Saturday, May 16, 2015


Herriman Saturday

Thursday, September 24 1908 -- Governor Haskell of Oklahoma has been accused by William Randolph Hearst of aiding Standard Oil in it's monopolistic price fixing and anti-competition schemes. Though Herriman here indicates that Haskell is in big trouble, the whole affair seems to have blown over rather quickly, as the incident doesn't seem to have stuck to his reputation. Perhaps that's because Haskell has such an assortment of dislikeable qualities that this one doesn't stand out. 


The caption paraphrases the slogan for Wilson's Whiskey: Wilson's--That's All!
Post a Comment

Friday, May 15, 2015


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, October 16 1938, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


There was something about they way they drew comics in the old days. Every strip was a piece of art. Of course they had more space to work with.
Post a Comment

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Wood (I)

Richard W. “Dick” Wood was born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1868. His birthplace was determined by examining the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. The birth year was recorded in the Missouri Death Records, at, and on his gravestone.

In the 1870 census, Wood was the youngest of four children born to William and Mary. His father was a dry goods merchant. They resided in Bloomington, Illinois. According to the 1880 census, the Wood family gained another child and remained in Bloomington.

Information regarding Wood’s education and art training has not been found.

There are a number of St. Louis city directories, at, that list Wood as a resident and include his occupation or employer. In 1890, Wood was a Globe-Democrat newspaper artist. He was still with the Globe-Democrat in 1893 and resided at 119 South Broadway. At the newspaper, Wood was a friend of Theodore Dreiser, a reporter, and illustrated some of Dreiser’s articles. (Dreiser’s report on a train wreck, with illustrations by Wood, can be read here; scroll down to the heading “Theodore Dreiser—Globe Reporter”.)

The 1899 directory said Wood was a Republic newspaper artist and lived at 3622 Evans Avenue.

Wood has not been found in the 1900 census. Wood illustrated many of the stories he wrote for the Republic: April 1, 1900; June 3, 1900; June 17, 1900; July 22, 1900; August 5, 1900October 21, 1900; and December 2, 1900 (about cartoonists).

According to the 1901 directory, Wood continued as a Republic artist while residing at 4 North 6th Street.

Wood’s art was included in local exhibitions as reported in the Republic on March 29, 1902, October 19, 1902, and November 3, 1902.

In 1903, Wood had moved on to the Chronicle newspaper and was at 4464 West Belle Place. In Fall 1903, Wood traveled to China and wrote about his adventures. The Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin) published Wood’s reports on November 9December 2 and January 13, 1904.

The Chronicle was Wood’s employer in 1904. He had moved to 3165A Sheridan.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Wood created The Good Old Kid Days, for World Color Printing, which ran from April 17 to May 9, 1906. It was followed by Pinkie Prim, also for World Color Printing, which debuted October 7, 1906.

Los Angeles Herald 4/21/1907

Wood’s last listing was the 1908 directory which said he was an artist and lived in the rear of 4009 Cottage Avenue.

Wood passed away November 17, 1908, in St. Louis. His death was reported in several newspapers including the Mexico Weekly Ledger (Missouri), November 19 and the Iowa State Bystander (Des Moines, Iowa), November 20. He was buried at the family plot in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington, Illinois. Information about his wife, Bonnie, has not been found.

—Alex Jay

(Artist and writer Dick Wood should not be confused with writer Dick Wood who was one of three brothers in the comic book industry and also scripted the Sky Masters of the Space Force comic strip.)


First off: "Dick Wood"?! Tee hee hee heee!

(While we're at it: Harry Peter? Dick Sprang? Good thing none of these cartoonist ever went by the name of "Cock Shaft", huh?)
Alex Jay, thanks for this. I ran across Dick Wood when researching my family and this biography is appreciated.
(Dick is my 5th cousin 3x removed, fairly distant.)
Thank you.
Laura Pickering-Polstra
Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Obscurity of the Day: Mr. Clown Sr. and Master Clown Jr.

