Saturday, March 25, 2017
January 14 1909 -- Teacher Jessie M. Strickland has been subjected to a board of inquiry when some of her students made allegations against her. Most of the accusations have to do with her having an acid tongue, calling her students, among other things, liars, fools, blockheads and idiots. She allegedly told one that he would end up in a penitentiary, and another, who badly recited a passage about an apple tree, that he should be hung from one such tree. Herriman's take seems to be that a male teacher doing the same things would not have raised an eyebrow, so he points out to female teachers some other manly affectations they should avoid.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 24, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from the cast of "Mutt & Jeff"
One of the favorite postcards in my collection is this Kraus Manufacturing Company photo card. Although undated, we can assume it was published circa 1912. Gus Hill's production of "Mutt and Jeff", based on Bud Fisher's comic strip, debuted on Broadway in late 1911, got good reviews, and travelled extensively after its Broadway run. The reverse of the card has this very modest blurb:
The biggest success in years; houses packed to the doors and the greatest laughing show on earth, "Mutt and Jeff," written around Bud Fisher's world renowned cartoons. Direct from its successful run in New York, Chicago and Boston. Pronounced by press and public the one big novelty of the Age.
What blows me away is the amazing make-up on the actors. Usually attempts to make actors look like the characters in a comic strip ends up looking ridiculous, but these actors really do look like their comic strip counterparts. Impressive!
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Sneaky Snaffles & Company
Sneaky Snaffles & Company (aka Snaffles de Sneak) is, for my money, William F. Marriner at his absolute peak of perfection. Artwise, you'll never find Marriner's stringy sinuous linework more playful and assured than this -- no wonder he inspired so many imitators. And the gags are just tremendous: in an era when 99% of all burglar strips (and there were plenty of them) maxed out their humor when the burglar got bit by the family dog, Marriner takes us all the way into Mad magazine territory, with sight gags, funny signs, and the most whacked-out moron burglar this side of Don Martin.
Sadly, Marriner lost interest in this terrific feature quite quickly. He produced it for the Philadelphia Inquirer from July 31 to October 30 1904. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scans.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Charles A. Ogden
Charles Albert Ogden was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 14, 1889, according to the Missouri birth records (at Ancestry.com) and his World War I and II draft cards. His parents were William F. Ogden and Helen P. Hynes. A closer examination of the birth record revealed that Ogden had a twin brother, Edgar. Both were born at 1755 Morgan Street, probably at home.
In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Ogden was the youngest of five siblings, all of whom, except Ogden, a student, were working to support the family and their widow mother, a dressmaker. Edgar was not in the census. The family address was 4242 Easton Avenue in St. Louis.
Ogden graduated from the Riddick School, June 16, 1904. Information about his art training has not been found.
St. Louis city directories for 1908 to 1910, said Ogden was an artist who resided at 3615 Lucky Street. The same address was in the 1910 census. Commercial artist Ogden, who worked for a newspaper, and second youngest brother, John, lived with their mother.
The date of Ogden’s relocation to Chicago is not known
Another Ogden production was copyrighted by the Chicago Herald in 1915.
Ogden (Charles A.) Grandpa tells the children about Memorial day. (In Chicago herald.) [12450Chicago Commerce, May 26, 1916, reported the program of humor through music, song, verse and art that included Ogden’s Cartoonagrams.
© May 30, 1915; 1 c. June 7, 1915; A 385990; Herald feature syndicate, Chicago.
According to Ogden’s World War I draft card, he was a Chicago Herald newspaper cartoonist, whose address was 4334 Ellis Avenue. He was described as being of medium height, slender build with gray eyes and dark brown hair.
On September 27, 1919, Ogden married Lola A. Woodward in Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to the State of Colorado, Division of Vital Records, Marriage Record Report.
The 1920 census said Ogden lived with his in-laws in Chicago at 7106 South Eberhart Avenue. Ogden was an advertising agent. The Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index said Ogden had a daughter, Corlita Woodward Ogden.
Advertising illustrator Ogden and his mother were tenants at 931 Sunnyside in Chicago in the 1930 census. Ogden’s ex-wife had remarried. She and daughter Corlita both had the Reich surname.
Ogden’s mother passed away November 17, 1935.
In the 1940 census, Ogden was divorced and living alone at 5220 Kenmore Avenue in Chicago. He was a freelance advertising salesman. His highest level of education was the eighth grade.
Ogden signed his World War draft card on April 27, 1942. The Chicago resident lived and worked at 4544 North Racine.
The Chicago Tribune, June 27, 1955, published a letter from Ogden who commented on the “Whistler’s Mother” painting.
At some point Ogden moved to California.
Ogden passed away April 12, 1971, in Los Angeles County, according to the California Death Index. The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was at Long Beach. Ogden was laid to rest, next to his second wife, Marie, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Cartoonagrams
In 1914 James Keeley bought the Chicago Record-Herald and Inter Ocean newspapers, and he renamed the conglomeration of the two as simply the Chicago Herald. He also livened the paper up considerably, first adding some black and white comic features, then a full fledged color comics section.
Among the first wave of new features was Charles A. Ogden's Cartoonagrams, which debuted on December 13 1914. The feature offered up a newspaper version of a very popular Vaudeville routine, the chalk talk. In the typical chalk talk routine, an artist would draw as he talked to the audience. Sometimes the routines featured simple sketching, but some were more creative. A favorite ploy was to begin drawing one thing, and then as the entertainer continued drawing and talking, unexpectedly have it turn into something else entirely. This was Charles Ogden's favorite trick, and his Cartoonagrams featured often wildly inventive turns on this idea. Reading his strips is about as near as we can get to seeing a real old-fashioned chlk talk, a form of entertainment that has disappeared so entirely that there exists hardly any record that they ever did exist.
