Saturday, October 29, 2016


Herriman Saturday

December 18 1908 -- Charlie "Kid" Dalton, local lightweight boxer, has never shown all that much promise, and in his long career he could only manage an anemic record of 28 wins, 19 losses and 17 draws. So when he starts squawking that he deserves 'recognition', Herriman gives it to him with both barrels -- graphically and in prose.

Dalton has a chance tonight to gain some of that much desired recognition when he fights Dick Hyland, a highly rated fighter. He will, however, lose.


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Thursday, October 27, 2016


News of Yore 1951: Caesar's Master Profiled



Gentle Humor Wins Fans for Comic Strip

Chicago Tribune, June 12 1950
By Leslie Moneypenny (Chicago Tribune, November 12 1951)

If you had a pooch like Caesar, you'd go wild-but you d love him.

The big, affectionate mongrel of the Tribune comic strip has an uncanny skill in putting his paw right on his master weaknesses. Nary a human foible escapes him. But he has a few foibles himself.

Caesar never speaks, but he has an incredible ability to point up the silliness of a situation or his master's inadequacies. This ability has led his fans to wonder whether he is more human dog than he is doggy human being. Either way, Caesar's hilarious.

The man who puts Caesar thru his paces is William Timyn (signature: Tim), who knows the value of laughter after what he has been through in Europe in the last 13 years.

Grew Up in Vienna
Timyn, who is 52, has been a professional cartoonist more than 27 years, but his drawing experience goes back to early childhood in Turkey. He was born there, but four years later his pop moved to Vienna and became an insurance executive. Timyn grew up there.

The artist s early talent for drawing paid off; he began selling his cartoons to Viennese papers. By the middle '30s he had built up a prosperous business with European papers, which secured his work thru a syndicate in Amsterdam, Holland.

In 1938, the Nazis took control in Austria, and Timyn, like all other Jews, was subject to the purge which removed people of that race from public and semi-public positions. He began efforts to get himself, his mother, brother, and another relative to England. Before he could obtain visas, he was flung into a Nazi concentration camp.

Out of Prison-and In
Because he had not dabbled in politics, he finally was released and succeeded in getting to England. But, as soon as World War II broke out, he was slapped into a British concentration camp as an enemy alien.
After three months, the British let him out. But the confinement had broken the newspaper connections he had been able to build up in England. He started again.

During these ups and downs, Timyn never forgot how to laugh. He became a commercial artist, did portraits, knocked out patriotic cartoons. After the war, he submitted to the London Sunday Graphic a comic strip involving a dog. However, the dog did not get the emphasis. The master did.

The editor said he liked the dog but took a dim view of the master. With the advice of an associate, Miss Billie Cooper, the cartoonist redrew the strips and made the dog the main wheel.

The happy result? Caesar!

There was a rumor for a time that Caesar had inherited blood from every canine since the days of Dido and Aeneas. Then came authoritative word from London, where the artist works: The pup started out to be an English setter, but in some fashion a little Dalmation sneaked into the picture.

Caesar has won his way into the hearts of lots of folks besides Chicagoans. He is bringing chuckles to readers in Italy, Brazil, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Argentina, France, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as in Great Britain and all over the United States.

Readers love the shaggy mutt for his big heart, for his timidity, for his unspoken twitting of the human race. The canine comedian is a pooch without pedigree, a kennel club wallflower, a lovable lummox. He has flap-and-flop ears, a Cyrano schnozzle, and a bark with no bite in it.

When his master tries to teach Caesar to fetch things, Caesar teaches him to do it instead. The dog carries a first aid kit when the boss goes skiing. He growls at a puppy, eying his bone, but he chases bums off a park bench when an old man with an injured leg wants to sit down. He goes around patting kids and kittens on the head, is gracious to stray sparrows, and helps the nurse push the baby buggy.

If your dog doesn't remind you of this delightfully daffy four footed wit without words, there are two probabilities: 1-You don't act enough like a doggy human being to inspire him, or 2-there just ain't another dog nowhere like Caesar.


The Tribune seems to have misspelled the artist's name, who usually signed "Timym". Actually, there was a whole page on the artist in the Chicago Sunday Tribune 1952/12/07 ("Growing up with Caesar"), where he is called "Timym".

But then, he surely changed his first name, when he came to England ("William" is not an Austrian name, his original name might have been "Wilhelm" or something similar), maybe he also slightly changed his surname.

