Saturday, March 19, 2022


Herriman Saturday: March 24 1910


March 24 1910 -- Former President Teddy Roosevelt is in Egypt, delivering speeches but not talking about the subject on everyone's minds back home -- will he run again?


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Friday, March 18, 2022


Firsts and Lasts: There Oughta Be A Law ... against feature cancellations


Here's the final daily panel of There Oughta be a Law, published on April 13 1985. Mort Gerberg, who had taken over the panel for the final year and a half of a forty year run, plucks skillfully at readers' heart-strings in the swan song.


In the world of newspaper syndicate sales, The feature was known by the achronym "TOBAL". "There Ought To Be A Law" of course, was a knock-off of "They'll Do It Every Time", or, "TDIET."
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Thursday, March 17, 2022


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Kirschbaum

Richard Warren “Dick” Kirschbaum was born on September 6, 1894, in Newark, New Jersey, according to his passport application, World War II draft card, and Who’s Who in Aviation: A Directory of Living Men and Women Who Have Contributed to the Growth of Aviation in the United States, 1942–43. His parents were Max M. Kirschbaum and Rose Seligmann. 

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census said Kirschbaum, his parents (German emigrants) and younger sister lived in Newark at 108 Wickliffe Street. Kirschbaum’s father was a furrier. The 1905 New Jersey state census recorded the Kirchbaum family of five in Newark at 142 Miller Street. The same address was in the 1910 census and 1915 state census. 

Who’s Who said Kirschbaum attended Barringer High School. 

The New York Times, November 21, 1948 said Kirschbaum “started his newspaper career as a cartoonist for The Newark Sunday Call in 1913 and later was a reporter for the old New York Press.” Information about Kirschbaum’s art training has not been found. 

According to Who’s Who Kirschbaum served with the First New Jersey Field Artillery at the Mexican border in 1916. 

On March 10, 1917, Kirschbaum was issued a passport for travel to Canada. Attached to the passport application was a letter from Duggan’s Cartoon Comedies Limited in Montreal. The company was interested in hiring Kirschbaum and his cartoonist friends. 

During World War I, Kirschbaum served with the 112th Heavy Field Artillery in the 29th Division. He was stationed at Camp McClellan, Alabama. The Birmingham Age-Herald (Alabama), February 27, 1918, reported the 29th Division’s minstrel troupe performance. 

Kirschbaum is sixth from the left.

Kirschbaum’s letter was published in Variety, March 22, 1918. Kirschbaum said he was the assistant director of the vaudeville troupe looking for musical material. 

An Army Transport Service passenger list, at, said Kirschbaum departed from New York City on June 28, 1918 to serve overseas. Less than a year later, he departed St. Nazaire, France, on May 6, 1919, destined for Newport News, Virginia.

The Times said Kirschbaum returned to newspaper work at the Newark Ledger then, in 1920, at the Newark Star-Eagle as cartoonist, drama critic and author-artist of a comic strip.

The 1920 census said Kirschbaum was a self-employed newspaper cartoonist who lived with his parents in Newark. The Times said Kirschbaum embarked on a career as a theater press agent from 1921 to 1927. He was mentioned several times in Variety and Billboard magazines. 

Who’s Who said Kirschbaum married Arla L. Kaften, of Chicago, on April 25, 1927. 

In 1928 Kirschbaum produced Lobby Laffs for Motion Picture Herald. The earliest one available is April 11, 1931. The last one appeared on June 17, 1933

Motion Picture Herald 5/2/1931

Kirschbaum has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

According to the Times, Kirschbaum began, in 1934, an aviation column, Airlanes, for the Newark News. Kirschbaum’s articles appeared in Popular Aviation on February 1939 and May 1939

Kirschbaum contributed cartoons and illustrations to Showmen’s Round Table beginning with its first issue dated May 27, 1933. The name changed to Showmen’s Trade Review with the December 29, 1934 issue. At the Internet Archive, the earliest available issue is April 8, 1939 with the feature, Dick Kirschbaum’s Korner, which ended on January 19, 1946. A Glutz strip appeared in six issues: February 2, 1946; March 2, 1946; March 30, 1946; April 27, 1946; May 25, 1946; and June 22, 1946. Kirschbaum’s last series was Showmen’s Silhouettes which debuted May 4, 1946 and ended on February 19, 1949

According to the 1940 census, Kirschbaum and his wife had twins, Robert and Raymond. They were Newark residents at 319 Renner Avenue. Kirschbaum’s highest level of education was the fourth year of high school. 

Showmen’s Trade Review, December 28, 1940, reported the following: 
Dick Kirschbaum, STR cartoonist who created the famous character of Glutz, and Rod Lehigh, news writer, have written an aviation march which they have dedicated to the 44th Division Aviation, U. S. A. “Wings of Victory [sic],” as it is known, will be published by Famous Music Corp. and will be used in the Paramount feature, “I Wanted Wings.” Above, left to right, are Kirschbaum, Capt. Russell Gray, Col. E. H. Lindstrom, Lieut. Joseph Davis. Seated are Lieut. Gen. Hugh A. Drum and Lieut. Col. R. L. Copsey.

Wings to Victory was mentioned in a 1941 issue of National Aeronautics
N A A has a song for aviation: a marching song with a lift to it. Music and lyrics were composed by Dick Kirschbaum, Aviation Editor, and Rod Lehigh, both of the Newark News. 

Dick brought it to the All-American Air Maneuvers at Miami where it became an instant hit, and N A A is glad to sponsor it as the N A A official song. It has been adopted also by the 119th Observation Squadron, 44th Division Aviation. It is published by the Famous Music Corp., 1619 Broadway, New York. Good work, Dick and Rod!
The Brooklyn Eagle (New York), February 13, 1941, covered the party, hosted by aviatrix Viola Gentry, for Kirshcbaum and Rod Lehigh. 
Viola Gentry of 1501 Dorchester Road gave a cocktail party Tuesday afternoon at the Hotel Roosevelt, Manhattan, in honor of Rod Lehigh and Dick Kirschbaum whose song, “Wings to Victory,” was dedicated that afternoon to the 119th Observation Squadron, U. S. Army Air Corps and the 44th Division Aviation.

Thirty officers of the 119th Observation Squadron were present and adopted the song for the Air Corps. Rod Lehigh, who wrote the music, is a native of Bay Ridge. Both Mr. Lehigh and Mr. Kirschbaum are aviation editors of the Newark Evening News. ...
Kirschbaum’s Fifty Famous Flyers, published in 1941, featured selected Sky Figures profiles from around 1937 to 1940. 

On April 25, 1942, Kirschbaum signed his World War II draft card. His address was 151 Mapes Avenue in Newark. He was employed at the Evening News Publishing Company in Newark. Kirschbaum’s description was five feet eight inches, 193 pounds, with gray eyes and black hair. He served in the Army Air Force from May 27, 1942 to September 28, 1945. 

The war took a toll on Kirschbaum as reported in Showmen’s Trade Review, December 30, 1944. 
Major ‘Dick’ Kirschbaum on Convalescent Leave From China
Major Richard Kirschbaum (reporter, publicist  and cartoonist affectionately known in the industry as Dick Kirschbaum through his famous character, “Glutz,” featured character in cartoons published by STR up to the time of his re-entry into the Army two years ago) returned on a 10-day convalescent leave to his Newark home last week from Ashland General Hospital, White Sulphur Springs. Major Kirschbaum served in the China, Burma, India theatre since last February—first as Assistant Public Relations Officer of the entire CBI and later as Public Relations Officer with the 14th Air Force, commanded by General Claire L. Chennault, and still known in China as the Flying Tigers. While in China Kirschbaum suffered attacks of malaria and dengue fever.
The Toledo Union Journal (Ohio), June 6, 1947, said Kirschbaum was part of a press convoy at the MGM studios. 

Kirschbaum passed away on November 20, 1948, in Newark. He was laid to rest at the Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun Cemetery

Several months after Kirschbaum’s death, Ray continued his father’s Showmen’s Silhouettes series on April 9, 1949

Further Reading and Viewing
Motion Picture Herald, Lobby Laffs (incomplete)
April 25, 1931; May 2, 1931; May 9, 1931; May 16, 1931; May 23, 1931; May 30, 1931; June 13, 1931; June 27, 1931; July 4, 1931; July 25, 1931August 8, 1931August 15, 1931August 22, 1931August 29, 1931September 5, 1931September 12, 1931September 19, 1931April 1, 1933April 22, 1933May 20, 1933June 3, 1933June 10, 1933 

Showmen’s Trade Review, Dick Kirschbaum’s Korner (incomplete)
January 6, 1940April 6, 1940July 6, 1940October 5, 1940October 31, 1942December 12, 1942December 19, 1942December 26, 1942

Showmen’s Trade Review, Showmen’s Silhouettes (incomplete)
May 4, 1946May 11, 1946May 18, 1946May 25, 1946June 1, 1946June 8, 1946June 15, 1946June 22, 1946June 29, 1946October 5, 1946October 19, 1946October 26, 1946November 2, 1946November 9, 1946November 16, 1946November 23, 1946November 30, 1946December 7, 1946December 14, 1946December 21, 1946December 28, 1946July 12, 1947July 18, 1947July 25, 1947August 2, 1947August 9, 1947August 16, 1947August 23, 1947August 30, 1947September 27, 1947October 4, 1947October 11, 1947October 25, 1947November 1, 1947November 15, 1947December 13, 1947December 27, 1947July 10, 1948July 17, 1948July 24, 1948July 31, 1948August 28, 1948September 11, 1948September 25, 1948October 16, 1948December 18, 1948January 29, 1949February 19, 1949


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Wednesday, March 16, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: Sky Figures


Lucky for me, some kid in Newark who was crazy about flying decided to keep a scrapbook of newspaper and magazine clippings about the subject. And lucky for him, the Newark News had a weekly page for kids about that very subject. And lucky for Dick Kirschbaum, a flying-mad cartoonist, he was contracted by the News to pen a weekly panel cartoon about his favorite subject, flying and flyers. 

I have not indexed the Newark News, and as far as I know it is not yet digitized, so my information on Dick Kirschbaum's Sky Figures is based solely on the crumbling clippings from this scrapbook and a few scant mentions online. All my samples of Sky Figures seem to be from 1937, but for all I know the feature could have run much longer. But on the other hand, maybe not because in 1941 Kirschbaum published a retrospective of his cartoons. The book, Fifty Famous Flyers, offered  only fifty cartoons (obviously), which would have been just short of a year's worth. So maybe they all ran in 1937? Can anyone supply running dates for this very well done local panel cartoon series?

Tomorrow Alex Jay weighs in with an Ink-Slinger Profile that will offer tantalizing information about Kirschbaum's other cartooning work.


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Tuesday, March 15, 2022


News of Yore 1946: William Donahey Profiled

Comic strip version of The Teenie Weenies from late in the first run of the feature


 Donahey Talks About His Teenie Weenies

By George A. Brandenburg (Editor & Publisher, June 15 1946)

Some old screws, which served as his boyhood soldiers, plus an inherent interest in what makes children “tick,” served as guiding lights in the creation of the ‘‘Teenie Weenies.” 32-year-old Sunday
color feature drawn by William Donahey, top-flight watercolor artist with the Chicago Tribune - New York News Syndicate.

As a kid in New Philadelphia, O., Bill Donahey was what he today terms a “lone wolf.” He played by himself a lot and among his favorites were an assortment of screws which he imagined were soldiers. One screw head had some red paint on it and Bill made him the general. A broken screw, which wouldn't stand on end, was called the dunce.

Later a Chinaman moved to town and opened a laundry. The Chinaman was an object of great curiosity among all the kids in New Philadelphia, including young Donahey, who, in turn, tied a piece of string on a screw for a queue and he dubbed this one “Mr. Chinaman.”

In later years, these same “characters‘’ and a group of others were to take form as the Teenie Weenies, then unbeknown to their creator.

Donahey was not a poor boy, in the sense that he was obliged to play with screws instead of toys. His father was a well-to-do cattle raiser and a respected politician.

Bill’s two older brothers became famous in their own right. The late A. V. Donahey, ten years older than Bill, was elected three times governor of Ohio and also served in the U.S. Senate. J. H. Donahey, eight years Bill's senior, has been editorial cartoonist on the Cleveland Plain Dealer for many years.

Bill‘s father taught him the value of money early in life. "My father never gave me money, but he would ‘loan’ me his lawn mower or snow shovel and after I had made good use of them, I was paid accordingly.” Mr. Donahey told Editor & Publisher.

Later, when Bill went to Cleveland School of Art, his father advanced him the money as a loan through a series of 4% notes. "This also kept me from spending money extravagantly,‘’ remarked Donahey, “for I knew I was obligated to pay it back to my father.“

Upon finishing art school and after some private tutoring, Donahey was hired as an illustrator on the Plain Dealer in the days when artists covered the big news events, theatrical openings. etc., instead of photographers. Always striving for perfection, he soon found that he had a lot to learn about illustrating and for the first 2 1/2 years he was on the Plain Dealer he worked 20 hours a day, spending all his spare time practicing and perfecting his artwork. “During those first 2 1/2 years on the paper I seldom slept more than four hours a night and I didn’t take a vacation until after I had been with the Plain Dealer three years.” he said. “It was fascinating work, but required terrific speed and good draftsmanship, all of which had to be accomplished under great pressure.”

Marries Mary Dickerson

About this time, Donahey became acquainted with Mary Dickerson, a talented reporter and feature writer, who had already won recognition on the old New York Journal and old New York World. She was then a reporter on the Plain Deaier.

She and Bill decided to get married. But Bill first went to his father and offered to pay back the money he had borrowed while going to school. When he presented the money, his father declined, tearing up the 4% notes he had with his son's signature.

In those days, a newspaper artist really earned his salt,’‘ remarked Donahey. “l had my regular daily assignments, plus a Sunday color page, and some special drawings for the editorial page, together with theatrical openings and a few other odd jobs.”

Donahey aspired to be either a magazine illustrator or a cartoonist. He noticed, however, that the Sunday color comic sections of those days didn't offer too much in the way of a wholesome appeal to children. Most of the comics were of the slapstick variety and played up the pranks of youngsters, rather than appealing to their better

Attracts Patterson's Attention
He pointed out this fact to the Plain Dealer managing editor, whose first reaction was: “0h, kids are just little savages anyway and they like this kind of comics.” Donahey kept “working” on his superior, however, and finally got him to consent to let Donahey draw a color page for the Sunday comics which would feature Mother Goose characters, “modernized” by special children’s verses, written by Donahey.

The beautiful color work, plus the kids’ verse in simple style, became immediately popular with Cleveland children. Donahey’s attractive color pages caught the eyes of Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson, late publisher of the New York News, then with the Chicago Tribune. As has been the case with so many of the Tribune-News comic features, Patterson encouraged Donahey to develop a new children’s page for the Sunday paper.

At this point, Donahey’s boyhood “playmates,” the screws, came back to his mind and the characters such as “the General,” the “Dunce” and “Mr. Chinaman” took form in the tiny folks whom he called the Teenie Weenies. Although the Donaheys have no children of their own. Bill had a deep fondness for kids, having watched his oldest brother’s family of 12 children grow up.

Began in May 1914 (actually June--Allan)
Donahey drew three pages, showing the Teenie Weenies busy in ttieir little way in the big world about them. Capt. Patterson was away when Donahey brought his drawings to the Tribune. He showed them to the Sunday editor, who took one look at them and said; “These stink, take ’em away.” Donahey waited for Patterson’s return and submitted them again. Patterson was so impressed that he ordered the page to run immediately in black and white in what was then called the Hint Section.

“But that section is already made up and we have advertising scheduled for that page,” protested the Sunday editor. “Put the ads somewhere else in the paper and get the Teenie Weenies in,” ordered Capt. Patterson. Soon after, in May, 1914, the Teenie Weenies became a regular feature in the Sunday paper and they have been there ever since, except for a short period a few years ago when Donahey tried to retire, but the demand for the feature was so great that he returned to his delightful job of keeping youngsters and oldsters amused.

The popularity of the Teenie Weenies was so great that Patterson urged Donahey to develop a daily strip as well, but Donahey declined, saying that once a week was enough. “This way I enjoy doing it and the kids like it, too; if I try to do a daily feature as well, I'll tire of it and so will the ktds," he explained.

A Painstaking Worker

He did retain the book publishing rights on the Teenie Weenies and Whittlesey House is publishing his fourth book soon. It takes him from three to six weeks to do each of the book illustrations, because he is methodical in proportioning his figures and backgrounds, and he is particularly painstaking about the color work.

He seldom draws more than one Teenie Weenie feature a week for the syndicate, explaining “you must have a feeling for what you are doing and I like to do things slowly and with considerable thought.” His color prints which are turned in for guides in the mechanical department are beautiful enough to be framed.

“I’ve never missed a deadline in 47 years of newspaper work,” remarked Donahey in a recent interview at his home in Chicago. There the quiet-spoken, diminutive Donahey, with a great shock of gray hair and his inevitable pipe, works during the fall and winter months in the second-floor front room which he uses for his art studio.

Likes the Outdoors
From May to October, the Donaheys hide away in their log cabin lodge at Grand Maraias in northern Michigan near Lake Superior. Donahey loves the outdoors as much as he does little children. He likes to fish, study Mother Nature at first hand, and still keeps up his syndicate schedule. In bygone years, Donahey and the late Gaar Williams, famed Hoosier cartoonist with the Tribune, enjoyed fishing and swapping yarns together on expeditions in the northern Michigan lake country.

Mrs. Donahey. author of children's books under the name of Mary Dickerson Donahey, told Editor & Publisher that she is often given the credit for writing the stories which accompany her husband's Teenie Weenie illustrations. This is not the case, she stated, for Donahey writes his own stories.

“I ‘illustrate’ the picture with a story.” he explained. “I draw my picture first and then write a little story to tell more about the details.”

Has Interesting Collection
In his studio is an interesting collection of tiny objects which youngsters all over the world have sent te him. They include tiny knives, beds, rugs, furniture and other small articles proportioned to meet the specifications of the Teenie Weenies if they could come to life and use them. Donahey gets a great many letters from youngsters, written in their own handwriting and often addressed to "Mr. Teenie Weenie.”

“I am always fascinated by children,” he said. “I see more interesting things in children than I do in grown-ups. People over-estimate a child’s intelligence. Youngsters have very little consecutive thought; that’s why they jump from one thing to another.”

The day we visited Donahey he had gone out and bought a fish in order to get the proper markings and coloring for a Teenie Weenie episode. Sometime next summer, the fish and the Teenie Weenies will appear in bright color under the magic brush of William Donahey, who has a Sunday "date” with boys and girls of pre-teen age across
the country.


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Monday, March 14, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: The Teenie Weenies (2nd run)


William Donahey's The Teenie Weenies is certainly no obscurity, but the aspect that is rather obscure is that the long-running Chicago Tribune feature went through three separate and quite widely separated runs. 

The first run, June 1914 to October 1924, is not terribly obscure. Admittedly, tearsheets of this first run can be hard to find because the feature did not run in the Trib's regular Sunday comics section, but plenty of  contemporary kids did find it, making it popular enough to spawn a few books and spin-off items. 

As best as can be determined, William Donahey ended the first series as a protest against the Trib's wanting him to make the feature into a comic strip. He instead decided to explore other marketing avenues for his creation. For the Tribune he created a new feature, The Pixeys, which was quite rightly panned and hence ran only for a short while. 

In 1941, Donahey's Teenie Weenies finally returned to the pages of the Chicago Tribune, and that series went on until the creator's death, ending in 1971. This is by far the most familiar series to most cartooning fans, as it appeared in the regular comics sections of the Chicago Tribune, New York Sunday News, and some syndicated papers. 

Okay, so that accounts for two series, neither of which sets off the Stripper's Guide Obscurity alarm bell. No, it was a short-lived series in between those two, like the forgotten middle child, that qualifies as our Obscurity of the Day. In 1933, perhaps feeling the pinch of the Great Depression, William Donahey finally caved in to Captain Patterson of the Chicago Tribune and agreed to make a comic strip version of the panel feature. The strip debuted on October 1 1933. 

The new comic strip version was quite delightful and gave no hint that its creator was labouring on it under duress. All the familiar characters were there and the art was just as wonderful as on the original series, perhaps just a little simplified. The strips, more gag-oriented than the panel version, were nevertheless gentle and delightfully witty.The half-page strip lacked only the paper dolls which were a popular aspect of the original series. 

Despite Donahey's successful rejiggering of his feature, he evidently wasn't happy. He worked out his one year contract, and that was it for the strip version. It last ran on December 2 1934. Children who liked the new version would be well on their way to young adulthood before the Teenie Weenies would return. But kids had a new feature to grow up with, because The Teenie Weenies was replaced the next week by the new Sunday version of Terry and the Pirates


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Sunday, March 13, 2022


Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael


Here's another Albert Carmichael postcard from the 1909 Gee I Wish I Had a Girl series, Taylor Pratt Series #568.This kid will do just fine romantically when his size 6X body catched up with his size 14 shoes.


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