Saturday, September 19, 2015


Herriman Saturday

Wednesday, October 14 1908 -- The World Series is now 3-1 to the Cubs' favor. Can the Tigers pull a comeback out of the hat? Herriman has it about right -- not too likely.

Belated congratulations to the Cubs on winning the 1908 World Series!


The bit in the lower right is interesting. The area around the Flatiron Building was, at the time of its construction, known for producing odd winds that would lift skirts. Cops (like the one depicted here) would chase away looky-loos. There's a theory that the phrase "23 Skidoo" came from this (the Flatiron Building is on 23rd Street).
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Friday, September 18, 2015


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie -- February 19 1939
Courtesy of Cole Johnson


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Thursday, September 17, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Sheldon Stark

Sheldon Hubert “Shelly” Stark was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 7, 1909. Stark’s full name was found in a family tree at and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper. His birth information was recorded in the New York, New York Birth Index also at

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census, recorded Stark in Brooklyn at 1044 40th Street. He was the youngest of two sons born to Abraham, an attorney at law, and Olga, both Russian emigrants.

Stark’s home in the 1915 New York State Census was in Brooklyn at 1456 55th Street. Two more sons had joined the Stark family.

According to the 1920 census, Stark resided with his parents and four brothers (Malcolm, Elliot, Wilbur and Richard) at 1430 49 Street, in Brooklyn. The family was at the same address in the 1925 state census. Stark had a sister named Margery.

In the book, On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller (2014), Rockefeller and Stark were classmates and friends at “Lincoln School. An offshoot of the Teachers College of Columbia University….” After graduating Lincoln School both of them attended Dartmouth.

The Jamestown Post-Journal (New York), January 30, 1954, profiled Stark and said: “When Sheldon Stark was not playing basketball, soccer or lacrosse at Dartmouth College, he was specializing in physics and chemistry and won for himself a science degree.”

Stark attended the wedding of Rockefeller and Mary Todhunter Clark on June 23, 1930.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), January 11, 1935, reported Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s announcement that the first issue of New Fun debuted that day on the newsstands. The article also mentioned the staff members Stark, Lloyd Jacquet and Dick Loederer.

New Fun Magazine for Juveniles Out

New Fun is the title of a juvenile magazine that appeared for the first time today on the newsstands of the principal cities throughout the United States, according to an announcement made by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, president of National Allied Publications, Inc., 49 W. 45th St.

Major Nicholson has secured the co-operation of The Eagle for the publication of this tabloid-size monthly periodical which is designed to please “boys and girls from 2 to 90” with its predominant pictorial contents of new comic strips and special departments devoted to aircraft, sports, the radio and the movies.

Lloyd Jacquet, formerly on the staff of The Eagle, is the editor of New Fun, which is to be converted from a monthly to a weekly in the near future. He is assisted by Sheldon H. Stark as cartoon editor. Dick Loederer, who was art director in charge of animated cartoons for Van Beuren-RKO Film Corp., is art director of New Fun.
Some of Stark’s comic book credits are here. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Stark wrote two mid-1930s comic strips. Chip Collins’ Adventures, drawn by Jack R. Wilhelm, ran from July 16, 1934 to July 27, 1935. Stark wrote the strip’s final two months from June 3 to July 27, 1935. Edgar Wallace was credited as the writer of Inspector Wade but it was ghost-written by Stark from May 20, 1935 to May 17, 1943. Lyman Anderson and Neil O’Keeffe were the artists.

Stark’s marriage was reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 20, 1935.

Miss Margery Hamilton Winchell, daughter of Mrs. Walter Barnard Winchell of 137 Berkeley Place and the late Dr. Winchell, was married this morning to Sheldon Hubert Stark, son of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham I. Stark, in the Supreme Court Chambers, with Justice John MacCrate performing the ceremony. A wedding breakfast for the immediate families and close friends, followed at the Hotel Bossert.

The bride is a graduate of Adelphi Academy, class of ’29, and Smith College, class of ’33.

Mr. Stark was graduated from the Lincoln School of Teachers College with the class of ’26 and from Dartmouth College, class of ’30.
Apparently, Stark and Margery went to Bermuda for their honeymoon. A passenger ship list recorded their return from Bermuda on August 5, 1935. Their address was 137 Berkeley Place, Brooklyn, New York.