Here's a series loosely called Mr. Clown Sr. and Master Clown Jr, by that amazingly odd cartoonist Eddie Eksergian. This is a particularly unfunny series, even by Eddie Eks standards. I can't even tell which character is supposed to be which, not that it would help the gags along anyway. Thankfully these couple of pages aren't a complete loss for the Eddie Eks aficionado, as the masthead on the top example is vintage Eks -- "Wow! Big Type". Now that is the sort of meta-weirdness that makes our boy's work worth perusing.

The strip appeared in the St. Louis Star from August 17 1902 to January 4 1903, and then one last time on February 1 1903, this time signed by one G.V.H. rather than Eddie Eks. Who that might be I haven't a clue, but it's hard to imagine someone wanting to filch a series title from Eddie Eks, so he probably had some screws loose himself.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.


I can't imagine that even in 1902 this was amusing! It's ugly and baffling...
Always great to see more of Eddie Eksergian's work. Lavish paintings by his father and uncle sometimes show up in online auctions.
Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Doc Bird Finch

Doc Bird Finch was born Frank Jay Finch in Corunna, Dekalb County, Indiana, on February 6, 1879. His birth information is from Indiana, Select Marriages, 1780-1992 at

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Finch was the youngest of two children born to James and Ella (Helen). His father was a “dealer in stock”. They resided in Richland Township, Indiana. The 1940 census said Finch’s highest level of education was the eight grade.

According to Dekalb County 1837–1987 (DeKalb Sesquicentennial, 1987), Finch attended “Valparaiso where he studied art over his parents objections. He also attended the Art Institute and Academy of Art in Chicago.”

The 1900 census recorded Finch in his parents’ household in Richland Township. His occupation was cartoonist. Dekalb County said he began his newspaper career in Terre Haute, Indiana on the Gazette. Finch worked next at the News in the Dayton, Ohio, then the News-Press in St. Joseph, Missouri.

While at the News-Press, the Inland Printer, May 1905, published Finch’s report on the mascot convention. The cartoonists included Brett Griswold, P.A. Plaschke, W.P. Bradford, C.K. Berryman, R.D. Handy, E.A. Bushnell and Ryan Walker.

At, the Indiana, Select Marriages, 1780-1992, recorded Finch’s marriage to Leora Keene on June 27, 1905.

Finch moved on to the Denver Rocky Mountain News, where he created The Troubles of Forgetful Joseph. According to American Newspaper Comics, it debuted October 11, 1906.

Dekalb County said Finch started at the Denver Post in 1908. Denver city directories for 1908 and 1909 list Finch’s address as 1160 Downing and occupation as Denver Post artist. The same address was recorded in the 1910 census. Finch’s occupation was newspaper cartoonist and his son, Joseph, was three years old.

Finch told the story of the bird, who appears with his signature, in the Denver Post, October 23, 1908:

…Little Doc was born in St. Joseph, Mo., Oct. 23, 1903. It was while drawing a cartoon one day condemning a statue which had graced or disgraced a small park in that good old city for fifteen years or more….
One day while drawing a cartoon roasting the statue there happened to be a corner of it which took up a lot of “hungry canvas” as the old profs. say in art school—meaning there was too much space going to waste. So I ran a small stream from the foot of the statue and had a queer looking bird drinking out of this stream and remarking that ”it was the hottest ice water he ever tasted.”
It was a foolish-looking bird and the office boy roasted me to a turn and said “he could draw a better one.”
So that is the birthplace of “Little Doc,” at the foot of this bum statue. Not a very noble birthplace when it might have been at the feet of Teddy Roosevelt to smiling up at Bill Bryan of Taft or even sitting on the bald head of John D.
The next day I placed the same bird in the cartoon just to jolly the office boy.
The society editor saw it and she thought it was the “cutest thing.” The society editor being unmarried I ran it the next day to please her. The business manager saw it and told me to use it in all of my cartoons.
One day a fellow inquired if the “thing” was a take off on my name.
“Why?” I asked.
“Isn’t it a bull finch?”
“Sure,” I replied, and have stuck to it ever since.
After coming to Denver it discovered an uncle living here by the name of Doc Bird and is seen with him every Sunday.

On December 24, 1910, Denver Post cartoonist Fay King wrote: “‘Doc Bird,’ whose real name is Frank Finch, is a blue-eyed little feller, that sees something funny in everything. Everybody loves ‘little Doc.’ He can reel off more cartoons a minute than any other cartoonist I have ever known.” The following day, Finch reported on Victor Gillam’s visit to Denver where Gillam drew some of the local officials. Then the cartoonists drew each other.

Dekalb County said Finch was at the Kansas City Post, in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1912 to 1915. According to Thunder in the Rockies: The Incredible Denver Post (1976), F. G. Bonfils and H. H. Tammen, owners of the Denver Post, bought the Kansas City Post.
…Charles A. Bonfils, F. G.’s personable and mild-mannered younger brother, was named managing editor but it was obvious Bon and Tam would be making policy. Otto Floto, who had developed a considerable reputation as a boxing writer, was dispatched to run the sports pages. Charles Bonfils’ wife, Winifred Black, and cartoonist Doc Bird Finch headed a list of staff stars who would shuttle between Denver and Kansas City.
The Insurance Field, July 30, 1915, mentioned Finch: “Only one blotter has been issued so far-one in which ‘Doc Bird’ Finch, former cartoonist for the ‘Kansas City Post’ portrays ‘Ed’ and ‘Frank’— otherwise Mr. Grant himself and Frank S. Lipscomb, special agent of the Continental….”

Finch returned to the Denver Post and stayed to 1931.

On September 12, 1918, Finch signed his World War I draft card. His address was 1158 Ogden in Denver. He was a cartoonist for the Denver Post. His description was short and slender with blue eyes and light-colored hair. Finch’s address was the same in the 1920 census.

American Newspaper Comics said Finch produced full-page Sunday panels throughout the 1920s into 1930.

Finch resided in Columbia Heights, Colorado at 5701 West 35th Avenue, as recorded in the 1930 census. Finch appeared in a Daisy Air Rifle advertisement in Boys’ Life, May 1930. According to Dekalb County, Finch retired in 1931.

Finch also produced cartoons for advertising. The Early Bird ran from January 19 to February 23, 1933. American Newspaper Comics said the strip ran in conjunction with a full-page of merchant ads.

A 1935 Denver city directory said Finch lived at 5907 West 35th Avenue, and had a cartoon service.

The 1940 census said Finch and his wife lived with her mother, Alice Keene, in Elkhart, Indiana at 1316 Willowdale. The same address was found on his World War II draft card and 1942 city directory. Finch’s occupation was landscape gardener. The 1945 directory listed “hustler” as his occupation.

Dekalb County said: “He came out of retirement and went to work during WWII at Adams and Westlake Co. While there he drew as a hobby, posters and cartoons for the plant. There attracted wide attention.”

Finch passed away September 1, 1950, in Elkhart, Indiana. Dekalb County said: “He had been ill with cancer for 3 years and his larynx had been removed….During his career as a cartoonist, Frank worked with such names as Damon Runyon, Gene Fowler, George Creel and Courtney Riley Cooper….” The Kansas City Star reported his death September 3.

Elkhart, Ind., Sept. 2. (AP)—Frank J. Finch, 71 years old, for many years a cartoonist for the Denver Post over the signature “Doc Bird Finch,” died last night in his home here. He also had worked for the old Terre Haute, Ind., Gazette; the Dayton, O., News; the St. Joseph, Mo., News-Press; the Denver Rocky Mountain News and the Kansas City Post from 1912 to 1915. Finch retired in 1931, but worked in an Elkhart war plant during World War II.

—Alex Jay 


Gene Fowler mentions Doc Finch and Runyon in his superb memoirs A SOLO IN TOM-TOMS and SKYLINE. TIMBER LINE is a must-read on Bonfils and Tammen, a real-life FRONT PAGE of a book.
Do you know who might hold the books of Mr. Finch. He published one titled Cartoons of Nodaway County before 1906 and I was wondering if a copy of it still exists?
WorldCat has two listings for Finch.

