Saturday, March 17, 2018
June 27 1909 -- The University Club holds its annual "High Jinks", an orgy of eating, beer drinking, and wacky performances. This year's edition is held in Arroyo Seco, now a nature preserve, about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Unless there's another Arroyo Seco I haven't heard about, this one is on the west side of Pasadena, just east of Los Angeles.
Friday, March 16, 2018
Wish You Were Here, from a William F. Marriner Wannabe
Here's a postcard drawn by either William F. Marriner or one of his innumerable copiers. My money is against Marriner himself, because the lines are not wispy enough to be his work. Once you eliminate Marriner you're left with a whole laundry-list of his wannabes. Anyone care to offer an opinion about which this might be?
This divided-back card mentions no maker, and says this is part of a series called "Topical Comics". Hmm. Not sure what the topic is here, really. A very faint postmark may be indicating the card was used in 1910.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Should 'Book Thursday' Continue? Your Opinions and Ideas Please
Considering the less than overwhelming outpouring of comments on previous books, I get the feeling that I may be putting a lot of work into this for an audience that is more in my own mind than out there in reality. So I put it to you folks: is Book Thursday something you'd like to see continue? If so, tell me what books you'd like to see run here. Keep in mind that any book I digitize for presentation must be in the public domain and must be primarily text, not images, since image-heavy books add too many hours to the already surprisingly laborious task of digitization, reformatting, proofreading and posting. And, of course, it should offer an interesting and informative look at the history of cartooning, newspapers, or syndication.
I have enjoyed both the books you have included. I felt the Moses Koenigsberg could be a bit heavy in places but it was a good chance to get to read a book I had always heard about.I have no suggestions as to a follow up, but have enjoyed the chapter a week format you have used.
My suggestion would be to give us smaller doses.
Like the "Our Comic Artists" chapter out of Our American Humorists.
The A. B. Maurice piece from American Wit and Humor - and anything else by Maurice.
Of course articles from Fourth Estate, Literary Digest, and other periodicals published 100+ years ago.
And maybe in between that, give us some Bill Nye and other humorists of the 19th Century along with the Opper, Zimmerman, etc illustrations.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Mel Tapley
Melvin Stanton “Mel” Tapley was born in Peekskill, New York on May 29, 1918, according to his Social Security application which was transcribed at Ancestry.com. Tapley’s parents were Harry Tapley and Louise James.
In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census and 1925 New York state census, the Tapley family of three lived in Cortlandt, New York at 1105 Park Street. Tapley’s father was a chauffeur.
Tapley’s childhood activities were well documented in the local newspaper, Peekskill Evening Star. Tapley attended the elementary Oakside School. The April 21, 1926 Evening Star reported the outstanding pupils in March and said Tapley ranked seventh in his third grade class. Three weeks later the Evening Star said Tapley was one of 400 children participating in the Marble Championship Contest. Tapley’s musical talent, as a piano soloist, was heard at his school’s Assembly Hall on June 2, 1926. Tapley was fourth in his class during the months of May and June, according to the Evening Star. Tapley had perfect attendance in the months of September and October 1926.
At a recital by Miss Adelaide Craft’s School students, Tapley and another student were awarded gold medals, as reported by the Evening Star, June 22, 1927.
One of Tapley’s friends visited for two weeks.
At the Oakside School Arbor Day program, Tapley played a piano solo, according to the Evening Star, April 19, 1928.
On May 2, 1929, the Evening Star listed the members, including Tapley, of the “Just Kids Safety Club”.
Tapley’s address was unchanged in the 1930 census.
The Evening Star, February 26, 1930, said Tapley was one of the seventh grade representatives in the spelling contest.
Ninth-grader Tapley was on the honor roll according to the Evening Star, February 12, 1932. Two months later, Tapley was a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
The April 29, 1932 Evening Star said scores of students created posters for Love Pirates of Hawaii, a two-act opera produced by the junior high school. Tapley’s poster was displayed at the Cattuti Floral Shop.
The Evening Star, June 28, 1932, reported the Junior High graduation and Tapley received a diploma.
The Evening Star included a page, The High School Tattler, produced by the Peekskill High School journalism students. In the September 27, 1933 issue was an article about the change in the school’s newspaper, Keyhole, from a daily paper to a bi-monthly magazine. Tapley was one of three students responsible for contributing art.