Cartoonagrams ran until May 6 1917 in the Herald, and it was syndicated though it is rarely seen elsewhere. Sadly this was Mr. Ogden's only known newspaper feature. If he did live chalk talks as well, he never made much of a splash, which is surprising considering how creative he was. Perhaps his stage presence wasn't up to snuff, or his drawing suffered in front of an audience.
PS: if you're wondering about that headline on the top example, here are Mollie, Waddy and Tony.
I wonder, though, if chalk talks were still relevant in the late 40s. But then the Art Instruction course seems always to have been a decade or so behind the curve. The 1945 course is heavy on examples from the 20s and 30s. The cartoon styles pictured are likewise early-20th century. In fact the entire project seems like a hodgepodge of stuff canvassed from founding father Charles "Bart" Bartholomew's buddies. Still interesting, though.
In Segar's Sunday Popeye pages, there's a stretch (volumes 5 & 6 of the Fantagraphics books) where Sappo drops continuities in favor of John Sappo doing very simple chalk talk tricks as if to an audience -- usually writing a word or name and building a face from it.
In the 50s Mooseketeer Roy Williams knocked out similarly simple words-into-drawings on the Mickey Mouse Club, sometimes to illustrate a song the kids were performing. The accent was on speed.
I dared siblings to challenge my own skill (My wise guy older sister wrote "antidisestablishmentarianism" in small script. I made it the hair sticking from under a wide-headed guy's hat). I can't have been the only kid thus inspired.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bob Moyer
Robert Morgan “Bob” Moyer was born in Pennsylvania on January 28, 1924. Moyer’s birthplace was recorded in the census and military service. The birth date was found at Western Pennsylvania Genealogy. His parents were Harry Riddle Moyer and Fleta Eugenia Morgan.
The 1927 Oil City, Pennsylvania, city directory listed Moyer’s father at 429 Grant. He was a sign painter.
In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Moyer was the youngest of two children born to Harry and Fleta, who was not counted in the census. Moyer’s maternal grandmother, Hannah Morgan, was head of the household in Franklin, Pennsylvania at 537 Elk Street. Fleta, who was in a sanitarium, passed away about seven weeks after the census. Her death was reported in the Oil City Derrick, May 28, 1930. She was laid to rest at Franklin Cemetery.
At some point Moyer’s father moved to Cleveland, Ohio. He returned to Franklin to marry Myra Grant Campbell, as noted in the marriage license application section of the Franklin News-Herald, June 19, 1936. The 1936 Cleveland city directory said the newlyweds resided at the Hawley House. Harry was a Newspaper Enterprise Association artist.
In 1937 the Moyer family address was 1256 Donald Avenue, Cleveland. Harry was still with the NEA. The 1939 and 1940 Cleveland directories listed the Moyers at 17535 Madison Avenue and Harry’s occupation as artist.
Moyer has not yet been found in the 1940 census. He followed in his father’s footsteps and worked at the NEA.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said John Sunley was the first artist to produce Ticklers, which debuted June 30, 1941. Moyer took over from September 1, 1941 to March 16, 1942. He was followed by Bill Arnold, Hayes, and George Scarbo. Irving S. Knickerbocker created Mac (aka The McCoys) which ran from May 10, 1929 to March 7, 1930. After Knickerbocker’s departure, it was continued by Andrew Munch, Howard Broughner and Moyer, who drew it from September 29, 1941 to May 3, 1943. Moyer was the last artist to draw the Great American Home from January 12 to 19, 1942.
On February 18, 1943, Cleveland resident Moyer enlisted in the army during World War II. He was single and a commercial artist who had two years of college.
Moyer’s father passed away January 21, 1946, in Cleveland.
Moyer’s resume was found here. He studied at the Cleveland School of Art, John Huntington Institute, Cleveland College, and Milwaukee’s Latham School of Art. His experience from the mid-1940s onward is as follows:
1945–1947: Apprentice Illustrator, Ad Art Studio, Cleveland, Ohio1947–1948: Illustrator/Designer, Display Corp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin1949–1950: Illustrator, Wenger Studio, Cleveland, Ohio1950–1960: Illustrator, Fawn Art Studio, Cleveland, Ohio1960–1990: Illustration and Design, Artists Studios, Cleveland, Ohio1990–present: Freelance Illustrator/Watercolor Teacher, Shreve, OhioThe 1950 Lorain, Ohio city directory listed Moyer at 2447 East 37th Street. Moyer resided at 3641 Spencer Road in the 1960 Lakewood, Ohio city directory. He was a commercial illustrator at Fawn Art Studio.
Moyer is a noted illustrator and watercolorist who had an exhibition, in January 2005, at the College of Wooster. A retrospective of his work was held September 2015.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Saturday, March 18, 2017
January 8 1909 -- American disaster aid is filling freighters bound for Italy, responding to the horrific Messina earthquake. The disaster is estimated to have killed somewhere between 75,000 and 200,000 people. The earthquake, and a resultant tsunami, levelled most of the bustling port city of Messina. Naturally Californians are particularly empathetic to the plight of the survivors.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 17, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from Carl 'Bunny' Schultze
This 1906 postcard, given compliments of the Boston Sunday American, features Foxy Grandpa, the boys, and Schultze's trademark Bunny signature.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: John Sunley
John J. Sunley was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 26, 1915. His birthplace was determined from census records and birth date was from the Social Security Death Index.
In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Sunley was the sixth of seven children born to William, an electrician, and Elizabeth. The family resided at 5617 Whittier Avenue in Cleveland.
