Wednesday, April 26, 2023
The Comics of Paramount News Feature Service: Tessie Tish
Our next PNF Service strip is Tessie Tish, whose history has a few odd aspects, but thankfully it's not quite as mind-bending as The Gang (see yesterday's post). Here are some samples from the original series, which from our best information ran from October 9 1927* to July 19 1928**:
Louise Hirsch offers us a pretty dreary strip full of second-rate jokebook fodder, and featuring a woman whose main job seems to be to react to the gag by falling out of panel three. In order to leave readers doubly sorry for having read the material, Hirsch adds a painful pun in the oft-accompanying panel cartoon, Charlie Chirps.
Okay, so that all sounds pretty cut and dried, but let's discuss some elements of interest. First there's the matter of Louise Hirsch herself. At the time of the strip's appearance, Hirsch was engaged to none other than S.M. "Jerry" Iger, the creator of The Gang and probable runner of the syndicate. In addition to that fact, let's stir into the stew that Louise Hirsch has no other syndicated credits as a cartoonist, and that the art on Tessie Tish to my eyes looks exactly like Iger's work on The Gang. My vote is that Hirsch was simply credited on the strip so as to make the syndicate look like it had a bigger bullpen of creators. But judge for yourself, then read Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile of Hirsch tomorrow and tell me how you cast your vote.
Second is a bookkeeping error that needs to be corrected. When Jeffrey Lindenblatt sent me data on PNF I got the impression that Charlie Chirps was a separate feature, and indeed I suppose it could have run separately. But most papers treated it as an adjunct panel to Tessie Tish, and that seems right to me. So in my book, where you find a listing for Charlie Chirps, mark that out as a mistake.
Third, when Tessie Tish was remarketed in reprints, for some reason the title was changed to Tess of Tinkerville. Why? I dunno, but it was. Here are some more samples, now with the reprint era title:
* Source: Brooklyn Sunday Star
** Source: Philadelphia Tribune
I'm wondering if you'll ever do one on Bonnet-Brown. If anyone knows of that syndicate today, it's because they were the first to release "Alley Oop", but I'm curious about the other non-cavemen offerings the syndicate had to offer.