Saturday, June 07, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, July 14 1908 -- Amazing local story ... carpenter John Berglund was working on the roof of a seven story building in Los Angeles, stumbled off the edge, landed on the roof of a two-story building next door and walked away with only minor injuries.

Illustrations like we see above on the left side were standard fare in newspapers of the time, before photos, especially on-the-spot types, were practical. What's unusual is the left side, in which Herriman uses the event as a springboard for an editorial cartoon.

Most of the fellows shown are local Democratic party operatives, and the significance of their falls is lost on me. However, the fall of Jim Jeffries is referencing a fight between Packy McFarland and Freddy Welsh. Jeffries hosted the fight at his facility and he also refereed the bout. McFarland and the spectators felt that he got a raw deal from Jeffries and he made quite a stink about it. Jeffries was so disgusted that he vowed to give up all involvement in boxing. Well, he didn't quite do that, but he did give up refereeing for almost a quarter century.


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Friday, June 06, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, December 20 1936, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Little Diane (in WONDER-LAND first panel) was the daughter of Sylvia (Frank Godwin second wife).
She must have been 11-12 in 1936.
This is such a delight!
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Thursday, June 05, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ernest Smythe

Ernest Smythe was born “William Ernest Smythe” according to the England and Wales Birth Index at Smythe’s birth was in Ipswich, England, on April 9, 1874, according to his naturalization application, filed June 4, 1926, which also stated that he arrived in New York City on May 25, 1909. That date, I believe, represents his first time in the United States.

A family tree at said Smythe married Amelia Ellen Sage, March 8, 1897. They were recorded in the England Censuses of 1901 and 1911.

The Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress said: “[Smythe, a] British illustrator and watercolorist, contributed to The Sketch in 1896 and The Illustrated London News in 1899. He specialized in hunting subjects.” Smythe was a frequent contributor to Chums magazine from 1910 to 1919. For a time he performed on stage according to Variety, July 15, 1911:

Ernest Smythe, the London black and white artist, who distinguished himself during the Boer War by his realistic drawings, is going into vaudeville. He works on life six figures and draws with both hands at the same time. His opening was fixed for the Croydon Hippodrome this week.
Smythe’s second trip to the U.S. may have been his arrival September 5, 1916. According to the passenger list, he was going to visit his friend, “F. Bishell, 214 Bay 7th Street, Brooklyn NY.” A search of the census and passenger records show Frank E. Bishell, a freelance artist, arriving in the U.S. in 1910. The 1915 New York State Census had the same address that Smythe planned to visit. Bishell’s early death merited mention in Editor & Publisher, January 1, 1921. Bishell may have been one of the reasons why Smythe decided to stay in the U.S. Another reason was cartoonist Pat Sullivan.

John Canemaker, in Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat (1996), said Sullivan met Smythe in Britain. According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Sullivan sailed “to London in 1909 to further his ambitions….He worked for a time on the comic strip ‘Ally Sloper’ but, his earnings meagre, tried music-hall work, failed as a motion picture exhibitor and was reduced to being an animal handler in trans-Atlantic ships. Reaching New York by early 1910, he boxed for prize money.” So, Smythe and Sullivan met in 1909 or early 1910.

Smythe is credited with animating Monkey Love (1917) for Sullivan. How long Smythe worked for Sullivan has not been determined.

Smythe has not been found in the 1920 census. At some point he moved to California. Smythe’s address was 843 North Magnolia Avenue in Burbank, which was listed in city directories from 1923 to 1936, 1940, 1942 and 1946. He was found in a 1939 and 1944 directories in Van Nuys, North Hollywood, at 6722 Lemp Avenue.

The 1930 census recorded Smythe’s Magnolia address in Burbank, where he worked as a commercial artist. The census said he emigrated in 1916.

Some of the work he produced in the 1930s included: set decoration for The Land of Oz (1932); pre-production art for King Kong (1933); book illustration for The Sportsman’s Hornbook (1933); animation for Walter Lantz cartoons Confidence (1933) and Chicken Reel, The Candy House, The County Fair, The Toy Shoppe, and Kings Up, all from 1934; and Don’t Laugh—Superstitious Beliefs for the Van Tine Features comics page.

The Evening Tribune (San Diego, California), August 8, 1931, said Smythe, “English water colorist”, was scheduled for a one-man show at the Fine Arts Gallery.