The Sunleys’ address in the 1930 and 1940 censuses was 1692 Wayside Road.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), April 12, 1932, announced the winners of the Tarzan coloring contest. Sunley won a pair of tickets to see Tarzan, the Ape Man.
The Plain Dealer, June 5, 1938 and June 4, 1939, reported the May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art and mentioned Sunley’s freehand drawing.
According to the 1940 census, Sunley, an artist, and his oldest brother, William, a comic writer, worked for a weekly newspaper.
Link, the Cleveland Institute of Art Magazine, Summer 1983, published highlights of Sunley’s art career based on his letter (see page 11). He was in the museum’s class of 1939 and earned “a living as newspaper illustrator and cartoonist, as staff artist at Newspaper Enterprise Association in Cleveland, and as free-lancer for the Akron Beacon.” He served in the Air Force during World War II.
Two more samples of Sunley’s art are here and here.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Sunley produced the first two strips of the NEA’s Ticklers, dated June 30 and July 7, 1941. He was followed by Bob Moyer, Bill Arnold, Bob Moyer (again), William Hayes, and George Scarbo. Sunley also did the close-end series The Easter Story, from April 3 to 8, 1950, also for NEA.
In 1951 Sunley moved to Buffalo, New York, where he worked as editorial staff artist on the Buffalo News. He retired early in 1978. Sunley continued work as a freelance courtroom sketch artist for television.
According to the Guild Reporter, June 12, 1958, Sunley was one of several artists to receive a trophy at the Buffalo Newspaper Guild annual Page One Ball.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Ticklers
|Ticklers by Sunley|
Ticklers seems to have debuted on June 30 1941, sporting art by a fellow named John Sunley. His grease pencil artwork was a little reminiscent of George Clark, a fellow NEA staffer. Only problem was that Mr. Sunley lasted a mere two weeks on the newly minted series. Starting on July 14 1941, the reins were passed to Bob Moyer.
|Ticklers by Moyer|
Moyer also had a nice style, in his case somewhat like NEA staffer George Scarbo. He made it all the way to sometime around January 1942, when a fellow named Bill Arnold got his shot at pony service stardom.
|Ticklers by Arnold|
Bill Arnold, who I know absolutely nothing about, was another grease pencil aficionado.He spent a short time on a few minor NEA features, offered up some lovely work, and then disappeared. He ran the Ticklers concession from sometime around January to around March 1942. Next was a return engagement by Bob Moyer, who filled in for a few weeks, and then William Hayes took over on March 23 1942.
|Ticklers by Hayes|
Hayes was by far the least artistically accomplished of the Ticklers crew, though on occasion he could ratchet his work up a notch. Unfortunately this generally coincided with him swiping from magazine gag artist George Price. Hayes had a couple of recurring sub-titles for his panels; Museum Pieces featured gags about dinosaur skeletons in a museum, and Spot 'n' Speck were a couple of bugs.
Hayes ran the show until June 26 1944, but during that stretch there was a six month hiatus from April 12 to October 18 1943. When Hayes left, NEA had the good sense to put a bullpen stalwart on the job. The great George Scarbo took over (as just 'George'), and started his long tenure by trying to turn Ticklers into a more memorable feature by retitling it G. Willikers. That dog didn't hunt, as they say, and the title reverted to Ticklers on August 14, barely a month and a half into the experiment.
In 1945, Scarbo tried again. On June 11 he retitled the feature Looney Luke and added a continuing character. This experiment also failed, and the title reverted after only four installments to Ticklers on July 9. From then on, Scarbo no longer rocked the boat. For the next decade and a half, he produced a weekly Ticklers cartoon for his vanishingly small weekly audience. The feature was finally put to bed for good in 1960. The NEA archives are too spotty on the pony service by then to offer an exact end date.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ralph Lane
William Ralph Lane was born in Princeton, Missouri in early 1905. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Lane’s father, Fred, in Princeton where he married Grace Miller on November 16, 1902. According to the 1910 census, the trio were resided in Princeton on Ballew Street. Lane’s father was a bookkeeper at a bank.
The 1920 census said Lane, his parents and younger brother, Allen, lived in Trenton City, Missouri, at 510 Pleasant View Avenue. The United Press International article, in the New York Times, February 9, 1965, reported “Lane studied music at Trenton, Mo., and art at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 9, 1965, said “Lane in 1923 started drawing cartoons as a freelance cartoonist in Kansas City. Eventually he went to New York City and was a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the old Judge and Life magazines.”
A 1925 New York City directory listed a “Wm R Lane” who worked at The World newspaper and resided at 237 West 148th in Manhattan.
The Missouri marriage records at Ancestry.com said Lane married twenty-one-year-old Florence Naegelin on June, 26, 1926 in Jackson, Missouri.
In the 1930 census, Lane worked at an engraving company and his wife was a fashion artist. Living with them were his mother and brother in Kansas City, Missouri, at 4044 Harrison.
According to the 1940 census, Lane remained in the same city but at a different address, 5803 Virginia. The freelance commercial artist had a seven-year-old son, John. Lane’s highest level of education was the fourth year of high school.
The Times and Plain Dealer said Lane joined the Cleveland-based Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1945. This anecdote about the NEA art department appeared in Cartoonist Profiles, Volumes 41-44, 1979.
[George] Scarbo was in the first floor art department and the desks all faced east with the light from the north to everybody’s left. Ralph Lane moved into the department and, being left-handed, he turned his board around and now faced the artist directly behind him. The artist happened to be a very pretty and nice girl named Emerson (can’t remember her first name). Emerson became very bothered with Lane sitting there looking at her legs all day, so she taped a sheet of drawing paper to the front of her drawing board. During lunch hour, somebody cut two holes in the paper, adding a sign, “Five cents a look.”American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Lane assisted on Roy Crane’s Buz Saywer from 1943 to 1945. Lane went on to draw 19 NEA strips, all but one were closed-end which were Churchill: A Man and an Era; Daniel Boone; Fathers of Flight; The First Christmas—A Story for Children; Freedom of the Press; Gifts of the Magi; Hell Bomb; In Convention Assembled; Iran: Cockpit for Conquest; Japan; Rebirth of a Nation; Lincoln and Gettysburg; On the Beach; Sputnik Plus Five; Squanto’s Thanksgiving; The Story of the Atom; Story of the Pony Express; Valley Forge: Inspiration for Today; and Wild Bill Hickok. Lane drew the long-running NEA series, Vic Flint, from January 6, 1946 to July 30, 1950. The strip was continued by artists Dean Miller, Art Sansom, and Lane’s son, John. Lane’s Vic Flint also appeared in comic books.
Some of Lane’s other NEA work can be seen here, here and here.
A game of bridge between Lane, NEA writer Russ Winterbotham and their wives was written up in W. E. McKenney’s column “Dealing with Bridge” that appeared in the Canton Repository, February 2, 1948.
Lane passed away February 7, 1965, at a hospital in Lakewood, Ohio. His death was reported two days later in the Times and Plain Dealer which said Lane was survived by his wife, son, mother and brother. Lane’s home was at 29700 Wolf Road, Bay Village, Ohio.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, March 13, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Japan: Rebirth of a Nation
In 1951, Japan was coming to the end of its occupation and reconstruction by U.S. forces, and naturally there was great curiosity in America over how things had gone. The closed-end comic strip series Japan: Rebirth of a Nation sought to tell the story of rebuilding Japan in twelve information-packed episodes. The story was highly self-congratulatory, and not without good reason. The U.S. had brought a functioning democracy to a land that had been mostly feudal, had helped rebuild Japan's industrial capabilities and shipping fleets, and had guided modernization of everything from medicine to agriculture.
The U.S. had learned a lot from the way Germany had been mistreated after World War I, and how that mistake more than anything had led to World War II. We were not about to have World War II set the stage for yet another worldwide bloodbath. Japan was truly reborn in those six years, and the nation took its place in the second half of the 20th century as an industrial and business powerhouse that now rivalled her former enemy. If anything good can be said to come out of war, the rebirth of Japan, as well as Germany, are candidates for that distinction.
Japan: Rebirth of a Nation was issued by NEA to run from August 20 to September 1 1951, though I've never found a paper that actually ran it on those dates -- most started it between August 22 and the end of the month. The writer of the series was uncredited and the excellent art was provided by Ralph Lane. Lane had just bowed out of NEA's Vic Flint strip, presumably to tackle projects like these. Lane handled the art on over a dozen of these closed-end newsy strips in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
January 8 1909 -- A Britisher unsuccessfully attempted to ingratiate himself with an L.A. judge by referring to him as "Your Lordship." The judge repeatedly warned the fellow to quit it, to no avail. In the end, he annoyed the judge enough that it may have swayed the case against him. The dispute was over rent of 634 West 35th Street, an address that, as far as I can tell, no longer exists but has since been taken over by an imposing stone warehouse building covering the entire block. The Brit's landlady was awarded $60 for back rent, $10.50 for repairs, $3.50 for utilities, and $2.50 for canned fruit (!) the tenant had eaten.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 10, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from an Anonymous Hack at the New York American
In a bizarre misuse of resources, Hearst's New York American gives out free embossed postcards featuring some of their headlining cartoonists. But does the company have the cartoonists themselves draw their characters, or repurpose a panel from one of their strips? Nope. In 1909, when Bud Fisher had just arrived in New York City to continue taking the comic strip world by storm, they instead had some anonymous hack draw Mutt and Jeff, and a pretty awful job it was, too.
I quite like the letter on the reverse, though:
Aunt Camelia --
I am sending you a magazine that tells the story of some of the moving pictures. You can tell some of the people in them, for although they may not be the same plays, some of the people were in the picture that you saw. J.M.S.
It sounds to me like Aunt Camelia has just seen her first film, and she is intrigued. Interestingly, in these days before there really were true 'movie stars', she seems to have expressed an interest in knowing more about specific actors. A pioneer film fanatic!
Labels: Wish You Were Here
The Mutt & Jeff card was not one of the Hearst freebies, it was in fact a licenced item, the fee going to early marketing wizard Bud Fisher. The NY American/Star Co. imprint is some sort of legal obligation.
I was in licensing for a long time, and it operates thusly; A licensor can do new art for the licencee, or offer ready made "Style Guide" material, or can insist on final approval of what the licencee has created himself, but in the end, the licencee will choose for himself and the licencor just sits back and collects his fee.
The quality of the art can be bad, but if you look on the above mentioned blog site, you'll see some of the Hearst-created cards that were hacked out by some appalling incompetants that hardly made the product look good.
as for Fisher, you'll note that a lot of his licencing art as well as his strips were done by others. The often seen portraits of M&J that were used for the stage shows were apparently drawn by C.W. Kahles when he did a series of ads for "Mutt & Jeff In College" (1915), and one thing that Fisher was famous for was never touching a pen again when he made enough to hire his own hacks.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Sefcik
Arthur Milton Sefcik was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 29, 1901, according to the Ohio Births and Christenings Index at Ancestry.com. His parents were James J. Sefcik and Anna Pirka. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census said James, a Bohemian emigrant, and Anna resided in Cleveland at 315 Humboldt.
In the 1910 census, Sefcik was the oldest of three siblings. Their father was a tailor. The family resided in Cleveland at 5225 Buettner Court.
According to the 1920 census, Sefcik was a moulder at a foundry. He lived with his parents at 16229 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. Sefcik’s mother passed away 18 days after the census enumeration.
Information about Sefcik’s art training has not been found. A listing in the 1923 Cleveland city directory said Sefcik’s address had not changed and he was an artist at the Landon School.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Ol’ Trusty was created by Charles D. Small It started in November 1926. Succeeding Small was George “Swan” Swanson. Next was Sefcik who filled in during July 1927. Don Wootton was the artist when it ended. Sefcik was one of six artists on the weekly strip, Bugs, which started on March 12, 1924. The first four artists were Roy Grove, Irving Knickerbocker, Charles D. Small and George “Swan” Swanson. Sefcik drew Bugs in July 1927. Don Wootton was the last artist.
A city directory for 1926 recorded Sefick’s address as 4417 Douse Avenue and occupation as NEA Service artist.
The same address was in the 1930 census. Newspaper artist Sefcik lived with his father who was still working. Sefcik’s father passed away in September 1937. Sefcik’s address did not change in 1940. His occupation was artist. In the census industry column was written, “Fashion Artist, Sewing Projects”. Sefcik had completed two years of high school.
Sefcik passed away August 26, 1954. A death notice appeared in the Cleveland Press, August 28.
Sefcik, Arthur M., passed away suddenly Thursday, Aug. 26, brother of Helen R. Pickard and Roy of Silinas, Calif. Friends may call at A. Nosek & Sons, 3282 E. 55th St., where services will be held Monday, Aug. 30, at 2 p. m.Sefcik was laid to rest at Woodland Cemetery.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Wide-Awake Willie
Gene Byrnes is best known for his phenomenally successful comic strip Reg'lar Fellers, a frenetic and fun kid gang strip which was loved by kids, and grown-up kids, from the 1910s to 1940s. The strip began as a panel adjunct to his main weekday feature, It's a Great Life if You Don't Weaken, in 1916. That strip was penned for the New York Evening Telegram. When Byrnes decided that it was time for Reg'lar Fellers to graduate to a daily strip in 1918 (on a date that try as I might I cannot pin down), he either didn't offer it to the Telegram, or they turned it down. This event, however it unfolded, eventually made Mr. Byrnes a relatively wealthy man, as he was able to retain his copyright to the strip, and to make his best deals with syndicates.
In 1918, the Telegram's parent paper, the New York Herald, asked Byrnes for a Sunday feature. Byrnes apparently was either so enamored of his new Reg'lar Fellers strip, or bereft of alternative ideas, so he made the Sunday strip about the main character of that strip, Jimmie Dugan, but changed his name to Willie. Wide-Awake Willie, basically an identical strip to Reg'lar Fellers, debuted on March 17.
Eventually Byrnes came to an arrangement with the Herald to distribute a Sunday version of the Reg'lar Fellers strip. Wide-Awake Willie was then uncermoniously given the heave-on as of November 28, and the Herald ran the Reg'lar Fellers Sunday strip starting the next week.
Tuesday, March 07, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dick Clarke
Richard Albert “Dick” Clarke was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania, on October 30, 1879, according to his death certificate. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Clarke was the youngest of four children born to Ray, a plumber, and Edith. The family lived on Buffalo Street in Franklin. Detailed information regarding Clarke’s education and art training has not been found.
The Clarke family resided in Franklin, at 1024 Buffalo Street, according to the censuses from 1900 to 1920. In 1900, Clarke’s occupation was jeweler. Ten years later, Clarke was recorded as a newspaper cartoonist. Some time after the 1910 census, Clarke married Marie Guthrie. Their marriage ended in divorce.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Clarke drew Mr. Gadder in late 1915. Moving Picture Funnies was Clarke’s next series which began February 26, 1917 for the National Newspaper Service. Both comics were signed “Dick Clarke”. Moving Picture Funnies was copyrighted by the Samuel Gabriel Sons & Company of New York.
Clarke signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He identified his employer as the National Newspaper Service, located at 516 Trust Building in Franklin.
In 1920, Clarke was a freelance crayon artist who had a six-year-old son, Richard G. In the 1930 census, Clarke was part of his brother’s household in Franklin at 1420 Buffalo Street.
Clarke passed away June 20, 1933, in Franklin. His death was reported by the following day in the Franklin News-Herald.
Richard A. Clarke, author, playwright and artist, has written his last one-act play, put the finishing touches on his last children’s story. Death figured in the last picture. News of the sudden passing of Franklin’s genial artist and dramatic authority came as a rude shock to scores of friends, few of whom knew he was even ill. Dick Clarke will be missed. He was a genial friend, a loyal believer in Franklin, and all that it possessed in the way of accomplishments. He was 53, but at heart and in action he was almost as young as his son, Richard, of whom a father was never prouder. He knew the hearts of little children, and wrote entertainingly for them. He was a successful and resourceful cartoonist; possessing a wide range of imagination, and had the ability to put into pen and ink sketches the thought and motive that make cartoons forceful.Clarke was laid to rest at Franklin Cemetery.
Studying art in Baltimore and New York, he worked later for several humorous magazines, drew illustrations on assignment for Life and Judge, was identified with the art department of a Cleveland paper and then returned to Franklin. It was Dick Clarke who designed the covers for the Old Home Week literature of 1910; he drew cartoons for The Evening News on occasion. He was generous with advice and counsel to aspiring young artists. A student of the day's events and developments, he was also a philosopher. He read books that delved into the underlying currents of life. He read and talked intelligently.