As a side note: several sources (among them the Chicago Sunday Tribune article quoted above) say that he drew a strip in the 30s titled "The Boss". In "American Newspaper Comics", under "735 Boss, The (2)" there's the following note: "SCS says Tim is a pseudonym for Louis Mitelberg". I doubt this: though Louis Mitelberg also used "Tim" as a pseudonym, this one probably is William Timym.
Thanks Hans, I could plead that I was just transcribing the article as printed, but I also have his name as Timyn in my book as well. So I'll fix things in my database to reflect the apparently proper spelling.

As for "The Boss (2)", that again is just me passing along information from another source. I'll add a note that it could also well be Timym. I really need to dig up some samples of that strip to see if art spotting would be any help.

There was an earlier, similar strip: CAESAR THE PUP by W. C. Godfrey. It appears to be a Graphic Features. In THE ILLUSTRATED DAILY NEWS in L.A., it ran from 27 November 1926 (with a strip dated 21 September)to 13 December. (with a strip dated 3 September)
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Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Butch the Bully

Charles W. Kahles was the king of the repetitive gag in the 1900s, in my estimation, and Butch the Bully offers a sterling example to prove my case. Here we have four episodes from the short-lived series, which ran in Pulitzer's New York World funnies section from February 8 to May 24 1903, and the only slight deviation from formula comes in the second example above, wherein Butch gets his comeuppance not from his boss but rather from a cop. Otherise everything about the strips is essentially identical except for the particular MacGuffin that Butch appropriates.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples.


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Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Thomas Worth

Munsey’s Magazine 2/1894

Thomas B. Worth was born in New York City on February 12, 1834. The birthplace is based on census records and the birth date in on Worth’s gravestone. It should be noted that the 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Worth’s birth date as August 1835. According to Harry T. Peters’s book, Currier and Ives: Printmakers to the American People (1942), Worth was born in Greenwich Village. 

Worth has not yet been found in the 1840 and 1850 censuses. The 1860 census recorded Worth as a bank teller who resided in Brooklyn, New York. He was married to Louise Stellenwerf and had a one-month-old daughter. Also in the household were a servant and nurse. Worth worked for several years as a bank teller. The New York Sun, November 21, 1886, recounted the story of how Worth’s sketch of a customer (below) helped solve a crime that took place in July 1867 at the City Bank. 
It’s not known when Worth quit his bank job.

A selection of Worth’s 1867 sketches, abroad a yacht, can be viewed here or here (pages 76 and 77).

Smoked Glass

Worth was contributing to the printmakers, Currier and Ives, as well as illustrating books including Plutarch Restored (1862), Smoked Glass (1868), The First and Fourth Books of the Aeneid of Virgil (1870), The Old Curiosity Shop (1872), A Bald Headed History of America (1876), and Deacon Boggles’ Struggle with a Liver Pad (1881) and A Devil of a Trip or The Log of the Yacht Champlain (1888).

Deacon Boggles and His Liver Pad

The 1870 census said Worth was an artist with four children, Evelyn, Marion, Percy and Dudley. The 1870 Brooklyn city directory listed Worth’s address as 71 Oak.

Worth’s occupation was figure artist in the 1880 census. His family, which included another son, Irving, lived in Hempstead, Queens County, New York.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), January 29, 1881, reported the Water Color Society exhibition where Worth sold his work.

The New York Sun, October 11, 1882, reported the stabbing of Worth’s wife who was one of six women attacked by Ernest Doubourgne. The paper said her address was 666 Lexington Avenue. An 1883 Manhattan directory had the same address for Worth.

Worth contributed illustrations to A. Minor Griswold’s travels around the world lecture, George G. Small’s magazine Wild Oats, the New York Daily Graphic, JudgeSnap, and Scribner’s Monthly. The New York Times, October 15, 1894 said Worth was the chief artist of Texas Siftings magazine.

At some point Worth moved to Staten Island. The 1886 and 1890 city directories said his home was on Franklin Avenue. Queens County Sentinel (Hempstead, New York), July 24, 1890, published this item.

Isaac Snedeker, of Hempstead, has bought the yacht Dream of Thomas Worth, manager of the art department of the Texas Siftings and brother-in law of W. R. Stellenwerf, proprietor of the Be Car House of Hempstead. The Dream in model, interior decorations and appointments is said to be the handsomest yacht that skims the waters of the Great South Bay. Mr. Snedeker to receiving the congratulations of numerous yachtsman and friends over his recent purchase. Mr. Worth will invest in a larger craft.—World.
Worth’s artwork was mentioned in the Daily Standard-Union (Brooklyn, New York), June 3, 1892.
There are only a few of the old-fashioned country inns left on Long Island, but one of these is the Lake House at Islip, where Amos K. Stellenwerf has been the proprietor for many years. Stepping into the office of the hotel one day recently, my attention was attracted to a number of very striking pictures hanging upon the walls. One of them was a mirth-provoking illustration of the capture of Major Andre. There were a number of pictures of hunting and fishing scenes, and by a little closer observation it was seen that these pictures were from the pencil of Thomas Worth, who married a daughter of the proprietor of the Lake House. Mr. Worth’s humorous conceptions have become familiar to a very circle of readers of newspapers and periodicals, and meeting with some of them in this unexpected way was very agreeable.
Munsey’s Magazine, February 1894, profiled several caricaturists and cartoonists including Worth.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Worth produced Hawaii Club for the New York Journal from August 29, 1897 to August 14, 1898. For the New York World, Worth drew Darktown from March 12 to May 7, 1899, and The Gamp Family from June 11 to 18, 1899.

In the 1900 census Worth resided in Hamilton Park in Staten Island. 203 Franklin Avenue was the address recorded in the 1910 census and the 1915 New York state census for self-employed artist Worth and his family.

Worth passed away December 29, 1917, in Staten Island, according to the New York, New York death index at He was preceded in death by his wife who died May 1, 1917.

Further Reading and Viewing
A History of American Graphic Humor, Volume 1, 1747–1865 (1933): pages 185 and 212
A History of American Graphic Humor, 1747–1938 (1938): pages 27 and 105
Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2012)

Tom Worth (1887 Milwaukee Sentinel profile)
Wild Oats
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery

—Alex Jay


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Monday, October 24, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Darktown and The Darktown Sport

Thomas Worth was a very well-known cartoonist/artist in the 19th century, but his fame was so ill-earned that I think it not entirely unfitting that he has been forgotten. Worth produced a large corpus of works, but his specialty was 'humorous' caricatures of black people. His initial fame came from the creation of a series of posters titled Darktown for the printmakers Currier & Ives. These sold like gangbusters, in fact they may have been one of the company's bestselling series of all.

In the Darktown series Worth usually depicted a group of blacks engaged in activities considered to be far above their station in life -- fox hunting, political debating, playing baseball (!) and so on. While the drawings often also had intriguing political and social overtones in addition to the racial depictions, it's frankly hard to notice those elements when confronted with such incredibly grotesque caricatures.

Worth's well-received posters brought him lots of other commissions, including many illustrations for humor magazines. Even the top market for magazine illustration of the day, Harper's Weekly, used his work extensively. In the mid-1890s, when Hearst and Pulitzer pioneered the Sunday color comics section, Thomas Worth was naturally in demand. Both publishers were able to attract his pen at various points.

In 1897 Worth produced a couple of series for Hearst, of which Darktown, aka The Darktown Sport, was one. Although the microfilm of the New York Journal was apparently too fragmentary for my or Dave Strickler's indexing to pick this series up, Cole Johnson supplied me with two samples from 1897 (the top two above). Unfortunately he dated both examples December 12 1897 by mistake, and so due to his very unfortunate demise, we don't know what the other date was or whether he had any additional examples from that year. According to Ohio State's Bill Blackbeard collection finding aid, they have a third example of this series dated December 26 1897 with a football theme.

For some reason Worth seems to have dropped his Darktown Sport series in favor of a basically identical series titled The Hawaii Club. It was the same sort of material, and I have no clue why the black characters were in the 'Hawaii Club'. Discussing the question with Cole Johnson way back when, he ventured a guess that Mr. Worth had no idea what a Hawaiian looked like, so he drew them exactly like all his other characters.

Worth didn't give up on his Darktown series, though. On July 10 1898, a new Coonville panel was published in the Journal, and several more appeared over about the next year. The last known Darktown panel was run on May 7 1899 (bottom sample). It was around this time that Worth defected to Pulitzer's New York World, so that probably does constitute the end of the series.

Although I say that Worth is forgotten, the amnesia isn't total. If you'd like to read more about him, I suggest these excellent posts at Yesterday's Papers and Booktryst. Also, thanks to Cole Johnson who supplied all the samples.


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