Saturday, July 20, 2019


Herriman Saturday

December 28 1909 -- Another Mary's Home From College strip, this one seemingly slammed out by Herriman without much thought .... so where did this diploma come from???


This is one Herriman should have re-thought from the very first panel. Nobody looks at a diploma and has to speculate as to who its recipient is, because the recipient's name is written on it.
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Friday, July 19, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

Here's a Dwig card from Tuck's "Smiles" series, #169. The drawn whipstitching  and shadow on this card gives it a marvelous three dimensional effect.


Gouty-footed geezer has a place in the pantheon of forgotten archtypes, like a whiskery gold-brick-buying bumpkin or a white wing, or a hatchet-faced spinster still wearing crinoline.
I'm going to venture that the intended situation is an injury that requires a comfortable convalescence rather than gout.

Gout was generally represented as a rich man's disease, linked to indulgent food and drink and consequently more karma than bad luck. Victims of the highly uncomfortable condition were thus considered fair game for comedy. The movie "Captain Blood" presents a self-pitying aristocrat with the affliction, while the Chaplin short "The Cure" gives lecherous Eric Campbell a sensitive foot for Charlie to abuse. And of course the dyspeptic geezers referenced by Mr. Johnson, the bandaged foot being a shorthand declaration of wealth and bad temper.
There's also Laurel & Hardy's "A PERFECT DAY" (1929) where Edgar Kennedy's Gouty foot is subject to all kinds of painful abuse, including a car being dropped on it.
Ollie himself suffered from this condition in "THEM THAR HILLS" (1934).
A Porky Pig cartoon featuring a Claude Gillingwater-esque Gouty Goat was seen in "PORKY'S HOTEL" (1939). I'm sure there's probably dozens more incidences of it in the movies from the days of political incorrectness and big belly laughs.
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Thursday, July 18, 2019


Mystery Strips: George Lemont in San Francisco Call-Bulletin

[This article was printed in the Editor & Publisher issue for April 8 1961. Lemont had just begun a TV gag panel for NEA called Station Break in January 1961, and it sounds like that's the feature they're discussing here. But the article seems to indicate that it was a local feature of the Call-Bulletin. Can anyone unravel this mystery?]

Radio Humorist Turns Cartoonist

George Lemont, a radio and television humorist, is doing a daily panel cartoon for the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin. It’s a return to his first love. George always wanted to be a cartoonist. At the age of 12 the San Francisco Call-Bulletin printed one of his drawings.

After his military service was ended, Mr. Lemont found no newspaper takers for cartoons. He did a television drawing show for youngsters over KRON-TV. Next came mixed television and radio station duty for 11 years. A period as night club entertainer followed.

His drawings with one-line captions satirizing radio and video situations have been accepted as a regular feature. Syndication is forecast.


My old notebook has an unsourced comment on the Station Break entry that it "began in S.F. Call-Bulletin with different title."
That title ???
Only explanation I can come up with is that this news story was submitted long before April 1961, and E&P had it in the slush pile long enough that by the time they printed it was out of date. --Allan
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Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Pierre J. Kinder

Pierre Jermain Kinder was born on May 3, 1882 or 1883, in Tolono, Illinois.The Ohio Births and Christenings Index, at, had 1882 as the birth year but his World War I draft card and Social Security application have 1883; the application also had his birthplace. The year 1885 was on his World War II draft card. Both cards and application had his full name.

The 1899 Toledo, Ohio city directory listed Kinder as a student residing at 1027 West Woodruff Avenue.

1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Kinder, his parents Stephen and Catherine, and younger sister Marguerite in Toledo, Ohio at the Schmidt Apartment House. Kinder’s father was a railway freight agent.

Kinder attended Toledo High School where he was in Freshman Class A, according to the school yearbook, Centurion 1900.

The Toledo city directories for 1901 and 1903 said Kinder was an assistant at the public library. Hubbell’s Toledo Blue Book, 1903–1904, listed Kinder and his sister at the The Vienna.

In 1904 Kinder was found in two city directories. In Detroit, Kinder was an artist staying at 109 Abbott. The Toledo directory said Kinder still had his job at the public library.

