Saturday, May 05, 2018


Herriman Saturday

July 11 1909 -- Although this could theoretically be any Vernon pitcher, I'm betting it is Roy Hitt.  Herriman highlights the jutting chin, which matches with Hitt, and he came up the loser in a 1-0 11-inning game yesterday against Portland.

Pitching for the Vernon team, this superb pitcher would often be left in the lurch by the rest of his squad in 1909. He had a cup of coffee in the bigs in 1907, but his career was primarily as an ace pitcher in the minors, where he won over 200 games.


I wonder about the ID. "Dillon" is probably Frank Dillon, who had been a major-league first baseman and at this point in time was a player-manager for the Los Angeles Angels of the PCL. "Chase" is probably Hal Chase, regarding as a peerless defensive player (as Wiki says), though he was viewed as corrupt by many. Those two references, plus the play at first in the second panel, make me think that this is a first baseman being depicted here. I can't put my finger on who might have played 1B for Vernon that year, since Baseball Reference is a bit sketchy on the team. Hitt, by the way, was 15-30 for a truly awful Vernon team of 1909.
(For "regarding" above read "regarded.")

Another point to note: I think the player is wearing a first-baseman's glove, rather than the multi-fingered glove common for other infielders of the era.
You're right. I took the two panels as depicting different players, since player one seemed so hawkish and the other more of a jelly donut sort. My scenario fits in well with Hitt not being backed up by his fielders. But your explanation makes more sense.

"Kitty" Brashear played first for Vernon in that game.

I looked up "Kitty," and there's a bunch of images of him available on the Internet. Sure looks like the fellow in the drawing, with the chin. I actually think your point about Hitt "not being backed up by his fielders" *is* correct; clearly, the point of the cartoon was that Brashear was confident of making a great play (hence comparisons to stellar 1Bs), but when it came down to it, he couldn't make the play. The "jelly doughnut" look, with his head scrunched down in his collar (embarrassment?) is, I think, a function of Herriman's use of perspective, in this case, from low down on the first-base line.
Post a Comment

Friday, May 04, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Fred Opper

Here's an F. Opper card from the 1906 series that was offered complimentary by Hearst newspapers. This example was tagged as being from the Boston American. Alphonse and Gaston, the etiquette-mad Frenchmen, no longer had their own series through Hearst by 1906, but they continued to make frequent guest appearances in Opper's other series.


Comments: Post a Comment

Thursday, May 03, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George Jahns

George Irvin Jahns was born on October 23, 1907, in Davison, South Dakota, according to the South Dakota Birth Index at His parents were Lorenzo Jahns and Bertha Haut. Jahns’s full name was on his death certificate.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded Jahns and his parents in Mitchell, South Dakota at 1000 West Second Avenue. His father was an engineer and his mother a German emigrant.

In 1920 the Jahns family included a daughter. The quartet resided in Mitchell at 908 West Second Avenue. The Jahns were Mitchell residents, in the 1930 census, at 908 West Hanson Street. Jahns was unemployed.

Information regarding his art training hs not been found. Sometime between the census and 1935 Jahns moved to California.

Jahns was a newspaper cartoonist in the 1940 census. He and his wife, Lucille, lived at 314 South Griffith Park Drive, Glendale, California. Jahns had four years of high school education and his home was valued at $4,400.

A military record has not been found for Jahns. He illustrated Combat Insignia Stamps of the United States Army & Navy Air Corps (1942) and War Insignia Stamp Album and 50 Original Postamps (1944).

Western Advertising’s Advertisers’ Guide (1947) listed Jahns in the Clarence B. Juneau Agency, Inc. in Los Angeles.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Jahns was the fourth artist to draw Strange as It Seems. Jahns was preceded by John Hix, who created the series in 1928, Dick Kirby and Doug Heyes. Jahns did the series from January 17, 1949 to April 9, 1966. Jahns was followed by Jack Ozark and Ernest Hix Jr.

Jahns’s Strange as It Seems work was collected and published by Bantam Books in 1960

The Redwood Journal-Press Dispatch (Ukiah, California), March 12, 1954, published a photograph of Jahns and Elsie Hix (John Hix’s sister-in-law), who was profiled in the article.

The Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office published this entry for Jahns’s mugs. 

