Saturday, November 06, 2021

 

Herriman Saturday: Febuary 28 1910

 

February 28 1910 -- The Chicago White Sox are on their way to sunny southern California, playing practice games against the local teams along the way. The ChiSox will arrive days after expected due to a number of weather delays. Herriman will be proven very wrong about the local PCL teams.

The Angels will trounce the the Sox 13 to 3 on the 6th, and the Vernon Tigers acquitted themselves very well, winning their game 8-3 and hitting the Sox pitchers like they were bush leaguers. Which they may have been since they only got to play the Sox's second squad team. 

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Friday, November 05, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Pixeys

 


After a decade as the Chicago Tribune's resident children's storyteller, William Donahey's beloved Teenie Weenies Sunday feature was unceremoniously bumped from the Tribune's Sunday comics section. The story behind this is that the Tribune decided that Donahey's creation, which had generally run as a large panel cartoon with text story, would be better marketed in syndication as a comic strip. So the feature, which had mostly run in the magazine or women's section of the Sunday paper, was moved to the comics section and began a transformation into strip form. 

Donahey intensely disliked the idea of making the Teenie Weenies into a comic strip; he thought they were lowbrow. Because he held the rights to the feature, after he had drawn it in comic strip form for awhile he put his foot down and said he'd had it. Being the copyright holder, he decided that he would concentrate on other venues for his Teenie Weenies, and would no longer produce it for the Tribune. It's departure opened up a slot in the comics section for a Sunday version of Little Orphan Annie, so silver lining there..

Surprisingly, the Chicago Tribune did not give Donahey the bum's rush after he took away this valued feature. While Donahey disappeared from the paper for a short while, he soon came back with a series of illustrated children's stories (not featuring the Teenie Weenies), and created a Sunday-only comic strip titled The Pixeys

While the title certainly gives the impression that Donahey was going to do a feature similar to The Teenie Weenies, that's not at all what he'd come up with. The strip was about a middle-class family, and the gags were ... well I won't say grown-up, but they certainly weren't geared to Donahey's usually audience of little kids. The strip was very genteel and low-key and the art was nice enough but with little flair. The response to it was a collective yawn, but at least one reader really took exception. The May 10 1925 issue of the New York Daily News (sister paper to the Trib) printed this scathing letter from a reader:

Why bore your Sunday public by printing such namby-pamby, empty, meaningless, supposed-to-be comics as "The Pixeys" by William Donahey? It sounds as though his great-grandmother wrote the stupid story which accompanies the pictures. The "Teenie Weenies" were all right for the kiddies but, ye gods -- WHY "The Pixeys"?

 

Ouch! The Pixeys was, not surprisingly, short-lived. It ran from January 11 to August 23 1925.

Donahey pretty much disappeared from the newspapers after that, concentrating his efforts on marketing his Teenie Weenies in book form and licensing them as toys, candies and such. He also illustrated some books for other authors. He returned his Teenie Weenies to the Tribune as a comic strip for a short stint in 1933-34, then disappeared again until 1941. Finally that time the Teenie Weenies made a permanent home, now in their familiar panel and text story format, and ran there for the next thirty years.



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Wednesday, November 03, 2021

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Adolph Schus


Self-portrait from 
Best Cartoons of the Year 1944

Adolph Schus was born on June 15, 1908 in New York, New York according to Who’s Who in American Art, Volume I, 1936–37, Who’s Who in American Art, Volume IV, 1947 and his World War II draft card. However Schus was not found in the New York, New York Extracted Birth Index at Ancestry.com. New York City births were compiled into a book and “Adolph Schus” was not listed and no similar name was found with the June 15, 1908 birth date. Ancestry.com linked Schus to Adolph Schusterman who was born on November 22, 1909.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the Schusterman family of four lived in Manhattan at 239 East 40th Street. Schus’s father, Samuel, was a drugs salesman. 

The 1915 New York state census said Schus’s mother, Sadie, was the head of the household which included him, his older siblings, maternal grandmother and uncle. They all resided in Manhattan at 540 West 165th Street.

Schus was counted twice in the 1920 census. In his mother’s household he was at 3605 Broadway. In his father’s household his address was 502 West 179th Street. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded Schus at two locations. He was listed with his mother in Manhattan at 511 West 112th Street. With his father, Schus lived in Brooklyn at 2002 Avenue J. 

Schus attended Manual Training High School in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Standard Union (New York), April 29, 1925, named Schus (Adolph Schusterman) in the staff of The Prospect, the school’s magazine. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and New York Sun, December 3, 1925, reported the winners of the Brooklyn borough-wide Tuberculosis Christmas Seal Card Contest. Schus (Adolph Shusterman [sic]) won second prize at his school.

Who’s Who said Schus’s art training was at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts.

At some point Schus and his parents moved to England. 

At the Mike Lynch Cartoons website, a reader contributed Schus’ profile which appeared in Best Cartoons of the Year 1943
Born on New York’s upper east side ... lived in Wembly, a suburb of London, where he spent a good deal of his childhood. The zeppelin raids on London during the first world war, sent the family back to America. Except for a year on the continent, during which time he art-edited a publication published in Paris for Americans abroad. He has been residing in New York. Married a Rochestarian in 1938 and their son was born in 1943. Just before the blessed event they bought a home in Harmon-on-the-Hudson, where Schus will continue to do cartoons for the country’s leading magazines.
The Editor & Publisher, March 19, 1949, published an article about cartoonist Lawrence Lariar and his adventures with friends Jack Arthur and Schus. 
… Lariar’s training began in the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. For the first six months he was on commercial illustration, then switched to cartooning. After graduation he started out with two buddies, Jack Arthur, now a school teacher in the New York system, and Adolph Schus, now a designer in fabric house.

The trio set up a cartoon agency in a flat in the 80’s in New York, sold vignettes to College Life, for which the editor wrote two-line captions. They also got in America's Humor magazine, primarily because it couldn’t pay as much as Life or Judge, says Lariar. Arthur, the oldest of the three (he was 21) would contact various outlets and say he represented a dozen different artists, which Lariar, Arthur and Schus tried to prove. One of their “artists” was named Baron de Shebago, who drew a full page of zanies.

In 1927, Lariar went to Paris on a scholarship to the school of dynamic symmetry. He was accompanied by Arthur. Later, the third musketeer, Schus, joined them. They went into the same routine in Paris, and did a big business with British magazines and Fleetway House, then one of the big magazine publishing houses of the world. Much of their work was for The Looker-On, which folded but paid off—fortunately for the sake of their fares back home. They did work, too, for Boulevardier, a Paris publication operated by Erskine Gwynn, an American.

Come Home for Depression

The trio caromed back to New York in October, 1929, a few days after the boom had burst. [Passenger lists at Ancestry.com said Schus returned with his parents on August 20, 1929. His birth date was recorded as June 4, 1908. Lariar returned September 4, 1929. Arthur has not been found.]

“To make a living, we did everything,” says Lariar. “We had a service for printers, drew cartoons for calendars, played messenger and did some of the first work for the slicks.”

The boys hit upon a deal that brought home the bacon when they did a series of cartoon postcards, designed to save Boy Scouts time in writing home to mother. They sold over a million of them in a direct-mail campaign.

Flushed with success, they then embarked on a venture that sank them. In Paris, Lariar had picked up a book reproducing the etchings of a Rembrandt exposition. The plates were excellent, and they had sold many of them to friends back home without any other effort than razoring them out of the book. Reproduction by a photographic process was expensive, and they moved in trade as slowly as coal buckets from a hardware merchant’s shelves in the summer time.

“I still see them in shops around town,” remarks Lariar sadly. “They’re very good, too.”

So the combine broke up …
The 1930 census found Schus at two locations. The newspaper artist was with his mother and two siblings at 610 West 113 Street in Manhattan. He was with his parents and sister in Brooklyn at 2016 Avenue L.

The Grand Comics Database has some of Schus’s credits in Life magazines of 1932, and three issues of the New Fun comic book of 1935. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Schus produced the Sunday strip The Topps and its topper, Stupe McLupe, for the George Matthew Adams Service. The strip ran from July 5, 1935 to April 4, 1936. Schus and other artists contributed to the daily panel, This and That, for the George Matthew Adams Service. Schus did a Laff-a-Day cartoon in 1936. The New Yorker, March 19, 1938, published a drawing by Schus. 

Schus married Sonya Pupik, a Russian emigrant and Rochester, New York resident. According to her 1939 naturalization paper, they married on October 31, 1938, in Elkton, Maryland. The document had Schus’s birth date as June 14, 1908. Apparently their honeymoon was an eleven-day cruise, starting November 18, from New York City and back. On the passenger list their address was 215 West 88th Street in Manhattan.

The 1940 census recorded Schus three times. On April 13, “Adolph Schus” and his wife resided in Rego Park, Queens, New York at 62-28 82 Street. Their house was valued at six-thousand dollars. Schus was a self-employed artist who had two years of college. On the same day, Schus was listed as “Adolph Schusterman”, a newspaper artist, at a hotel in Far Rockaway, New York. On April 18, “Adolph Schusterman” was listed with his mother at 9 Lafayette in Hempstead, New York.

Schus contributed two cartoons to College Humor, January 1940. 

Schus signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. His description was five feet ten inches, with brown eyes and gray hair. Some time later, his Rego Park address was crossed out and replaced with 508 West 166th Street, Manhattan. Using his birth name, Schus enlisted in the Army on May 16, 1942. His birth year was 1909. 


