Saturday, April 08, 2017
January 18 1909 --Poor Mr. Taft. He hasn't even taken office yet, and already he's catching hell for his shortcomings in loquacity compared to President Roosevelt. In this case, I get the impression that he was just trying to say something nice to some apparently non-marriage material girls. Look ladies, he says, even if you can't find a husband, you can still be good and useful members of society. Sounds like a pretty decent and nice thing to say (in 1909). Today, of course, the quotes of either chief executive would now be unthinkable.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 07, 2017
Wish You Were Here, from Dr. Seuss (?)
This unsigned postcard sure looks like the work of Dr. Seuss to me. That face is about as Seussian as it comes, IMHO. I find no info online, though, saying that Geisel did any postcard work, so maybe the manufacturer appropriated a drawing of his?
This postcard was "Made in U.S.A by E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee Wisc., with code on the back "HJY #29203. I'm guessing it dates from the 1930s, but it is unused and there is no copyright date on it.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 06, 2017
King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 1 Part 1
PS -- does anyone have a better photo of our author they could share?
King News by Moses KoenigsbergPublished by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941
Murder with a Carom Shotlink to next installment
Chapter 1, Part 2 next week link to next installment
Labels: King News
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Becky Sharp
Becky Sharp was the pseudonym of Helen Augusta Sharp who was born in St. Joseph Township, Ohio, on April 22, 1890 or 1891. Her birth information was found at Ancestry.com in the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index that spelled first name “Hellen” and said her birth year was 1891; her Social Security application had the same year. The year 1890 is from the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, the California Death Index and Find a Grave.
In the 1900 census, Sharp was the fifth of seven children. Her father, Herbert, was a farmer; her mother was not recorded. The family resided in Edgerton, St. Joseph Township, Williams County, Ohio.
Sharp graduated from Edgerton High School in 1908. The Edgertonian 1915 yearbook listed many of the alumni and their occupation. Apparently, Sharp was unemployed at the time.
The 1910 census revealed that Harding had been named after her mother. The family of six continued to reside in Edgerton.
The Bulletin of DePauw University, May 1910, listed Sharp as an undergraduate. She was in the class of 1914.
At some point Sharp moved to Los Angeles, California, where she continued her studies at the University of Southern California.
The 1920 census recorded Sharp in the household of a cousin. Self-employed Sharp resided in Los Angeles at 726 East 31st Street. Her occupation was advertiser for a store.
According to Who’s Who in California, Cynical Susie began in 1930 in the Daily News. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., New Series, Volume 27, 1932, Number 1, had this entry:
Sharp (Becky) and Harding (Verne) 2211
Cynical susie. © Jan. 30, 1932; K . 16050.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said United Features Syndicate picked up the strip for national syndication in 1933. Cynical Susie was written by Sharp and drawn by LaVerne Harding who stayed with the strip into September 1935. In January 1936, Bernard Dibble did the art and writing chores to August 7, 1937.
The Spring 1994 issue of Animation Journal revealed a contract that named a third person, O. Jean Brittan*, who was involved in the ownership of Cynical Susie. It’s not known how or when Harding, Sharp and Brittan met and became partners in the Cynical Susie property.
A 1938 Pasadena, California city directory listed Sharp, a writer, at 4336 Bel Air Drive. The same address was in the 1940 census. Sharp lived with her younger sister and two nieces.
Sharp has not yet been found in the 1940 census. A listing in the 1946 Crescenta and Canada Valley, California, city directory said Sharp was a writer at 1250 Olive Lane.
Later, Sharp was involved in real estate according to the California Directory of Brokers and Salesmen, Volume 37, 1956.
