Saturday, June 25, 2011
Herriman also submits a graphic review of a new indoor circus, run by Dick Ferris on South Hill Street. A small affair with some dubious acts, the big hit of the show wasn't even a circus act, but singer Arthur "Rags" Wallace, who made up a song on the spot in which he commented on the other performers and many of the patrons in the stands.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, June 24, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: The Paramount-Bray Animated Cartoon Promotional Comic Strip
J.R. Bray himself was an old newspaper cartooning hand, and he brought newspaper pals like L.M. Glackens, Cornell Greening, Sam Loyd, Leighton Budd, A.D.Reed, Clarence Rigby, Milt Gross, Foster Follett, and Carl Anderson into the studio with him. So there was a predisposition in those hallowed halls to think about newspapers. This preoccupation resulted in the studio producing a series of newspaper comic strips to advertise their animated fare. The series was short-lived; it seems to have been actively distributed for only a few months, perhaps in the form of a 10-12 strip offering that was never repeated. The only samples found so far ran in October 1916 - January 1917 (and I think perhaps the January sample could be assumed to be running late). Most strips takes their titles from the company's cartoon productions and presents a gag from that short.
I was informed of this series by Cole Johnson, who sent me images of the strips he's found, and I was able to add some more. So let's take a look at what we have. First we have three Farmer Al Falfa episodes; these were credited to Paul Terry, an important animation pioneer in his own right. Notice in the third one that a suspiciously 'Mutt-ey' character co-stars (Mutt and Jeff had their own cartoon series produced by a different studio). These strips use titles that are slightly different from IMDB's animated film titles (Farmer Al Falfa's Wolfhound, Farmer Al Falfa's Prune Plantation, Farmer Al Falfa Sees New York). I don't know who the artist is here, but it's the same guy who did the Heeza Liar and one of the Bobby Bumps strips below.
Next up we have three of Earl Hurd's Bobby Bumps strips -- sorry, these are in pretty bad shape. The better repro'd square versions of two of the strips are from the magazine Film Fun which ran abbreviated versions of the strips with longwinded captions underneath the panels. IMDB's film titles are the same as the strip titles, except that Bobby Bumps Goes to the Circus is listed as Bobby Bumps At The Circus.
Earl Hurd started his own early animation studio in 1915, with Bobby Bumps, an ersatz version of Brick Bodkin, his New York Herald character. J. R. Bray went into a business partnership with Hurd, as between them they owned the two most important patents in the new field of animation. (Bray invented the concept of transparent "cels" on which the images were drawn, Hurd had created the peg system of keeping the pictures in register. ) You'll see "Licensed under Hurd-Bray patents" on cartoons up to the mid-1930's, when they expired. Note that the art on the lodge episode doesn't stick with Hurd's drawing style for some reason.
Next up are Colonel Heeza Liar strips from the studio head himself, J.R. Bray. Here again we have three episodes (do I sense a trend?). The first is from the short Colonel Heeza Liar Gets Married, the other two are from unidentified cartoons in that series. One includes a cameo by Carl Anderson's police dog character, who had his own series of shorts.
Finally we finish off with an adaptation of an L.M. Glackens cartoon short. Glackens did a series for Bray concerning a caveman named Haddem Badd. Seems like there ought to be two more, though, don't you think? I mean, we must be consistent... Have no idea why Glackens' initials are seemingly wrong.
It seems pretty obvious that this series was produced to advertise the films and was distributed free to newspapers. Or perhaps they were distributed to local movie theatres who ran Bray shorts, with the suggestion to pass them on to the local paper. In any case, very few papers printed them and the strips found so far come mostly from backwoodsy titles -- Greenville (MS) Weekly Democrat, Perrysville (OH) Journal, and El Paso (TX) Herald.
If you reader-researchers can find any more episodes from this series (I have the funny feeling that there are two more lurking out there), Cole and I would both be tickled pink if you'd share your finds!
For more about Bray, go to Tom Stathes and Dave Gerstein's website about the Bray Studio.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for many of these scans, and for improving this post with a much needed injection of his expertise on the subject!
Sep. 26: your third Bray strip.
Oct. 26: a NEW one, "A shell game that was "Nuts" for Chick" by C. T. Anderson (i.e. Carl Anderson)
Nov. 8: the second Bray strip
Nov. 10: Oh oh, a FOURTH Earl Hurd strip, "Bobby Bumps assists a book agent".
Nov. 17: your third Earl Hurd strip
Nov. 28: your second Paul Terry strip
Dec. 8: your third Paul Terry strip
Dec. 15: a reprint of the Anderson strip!
Sadly, only the issues for September 1916 to December 1916 are available online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=nnVijz9KPVYC
But all in all, an earlier starting date and two new strips, including one new author.
Any guidance on this would be much appreciated - I am writing up a book and would love to see the original context.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Ink-Slinger Profiles: By George! I'm Percy Winterbottom!
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Klondike
Anyhow, this neat little series is one of just two that Winterbottom contributed to the early Pulitzer funnies sections. Both the art and text are inspired lunacy, and I love that Winterbottom billed himself as the inventor of "the New Art" (what we more typically refer to as Art Nouveau, acknowledging the French role in popularizing the style).
The captions, in teeny-tiny type, are just about impossible to read, so let me save your peepers the strain:
Caption 1 (missing a few words cropped out of the scan): We have organized an EXPEDISHUN TWO GO TOO KLONDIKE. No panes have bean speared to make our planz thorough. Sea us as wee start. First comes our guyed -- LAUGHING VIPER, THEE PIEYUTE CHEEF. Then comes our faithfull dog, drowing the sledge with provishuns for himself a indian. THIRD is US. Wee are all well mounted on a good serviceabell horse. Wee have soul charge of thee expedishun. Below us is our BODY-GUARD. Next comes a hog. Wee take him along two root out thee gold. If he refuzes to work wee will kil and eat hymn. It is an experiment. After thee hog comes MINIE who who volunteered to go along too keep the party inn a good humor. Last is a COLORED MAN with BAGS for the gold and CAND CHICKENS Four the DOMINIE. WEE started from HOBOAKIN and att this moment are almost att PATERSON. OUR CORSE is DEW NORTHWEST.
Caption 2: When WE reach HOHOKUS, NOO JERSEY, OUR INNDIAN Guyed Takes an over-dose of FIRE-WATER and LOOSES Thee TRAIL. This, TOGETHER with HIS LOUD HOOPING GIVES THEE DOMINIE NERVOUS PROSTRASHUN, and wee are obliged too give up WHAT PROMISED TOO BE A Sucksessful PROSPECKTING TOUR. WEE do knot blame "LAUGHING VIPER," OUR GUYED, BUT WEE DEW BLAME the dominie. WEE did not want too take HYMN along, but hee said hee wood cheer our hours of sadness. THEE OLD RASKELL, THIS PICKTURE shows us in site of SEECAUCUS. THEE Dominie has our "MOUNT," and thee COLERD man is holding him onn and driving thee horse. WEE are sketching farmers en-root, so wee will have something too SELL when WEE REECH NOO YORK. NOTE THEE TERROR OF THEE chickens. CONFOUND THEE DOMINIE.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
News of Yore 1940: Death of Harry Homan
Harry Elmer Homan, editorial cartoonist for United Feature Syndicate and a resident of Hempstead, died of a heart attack yesterday in the home of his brother-in-law, Edward C. Crumlish, at Townsend, Del. He was 51.Mr. Homan, who was on vacation when he died, was with United Feature Syndicate for six years, a job which resulted from a series of political cartoons which he did in behalf of Judge Frederick Kernochan during the electoral campaigns of 1933.For years he was a leading member of the art staff of the Barron Collier organization and previously was art director of the Odets Advertising Agency. He was also connected with the Handel Company as a designer of ornamental metals.During the war he enlisted in the Coastal Artillery of the New York National Guard and was later transferred to the Topographic Mapping Service of the 472d Engineers.During his life he studied under Dean Cornwell and became his assistant, and learned painting with Charles Rosen and Charles Hawthorne. He was born on Feb. 18, 1889.Surviving are his widow, the former Miss Marguerite Crumlish; four sons, Robert, Edward, Richard and David, and a daughter, Ann. He lived at 117 Pennsylvania Ave. in Hempstead.Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at his brother-in-law's home in Delaware. Burial will be in the Wilmington-Brandywine Cemetery, Wilmington.
Labels: News of Yore
Monday, June 20, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: The Purdys
Just Among Us Girls. Now Mark Johnson sends me samples of a new one on me -- The Purdys, a weekly strip he produced for the Publishers Autocaster Service starting in March 1926.
The Purdys was a pretty typical strip designed to appeal to the small town folks who were reading weekly papers. All the syndicates looking for this business had a strip about a 'typical' rural family. Publishers Autocaster was sort of an also-ran in this category, trailing well behind the more popular Western Newspaper Union and NEA (which had what they called a 'pony service' for weekly papers in addition to their daily-centric regular offerings).
The Purdys ran at least into the first few months of 1927 from what I can tell. This seems to makes sense as an end date since Robinson added a second daily to his workload in August 1927. However, Mark Johnson's samples are from 1928 issues of the Sycamore (IL) True Republican, so either it ran even longer, or Sycamore was running backstock.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics