Saturday, May 21, 2022


Herriman Saturday: April 4 1910


April 4 1910 -- Johnson is so often persecuted by the police that the idea he will be in jail sometime between now and the Fight of the Century is a bet that would not get you long odds. Herriman today suggests that such a visit would be good for his training regime.


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Friday, May 20, 2022


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Raymond A. Freil

Raymond “Dick” Freil was born on June 25, 1893 in Yonkers, New York, according to his World War I draft card which had his middle name as McShea (his mother’s maiden name). However, in earlier census records, his middle initial was R. When Freil passed away his middle initial was A. 

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census said Freil was the oldest of four children born to Richard, a barber, and Mary. His father was born in Pennsylvania and mother in New Jersey. The family lived in Yonkers, New York at 32 Madison Avenue. 

According to the 1905 New York state census, the family of seven resided at 325 Walnut Street in Yonkers. Freil’s father was an insurance agent. 

In the 1910 census, the Freil family had grown to nine members. They remained in Yonkers at a new address, 34 Victor Street. 

The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), May 24, 1939, said Freil attended School Twelve, St. Joseph’s School and Yonkers High School and trained at the Art Student’s League in New York City. He “entered the newspaper cartooning field at an early age and when seventeen was doing a cartoon a week for the old New York Telegram. He was associated with Bert Green in the creation of Green's famous ‘Letters of an Interior Decorator.’” In 1916 Freil produced the newspaper panel feature Days You’ll Never Forget, which was distributed by an unknown syndicate.


The 1911 Yonkers city directory listed Freil as an artist at 34 Victor Street. He was an artist at 177 Elm Street in 1913 through 1916 directories. In 1917 Friel’s Yonkers residence was 11 Terrace Place. 

The New York, New York Marriage License Index, at, said Freil and Ruth R. Walker obtained a Manhattan license on December 8, 1916.

Freil signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. Freil, his wife and child lived at 12 Terrace Place in Yonkers. He was employed at the Cameragraph Film Co., 144 West 44th Street, in Manhattan. His description was slender build, medium height, with black hair and hazel eyes. 

In 1918 the Yonkers directory listed Freil at 402 East 242nd Street which was in the Bronx. Freil may have been involved with an animation studio. Raoul Barré formed his animation studio in the Bronx. With Thomas Bowers, they founded the Barré-Bowers Studio which produced the Mutt and Jeff animated cartoons in 1916. Under duress, Barré quit in 1918. Freil was under contract to the Bud Fisher Films Corporation, beginning April 1, 1919, to continue work on the series. Freil’s contract was transferred to the Jefferson Film Corporation.

The 1920 census said Freil, his wife and son were Bronx residents at 2565 Grand Concourse. Freil was an animation cartoonist. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons (2006) said the Mutt and Jeff series, in 1921, continued with the Jefferson Film Corporation. 

The February 12, 1921 issues of Motion Picture News and Moving Picture World said Freil was joining the scenario staff of Coast Studio. 

The Story of British Animation (2021) said “... It was with the arrival in 1924 of another American animator, Dick Friel [sic], that the British industry switched to the ‘Bray-Hurd process’ that was used into the 1910s ...” The Herald-Statesman said Freil animated cartoons for United Artists in England. 

Freil was not found in the 1925 New York state census. He was listed as a writer in the 1927 Yonkers directory at 43 Ravine Avenue. In the 1928 and 1929 directories he was a cartoonist with the Yonkers Record newspaper. 


Freil’s wife and son were staying with his in-laws at the same address in Yonkers. Freil’s whereabout is not known. He was listed at the same address in the 1931 Yonkers directory. 

Freil’s 1935 patent application for a “Method for Producing Animated Pictures” was granted on August 24, 1937 and published in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office

Some time after 1935 Freil moved West to work at the Walt Disney studio. He was mentioned in the 1991 book, Disney’s Art of Animation #1: From Mickey Mouse to Beauty and the Beast, “Another artist, Dick Friel [sic], created a beautiful water splash in forty or fifty frames instead of the usual eight.” 

Around May 1938 Freil had a heart ailment and returned to Yonkers in the summer. 

Freil passed away on May 24, 1939 in Yonkers. An obituary appeared in Motion Picture Herald, June 3, 1939. 

Raymond Freil Dies of Heart Ailment

Raymond A. Freil, cartoonist, scenario writer and former motion picture director, died May 24th in Yonkers, N. Y., of a heart ailment. He used the name Dick Freil in writing and drawing. He was 45.

Mr. Freil drew for Bud Fisher and Walt Disney in the early days of the animated cartoon. He wrote scenarios, played in Mack Sennett comedies and had directed Richard Dix and Johnny Hines in pictures. Mr. Freil also had been connected with Fox Film Company, Famous Players and Paramount.

IMDB incorrectly lists all of Raymond Freil's credits under then name Richard Friel.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Selling It: Dick Tracy's Sweet Tooth


Some marketing makes you scratch your head and wonder just what the heck they were thinking. Now this ad above might not reach a sublime level of irony of, say, Richard Nixon promoting tape recorders, but you really have to wonder why the brainiacs at Kraft Foods thought that it was worth paying good money to license Dick Tracy for this one-off 1959 Life magazine ad for their caramels. Okay, they wanted the motif of a Wanted poster with a Kraft caramel on it. So do that. Everyone knows what a Wanted poster (supposedly) looks like. You can get that across without lining the pockets of the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. Go to Johnstone & Cushing and tell them you need a cartoon of a police detective type, if that's so near and dear to your hearts. Sheesh.

Sorry about the crease line!


Well that cheap Dick Tracy cartoon was right around the corner in 1961 so maybe ol' Chet was missing the cash cow of the Bonnie Braids and Sparkle Plenty dools days.
Hello all-
I think Mr. Cab meant "dolls", as Many years before this, dooling had been outlawed.
Even well before 1959, Tracy had been a licensing bonanza for Chi'Trib and Mr. Gould. There was another popular Dick Tracy character doll, that of B.O. Plenty. There were playtime versions of all accoutrements of law enforcement, from badges to squad cars to tommy guns, all with Tracy's imprimatur. Books,games,watches,movies, radio shows, the whole classic saturation deal. Another huge wave renewed the franchise with the TV toons, and yet another smaller one with the anticipated popularity of the 1990 feature.
That film was not a box office hit, in fact I think it It would seem that that was the last hurrah for Dick Tracy licencing. I don't think he'll be endorsing much again.
This feels like it was intended as one of a series, highlighting different comic strip characters. Note that Tracy is presented as a portrait on a piece of paper, and the layout could as easily serve Little Orphan Annie with slight copy tweaks ("Leapin' lizards, they're tasty!"). Maybe there are more out there, or this was a trial balloon.

I vaguely remember 1960s magazine ads for shock absorbers in the form of Dick Tracy strips. In one, Tracy and Sam blow up one truck in a convoy they suspect is full of counterfeit shock absorbers. Tracy explained (to the villainous driver who landed in a tree) that the truck was visibly carrying less weight, and was therefore carrying the lighter, inferior imitations. Even as a kid, I questioned the legality of planting dynamite under a road and waiting for a suspicious truck.

Tracy did get three serials, four B movies, a TV series, a Batman-flavored pilot, and two animated treatments (UPA's series and Filmation's "Archie's TV Funnies") before the last big-budget hurrah. His pop culture momentum is such that I'm surprised he wasn't recruited to pitch smart watches.
DBenson, you'll be delighted ... or horrified ... to know that I have quite a few of those Dick Tracy car part ads and will inflict them on you Strippers one of these days soon.
I liked the old Dick Tracy radio serial back in the late 1940's.
Hello again-
Did you know there was a TV series starring Ralph Byrd, the hero of the 1930's-40's serials and B pictures?
They were made in 1950-51, ending when Byrd suddenly died.If I recall, he was relaxing on his yacht at the time. Though the programmes were on film, they seem to have all been lost, though I managed to get copies of several (unconnected) episodes a few years ago. I guess that it was so early in syndication history, they were quickly forgotten, though you will notice that no new series with a new actor as Tracy appeared.
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Monday, May 16, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: Stockworth


When you read Dilbert have you ever wondered what the strip might be like if it was written from the perspective of the company's CEO? Well, wonder no longer, because Stockworth provided just such a strip, and did it almost a decade before Dilbert became the phenomenon of the 1990s. 

Stockworth was a strip about the CEO of a non-specific corporation, and he deals with fools, pests and irritants all the way up and down the org-chart, not to mention stockholders, journalists and customers. The strip is a little more genteel and grounded in reality than Dilbert, as befits the view from the top down instead of the bottom up. But when the strip hit its marks it was just like Dilbert -- not just funny, but very insightful about the corporate world. 

You would think that a strip about big business would be distributed through the corporate syndication channel, but Stockworth came into being as a self-syndicated strip. It was created by two business consultants, Hinda Sterling (art) and Herb L. Selesnick (writing), and was initially sold as a feature for the Boston Globe, debuting there August 2 1982. A year later the creators signed up for distribution through the New York Times Syndication Sales company, basically a black hole from whence no comic strip can ever become a success. After being distributed by that company from August 29 1983* to October 13 1984** with little to show for it, Sterling and Selesnick returned to the realm of self-syndication. They stuck with the do-it-yourself route for at least another year and a half until March 18 1986** before throwing in the towel, or at least losing the last paper I can find running it. 

The strip was collected in book form three years later, as Stockworth: An American CEO, once again self-published. If you have an interest in business humor from the perspective of the head honcho, I highly recommend it.

* Source: Boston Globe

** Source: Belleville News-Democrat


Any resemblance to Daddy Warbucks strictly intentional!
Kind of terrible
Interestingly enough, Hinda Sterling is one of my professors in grad school currently, and according to her they stopped writing the strip because they were making no money doing it and quote "starving to death"
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Sunday, May 15, 2022


Wish You Were Here, from John Stanley


John Stanley barely qualifies for appearing here on Stripper's Guide, but he sneaks in by having ghosted the Little Lulu newspaper comic strip for awhile in 1969. This card is not signed, but I can't imagine anyone but John Stanley having drawn a face like that. 

This card was issued by Colourpicture of Boston Massachusetts as part of their Plastichrome line; this card is coded as P6515. The card is undated and unused, but I'm guessing 1950s or 60s?


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