Saturday, June 17, 2017


Herriman Saturday

February 16 1909 -- American industrialist Henry Clay Frick is in Paris and wants to go see a Wilbur Wright demonstration flight out on the coast. He and his entourage arrive at the train station only to find out that the train is fully booked. Frick insists that they add a special luxury car to the train, saying cost is no object. The French, not realizing how serious those words are to an American multi-millionaire, said it was impossible and sent the train on.

Instead Frick simply ordered a special train, just for his party. They got to see Wilbur Wright at the mere cost of approximately $1200 American dollars. In today's money I'd guess that to be something like $75,000. A mere bagatelle....


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Friday, June 16, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg's Foolish Questions postcards were a huge hit, but he also produced a set under the running title The Ancient Order of the Glass House. These were issued by the same company that did his Foolish Questions cards, which offers only their logo, intertwined initials B and S, as identification (Barton Spooner?). While the Foolish Questions cards were series 213, these were series 212, presumably meaning they were issued earlier. This particular example was postally used in 1910.

By the way, I just stumbled upon Paul Tumey's essay about Goldberg's Foolish Questions. Recommended reading!


BS= Samson Bros., NY.
I've seen similar sets to this (annoying people), which makes me wonder if these were based on a certain newspaper strip or not.
Hi E. --
Rube's comic strip for the Mail didn't have an over-arching running title, but did use many running titles for various recurring themes. Although I don't have a bunch of pre-1910 strips here to look at, I'm confident that this was one of his recurring themes in the Mail series in that era.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 5 Part 1

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 5

At The Editorial Valhalla (part 1)

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“Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat, but the Alamo had none.” This is one of the inscriptions marking the historic Franciscan mission in the heart of San Antonio. It is the unofficial city slogan. Cavilers have decried the sentence as too sanguinary to be coupled with a civic outlook. It does not appear on the municipal crest. But its epic theme echoes through the programs of community convocations. The heroic last stand of 180 Texas volunteers against 3,000 Mexicans under General Santa Ana is San Antonio’s most sacred legend. Memories of two of the martyrs, Davy Crockett and James Bowie, were intertwined in schoolroom lessons. But the spirit they should have infused was absent from my return to San Antonio.

Apprehension was routed by annoyance. There would be no trial for libel. The indictment had long since been dismissed. At my father’s instance, no notice of the dismissal was forwarded to me. He reckoned shrewdly. My belief that the case was still pending might be turned to useful account. His theory was verified when Frank Ellinger told of seeing me in a prize-ring. Shook & Vander Hoeven, who had been unwilling to interfere with my work in journalism, felt differently about a pugilistic career. They subjected Ellinger to stringent questioning. His report was convincing. The cunningly worded wire was sent to drag me from an ignoble pursuit.

Tom Vander Hoeven was genuinely distressed by my explanation. But he comforted himself with a dig at my gullibility. “You were smart enough to broaden your training for journalism,” he said, “but you’re not yet smart enough to analyze a telegram. Study that message. A clever newspaperman should have asked for more facts before acting.”

My reappearance in San Antonio was highly opportune. Jeff Nordhouse considered it talismanic. Jeff was the typographical “swift” of the Southwest. He was the winner of a number of speed contests in type-setting. With Joe Hamilton and Chris Callan, fellow-typesetters, he had procured financial backing for an afternoon paper. The office would be in the printing plant of W. L. Winter, on Soledad Street, opposite the courthouse, in the center of town. All mechanical arrangements were perfected, but it remained to provide the contents of the publication. The frame was ready, but the picture was missing. The first issue had been delayed by lack of a news staff. Now, Jeff believed, my arrival at this critical point was an augury of certain success.

A new partnership of four was formed—Nordhouse, Hamilton, Callan and myself. Joe Fonda, a combination bookkeeper and circulation manager, with J. B. Pond, advertising solicitor, completed the staff. Fonda drew $12 and Pond $18 a week. Pond was the patriarch of the organization. At thirty-five, he was a veteran of canvassing campaigns of every description throughout the South. His high salary was a concession to his larger domestic responsibilities.