Stark’s material for the H. M. Kiesewetter Advertising Agency was recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 3, Dramatic Compositions, Motion Pictures, 1937, New Series, Volume 10, Number 4:

Famous jury trials; Apr. 5, 1937. The people versus Victor Jackson, by Sheldon Stark. © 1 c. Apr. 6, 1937; D 48825; H. M. Kiesewetter advertising agency, inc., New York. 2790

— Apr. 26, 1937. The people vs. Charles Tracy, by Sheldon H. Stark. © 1 c. Apr. 19, 1937; D 49171; H. M. Kiesewetter advertising agency, inc., New York. 2792
According to The Billboard, February 13, 1943, Stark resided in Detroit, Michigan, where he scripted a number of radio programs.
Sheldon H. Stark, who has been in Detroit for the last four years writing for Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Ned Jordan and Federal Ace, will return to New York in April at the conclusion of his contract.
In 1952, Stark was accused by Paul R. Milton, a founder and director of Aware, Inc., of being pro-Communist. Stark lost his writing job on the radio show “Treasury Men in Action.” Milton became a writer on that show. The New York Times, June 16, 1962, reported John Henry Faulk’s libel suit against Aware. Faulk was a CBS entertainer who lost his job in broadcasting after being linked, by Aware, to a Communist conspiracy. During the trial Milton “testified that he had made the charge against Mr. Stark, who shortly afterward was dismissed as a writer for a radio show sponsored by the Borden Company. Mr. Milton subsequently became a writer for the show.”

Stark “pointed out that he was cleared of the charge by a Government loyalty board in 1955.”
In a letter to The New York Times, Mr. Stark, who lives in California said:

“Those were hysterical times. In the three years it took me to catch up with and refute Mr. Milton’s false charge I suffered monetary and emotional damage from which, while not as great as that suffered by many, many others, I still bear scars.”
“Jet Scott” was a daily and Sunday comic strip written by Sheldon and drawn by Jerry Robinson and produced for the New York Herald-Tribune. According to American Newspaper Comics, the strip began September 28, 1953 and ended September 25, 1955.

Jamestown Post-Journal’s 1954 profile of “Shelly Stark”, pictured above with artist Jerry Robinson, also said:
…As much of his time as possible has been spent outdoors making frequent scientific field trips to places like Hudson Bay, the Mohave Desert and Macchu Pichu, Peru. He is a tophand with a gun and holds a pilots license.

In recent years, he has written more than 3,000 scrips for such popular radio and television programs as “The Lone Ranger,” “Straight Arrow,” “The Lux Theater,” “Studio One,” “The Big Story,” “The Ford Theater,” “Theater Guild on the Air,” “Grand Central Station” and “Rocky King, Detective.”

For over eight years, the writers of America have elected him to serve on the council of the Authors’ League of America, a board which concentrates on writers’ problems. Other council members include Oscar Hammerstein II, John Hersey, Rex Stout, Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse.

Mr. Stark lives, with his wife and four children, a dog, a cat, some rare cross-bred songbirds and scores of tropical fish, near the shore of Long Island where he pursues another favorite interest, fishing.
According to the New York Times, January 27, 1954, Stark’s play, “Time of Storm”, would open on at the Greenwich Mews Theatre on February 18. The Brooklyn Eagle’s review of “Time of Storm” appeared February 25, 1954.

Stark’s 1954 crime novel, Too Many Sinners, was published in the Ace Double-Mystery Series. 

The California Marriage Index, at, said Stark married Jacquale M. Murphy on June 1, 1966. The date of Stark’s divorce from Margery is not known.

According to the California Death Index, Stark passed away February 6, 1997, in Los Angeles, California. His death was included in Obituaries in the Performing Arts (1997): 

Screenwriter Sheldon H. Stark died in Los Angeles on February 6, 1997. He was 87. Stark began his career writing for radio, scripting episodes of such adventure series as The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet and Batman. He began writing for television in the early 1950s, scripting episodes of such series as Wagon Train, Ben Casey, Hawaiian Eye, Batman, Green Hornet, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Virginian and Quincy. Stark also wrote the 1954 play Time of Storm and authored the novel Too Many Sinners.
The Los Angeles Times obituary said: “…Stark helped form the Radio Writers Guild, which later merged with the Writers Guild of America, and held several offices in each organization. He taught screenwriting at UCLA and Santa Monica College.”

Variety, February 20, 1997, said:

Stark, who was blacklisted in the early 1950s, wrote the Off Broadway play “Time of Storm,” which explored the dangers of McCarthyism.

…He is survived by his wife, Jacquie, as well as a brother, a sister, two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.
Stark’s filmography is here.

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Obscurity of the Day: Stitches

We just covered editorial cartoonist Jeff Danziger's McGonigle of the Chronicle last week, and that reminded me that we have another Danziger obscurity that needs to get its moment in the sun.