SN 55,059. George I. Jahns, d.b.a. The Mug Shop, Corona Del Mar, Calif. Filed June 13, 1975.


The applicant disclaims the exclusive right to the word “Mugs,"and is only claiming a right to the mark as a whole. For Coffee Mugs, Beer Steins, Children's Mugs and
On January 12, 1979, Jahns married Ruth I. Buell in Orange County, California, according to the California Marriage Index at

Jahns passed away March 7, 1994, in San Diego County, California. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park

—Alex Jay


Hello, I am a son of George Jahns. Thank you so much for recognizing our father's work in your history of comic strips. Mr. Jay did an excellent job in digging up information from the pre-internet era, but of course, being family, I have many more details that can fill in some of the blank spots. At this point, I am unsure of just what may be of interest. For now, let me just offer to add information on any points that you are curious about. I have checked the box in the form so follow-up comments will be emailed to me.

Gary Jahns
Encinitas CA
Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 02, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Doug Heyes


Douglas Howard Heyes was born on October 27, 1919, in Los Angeles County, California according to the California Birth Index at Heyes’s Social Security application (transcribed at said he was born on the same date in Glendale, California. Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database said Heyes was born on May 22; their source for the birth date was not identified.

Heyes’s parents, Herbert Heyes and Mildred von Hollen, were married on September 12, 1913 in Hardin, Iowa. Their first child, Herbert Jr. was born in Illinois. On June 5, 1917, Herbert signed his World War I draft card. His address was 3920 Broadway in Manhattan, New York City. He was a motion picture actor employed by Louis Selznick, Inc.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census recorded Heyes as the youngest of two sons. The Heyes family and a maid lived in Los Angeles at 1318 Highland Avenue. Heyes’s father was a movie actor.

In the 1930 census, Heyes’s mother was the head of the household which included Heyes and his brother. The trio resided at the Guardian Arms Apartments on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. At some point Heyes’s parents divorced. His father remarried in 1934 in Washington.

Heyes attended Fairfax High School where he was in the German Club (1934 and 1935) and on the Gazette newspaper staff (1936).

According to the 1940 census, Heyes was an artist, his mother a saleslady, and brother a sheet metal worker. They lived in Los Angeles at 315 Spaulding.

The Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1941, reported reservations for the world premiere of Standing Room Only at the Assistance League Playhouse in Hollywood. Heyes did the book, lyrics and sketches.

During World War II Heyes enlisted in the Army on April 21, 1944 at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California. His military record said he was a commercial artist who was married and had one year of college education.

The Gruber Guidon was a newspaper published at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. The August 31, 1945 issue revealed some information about Heyes’s early art career.

Before entrance into the army he worked for Walt Disney studios at which time he produced drawings for the production, “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.” While in Hollywood Heyes also produced and wrote a musical review entitled, “Standing Room Only,” which was quite successful. His last job before coming into the service was at North American Aviation where he supervised art for posters and handbook illustrations.

Heyes was a private in the 618th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. His cover drawing for the battalion’s publication, The Outpost, is above.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Heyes was the third artist on Strange As It Seems which was created by John Hix in 1928. When Hix died, the series was drawn by Dick Kirby from July 1944 to April 1946. Heyes produced the daily from June 17, 1946 to July 3, 1948, and the Sunday from April 1946 to July 25, 1948. Heyes was followed by Dick Kirby, Anthony D’Antoni (the artist was photographed with Elsie Hix in the Daily World, September 27, 1949), George Jahns, Jack Ozark, and Ernest Hix Jr.

The Kiss Off (1951) was Heyes’s first novel. Book Previews said Heyes was a greeting card art director. Heyes also wrote The 12th of Never (1963) and The Kill (1985).

Heyes’s artistic career extended into film and television writing, directing and producing.

Heyes’s son, Doug Jr., was born May 22, 1956, and went into show business.

Heyes and his wife, Joanna, were residents of Beverly Hills. Directories for 1960 and 1973 listed them at 1227 Coldwater Canyon Drive. Heyes’s occupation was writer.

Heyes’s father passed away May 31, 1958, and mother in August 1971. Heyes passed away February 8, 1993, in Beverly Hills. 