It’s not clear where Kinder studied art but he was a cartoonist in the 1905 Evanston, Illinois city directory, which included Wilmette, and listed his address as 418 9th. The 1909 directory said he was a Chicago Daily News cartoonist.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Kinder produced two series for the Chicago Daily News and filled in on other comics. Thomas Augustin “Gus” O’Shaughnessy created Tiny Tinkles on July 23, 1903. Kinder drew it from June 12 to August 25, 1905. The series ended in 1911. Kinder created Burglar Bill which ran from January 9 to March 27, 1906. It was followed by Curious Cubby which debuted August 29 and ended September 7, 1906. Ed Carey’s Brainy Bowers and Drowsy Duggan started January 30, 1901 and ended May 19, 1915. Kinder’s run lasted from August 27, 1914 to the end date. Kinder produced one strip, dated June 5, 1915, for Austin C. WilliamsRed and Skeeter.

According to the 1910 census, newspaper cartoonist Kinder lived with his parents and sister at 418 9th in Wilmette Village, New Trier Township, Cook County, Illinois.

American Carpenter and Builder, December 1913, published Kinder’s The Builders’ Alphabet.

Cartoons Magazine, October 1915, noted Kinder’s travels, “P. J. Kinder of Chicago, cartoonist for the Santa Fe Magazine, has been making a tour of the Pacific coast cities, and visiting the expositions.”

Around 1918 Kinder’s father passed away. On September 12, 1918, Kinder signed his World War I draft card and lived at his mother’s home. His description was medium height and build with brown eyes and hair.

Kinder married artist Gertrude S. Spaller in Cook County, Illinois on July 29, 1922. They lived with Kinder’s mother at her home.

In the 1930 census, Kinder’s household included his wife, daughter, son and mother-in-law. They all resided 2815 Grant Street in Evanston, Illinois. The commercial artist’s house was valued at $18,000.

Kinder’s residence was the same in the 1940 census and the household of six included his mother.

Kinder signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. He was described as five feet eight inches, 148 pounds with hazel eyes and balding gray hair. His address was unchanged.

Kinder passed away February 16, 1944, in Cook County according to the
Illinois Death Index. Curiously, Kinder was listed in the 1948 Evanston city directory as an illustrator residing at 201 Michigan Avenue. Perhaps the directory was referring to Mrs. Pierre J. Kinder, who married Harry Waters Armstrong on June 29, 1949 in Cook County, Illinois. She passed away March 12, 1970 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Burglar Bill

Artist Pierre J. Kinder, who signed himself "Kin", was apparently a mainstay at the Chicago Daily News for many years (at least 1905-15), but in that time he only contributed to a handful of their many comic strip offerings.

One of only two series he originated himself, Burglar Bill was a generic take on the burglar strip, one of the mainstays of the early comic sections. Kin does a serviceable job on the strip, which ran for a mere seven installments from January 9 to March 27 1906.


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Monday, July 15, 2019


Which Newspaper Strip Was Distributed by the Most Syndicates?

We had a post about Morrie Turner's Wee Pals the other day, and in response Mark Johnson had this to say:

Here's a question (that nobody ever asked but me). What strip went through the most different syndicates? I think it might be Wee Pals. It started as a Lew Little, then became a Register & Tribune, then King Features, Then United Features, then Field Enterprises,News America, North America and finally Creators.
 Of course that's the sort of question that fascinates me, so there are at least two completely incurable comic strip geeks in this old world, Mark. 

I thought it would be the work of a mere moment to answer the question. But then I realized that I couldn't seem to query my database directly for that information.Oh well. So I spent a few hours manually paging through the listings to come up with some information, and in the process realized that the answer is by no means cut-and-dried.

There are a few ways that a feature might change syndicates. One, obviously is that the cartoonist shops around for a better deal from a different syndicate. That's a no-brainer. Another is when a syndicate goes out of business or sells off its feature distribution to someone else. Still counts, no problem.

However, what about when two syndicates merge, like Bell and McClure did? There's a name change, of course, but does it count? Certainly in this case the McClure strips did in fact change syndicates, as Bell was the purchaser of the McClure properties, but did the Bell Syndicate strips change syndicates? This stuff can get too complex to be a fun question anymore. Starts to sound like work.

If we keep things simple and just say we'll count any old name change, how far down that slippery slope can we fall? What about when  a syndicate change is when a syndicate is renamed under presumably the same management? In other words, does it count as a syndicate change when Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate changes to Tribune Media Services and then to Tribune Content Agency, or when Universal Press Syndicate becomes Universal Uclick and then Andrews McMeel Syndicate?

This can lead to a ludicrous contender like Katzenjammer Kids, which was a Hearst feature all along. You can get six syndicate changes for this feature: W.R. Hearst, American-Journal-Examiner, Star Company, Newspaper Feature Service, International Feature Service, and King Features Syndicate. 

I've now gone way down the rabbit hole on this question, and all the fun is drained out of it. So to heck with all the caveats, footnotes, whys and wherefores. Let's dispense with technicalities and talk comics.

First of all, I was amazed just how many features went through six syndicates; so many that I gave up noting them. So let's go straight to seven:

Mark Trail: New York Post Syndicate, Post-Hall Syndicate, Hall Syndicate, Publishers-Hall Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate, North America Syndicate

Miss Peach: New York Herald Tribune Syndicate, Publishers Syndicate, Publishers-Hall Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate, North America Syndicate, Creators Syndicate

Tumbleweeds: Lew Little Enterprises, Register & Tribune Syndicate, King Features Syndicate, United Feature Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate, North America Syndicate

Word-a-Day: Chicago Times, Sun and Times Company, Field Enterprises, Publishers Syndicate, Publishers-Hall Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate

Steve Canyon: Field Enterprises, Sun and Times Company, Publishers Syndicate, Publishers-Hall Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate, North America Syndicate

A surprise entry from the olden days, with the slight caveat that there were gaps between some of these runs:

Foxy Grandpa: New York Herald, W.R. Hearst, American-Journal-Examiner, Publishers Press (C.J. Mar), Associated Newspapers, New York Press, New York Herald (again), Philadelphia Bulletin

At a count of eight syndicates we have Wee Pals standing alone, but it fails to take the crown. Here are two features that made it to the pinnacle of syndicate-hoppiness at nine syndicates:

Fred Basset: Hall Syndicate, Publishers-Hall Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate, North America Syndicate, Tribune Media Services, Universal Press Syndicate, Universal Uclick, Andrews McMeel Syndicate

Grin and Bear It: Chicago Times Syndicate, United Feature Syndicate, Sun and Times Company, Field Enterprises, Publishers Syndicate, Publishers-Hall Syndicate, Field Enterprises, News America Syndicate, North America Syndicate

And our Fred Basset listing doesn't even take into account foreign syndication, which in its case maybe should count, so you might call it ten syndicates with the Daily Mail.

So that's it. Now it would be my delight to throw the question open to you folks. A real comic strip fan should be able to argue this question ad infinitum. Let's rumble!

"Tumbleweeds" in particular seemed to have jumped around in the 1970s and '80s. I bought a bunch of "Tumbleweeds" collections from Australia, many of which retain syndication slugs, and they seem to change every so often. One book collection actually has copyright notice for BOTH King Features and United Features in the title page because it contains strips that ran under both syndicates.

Lew Little Enterprise was still listed even in strips that King syndicated, but not the United Features ones. I guess Lew Little subcontracted to King, right?
I'm also wondering how many strips are out there where they switch syndicates, only to go back to their old one. I recall that "For Better or For Worse" and "Prickly City" both switched from Universal Press Syndicate to United Features Syndicate, only to return to Universal few years later (in the case of "Prickly", it was because Universal merged with United).

"Tumbleweeds" probably falls in that category. It was with King Features for a few years, then after a string of different syndicates spent its final years with North America Syndicate, which was essentially just King Features with a different name anyway.
I believe that Lew Little did own the properties Tumbleweeds and Wee Pals when he started in San Fransisco in 1965. His tiny outfit could never compete with the big timers, yet he had high potential titles, so Register & Tribune and KFS did the distribution for a cut, the same arrangement a syndicate would make with say, Walt Disney Productions.
I think that Little's name stopped being seen because the ownership of the strips shifted to their authors.
Didn't Steve Canyon have the King Features indicta at one time?
Then let's bump Grin and Bear It up to ten syndicates too. It is currently being syndicated (granted, as a rerun) by King Features Weekly Service.
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