Saturday, January 28, 2017


Herriman Saturday

December 31, 1908 -- Last night at Jeffries' Arena, Herriman bore witness to the fight between Jack O'Keefe and debutante Muggsy Mullins; Muggsy lost and put the gloves away for good. In the feature bout, heavyweights Al Kaufman and Jim Barry were scheduled for a marathon 45 round bout, and Kaufman KOed his opponent in the 39th.


45 rounds is too much for today's fighters!!! I'm giving a 10 to 12 at the most!!!
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Friday, January 27, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from R.F. Outcault

A nicely symbolic Valentine's card, produced by Outcault foir Raphael Tuck. It's an undivided back, and uncharacteristically for Tuck, bears no copyright year. It was postmarked 1907, though, so probably produced in 1906.


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Thursday, January 26, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Robert Lemen

Joseph Robert Lemen was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 20, 1890, according to his World War I and II draft cards. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Lemen was the youngest of two children born to Joseph Robert, a physician, and Ida. The family resided in St. Louis at 3223 Lucas Avenue.

In Cartoons Magazine, September 1918, Lemen spoke about his art training, early career and pastime pursuits.

“I went to the St. Louis Art School for two years,” he says, “most of the time studying painting. That was not the beginning of my art education, however, as I can remember feverishly drawing battleships and soldiers during the Spanish-American war, although I was only seven or eight years old at the time.

“I assure you I never did a bit of work at school, but spent my time decorating my books with handsome illustrations. “After leaving school I worked in a real estate office, a jewelry house, and a brick plant. Bricks, however, didn’t seem to be to my tastes, and I entered art school. After about two years I married, and needless to say started looking for a job. I landed on the Post-Dispatch where I have been about five years.

“My favorite sport is going to the theater or any other place where I can study human nature. I am also very fond of reading, and must confess I enjoy a good book more than a baseball game.”
The 1909 and 1910 St. Louis city directories listed Lemen as a Post-Dispatch artist whose address was 3906 Olive. The 1910 census said Lemen was in his father’s household in St. Louis at 4451 Washington.

Lemen’s marriage was reported in the St. Louis Star and Times (Missouri), October 12, 1912.
Marriage in Secret Shows Art’s Romance
The secret marriage four months ago of Robert Lemen, Jr., 5401 Cabanne avenue, and Miss Constance Andrews of Webster Groves, who were both pupils of the St. Louis Art School, Washington University, is another example of the proverbial romantic nature of the true artist, their friends say.

The young couple were married on June 14 at the home of the Rev. M.H. Lichllter, 5545 Maple avenue, but so closely was the secret held, that not until a few days ago did it become known.

In the meantime the bride had continued to be active socially, accompanying Colonel and Mrs. E.J. Spencer to West Point, where she was a general favorite at the commencement festivities.

Young Lemen has proudly announced his intention of gaining fame and fortune as an artist, and it is said he will be connected with one of the local newspapers. The couple in the meantime will continue to make their home with his parents.

Young Mrs. Lemen was given publicity come two years ago, when a surgical operation to correct her hip joint was performed by a famous Austrian surgeon who had been brought to this country for the purpose of operating similarly on Miss Lolita Armour, daughter of the millionaire Chicago packer.
Post-Dispatch artist Lemen resided in Webster Groves according to the 1914 St. Louis city directory.

Lemen signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. His home was at 405 Orchard Avenue in Urban Grove, Missouri. Lemen, a Post-Dispatch artist, claimed his wife, child and mother as dependents. He was described as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. Lemen’s address in the 1917 St. Louis directory was 6315 Cabanne Avenue.

Lemen, his wife, Constance, and son, Joseph Robert, Jr., were St. Louis residents in the 1920 census. Their home was at 6021 Pershing Avenue.

Lemen contributed to Wayside Tales and Cartoons Magazine, October 1921. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Lemen produced a series of comic panels, for the Bell Syndicate, in 1922.

Buffalo Courier 1/15/1922

At some point Lemen moved to California. A 1926 San Diego, California city directory listed Lemen as an advertising artist residing at 1010 South Coast Boulevard.

Lemen has not yet been found in the 1930 census. His wife, Constance, and two children, Robert and Margaret, were in St. Louis at 405 Orchard Street. Constance’s marital status was recorded as widow.

Lemen has not yet been found in the 1940 census. He signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. He was self-employed and worked at home, 4013 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

Lemen passed away August 14, 1955, in Los Angeles, according to a family tree at

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Confucius Really Said

You all know the 'Confucius Say' jokes, right? The ancient Chinese philosopher and teacher has traditionally had his name associated with a multitude of puns and one-liner jokes. From the G-rated, like "Confucius say man who laughs last thinks slowest", to the explicit, like "man who have hot rod likely to burn rubber", and downright gross, like "Confucius say man who go to bed with itchy bum wake up with smelly fingers". Oddly enough, a pretty thorough search of the web comes up completely dry on where this particular gag form began.

What I do know is that in 1940, "Confucius Say" jokes were so popular that you'll find several newspaper features discussing what the poor fellow really said*. That leads me to believe that it was probably something that stemmed from the Charlie Chan movies of the 1930s, in which the Asian detective has a habit of quoting Confucian wisdom.

Anyhow, what I do know is that the 'Confucius Say' craze actually spawned a VERY short-lived panel series titled either Confucius Really Said or What Confucius Really Said. It only ran for one week, from March 18 to 23rd, 1940 and was distributed by the Associated Press. The idea was to show all the newspaper-reading jokesters that ol' Confucius really did have some wise and interesting things to say. Guess they could only come up with six of his sayings worth repeating, which doesn't speak well for the ancient sage.

What is impressive about the series is the the beautiful stylized art. Sadly the artist did not bother to sign his work. Since it is AP, though, we can reasonably guess it is someone from their bullpen. My guess is that the artwork is by Mel Graff, though it could also be Hank Barrow, who could vary his style as often and as easily as the rest of us change socks.

* Actually no one knows for sure, because the sayings actually attributed to him were first written down hundreds of years after he was dead.


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Monday, January 23, 2017


A Sampling of Bungleton Green

I happened to click the wrong button in the Blogger interface today, and what popped up but an unfinished draft of a post that I was working on way back in 2007!!

I don't know what I had in mind at the time, but  please enjoy this sampling of Bungleton Green comic strips from the Chicago Defender. These samples would have run sometime between 1934 and 1938 since they are by the terrific Jay Jackson, who was the third cartoonist to put his hand to this venerable strip.


Hi Allan -- Any idea what the numbers at the bottom of each panel mean?
One wonders if it had to do with the "numbers"/"policy" racket.
That's exactly what those numbers were for,EOCostello!
I think those are for lottery picks!!!
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