Sharp passed away September 1, 1961, in Los Angeles. She was laid to rest at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
* Olive Jean Brittan was born November 11, 1888, in Corning, Iowa, according to a 1925 passenger list. The 1900 census recorded Brittan as the sixth of ten children. The family of twelve resided in Douglas, Iowa. Brittan’s home in 1910 was Montana where she was unemployed. The Anaconda Standard (Montana), May 11, 1913, said Brittan was elected president of the girls’ auxiliary of the Bozeman Woman’s Club. A 1914 San Pedro and Willmington, California city directory listed Brittan as a dressmaker at 634 North Alexandria Avenue. Brittan graduated from the State Normal School in 1917. The 1920 census said Brittan was a teacher at a business college and a Glendale resident. Brittan contributed to the Los Angeles School Journal, January 10, 1922. Brittan’s address in 1925 was 921 West 20th Street, Los Angeles. In 1930, Brittan made her home at 3321 1/2 Griffith Park Boulevard in Los Angeles and was a secretary at an office building. At some point Brittan met Helen Sharp and LaVerne Harding. Brittan was found in a 1942 Bakersfield, California city directory. She was a public school teacher. Brittan and Sharp were listed at the same address, 1250 Olive Lane, in the 1946 Crescenta and Canada Valley, California city directory. Brittan was an office manager. Next, Brittan went into real estate as a salesperson. Brittan passed away June 3, 1949, in Los Angeles and laid to rest at Union Cemetery, Haven of Rest 776 - 7 Head. Sharp was at Haven of Rest 776 - 7 Foot.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: LaVerne Harding
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Harding and her parents resided in Kensett, Arkansas, at the Doniphan Lumber Camp on Red River. Her father was a bookkeeper for a mill company.
According to the 1920 census, Harding was the oldest of four children. The family of six lived at 1346 89th Street in Gardena, Los Angeles County, California. Her father was a cotton farmer.
Who’s Who in California said Harding graduated in 1924 from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.
The Harding family was at the same address in the 1930 census. Harding’s father was a desk clerk at the county jail.
Who’s Who in California said Harding began work at “Walter Lantz Productions” in 1931. However, Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons said she started there in 1932, after attending the Chouinard Art Institute. Harding was an inker, then an in-betweener assisting other animators. In 1934 she was promoted to a full-fledged animator. Some of the characters Harding animated were Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Wally Walrus, Oswald the Rabbit, and Chilly Willy. Later in her career, Harding worked with other animation studios including Hanna-Barbera, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Warner Bros., and Filmation Associations.
According to Who’s Who in California, Harding drew Cynical Susie which began in 1930 in the Daily News. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., New Series, Volume 27, 1932, Number 1, had this entry:
Sharp (Becky) and Harding (Verne) 2211American Newspaper Comics (2012) said United Features Syndicate picked up the strip for national syndication in 1933. Cynical Susie was written by Becky Sharp the pseudonym of Helen Sharp. Harding drew the strip into September 1935. In January 1936, Bernard Dibble did the art and writing chores to August 7, 1937. Apparently, Harding was unable to maintain the workload of producing the strip and her animation duties. She withdrew from the strip.
Cynical susie. © Jan. 30, 1932; K . 16050.
The Spring 1994 issue of Animation Journal revealed a contract that named a third person, O. Jean Brittan, who was involved in the ownership of Cynical Susie. It’s not known how or when Harding, Sharp and Brittan met and became partners in the Cynical Susie property.
A 1938 Los Angeles city directory listed Harding as an artist at “1346 W 89th”. Her address in the 1940 census was 2340 Lake View Avenue in Los Angeles. The cartoonist’s 1939 income was $3,150.
Who’s Who in California said Harding produced material for the Whitman Publishing Company. Some of her comic book credits are here.
Who’s Who in California mentioned Harding’s hobbies of steel guitar and Hawaiian music, and for recreation she traveled to Europe.
Harding passed away September 25, 1984, at her home in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. Her death was reported in the Los Angeles Times on the 29th.
Cynical Susie, a Fix-it Feminist
LaVerne Harding: Drawing with Resolve
Women in Comics
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, April 03, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Cynical Susie
|'Becky' Sharp and LaVerne Harding|
|'Becky' Sharp and LaVerne Harding (reprint run, 1938)|
|'Becky' Sharp and LaVerne Harding (reprint run, 1938)|
|'Becky' Sharp and uncredited Bernard Dibble|
|Signed Bernard Dibble, Sharp uncredited but still reads like her work|
With the exception of their flagship strips, Tarzan and Fritzi Ritz, United Feature Syndicate in the 1930s seemed to have a real tough time placing their Sunday offerings. Strips like Peter Pat, How It Began, Alice in Wonderland and today's obscurity, Cynical Susie, had few takers. In order to cut their losses, UFS's Sundays of the mid-1930s were resold as package deals. In 1936-38, you'll find many of their Sundays appearing in re-runs, usually as tabloid section offerings from smaller newspapers. I don't know if UFS was offering these as pre-prints, but there is some circumstantial evidence that they were. Specifically, the sections often sported national ads featuring these all-but-unknown characters. In 1938, to muddy the waters even further, UFS sold off all this backstock to World Color Printing. WCP offered these same mid-1930s strips into the early 1940s. Good news, then, to readers who really liked these strips, as they could conceivably see their favorite examples run three or more times over the years!