Tapley was in the Boy Scouts. The Evening Star, June 23, 1934, said Tapley, who was in Troop 21, received an award.
Tapley was one of eleven students initiated into the National Honor Society according the Evening Star, June 14, 1935. Eleven days later, the newspaper listed the Class of 1935 graduates which included Tapley. He was also a member of the Quill and Scroll Society, an honor society for journalists.
Tapley continued his education at Cooper Union as noted in the Evening Star, October 18, 1935, “Melvin Tapley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Tapley of 831 John Street, is taking a four-year course in Commercial Arts at Cooper Union, New York City. Melvin graduated from the Peekskill High School last June.”
The New York Age, May 16, 1936, published the results of the annual Elks Oratorical Contest and said “Second prize was awarded to Melvin Tapley of Peekskill whose subject was ‘Booker T. Washington and the Constitution.’”
The Evening Star, December 22, 1936, said Tapley received a cooking award at the Boy Scouts rally in his district.
The Peekskill Junior League, a black social service group, held a dance to raise money for the March of Dimes. The Evening Star, January 30, 1939, noted that Tapley was the president of the league.
The Evening Star, April 6, 1939, said Tapley won a scholarship, valued at approximately $2,500, from the Art Students League of New York. His and other winners’ work were scheduled for an exhibition later in the month. The article added that Tapley was finishing his art course at Cooper Union and “anticipates completion of night courses in psychology and English at New York University next September.”
Melvin Tapley is a joy and a woe to all who know him, because Mel is a connoisseur of that animal known as a “pun.” Shuttling back and forth every day from Peekskill, he is usually the first one in school in the morning—and the first to leave in the evening! Aside from being an unusually talented artist, Mel has a vey handsome “baritony” and tickles the ivories tunefully.
Judge Joseph M. Fox’s book, The Story of Early Peekskill, was published in 1947, and featured drawings by Tapley.
The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 3, Part 1B, Number 1, Pamphlets, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, January-June 1949 had this entry on page 308:
TAPLEY, MELVIN STANTON ©.Pioneering Cartoonists of Color (2016) said he also used the pseudonyms T. Melvin and Stann Pat. Under the name of Stann Pat he created Do's and Don'ts and Your Public Conduct.
Breezy, by Tap Melvin [pseud.] [Comic strip] (In Afro-American, Baltimore, Mar. 6, 1948, p. M-14) © 3Mar48; B5-8452.
A passenger list, at Ancestry.com, recorded Tapley’s return from the Bahamas on June 2, 1962.
The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), October 11, 1966, said Tapley one of eight fellows named
...to the Intergroup Relations Project of the School of General Studies at Columbia University. The eight fellows are being trained to fill positions improving the relationships among racial and ethnic groups in America….They will spend a year at Columbia taking liberal arts courses, mainly in the School of General Studies; a required course in intergroup relations at the School of Social Work; and participate in a special seminar in intergroup theory. Next summer, they will work in the field under supervision arranged by the School of Social Work. They will then take permanent positions with agencies specializing in intergroup relations.Peeksill’s African American History: A Hudson Valley Community's Untold Story (2008) said
Melvin S. Tapley (PHS [Peekskill High School] Class of 1935) distinguished himself as an accomplished editor, artist and pioneer cartoonist as arts and entertainment editor of the Amsterdam News in New York City until his retirement in 1997. Mr. Tapley was president of the local NAACP chapter for eleven years until he resigned in 1968.Tapley passed away on February 8, 2005. The Journal News (White Plains, New York) published an obituary on February 11.
Melvin S. Tapley, of Peekskill, N.Y., died Tuesday, February 8, 2005 at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, N.Y. after a long illness. He is survived by his devoted daughter, Allison Tapley-Thompson, dear granddaughter, Imani Thompson, brother Dr. Harold L. Tapley, nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends. Viewing Services will be Friday, February 11, 2005, 11 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 11 Rev. G. Franklin Wiggins Plaza, Peekskill, N.Y., where family will receive friends and where Funeral Services will be held Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 9:30 am. Interment, Hillside Cemetery, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clarence Rigby
In the 1870 census, Rigby was the oldest of three sons born to George, a plasterer, and Emma. According to the 1880 census, the Rigby family added a son and daughter and resided on North Rayen Avenue in Youngstown.
Rigby’s father passed away September 11, 1886.
Information regarding Rigby’s art training has not been found. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Rigby created or worked on at least 24 series including Alexander, Book-Taught Bilkins, Bruno and Pietro, Dummydom, The Foxy Mice, Little Ah Sid the Chinese Kid, and The Trials of a Little Mother. Rigby was also involved in animation with J.R. Bray.
Artist Rigby lived in Brooklyn, New York, and was married to Caroline as recorded in the 1900 census. Rigby’s brother, Joseph, also an artist, lived him them at 495 East 8 Street. Joseph would go on to work for the Pittsburgh Press.
The Morning Telegram, August 16, 1901, reported the upcoming baseball game between artists and actors. The purpose was to raise money to endow a hospital bed for artists and actors. The Telegram said, in part,
Homer Davenport, big, broad shouldered and clumsy looking; Swinnerton, in a Guernsey which never has felt the despoiling touch of laundress; Outcault, who can draw pictures of “pore ’lil Mose” with his eyes shut; T. Powers, with a clean shave and a vast consciousness of the change in his appearance; Shultz, the “Foxy Grandpa” artist; Kemble, McCarthy, Louis Dalrymple, Pughe, C. Mortimer, F. Gilbert Edge, Grant Hamilton, Harry Dart, H. F. Colthaus, Joseph Lemon, Clarence Rigby, Bert Cobb, C. G. Bush, Thomas Nast, Archie Gunn, Bob Edgren and Abram Stone were present, representing the artists. De Wolf Hopper, Burr Mcintosh, Digby Bell, Francis Wilson, Joseph Weber, Lew Fields, Dave Warfleld, Willie Collier, Dan Daly, Peter F. Dailey, James K. Hackett, James Powers, Andrew Mack, Gus and Max Rogers, Edward Foy, Charles J. Ross, Frank Daniels, Harry Bulger, Robert Graham and Daniel McAvoy were in attendance looking after the actors’ side of the arrangements.
…It was decided that Homer Davenport should play second base; Swinnerton, shortstop; Powers, first base; McCarthy, third base, and Bert Cobb, right field, and that Abram Stone should manage the game.
The 1910 census said the comic artist Rigby owned a home on Nassau Avenue in Hempstead, New York.
In 1920, Rigby and his wife were back in Brooklyn at 1092 Dean Street. Eight people lodged with the couple.
At some point Rigby moved to Seattle, Washington. At age 60, Rigby passed away May 24, 1926, in Seattle, according to his death certificate which was transcribed at Ancestry.com.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Monday, March 12, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: The Foxy Mice
Clarence Rigby, who worked for quite a few syndicates in the 1900s, took a stopover at the McClure camp twice; once in 1901 where he was present at the inauguration of the new syndicated Sunday section, and then a second stint in 1903 to early 1904. In that second stint he produced Trials of a Little Mother and today's obscurity, The Foxy Mice.
Rigby shows a real gift for drawing cartoon animals in this strip, which sports some of the nicest art I've seen by him. Since Rigby took approximately 3.7 seconds to come up with the gags in this strip about mice taking revenge on their nemesis, I guess that left him lots of extra time to do an extra nice job on the art.
I am left with one question, though. Is a "lobster cat" a thing? It was used as a slur against the cat in both of these strips. Slang dictionary comes up dry, and a search for the term in 1900-1910 newspapers comes up with nary a hit. If Rigby made up his own bit of slanguage here, I wonder what he meant by it. That the cat had big claws?
The Foxy Mice ran in McClure sections from August 23 1903 to July 24 1904; the later ones were run well after Rigby had defected over to World Color Printing. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scans.
SLANG TERM "LOBSTER" IS AN ANCIENT ONE
According to the latest edition of Webster's dictionary, one meaning of "lobster" is "a gullible, awkward, bungling, or undesirable fellow." This meaning is supposed by most persons to be a modern development olf slang. However, "lobster*? was a favorite term of abuse among Englishmen of Queen Elizabeth's day. Some students think it c probably was applied first to men< with red faces. As signifying a soldier the term "lobster" is as old as Cromwell's day. Lord Clarendon, historian of the civil war in England, explains that it^was applied to the roundhead cuirassiers "because of the bright iron shells with which th/iy were covered." Afterwards British soldiers in their red uniforms were called "lobsters." Then came another development. The soldier in the red coat became a "boiled lobster," while the policeman" in blue was, of course, an "unboiled" or "raw lobster." Again, "to boil a lobster" was for a man to enlist in the army and put on a red coat.