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 01, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Kirby


American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dick Kirby was the second artist to draw Strange as It Seems which was created by John Hix in 1928. Hix died on June 6, 1944. His brother Ernest continued writing the series which was drawn by Kirby starting July 31, 1944 on the daily and August 13, 1944 on the Sunday. Kirby was followed by artist Doug Heyes who did the daily starting June 17, 1946. Kirby returned to the daily strip from July 5, 1948 to January 15, 1949, and the Sunday from August 1, 1948 to January 10, 1949. Kirby was followed by artists George Jahns, Jack Ozark and Ernest Hix Jr.

Around 1931, John and Ernest Hix moved the production of Strange as It Seems from the East Coast to Los Angeles, California where local talent was used on the series.

I found an artist named Richard Kirby who appears to be the artist on Strange as It Seem. Here is his story.

Richard D. Kirby was born on June 21, 1912 in Utah according to the California Death index at

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Kirby was the youngest of two sons whose mother, Madie, was a widow. They lived in Kansas City, Missouri at 2725 Charlotte Street.

Kirby attended Westport Junior High School and, in the school yearbook, The Iris 1926, he was in Room 402. Over in Room 403 was Nadyne Hall, his future wife.

At some point Kirby’s mother remarried to Earl Hatcher, an insurance bookkeeper. The 1930 census the family resided in Kansas City at 1806 Jefferson Street. Kirby was a filing clerk at the telephone company. Where Kirby got his art training is not known. At some point he moved to California.

The 1940 Los Angeles city directory listed Kirby at 816 South Park View. He was an artist at Universal Printing & Litho Corporation.

According to the 1940 census, Kirby and Nadyne lived in Beverly Hills, California at 854 1/2 Huntley Drive. Kirby was a self-employed artist and Nadyne a department store switchboard operator. The same address for Kirby was in the 1941 city directory.

In the mid-1940s, Kirby worked on Strange as It Seems.

Kirby was in contact with other cartoonists. OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository has this entry in the Milton Caniff Collection Guide

Series 2: Correspondence and Related Papers
Subseries 2.1: General Correspondence and Related Papers
Box MAC.P96 / Folder 22
Sigma Chi Correspondence, 1945
Scope and Content: Correspondence related to fraternity including donation requests, special event invitations, art requests, and glossy panels for Terry and the Pirates tenth anniversary by artists including Dick Kirby, Alfred Andriola, Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster, Ferd Johnson, Frank Engli, Al Posen, Harold Gray, John Striebel, Raeburn Van Buren, Bill Holman, Lank Leonard, Frank King, Hal Foster, Walt Disney, Gus Edson, Zack Mosley, Frank Willard, Chic Young, W.A. Carlson.
Kirby was credited in American Book Publishing Record Cumulative 1950–1977: An American National Bibliography, Volumes 1–15 (1978). 
The real George. Illustrated by Dick Kirby. Edited by Forest Jordan. Long Beach, Calif., Foster-Williams Pub. Co. [1969] 189 p. illus. 22 cm. [AC8.R544] 70-108173 /. Title.
In 1972 Kirby wrote and illustrated Would You Believe It?: Strange, odd, interesting and unusual facts about the Queen Mary! It was this book that convinced me I had found the artist of Strange as It Seems. Below are the cover, title page with a self-portrait and two sample pages. Kirby signed some of the art with his initials.

Kirby passed away March 19, 1975, in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index at

There were two other artists surnamed Kirby in Los Angeles around the time of Strange as It Seems.

California native Bertram Kirby, age 39, was a commercial artist working in advertising. He was married with children. No other information about him was found.

The second was Harlan Kirby who was a newspaper artist in the 1940 census. Los Angeles City directories for 1937 and 1941 listed him as a Los Angeles Times artist. His specialty was map-making

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, April 30, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: John Hix

John McCary Hix was born on June 17, 1907, in Huntsville, Alabama. Hix’s full name and birth date were recorded on his death certificate. The birthplace was mentioned in articles published in newspapers such as the Huntsville Times and The State (Columbia, South Carolina).

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Hix, his parents, John and Viola, and older brother, Ernest, were part of Russell McCary’s household. McCary was Hix’s maternal grandfather who had five daughters. Hix’s father and grandfather were commercial travelers in the baking powder trade. Hix’s grandmother was a farmer. They were Huntsville residents living on Meridianville Pike.

A lengthy profile of Hix was published in numerous newspapers. Each paper tailored the profile to fit its needs. For instance, the Huntsville Times emphasized Hix’s birth in Huntsville and less on the numerous oddities, while the Chatham Courier (New York) apparently kept most if not all of the oddities. The papers referred to Hix as Johnny Hix but rearranged the order of the paragraphs.

The Huntsville Times, July 20, 1932, said the Hix “family moved to Nashville, then to Spartanburg, S.C., and finally to Greenville, S.C….”

The 1920 census recorded the Hix family of five in Greenville, South Carolina at 593 North Main Street. Hix’s father was a clerk at a drugstore. 

According to the Chatham Courier, April 7, 1932, Hix contributed drawings to the high school magazine Nautilus and also got in trouble for caricaturing his teachers.

A profile of Hix in Dansville Breeze (New York), June 16, 1942, said “While still a newsboy, John took the first three lessons of a correspondence course in cartooning, decided he was an artist, applied for and got the assignment to do a weekly news cartoon for The News.”

In the Huntsville Times, Hix said

“Well, I was made!” He declares, “I had arrived! I was earning $12 a week! Of course, all of this huge sum did not come from being a staff artist. Seven dollars was my salary as carrier boy for the same paper. The carrier boy was making more than the staff artist.

…My efforts at cartooning kept me busy late at night and the alarm always rang at 3 a.m. I was due at the office at 4 a.m. At the same time, I was local agent for several magazines and had followed the usual course of studying my life work via correspondence, since there was no art school at hand.”

…“Between drawing, delivering and selling newspapers, and trying to collect for them, I still managed to find a little time for my duties at school. But that part of it suffered, and bad report cards do not make peace in a family.

…“The success of being a staff artist must have gone to my head. I decided that I was too good for a little Southern town of 30,000, and migrated northward. I woke up a month later drawing cartoons for The Washington Times. The Times dated me as the youngest cartoonist in the country—and the worst.
Hix’s decision to move to Washington, D.C. was influenced by his brother’s presence there. The 1924 Boyd’s District of Columbia Directory listed Ernest Hix at 1334 I NW. The directories for 1925 and 1926 said Ernest, whose address changed each year, was a salesman with Hughes & Company. The Dansville Breeze said “In 1926 he went to Washington to live with his brother Ernest, then in the securities business…On the day of John’s arrival Avery Marks, managing editor of The Washington Times gave him an art department job at $15 per week. A year later young Hix was doing political cartoons at $25 a week….”

Hix’s prize was mentioned in the Evening Star, May 16, 1927. 

The American Nature Association’s national cartoon contest on “outdoor Good Manners” has been won by Mrs. Florence McCabe, Grants Pass, Oreg. The award was $100. Second prize went to Craig Fox of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, $50; third prize to John M. Hix of the Washington Times, $25.
Seven months later an advertisement in the Evening Star said Hix’s entry, “We Serve the Best,” in the Holmes Modern Bakery motto contest, won him eighteenth place.

The 1927 city directory listed Hix, his brother and mother, a widow, at 2544 17th NW in apartment 42. Hix was an artist with the Washington Times. In 1928 the trio resided at 1631 Euclid NW in apartment 302.

According to the Dansville Breeze, Hix produced a “one-column panel of rural philosophy called ‘Hicks by Hix,’ but that didn’t get very far.” Hix used forty dollars of his savings and failed to sell “a strip of burlesquing newspaper life” to a Cleveland syndicate. Hix used his next forty dollars and

went to New York with another armload of strips. A syndicate managing editor, Howard [sic] Matson, didn’t like John’s present material, but saw enough promise in it to sit down and draw out the youth on the subject closest to his heart. From this conference emerged the discovery that John Hix already had a wealth of material on oddities and strange facts, and the suggestion that he work them up into a daily cartoon….Within a year John was back in New York with “Strange As It Seems.” The feature caught on quickly…

…he was simultaneously drawing two other features, a strip of O. Henry stories and one on Frank Merriwell. He got $50 for the whole shooting match, devoting two days a week to each of the three cartoons.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hix drew three series for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate: Gilbert Patten’s Young Frank Merriwell from March 26, 1928 to September 28, 1928, and O. Henry’s Short Stories from June 11 to June 30, 1928. Time magazine’s June 10, 1929 issue printed a letter from Harold Matson, managing editor at McClure Newspaper Syndicate, who gave a brief early history of the series: “‘Strange As It Seems’ by John Hix was in preparation in December, 1927, was announced by The McClure Newspaper Syndicate in February, 1928, and was released on regular schedule, March 26, 1928.” Actually, Strange as It Seems was announced in Editor & Publisher and The Fourth Estate in its January 28, 1928 issue (detail below).

The success of Strange as It Seems caught the attention of Hollywood. The Universal Pictures publication, Universal Weekly, June 14, 1930, announced their purchase of picture rights to Strange as It Seems. “There will be thirteen one reelers in the Hix series, and a radical departure will be made by the use of color throughout. The cartoons will thus combine comedy, originality, animation and color. They mark a distinct innovation in the short subject field.”


To promote the film adaptations, Hix produced Strange as It Seems panels for the Universal Weekly which encouraged the theater owners to use them in their lobbies and advertising. Here are links to Universal’s Strange as It Seems numbers 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 34. Universal also produced a one-sheet poster.

Universal Weekly reported Hix’s new syndicate contract, book and syndicate change.

It’s not known where Hix lived in New York City. The 1930 census said newspaper artist Hix was in Washington, DC at 4912 Farragut. In the 1931 District of Columbia directory Hix resided with his mother and brother at 4912 New Hampshire Avenue NW, in apartment 102, and worked at 1346 F NW, room 930. Around 1931 they moved to California.

Hix’s whereabouts were found in a number of Los Angeles directories: 6362 Haywood Boulevard (1936, page 867); 1825 Whitley Avenue (1937); 2270 N Beachwood Drive (1938, page 971); and 2270 North Beachwood Drive (1939, page 987).

Popular Aviation, November 1935, published the first in a short-lived series of Strange as It May Seem cartoons which were sponsored by United Airlines.

Strange as It Seems was adapted for radio and collected in books and comic books.

The Dansville Breeze explained how Hix produced the strip: “To turn out ‘Strange As It Seems’ daily and Sunday he maintains a staff of seven persons. There are three researchers, drawn from the research departments of the movie studios, two assistant artists and two secretaries….Every fact must be verified before use, then pass a rigid standard of editorial value which Hix has maintained.”

In 1940 Hix lived alone in Los Angeles, California at the Maisden Apartments, 1745 North Gramercy Place. The 1942 city directory, page 1128, had Hix’s home address as 1735 North Gramercy Place and studio address as 6362 Haywood Boulevard, room 300.

Hix passed away June 6, 1944, at his home. The Los Angeles Times reported his death the following day and said “John M. Hix, who became the youngest nationally syndicated artist at the age of 20, fell against a parked automobile in front of a hotel at 1714 Ivar Ave. Monday evening. He was taken to his home at 1745 N. Gramercy Place by his physician, Dr. J.G. Kauffman. There he died yesterday morning of what appeared to be heart attack. A Coroner’s investigation will be conducted today. ” He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

American Newspaper Comics said Hix’s last daily strip was on July 29, 1944 and last Sunday page on August 6, 1944. Strange as It Seems was continued by Ernest, followed by Ernest’s wife, Elsie, then Ernest Jr. with his wife Phyllis. Some of the artists include Dick Kirby, Doug Heyes, George Jahns and Jack Ozark.

Further Viewing
Strange as it Seems Archive Comic Art
Strange as it Seems: 1928–2012

—Alex Jay


The Strange As It Seems one reel films were not as the pre-production hype might lead one to believe, and didn't use color. If any animation was seen, it was of the most basic quality, like you'd see in an ad or school film. They were produced by Jerry Fairbanks, so these were set up like a travelogue/newreel, much as we can still see in the competing Ripley's Believe It Or Not series produced by Vitaphone at the same time. It is probably unlikely that any of the 'Seems' films are around today, at least not the Universal ones. The series eventually went over to Columbia, so those might be still in their deep dark vaults.
Craig Fox of the Rochester Democrat appears to be the Craig Joseph Fox born in 1895:

- Daniel
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]