A copy of “Cartoons of Nodaway County” may be in a private collection.
My husbands grandfather knew him ,we still have some of his (dont know what you call it) I'll say test sheets on large card board, years ago we had got rid of some have 3 left ,I'm shocked to finally find who did them his grandfather was into oil wells, and had a lot of papers ect. fr the Denver post ect, its a long story, I know now what iv been wondering for well way over 40 years since his mother died (my husband) wish I wouldn't of colored on with colored pencils years ago

Post a Comment

Monday, May 11, 2015


Lost Comic Strip Plays?

A fortuitous "Do You Remember When..." filler article in my local paper alerted me to a play, apparently written in 1928, that stars a long list of comic strip characters. The article from The (Leesburg) Daily Commercial stated:

"The Zander-Gump Wedding", a comic strip comedy, was performed in Groveland High School's auditorium in October 1930. The cast included L.D. Edge as Walt, H.E. Kurfiss as Barney Google and H.E. Kurfiss as Flapper Fannie.
 Subsequent checking online did not, as I might have hoped, turn up a copy of the play, but I did get a cast list, and it is enormous. Here are just some of the comic strip characters appearing in the play:

Ella Cinders, Rinky Dink Club, Jiggs, Maggie, Walt Wallet, Skeezix, Rachel (Walt's maid), Mutt, Jeff, Tom Carr, Mary Gold, Flapper Fanny, Freckles, Barney Google, Major Hoople, Hairbreadth Harry, Tillie The Toiler, Little Orphan Annie, Chester Gump, Katzenjammer Kids, Henrietta Zander, Min Gump, Uncle Bim, Andy Gump

It seems like this is a play written specifically for high school drama classes; the long cast list offers roles to a whole class of kids. The play is apparently quite short, only 19 pages in written form, so it must be quite the whirlwind of a plot. It was written by Mamie Harris Mobley

A written copy of the play seems to be present in a few libraries, but unfortunately none around me. I'm guessing the play may have also appeared in a high school drama textbook of the day, but I cannot find any reference. If anyone is in the area of the Library of Congress, the University of Georgia, Brown University or Marquette University, they do have copies according to Worldcat. Anyone care to volunteer to make photocopies to share?

This got me to thinking about all the comic strip-based plays and revues that were traveling the country back in the 1900s and 1910s. I have seen lots of ads for Mutt and Jeff and Bringing Up Father productions that circulated, and many others as well. What ever happened to the scripts for these productions, I wonder?

I believe there were stage productions of Little Nemo in Slumberland, as well.
Famously, "Lil' Abner" had a major Broadway production, I believe in the late 40s or early 50s. Stubby Kaye may have been in the cast.
Don't know, but doubt the Mutt & Jeff and Bringing Up Father shows were "real" in the sense of being produced for Broadway-type audiences. Suspect they were conceived as touring entertainments, substituting a comic strip for expensive stars.

In the 70s and 80s there were shows featuring Bugs Bunny, Super Friends, Muppet Babies, etc. -- basically ice shows without ice, populated by mainly by costumed characters. "Disney on Parade" was one of the bigger ones. Hanna Barbara had a lavish revue touring Australia, which turned up here as a TV special. These seem to be the direct descendants of the Mutt & Jeff shows.

Today they've evolved into big arena shows, varying in scale and quality but still dependent on TV and movie properties which have replaced comic strips in mass culture.

There were some "legit" comic-based shows, such as the aforementioned "L'il Abner" and an operetta version of "Little Nemo." Was there any theatrical interest in comics between "Abner" and 1960s (Superman, Peanuts, Annie)?
I looked for Bringing Up Father in Ireland as well and found that it was a production that returned every year with 'the best stunts and laughs' of the strip's previous year and was created by McManus himself. So there must be more than one script (one article mentions ten years) and possibly in the effects of McManus.
I have seen references to stage plays or radio plays of Roger Bean, Tumbleweeds, and I think Abe Martin as well.
Post a Comment

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


What! No Zablo?


Craig "da Z" Zablo
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]