Saturday, June 15, 2019


Herriman Saturday

December 23 1909 -- Herriman adds graphic interest to a news round-up on polar explorers, showing Cook's reputation melting like a snowman under scrutiny of his claims.


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Friday, June 14, 2019


Wish You Were Here, probably from Norman Jennett

Here's another card that I think is by Norman Jennett. Each card in the series has the parrot and the 'signature' of a circle with a dot in it. The series was not copyrighted, and the reverse is pre-divided back, meaning 1906 or earlier. However, this card was postally used in 1910.


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Thursday, June 13, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Hints to Society

Robert A Graef produced three series for the New York Herald -- The Leap Year Society for the Getting Back at Mere Man, Hints to Society and a third we've still not covered here on Stripper's Guide. At this rate, I calculate we'll cover that last one around 2026. Stay tuned!

Hints to Society was Graef's longest-running series for the Herald, appearing from August 21 1904 to May 21 1905*. In it he makes tongue-in-cheek etiquette suggestions for the upper crust. Above we see him addressing a problem in the automobile's brass era -- riders wore much-needed dust protection in these open vehicles, and therefore could not tell which other high society folk they were meeting. Adding an etched calling card on the all but useless windshields of these vehicles allowed members of the 400 to determine whether they should greet or high-hat those in the other cars.

* Source: Ken Barker's New York Herald index in StripScene #20.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: C.W. McElfresh

Charles William McElfresh, Jr. was born on October 12, 1900, in Knoxville, Kentucky, according to his World War II draft card which also had his full name. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, McElfresh was the second of three sons born to Charles, a bookkeeper, and Margaret (Voglesong). The family resided in Portsmouth, Virginia at 515 Owens Street.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 1988, said

Mr. McElfresh had played minor league baseball as a young man and at 16 was offered a contract by the St. Louis Cardinals. He turned it down, instead heading to art school in Baltimore. When he finished his schooling, he spent several years at the Baltimore Sun before moving to Philadelphia.
McElfresh was recorded in the 1920 census as a helper at the navy yard. He continued to live with his parents in Portsmouth on Nashville Avenue. The 1921 city directory listed the house number as 1907.

The Inquirer said “In 1920, Mr. McElfresh joined the Evening Bulletin’s news art department.”

In 1924 McElfresh married Anna M. Eagan in Philadelphia according to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index at The Inquirer said Anna was the Evening Bulletin librarian.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said McElfresh drew Charles A. Lindbergh's Life and Adventures from June 13 to July 23, 1927. The series was written by A.J. Wilde and distributed by the North American Newspaper Alliance.

According to the 1930 census, staff newspaper artist McElfresh lived with his wife and one-year-old daughter, Joan, in Philadelphia at 5511 Florence Avenue.

In 1940 McElfresh was a home owner in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania at 282 Sanford Road. In addition to Joan were Charles, Jr. and Anne. McElfresh’s highest level of education was the fourth year of high school. In 1939 he earned $3,500.

On February 19, 1942 McElfresh signed his World War II draft card. His address was unchanged. He was described as five feet six inches, 170 pounds with brown eyes and hair. He was employed at the Evening Bulletin.

The Inquirer said “He stayed at the paper for 45 years, the last 21 years as director of the department. He retired in 1965, but continued to work part time for about six years. … He was an avid golfer and a 35-year resident of Drexel Hill. His wife, Anne M. Eagan McElfresh, whom he met at the Bulletin, died in 1981.”

McElfresh passed away August 14, 1988, in Wayne, Pennsylvania according to the Social Security Death Index. The Inquirer said he was survived by “his son, Charles W.; daughters, Joan M. Greisiger and Anne B.; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.”

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Charles A. Lindbergh's Life and Adventures

In the wake of Lindbergh's landmark flight across the Atlantic, every newspaper syndicate was in a race to supply the ravenous hunger for material about Lindy and his feat. The newspaper reading public could not be sated. However, as far as I know only one closed-end comic strip was created specifically to tell his life story, which I find quite surprising.

What is even more surprising is that it was syndicated by the North American Newspaper Alliance, which as far as I know never produced another comic strip in all their years in existence. NANA was a news-gathering organization, and they normally left this sort of thing to Bell Syndicate, which was aligned with them. I guess that shows the enormity of this news event and the desire to cover it every possible way.

NANA assigned writer A.J. Wilde and artist C.W. McElfresh to the task, and they produced a strip that ran from June 13 to July 23 1927* in lots of papers. It ran under the title Charles A. Lindbergh's Life and Adventures, or Colonel Lindbergh's Life and Adventures, depending on the paper. It was billed in promos as offering "fresh information ... and romantic and authentic facts about his ancestry" that will "throw fresh light on this world hero." Whether the strip did much of that is doubtful, but it did offer a decently well-rounded history of Lindbergh, his family, and of the race to fly solo across the Atlantic. Considering that the strip began running in papers a mere three weeks after Lindy touched down in Paris, Wilde and McElfresh can be forgiven for any roughness around the edges of their presentation, especially since this was an apparently one-time foray into the world of comic strips for both of them.

* Source: Lincoln State Journal


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Monday, June 10, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Katinka

Ken Kling would eventually hit paydirt with a horse-racing tip strip, Joe and Asbestos, but in the 1910s and early 20s he was looking under every rock for his ticket to fame and fortune. His quest led him to a lot of syndicates, big and small, but his closest brush with early success came with Pulitzer's Press Publishing, which syndicated Katinka.

The star of the strip was a new Swedish immigrant to America, an ungainly looking middle-aged cook and housemaid. Katinka seemed to settle right in, vying with the Gessits, her employers, for the crown of biggest wiseacre. A mild-mannered dopey cop named Ferdie added a love-interest for Katinka, and an additional opponent for her employers. That about sums up the regular cast. Kling kept things very earthy, with lots of lowbrow humor, put-downs, insults, and a dash of physical comedy to keep the drawing interesting. In an era when strips of this type were often adding continuities, Kling showed little interest in the concept.

The strip debuted on February 9 1920, and was syndicated to an unimpressive number of papers. However, it was apparently enough to please the powers that be, and therefore lasted until April 7 1923. On the final date Katinka was wired that she had inherited money and a husband back in Sweden, and she caught the next boat home.


True fact: Wallace Beery's silent film career began with him playing Sweedie, a similarly outsized Swedish domestic. Oafish Scandinavians persisted even after Gardo made Swedes sexy, gradually modified into the midwestern Ole and Lena.
And don't forget Yens Yensen, Yanitor.
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