Friday, April 20, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael
Here's another "I Love My Wife But Oh You Kid" card by Carmichael, presumably issued as part of Taylor & Pratt's Series 565, though they forgot to take any credit on this card. I think Carmichael did a nice job on the art, though I wonder at the construction of that typewriter. Don't think I've ever seen one that has a big glass (?) box on the rear section.
These are sort of racy cards, implying as they do marital infidelity, so I particular enjoy this card for the message that was penned on the back of it: "See you in church next Sunday!".
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Erwin L. Hess
Erwin Louis Hess was born on August 17, 1906, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index at Ancestry.com. His parents were Alfred Hess and Amaude G. Sproette.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the family of three lived in Milwaukee at 1614 Cherry Street. Hess’s father was a bookbinder. Their address was the same in the 1920 census.
According to the 1930 census, Hess was a commercial artist who lived with his parents and brother in Milwaukee at 498 76th Street.
The St. Johnsville Enterprise and News (New York), March 8, 1951, published Hess’s recollections of his life and art and how it influenced his strip Good Old Days.
“When I was a little boy,” he writes, “I liked to take note of how people lived. While other kids were playing mibs, I found greater pastime pleasure in watching Grandma grind coffee with the grinder in her lap or peeking into the neighbor lady’s basement window as she labored at her hand-powered washing machine. And so it continued throughout my boyhood days. It fascinated me…the plain sight of seeing how folks actually lived and the backgrounds which made their lives interesting...to me. All this is captured and preserved in my youthful mind.Moore’s Who Is Who in Wisconsin (1960) said Hess did furniture advertising from 1926 to 1936. He was a staff artist on the Milwaukee Journal from 1936 to 1938. He married Yvonne Va Kovic on June 27, 1936 in Milwaukee. Hess was a freelance book illustrator for Western Printing & Lithographing Company from 1939 to 1946.
“When I was six i began to like to ‘draw’ pictures. I admired the nice drawings my Aunt Bertha drew. She could, right well, draw ‘almost as good as Nell Brinkley.’ And so I, too, drew and drew pictures…using up loads of paper from fat, nickel pencil tablets.
“But aside from that, I continued to watch and remember how people lived. I liked that, I sat, intently interested, listening to my two grandmother’s tell of the good old days and absorbed all I heard in my little cranium. There those treasured tales remained. I call it my ‘memory notebook.”
“Since those days I have listened to many other grandmothers discussing their problems and joys of the past, and my second and third homes were the historical museums and libraries which contained actual bits of yesteryear and old newspaper files. There I made countless sketches of old buggies, oil lamps, baseburners and dress styles to make my cartoons authentic in every detail…while my ideas come from that ‘memory notebook.’ Kitchen scenes used in my cartoons, on several occasions, are the actual kitchens my two grandmothers lived in…down to the almanac hanging from the shelf over the sink.
“In grammar school,” Hess continues, “I was referred to as the ‘best drawer in the class.’ But when it came to arithmetic…well, my face still turns to a brilliant shade of red. At the age of thirteen, my first cartoon appeared in a Milwaukee newspaper…a political cartoon…for Milwaukee was always known as a hotbed for turbulent politics. The whole eighth grade was buzzing at having a ‘political cartoonist’ in their midst.
“Then I attended high school and continued my ‘artistic career’ to become the art editor of the ‘Comet,’ West Division High School’s monthly magazine. Why mention just ‘another high school'? well, to me ol’ Wes’ Side has always remained tops…for General Douglas MacArthur went there years ago. Yessir! And so did actor Spencer Tracy and many others, including my contemporary student-friends, the late Carl Zeidler, who became mayor of Milwaukee.
“When I left ol’ Wes’ Side, a Chicago artist took an interest in me, and his private tutoring was my ‘art school education. I didn’t get a diploma from the fellow, for he was from the old school, but he would have made a good instructor in any academy. Sensing what I was best fitted for, he advised me to further my preparation far true life cartoons my making am intense study of furniture.
“And intense it became, but the experience I gained proved the fellow was right. I took a job as an artist in a furniture store and the ‘monotonous grind’ turned out to be highly valuable for me later in the drawing of room settings…accurate in all their details.
“Fate later put me, like all of us who go ‘through the mill’ on a newspaper doing everything from war maps and sports cartoons to political cartoons and editorial sketches, etc., etc. However, inwardly my feeling for true-to-life cartoons always remained and overshadowed the routine stuff I was doing …but I did not object. It bought bread and butter for my wife, Yvonne, and me.
“And so I continued to be ‘Deadline Dick,’ until I finally emerged from the fourth-estate ‘jungle.’ I then illustrated children’s books and later drew the comic strip, ‘Captain Midnight.’
“But I couldn’t get away with it! I wanted to draw real-life cartoons…to be able to entertain folks with such cartoons…about themselves as they really are. That’s how ‘The Good Old Days’ was born.”…
The 1940 census recorded self-employed commercial artist Hess, his wife and son Dale in Milwaukee at North 3336 37th Street.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hess’s first comic series was Do You Remember?, in 1938 for the Milwaukee Journal. Hess drew Captain Midnight for the Chicago Sun Syndicate from June 29, 1942 to April 15, 1945. Hess’s Good Old Days was a long-running United Feature Syndicate series, from June 9, 1946 to March 29, 1981.
Hess passed away April 26, 1977, in Milwaukee. He was laid to rest at Graceland Cemetery.
Who’s Who in American Comic Books
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: The Bear Boys
With The Bear Boys we've almost run the entire gamut on Hans Horina's comics for the Chicago Tribune (only one left that hasn't made an appearance yet on Stripper's Guide). The Bear Boys is actually a rejiggering of The Rhinoceros Boys, which was a Katzenjammer Kids rip-off with the nod to originality being that instead of human kids, the little rascals are, of all things, rhinos.
The Rhinoceros Boys ran in the Tribune Sunday section from January 27 to June 2 1907. On the next Sunday the rhinos had transmogrified into bears. Why? Blame the story about Teddy Roosevelt taking pity (of a very minor sort) on an old injured bear while on one of his game hunts. Publicity about the event led to a national bear mania, and I guess Horina figured it was about time he climbed on board.
The Bear Boys ran from June 9 to August 25 1907*, so obviously his Katzie-inspired bears didn't make an impression on Tribune readers. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.
* the end date could be off by a little -- the Chicago Tribune archive I indexed to get these dates had been cherry-picked for Lyonel Feininger comics prior to it being microfilmed, so some pages that may have had this strip have been lost.
That ran through November 3, and was replaced by another Hans Horina comic about "Professor Edison Dodger", who was the designated slapstick target for that run.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Ink-Slinger profiles by Alex Jay: Rome Siemon
Jerome Emil “Rome” Siemon was born on August 8, 1900, in Rock Island, Illinois. His first name, Jerome, was recorded in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census and his Social Security application. The middle name was on his World War I and II draft cards.
According to Illinois marriage records at Ancestry.com, his parents were Peter Siemon and Emma Johnson who married on September 25, 1899 in Rock Island County, Illinois. The 1900 census was enumerated in June. Siemon’s mother was living with her mother, Anna, siblings, niece and nephew in Rock Island at 613 Ninth Street. The whereabouts of Siemon’s father is not known.
The 1910 census said Siemon and his mother, who was divorced and a nurse, were living with his maternal grandmother and aunt in Rock Island at 613 9th Street.
The Rock Island Argus, January 20, 1914, published the names of the Hawthorne School eighth grade graduates. “Romie Siemon” was one of 35 graduates. The name Romie was used in city directories and in later censuses.
The 1916 Rock Island city directory said Siemon was a clerk residing at 613 9th Street. The 1916 Davenport, Iowa city directory listed Siemon as Rock Island resident working as a clerk at R. G. Dun & Company. The 1917 Rock Island city directory said Siemon was working at a Rock Island manufacturing company.
Siemon signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His home address was 1125 3rd Avenue in Moline, Illinois. He was a clerk at the Rock Island Plow Company. He was described as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair.
The 1919 Moline directory said he was a clerk at the “Peo Power Company” in Rock Island. His address was 1125 3rd Avenue, and in parentheses was the name of his wife, Olga.
Siemon’s address was the same in the 1920 census. He and his mother were counted together but not his wife whose status is unknown. Siemon was employed at a power company. Siemon’s address in the 1920 directory was 1809 3rd Avenue.
On July 24, 1923, Siemon married Beatrice Vogel in Clinton, Iowa as recorded in the Iowa marriage index at Ancestry.com.
According to the 1930 census, the couple resided in Moline at 1602 3rd Avenue. Siemon was a hotel manager. In a few years Siemon moved to the West Coast.
Siemon, his wife, two sons and mother were at 6336 1/2 Homewood Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Siemon was a hotel manager and his wife a hotel maid. The census said Siemon was in Los Angeles in 1935 and his highest level of education was the eighth grade. Siemon’s World War II draft card named his employer, the St. Paul Hotel. He was five feet eleven inches, 180 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.
Information about Siemon’s art training has not been found.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Siemon drew the panel Collection Day Chuckles from 1948 into the 1950s for the Newspaper Boys of America. Siemon also produced Little Moonfolks in 1952 for the Associated Press. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 3, Parts 7–11 A, Number 1, Works of Art, etc., January–June 1949 had this entry: “Siemon, Rome © The little folks of Circleville. [Caricatures] Print. © 4Feb49; K19004.” Heritage Auctions sold two pages of Siemon’s unpublished comic book story for Harvey Comics.
The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois), December 4, 1952, explained Siemon’s involvement in their Christmas fund raising.
Rome Siemon, the fairly widely known cartoonist who got his start in his working life pounding a piano in a nickel movie in Rock Island (he was just a kid and his family was poor) apparently has been doing some Christmas shopping and thinking of poor orphan youngsters. For several years Mr. Siemon, who lives in Hollywood, Calif., has been, taking time out from a busy working career to draw cartoons to help the Moline Good Fellow Christmas fund sponsored by the Dispatch. Rome knows what it is to be up against it at one stage in his career that was in Moline he found the piano playing picking so poor that he thought he was lucky to get a part-time job as a LeClaire hotel elevator operator. If Siemon’s cartoon plea appeals to you, send a contribution to this Christmas program to bring some cheer to needy children and widows to Good Fellow Fund, Moline Dispatch, or drop in with buck or two (or more) and some one at the Dispatch office will be glad to take it.Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Siemon did lettering for Western Publishing in the early 1950s into the 1960s. In the Jack Kirby Collector #71, Spring 2017, Mark Evanier said “…Mike [Royer] learned to letter from Mike Arens. Mike Arens learned lettering largely from a man named Rome Siemon, who was the house letterer at Western Publishing, on the West Coast books for years….”
Siemon passed away October 6, 1969, in Los Angeles according to the California death index. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, April 16, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Collection Day Chuckles
If you delivered newspapers as a kid, you certainly remember that the worst part of the job was to collect the subscription money. There were always people on your route who never paid their bills on time, or gave you a run-around. Any fantasies we kids had of being invited in by beautiful housewives wearing negligees on collection day were quickly dispelled. Hairy guys in undershirts with ugly dispositions seemed to be behind every door.
A group of newspaper publishers got together in the 1920s or early 1930s and formed an organization called the Newspaper Boys of America. The purpose of the organization was to teach kids how to be effective in their jobs -- one of the key points being how to get those deadbeat subscribers to pay up.
In 1948 the organization put together a series of panel cartoons titled Collection Day Chuckles, and offered them free to newspapers. The idea, obviously, was to remind newspaper readers to pay their newsboys. Although the gags were pretty uniformly bland and unfunny, the point was being made.
The cartoons were to be run on any frequently the newspaper wanted, and they were supplied in batches. It's probably impossible to tell just how many of these cartoons were produced. Though some are numbered and those are generally in the 500s, I see enough re-run cartoons showing up in papers that my guess would be way lower, certainly no more than a few hundred. I've encountered Collection Day Chuckles appearing as late as the early 1960s, but I imagine they were only actually being produced for a few years, and the material then sat for years in slush piles.
Most of the cartoons were drawn by Rome Siemon, who will be profiled tomorrow, but a subset (mostly the numbered ones) were by a different cartoonist (or catoonists) who did not sign them.
Mark Kausler, (one quarter Cherokee)
Saturday, April 14, 2018
July 5 1909 -- Tonight champion middleweight fighter Stan Ketchel will face Billy Papke for the fourth time, looking to improve on his 2-1 record against the rival for the crown. He'll win again, this time in a 20-round decision.
Sorry for the replacement headline text; the original was too bad off in the photocopy to be retained. I've never found fonts that quite match the lovely ones they were using in the Examiner in those days.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 13, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson
The Detroit Publishing Company, best known for their high-quality photo postcards, also dabbled in comic cards. But befitting their quality approach, they licensed images by Charles Dana Gibson, arguably the most famed illustrator/cartoonist of the era. Although the series displays copyrights from when the cartoons were originally printed in Life magazine, I am told this Detroit series was produced in 1907. It must have been early in the year since these are undivided back cards. This card is numbered 14,007.
I have several of these, all of which have ratty edges. I wonder if these cards came in a booklet or something, and had to be torn out to be used individually?
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Iota
The editoonist team of Mike Keefe and Tim Menees had struck out with their first syndicated comic strip, Cooper, but less than a year later they were up at bat again.
Universal Press gave the guys a second chance with Iota. The new strip went in a very different direction than Cooper, which had attempted to target the school teacher demographic. Iota eschewed the formula of targeting a specific readership segment, and instead offered a broad comedy about the hapless governance of a small island nation. The idea certainly had potential -- it was a constant subject for movies (Woody Allen's Bananas, the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup), novels (The Mouse That Roared) and even comic strips (Popeye's adventures in Nazilia) -- but perhaps by 1987 it had been overdone. Whether Menees and Keefe brought anything new to the party is debatable, but the strip certainly didn't find a lot of receptive newspaper feature editors, and it disappeared before its first anniversay. Iota ran from November 23 1987 to September 10 1988.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George Marcoux
George Edward Marcoux was born on April 11, 1896, in Waterbury, Connecticut, according to his World War I and II draft cards.
In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Marcoux was the oldest of two sons born to John, a machinist, and Mary J. The family resided in Waterbury at 108 Maple Street.
Marcoux was joined by three sisters and a paternal grandmother (twice widowed) in the 1910 census. The Marcoux family were Waterbury residents at 124 Locust Street.
Marcoux signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917, and lived at 260 Walnut Street in Waterbury. He was employed at the Waterbury Clock Company. Marcoux was described as medium build and height with brown hair and eyes. The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), April 15, 1946, said Marcoux “served with the 69th (Rainbow) Division and fought in nine battles in France.”
Marcoux has not yet been found in the 1920 census. The 1925 New York state census recorded Marcoux and two sisters, Evelyn and Florence, as lodgers in New York City at 365 West 116 Street. Marcoux and Evelyn were stenographers and Florence a saleslady.
Newspaper artist Marcoux and his wife Anna were Brooklynites in the 1930 census. They lived at 256 East 37 Street. Information about Marcoux’s art training has not been found.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Marcoux assisted on Percy Crosby’s Skippy beginning in 1927 into the early 1930s. When cartoonist Harry Haenigsen’s took a month-long break, starting May 26, 1930, from his series, Marcoux, Joe Strauss and Al Smith filled in for him. Marcoux created Toddy which ran from 1934 to February 25, 1939. It was distributed by the McNaught Syndicate.
|Scranton Republican, Oct 27 1934|
A few years later freelance artist Marcoux moved to Yonkers, New York according to the 1940 census. He and his wife made their home at 197 Valentine Lane. Marcoux’s highest level of education was one year of high school.
From around 1910 to 1920, Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Marcoux contributed gag cartoons to Collier’s, Life, Parent’s Magazine and the Waterbury Republican, and was an animator. In the 1940s, Marcoux also found work in the comic book industry, mainly with publisher Street & Smith. Marcoux is best known for his creation Supersnipe.
On April 26, 1942, self-employed cartoonist Marcoux signed his World War II draft card. His address was unchanged. Marcoux stood five feet six inches, weighed 150 pounds, had brown eyes and was bald.
Marcoux passed away April 14, 1946. The Herald Statesman said Marcoux
…died…of a heart attack in Naugatuck, Conn., where he had gone to visit his Summer home over the weekend.
Mr. Marcoux…was engaged in freelance commercial art work. He also voluntarily taught art in the United States Veterans’ Hospital on Kingsbridge Road, the Bronx, in therapy programs there.
For ten years Mr. Marcoux was creator of “Skippy,” another nationally syndicated comic strip.
…He was chaplain of Yonkers Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, for the last three years and formerly of the Rainbow Division veterans in Westchester County, who make their headquarters in White Plains.Eight months later Marcoux’s brother passed away December 20, 1946 in Waterbury. The following day the Herald Statesman said John was a New York Evening World cartoonist and “Since 1931, when the New York Evening World went out of existence, Mr. Marcoux had been associated for about seven years with Percy Crosby, creator of ‘Skippy,’ and also had done free lance work.”