At heart, throughout all his life, he was as a boy, and devoted to the artistic and outdoor side of life. Nature beckoned, he saw glories in the sunrise and sunset, he saw beauty in pastoral scenes. Rigorously he took up hiking, became a closer student of nature. This many-sided individual turned then to astronomy as a hobby. He tried to master a subject whose magnitude knows no limits to observation and charting.
As a coach of amateur dramatic offerings, he possessed unusual ability. He put into his work all the verve and force one would expect of a Broadway producer, and was not satisfied with half-way measures. His generosity matched his ability. The cheery outlook he had on life is not soon to be forgotten. To know Dick Clarke and know him well-was to have a friend possessed of many accomplishments and few faults. His loyalty to friends throughout the years was unswerving. He put these relationships far and beyond the reach of ordinary things. He played many roles well but that of enduring friendship was the crowning achievement of an unusual life.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, March 06, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Moving Picture Funnies
Based on the title Moving Picture Funnies, you may think you're in for a Minute Movies sort of strip, or a feature about Hollywood. Neither is the case though -- the title was actually meant in a very literal sense. Moving Picture Funnies offers readers the fun of cutting the panel cartoon out, making some folds (that's the moving part I suppose), and uncovering a new cartoon that serves as the answer to a gag posed in the original drawing. It was a great idea, if a little repetitive after years of daily appearances.
Moving Picture Funnies debuted on February 27 1917 and was distributed by John Dille's National Newspaper Service*. Although it never appeared in a lot of papers, it must have been popular enough, because it was officially offered until 1946, a run of three decades.
As far as I can tell, the panel was only ever signed "Clarke", which meant some sleuthing was in order to determine the artist's full name. I happened to know of a very short-lived NEA comic from 1915, Mr. Gadder, that had the same signature on it, and there a first name was offered -- Dick. But in case I was wrong about the similar signature, and not having the vast resources of today's Interwebs at my disposal back when I was trying to track the information down, I relied on Editor & Publisher to be my second source.
E&P's annual syndicate directories, though, turned out to be more of a problem than a solution. The feature was unadvertised in the first three annual directories (1924-26) for some reason. In 1927 it finally made its first appearance and was credited to one F.W. Clarke. Okay, so that's that, right? Well, that's what I thought (and that's why my book lists the artist name as F.W. "Dick" Clarke). But I should have kept looking. In 1928 the credit was to "Robt. Clark" (note the lack of an 'E' on the last name). Then in 1929 the feature is missing again. In 1930, the feature is back and, believe it or not, it's credited to "Zack Mosely" (Zack's last name is properly spelled 'Mosley'). I don't know if that credit was a mistake or a joke, but I certainly find no artistic evidence of Mosley doing the feature, though he was associated with two other John Dille properties in this era (Skyroads and Buck Rogers), so the possibility, though dim, does exist.
In 1931, the feature is credited to R.D. Clark (again, no 'E'), and then in 1932 we switch to R.L. Clark (gimme an 'E', will ya!). This credit seemed to finally suit whoever was compiling the listings, because that name remained consistent through the rest of the run, through 1946.
So what exactly is the truth about Mr. Clarke? It took Alex Jay doing some digging, but we now have it on excellent evidence that the fellow's name was Richard A. 'Dick' Clarke. In other words, E&P did not print one correct credit in fifteen tries (not counting years it was missing entirely). Now I'll let Alex tell you more about this fellow tomorrow, but I must drop a spoiler today. In his research he discovered that Mr. Clarke passed away in 1933, meaning the feature was in reprints or ghosted for a minimum of thirteen years. Since I see no particular change in the style of the feature over its entire life, I'm guessing that Dille was selling reprints for a very long time. On the other hand, maybe the musical chair game of names indicates that the feature was sort of a family business, and there are other Clarkes involved in the series at different times. But I doubt it.
Anyway, let's get to something really important. In the samples above, if you do the requisite folding, what do you come up with? Well, you lucky people, I've done all the work for you. Here they are below, run here small in case you'd rather print the samples out yourself and have the fun of discovery. Click to enlarge.
* At the risk of making this post longer than the run of Moving Picture Funnies, I must make mention of a few things in regard to the syndication.
- I am perplexed at Dille's use of two company names: John F. Dille Company and National Newspaper Service. I used to think that NNS came much later, but here we have a feature starting in 1917 that consistently carried the copyright of NNS. In E&P, Dille consistently used the name of NNS. Yet on many of his features, he used John F. Dille Company. Anyone have an idea why?
- Alex Jay uncovered a copyright entry for this feature in 1918, citing Samuel Gabriel & Son, a publisher of children's books. I assumed this might be for the purposes of publishing a book of the cartoons, but as best I can tell, that never happened. I wonder if Clarke held ownership of his idea, and so could make such a deal, or if was Dille. Surprising that Dille would offer up the copyright, as opposed to a contract for single use.
Saturday, March 04, 2017
January 6 1909 -- It's voting day, and Herriman makes one last pitch for Angelenos to fund new schools for the city.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 03, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from Percy Crosby
Here's one from Percy Crosby that has no maker info. It is divided back and postally used in 1911. The forehead tattoos, needless to say, were added by the postcard sender.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, March 02, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Jim Lavery
In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Lavery was the oldest of eight children whose parents were Scottish emigrants. They resided in Cleveland, Ohio at 21 Indiana Street. Lavery’s father was a machinist.
Information regarding Lavery’s whereabouts in 1910 and art training has not been found. A profile in Editor & Publisher, November 10, 1917, explained what Lavery was doing, how he ended up in Cleveland and became a cartoonist.
