Saturday, May 06, 2023
Herriman Saturday: May 26 1910
May 26 1910 -- Pretty obvious gag here, Jim Jeffries has finished his big rejuvenating meal, and he's now ready for a "large black." What bothers me about the cartoon (other than its smug race-based gag) is that Herriman had a superb ear for slang, but this is distinctly tinny. If we're talking about coffee, I never heard of ordering a "large black" to get a cuppa joe. Or maybe he's referring to some other period end of meal delicacy I've never heard of?
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, May 05, 2023
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Little
Who before her marriage yesterday morning in St. Mary’s church was Miss Mary E. Rodrigues, of this city. Mr. and Mrs. Little will reside in New York, where Mr. Little is connected with the Ted Eshugh [sic] Animated Cartoon studios.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Thursday, May 04, 2023
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Jack Ward
... Edna Northlane and Jack Ward in an “Impromptu Duo” present a merry hodge midge of songs, dances and patter, and the late song hit, “Within the Law.” Miss Northlane make a decided impression upon her audiences. A clever, bright and exceedingly well dressed couple, they savor of society entertainers of the de luxe order.
The vaudeville team of Northlane and Ward, having returned from entertaining soldiers overseas, will split temporarily. Jack Ward will do a single and Edna Northlane, in private life Mrs. Jack Ward, will not work this season. Ward will offer singing, dancing and character bits in his act.
The “High Kicking Kellys,” whose funny antics in Jack Ward’s cartoon strip on this page each week have brought merriment to countless thousands, are now a year old. For 52 consecutive weeks they have delighted Vaudeville News readers, and for that reason a few “inside” facts about them may be of interest.Of course the Kellys do not exist in reality. It is just a cartoon, created for laughing purposes only and the creator and cartoonist is Jack Ward of the team of Northlane and Ward, now playing the Keith-Albee Circuit. Ward has worked with Edna Northlane (known as the Mary Pickford of Vaudeville) for the past twelve years. For eight years he worked with Eddie Weber (now Weber & Ridnor) in an act known as Ward & Weber.Old friends of Ward, knowing that he was raised in the show business, are curious to know how he became a cartoonist. The creator of the High Kicking Kellys acquired his cartooning education right off the make-up shelf. In 1920 he took up a correspondence school course in cartooning which required three years to complete. Another year was devoted to the study of commercial art. He never studied anywhere excepting in a dressing room between shows. Thanks to present-day conditions most dressing rooms arc well lighted, well ventilated and are ideal for studying. Ward was not alone in his studying as evidenced by the accompanying photo of Baby Edna Lorraine Ward, who is 4 1/2 years of age and weighs 38 pounds. She has been “brought up” on the stage and is living proof of the fact that vaudeville artists are laboring under healthful conditions.With the assistance and advice of the editor of The Vaudeville News and Mr. McClure, manager of Associated Newspapers, as well as Ed Ripley, sport cartoonist of the New York Telegram, Ward’s work in The Vaudeville News has been closely watched and coached and is now considered equal in originality, humor and technique to any comedy strip before the public today.The Kellys are a year old and if you have followed them you will admit they have gone through some terrible experiences for their age.But “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Jack Ward, comedian and dancer for the past 20 years on the Keith and Loew vaudeville circuits with Northlane & Ward and later with Ward & Weber, has been signed for an indefinite engagement with the Aesop Fable dept. of the Van Beuren Corp.
... If dance steps or a special funny walk were needed for a cartoon character to perform, the veteran former star vaudevillian dancer, Jack Ward, was called in. Jack would go through the routine, freezing occasionally for the animator to make quick pencil sketches to be later transposed into the cartoon character’s action. …
... The other outstanding attribute of this musical cartoon is the dancing. Both Gordon Sheehan and animator Dave Tendlar remembered the talents of writer, cartoonist, and former vaudeville dancer Jack Ward. Tendlar said, “He could draw. He drew all the [dance] steps for us. He drew everything out. The positions of the feet. He was a professional dancer. He drew out all the steps in very great detail, and we could follow the feet movements that he drew. He was not an animator. He worked in the Story Department. In his early days, he and his wife were vaudeville actors; they danced.”
Jack Ward, onetime musical comedy and vaude performer, died Jan. 11 in New York. Starting his theatrical career at the age of 14, he later was dance director for the late George M. Cohan in a number of shows presented by the production team of Cohan & Harris.But although Ward frequently trouped in musicals for the Shuberts and other producers he was better known for his work in vaude. In the latter medium he teamed with his wife, Edna, in a turn known as Northlane & Ward and also was a member of the act of Ward & Weber.After serving in World War I, Ward rejoined Miss Northlane to appear in the George M. Cohan Over There Theatre League and on the major circuits of yesteryear. A cartoonist as well as a dancer, he drew a strip called the “High Kicking Kellys” in the Vaudeville News and was long associated in various capacities with the Van Beuren Studio and Max Fleischer Studio.Surviving besides his wife are two daughters and five sisters. One daughter, Edna L., is a member of Lane & Ward.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, May 03, 2023
Comics of the Paramount News Features Service: Flaming Youth
Today we come to a particularly knotty mess to unravel from PNF, Flaming Youth. This strip was another anchor strip for the syndicate, starting (as best we can tell) on July 22 1927* and ending on an undetermined date in 1928. The term "flaming youth" was popular slang in the 1920s, describing the hard-partying, hard-drinking, sexually liberated young people who were emblematic of the Roaring '20s decade. This strip offered run of the mill gags that were getting pretty creaky even by 1927.
The strip began under the direction of Jack Ward, who signed for awhile in 1927, and then switched over to Frank P. Little, who often signed just with his initials. Both creators leaned heavily on the standard-bearer for flapper art, John Held, Jr, but Ward was the better artist of the two.. Here's some by Jack Ward:
And here's some by Frank P. Little:
So you're wondering why many of the strips above use the title Drugstore Cowboys and are bylined by Gus Standard? Well, so did I for a long time. But I finally figured it out. After the initial PNF run, as is not untypical, the title of the strip was changed. Okay, so that explains Drugstore Cowboys, but what about Gus Standard? Gus Standard had nothing to do with Flaming Youth, but he did do the art for awhile on another PNF strip, Hamm and Beans (which we'll cover soon). What happened was that when the reprint era began, not only did they change the name of Flaming Youth to Drugstore Cowboys, but they lumped Hamm and Beans under the same title, and gave the byline for the whole mess to Gus Standard. Make sense? Well of course not, but that's what happened.
A final mystery is that we find two additional creators apprearing in the Drugstore Cowboys reprint run, Reginald Greenwood and Pete Hayes. I've never seen these creators in the original Flaming Youth run, but since one of the gags is about the Charleston dance craze, that puts them in the right time frame. Here are three by Greenwood, who was at least by comparison with the others at PNF, quite an impressive artist:
Finally, here's the one and only Pete Hayes strip I've found (Alex has managed to find one more, which will be in his Ink-Slinger Profile):
Next posts will be Ink-Slinger Profiles of Ward, Little, Greenwood, and Hayes, then we'll pick up with Hamm and Beans.
* Source: Jeffrey Lindenblatt
Tuesday, May 02, 2023
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Larry Silverman
Zander President of Screen CartoonistsJack Zander has been elected president of the Screen Cartoonists, Local 1461, it was announced here at the weekend. Other officers elected were: Morey Reden, vice-president; Larry Silverman, treasurer; Charlotte Tuggle, recording secretary; Gene Sogioka, financial secretary; Irving Spector, conductor; Jim Logan, warden. Trustees are Tex Henson, Ruth Kuss and Gloria Green. Pepe Ruiz is business agent.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, May 01, 2023
Comics of the Paramount News Feature Service: In Jungle Land
In Jungle Land was one of those strips in which animals stand in for humans, mainly because they're easier to draw. A monkey was the star most often, but others jungle animals made appearannces, plus the occasional African humans, portrayed in the typical unfortunate manner. In Jungle Land was one of the mainstays of the PNF Service, with my best guess at original running dates being September 16 1927* through July 5 1928**, though there is evidence to the contrary, which we'll get to momentarily.
The strip was bylined by "Whitey" from beginning to end, both in the original run and in the many years worth of reprints. I have no idea who this might be, and there's a pretty good chance that it was a house name. That's because though the byline never changed, those who actually signed the strips certainly did.
We started out pretty reasonably for a strip bylined "Whitey", because the strips too were signed with the same moniker:
But even then there was evidence that 'Whitey' was a pseudonym, because the signer in one instance actually managed to misspell their own name, as "Whiety".
Starting on Devcember 15 1927, a new signer appeared, someone named "Lane". Here are some samples:
"Lane" made it almost to the believed end of the original run, last signing on June 21 1928. "Whitey" strips rounded out the run on July 5.
But that's not the end of the story. As with most PNF strips, In Jungle Land had a long life in reprints. The odd thing is that in the various reprint runs we can find examples of strips signed by "Pud" and by Larry Silverman, the only non-nickname to ever sign the strip. Here's a sample by "Pud":
And here are some by Larry Silverman:
So why didn't we see these folks in the original run? That would seem to mean the original run was longer than we have been able to document, or that these extra strips were just extras, thrown in for the reprint run for some reason. What seems pretty remarkable to me is that all the strips seem to be drawn in pretty well the exact same style. It really makes me wonder if "Whitey", "Lane", "Pud" and Larry Silverman are all the same person.
Oh, and if you're wondering why I keep calling the strip In Jungle Land when the strips above are plainly titled Jungletown Fables, that's because the strip was renamed pretty consistently to that in the reprint run, and my samples are all from those runs. I've also seen In Jungle Town on occasion, but that's an outlier.
Tomorrow, an Ink-Slinger Profile of the only In Jungle Land artist to sign something other than his nickname.
* Source: Norfolk Journal and Guide
** Source: Philadelphia Tribune
The samples shown here has a strong animation vibe from the time period, especially for Terrytoons.