The Evening Star was launched with a flourish. Scores of acquaintances handled the free distribution of the first issue of 5,000 copies. That was expansive promotion in those days. The newspaper itself was palpably amateurish. But the dearth of professional polish was abundantly offset with enthusiasm. There was no perspective of experience to cramp its style or daring. Many readers found its leaven of juvenility refreshing. They were indulgent even to its sallies of sophomoric wit, such as this editorial paragraph:

There was a classic forecast of the stellar course of San Antonio's new daily newspaper. A proper sympathy will find it in this stanza by Lord Byron:

. . . ’Tis sweet to hear
At midnight on the blue and moonlit deep,
The song and oar of Adria’s gondolier,
By distance mellow’d, o’er the waters sweep;
’Tis sweet to see the evening star appear. . . .
No matter what color my face may turn now at the record of such callowness, it was great fun at the time. And the circulation figures gave approval to our gladsomeness. At the end of three months, the Evening Star claimed the largest circulation of any afternoon paper in South Texas. There were two local competitors, the Light and the News. The Times had passed out. The Light kept its figures secret. We credited it with 2,000 subscribers. The News was negligible. It was not any scintillating quality that attracted readers to the Evening Star. Such popularity as it gained was the fruit of sheer toil. Never had so many items of local information appeared in a single issue of a San Antonio daily as were regularly offered in each edition of the Evening Star. We had no telegraphic service. So, the growth of our subscription list could be attributed almost wholly to one factor, the copious volume of neighborhood news.

Intensive coverage of a small town’s happenings is an onerous undertaking. It involves real risks and frequent hardships. The intimacies of a limited population exaggerate the importance of near-by events. They magnify to the subject of untoward tidings the adverse effects of publication. Suppression is often demanded as a right of neighborly obligation. Newspaper penetration of privacy is at times held intolerable.

San Antonio’s population in 1892 exceeded 35,000. It was the chief entrepot for the trade between the United States and Mexico. It spoke with metropolitan majesty; but it whispered with small-town cant. The newspapers treated stories involving domestic infelicity with excessive delicacy.

The “shush-shush” of clubwomen critics resounded between the lines. So, a city-wide sensation followed when the Evening Star presented a full column of details of the petition for divorce filed by Mrs. Clarence Lyons. The Express used the item the next morning in much smaller space.

The defendant was a superintendent of mechanical operation. The plaintiff, the former Mary Klockenkemper, was the daughter of a prominent jeweler. Publication of the divorce action drove Lyons into a frantic rage. Death alone, he swore, could expunge this outrage. Despite an almost incoherent fury, he investigated personal responsibility for the published news. Major culpability was fixed on me. If my story had not been printed in the Evening Star, he concluded, the suit would not have been mentioned in the Express. Still, that didn’t excuse Bill Blunt, night editor of the morning paper. It would require the life-blood of both Blunt and Koenigsberg to wipe out this disgrace.

“Personal Safety in the Southwest” was the caption of an article that had appeared in the Evening Star a few weeks before. The material around which it was written came to me from Jacobo Coy, described in the feature as “the eminent authority on the strategies and dynamics of private warfare.” It was a rather strained effort at humor. But it ended on a note of seriousness. Coy outlined “three rules of conduct for the peace-lover.” They read: “1. Avoid the habit of wearing a gun. The reputation of going armed justifies the other fellow in shooting on sight. 2. A weapon should be used only for self-defense. If actual danger necessitates the carrying of a firearm, cut that danger to the shortest possible duration. 3. Don’t let a grudge smolder. It may flare up when you’re least in readiness.”

No better counsel seemed available. The first injunction was superfluous. But the second and third applied to my complication. At three o’clock that afternoon, the crack of a pistol shot halted me. It was in Losoya Street, in front of the Express office. The explosion seemed underfoot. Another crash snapped my eyes to the spot, scarcely six steps away, where Bill Blunt lay motionless on the pavement, a smoking revolver alongside his outstretched hand. Over Blunt, his body sagging and his arms pinioned from behind, tottered Clarence Lyons. A reddened dagger slid through his fingers to the asphalt. The strong arms clasping Lyons dragged him up and away from Blunt. Their owner’s face had been hidden by Clarence’s shoulders. Now, as he turned, I recognized Frank G. Huntress, Jr., a bright young attache of the Express.

Huntress had been in the office of the Express when, through a window, he saw Lyons attack Blunt. He leaped over a counter to stop the fight. Blunt went down at the first knife thrust. Lyons sat astride him. The blade rose and fell again before Bill could draw his revolver. Then, with his elbow on the pavement, Blunt fired. Huntress reached them as the first shot sounded. Both Lyons and Blunt survived their wounds.

Providence chose Blunt instead of me to answer for publishing a divorce story. Else this chronicle might not have been written. Huntress’s intervention probably averted a fatal outcome. His deportment that day was of a piece with his career. He rose to the proprietorship of the newspaper on which he started as a route boy. In 1918 he launched the San Antonio Evening News. Adding it to the Express, he became the most successful publisher in the extensive field that his two dailies have continued to serve with dignified vigor.

While individual vengeance sufficed for divorce stories, lynching was not uncommon in the South for other kinds of publicity. Timorous forerunners of modern gossip columnists were favorite prey. They clung to the shelter of anonymity. Even their output was largely anonymous. Theirs was pale piffle compared with the racy reports of Broadway commentators a generation later. Yet these fugacious pedlers of tattle were hunted out with stern relentlessness. The hunters often followed a wrong scent. There were more innocent victims of mob violence than actual offenders. Most of the real culprits kept under effective cover. And there was scant palliation for the mistakes. “Skunk-chasing isn’t a nice sport or an exact science,” ran the apology of one administrator of lynch law in North Texas. “If you’re a good citizen you’ll take the bad medicine without a whimper and help us find the right subject for a good dose.”

Sharp warnings were delivered in doubtful cases. In some instances the admonition was limited to a lecture in the center of a group under a cottonwood tree. There was a noose around the chief listener’s neck. The rope end hung across an overhead branch. An occasional tug emphasized the speaker’s remarks. At times a kangaroo court convened in solemn session. If the defendant failed to refute the accusation, ostracism was decreed. A liberal coating of tar and feathers prepared him for a bouncing ride out of town on a fence-rail.

The publication of personal innuendo was commonly regarded as an abhorrent form of literate degeneracy. If the insinuation pointed to impropriety or unseemliness, street-corner crowds discussed the need for a vigilance committee. If it took a pornographic twist, a neighborhood convulsion ensued. Conservators of public morals saw the pillars of decency smeared with filth.

Printing of such material was held lower than common pandering. Reputable daily newspapers steered clear of gossip bearing the faintest tinge of indecorum. But the Southwest was blanketed with a highly successful scandal sheet. It gained the largest circulation until then attained in the region. More than 100,000 copies of the Kansas City Sunday Sun were sold weekly. Its eight pages were devoted exclusively to the mention of persons—whose full names were usually withheld. Separate editions were printed for different sections to afford adequate coverage. The “local gleanings” of a single locality occupied from one to two columns.

No copy of any issue was purchasable on the day after arrival. It was the Kansas City Sunday Sun that precipitated the transient vogue for lynching bees. Rewards were privately offered for identification of its correspondents. In constant jeopardy of life or limb, these hounded scriveners plied their surreptitious operations for a pitiable pittance. Few, if any of them, received as much as $20 a week for their hazardous work.

Time has made an ironic jest of their tribulations. Communities that once tarred and feathered them in later years would have indulged their most atrocious offenses as vapid prattle. Beside the untrammeled licentiousness of some gossip columns of the 1930s, their effusions would read like idle chitchat. The Kansas City Sunday Sun observed at least a modicum of decency. It did not drag the marriage couch under the spotlight. It left to the private scrutiny of bridal couples the calendars of their maternity plans. It supplied no publicity percussion to widen a marital breach. It hastened no domestic crash with affirmative predictions. It did not speculate about a prospective bride’s choice of a second husband before the consummation of her first nuptials. It did not champion vulgarity against modesty. It offered no approval of debauchery. It did not cultivate a special wit for the exploitation of sex perversion. It did not lift the veil that still screened some of the valid privacies of life. Good taste was yet a social entity.

The Kansas City Sunday Sun concentrated on masculine peccadillos. It found intimation more attractive than exposure. The curiosity of readers was whetted with incomplete descriptions of individuals. The method promoted a game of identification. As much interest was generated by guiding recognition of the principal as by telling the details of an escapade.

A typical item brought me into an exciting collision with its central figure. The paragraph read: “There’s a fire department officer the sound of whose last name has a meaning directly contrary to his day-off didos. Look out, C. Better take your badge back from that San Saba Street red-head. Her Government Hill meal ticket may get sore and turn it in.” The meaning was perfectly clear to Charlton Wright. Busybody friends made sure that his wife didn’t miss it. A family crisis resulted. Embarrassment for other members of the department, with the same surname, was averted by the single letter “C.”

None of this reached me until the following Sunday. Then, at noon, a distraught husband thrust me into the wretched drama. A handsome fellow, in the dress uniform of a fire captain, hailed me outside the Evening Star office. He had been waiting on the opposite sidewalk. No one else was in sight. Instead of a helmet, he had an ornate shako. He was holding it in both hands. The angle at which he carried it forced a queer clumsiness as he crossed the street. Nothing was said until he was less than an arm’s length away. Then he asked: “Is your name Koenigsberg?”

His arms flung apart at my answer. A long-barreled pistol emerged from the tasseled headpiece. Its muzzle was pressed against my stomach. The shako, swung out of the way in his left hand, slipped from his fingers and rolled along the pavement.

The man’s face was startlingly white. His eyes protruded. His lips moved, but there was no sound. There was a drumming in my ears. It bore an eerie echo of the voice of Jacobo Coy. It formed into phrases of a warning Coy had once spoken. “The man who intends to shoot doesn’t waste time talking to you about it,” he had said. “He shoots. You’d be fairly safe if he gave you a chance to argue.” Wouldn’t this fellow talk? My own tongue was paralyzed. The seconds stretched into what seemed like immeasurable time. Then, at last, a queer noise came from the twitching mouth. It was both a croak and a scream. “You’ve got just one minute to pray, you----- .”

The words were chilling, but the voice quavered. It broke into a sob. The man was trembling as if with ague. My numbed senses sparked into action. Hope flashed through the darkness that had closed around me. There was more of hysteria than murder in this fellow. He had talked. We might reason together. If only his trigger finger would hold steady long enough. Speech came to me in a torrent.

“What’s eating you? Are you insane? Who are you? You must be crazy to think of killing a man without letting him know why. What good would it do you? What have you got against me?”

A vortex of emotion charged the outburst with a harshness of tone that no studied effort could have produced. It shocked my own hearing. It stirred the man with the gun. His left hand arose as if to brush something away from his forehead. A paroxysm twisted his features. He seemed to be gulping for utterance. At last he spoke in labored wheezes. “A ----- that breaks up homes and ruins other people’s lives has no right to live.” There was no direct menace in this. It was a general statement. The man was arguing. Feeling, rather than reason, brought these facts to my consciousness. A growing relief restored control of my voice. “What makes you think I have done such things?”

The question acted on my assailant like the flick of a whip. He was plainly nonplussed. A sudden doubt had evidently beset him. Slowly, wonderingly, he put it into a query: “Aren’t you the Kansas City Sun correspondent?”

The vehemence of my denial was palpably convincing. The figure in front of me seemed to shrink. The gun sank until the muzzle pointed downward. Tears were streaming down the man’s cheeks as he muttered: “My friends told me they had checked up on it. They told me you were the regular correspondent. I don’t know what kept me from shooting.”

The distracted man was Charlton Wright. The paragraph in the Kansas City Sunday Sun had disrupted his family. He was crazed with grief. There was a momentary resentment of the excruciating strain to which he had subjected me. But anger could not endure against this tortured host of unhappiness. Wright fumbled around for a moment in a daze. Then he reversed his revolver and silently presented the handle to me. The proffered gun was not accepted. Instead, Wright’s shako was lifted from the pavement and handed to him.

In the ineffaceable memory of that Sunday noon encounter is stamped one of the criterions of my newspaper code. It was wrought out of conclusions drawn from Charlton Wright’s trying experience. He may have been a philanderer. He may have deserved punishment of some sort. Neither his innocence nor his obliquity was at issue. The force of the printed word had ripped a domestic establishment into shreds. There was no relief for the victims. Legal measures could not restore the shattered home. The odium of that outrage contaminated the source from which the daily newspaper derived its physical existence. Through printer’s ink flowed the same power that on one hand exerted inestimable good and on the other imposed incalculable harm.

The malevolent elements of that power must be filtered for the protection of legitimate journalism. This could be accomplished by the adoption of a principle that was formulated for incorporation in my table of professional commandments thus:

Legitimate news, comprising those elements of public intelligence the publication of which embraces the fundamental purposes of journalism, may not be suppressed; but any other communication or comment touching matters apart from the public welfare is unfit for publication, even though true, if it may inflict an injury or a wrong not susceptible to redress at law.

Such a law of procedure would inherit for journalism a nobler quality of ethical leadership. It would cramp the style of a number of columnists, but it would enhance the prestige and expand the influence of many newspapers. It would reduce the space surrendered to eroticism. It would close countless avenues to the seepage of scandal. It would remove a formidable impediment to the inculcation of good taste.

Disgust over the Kansas City Sunday Sun only heightened my pride in the Evening Star. But a disillusionment was at hand. Salaciousness was not the only ogre that leered at the sacredness of the sanctum. Corruption stalked a newspaper in various disguises. One of these masks was unexpectedly lifted by a bit of diligent reporting. Upheaval of my own office resulted.

Chapter 5 Part 2 Next Week   
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dorothy Urfer

Dorothy A. Urfer was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1905 according to a family tree at Urfer had an older sister born January 4, 1904.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Urfer was the third of four children born to Fred and Pearl. Her father was a jeweler who operated a jewelry store. Also in the household was Urfer’s maternal grandmother. They resided in Center, Indiana, on School Street.

The Urfer family grew by two members in the 1920 census. Their home was at 201 Wheeling Avenue in Muncie, Indiana. Urfer’s father managed a furniture store.

The 1925 Muncie city directory listed Urfer as a dental assistant at 301 Western Reserve Life. She continued to live at home.

Urfer sent a letter about dolls to the magazine Science and Invention which answered her questions in the July 1927 issue (see page 262, Patent Advice, “Protecting and Marketing a Suggestion”). Urfer’s interest in dolls would resurface later in her life.

At some point, Urfer moved to Cleveland.

Urfer worked for the NEA. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said she was the third of five artists to draw Radiomania which was started by Joe King in November 1927. Art Krenz was next. Urfer’s stint started in 1929. She was followed by Charles Okerbloom and George Scarbo. Urfer’s next NEA series was Annibelle which she dew from December 29, 1929 into March 1936. It was continued by Virginia Krausman.

On August 31, 1935, Urfer married NEA cartoonist Joseph “Joe” King. At the time, Urfer’s
address was 1644 Robinwood Avenue. King resided at Quad Hall on Euclid Avenue.

Urfer worked on other NEA projects such as books of poetry.

According to the 1940 census, Urfer had a two-year-old son, Timothy. The family of three lived in Weston, Connecticut.

In 1953 Urfer wrote and illustrated The Little Red Bicycle. Urfer may have illustrated Mary Alden’s Cook Book for Children. The 1955 book had pictures by “Dorothy King”.

Urfer’s husband passed away January 24, 1980. The death notice mentioned three more children, Heather, Heidi and Stephen, and one grandchild, Mistianna. A research paper was dedicated to Urfer and her husband in 1982.

New York Magazine, February 25, 1980, profiled Urfer who was repairing dolls in New York City. The profile included a photograph of Urfer and one of her Annibelle strips.

The date and place of Urfer’s passing has not been found.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Joe King

Joseph B. “Joe” “Joel” King was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 16, 1904. His birthplace was recorded on a passenger list and marriage certificate. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded King and his parents, Clifford, a hotel waiter, and Edith, in his paternal grandparents’s household. The grandparents were George, a carpenter contractor, and Emily. They all resided in Los Angeles, California at 529 Daly Street.

Canton, Ohio was King’s hometown in the 1920 census. He and his mother were part of his maternal grandmother’s household. The address for Katie Stauffer, her son, Milton, King and his mother was 2111 Ninth Street SW.

King attended Canton’s McKinley High School. The Canton Repository, April 27, 1923, reported the results of the poster contest.

The rewards in the annual W.C.T.U. poster contest at McKinley high school were made last Thursday afternoon at the school where the posters have been on exhibition for Visitors’ week. First prize of $5 was awarded to Joseph King, a senior…
King’s relationship with the Repository was revealed in the December 13, 1925 edition of the Repository.
Joseph King, formerly photographer and cartoonist with The Repository and graduate of McKinley high school in 1922, [sic] has illustrated a children’s book entitled, “Mother Goose Secrets,” which has been published for the holiday season by Small, Maynard and Company.

The author of the book is Mrs. Barbara Webb Bourjaily, former newspaper woman in Dayton and Cleveland, who has told in a style to interest young and old alike…
Some of the Mother Goose Secrets art can be viewed here.

Canton city directories for 1923 and 1924 listed King as a cartoonist. He was an artist in the 1925 directory.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said King drew What Does Your Child Want to Know?, from 1926 to 1927, for the Bell Syndicate. The writers were C.E. Brown (1926) and Barbara Bourjaily (1927).

At some point King joined the staff of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. King was the first of five artists on Radiotics which started November 1927. King was followed by Art Krenz, Dorothy Urfer, Charles Okerbloom and George Scarbo.

Hal Cochran wrote The Tinymites which debuted October 8, 1926. The first two artists were Larry Redner and Irving Knickerbocker. King did the illustrations from February 19, 1930 to 1931. George Scarbo was the next artist. Cochran also wrote The Clownies which was drawn by King from 1931 to April 1933. The next artist was Scarbo. King also produced two toppers for The Clownies: Animal Cracks ran from July 17, 1932 to April 1933, and Comic Zoo started September 11, 1932 and ended March 12, 1933.

For the Central Press Association, King drew Gabby which was written by William Ritt. It had a short run from July 29 to October 26, 1935. King filled in on two Sundays (March 29 and April 5, 1936) of Frank Buck’s Ted Towers Animal Master which was syndicated by King Features.

King married Dorothy Urfer on August 31, 1935, according to the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes. Some time after the wedding, King left Cleveland.

King, his wife and son, Timothy, were residents of Weston, Connecticut in the 1940 census. King was a self-employed artist.

The Repository, August 1, 1943, reported King’s rush job for Ladies Home Journal and his career.

A graphic continuity of pictures dramatizing a condensed version of Walter Lippman’s book, “U.S. Foreign Policy,” has been drawn by Joe King, former Repository photographer…

Tracing the story of United States commitments from the time it became a republic and its power to protect these commitments, which basically involve the nation’s foreign policy, the graphic condensation of the column’s 40,000 word book covers seven pages in the magazine. The continuity is credited to Joel King, the name he now uses to identify his work.

…Artist King worked as a photographer for The Repository in 1924–25, quitting to do free lance work as a cartoonist. He at one time was on the NEA staff at Cleveland and has illustrated several books. Two issues ago he had a two-page spread in Look magazine and has prepared some material for Women’s Home Companion. In addition he does cartoons and illustrations for various advertising and War Bond campaigns and recruiting drives for the armed forces.
Official Directory, American Illustrators and Advertising Artists (1949) had an entry for King: “Joel King 774 Second Ave. New York 17, N. Y. Illustration Rep. Tom Holloway”

Books illustrated by King include Nip Ahoy (1954), The Missing Mitt (1955) and Leave It to Herbert the Electrical Mouse (1958).

The listing in Who’s Who in Commercial Art and Photography (1960) suggests that King worked at home: “KING, Joel GA 6-2001 P.O. Box 57, Hawleyville, Conn.”

A public record at had King’s address and phone number from 1974: “98 Riverside Dr #6C, New York, NY, 10024-5323” and “362-4636”.

King passed away January 24, 1980. A death notice appeared two days later in the New York Times.

King–Joseph B., on January 24th, 1980. Husband of Dorothy. Father of Timothy, Heather, Heidi and Stephen. Also survived by 1 grandchild, Mistianna. Private services were held.

—Alex Jay 


About TED TOWERS, In Holtz book are indicated as by King all the Sundays from March 28 1936 to April 5 1936.
But the correct first Sunday by King was February 23 1936.
Anyway, his Sundays were several and not only two.
"Books illustrated by King include Nip Ahoy (1954)...and Leave It to Herbert the Electrical Mouse (1958)."
That's quite a jump - from adult swim
to the kiddie pool

Any idea why he went from Joe to Joel?

Maybe he thought everyone would think Joe King was a pseudonym?
Joe King, Fay King, Dick Heumer.

I always thought Oscar Samuel Hitt should have signed his work "O. S.Hitt".

I got my copy of the Johnstone & Cushing made giveaway comic done for United States Rubber Company called How to Fish like an Expert from May 1, 1960, with Joe King's signature (same as the Gabby comic strip sample on Lambiek) on the cover. I assume he was employed by J & C during this time.

Also, Jerry Bails and the GCD confirms there is a Joe King who drew the story "Phantom Buffalo" in Buster Brown Comic Book (Brown Shoe Co., 1945 Series) #2 (Winter 1945). Same person? (

my best
-Ray Bottorff Jr
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Monday, June 12, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Radiotics / Radiomania

We've been covering several of NEA's weekly features lately, of which Radiotics is another. Unlike those others we've been discussing lately, however, this one was not offered only with the NEA's weekly Pony Service, but was included in their regular offerings for dailies. Radiotics was meant to be a part of newspaper radio pages, which were mostly once-a-week affairs, hence the frequency of this panel.

Unfortunately, this weekly panel was recorded only spottily in the NEA archives at Ohio State University, so in order to track its many artist changes, I've had to rely on newspaper sources, which are anything but reliable with these weekly panels, so take the dates with a grain of salt.

Radiotics debuted in October 1927, seemingly a rather late entry in the radio panel sweepstakes. However, it is probable that it was intended by NEA as a continuation of their weekly radio strip feature Bugs which began in 1924 and had ended the previous month. Since that was a strip and this is a panel, though, I'm calling them separate features.

The first artist on Radiotics was the wonderfully named NEA bullpenner Joe King (get it? get it?), who had a pleasing drybrush style.

by Joe King

You'll notice that the sample of Joe King's work above is titled Radiomania, not Radiotics. That's because NEA changed the title of the feature in 1928, presumably because Associated Editors was distributing a radio panel feature by Fred Neher with the name Radiotic. Amazing that two creators would come up with the same awful dissonant sounding name, but at least NEA had the sense to change to the much more pleasing Radiomania.

Joe King penned the feature until April 1929, when he handed the baton to Art Krenz. Krenz was NEA's resident sports cartoonist, but evidently hadn't built up enough tenure yet to avoid this assignment. He was better at talking his way out of doing it, though, because he only produced it for about a month.

by Art Krenz

In May 1929 Dorothy Urfer took over, possibly her first assignment for NEA (she began Annibelle later that year). It took her quite awhile to palm Radiomania off on someone else -- her stint lasted until September 1930.

by Dorothy Urfer

Replacing Urfer was a fellow by the name of Charles Okerbloom Jr. He had a very nice mature cartooning style, but I know of no other work he did for NEA or any other syndicate. He later became known as a fine artist and spent many years as an art teacher. A real loss to newspaper cartooning, imho.

by Okerbloom
Okerbloom's first stint on Radiomania only lasted about a month, and then NEA go-to guy George Scarbo took over. The always overworked Scarbo lasted through much of November-December 1930, until he was able to pass the ball back to Okerbloom. Okerbloom then handled the panel from January until October 1931, when Scarbo had the panel dumped back in his lap. Scarbo kept at it until February 1932, when the feature was finally taken off the air.

by George Scarbo

One important postscript about Radiomania is that the dates I'm citing are rather oversimplified. Although I can find no paper that ran the panel with anything approaching a perfect consistent record, I see so many instances of old panels being reused after the initial stint by Joe King that I'm pretty confident in saying that none of the subsequent cartoonists produced the panel every single week. I believe that NEA was not above re-running old panels of this feature on a pretty frequent basis. Therefore you'll see Okerblooms, Scarbos, Urfers and King panels appearing well away from the dates I'm citing above.


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