…Jim is a typical Press find. Two or three years ago he had never drawn a picture that saw the light of day in the printed page. As hinted before, he was painting signs, and thereby met the high cost of living with considerable ease. His activities in that branch of brush and ink work might read like a travelogue, for he painted signs in every big city in the country, from Maine to California, with the exception of Cleveland. When he hit Cleveland he went to work on a sign, and as variety interspersed some pictures with the wording. These pictures James admitted were funny. Whether any one else thought so or not, they were sufficient to attract the attention of Ollie May, Leader cartoonist. May and Lavery got acquainted. Lavery wished he could draw for a newspaper, too. Just then the editor of the Press made it known he could use a first-class cartoonist, and Lavery was ushered into the sanctum sanctorum. “Go to work,” said the E. And James did, and has been doing that little thing ever since. He has invented Some quaint characters which give the Press distinction. He invented the Wampus Cat, which blats about sport topics in rhyme; George Davis’s short shavings have finer wit because of the Lavery sketches that go with them; leading lights of Cleveland cannot escape his quaint strokes.The Cleveland Press (Ohio), November 4, 1959, said Lavery “drew political and sports cartoons for The Press from 1915 to 1940. A popular feature was his sports cartoon, the Saturday Bath.”
Lavery’s prowess as a bowler was noted in The Fourth Estate, October 20, 1917: “ ‘Jimmy’ Lavery, cartoonist on the Cleveland Press, is also a bowler of more than ordinary skill. In a recent match he set the Cleveland record for the season with a total of 671 pins in three games.”
The 1920 census recorded Lavery in Cleveland at 628 East 130th Street. Lavery was in his father-in-law’s household. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Lavery drew the Salesman Sam topper, Jo-Jo the Jester, from October 10, 1926 to October 2, 1927.
Lavery was recorded twice in the 1930 census. One sheet had the 1920 address while the other one had the house number as 626. Lavery, his wife and daughter Jean were the sole residents at both addresses.
Lavery’s address was 626 East 130th Street in the 1940 census. Lavery was a self-employed cartoonist. On April 26, 1942, Lavery signed his World War II draft card which had the address 14749 Elderwood Avenue.
A November or December 1959 issue Editor & Publisher said Lavery “worked for the National Bowlers Journal and Turf and Sport Digest.”
Lavery passed away November 3, 1959, in New York City.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Toppers: Jo-Jo the Jester
In the 1920s, when NEA expanded its comic strip reach into Sundays, they followed along with other syndicates when it came to adding toppers in 1926. They had one original twist to the idea, though. Instead of assigning the cartoonist of the main feature to create the topper, they pulled someone else from the cartooning bullpen to do those honors.
Jim Lavery was a perfectly creditable sports and editorial cartoonist for the NEA syndicate, but when he was tapped to provide a topper strip for C.D. Small's Salesman Sam, boy did they find out he was not cut out for straight gag work. I get the feeling that NEA expected great things out of him, but what they got was hackneyed joke book swipes inartfully told. Maybe Lavery just didn't want the job, and was dogging it on purpose.
Jo-Jo the Jester stars a braying fool for no other reason than to let people know who's telling the joke -- hey, it's the guy in the polka dot jammies! Sometimes that was a really useful sign on Lavery's worst klunkers. I read through about a dozen Jo-Jo gags before selecting the one above as the only one that offered me a hint of a guffaw. What can I say -- any hint of naughtiness and I'm an easy mark.
Lavery produced Jo-Jo the Jester for one year before the powers that be took pity on a nation not getting any laughs, from October 10 1926 to October 2 of the next year. After that, Irving Knickerbocker took over the space with the inelegantly named, but at least somewhat funny, J. Disraeli (Dizzy) Dugan.
Labels: Topper Features
Editor: "Let's have you try on the swimsuit now, okay?"
Boopsie: "Okay. Where is it?"
Editor: "Uh... I just gave it to you."
Boopsie (looking in her hand): "This? Oh, sorry, I thought it was dental floss."
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Merle Johnson
Merle DeVore Johnson was born in Oregon City, Oregon, on November 24, 1874, according to Who’s Who in America (1912), American Art Annual, Volume XIV (1918) and the American Literary Yearbook, Volume I (1919). Johnson’s parents were William Carey Johnson and Josephine DeVore.
In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Johnson was the youngest of three brothers. Their father was a lawyer. The family resided in Oregon City on Center Street.
Who’s Who said Johnson graduated from Stanford University in 1897. Johnson was on the staff of the school newspaper the Daily Palo Alto which noted his chess victory but team loss. Information regarding Johnson’s art training has not been found. The 1904 Stanford yearbook, The Quad, mentioned Johnson as an illustrator.
The Junior Quad was instituted by the Pioneer Class in 1894. In this annual the artistic talent of the University finds scope, and the various virtues of Francis, Culver, Bristow, Adams, Merle Johnson, Borough, Bowman, Miss Holly, Sterrett, and the later illustrators are abundantly attested in the ten picturesque volumes.An 1898 San Francisco city directory listed Johnson as a Chronicle newspaper artist who resided at 1031 Vallejo. The following year Johnson was with the Examiner newspaper and at the same address.
The 1900 census recorded artist and illustrator Johnson in San Francisco at 1317 Octavia. City directories dated 1901, 1903 and 1904 said he was with the Examiner.