Smythe’s address changed slightly in 1940: 843A North Magnolia Street in Glendale, California. His occupation was painter and portraitist for a motion picture studio. He had five years of college; in 1939 he worked 52 weeks and earned $4,500. On February 9, 1940, he, as Ernest William Smythe, became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Smythe passed away August 22, 1950, in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

—Alex Jay


This comment has been removed by the author.
Great post! I've always been interested in Smythe's work. According to Lantz animator Fred Kopeitz, Smythe was the studio's key layout man for a little while before being replaced by Willy Pogany. I don't think he did much animation, if any.
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Wednesday, June 04, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: William Mogy

William Mogy, who was born in New York on December 31, 1898, according to the California Death Index at

Mogy has not been found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. In 1910, Mogy was the fourth of nine children born to Barnett and Rose, both Russian emigrants. They resided in Memphis, Tennessee. Mogy’s father was a merchant who owned his own store. The 1915 Memphis city directory residential listing for the Mogys was 413 North Third.

At some point Barnett, and presumably his family, moved back to New York. The 1918 directory said he resided at 1463 1st Avenue and was in the dress business.

Mogy has not been found in the 1920 census. His father was listed in the 1921 Atlantic City, New Jersey directory at 2308 Atlantic.

The 1930 census recorded Mogy and his younger sister, Ann, in Los Angeles, California at 226 1/4 East 51 Street. He was a commercial artist. A 1936 city directory listed him at “111 S Figra” [Figueroa?].

Mogy produced artwork for a series written by Abraham Blumenfeld, who applied and received a copyright in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works or Art, etc., 1931, New Series, Volume 26, Number 4. 

Blumenfeld (Abraham) North Hollywood, Calif. 8548 Mogy (William) Drawing: Don’t laugh, (superstitious beliefs) by Blumey. A series of cartoons [4 illustrations] of the superstitious beliefs of the peoples of the world [2 forks, dog lying in doorway, girl’s skirt blowing up, and boy being whipped] 1 c. Dec. 22, 1931; G 7669.
About three-and-a-half years later the series was picked up by Van Tine Features. It is unclear if Mogy’s artwork was used during the series run, which ended in 1937 according to American Newspaper Comics (2012). Initially, the series was drawn by Ernest Smythe, then another artist continued it but it is unclear who it was.

In 1940, Mogy lived alone at 345 South Flower Street in Los Angeles. His occupation was helper at a process serving office.

Mogy passed away December 15, 1954, in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Blumey

Blumey was the pseudonym of Abraham Blumenfeld who was born in New York, New York, on April 3, 1900, according to the New York City Births records at and his World War I draft card.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Blumenfeld was the oldest of two children born to Jacob, a Russian emigrant, and Annie, an Austrian emigrant. His father was the proprietor of a clothing factory. They resided in Manhattan at 406-408 Ninth Street. According to the 1915 New York State Census, Blumenfeld, his parents and three siblings lived in the Bronx at 882 Beck Street.

On September 12, 1918, Blumenfeld signed his World War I draft card. He lived with his parents and named his father as his nearest relative. The description on the card said he was tall, medium build with brown eyes and black hair. Blumenfeld was a ship builder at the Tebo Yacht Basin in Brooklyn.

Blumenfeld, a silk hose salesman, was counted in his father’s household in the 1920 census. The address did not change. Soon after the census enumeration, Blumenfeld married and moved to California.

Blumenfeld has not yet been found in the 1930 census. The 1940 census said he and wife, Dorothy, had three California-born children with the oldest at 19 years of age. They resided in Los Angeles at 5739 Craner Avenue. Blumenfeld’s occupation was carpenter grip, which meant that he worked in the motion picture industry. The odd thing about the census is that Blumenfeld’s first name was recorded as “Edward.”

I know I have the right person because of the 1937 Van Nuys, California city directory with this listing:

Blumenfeld Abraham (Dorothy) techn [technician] h 5739 Craner av
A nearly identical listing appeared in the 1944 North Hollywood and Studio City directory.

In 1931, Blumenfeld tried to enter the comics pages by creating Don’t Laugh—Superstitious Beliefs. He worked with commercial artist William Mogy who did a sample strip. Blumenfeld applied for a copyright which was granted according to the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works or Art, etc., 1931, New Series, Volume 26, Number 4:

Blumenfeld (Abraham) North Hollywood, Calif. 8548
Mogy (William) Drawing:
Don’t laugh, (superstitious beliefs) by Blumey. A series of cartoons [4 illustrations] of the superstitious beliefs of the peoples of the world [2 forks, dog lying in doorway, girl’s skirt blowing up, and boy being whipped] 1 c. Dec. 22, 1931; G 7669.
For three-and-a-half years the project languished. In 1935 Blumenfeld sold his project to Van Tine Features and it was recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc. 1935, New Series, Volume 32, Number 9:
[Blumenfeld (Abraham)] Don't laugh, superstitious beliefs, by Blumey. v. 1. © July 16, 1935; AA 184134; Van Tine features syndicate, inc. New York. 27300

The strip was credited to “Blumey”. Ernest Smythe, a Hollywood veteran artist, drew the strip at the beginning. Following him were other artists who may have been in the movie industry, too. The Van Tine Features comics were announced, with much fanfare, in the West Seattle Herald, (Washington), June 18, 1936, and the Hastings News (New York), January 10, 1936 (below).

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Don’t Laugh—Superstitious Beliefs ended in 1937.

Blumenfeld passed away August 16, 1985, in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index, at, which had his birth year as 1901.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, June 02, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Klaus Nordling

Klaus Fjalar Nordling was born in Pori, Finland on May 29, 1910 according to a family tree at He was the only child of Gustaf Ribert and Aili Karoliina Hemmila, whose marriage license was listed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 8, 1909. The family sailed aboard the S.S. Oscar II from Copenhagen, Denmark on August 22, 1912; they landed in New York City on September 3. They were counted in the 1915 New York State Census; his father was a photographer in Brooklyn. In the Daily Eagle, December 19, 1916, the November honor roll list included Nordling, who attended the Sunset Park School, Public School 169. According to his World War I draft card, Nordling’s father was a self-employed photographer. The family lived at 4213 8th Avenue in Brooklyn. 

The Nordlings were recorded at the same address in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. Nordling’s father had been in the U.S. since 1903. Their address remained the same in the 1925 New York State Census; his father was naturalized in 1923. In 1930, they lived at 4015 7th Avenue in Brooklyn. Nordling’s first name was recorded as “Frank” and his occupation was a clerk in the diplomatic industry.

The Ridgefield Press (Connecticut) reported the death of his wife, Lilja Heta Tellervo “Tel”, on December 5, 2003; excerpts from the obituary:

Mrs. Nordling was born in Cambridge, Mass., on March 30, 1910, the second of four children. Her Finnish-born parents, Risto and Milma Lappala, moved the family to Virginia, Minn., where they established a Unitarian ministry and raised their children among the forests, rivers and lakes of the north woods. True to her Finnish heritage Tellervo was named for a woods-maiden in the Finnish national epic, the “Kalevala,” and had a deep and life-long love of nature and the outdoors.
She was educated as a librarian, and lived briefly in Germany as a student until the imminent outbreak of World War II brought her back to the United States. Besides being fluent in Finnish, she also became proficient in German. She met Klaus Nordling, a cartoonist and comic book artist, while she was working as a translator for a Finnish newspaper in Brooklyn, N.Y. They married in March 1937, and lived in Brooklyn and Minnesota until moving first to Redding [Connecticut], and then in the mid-1940s to Florida Hill Road in Ridgefield [Connecticut], where Mr. Nordling worked at his home studio.
“Both dearly loved art, music, literature, their wonderful circle of friends, and living in Ridgefield,” said her daughter, Thea Nordling.
According to Who’s Who in American Comic Books 1928-1999, Nordling began his career as a gag cartoonist and caricaturist for Americana Magazine in the early 1930s, and then produced, under the name Fred Nordley, Baron Munchausen in the mid-1930s. The strip was syndicated by Van Tine Features which owned the copyright.
Nordley (Fred) Baron Munchausen, v. 1. © July 16, 1935; AA 184137; Van Tine features syndicate, inc., New York. 29000

The Van Tine Features comics were announced, with much fanfare, in the West Seattle Herald, (Washington), June 18, 1936, and the Hastings News (New York), January 10, 1936 (below).

The late 1930s saw his entry into the comic book field. An overview of his comics career is at Wikipedia, and a list of his comic book credits is at the Grand Comics Database.

In the 1940 census, Klaus, his wife, Tellervo, and daughter Thea, lived in Brooklyn at 760 67th Street; the same place as in 1935. He was a cartoonist for publications.

Nordling took over the Lady Luck backup feature in The Spirit newspaper weekly. When Nick Cardy’s run ended February 22, 1942, Nordling’s run began March 1 and ended four years later on March 3, 1946, according to American Newspaper Comics (2012).

Lady Luck original art courtesy Heritage Auctions

During the mid-1950s the newspaper, Bridgeport Telegram (Connecticut), reported his theater work as an actor and director. A photo of Nordling in Tobacco Road was published in The Hour (Norwalk, Connecticut), November 7, 1978. The Ridgefield Press, August 18, 1983, printed a photo of Nordling and his wife with another couple.

Nordling passed away on November 19, 1986, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Death Index. Photos of the Nordling’s early Brooklyn residences are here. A chapter on Nordling is in Amerikansuomalaisia sarjakuvataiteilijoita (2008).

—Alex Jay


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Sunday, June 01, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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