First offered by UFS in 1933, Cynical Susie was one of the least popular of UFS's Sundays, even though it offered some absolutely delightful animation-inspired art by LaVerne Harding. The problem was the writer, who signed herself Becky Sharp. She had pretty good funny ideas for her strip about a Hollywood child actor, but she couldn't seem to get the hang of writing comic strips. Her storytelling is very jerky, uncertain and unfocused, leaving the reader more confused than entertained. It would have been smart for UFS to offer Harding her own strip and drop the writer, but that unfortunately did not happen.
Becky Sharp was for a long time a mystery writer. She even managed to fool the usually unerring Cole Johnson into thinking she was a non-entity, just a pseudonym for LaVerne Harding. Finally, though, the Cartoon Research blog has uncovered her identity via a contract they found for the strip. She was Helen Sharp, who worked under the moniker 'Becky', perhaps as an homage to the character in Thackeray's Vanity Fair. Unfortunately that's still the sum of our knowledge of Sharp, unless she is the same person as a Helen Sharp who penned a number of romance novels in the early 1970s.
On the other hand, LaVerne Harding is no mystery at all, but rather quite well-known in the animation community. She is one of the first female animators, worked at Universal under Walter Lantz starting in 1932, and had a long career in film and television animation. You can read more about her career at several posts on the Cartoon Research blog, at the Animation Resources blog, at Tralfaz, and on the Rarebit Animation wiki. Her extensive animation credits are listed on IMDB.
Getting back to the strip itself, United Feature first advertised it in 1933-34 as a Sunday and daily, then in 1935-38 as a Sunday only. Since I'd never found a daily, I assumed that part of the package was a no-go. However, the Cartoon Research blog has discovered a Cynical Susie daily. Odd thing is, it appears to have not been distributed by UFS, but rather was a local feature of the Los Angeles Daily News, which attempted to syndicate the strip themselves (proof of that here). According to this post it began as a single panel feature which started in 1931, and graduated to a daily strip at some point -- perhaps the News thought it would sell better as a strip? Also according to that post, when Sharp and Harding were signed by UFS they were expected to create two sets of dailies each week -- one for the News, one for UFS. That I frankly find hard to believe -- national syndicates do not normally allow creators to keep producing a feature for their local paper; the paper would now have to buy the feature from the syndicate. Supposedly Harding balked at having to produce twelve dailies every week, and whatever the details of the problem, that may have been the end of the daily strip.
Even without having to produce a daily, by 1935 Harding was reportedly feeling overworked. As she became more important at the Lantz studio, and her responsibilities there increased, I imagine the hours she was putting into adapting Sharp's bad scripts into Sunday pages was starting to seem a waste. Since Harding would have been sharing her syndicate royalties two ways for a strip that wasn't selling well, those checks were probably starting to look pretty paltry, too.
With the new material and reprint runs appearing simultaneously, it is hard to tell when Harding left the strip, but I think it was probably with the releases of September 1935. Once Harding's name was dropped from the masthead the art was no longer credited. However, it is obvious that UFS bullpenner Bernard Dibble took over the art reins, and in fact in 1936 he started to slip a 'BJD"or 'DIB' signature into the final panels on occasion. My guess is that the 'first-run' strip ended as early as December 1936, or as late as August 1937. Becky Sharp may have left the strip around March 1936, when her credit was dropped from the masthead, but the writing still seems like her clunky style.
Sorry for the late reply, but here is the comics page for the June 8th, 1991 edition of the the Elyria Chronicle Telegram. The date is at the far right of the page.
You'll find what I believe to be the very last "Big George!" daily at the bottom, next to "Dennis the Menace".
Is it La Verne or LaVerne?
Is it Tony Di Preta or DiPreta?
Is it TAD or Tad Dorgan?
Is it D.D.Degg or D. D. Degg?