The 1942 and 1943 Manhattan directories listed Adolph Schus and Adolph Schusterman at 508 West 166th Street. Perhaps one name was intended for clients and the other for family and friends. His mother and siblings were also listed under Schusterman. 



Schus’s purchase of a house was reported in the New York Sun, August 2, 1943.
The Home Owners Corporation sold a plot of approximately two acres improved with a nine-room residence and garage on Penfield avenue, in the Harmon section, Croton-on-Hudson, to Adolph Schus, an illustrator, through Arnold Krimont of Croton. The residence overlooks the Hudson River.
Manhattan directories from 1944 onward listed Schus and his address as Penfield Avenue Harmon, New York. 

In 1945 Schus was the cartoon editor of Pageant magazine

For the New York Herald Tribune, Schus did Mr. Fussabout which ran from March 7, 1948 to February 13, 1949.

Schus passed away on February 25, 1957 according to the New York, New York Death Index, at Ancestry.com, which, due to space limitation, listed his name as “Adol Schusterman”. The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), February 26, 1957, reported Westchester County deaths and said “Adolph Schus, forty-eight, cartoonist, former art editor and designer, of Penfield Avenue, Harmon, at New York City.”

The Citizen Register (Ossining, New York), June 30, 1961, reported the sale of Schus’s house.
One of First Homes in Harmon Sold to Couple from Peekskill
Sale of an eight-room house at the end of Penfield Avenue in Croton designed in  1910 by Stanford White, has been sold by Mrs. Sonya Schus to Dr. and Mrs. Philip H. Smith Jr., formerly of Peekskill, announced Harold H. Hunt of Croton, broker in the transaction.

The residence, southern colonial in style, is located on a wooded plot that overlooks the Duck Pond and the Hudson River. There is a bridge entrance to the hall and there are four fireplaces in the house, Mr. Hunt points out.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred S. Dashiell, now of Franklin Avenue, leased the house from Mrs. Mary Reid, widow of the original owner, before a period prior to its sale to Mrs. Schus and her late husband, Adolph Schus, a well-known cartoonist for many years before his death, the border said.

Dr Smith, employed by IBM, now is occupying the house with his wife. Mrs. Schus, dental hygienist at CET school, has moved to Yonkers. Her daughter, Stephanie, was one of the graduates to speak at CHHS commencement exercises Saturday.

The house sold by Mrs. Schus to Dr. Smith was one of the first to be built in the Harmon development, according to Mr. Hunt. The architect, the late Mr. White, was a partner in the firm of McKim, Mead and White, designers of Columbia University, Pennsylvania Station and other Manhattan buildings.

Further Viewing
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum
Heritage Auctions
Many of Schus’s cartoons for Collier’s and Esquire are here

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Monday, November 01, 2021

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Topps

 


Adolph Schus had some success as a second string gag cartoonist; his work appeared in many national publications. But when he agreed to supply a Sunday feature to the ill-fated George Matthew Adams Service preprint section, he showed that whatever skills he had did not translate to that format. His strip was The Topps, accompanied by topper Stupe McLupe, and it is an embarrassment of bad writing and unappealing art.  Is it possible that a decent gag cartoonist could be so completely unable to transfer his expertise to this closely affiliated form? Or was Schus just so uninterested in the gig that he put no effort into it? Well, whichever it is, The Topps is eminently and happily forgettable. It was one of the features that ran for the whole short life of the comics section, July 5 1935* to April 4 1936**. 

~~~~~~~

* Source: Northport Jornal

** Source: Snyder County Tribune

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Hello Allan-
"Stupe McLupe" has a contest to name his dog in late 1935-early 1936.Eventually,(8 February 1936)the dog's name is selected and incorporated into the feature's new name, "Stupe McLupe and Scratch."
"The Watchman," (Mattituck NY) is running The Topps as late as 3 February 1938, but as the syndicate identia is removed, it would seem these are reruns. They used some of the other GMA strips, and "Rod Rian" lasted until 17 February.
 
Hi Mark --
Yes, I should have mentioned that the GMA Sunday strips went through a bout of reprints in small papers in 1937-38. Most that I find seem to be under the banner of "Comics Feature Magazine", whatever that is.

--Allan
 
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Sunday, October 31, 2021

 

Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael

  Here is an unsigned and uncredited card, but we know from others in the series that "They Never Come Back" cards were issued by Taylor Pratt Company as series #728, and of course the artist is our old friend, Albert Carmichael. 

I like that Carmichael shows us that our subjects have been at quite the energetic couch-tussle by the bobbypins on the floor, some of which took some hair with them as they were removed! My stars. 

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Hello Allan-
Those are a bit of feminine accoutrement of that era, ready to wear curls, mounted on hairpins, called "RATS."
 
The figure on the left, walking — is that Willie leaving, or Father arriving? Or the cartoonist being confused?
_ Katherine Collins
 
I imagine it is Willie making a hasty retreat at the mention of her father...sadly never to come back.
 
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