National Cartoonists Society 1970
Paul Frehm was born on November 1, 1904 or 1905, in Brooklyn, New York. The New York, New York Index to Birth Certificates, at Ancestry.com, said his birth year was 1905. Frehm’s World War II draft card and the Social Security Death Index have the year 1904. The birth certificate also said his parents were Morris Friedman and Ethel Ramer who lived in Brooklyn on Hopkins Street.
The 1915 New York state census recorded Frehm as “Percy Friedman”, the second of four brothers, Solomon, Herbert and Walter. The family of six resided in Manhattan at 19 West 118th Street. His father was an ice cream salesman.
In the 1920 census, Frehm was “Paul Friedman”. Leonard was the youngest brother. Frehm’s parents were Hungarian emigrants who became naturalized citizens in 1900. The family lived in Yonkers, New York at 8 Fernbrook Street.
Around 1923 Frehm enrolled as Paul Friedman at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. The 1924 yearbook, Prattonia, said he was in the General Art class of 1925.
Frehm had two illustrations published in the Jackson News, December 28, 1924.
The 1925 New York State Census recorded a 20-year-old daughter, Beatrice, as part of the Friedman household. She was Solomon’s wife
. The seven people were Yonkers residents at 209 Buena Vista Avenue. Frehm’s occupation was artist.
According to the 1930 census, commercial artist Frehm was a lodger at his parents’ home in Yonkers at 288 Hawthorne Avenue. His youngest brothers, Walter and Leonard, were part of the household.
American Newspaper Comics
(2012) said Frehm drew several Sundays of Chip Collins’ Adventures
in 1935. He did a week of Ted Towers Animal Master
dailies from May 23 to 30, 1936.
The Herald Statesman
(Yonkers, New York), December 11, 1936, published a legal notice stating Frehm and his brothers, Walter
and Leonard, had changed their surname from Friedman to Frehm. Leonard would find work
at Fleischer Studios.
In March 1939 Frehm visited Havana, Cuba. Then in August he went to Bermuda. The passenger lists had his address as 274 Hawthorne Avenue, Yonkers, New York. The same address was in the 1940 census. Frehm, an illustrator, and his brother, Leonard, lived with their parents. All of them had the Frehm surname.
Frehm signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. His address was unchanged. He was employed at the New York Mirror newspaper. Frehm was described as five feet ten inches, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.
The New York State Marriage Index said Frehm married on November 23, 1944 in Yonkers.
Born in Bklyn.—Yonkers H.S. to Pratt I.—Staff artist on N.Y. American–layout & illustration. Transferred to Mirror—then to King Features—top assignment with Damon Runyon covering trial of Bruno Hauptman [sic], kidnapper of Lindberg [sic] baby.—More feature stories and trials then art supervisor of commercial advt for King. Art for Camel cig., Bendix, Goodyear–etc. I helped Bob Ripley when his schedule got rough—when he died I was chosen to carry on feature. 21 yrs now & still gig strong. During war–U.S.O. cartoonist shows sketching the wounded.—Married to Mildred Spector–one son, Andrew, graduated U.S.C.—now with Universal Studios.
... With Ripley gone, the task of feeding illustrations to “Believe It or Not” fell to Paul Frehm—the older brother of the Frehm whom Ripley once offered a job. Paul was an established cartoonist in the King Features stable; it was he, in fact, who got Walter Frehm interested in cartooning in the first place. And it was Paul, in 1958, who succeeded where Ripley failed: in convincing Walter to help with the endless task of turning out “Believe It or Not.”
Paul had established that the Ripley-less “Believe It or Not” would resemble Ripley’s original as much as possible. Ripley’s name remained on the strip; there would be no tampering with success. So when Walter was hired, he learned to adapt his style to match Ripley’s bold, melodramatic pen strokes.
At first, the younger Frehm was merely an assistant. Paul did the main panels—the “shockers”—while Walter did the lettering and drew the minor panels—the Texas-shaped birthmarks, the one-armed trapeze artists and the like. ...
In 1978 Frehm retired and handed the series over to Walter.
Frehm passed away on December 24, 1986, in Florida. The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was Hallandale, Florida.
Further Reading and Viewing
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