…Surviving besides his mother, are two sisters, Mrs. Daniel Gauvin, also of Ardsley, and the former Lillian Marcoux, wife of Dr. Neale Towne of Naugatuck, and one brother, John Bernard Marcoux of Waterbury.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Toddy
After a several year stint assisting Percy Crosby with his hugely popular Skippy comic strip, George Marcoux got the bright idea to create a somewhat similar 'kid' feature of his own. Marcoux's strip would straddle the thoughtful world of Skippy and the more rambunctious kid strips like Reg'lar Fellers, settling in somewhere pretty close to Edwina's Cap Stubbs and Tippie, gentle yet not cloying.
McNaught Syndicate, which had no kid strips on offer at the time, accepted Marcoux's strip. Why they didn't suggest a different name than Toddy is beyond me -- do you really want to name a kid strip after an alcoholic drink? I doubt that the name is what kept Toddy from being a bigger success, but it seldom helps to make features editors conflicted over your offering like that.
The earliest date I can find for Toddy's debut is on October 29 1934 (in the Scranton Republican), but the official start date could be a little earlier, since the strip made it into the 1934 E&P Syndicate Directory, issued in August. The strip evidently had enough clients to satisfy Marcoux and his syndicate, because it stuck around, and even gained a Sunday strip on August 1 1937.
Toddy's demise came on February 25 1939, and some subscribing papers ran the explanation that it was discontinued due to illness of the artist. Perhaps that's true, or maybe Marcoux had found the grass greener in the new comic book industry. Marcoux is known to have started producing original material for comic books as least as early as 1940. In 1942 he created the fan-favorite character Supersnipe, which would cement his place in the comic book history hall of fame.
Monday, April 09, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: B.P. Elliott
Benjamin Pearson Elliott was born in August 1868, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The birth information is based on the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Elliott’s middle name was on his headstone.
In the 1870 census, Elliott was the youngest of four children born to Joseph, a watchmaker, and Sallie. They lived in Philadelphia. The 1880 census said their address was 230 North 21st Street.
Elliott’s education was mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inquirer June 27, 1883, reported the results of the examination for admission to the Philadelphia High School and Elliott was accepted. In the Inquirer, February 12, 1886, Elliott was named a meritorious pupil for “having attained term average of 85 or over, but less than 95”. Elliot was mentioned in the Annual Report of Acting President Hopper of the Central High School for the Year Ending December 31, 1887. Elliott received a Bachelor of Arts and a Teachers’ Certificate.
Apparently Elliot’s first line of work was indexmaker* according to a listing in an 1890 Philadelphia city directory. His home was 230 North 21st Street. The 1895 directory said Elliott and his brother Charles worked with their father at the J.S. Elliott Company. The 1899 Boyd’s Co-partnership and Residence Business Directory of Philadelphia City said Elliott was the manager of J.S. Elliott Company.
The 1900 census recorded Elliott, who wife, Bessie, and daughter, Sarah, in Philadelphia at 321 Wilton Street. His occupation was indexmaker. The same address and occupation were in the 1900 and 1901 city directories.
So far the earliest record of Elliott the artist was found in The Quarterly Illustrator, April, May, June 1894, which published his ”Still Life”. This was his entry in the index, “Elliott, Benjamin P., 230 North 21st Street, Philadelphia, Pa……159”.
The 1902 directory said Elliott was an artist with a studio at 514 Walnut Street. His home remained 230 North 21st Street. The Inquirer, February 16, 1902, covered the Philadelphia Sketch Club annual meeting and said Elliott was on the House Committee.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Elliott drew Adventures of the Stranded Dime Museum Freaks for the North American Syndicate. It ran from March 9 to May 25, 1902.
According to the 1910 census, Elliott and his wife, Idalia, were residents of Texarkana, Arkansas at 1602 County Avenue. Elliott was an accountant with the railroad. The 1914 directory listed Elliott as a bookkeeper with the Southwest Gas and Electric Company. The entry in the 1917 directory said Elliott had moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.
The 1920 census Elliott and his wife were in her father’s household in Texarkana, Arkansas. Thomas H. Davis was a carpenter with a wife and five children, including Idalia. Elliott operated his own grocery business. They all resided at 1109 County Avenue.
Elliott passed away September 2, 1936, in Texarkana. He was laid to rest at the State Line Cemetery.
* What Is an Index?: A Few Notes on Indexes and Indexers (1878).
* * * * *
Several issues of the Middlesex County Historical Society’s pamphlets said the society has a “Painting by Benjamin P. Elliott, who lived on the corner of Court and Pearl Streets, Middletown.” I have no record of Elliott residing in Middleton, Connecticut, but it can’t be ruled out. There was another artist named “Benjamin P. Elliott” who was listed in Bulletin of the American Art-Union, December 1, 1850. He resided in Providence, Rhode Island and perhaps once lived in Middleton.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Saturday, April 07, 2018
July 1 1909 -- Herriman's latest subject in the "Guess Who" series is a baseball player, presumably an Angel fielder, but there's not enough information here for me to ID him.
UPDATE: Jeffrey Lindenblatt supplies convincing proof that this is Albert Russell 'Del' Delmas, who managed to flub two easy outs on June 30. LA beat Vernon despite Delmas's poor performance.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 06, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from Dwig
Here's a Dwig card from Charles Rose, dated 1908. Lovely understated and nicely blended colors on this one, with Dwig opting for a watercolor drawing instead of his usual penwork. I'd like to thank the postcard sender who didn't fill in the names on the front, keeping this nice card unmarred.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 05, 2018
My Book Report
The response was less than overwhelming, but a few suggestions were made. The only one that got a seconding vote was for Gilbert Seldes's The Seven Lively Arts, which is certainly a seminal book and absolutely worthy of our interest here on the blog. Unfortunately, my search of copyrights indicates that it is not in the public domain due to being renewed in 1951. That affords it protection until at least this year, and probably longer.
There was a request for the chapters in Our American Humorists that cover cartoonists, but that book has already been digitized. You can access it here.
I pulled some books off my shelf that seemed like possibilities. Here's what appealed to me, and why they ended up n ot making the cut:
* The Life and Times of Kin Hubbard by Fred Kelly is perhaps too esoteric to be of general interest, and I seem to recall that there was not by any means an overwhelming amount of content about cartooning.
* Roses and Buckshot by James Montgomery Flagg is certainly an interesting read, but it covers the world of illustration much more than cartooning, so perhaps not really quite on target here.
* Portrait of an Era (about C.D. Gibson) by Fairfax Downey is another interesting read, but it is profusely illustrated, making it a real bear to digitize.
* Drawn from Memory by John T. McCutcheon is, to the best of my memory, predominently about the author's adventures away from the world of cartooning. I seem to recall wondering when McCutcheon ever found time to draw his cartoons, as much time as he spent running around the world. A World Worth While by W. A. Rogers is another memoir that runs on the same trajectory.
* Art Young's On My Way seemed perfect. I was surprised, though, to find that the book has already been digitized.
* There are several memoirs of the New York Evening Graphic that I considered. They're all great fun, but considering that cartoonists are at best bit players in them, sadly not appropriate.
* John Wheeler's I've Got News for You would be a fine candidate, but it's definitely still in copyright.
That's about all I found, so we're going to dump the books for now, unless someone comes up with a good choice not yet mentioned.
Thanks for the article DD.
Wednesday, April 04, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Arthur Radebaugh
Arthur Charles Radebaugh was born on May 14, 1906, in Coldwater, Michigan. His birth date is from the Social Security Death Index and the birthplace is based on census records. His middle name is from a family tree at Ancestry.com. Michigan marriage records at Ancestry.com said Radebaugh’s parents, Cloyce A[lvin]. Radebaugh and Mabel L. Legg, were married in Coldwater on January 28, 1900.
Radebaugh and his parents were listed in the 1909 Coldwater city directory at 180 North Hudson. The same address was recorded in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. Radebaugh’s father was a foreman at a shoe factory; his World War I draft card said the employer was the Hoosier Shoe Company.
In 1979 the Branch County Historical Society published History of Branch County, Michigan, Volume 2, which has a 1916 photograph of the Washington School fourth grade class of 21 students including Radebaugh.
The Radebaughs’ residence remained unchanged in the 1920 census. Their last appearance in the city directory was 1922; at the time, Radebaugh was sixteen and a student at Coldwater High School. Where Radebaugh relocated was told by Jared Rosenbaum at Radebaugh: The Future We Were Promised which also has an impressive timeline of Radebaugh’s life and career. Rosenbaum said Radebaugh graduated in 1924 from Sturgis High School in Sturgis, Michigan. In 1925 Radebaugh enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and learned about the airbrush. Radebaugh, after a year-and-a-half of schooling, worked as a bus driver, theater usher, and hotel clerk. During 1929 Radebaugh left Chicago to become a beachcomber in Florida.
According to the 1930 census, the Radebaugh lived with his parents in Sturgis at 704 West Chicago Road. His occupation was commercial artist in the sign painting trade.
Rosenbaum said Radebaugh married Nancy Harrington on July 3, 1934 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They made their home in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Radebaugh’s first appearance in Polk’s Kalamazoo City Directory was 1935. He resided at 413 West Dutton and was an artist at Crescent Engraving Company, “Commercial Photographers, Photo Engravers, Electrotypers, Commercial Art and Advertising Service 344 N Church”. The 1936 directory, at Ancestry.com, was not available, and Radebaugh was not listed in 1937, but Rosenbaum said Radebaugh was still with Crescent.
Radebaugh’s career took a big step in 1935 when he illustrated the cover of Motor Show magazine. Rosenbaum said Radebaugh’s relationship with Motor Show lasted until 1957. He was commissioned by publications such as Advertising Agency, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post and Fortune. Radebaugh also illustrated numerous advertisements that appeared in trade and national periodicals.
The 1940 census recorded an “Arthur Radebaugh” at the Wakefield Apartments, 111-07 73 Road, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. According to the census, this self-employed person was born in Michigan and, in 1935, had lived in Kalamazoo. His age was off by three years and occupation was “aviator” but it’s possible the census enumerator misheard illustrator and wrote aviator. The name of the wife was “[illegible] Jean or Jenn” who was also born in Michigan and a 1935 Kalamazoo resident. Despite the inconsistencies, I believe this person was Radebaugh the artist. It’s not clear when he moved to New York City and how long he stayed.
Radabaugh enlisted in the Army. His Beneficiary Identification Records Locater Subsystem Death File, transcribed at Ancestry.com, has two enlistment dates, November 23 and December 3, 1942, and two discharge dates, September 23, and November 30, 1945. However, Radebaugh’s service started a bit earlier. The Evening Star (Washington, DC), October 11, 1942, published this item.
Dinner Planned Tuesday by Automotive EngineersThe Star, October 28, 1942, reported the Ordnance Welfare Association of the War Department’s dance for officers and employees and said, “Capt. A.C. Radebaugh, former designer of many of the Fortune and Saturday Evening Post magazine covers, designed the posters and decorations for the dance.”
The Washington section of the Society of Automotive Engineers will meet at the Cosmos Club at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday for a dinner meeting.
Capt. A.C. Radebaugh of the Office of chief Ordnance will speak on “The Car of Tomorrow.” the Social hour will take place at 5:30, dinner at 6:30, and Capt. Radebaugh’s speech at 8 p.m.
Radebaugh held the rank of major when he was discharged in 1945.
In 1946 the Detroit Golden Jubilee symbol (below) was designed by Radebaugh.
The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan), September 27, 1962, profiled Radebaugh and said, “In 1946 Radebaugh showed a sheaf of what he likes to call his ‘imagineering’ to a representative of General Features, and thereby a hobby became one of profit….” General Features produced a Radebaugh pictorial that appeared in many newspapers including the Citizen-Register (Ossining, New York), March 28, 1947 (below).
Radebaugh worked on four syndicated newspaper features. The first was Can You Imagine which was for the General Features Corporation in New York City. Can You Imagine ran in the Newark Star-Ledger* from November 30, 1947 to July 17, 1949; both are shown below.
Wonders of the Universe, another General Features product, was Radebaugh’s second syndicated series. Who’s Who of Newspaper Features: Galaxy of Great Newspaper Features (1953) said, in part,
Wonders of the Universe is a thrilling new feature that tells the story of space-speed exploration of the skies in this scientific age.Dr. Levitt’s lengthy articles were accompanied by Radebaugh’s art. As far as I can tell, Radebaugh was never credited but he did sign his art. The feature ran in many newspapers** but space limitations meant the art was sometimes cropped or unused. So far the earliest Wonders of the Universe was found in the Albany Times-Union, (New York), December 14, 1952, entitled “All-at-Once Idea Worked with A-Bomb, Why Not in Building Space Platform?”
The author is Dr. I. M. Levitt, director of the famous Fels Planetarium and an associate director of the Franklin Institute….
In WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE, Dr. Levitt writes on such important topics as “Life on other worlds,” “How to control the weather,” “Can the hydrogen bomb destroy the world?” and “Is the universe expanding?”
Illustrating WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE is Arthur Radebaugh, famed visionary artist.
Radebaugh believes that by stirring the imagination of people today, he will help speed the conveniences and luxuries of tomorrow. It is his belief “that American ingenuity can create and produce almost anything mechanical that people really want.” “Progress,” he says, “is limited only by our limited imagination.”
Born in Coldwater, Michigan, 40 years ago, Radebaugh was, even as a child, interested in futuristic art. From there he moved to Detroit, Chicago, the West Coast and New York. His air-brush futuristic art technique has now become internationally famous.
Wonders of the Universe continued into the 1970s but Radebaugh’s contributions ended in 1958. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Radebaugh produced two series for the Chicago Tribune-New York Daily News Syndicate. First was the Sunday feature, Closer Than We Think, which debuted January 12, 1958 and ended January 6, 1963. It was followed by Jet Swift and His Science Stamps which began January 20, 1963 and ran into the Summer or Fall 1963.
Polk’s Royal Oak, Michigan City Directory for the years 1950, 1953, 1955 and 1956 listed Radebaugh at 4407 Seminole Drive. The earliest directory said he was an artist at the New Center Studio in Detroit. At some point, he moved. Radebaugh was in the 1960 Birmingham, Michigan city directory at 15825 Buckingham in Beverly Hills. He was a cartoonist with the Chicago Tribune-New York Daily News Syndicate.
Radebaguh passed away January 17, 1974, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to his death certificate which was partially transcribed at Ancestry.com. A brief obituary was published by the Grand Rapids Press the following day.
* Can You Imagine also ran in the Kansas City Star, (Missouri)
** Wonders of the Universe appeared in the following newspapers: Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH); Columbus Dispatch (OH); Greensboro Daily News (NC); Jamestown Post (NY); The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon); Schenectady Gazette (NY); Seattle Daily Times (WA).
Further Reading and Viewing
AACA Library & Research Venter
Painting the Future: The Life and Work of Arthur Radebaugh
The Future World According to Radebaugh
Arcadia Publishing, 2005
Arthur Radebaugh Print
Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2004
A brush with automobile’s past
National Motor Bearing Company proofs
Life, December 8, 1947
page 71: Automobile Design; two spot illustrations at the top of pages 74 and 75 (Radebaugh’s credits on page 31)
Life, March 6, 1950
page 93: “Black Light” Art
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Blog
Arthur Radebaugh’s “Closer Than We Think”
Arthur Radebaugh's Shiny Happy Future
Arthur Radebaugh for National Motor Bearing Company
Highlighting Art of Yesterday’s Tomorrow
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Jet Swift and his Science Stamps
Art Radebaugh has in the past decade or so come in for a little long awaited acclaim for his sometimes bizarre but always absolutely delightful feature Closer Than We Think, which was distributed by the Chicago Tribune syndicate from 1957-63. I think that you could fairly call the feature a cult classic at this point -- a filmmaker has even created a documentary about the strip and its creator.
While Closer Than We Think has now registered a blip on the cultural radar, Radebaugh's next project, Jet Swift and his Science Stamps, continues to languish as a bona fide obscurity. In this instance, perhaps that's as it should be. After Closer Than We Think was cancelled on January 6 1963, Radebaugh was right back in the Chicago Tribune Sunday funnies section after just a single week off. The new feature, Jet Swift and his Science Stamps, covered science past, present and future, thereby opening the focus from pure science fiction.
Presumably someone in charge at the Tribune either thought that Closer Than We Think was too far out, or that the Tribune should have a 'me-too' offering to counter the successful Our New Age science strip. Perhaps to distance his new feature from Our New Age, Radebaugh came up with two 'innovations'. First, he added a narrator; unfortunately Jet Swift does absolutely nothing but take up a little space in each panel, pointing or gesturing in a complete vapid and useless manner. Second, he formatted the panel outlines as if they were postage stamps. Both of these novelties are utterly pointless, and worse, take away valuable space from the art.
