Saturday, May 16, 2015
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.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, May 15, 2015
Sci-Friday starring Connie
Labels: Connie Sci-Friday
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Wood (I)
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.
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, 1900; October 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 9, December 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.
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.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
(While we're at it: Harry Peter? Dick Sprang? Good thing none of these cartoonist ever went by the name of "Cock Shaft", huh?)
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.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Doc Bird Finch
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.
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.
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.
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.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
A copy of “Cartoons of Nodaway County” may be in a private collection.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Lost Comic Strip Plays?
"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?
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)?
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics