Saturday, April 22, 2017


Herriman Saturday

January 23 1909 -- A ragtime 'American Idol' contest was held last night. Singers and dancers competed in a number of categories, and apparently a good time was had by all. However, the proccedings did not stimulate Herriman's creative juices beyond a tableaux of caricatures.


Interesting to see that Phil Stebbing competed. The recording studio he started with his brother in the 1940s is still thriving in New Zealand.
What Misto Simpson was singing:
It was referenced in a piece about Oliver Hardy, who sang it as a kid.
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Friday, April 21, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from Rose O'Neill

Not too often you're going to find a postcard featuring a photo of a cartoonist, but here's one featuring Rose O'Neill amid a selection of her Kewpie dolls.

This is actually a later card, dating from the 1950s or 60s would be my guess, and was printed for sale at the Shepherd of the Hills Farm in Branson Missouri. "Huh", you say? Well, it seems that Rose O'Neill kept a home in southern Missouri, lived her later life there, and the locals have sort of adopted her as their own.

An early attraction of Branson, now famed for it's country music theatres and buses of Q-Tip tourists, was a farm that was used as the locale of The Shepherd of the Hills, a popular 1907 novel by Harold Bell Wright. The farm was made into a tourist attraction, and over the years has included an outdoor amphitheater, a viewing tower, farm tours, museums of Ozark life, and of course every kind of merchandise that credit cards can buy.

In the 1940s, the owners of the Farm, who were friends of O'Neill,  put together an extensive collection of her Kewpie dolls and associated ephemera for display in the farm's Memorial Museum. I don't know how long the collection was housed there, but the latest description of the attraction I can find make no mention of it, so I presume it is no more.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 1 Part 3

Moses Koenigsberg

King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 1

Murder with a Carom Shot (conclusion)

link to previous installment   link to next installment

Austin’s pagan jubilation over Ben Thompson’s escape from the gallows gave impetus to the inter-city vendetta. The law-abiding residents of both communities disparaged the feud. They denounced it as a mere figment put forth by the criminal ele­ments in extenuation of law-breaking activities. But the quarrel derived stature from an epic rivalry in finance. It was waged between Joseph Nalle and George W. Brackenridge, foremost capitalist of San Antonio. Miscreants borrowed from it the color of civic implication for stark criminality. For months, there were few defendants in felonious-assault cases, either in San Antonio or Austin, who failed to plead entanglement in inter-community vengeance.

All this was mere poppycock to the City Marshal of Austin, who held himself aloof from mass movements of every sort. He was above everything an individualist. If any gangs came from another city to vent their spleen on Austin, he would welcome them in his own way. He made no other comment concerning San Antonio, though he did inquire at every opportunity about the operation of the Crystal Palace.

Ben Thompson
The only topic of conversation that engaged zest in Thompson was the “gambling parlor” in which he had met his card-playing Waterloo. The time that he was “robbed by those sneaking thieves,” seemed to command a larger share of his memory than any other experience. He was avid for every detail of activity in the place. He wanted to know “the size of the play” and the names of the players.

Mention of Joe Foster was to him like the scent of a quail to a bird hound. It brought him to the point.
“That’s the thief that ‘rolled’ me,” Thompson would snap in a venomous burst that contrasted startlingly with his habitual drawl. It was Foster who had repelled his charge of a crooked game as a “cheap try at welshing.”

And Joe Foster was still alive, the active symbol of the most devastating humiliation of Ben Thompson’s career. It was true that Billy Simms, the other partner of Jack Harris, remained one of the owners of the Crystal Palace, but Billy had been a protege of Ben Thompson before he moved to San Antonio and he had preserved his friendship with his former patron through all the blistering trials it suffered. He had promptly disavowed any share in the “gambling parlor” imbroglio and he had made his peace with Thompson after the murder of Jack Harris. So, the incurable canker in the soul of Ben Thompson festered anew at every mention of Joe Foster’s activities.

Twenty months passed. March 11, 1884, arrived.

King Fisher
King Fisher, Sheriff of Uvalde County, numbering among his constituents the John Nance Garner who later became vice-presi­dent of the United States, reached Austin on an official visit. He went to the State capital to settle his accounts as sheriff and tax collector of Uvalde County. Fisher and Thompson were cordial friends. Each respected the other’s courage and gunmanship.

Fisher was dapper and suave, with many of the manners and some of the apparel of a Parisian boulevardier. As a member of the notorious Bill Bruton gang, he had ranged up and down the Rio Grande, a veritable terror. Fifteen Mexicans were assigned by unofficial count to his “private graveyard.” The reputation thus gained for daring and marksmanship had commended him to the cattle barons of the Southwest for the task of cleaning out the lawless pillagers who infested the section.

Horse thieves and cattle rustlers with their cohorts had con­tinually raided the long stretch from Castroville to the Rio Grande. Fisher drove them out. In the course of his campaign, several of the marauding interlopers moved too slowly or in the wrong direction. They joined the list of “necessary fatalities” in Fisher’s personal record.

So, the reunion of Ben Thompson and King Fisher did not make the social columns of the Austin Statesman. It was, how­ever, the subject of animated gossip in other quarters. This was an ominous massing of potentialities for sudden tragedy. Still, there was no show of public agitation until the pair were seen boarding a train for San Antonio.

Then there was real alarm. Thompson and Fisher together represented a merger of lethal facilities calculated to make the heart of any peace-lover skip several beats even in an amiable social gathering. On a train bound for San Antonio the combi­nation spelled the certainty of dire consequences. Hadn’t word come repeatedly that Thompson would be mobbed if he ever again set foot in the Alamo city? Even if the danger of a public uprising were exaggerated, was it possible that the mere presence of Ben Thompson in San Antonio, accompanied by one of the most widely known killers of the time, would fail to provoke a critical outburst of violence?

The good citizens of Austin were deeply disturbed. They owed a duty to law and order. Telegrams of warning were flashed to police officials and to important friends in San Antonio. Then, in chagrin and foreboding, Austin sat back to await the inevitable.

The ride to San Antonio—the trip required three hours—was a grotesque gambol. Thompson behaved like a schoolboy on a spree. His boisterous pranks kept the passengers in trepid turmoil. The chief butt of his antics was the Negro porter. Thompson slashed the darkey’s cap into droll shapes and forced him to march through the train wearing each ludicrous design. Indis­criminate badinage, frequent swigs at a whiskey bottle and gruff whoops to startle cowering travelers alternated with rougher capers.

Two tight-lipped men swung aboard the train before it halted. They sought out the conductor. Evidently he gave them good news because, when the Southwestern Flyer drew up at the sta­tion, they waved “the high sign”—the O. K. notice—to several waiting watchers. These were scouts detailed to report the arrival of Thompson, to trail him and to keep police headquarters ad­vised of his actions.

The train conductor felt Thompson’s visit was not hostile. The City Marshal of Austin, he explained, was merely accompanying King Fisher to a performance of Lady Audley’s Secret at the Turner Hall Opera House on Houston Street. The play had been performed in the Austin Opera House the night before. As city marshal, Thompson collected the license fee exacted from theatri­cal troupes, and in the course of official duty he had met Ada Gray, the star.

He wanted to see the performance again and he wanted to present King Fisher to the leading lady. Perhaps he was flipping a sly jest at providence when he insisted that history would be incomplete without a meeting between the Beau Brummell of gunmen and the exquisite lady of the theatre. Thompson and Fisher did attend the play.

Each step they took was under the keenest surveillance. A dozen armed men, most of them sworn in for the occasion as special policemen or deputy sheriffs, had been stationed at care­fully selected points converging on the Crystal Palace. Everyone of them was a crack shot. Neither the source nor the nature of their instructions was ever divulged. It was afterward charged that more than half the members of this grim platoon were inside the Crystal Palace before Thompson and Fisher left the Turner Hall Opera House.

King Fisher never met Ada Gray. The omission was not for­tuitous. It could have been explained by Tom Howard, manager of the opera house. Thompson and Fisher made frequent excur­sions from the auditorium to the adjoining bar. Howard was always at hand. Proposals for a back-stage visit were skilfully shunted off. It was with a sense of supreme deliverance that Howard bade the two men goodnight at the close of the performance.

One block south across the St. Mary’s Street bridge brought the swaggering pair to Commerce Street. Two blocks farther west was the Crystal Palace. Between St. Mary’s Street and Main Plaza were several saloons. As Thompson and Fisher made their way past, a figure detached itself from the bunch of loiterers in front of each resort and, stepping into the street behind the passing twain, wigwagged a signal.

Billy Simms was standing in front of the Crystal Palace. He greeted both Thompson and Fisher with the cordiality of a pleas­antly astonished friend. The trio entered the saloon. John Dyer, the same bartender who had served Thompson on the tragic evening twenty months before, was again on duty. He exchanged grins with Ben. Thompson’s smile was tauntingly flippant. Dyer’s was plainly wry and nerve-taut.

Simms sparkled with persiflage. Dyer knew he was “putting on a play” and tried to help. His misplaced snickers of applause would have challenged the attention of an alert observer; but Thompson and Fisher seemed to have laid aside their character­istic vigilance.

Simms was unable to persuade the pair to join him on a jaunt “across the creek.” It was his purpose to lure them away from the arsenal of death-loaded malice in which they were dallying. “Across the creek” was the vernacular designation of the red-light district that lay west of San Pedro Creek. Simms believed he had offered the most alluring diversion he could conceive for the delectation of these visitors.

It was with real despair that he finally yielded to Thompson’s insistence on “seeing the show from the balcony.” Simms led the way upstairs, carefully threading a course as far as possible from that part of the house in which Joe Foster sat.

The Crystal Palace—which had come to be better known as Jack Harris’ Vaudeville—was of the conventional pattern of the variety theatres or honkytonks of that era. The lower part of the auditorium lay on a level with the downstairs bar. The orchestra or pit was filled with folding chairs cleated to movable planks. When the show closed, these seats and boards were slapped to­gether and stacked on each side of the hall with the same celerity and precision that attends the striking of a circus tent. The opera­tion uncovered a dance floor.

Overhead, on either side of the auditorium, stretching from the proscenium to the balcony balustrade, was a row of boxes with curtains adjustable at the will of the occupants. One could remain in complete seclusion in these draped stalls. In fact, they were engaged chiefly for pursuits that in more modern circles would have been described as petting parties. They were designed to facilitate the exercise of feminine suasion toward wine con­sumption. On the night of March 11, 1884, not one woman was in any of these boxes.

None of the occupants was visible to Ben Thompson or King Fisher from their positions in the balcony. But details as minute as Fisher’s tiny watch-fob or the cleft in Thompson’s chin were plainly discernible to anyone peering from behind the curtains. And each box was occupied.

The female members of the theatre staff were hired as actresses. Between turns on the stage they moved among the audience in short skirts and red stockings. It was their chore to capture the attention of sociable patrons and to intimate with more or less subtlety their readiness to accept a drink.

To many a callow rambler from the cattle ranges, these ap­proaches were roseate bids to romance. A smitten cowhand “rode the herd hard” in the gilded hour of conquest and his tipple mounted quickly from beer to wine. With each drink the waiter handed the girl a brass check, token of her sales commission. There was no pretense of concealment. Yet this crude routine of commercialism seemed only to fan the flare of flirtation. In such moments, the curtained boxes were most desirable. Never­theless, on this night they were rigorously forbidden to the “drink hustlers.”

Jacobo Coy had joined the party when Simms ushered Thomp­son and Fisher into the balcony. Still a member of the police force, he had become an attache of the Crystal Palace by special license. He stood at Thompson’s right.

Waiters moved back and forth serving whiskey to Thompson and Fisher. The point of snapping nerves was at hand for Simms when Ben finally decided to accept the invitation for “a run across the creek.” The party moved toward the head of the staircase leading downstairs. Halfway, Thompson halted.

“I want to see Joe Foster before I go,” he announced.

Instantly Simms abandoned his pose of nonchalance.

“Don’t do that, Ben,” he pleaded with genuine anguish in his voice. “It’s crazy. You know Joe doesn’t want to talk to you. He sent you word to keep away from him. Let us get out of here without trouble.”

The depth of Simms’s anxiety was dramatized by the simple word “us.” It linked him with Ben in a crisis involving his own partner.

Thompson was unmoved. “To hell with all that,” he growled. “I want to shake hands with Joe. I want to make up with him. Where is he?” And craning his neck, he sighted Foster near the front row of the balcony.
“Hello, Joe!” he called.

Foster arose. Adjusting his pince-nez he made his way toward the man who had hailed him, puckering his eyes intently as he approached.

At that moment, Thompson stood in the unobstructed vision of everyone in the theatre. Foster came almost within arm’s length of Ben before he recognized him. Coy moved closer to Thompson. Simms stepped back a pace. Fisher, standing beside Ben, seemed mildly amused. Neither noted that, except for Jacobo Coy, they were alone in the center of a space that a second before had been crowded.

Every eye in the balcony was riveted on that spot. There was none to detect the moving of the curtains in the boxes.

“Joe,” Thompson spoke in a tone of obviously affected friendli­ness, “I want to shake hands with you.”

Foster appeared cool and in complete mastery of himself. He answered in a firm voice: “Ben, I have told you that there is room enough in the world for both of us without our paths crossing and I will not shake hands with you.”

Thompson seemed to consider this for a moment. “Then come and take a drink with me,” he said, with an awkward effort at a smile.

“No,” Foster answered, “I will not drink with you, either.”

“Then take this!”

A revolver was in Thompson’s hand before the last word left his lips. It was a feat of legerdemain, but Jacobo Coy moved with almost equal quickness. A dozen other men, with tightened nerves, had been waiting for hours for that fateful instant. They acted as if by common command.

A fan of ribbed flame swept across the auditorium. A dozen bolts of fire resounded as one blast.

Thompson and Fisher went down as if felled by a single cleaver. Foster, though struck first, toppled a second later.

Fisher’s left leg crumpled under him and his head lay across Thompson’s chest. The desperado dandy died with empty hands.

Though Jacobo Coy had grabbed Thompson’s gun arm, he did not save Joe Foster’s life. Ben fired one shot. His aim was deflected by Coy’s tackle, but the bullet found fatal lodgment.

The triple tragedy passed into the legends of the Southwest, more frequently the theme of bitterly disputed details than the subject of righteous review. There were many to deplore the passing of King Fisher as sheer assassination. Uvalde County seethed with indignation over the ambuscade of its most pic­turesque citizen.
It was pointed out that before the fusillade had ceased to echo, City Marshal Shardein rushed into the theatre at the head of a police squad. Why, it was asked, did he happen to be waiting in front of the Crystal Palace with so large a force of men? How did he explain the smoking revolvers he saw in the hands of Jacobo Coy and Billy Simms? Why, when he took charge, did he permit all save a few selected witnesses to disappear?
Why was no autopsy held? Was the omission designed to hide the fact that Thompson had been riddled with seventeen bullets, that Fisher’s body showed a dozen mortal wounds, that both men had been shot through the left eye and that a half-dollar would have covered two punctures in Thompson’s heart?

Weren’t the theatre boxes reserved for men armed with car­bines, asked the partisans of King Fisher? Didn’t all the circum­stances prove that it was an ambush organized with such thor­oughness that each man had been assigned the very spot on the victims’ heads and bodies at which to fire?

All these questions were disposed of by a brief editorial in the San Antonio Express. It served as the community’s answer to the critics of that day and of the years that followed. It appeared in the issue of March 12, 1884. It was headed: “A Good Night’s Work.”

It was the journalistic practice to play down stories of lawless violence. Reviewers of a succeeding generation would have found abundant warrant for charging the newspapers of that period with truckling to the advertiser. They represented “the vested in­terests”—the business circles and property-owners. They demanded a “soft pedal on desperadoism.”

All this was to preserve the bait for tourists and new settlers. Newcomers would not flock to a region where popping guns and slashing knives were the fashion. They must be coaxed with alluring pictures of the romantic hospitality of a people flourish­ing in a plenitude of nature. So, there was great applause for the advertiser’s arguments against newspaper emphasis of those inci­dents that “retarded substantial growth.” And if the publisher, in response, was more paternalistic than journalistic, it must be said in his behalf that his readers, in the main, approved his policy.

Perhaps there was a prevalence of editorial strabismus. It might be traced to overstudy of the advertiser’s meretricious philosophy. Adequate publicity would have incited public measures for sterner law enforcement. The repression of news contributed con­trary effects. It was generally interpreted as reflecting a common acceptance of a policy of laissez faire. Thus, while the journalist substituted the role of the promoter for his duty as a publisher and salved his professional conscience with the spurious anodyne of “greater public service,” the gun and the knife of the desperado had continued to flash hourly contempt of the law. The press of the day, muffling its columns, muffed one of its greatest oppor­tunities to serve the very purpose for which they were blunder­ingly muffled.

A condensed account of the murder of Jack Harris was pre­sented by the San Antonio Express on the morning after the tragedy. It was relegated to the back page. In sharp contrast, sev­eral months later, was the Express’ extended description of Austin’s delirious jamboree welcoming Ben Thompson home. It apppeared on the first page under a “top head.”    
No episode of several years had commanded such keen public attention as the wiping out of Ben Thompson and King Fisher. It was not the mere killing of two adventurers. It was a massacre of desperadoism. Full newspaper pages would have been devoured by avid readers. But on the day after the spectacular slaughter, the San Antonio Express dismissed the epic story with less than a column on the last page. The heading was: "Jack Harris Revenged.” And the Express was then, as it has continued to be through succeeding generations, the foremost morning paper of the section, with a faithful devotion to its readers’ interests.

While the classic chapter of news bestirred only a modicum of professional enterprise, it yielded to me the first inspiration for journalism. I sensed the call during the inquest conducted by Justice Anton Adam.
Again resting on my father’s shoulder, I sat in the window opening from the patio into Justice Adam’s courtroom. The scene was quite unlike the picture presented at the arraignment of Ben Thompson for Jack Harris’ murder. Afterward, it was explained that the permission for my presence was a sentimental concession to my share in that evening twenty months before.

There was a good deal of confusion to me in the fact that while the solemn proceedings concerned the same man, it was the nature of his absence that occasioned them. But I understood clearly that I was never again to see the big fellow who gave a whole bunch of bananas to the boy that had escaped a thrashing.

The men in the courtroom seemed altogether different. It was more than the change from gaslight to sunshine. These men., though very grave, were not at all nervous. They were extremely quiet, as if eager not to miss a word spoken by each of the men who swore to tell the truth.

As the procession of witnesses moved in and out of the chair to which they were led, a young man in a loose white shirt, with sandy hair and a wee yellow mustache, asked their names, where they lived, how old they were and what they did for a living; and he wrote it all down. He was scarcely more than a boy, but he seemed to be the only person in the courtroom with work to do.

Justice Adam told each witness when he might leave his chair, but it was the blond young man who asked them to repeat words and sentences. There was another man who put questions to the witnesses, but no one except the boy with the little mustache seemed to have the right to stop what was going on whenever he wanted to.

It was very puzzling. How could a young fellow, only half the age of anyone else in the room, be so important?

“That’s John R. Lunsford,” my father explained. “He’s a news­paper reporter. He works on the Light."

There was never again any doubt in my mind as to what I would be when I grew up. Other boys could dream of being policemen, circus clowns, drum majors, firemen, broncho-busters, Indian scouts, street-car conductors and even calliope players; but all those seemed foolish beside a newspaper reporter.

Years later, when Lunsford was a star on a metropolitan news­paper staff of which I was city editor, I learned the real inward­ness of his extraordinary activity that day in the courtroom in Veramendi Alley. Justice Anton Adam had no clerical staff. Ordinarily, he acted as his own clerk, transcribing in script such minutes as he deemed necessary. But the inquest into the killing of Ben Thompson and King Fisher was fraught with so many political and other complications that he wanted a more compre­hensive record than his own memory might assure. Lunsford was present to report the hearing for his newspaper. Justice Adam delegated him to set down the testimony for the official records.

So, it was the functioning of a recording clerk instead of a newspaper reporter that captivated my juvenile enthusiasm for journalism.

Chapter 2 Part 1 next week    link to previous installment   link to next installment


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Tradin' Paint

When it comes to sports, if it doesn't involve nine innings and a lot of spitting, you've pretty much lost me. Auto racing I find particularly sleep-inducing. It's like watching afternoon rush hour, except in an oval instead of a straight line. The occasional punctuation of a horrendous crash fails to win me over -- as exciting as it may be, watching it makes me feel like one of those rubber-necking morons who have to slow down for a long loving look at the scene of a car accident on the road.

That being said, I think that Geof Brooks' comic strip Tradin' Paint, subject matter aside, is quite an impressive accomplishment. Brooks was a big-time NASCAR fan who also loved to cartoon, so he quite reasonably sought to combine those two passions. His first taste of success in drawing racing toons was when they began to be accepted by Winston Cup Scene, a weekly newsmagazine of the sport. He came up with the character of Leadfoot McRae, a hapless NASCAR driver, and quickly developed a following.

Not thinking that the national syndicates would be interested in his concept because the NASCAR fan base is primarily in the southeast US, in 1995 he decided to try self-syndicating Leadfoot (the strip's title at the time). He garnered about six subscribing papers, but more importantly his strip was noticed by a Universal Press Syndicate salesman, who was impressed.

Universal Press Syndicate saw that interest in NASCAR was exploding across the country, so they felt the strip was worth trying nationally. Brooks was signed up to produced one daily-style strip and a Sunday per week. The daily-style strip was intended to be a fit for a newspaper's weekly NASCAR page, a round-up of the week's racing that was a pretty common sports section feature. About thirteen papers, predictably mostly in the Southeast, picked up the offering which debuted sometime in February 1997. A few biggies were in the mix -- the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Knoxville News-Sentinel.

With NASCAR fever at its height in the late 1990s, the sign-up was probably less than either creator or syndicate had hoped. What the problem was I don't know, but maybe newspaper editors felt that NASCAR interest was a fad that would shortly subside, or maybe they didn't want to make space in their Sunday comics sections for a strip with a niche audience. In any case, after two years Brooks and the syndicate decided to wave the checkered flag on the career of Leadfoot McRae.

PS: If anyone can supply specific start and end dates for Leadfoot or Tradin' Paint, I'd love to hear from you.


I know the Tradin' Paint daily was running as late as February 20, 2000 in the New Bern (NC) Sun Journal. There is no date on the strip itself, but it says "(c) 2000 Geof Brooks / distributed by Universal Press Syndicate." so apparently it was still being produced into 2000
I actually miss this strip and wish it could've done better. Sure, NASCAR may not be for everyone, even I rarely watch, however, the misadventures of Leadfoot McRae we're still HILARIOUS AF and it's a shame that it didn't catch on with everyone. I think it more likely that it just didn't get a chance.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Faith Burrows


Faith Burrows was born in Dayton, Ohio, on November 17, 1904, according to her death certificate at

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Burrows was the only child of Ohio native Earl and “Eveline”, a Canadian. They lived at 231 North William Street in Dayton. Her father was a machinist at the National Cash Register company.

According to the 1920 census, the Burrows remained in Dayton but at a different address, 1125 Fourth Street.

Burrows graduated from Steele High School in 1922. For three consecutive school years, she was a member of the Ellen H. Richards SocietyBurrows’ death certificate said she had two years of college. Information regarding Burrows’ art training has not been found.

Dayton city directories from 1922 to 1928 listed Burrows and her mother, Evelyn, at 836 North Linwood. The 1924 directory said Burrows was a librarian at the Dayton Daily News.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), May 8, 1925, printed a photograph of Burrows with her pet lion cub and said:

Members of the Dayton Lions’ Club were astonished when Miss Faith Burrows appeared at the meeting with her pet, a lion cub.
Club members asserted that Miss Burrows, a Dayton girl, appeared to be qualified not only to join their organization but also the Lion Tamers’ Club, to judge by the behavior of the cub, which acted more like a playful kitten.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Burrows drew the Ritzy Rosey panel for the O’Dell Newspaper Service, from 1927 to July 1927. The Fourth Estate, July 23, 1927, reported the panel’s new owner. 
Rights to “Ritzy Rosey,” a one-column daily cartoon by Faith Burrow [sic], featuring also a smart description of modes and fashions, have been purchased by King Features Syndicate, Inc. “Ritzy Rosey” will be released August 1.
In the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, March 6, 1928, King Features filed a trademark application for Ritzy Rosey
Ser. No. 260,279. King Features Syndicate, Inc., New York, N. Y. Filed Jan. 18, 1928.
Ritzy Rosey
Particular description of goods.— Newspaper Cartoons. Claims use since Aug. 1, 1927.
The November 6, 1928 issue of the Gazette said King Features filed a trademark application for Ritzy Rosalie, apparently a replacement for Ritzy Rosey
Ser. No. 272,408. King Features Syndicate, Inc., New York, N.Y. Filed Sept. 14, 1928.
Ritzy Rosalie 
For Newspaper Section. Claims use since June 4, 1928.
American Newspaper Comics said Burrows started a new series, Flapper Filosofy, for King Features. This panel ran from 1929 to 1935. The panel was included in a 1934 Canadian Patent Office Record.

Around 1929, Burrows married Jerrold A. Swank. The 1930 census said the couple resided in Dayton on Grand Avenue. Burrows’ (Faith B. Swank) occupation was newspaper cartoonist and writer, and her husband was a telegraph transmission man who was also involved in radio. The 1930 city directory listed their address as 729 Grand Avenue.

Editor & Publisher, January 30, 1932, listed Beautyettes by Aldine Swank. American Newspaper Comics said the artist’s name was a Burrows pseudonym. I suspect Aldine was the middle name of her husband.

The 1940 census recorded no occupation for Burrows who had no work in 1939. Her husband was a radio broadcasting engineer. Their home was Harrison, Ohio at 89 Nottingham Road.

In the late 1940s, Burrows’ husband formed Swank Films Incorporated. The Billboard, April 30, 1949, had this listing:

Swank Films, Inc.
19 W. 4th., Dayton 2, O. 
Hemlock 2879 
Jerrold A Swank, Pres.
Services: F

A similar listing appeared in the 1949 Broadcasting Yearbook.

The 1959 Dayton city directory listed Burrows as vice-president of Swank Films. Her husband was president and treasurer.

Burrows passed away April 11, 1997, at a long-term care facility in Washington Court House, Ohio. The Social Security Death Index said she had been a resident of St. Louis, Missouri. Her husband died in 1984

—Alex Jay


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Monday, April 17, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Flapper Filosofy

Once panels like Girligags and Flapper Fanny had proven that the combination of pretty girl drawings and sassy gags was gold with newspaper readers, every syndicate had to have one. King Features got into the race with Flapper Filosofy by Faith Burrows, which debuted on January 28 1929. Ms. Burrows was already producing another panel for King, titled variously Ritzy Rosie and Ritzy Rosalie, which looked like a flapper gag panel, but was actually concerned with beauty and fashion advice*.

1929 was way too late to find many open newspaper spots for a flapper panel, as most papers already had one that they liked. Though Burrows' take on the genre was perfectly fine, with nice drawings and decent gags, her panel languished in obscurity, never attracting a large number of subscribers. King Features has generally been a syndicate where a new feature is given every possible chance, though, and the panel was produced until February 15 1936, quite a long run considering the small client list.

* there's some possibility that Ritzy Rosie and Flapper Filosofy might have been melded into a single feature circa 1930-31, as late in the run of the former it changes over to gags. I haven't found a decent run of the two features in that era, though, to compare side by side and answer the question.


I am surprised to see a Black woman presented as a beauty contestant. Definitely not typical of the time.
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