I'd say that McGonigle is sort of a minor obscurity, since it did have a pretty decent size client list in its short life. Stitches, on the other hand, is a hyper-obscurity by comparison. The strip about a doctor's office was offered by Washington Post Writers Group, whose track record is incredibly good for offering strips that click with newspaper readers. Boy did they have a misstep with Stitches though.

The strip itself is good, though pretty conventional and safe by comparison with McGonigle. The doctor's office is a standard gag cartoon subject almost as ubiquitous as the desert island, so Danziger really doesn't have much meat here to dine on that hasn't been chewed on by many others. His topical cartoons, like the one's about Don Imus above, are an interesting twist on the genre.

For some reason, newspaper editors didn't seem to want anything to do with this strip. I don't know why, because there certainly weren't a bunch of competing doctor strips that it had to outshine. Perhaps in the inscrutable editorial mind, they were looking at the doctor's office locale and thinking that there was no need for a doctor strip because there isn't a huge audience of doctors. Of course that's idiotic thinking -- we are all patients of those doctors, so everyone is your audience for the strip.

Although I can't say for sure, I'm not even certain that the Washington Post itself ran this strip, and that sure didn't bode well. I have only found it running in the Ocala Star-Banner, where it began in April 1997 and didn't seem to last long. The strip was advertised in E&P in 1997 and 1998, and I can't offer anything more definite regarding the strip's start and end dates.


"For some reason" newspaper editors didn't pick this up...

Maybe the main reason no one wantedthis strip was because it was dull as dishwater. It seems that the creators chose a subject matter without investing any passion or excitement into the feature, then, if these ssamples are any indication, depended on the concept to carry it along. THAT'S why it failed.
According to a post on rec.arts.comics.strips, the Boston Globe carried Stitches in 1998.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Mystery Strip Update: Frank Moser's Panel Cartoon Series

I previously posted about this subject in 2013; this post represents new information gathered since.

Frank Moser, much better known as an animator than a newspaper cartoonist, got his start in newspaper cartooning, and tried to go back to it several times. His last known attempt seems to have been an untitled series he penned for Associated Newspapers in 1924. The series, if it really is one, is so obscure that I have never once found a newspaper that ran it on anything like a consistent basis, and hence for years I haven't been sure if it was an actual series or just an occasional feature. When Cole Johnson sent me some sample scans (above) and suggested I look into the matter a few years ago, I gave it the ol' college try but came up pretty dry.

There is conflicting information about the series from secondary sources. Here is an announcement that ran in Cartoons Magazine in April 1924:

Frank Moser, formerly cartoonist on the Des Moines Register and Leader and Associated Newspapers, but now of Aesop's Fables Animatory, is again doing a series of human interest cartoons for the Associated Newspapers.

That sounds like a bona fide series. But here are the Editor & Publisher syndicate directory listings for an Associated Newspapers offering:

1924: Cartoons (Human Interest) (no frequency or size given) -- Fields, Moser, Terry, Scar, and others

1925: Cartoons (Human Interest) (daily 3 column) -- Scar, Fields, Ripley, Terry, Moser, etc.

1926: Cartoons (human interest) (daily 3 column) -- Ripley, Fields, Scar, Terry, Batchelor, Sid Greene

This listing sequence certainly seems to speak to a very loosely defined series, perhaps even one in which freelance cartoonists submit cartoons in hope of making individual sales. Thankfully, the inclusion of Robert Ripley's name helps us out a lot. We know that his well-researched career was at low ebb in these years, and he was contributing to the Associated Newspapers on a less than daily basis. So now things are starting to gel. Evidently there was not a Frank Moser cartoon series per se despite the article in Cartoons magazine, but he was a regular contributor to a multi-creator series.

That information sends me back to the (virtual) microfilm, and I finally find what I need in the 1925 issues of the Hamilton Journal-News. Starting from a single Frank Moser search hit, pointing to a cartoon appearing on their editorial page, I start looking at the editorial pages for surrounding dates, and what do I find but cartoons by Ripley, Fields, Sid Greene and Scar appearing there in the same space every weekday.

The cartoons are of the human interest variety, as advertised, and also what I would call 'editorial lite'. What I mean is cartoons that appear to be editorial in nature, but are so general and unpointed that they can run in any paper at any time -- like complaining that Washington is a sea of red tape or that taxes are too high.

Before October 1924, the Journal-News unfortunately was only running cartoons from this series occasionally. They also ran more topical editorial cartoons from Cargill, Bushnell and others, and only used the Associated Newspaper 'human interest' crew when they felt like it. However, by looking around for instances of the series, I find Moser and Terry cartoons all the way back to 1923, and I can locate Fields cartoons back into 1922. Cole Johnson mentioned finding Moser and Terry cartoons in the Boston Evening Globe in 1922. I also find a regular contributor to the series named Dewey in 1924 -- I guess he was the 'etc' in the E&P creator list. Dewey's style sure looks a lot like Art Helfant to me.

I also find that creator Terry turns out not to be Moser's fellow animator Paul Terry as I would have guessed, but his brother John (later creator of the comic strip Scorchy Smith). I confess I do not know who the Fields chap is, though his work is decent.

In what I reviewed of the late 1924 series, when the Journal-News started using it consistently, it seems that Moser, Fields and Dewey are offering the lion's share of the cartoons, with occasional appearances by Scar and Terry. In 1925, Ripley starts contributing but he certainly doesn't appear at the high frequency I might have assumed. By 1926, the Journal-News has lost interest in the series, and rarely uses it after mid-year. I tried finding another paper that ran the series consistently, but I had no luck.

So, there you have it. An untitled series with an inconsistent list of creators, that was offered on a daily basis but rarely run that way by any newspaper. I suppose I do now have enough information about the series to include it in my listings, but just barely! I have to believe now that the announcement in Cartoons magazine, though, is a red herring -- maybe Moser was just trying to drum up some publicity for the ongoing series to which he contributed.


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Monday, September 14, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Darrell McClure

Darrell Craig McClure was born in Ukiah, California, on February 25, 1903, according to the King Features Syndicate book, Famous Artists & Writers (1949). McClure’s birth date was also found at the Social Security and California Death Indexes.

According to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, McClure was the only child of A.[Arthur] B. and Ethel. They resided in Eureka, California at 734 9th Street. McClure’s father was a plumbing salesman. About McClure’s childhood, Famous Artists & Writers said:

…Mrs. McClure had an artistic streak in her, and just as soon as Darrell “could stand by a chair and hold a pencil,” she began buying him fat five-penny tablets on which to scrawl. “From the age of six,” says Darrell, ”I never swerved from the ambition to be a newspaper strip artist.”

…Darrell began lumberjacking at the age of 15, during World War No. 1, “and before I was through with the woods for keeps, I had been in lumber camps in practically every western state.”

…In his early teens, Darrell studied at night in the California School of Fine Arts, and later attended a school for cartoonists, but it wasn’t until he was 17, in between lumberjacking and sailing, that he managed to put the training to practical use. He became a “tracer” with a small, animated-cartoon studio. The studio soon folded, however, and Darrell left Los Angeles, where it had been situated, for San Francisco, where he got a job fashioning animated advertisements, then popular in movie houses….
The 1920 census recorded McClure in San Francisco, California at 508 Larkin Street. He was a stock clerk for a tailor. From here McClure boarded a freighter for New York City. With the help of Jimmy Swinnerton, McCure got a job with King Features as an apprentice artist in 1923. Chic Young was in his group.

McClure married Celestine Skidmore on March 15, 1924 in Manhattan, New York City. Later that year, his cartoon for the My Best Laugh Story series was published.

Buffalo Courier 7/26/1924

In the 1925 New York state census, McClure and his wife were in his mother-in-law’s household in New York City at 169 West 73 Street. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), this year marked the beginning of several series by McClure: Brother-in-Law (1925); The Name-Me Game (1926); Embarrassing Moments (1927); Hard-Hearted Hickey (1927); and Vanilla and the Villains (1928).

Vanilla and the Villains in the Rockford Republic 3/21/1930

In 1930 McClure lived in Larchmont, New York, at 174 Myrtle Avenue. He produced two series in the fall: Room and Board started September 29, 1930, and a week later the long-running Little Annie Rooney debuted October 6, 1930. McClure produced Donnie beginning in late 1934.

Rockford Morning Star 8/15/1952

The newspaper, Greenwich Time (Connecticut), September 2, 2003, said McClure built his Greenwich, Connecticut house in 1940. Greenwich directories said he resided on Riversville Road. In 1947, McClure settled in Florida.

McClure’s wife, Celestine, passed away June 15, 1955. On December 22, 1976, McClure married Mary A. Luce at Lake, California.

McClure passed away February 27, 1987, In Ukiah, California. The cause was cancer. McClure was a long-time contributor to Yachting magazine.

—Alex Jay


The Morning Post (Camden, NJ) announced on March 8, 1927 the debut of "Hard-Hearted Hickey."
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