Who’s Who said Johnson married Margaret Keough on September 7, 1905. The San Francisco Call said Johnson was a New York resident at the time.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Johnson produced two series in 1907 for the American-Journal-Examiner, When Antoinette Is on the Job and He’s Stuck on Angeline. From 1906 to 1910, Johnson produced several comics for the New York Evening Journal including an untitled series about clothes and fashion; Frog He Would a-Wooing Go; It Happens Every Day; Hint to Wooers; Something Always Happens; and When Women Are Stronger Than Men. Johnson drew The Boy Scouts—Bill and Bobbie which ran from November 29, 1914 to May 16, 1915 in the New York Press.
According to the 1910 census, Johnson was a newspaper artist who resided with his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law in Queens, New York, on Pine Street. In 1910, Johnson was the manager of the New York Evening Journal art department. The Stanford University Alumni Directory and Ten-year Book, Volume II, 1891–1910, said Johnson lived in Douglaston, Long Island, New York. Who’s Who had his office at 238 William Street.
The 1915 New York state census said the Johnson family and two servants were on Cherry Street in Little Neck, Queens, New York. Johnson’s occupation was illustrator. The Fourth Estate, February 20, 1915, noted Johnson’s new business deal.
Merle Johnson, cartoonist of the New York Evening Journal, contributor to Puck and other publications, has contracted with Joseph S. Edelman, president of the Sterling Advertising Service, for the right to use his services of commercial purposes.
On September 12, 1918, Johnson signed his World War I draft card. His address was Cherry Street in Douglaston. He was employed as art manager at Wilson Service, 500 5th Avenue, New York City. Johnson was described as short, medium build with brown eyes and dark hair.
Johnson was a freelance illustrator in the 1920 census. His address had not changed.
The 1922 New York city directory listing for artist Johnson said he resided at 45 Washington Square South and worked at 1440 Broadway. Johnson contributed illustrations to the New York Tribune from 1921 to 1922.
Johnson’s wife and daughter Marion applied for a passport on August 1, 1923. The family residence was on Second Street in Bayside, New York.
According to Who’s Who in New York City and State, Volume IX (1929), Johnson’s residence was 42 Commerce Street and studio address 243 West 34th Street, in New York City.
Johnson has not yet been found in the 1930 census.
The Stanford Illustrated Review, March 1933, published this item about Johnson.
Merle DeVore Johnson, early an artist on the San Francisco Chronicle, then for fourteen years head of Hearst’s art department in New York City, and in more recent years a commercial artist in that city, has a bookstore across the street from the Pennsylvania Railway station and deals in first editions, in which he long has been a recognized authority. For years he was tennis champion of Long Island. His elder daughter, Helen, under the screen and stage name of Judith Wood, is now playing the part of Kitty Packard in Dinner at Eight.According to the New York Times, June 2, 1935, Johnson suffered a fractured skull when he was struck by an automobile.
Johnson passed away September 1, 1935, at his home in Manhattan, 65 East 53 Street. The cause was pneumonia. His death was reported the following day in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the Times.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, February 27, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: The Boy Scouts Bill and Bobbie
The Boy Scouts of America was an organization just four years old when Merle Johnson gave them a gently humorous poke in The Boy Scouts Bill and Bobbie. The Sunday strip began on November 29 1914 in the New York Press, a second-rate paper run by Frank Munsey. In the Press's short-lived Sunday comics section (Munsey soon decided Sunday comic sections cost too much to produce) this strip was one of the headliners, along with Dorothy and the Killies.
Merle Johnson had pretty much left comic strip work behind by 1914. He had a number of features picked up by Hearst in the 1900s, but this is his only series I know of from later than 1910. Bill and Bobbie was drawn in Johnson's signature naive style, and the simplistic gags actually worked surprisingly well, undoubtedly because they meshed well with the art style. The whole package was quite attractive, and may well have helped to sell a few copies of the New York Press to readers who would have otherwise never even looked at the Munsey rag.
The Boy Scouts Bill and Bobbie ran until May 16 1915, when the whole comic section was cancelled.
Thanks to Cole Johnson, who supplied the scans.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
January 5 1909 -- Herriman has some seriously sharp-edged words and pictures for the heavyweight boxing fraternity today. In case it is too hard to read above, here's the prose that he wrote to go along with the cartoon:
En masse they have emerged from their coops and let out a loud, patriotic howl about reseizing the "title of titles" from the possession of the black man.
Here they stand, a lovely mess of pugilist derelicts preening their frayed plumes in patriotic fervor, making great show of being latter day Casabiancas, St. Georges, and gentleman Joan of Arcs.
Here Jack Johnson has been making extensive peregrinations over the world, wasting away for the want of a fight. All the while the surface of the sea of swat lay bland, placid and unrippled. Now the Galvestonian comes back with the prime prize, and the tombs resound with challenges from every pugilistic mummy since the deluge.
The country reverberates with the brave cry of "the title must come back to the Caucasian." Truly a fine excuse for these St. Georges of the prize ring to work upon the public. They are ready to face the dusky dragon in his den and blushingly bring back the title.
Behold the heroes: "St. Lemo" Jack O'Brien, Marvin Hart, Mike Shreck, "Tawm" Sharkey, Corbett: that rare old Dodo, Bob Fitzsimmons, and oh, spare us, John "Twin" Sullivan. They clang their tin armor and puff their age worn breasts and acclaim themselves Davids ready to crack the dome of somber hued heavyweight Goliath to bring back our fair title to its home.
Now that we have heard from those whom we long thought defunct, let us give ear to Kid Camembert, Battling Brie, Terrible Roquefort, Spike Limburger or some other good heavyweight fromage.
The title will abide awhile with Johnson, unless the one man, James Jeffries, decides to climb over the ropes.
In the meanwhile call in Doctor Osler and let him get busy in the heavyweight division.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons