also of Stony Creek Harbor, and pen and ink originals of the above named poster art, plus a pen and ink clamdigger. He also like to make cowboys on broncos out of wood and wood putty, and I have a large golf trophy in the form of a golf bag with golf ball that is probably meant to hold enough martinis for a foursome. As well, Library of Congress has a book of his drawings, Golf Holes they Talk About, of famous holes with their noted players of courses within 50 miles of NYC. He did very well during the Depression, and I am told played bridge with Bogey and other celebrities, but they lost their money later, not sure how. It was about the time my mother entered college, which would be early to mid-30s. They had lived in Meriden CT but ended up in Stony Creek, first in a rented house, then in an apartment over a small grocery store, that looked out onto the harbor. Feel free to get in touch.
I have a few pieces done by him, my mother in law lived in Branford CT
My best email is
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Noozie

Can a newspaper feature that ran for forty years possibly be considered an obscurity? It sure can, at least in the case of Noozie.

The International Syndicate, based in Baltimore, was never really a major player, but they came to the newspaper feature syndication party quite early, in the 1890s. What's more, they seem to have been in the business of syndicating cartoons earlier than anyone else -- at least they occasionally made the claim of being the first syndicate to distribute cartoons.

Though I have heard that International Syndicate did not incorporate until 1899, it is my feeling that the syndicate was an outgrowth of the Comic Sketch Club (also Baltimore based), which seems to have been distributing cartoons as early as 1895-96. In those early days, they specialized in small captioned gag cartoons, shying away from series of any kind.

The International Syndicate never offered more than a small menu of features. In fact, after the 1920s, they seem to have been limited to a roster that included only a couple of crossword puzzles, a connect-the-dots puzzle, a few short fiction options, and Noozie.

Noozie is one of those cartoons that is sometimes used as a "weather ear". What in the Sam Hill does that mean, you ask? Well, on the front page of your newspaper you have the masthead at the top middle, and the 'stuff' on the left and right are known as 'ears'. Usually one of the ears has the day's weather forecast, hence weather ear. Some papers liked to dress up their weather ears with a cartoon. This can be as simple and repetitive as a character who is covered in snow, drenched by rain, and so on depending on the forecast, or it can be new every day, and not necessarily even comment on the weather. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Weather Bird, for instance, began as a weather cartoon, then branched out into humor and editorializing.

Noozie is of the same ilk, but not as strong a character as the Weather Bird. It is rarely the sort of cartoon that you have to look at for more than a second or two, usually it's just a hoary old gag, a bit of pickle barrel philosophy, or even less (like sample #2 above).

Noozie was never a big seller by any means. In fact, my book says that the earliest samples I've found are from 1922. Well, that was just a bit off. Alex Jay did some looking and turned up much earlier ones, going back as far as October 1915 (in the Gulfport Herald).

The question of authorship is also in the air. I have seen a very few of the panels signed by Frank 'Hop' Hopkins, who was a mainstay at International Syndicate in the 1910s. It seems that he most likely produced most of the panels from 1915 up to about 1919 for International Syndicate. But then Hopkins struck out on his own under the name Hop Service, and continued to offer Noozie through that company. Yet International seems to have also continued to offer the cartoon in the same period. Whether International Syndicate had an arrangement with Hopkins to share his work, or if they instead found another hand to take on Noozie is uncertain.All I do know is that when Noozie was listed in the annual Editor & Publisher Syndicate Directory (which began in 1924), Hopkins was listed as the cartoonist. I guess, then, that he had returned to International Syndicate as I see no mention of Hop Service that late. But soon things went awry. In 1925, Hopkins gets the nod again. In 1926, though, a new name is listed -- Hanny. That would be William F. Hanny, slightly better known as an editorial cartoonist. Unfortunately, from 1927 on, the feature was uncredited in the E&P listing, until it finally ended in 1955. Judging by the samples I've been able to locate from later in the run, I do occasionally see evidence of other hands. And I wouldn't be too surprised if Noozie cartoons didn't also get recycled, though I have no idea how much or often.

Next: Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profiles of Hopkins and Hanny.


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Monday, March 17, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Gertie Grafte

Here is a diamond in the rough that ran sporadically in Pulitzer's New York Evening World from December 26 1907 to May 2 1908. Gertie Grafte ran there only seven times, and that's a real shame. Mr. R. E. Dorsey, whoever he was, had a real touch for humor, and his drawing, though a bit primitive, has a wonderfully fluid animated quality to it. Just look at Bill's poses in the top strip -- they succeed in polishing this rather tired gag into something quite delightful.

Unfortunately, Gertie Grafte is the only known comic strip series penned by Mr. Dorsey. Notice that he didn't even bother to sign these strips! I only hope that he kept with his art and made a name for himself in some way with it.Or ... am I crazy or does this fellow's style have more than a passing similarity to Leighton Budd's -- you can compare with Yours Truly, The Tumblebug Brothers.


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Sunday, March 16, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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