Carl Emil “Bunny” Schultze was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 25, 1866, the son of Charles and Jane, according to Who’s Who in America, 1903–1905. The Encyclopedia Americana (1919) said his surname was pronounced with two syllables. The 1870 U.S. Federal Census recorded his full name; he was an only child who lived in Lexington, where his father was a music teacher. Little Visits with Great Americans (1904) said he was educated in the public schools of Lexington, Kentucky (not New York) and Cassel, Germany.
In the 1880 census he was the oldest of three children. His father continued teaching music in Lexington. The Lexington Herald, January 9, 1907, said Schultze’s father had lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1855, before moving to Lexington in 1860. After 25 years, he returned to Indianapolis some time after his wife’s death.
…Professor Schultze has a son, Carl E. Schultze, who has distinguished himself as a newspaper cartoonist, being the author of the “Foxy Grandpa” illustrations of the comic section of the New York American.
Mr. Schultze’s wonderful gift as a delineator of the comic side of life was discovered in a most peculiar way. Residing at Indianapolis with his father in the fall of 1889, the news was flashed over the wires of the fatal duel at Lexington, Ky., in which Col. W.C. Goodloe and Col. A.M. Swope both lost their lives. Young Mr. Schultze happened to be in the office of one of Indianapolis’ leading newspapers when the editor asked if it was possible to secure photographs of the two men, from which cuts could be made for publication the following day. Young Mr. Schultze immediately responded, and said that as he had lived in Lexington and knew both men personally, he believed he could draw a sketch from memory. He was told to do so, the cuts were made and the picture of each of the duelists appeared in the paper the next morning.
In a few days the Lexington and Cincinnati papers appeared with cuts of the two men from their latest photographs, and when compared to the production of Mr. Schultze, was found to be much inferior likenesses. Mr. Schultze was well paid for his work and at once began the development of his rare gift and is now one of the highest salaried artists of the country….
Other accounts of his early newspaper career make no mention of Indianapolis. Little Visits with Great Americans said:
…On his return to America he studied art under Walter Satterlee, of New York. For some time later he seems to have been undecided as to how to apply his gifts, but an accidental sketch submitted to a Chicago paper, resulted in his being forthwith engaged by that publication. After remaining in Chicago on several newspapers for some years, he took a trip to California, doing further artistic work in San Francisco….
...After a struggle, during which he did work on Judge and other New York publications, he became a member of the staff of the Herald…
The New York Sun, January 18, 1939, said: “…When he was eighteen  he was sent to New York to study art. He wished to become a portrait painter, but he returned to Louisville and obtained a job in a lithographer’s shop. He failed at this work and drifted to Chicago, where he went to work on the Daily News….” The New York Times, January 19, 1939, said Schultze “…got his start with The Chicago News at $16 a week. Among his colleagues were Peter Finley Dunne, John T. McCutcheon, George Ade and Richard F. Outcault.”
The date of his move to New York has not been determined. Who’s Who said he married Mary Greenlee Brown in November 1899, in New York. The marriage was his first and her second, according to the 1910 census.
On January 7, 1900, his Sunday features, Foxy Grandpa and The Herald Vaudeville Show, debuted on the same page in the New York Herald; the strips were signed “Bunny”. (Foxy Grandpa in other newspapers is here. Some original art can be viewed here.) The origin of the Grandpa’s name was explained in the New York Sun:
…Schultze often told the story of the naming of Foxy Grandpa. He said that he owed it to the late William J. Guard, press representative for the Metropolitan Opera, who was assistant to Edward Marshall, Sunday editor for the Herald in 1900. Schultze had explained to the Herald that he wanted to draw a comic strip which would create an old man who could turn the tables on the youngsters.
“I just called him Grandpa at the start,” he said. “Then Guard added Foxy to it and it stuck.”
The debut of both strips
The vaudeville feature underwent title changes and ended in 1901. Schultze has not been found in the 1900 census. Soon Foxy Grandpa was adapted for the stage as mentioned in the New York Tribune, August 4, 1901:
Asbury Park Thronged.
…Carl E. Schultze, the New York cartoonist, is a newcomer at the Hotel Columbia. Mr. Schultze came to the Park to witness the initial performance of “Foxy Grandpa” at the local theatre….
Who’s Who said he resided at the Hotel Beresford, 1 West 81st Street, New York City. Foxy Grandpa’s popularity made Schultze a celebrity. Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, September 1903, published an amusing anecdote and photograph (top).
…Mr. Schultze looks more like a banker than a comic artist. Many of his friends who have known him for years are unaware of his connection with the Sunday Comic Supplement. One day, as he stood talking with a prominent politician of his acquaintance, a young newspaper reporter slapped Mr. Schultze on the back and hailed him as “Foxy Grandpa.” “Why don’t you punch the impudent young scoundrel’s head?” inquired the politician after the reporter had gone. “What for?” asked Mr. Schultze. “Why, what business has he to call you Foxy Grandpa? You’re not old.” “No,” replied Mr. Schultze, “Still I’m old enough to be Foxy Grandpa’s father.”
Schultze and his wife suffered a terrible tragedy which was reported in the New York Press, November 24, 1906:
Wife’ Shots Kill Husband and Self
Mrs. J.F. Delaney, Known on Stage as “Bessie Mortimer,” Uses Revolver.
Chicago, Nov. 23.—Known on the stage as Bessie Mortimer, and formerly a member of Otis Skinner’s company, Mrs. James F. Delaney, wife of the vice president of the American Shipping Company, to-day shot her husband through the brain, and then killed herself, firing a bullet into her mouth. The bodies were found in the apartments occupied by the Delaneys in the home of Mrs. Cyrus Woods, No. 490 Lasalle avenue. The shots were heard by a watchman at 5 o’clock, and it was almost noon before the rooms were entered.
The Delaneys were well known in New York, and returned from there only ten days ago. The husband frequently went East on business. Delaney was 33 years old, and his wife 27. They were eight years married, and leave no children. The wife was Elizabeth Brown, and her mother now is married to Carl E. Schultze, an artist, at Ninety-fifth street and Broadway, New York….
...Carl E. Schultze, the stepfather of Mrs. Delaney, was seen in his home at Ninety-fifth street and Broadway. He said that he was too greatly shocked to discuss the tragedy, and that his wife was so unnerved by the news of her daughter’s terrible end that she had been ordered to bed by a physician.
In 1910, his address was Manhattan, New York City at 101 West 78 Street, where he was a newspaper artist. A notice in the New York Clipper, January 13, 1912, said Schultze may be headed to vaudeville.
Carl E. Schultze, whose “Foxy Grandpa” series is well known to newspaper readers, is a possible recruit to the stage. If negotiations now pending are successful, he is to be presented in a vaudeville sketch which is to be built around a piece of lightning sculpture. it is said that something entirely different from the average sort of “rapid sketch” act has been evolved by the author, a well known local newspaper man.
The announcement that Carl E. Schultze, the creator of the “Foxy Grandpa” cartoons, is to go into the lyceum is erroneous in one particular. It seems to have been made without consulting “Bunny” himself. Mr. Schultze writes Lyceumite and Talent: “I’m really not thinking even of going into vaudeville. The idea came from an interested friend who gave it to Mr. Mindel.”
However he was interested in the stage as an investment. The New York Dramatic Mirror, November 12, 1913, reported the following:
Bunny Theater to Open Soon
The Bunny Theater, Broadway and 147th Street, is rapidly being put in shape for its grand opening. Carl E. Schultze, the creator of Foxy Grandpa and Bunny, is pulling some noteworthy publicity stunts that have the Heights residents raised to high pitch of expectancy. One was a rebus, drawn in the well-known Bunny style, for the solution of which free tickets to the opening were given. The date of the opening will probably be Nov. 25. J.W. Brandon is president of the Bunny Theater Company and Carl E. Schultze, vice-president.
Bunny Amusement Corporation (N.Y.) (Julian W. Brandon, Pres.; Carl E. Schultze, Sec. Capital, $25,000. Directors: Julian W. Brandon, Abner B. Stupel, Carl E. Schultze) 3589 B’way
Bunny Theatre (R.T.N.) (Carl E. Schultze & Julian W. Brandon) 3589 B’way
In the 1915 New York State Census he lived in New York City at 160 Claremont Avenue. His occupation was writer. He has not been found in the 1920 census but the Commercial Register (1920) had a listing for him: “Schultze Carl E., 256 W. 57th. Cartoonist”. The Bourbon News (Paris, Kentucky), August 17, 1920, reported the death of his father.
Apparently he moved to Florida for a while. The Herald (Miami, Florida), September 3, 1922, said he lived at St. John’s casino in Miami Beach, and “...Writing poetry is a recent accomplishment with him, he says, which he may take up seriously under the inspiration of Miami skies.” At some point he returned to New York. He helped a missing boy reunite with his Brooklyn family. The Fourth Estate, January 16, 1926, said in closing:
…Incidentally, Foxy Grandpa who writes for the New York Evening Journal, indirectly secured for his newspaper one of the biggest and cleanest missing-boy-found “scoops” ever achieved. The Journal published details of the finding when its rivals were headlining the report was still missing.
And this feat came about just because Foxy Grandpa, in real life life as in pictures, could not pass by when he saw a shivering, ragged urchin obviously hungry on the sidewalks of the richest city on earth.
Long live Foxy Grandpa!
His move to Richmond, Virginia, was trumpeted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 24, 1928, headline: “ ‘Bunny’ Comes to Richmond; Will Make His Home Here”. And another version of his newspaper debut was told:
…Mr. Schultze’s first drawing was cut with a pen knife on wood on the Lexington (Ky.) Transcript. He then began to use chalk plate, which was a newspaper process of the earlier days. He got his real start with Victor Lawson on the Chicago Morning News, which is now the Record, a start which proved auspicious even though he arrived in Chicago with only 5 cents in his pocket. When Mr. Schultze began his career on the News, John T. McCutcheon and George Ade were working there, and Eugene Field had just left….
Schultze did commercial art work and one of his projects was a coloring book for the Nolde Bros. Bakery, which was advertised in the Times-Dispatch, November 11, 1928.
His time in Richmond was recounted in the January 19, 1939, Times-Dispatch:
...Many Richmonders will recall the tall, heavy-set Schultze, not unlike his famous creation, for he spent about a year in this city in 1928.
At that time, Schultze had hopes of creating a comic strip character which again would enshrine him in the hearts of youngsters. He did some special work for The Times-Dispatch and also was connected with E.C. Pollard in his advertising business here.
He later did a cartoon strip for the News Leader….
The 1930 census recorded him in New York at 407 West 57th Street. He was a widower; it is not known when his wife passed away. With Foxy Grandpa’s best days behind him, Schultze lived a low-rent existence. In his book, The Longest Street, Louis Sobol remembered him during his decline.
States-Times (Baton Rogue LA), December 30, 1938, published Charles B. Driscoll’s “New York Day by Day” column who wrote:
Carl E. Schultze, creator of “Foxy Grandpa,” recently recovered from an illness that nearly carried him off, sent us a New Year card depicting him in a neck-and-neck race with the Grim Reaper. The old fellow with the scythe is falling behind at the finish.
Schultze passed away January 18, 1939, in New York City. His obituary appeared the same day in the New York Sun:
‘Foxy Grandpa’ Creator Dies
Carl Schultze Passes Away in His Sleep Here.
Suffered a Heart Attack
His Comic Strip First Appeared in Herald 38 Years Ago.
Carl Schultze, who created the famous comic strip known to the last generation as Foxy Grandpa, was found dead today in his neat little room at 251 West Twentieth street. There the man who once made hundreds of thousands from his drawings eked out a living from occasional jobs with his faltering pencil.
Schultze had lived in the room for two years. He was always cheerful and always impressed the other boarders as being rather a prosperous man because he was so neatly dressed. On November 4 he was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital suffering from a heart attack. He seemed to recover and went back to his room. Today he was found lying in bed by a parlor maid. A surgeon from St. Vincent’s said that Schultze had died in his sleep.
Foxy Grandpa, who had side whiskers and a sharp sense of humor, was created in the comic section of the New York Herald, where it first appeared on January 7, 1900.
Its success was immediate and it lasted for twenty years. Then changing tastes and other conditions made it seem less valuable and it finally disappeared from the Sunday newspapers. Schultze tried to explain its disappearance once. He pointed out that it was a pretty, old-fashioned brand of humor, that there was no romantic angle to it and that Foxy Grandpa was “too smart to be a sugar daddy.”
He added: “I guess I must own up that perhaps I ran out of ideas for the dear old gent. But somehow he didn’t fit into today’s picture.” He signed the signature Bunny to his comic strip. Thousands of letters came to him during the palmy years. He once said that he had employed three secretaries to open them every day….
…Schultze’s wife died about twenty years ago. In 1935 he was aided by the Emergency Relief Bureau, and recently he had been on the WPA rolls. Last year Editor and Publisher printed an article in which it said that Schultze was planning to restore Foxy Grandpa to the syndicate field. He was going to be a modern grandfather.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
When we think of Carl 'Bunny' Schultze we typically think only of his ubiquitous Foxy Grandpa
feature. And that's perfectly reasonable given that the strip ran, with a few interruptions, for well over twenty years. However, although Schultze is quite reasonably remembered as something of a one-note cartoonist, early in his newspaper comic strip career he did try out a few other series. Of those, Our Vaudeville Show
is particularly delightful.
In these samples above, which at a glance seem to be glimpses at rather oddball acts in a vaudeville show, there's a little more going on than meets the eye. In 1901, when these strips originally ran, the hidden meaning was not nearly as hard to unlock as today.
In the top example, we actually have Richard Croker
, head of the infamous Tammany Hall political machine, showing how he can easily manipulate the symbol of the organization, the Tammany Tiger. The second features Chauncey DePew
, United States Senator who was considered one of the premier speakers of the age -- apparently Schultze considered his oratorical skills somewhat on the hackneyed side -- full of chestnuts, that is.
There is some confusion about this series. Ken Barker's index of the New York Herald
, where the series appeared, cites two different but very similar titles by 'Bunny' -- The Herald Vaudeville Show
, which ran January 7 to June 3 1900, and Our Vaudeville Show
, which ran September 23 to December 16 1900. I don't know if there was some important difference that made Barker consider these separate series, or if it was purely because of the long gap between installments in the summer of 1900. I haven't a single example in my collection, so I'm at a loss. What examples I do have, though, throw a second wrench into the works. The samples above, now retitled to Our National Vaudeville
, are from February 1901, two months after the series was supposed to have ended.
The explanation of the unindexed 1901 series is simple -- these strips were in the Herald
's magazine section, not in the comics section. So either the magazines were absent from the microfilm (not an unusual occurrence) or Barker simply missed them since they were not in the comics sections. But how long the National Vaudeville
series went on I cannot say. Yet another item to add to my looong 'to be researched' list.
Melisse was the pseudonym of Mildred Oppenheim, the wife of Samuel Oppenheim. Mildred’s maiden name has not been found. According to two New York passenger lists, she was born May 20, 1905 in Newark, New Jersey. A third list had her birth as “Mar 20”, which, probably, was a misreading by the typist. Information about her parents, education and art training has not been found.
The 1930 U.S. Federal Census recorded the couple in Newark at 279 Goldsmith Avenue. Married for three years, both were commercial artists employed at advertising companies and their parents were born in Russia. December 1931 was a pivotal moment for Oppenheim who would be known nationally as Melisse. How she acquired that name is not known. The New York Sun, December 12, 1931, had an advertisement for Lord & Taylor’s invitation to the public to attend an upcoming exhibition of Melisse’s work.
Two days later, the Sun noted the opening.
Fashion Illustrations Shown.
An exhibition of sketches, introducing a new method of fashion illustration, opened today in the Young New Yorker’s Shop at Lord & Taylor, Fifth avenue. The drawings are the work of Melisse, a young artist discovered by Harry Rodman, art director of Lord & Taylor.
The New York Times, December 19, 1931, review said: “ ‘Melisse’ is…a wicked and telling satirist—almost a feminine counterpart of Peter Arno. Her women are lissome beyond all belief and have eyelashes that would shame Greta Garbo. Besides charming people sunning themselves at Biarritz of gliding with superb disdain from the side door of the Metropolitan, the exhibition includes several covers for Charm and two interesting portraits.”
The Art Directors Club recognized her work. The Sun, April 11, 1933, reported:
Seven bronze medals were awarded for work displayed in the exhibition of advertising art, which opened at the Art Center, 65 East Fifty-sixth street, under the auspices of the Art Directors Club. Six exhibitors received honorable mention.
…The medalist in the black and white illustration group was J.W. Williamson, while Peter Arno and Melisse were awarded honorable mention….
The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art; Etc., 1933, New Series, Volume 28, Number 4 has an entry for her:
Oppenheim (Mildred) 8277
Melisse, pseud, of Mildred Oppenheim : Real news of New York. © 1 c. Nov. 10, 1933; G 13449.
Appearing every Saturday in the women’s pages of the Sun, the Real News of New York…A Preview of What’s New strip was a series of panels, each with a block of text about an item, activity or event. A start date was not been determined and it appears to have ended in November 1935. An ad for the strip in the Pelham Sun (New York), December 14, 1934, has a photo of Melisse.
On three consecutive years Oppenheim sailed to Europe; according to the passenger lists, in 1932 she lived at 87 Vassar Avenue, Newark, New Jersey; in 1933 at 1 University Place, Apartment 19D, New York, New York; and in 1934 at 299 West 12th Street, New York, New York. The Times, June 7, 1936, said she was a member of the Cartoonists Guild of America, which formed in March 1936. Evidently King Features was impressed by her work and syndicated her panel Diary of a Good Girl in 1937.
The 1940s began badly for Oppenheim, who has not been found in the 1940 census. The Times, January 31, 1940, reported she had filed a petition for bankruptcy: “Mildred Oppenheim, freelance artist, 383 Central Park West—Liabilities, $3,714; no assets.” However, she recovered quickly with her advertising panel, Around Town with Melisse, which featured Ohrbach’s, a department store. The campaign drew the attention of Life magazine, June 23, 1941. Less than a month later, Sales Management, July 15, 1941, reported the campaign’s genesis.
New York has a new glamour girl…Melisse of Orbach’s [sic]. The little blonde bomber made her debut in the local press a while ago, and has been wowing her female fans as well as the buying stag lines ever since. Orbach’s [sic] is a self-service clothing store which is currently trying to “trade up.” The store uses no merchandise ads, but runs full page institutionals instead
When Easter was past, and the regular campaign ended, General Merchandise Manager Jerry Orbach [sic] got together with commercial artist Mildred Oppenheim, and cooked up a series of ads, “Around Town with Melisse.” The cartoon ads were placed in all major local papers…anywhere from two to five times a week. Readers soon began to follow the adventures of Melisse as devotedly as they do “Tillie the Toiler,” etc.
Melisse is not only charming, but is a breadwinner as well…having more than earned her keep in luring the smart money crowd to the local store. The campaign has attracted such wide attention that Life magazine recently devoted several pages to her. This is the first time Life has ever featured an advertising campaign. In addition, it is now rumored that Melisse might even have her own debutante department at Orbach’s [sic] one of these days. Hers is the story of a small space advertising campaign which made good.
Grey Advertising is the agency.
The success of Around Town led to syndication as reported in the New York Post, February 27, 1942:
Melisse to Syndicate Cartoon Advertising
Melisse, creator of the cartoon advertising “Around Town With Melisse,” will syndicate the feature throughout the country on the basis of one leading store in a trading area, it was announced today.
Arrangements are being handled exclusively by the Melisse headquarters at 59 West 44th St. Additional promotional helps for subscribers such as Melisse mannequins for window and counter displays, clothing designs and seasonal ideas are contemplated.
Canton Repository 8/5/1942
San Francisco Chronicle 8/6/1942
Springfield Union 3/7/1948
What became of her after the 1940s is not known. Oppenheim passed away February 28, 1993, in Miami, Florida, according to the Social Security Death Index. An obituary has not been found.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Sometimes I'll buy a stack of old newspapers, if the price is right, just on the off-chance that I'll find something that I haven't seen before. That was the case when I bought a stack of 1930s Pittsburgh papers on eBay recently. Since I have done some microfilm research in Pittsburgh, I didn't hold out a lot of hope of seeing something new, but there was something about the pictures of the stack that just set off my spidey-sense. Oh, and they were really cheap, too.
I'm happy to report that the spidey-sense (and frugality) didn't steer me wrong. While the vast majority of the musty old pile was consigned to the recycle bin, I did find something quite rare. Above you see the fruits of my all-but-blind purchase, two samples of a feature that previously resided on the Stripper's Guide Mystery Strip list.
Diary of a Good Girl
is the type of feature that you just know has to have an interesting story behind it. I'm not going to say that the art is bad -- let's just call it naive shall we -- but why King Features, the biggest syndicate in the world, inundated daily with proposals for new features, would choose out of all those options to take on Diary of a Good Girl
for syndication -- well, there's got to be a story.
Today I wish this were a fiction blog. I could tell you one wild and crazy narrative that would be far more entertaining than the reality that I simply have no idea why King Features tried to syndicate the daily panel Diary of a Good Girl
in 1937. My goodness, there would be kidnappings, steamy sex scenes, daredevil chases across the roofs of New York City, international espionage, oh it would be glorious. And the whole story would culminate in the offices of the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph
. After hours of inhuman torture, the editor, weeping like a baby as the battery electrodes are attached to yet another tender part of his anatomy, finally succumbs and signs the contract to run Diary of a Good Girl
. The King Features syndicate salesman smirks as he puts the signed contract in his briefcase. "Bub, you are pathetic. Over at the Post-Gazette
your competition took my little visit like a real man. His whole body was a smoking mass of scorch marks, and he wouldn't give in. The sight and smell of him made me so ill I couldn't go on, so I let him off easy. He took Big Sister
[I have to report that Alex Jay, always quick to spoil my fun, has dug up a lot of info on the mysterious Melisse. Watch out for an Ink-Slinger Profile tomorrow]