Saturday, February 24, 2018


Herriman Saturday

June 19 1909 -- How you react to the coverage of this news story depends on whether you're a 'glass half empty' or 'glass half full' kinda person. 'Half empty' notes that Herriman makes light of mashers -- what in today's headlines might be called sexual predators -- and that's a shame. On the other hand, 'half full' notes that the newspaper, while making somewhat light of Mrs. Schmidt's 'pluckiness', does come down on the right side and considers her to be brave, and the one in the right. That conclusion would not, I think, be an absolute given in 1909.


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Friday, February 23, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Thomas Nast Jr.

Here's a 1905 postcard by Thomas Nast Jr., published by the U.S.S. Postcard Company. Yes, this really is the son of that Thomas Nast. Junior's postcards are mostly pretty girl subjects, and he brings a distinctive and delightful 'European poster'-inspired flair to this one. The odd size of the illustration makes me wonder if it was originally intended for something other than a postcard.

Biographical information on Junior is sadly lacking. Paine's biography of dad barely mentions Junior. I wonder what else Junior did with his talent?


For what it's worth, I did locate his entry in the 1930 census; he was 65 then, widowed, and living with his brother Cyril in Larchmont, New York. He didn't appear to have had any children. The 1900 census lists him as an artist living at West 106th Street in New York. He apparently served in neither the Spanish-American War (born in 1865, he would have been 33 for it) nor World War I (likely far too old for service).
Right now, I'm tracking down an intriguing lead. McCann, the well-known advertising agency, posted on Twitter a copy of a logo they say was designed by Thomas Nast, Jr. ("Truth Well Told,") and they say he was one of the founding partners of the agency.
One of the five original investors, but he didn't stick around.
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Thursday, February 22, 2018


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 18

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 18

Aligning the World's Press Experts

link to previous installment   link to next installment

Circumvention of the Associated Press cabal had not insured a favorable place in the sun for International News Service. An opposition even more formidable remained to be beaten. It included a combination of the Associated Press and the United Press. It was launched at a conference that should go down in history as the "conspiracy of Warsaw." It brought into active alliance the official and semi-official news agencies of Europe. Its defeat marked my most important contribution to journalism.

Roy W. Howard was a dominant figure at the Warsaw meeting. The gathering evolved an elaborate plan whereby the facilities of independent news agencies might be crippled, if not destroyed, by statutory enactments of the countries constituting the League of Nations. A bill was framed for submission to the parliaments of the world. It was to be presented for adoption by the first conference of press experts summoned by the League of Nations to assemble at Geneva, August 24, 1927. It was designed to attach to news a proprietary right to be protected, like any other chattel in the tribunals of the different sovereign states.

Most of the authoritative news emanating from foreign centers was issued through official and semi-official agencies. If it were impressed with the attributes of property, it would thus pass into the ownership of those various quasi-public bureaus. These operated in contractual affiliation with the Associated Press and the United Press. Under the proposed legislation—described as the “draft law”—a piece of current intelligence would assume the character of property, appropriation of which might be punished like the theft of any other article of value. Hence, if a correspondent of International News Service were to pick up an item belonging to any of these distributing organizations, he might be subject to prosecution as a common thief.

The sinister significance of this movement greatly alarmed the executives of the Hearst news services. Marc A. Rose, previously managing editor of the Buffalo News and the New York Sun, had become editor and manager of International News Service. He succeeded George G. Shor, who was transferred to an important post with King Features Syndicate. Rose joined Chester R. Hope in urging that I attend the conference at Geneva. Pressure of other duties made me reluctant to go. On my waiver of objection, Rose and Hope appealed to W. R. Hearst. It was at his instruction that I served as the delegate of the Hearst organization to the League of Nations press conference.

My American colleagues included Kent Cooper, general manager of the Associated Press, Karl A. Bickel, president of the United Press, Robert P. Scripps, president of the Scripps-Howard Newspapers, and Frederick T. Birchall, acting managing editor of the New York Times. These four, with me, were the five delegates from the United States. Each of us was accompanied by a staff of associates and assistants. Edwin L. James, later managing editor of the New York Times, was Birchall’s technical adviser. George B. Parker, editor-in-chief of the Scripps-Howard Newspapers, served as aide to Bickel and Scripps. James T. Williams, Jr., formerly managing editor of the Boston Transcript and currently manager of the Universal Service Washington (D. C.) Bureau, together with Robert J. Prew, afterward executive editor of the London Mail, were my adjutants.
Lord Riddell

At Geneva it seemed that the cards were stacked against me. Lord Riddell, owner of the leading English weekly News of the World, was the floor leader. He told me that it was hopeless to oppose the resolution introduced by Kent Cooper approving the draft law advocated by the conference at Warsaw. For three days my efforts to engage him in detailed discussion were frustrated. Cooper and Karl Bickel had convinced him that property rights in news had been confirmed by the federal courts of the United States. It was not until the third day of the debate that Riddell’s doubts were aroused. Then I effected from the rostrum what I had failed to accomplish in personal conversation. My speech was especially directed at Riddell. An epitome is given here:

Journalism has today suffered a stigma that it will take years to erase. I am depressed with the consciousness that at the first international conference of press experts in history, there has become evident a marked confusion, not only concerning the cardinal principles of our profession, but concerning the fundamental laws pertaining to its pursuit. . . . Journalism stands or falls on the principle that news shall be equally available to all who seek it. An attack upon that principle is an assault upon the basis of journalism.

There is apparently a widespread feeling that within our own profession practices are pursued which are seriously injurious to the property interests of newspapers and news agencies. I sympathize with that feeling but I cannot comprehend why it has induced a willingness among journalists to undermine the pillars on which their profession rests. Must we apply to the parliaments of the world for correction of wrongs which have existed exclusively within our own ranks?

All gentlemen who have submitted resolutions to cure the evil which disturbs them, and those who have spoken on the subject, appear to suffer from an identical misapprehension. They seem to think that laws are in existence conferring private ownership in news. I can find no trace of such a law.

In the United States where the highest tribunal, the Supreme Court, has delivered the most recent decision on this subject, it is an established principle that news is not convertible into private ownership. That decision clearly indicates a method for curing the evil at which the gentlemen say these resolutions are directed. While property rights in news as news cannot be conferred on private parties, quasi rights in and to news secured by newspapers and news agencies do exist as against competitors. These rights may be protected under existing doctrines of law. . . .

My colleagues from America have spoken eloquency of the moral aspects of this question. Their eloquence is all the more notable in view of their apparent confusion about the nature of the question itself. They have referred to the judgment of the United States Supreme Court as if it upheld their position. They have mentioned with evident, though mistaken, satisfaction the photographic copies of that momentous decree, which you found at your seats at the opening of this session. It was I, not they, who supplied those facsimiles. They were placed before you as exhibits in support of the substitute resolution which I have submitted opposing any declaration of property in news. ...

Any law that would alienate from the public domain one iota of property rights in news would be a prelude to other laws and other regulations for extending that alienation, until all property rights in news had departed from the public and were vested in private owners.

I believe—and all those who are associated with me believe—that it is the highest duty of journalists to secure the free and unimpeded flow of news from one nation to another. I believe that only through such a process can nations be brought into closer harmony. I believe that any movement that can possibly be twisted, converted or distorted into a process by which private enterprise becomes the possessor of a property right in news will tend to defeat the highest aims of our civilization.

As eager as we all appear to be to prevent misappropriation of the fruits of our labors by our competitors, I am more anxious to prevent a monopoly of news. I am gratified by the admission by one of our colleagues that the term “property right in news” is a misnomer. But can we rest there?

How many of us would be satisfied with a deed to a piece of real estate with a description of property that either did not exist or could not be found? We must be careful not to let the feeling that something is only a misnomer lead us into a fatal error. In the effort to preserve the flowers that you cultivate, do not surrender the garden in which they grow.

There can be no monopoly in something that does not exist. There does not now exist any private property right in news. If we create it we create a substance out of which a monopoly may ultimately be formed.

While I was speaking Lord Riddell busily ran through the photostat of the United States Supreme Court decision that had lain on his desk unread. Not until I was seated had Riddell digested the meaning of the decree. Then he rushed over to apologize for the error under which he had labored. “Oh, I see!” he exclaimed. “It isn’t property in news that you folks have; it’s a rule against unfair competition.” Thereupon Riddell became my ally. “The conspiracy of Warsaw” came to naught.

James T. Williams, Jr., my chief adjutant at the conference, learned that I was sending no special report of the outcome to Hearst. He decided to repair this omission on his own account. His cablegram became especially significant in the light of the Associated Press and United Press stories of the proceedings. It described the deep impression which he felt had been made on the gathering by my insistence from the outset that no action should be taken toward opening the way for a monopolistic control of news through a declaration of property rights therein. The message recounted the “vigorous” fight with the Associated Press, the United Press and the various semi-official agencies and newspapers that opposed me. It assured Hearst that from “our viewpoint” the convention was an unqualified success because I had completely won my points, the final resolutions excluding any reference to property rights.

Official confirmation of Williams’ conclusions was contained in a pamphlet prepared by Pierre Comert, director of the press section of the League of Nations, reviewing the proceedings of the conference. Comert’s paper said, tersely: “Mr. Koenigsberg’s speech, which followed that of Lord Riddell, killed any chance that the [Kent] Cooper resolution may have had of being accepted.”

The Associated Press refused to recognize its defeat. Its cabled reports of the conference perverted the facts. There has been no correction or retraction of this paragraph contained in the Associated Press dispatch from Geneva under date of August 26, 1927:


As witness in contravention of the Associated Press account of this historic episode, let us summon Dr. Manley O. Hudson, Bemis Professor of Law at Harvard and technical adviser of the Secretariat of the League of Nations. Dr. Hudson published an analytical review of the action of the international conference of press experts on the subject of property rights in news. It appeared in the April, 1928, quarterly issue of the American Journal of International Law. Referring to the rejection of the draft law and to the resolution that was adopted in substitution therefor, Dr. Hudson said:

The adoption of this resolution signalizes the failure, for the time being, of the efforts to secure an international recognition of property in news. In view of the careful preparation of the subject, an early renewal of such efforts seems improbable.

Patrolling the freedom of news in Geneva was a stimulating engagement. It became a startling adventure in Rome. It opened a page of history which, yet unfinished, should command the intensive study of all thinking men. It was one thing to debate ownership of current intelligence but it was quite another thing to oppose control of the facts from which that intelligence evolves. One was at least a theory. The other was unthinkable. Yet such was the range traversed between Switzerland and Italy.

My errand in Rome in the fall of 1927 was to smooth out a difficulty in which William Emmanuel, the International News Service correspondent at the Italian capital, was entangled. Emmanuel had been the representative of Corriere della Sera, of Milan, Italy’s leading newspaper and one of the foremost journals of Europe. Mussolini had put him under avisement. Two policemen were detailed to watch his every movement. They were instructed to see that he remain in his palace—Emmanuel’s residence was actually rated as a palace—from eight in the evening until eight in the morning.

Emmanuel was forbidden to approach nearer than one hundred yards any place of public congregation. His lot, however, was not unbearable. His guards enjoyed the secret use of his pocketbook. There was a private arrangement by which they saw Emmanuel only twice a day and then at his convenience. But restriction of areas through which he was permitted to circulate seriously hampered his work. It was my purpose to liberate him from these restraints. Harold Horan was the Universal Service correspondent at Rome. He arranged an appointment for me with Mussolini.

The premier of Italy—the title of Il Duce lacked favor at the moment—was absent from the Chigi Palace at the hour set for my call. In his stead, Count Capasso Torre received me. He was the minister of Posts and Telegraph. The count was profusely apologetic. The premier had been unexpectedly detained. A meeting with the King of Montenegro had lasted much longer than was expected. That was too bad, I explained, because it had been my desire to present to the premier, before my departure the next day, a situation important to me as president of several American news services.

Yes; the minister was aware of the nature of my mission. He spoke excellent English. But the tone of his voice expressed much more than his words. It didn’t require unusual perspicacity to gather that the premier would find no pleasure in discussing the subject that was on my mind. But something had to be done for Emmanuel.

“It is my feeling that the premier might be pleased to receive certain assurances that I am prepared to offer,” I said. Emmanuel is the correspondent of International News Service. That organization has a fixed policy requiring that its dispatches shall neither contain nor reflect the individual opinions of the senders, Emmanuel has voluntarily pledged faithful adherence to that rule. I have discussed this with him thoroughly. I know his messages will be confined absolutely to facts.”

“Ah!” exclaimed Count Capasso Torre. “But facts must be controlled!’

The suddenness of my response precluded an opportunity for reasoning. It was more of an involuntary ejaculation than a considered statement. It was an inspiration.

“I shall immediately withdraw our correspondents from Italy,” I announced.

The Minister of Posts and Telegraph sprang to his feet in undisguised consternation. “But you misunderstood me,” he remonstrated. By that time my emotion had subsided. It flashed upon me that the threat had scored. I stood pat.

Il Duce
At one o’clock the next afternoon, the premier of Italy greeted me in his office at the Chigi Palace. Never have I sensed the proximity of a greater bundle of nerves. The air seemed to crackle around Mussolini. It was the clashing of invisible forces, like a mass of electric energy hurling itself against a static barrier. Though his face was a mask, the movements of his hands and shoulders betrayed a terrific inner conflict. It became my conviction that impatience laid upon Benito Mussolini his heaviest cross. He was an actor always in furious rebellion against the pauses between his lines.

The premier listened to me as if in the performance of a grim duty. Count Capasso Torre insisted that we pose together for photographs. That was a cue the meaning of which came to me later. No promises were made; but that evening, Emmanuel, with his wife, saw me off on the train to Naples. His guards were not in sight. His avisement was relaxed during the remainder of my management of International News Service. However, there has been no sign that I instilled any distaste for the control of facts in Italy.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Wiley Padan


William Wiley Padan* was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, on January 3, 1901, according to the the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index at His parents were John W. Padan and Vina J. Komptin as recorded on their marriage certificate.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census said the Padan family resided in East St. Louis, Illinois at 717 26 Street. Padan’s father was a street railway engineer.

According to the 1920 census, the Padan family lived in Pueblo, Colorado, at 1935 Berkley Avenue. Padan’s paternal grandmother was part of the household. The Pueblo Chieftain, October 21, 1919, reported “the editorial staff for The Wildcat, the annual published and edited by the senior class of Central high school published at the end of the school year, was elected yesterday (Monday) afternoon…” Padan was elected as one of six associate editors.

Information regarding Padan’s art training has not been found.

Padan attended the University of Missouri where he was a freshman assistant on the yearbook, The Savitar, for 1922. Padan was active in one of the military groups, Company M; a pledge with Phi Gamma Delta; and a member of the Ad Club. The 1923 yearbook said Padan was an active member of Phi Gamma Delta.

The Columbia Evening Missourian (Missouri), July 5, 1922, reported Padan’s new home and job. 
Padan Has Position in Utah.Wiley Padan, artist on the Showme staff last year, is now working in the offices of Slack W. Winburn, an architect in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Padan’s family recently moved to Salt Lake City.
After his sophomore year at Missouri, Padan continued his education at the University of Utah. Padan appeared in the Utonian yearbooks from 1925 to 1928. The 1925 yearbook had Padan’s class photograph, Utonian staff position as art editor, and Art Guild membership. The 1926 Utonian had Padan’s junior class photograph, his Utonian editor position, and his memberships in Pi Delta Epsilon, Skull & Bones, and Art Guild. In 1927 Padan was in the Art Guild and Owl and Key. The 1928 yearbook featured Padan’s senior photograph; his positions as Utonian artist, and Humbug editor; his role on the Publications Council; and involvement on the Junior Promenade committee.

Padan was in and out of the university as noted in the Utah Chronicle, February 5, 1926.

Wiley Padan, a former University of Utah student and editor of last year’s Utonian, has just received word from the American Legion auxiliary, Indianapolis, Indiana, that a poster designed by him was awarded third place in a nation-wide contest.
The Salt Lake Telegram, September 21, 1928, reported Padan’s hitchhiking journey to New York City. A photograph showed Mayor John F. Bowman shaking Padan’s hand. Along the way, former Telegram staff artist Padan sent articles to the Utah State Auto association for their magazine. The article added that Padan graduated from the University of Utah in 1927 and was editor of the Utonian. Padan arrived safely in New York City.

The Telegram, June 5, 1929, published news of Padan’s election as a member of the Town Hall club of New York City. The association of men and women “recognize and seek to encourage creative or constructive work in any line of human endeavor which makes for the enlargement and enrichment of life and the development thereby of a finer citizenship.” Padan was on the general committee. The newspaper added, “Recently he left the art department of the ‘Iron Age’ magazine to join the main office on Broadway of the Loew’s theaters, serving as staff artist in their publicity department.”

Padan has not been found in the 1930 census. The Phi Gamma Delta, December 1938, published this item.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Padan’s film actors panel, It’s True, ran from the mid-1930s to mid-1940s. The panel was distributed by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio. Padan applied for a trademark for It’s True. The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, May 25, 1943, had this notice. 
Wiley Padan, Douglaston, N. Y. Filed Feb. 11, 1943. Serial No. 458,478.
IT'S TRUE! By Wiley Padan
The Film Daily column “Along the Rialto”, February 11, 1942, published this item: 
Wiley Padan recently completed the 400th cartoon of the “It’s True’ series which appears in M-G-M press books and made available to newspapers…..Padan started the feature in 1933 and it has appeared continuously since then, not only in domestic papers, but in periodicals printed in South Africa, Philippines, Greece, China, India, New Zealand, England and Hungary.
Jersey Journal 8/7/1933

The 1940 census recorded commercial artist Padan, his wife, Clara, son, John, and father in Queens, New York, at 5007 192nd Street. 

Padan passed away February 13, 1947, at a hospital in Flushing, New York. His death was reported in the Brooklyn Eagle, February 16, 1947, and Long Island Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), February 17, 1947.

* Padan was erroneously identified as a Cuban artist in Hollywood in Havana: Film Reception and Revolutionary Nationalism in Cuba Before 1959 (2008). 

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Advertising Features: It's True!

Among all the handout freebies that were offered to newspapers, few were as handsomely drawn as Wiley Padan's It's True. The feature was distributed by the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer studio, and it offered up interesting little factoids about the stars in the studio's current movie offerings. Usually this sort of advertising feature was run only by the smaller dailies and weeklies, but this one was so attractive that it can be found popping up in major city newspapers on occasion. This would seem like a great score for MGM, except that newspapers also had a habit of running these panels whenever the mood hit them, and that was frequently long after the movie that was being hawked had left theatres. Oh well, this was in the days of the studio system, so at least the panels were keeping the public thinking about the stars in the MGM stable.

Based on the numbering of examples I have on hand, I get the impression that It's True was offered at the rate of about one panel per week (I used to think two per week, but digital archives show otherwise). According to my book the feature ran from the mid-1930s to mid-1940s, but Alex Jay has dug up better information on the start date, which you can come back tomorrow to read in his Ink-Slinger Profile of Wiley Padan. As for the end date, the last new movies I can find advertised in It's True are from 1948, but though credited to Padan, the art does not look to be his. The latest I find Padan's work appearing is for 1947 films. The highest numbered panels I've found are in the high 500s.


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Monday, February 19, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: My Son John

Bill Hoest made his lasting mark on the funny pages with The Lockhorns, but his first syndicated strip, titled My Son John, didn't catch on at all.

The Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate accepted My Son John, a strip about a kid who acts like a harried and angry adult, for reasons I cannot understand. Maybe they saw it as competition for Peanuts, but if John was supposed to be the next Charlie Brown, they were a little off -- he was basically a male Lucy.

Hoest made a very successful career out of cartooning very unlikeable people in the Lockhorns, but unlikeable kids are another matter. Dennis the Menace is a little hellion, but he's not mean and angry. John, on the other hand, was simply insufferable. The syndicate allowed Hoest two years to find his footing, but it seemed totally doomed as a concept. Hoest, however, felt he had something. In 1976 he said, "It lasted two years and provided me great experience. I wish they had kept it on another year. I felt that I was really getting into it; the characters were coming alive and were well-defined, and new characters added to the interest. When it died, a apart of me died."

The strip began on April 4 1960, and John was finally put to bed without his supper sometime in 1962, probably around April. Hoest would then go on to ghost Harry Haenigsen's Penny for a year, which gave him the maturity he needed to come up with The Lockhorns in 1968.


Do you have a clue on how much work Bill Hoest did on "Penny"? Looking it up, many sources indicate that Hoest did most of the work when the original creator got injured in a car accident, but the dates they provide don't add up, with many saying Hoest left the strip to work on "My Son John" in 1970, even though the strip actually started in 1960, a full decade earlier.

Perhaps they meant to say that Hoest left "Penny" to work on "Lockhorns"?
Oh yes, I meant to mention that misperception on the web about Hoest's timeline; thanks for reminding me.

According to an interview with Hoest in 1976, he basically gave up Penny after working on it "almost a year" in order to develop and offer The Lockhorns. So that places his stint on Penny likely in 1966-67.

Ah, that makes more sense.

Even with the unlikable main character, there are still some funny gags in the samples you posted. I laughed at the frozen lemonade strip. I love how Hoest had the final dialogue written in tiny letters, which really sells the gag.
Hoest did another strip in the 1980s, "What a Guy!", about a kid who acted even more like an adult than John in "My Son John."
The 2-8-62 strip feels like a "Pearls Before Swine", i.e. "Little Litter Letter Later".
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