Jet Swift and his Science Stamps was not only ill-conceived but also exceedingly clunky and scattershot. Each panel stands on its own, so with no continued narrative it is impossible to actually explain a scientific concept. By design of the feature, Radebaugh can offer little in the way of real scientific information, so his panels are much more in the vein of Robert Ripley factoids than of Isaac Asimov explanations. His future material is still thought-provoking, but is now limited to one small panel.
Not surprisingly, the new feature failed to find an enthusiastic audience. The Chicago Tribune itself dropped it with the installment of August 11 1963, while in syndication Jet Swift lasted until at least October (has anyone seen it later than that?).
Monday, April 02, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: The Easter Story
Just to prove that on rare occasions I can actually remember to produce a post for a special event other than Christmas, here ya go. The Easter Story, posted a day late since I rest on Sundays, was an NEA closed-end strip that ran for one week from April 3 to 8 1950.
The story was about 50% Bible verses, and the other 50% was uncredited. The art was handled by John J. Sunley, whose only other syndicated credit was on the first week of Ticklers back in 1940. Sunley certainly shows off his stuff to good advantage in these moody, tone-rich strips.
Saturday, March 31, 2018
June 29 1909 -- Herriman supplies both a cartoon and the accompanying article about the latest offering at the Orpheum. I take it that it is a vaudeville revue of some sort, but you'd never figure much out from George's wacky article. Unfortunately I did not get the complete text in my copy, but this'll give you the gist:
"Artichokes," said Joe Beamish, the well-known cultivator of that unctious fruit, "are the most oncertain luxury. Here I comes in town with perhaps the first of that variety of the season, expecting to have Joe Reichl meet me at the station and offer me at least eight dollars apiece for them, but, as he tells me, there ain't a single Kansas millionaire on the register and Izzy Klingenstein is most impartial to artichokes, so the best he could do for me was two-bits for the pair,"
With that weight of gloom on the chest of a man of my finicky temperament, the Orpheum is the only place it can comfortably evaporate, so, as Billy Van says, getting confidential, "Lemme tell you," the Vindabonas, all the way from Europe -- and I've got Hambletonian Klein's word for it -- whether there's a heavy duty on a name like that or not, they sure slipped by Ellis Island with a brand of Harmony that would make the tariff on nutmegs look like a debate between a Petaluma cheese and a Yacqui sandwich.
...idea that gravitation is all the bunk, the way they handle bikes and wheels.
Pete Donald, the brawny Scot, and Miss Neta Carson do a Highland terpsichorean stunt that has the flavor of the heather and blue bell.
Closing, we get a taste of the Sunny South.
Now, on the low-down, between ourselves, I'd sell out the artichoke farm in a minute if I knew I could see Mike out in the field talking earnestly and eloquently now and then putting his index finger in Hank O'Day's eye -- and I guess there's lots in the Bronx as would, too.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 30, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from J.R. Williams
Here's another J.R. Williams Out Our Way postcard issued in the 1950s by the Standley-May Company of Albuquerque. On this one they didn't even bother to remove the original NEA copyright and date. You'd think it would be worth their time to rout that stuff out so as to make it look like Williams produced this panel especially for the postcard.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: The Treasure of San Mateo
Based on only two examples in my collection, and one more I found online as original art, The Treasure of San Mateo shows a lot of promise as an historical adventure set in the early days of Spanish rule in Florida. My tearsheets are just clippings and therefore anonymous as regards the source newspaper, but the credits to writer Ken Cruickshank and artist Chris Armstrong are enough to pretty well guarantee that this strip ran in the Jacksonville-based Florida Times-Union. Both fellows were employed there in 1981, the year in which these strips saw print in their Sunday comics sections.
I have no idea how long this strip ran in the Times-Union or whether it was syndicated to other papers. Unfortunately artist Chris Armstrong, who later made a prominent name for himself as a fishing magazine illustrator, has since passed away, and I have been unable to determine the present whereabouts of Ken Cruickshank. Any information you strippers can share about The Treasure of San Mateo would be gratefully appreciated.
I found an end date for Tom Forman and Ben Templeton's "Elwood" in the September 29, 1990 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph (between "Frank & Ernest" and "Funky Winkerbean")
Reading your discoveries of obscurities, it reminded me of a comic strip released here in 1976, translated as "Don Piloto". The strip appears to be from the US and it was distributed by the United Feature Syndicate. There is no author and its origin remains a mystery to this day.
Here are some pictures of the comics:
\Those images are from the US comic strip Don Patrol by Gary Patterson. It ran here 1975-76.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
From the Sub-Basement of the Archives: The Yellow Kid in The Monthly World
The Monthly Edition of the New York World seems to have been pretty well lost to history. From the few examples I have and the few tidbits of information I find online, I gather it was sold nationally by subscription in the 1880s and 90s. The tabloid issues contains newsy material plus a mix of history, fiction and general articles of the sort you'd find in the likes of Harper's Monthly. I gather that the main incentive to subscribe was that each January issue was a monstrous thick World Almanac and Encyclopaedia, often weighing in at more than 500 pages of material ... though a healthy percentage of that was advertisements.
I only have two issues, and the first is from March 1896. There are a few cartoons in it, all reprinted from Punch, with credit. However, in the August issue, as seen above, Pulitzer offered their own homegrown cartoons, including one by Outcault that has the Yellow Kid in a supporting role. I was quite thrilled to discover that, but then found that the cartoon is not original to this publication -- Bill Blackbeard's book The Yellow Kid reproduces the cartoon and credits it to the July 5 1896 edition of the regular New York World. Oh well, it was pretty exciting to think I'd found an unknown Kid cartoon for awhile ...
Labels: Archives Sub-Basement
I used to have some other editions of the monthly World from the 1890s, one I recall had for its main story a ghastly tale of a medieval central European queen who ritually would bathe in the blood of her teenaged virgins, prompting her terrible overthrow. I'm sure it wasn't real. Another had a story about an African tribe of men living in trees that had tails.
There was a monthly version of the Chicago Inter-Ocean and for years, right into the WWI era, the "Atlanta Tri-Weekly Constitution".
Monday, March 26, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Beaumont Fairbank
Beaumont M. Fairbank was born on December 30, 1876, in Brooklyn, New York, according to his Social Security application which had his middle name as Moulinear then Moulineror. Fairbank’s middle name was Molinar on his World War I draft card. Fairbank’s parents were Beaumont H. Fairbank and Emma Meeks who married in 1872 in Manhattan, New York City.
The 1875 New York state census recorded Fairbank’s parents, brother William, and maternal grandfather Charles Meeks in Brooklyn on Schermerhorn Street. Fairbank’s father was a jeweler.
In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Fairbank, his parents and older brother were Brooklyn residents at 146 Lawrence Street. Brooklyn directories dated 1888 to 1890 listed the Fairbank family at 594 Halsey Street.
According to the 1892 New York state census, Fairbank’s maternal grandfather was part of the household at 584 Halsey Street.
Information about Fairbank’s art training has not been found.
Fairbank was an artist in the 1900 census. He would make a career of illustrating trains. Fairbank resided with his parents and brother, a journalist, in Brooklyn at 823 Quincy Street.
The 1905 New York state census said Fairbank and his parents were in Brooklyn at 1969 East 14 Street.
News of Fairbank’s marriage appeared in the Jersey Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), September 4, 1908, “Miss Emma Miller of 165 Sip Avenue and Mr. Beaumont M. Fairbank of 1969 East Fourteenth Street, Brooklyn, were married Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 2, at the parsonage of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer Street near Varick Street, by the pastor, Rev. Eugene E. Neudewitz. The witnesses were Mr. and Mrs. A Bearse.”
The Fairbanks’ address was unchanged in the 1910 census. Newspaper illustrator Fairbank and his wife had a newborn son Loren. They were part of Fairbank’s father’s household.
Fairbank’s art was published in some of the leading magazines and newspapers such as Puck, May 25, 1910, Life, February 1, 1912, and New York Tribune, August 28, 1921.
Fairbank signed his World War draft card on September 12, 1918. He was a newspaper artist employed by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. His home was in Brooklyn at 1428 East 14 Street. Fairbank’s description was slender build, medium height with black hair and brown eyes.
Fairbank drew Open Throttle and Heavy Grade which ran from October 4 to December 20, 1914 in the Eagle Sunday Magazine. In 1917 Fairbank provided spot illustrations for the Eagle’s “News of the Week" column which was retitled “The Week End” in the summer of 1918. Here are links to several columns: 2/3/1917; 2/17/1917; 2/24/1917; 3/3/1917; 3/10/1917; 3/17/1917; 3/24/1917; 3/31/1917; 4/7/1917; 4/21/1917; 3/2/1918; 4/13/1918; 4/20/1918; 5/18/1918; 6/22/1918; 7/6/1918; 8/3/1918; 8/24/1918; 8/31/1918; 9/7/1918; 9/14/1918; 10/26/1918.
The 1925 New York state census said Fairbank continued to be in his father-in-law’s household in Rockville Centre but at a different address, 110 North Lee Avenue.
In the 1930 census, Fairbank was head of the household which included his father-in-law and two brother-in-laws. Fairbank was a newspaper artist and his son a photographer.
Fairbank has not yet been found in the 1940 census. He was in the 1942 Rockville Centre city directory at 110 North Lee Avenue.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Fairbank created Railroad Red which ran from February 24, 1941 to December 21, 1941. It was distributed by the Bell Syndicate. A 1941 summer issue of Railroad Magazine noted the new strip, “Beaumont Fairbank, artist, 110 N. Lee Ave., Rockland [sic] Center, who contributed a front cover and several cartoons to Railroad Magazine a few years ago, is now doing a clever rail comic, “Rockland [sic] Red,” which Bell Syndicate is handling for various newspapers. Rail comic strips are rare; hence the interest attached to this one.”
The Leader (Freeport, New York), November 4, 1948, reported that a painting by Fairbank won the Memorial Library poll: “‘Mail Train in Snow Drift,’ an oil painting by Beaumont Fairbanks [sic], of Rockville Centre, was adjudged the favorite in the poll of exhibits by patrons of the Freeport Memorial Library. This was announced at the reception given by the Freeport Artist Guild in the library on Monday night.”
Some time between late 1948 and early 1949 Fairbank passed away. The Leader, March 24, 1949, published the following article.
March-April Exhibit Opens at Library
Works of the Late Beaumont Fairbank Among Those Shown
The March-April exhibition of paintings was opened Saturday at the Freeport Memorial Library. Most of the exhibitors are members of the Freeport Artists Guild.
The north wall features works of Beaumont Fairbank of Rockville Centre, an Artists Guild member who died recently. Mr. Fairbank won top honors in the popular vote award in November with his painting “Mail Train in Snowdrift.” A resident of Rockville Centre for thirty years he was born in Brooklyn seventy years ago. He lived in Brooklyn for thirty years, and was known for his work in the Brooklyn Eagle. He did many comic strips, one entitled “Railroad Red.” He also did many magazine covers. His colored reproduction of the January 27, 1923 Literary Digest cover is exhibited in the Library. There is also a pastel of a train, entitled “Express” and a black and white drawing.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles