Saturday, November 19, 2005
Obscurity of the Day: O. Heeza Boob
Don't get excited over that signature. We don't have an undiscovered George Herriman strip here. The signature is Herrmann, and one glance at the art tells us that we're dealing with a different fella here. O. Heeza Boob ran in the New York Evening World, and was syndicated by Press Publishing, from 9/21/1912 until 4/1/1913. Herrmann did one other strip for the World, called No Wonder! after this strip ended.
Herrmann's only other known credit is for a strip titled Ben, which was probably syndicated by World Color Printing though I've never seen an example that had a copyright notice on it. The strip pre-dates Herrmann's New York World work, first appearing in 1911, but the strip appeared, presumably in reprints for a long time.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Most of us know of Nell Brinkley, great pioneering female cartoonist of the early 20th century. She was a household name in the 1910s and 20s, famous for her 'Brinkley girls', beautiful women notable especially for their luxuriant tresses. As happens with most any successful cartooning niche, Brinkley had her imitators. One of the more notable was Eleanor Schorer.
Schorer was a fixture at the New York Evening World. In 1911 she was already illustrating fashions for the paper when she produced her first cartoon feature, Her Dreams At Eighteen, a two week series of romantic panel cartoons. She soon earned herself a constant, if not consistent, place on the Evening World's feature page. She seldom produced a series of cartoons that ran more than a month or two, but she produced those series in bulk. Over the next five years she would produce over 30 titled series. She divided this work between romantic cartoons in the Brinkley mode, and children's features such as Bessie And Bobbie In Search Of Fairyland. One particularly notable series was Getting Ahead As A Business Girl, biographies in comic strip form of successful women businesspeople.
Schorer got back out of the cartooning biz in 1916 but continued supplying fashion illustrations for the World after that.
Our sample above, from 1912, is from Schorer's series The Summer Girl.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Obscurity of the Day: Tode Tuttle
Here's an obscure little panel cartoon that ran from 1940 to 1946. It's distinguished, I think, from the kajillion other little panels of this type (Abe Martin, Country Parson, Aunt Het, etc) by the really nice crisp artwork of Ralph Kemp (of whom I know nothing except that he did this feature).
The feature started with the Jones Syndicate. They only had two features that I know of; this one and Dinky Dinkerton. The Todester switched away from Jones to General Features sometime around 1942-43, and Ralph Kemp apparently took a powder in 1945. In 1946 the panel was credited to Al Woods.
If anyone can supply more information on this feature or its creators I'd love to hear from you.
Ralph Kemp was born near Lewis Creek, Shelby County, Indiana, in 1902. He moved around a lot as a child but managed to graduate from Morristown High School in the county of his birth. He had a varied career outside cartooning, working as a publicist, realtor, and operator of a resort and a couple of taverns. He died in Mazatlan, Mexico, in February 1964.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Bill Holman's Nuts And Jolts
We are all familiar with the immortal Smokey Stover, product of the demented genius Bill Holman. However, Holman had a second long-running creation that, for reasons I can't fathom, always flew under the radar.
The story actually begins in 1922 when Gaar Williams began a daily series of untitled, or more accurately, a set of revolving titled, comic panels for the Chicago Tribune. Gaar's most famous series was Among The Folks In History, but he had many other running titles in the repertoire of his daily spot. Anyway, Gaar up and died in 1935. Rather than retire the feature, Gaar's spot was taken over by Bill Holman, who jumped right in, even using Gaar's old titles. But Bill being Bill, he immediately put his looney stamp on the proceedings.
Finally in July 1939 Holman dropped the multiple-titles act and named the panel Nuts And Jolts for good. The feature ran daily until 1970, never running in more than a handful of papers. Can anyone supply a definite end date?
The sample above is from 1940.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Obscurity of the Day: Jimmie the Messenger Boy
Was there eveer a cartoonist that had a more intriguing name than Redw. Shellcope? Too bad his cartooning doesn't live up to the promise of that cool name. Redw.'s Jimmie The Messenger Boy started on 5/3/1903 in the Philadelphia Inquirer and ran until June 1913. The stories, seldom much better than the one in our sample here, were pretty basic slapstick humor, and the art, though excellent, was swiped lock, stock and barrel from the great William F. Marriner.
I guess Marriner's style was easy to copy, because there was a crop of at least a dozen cartoonists who did imitations, mostly pretty accurate, of his style. His wispy lines and kids with enormous heads on tiny bodies make the stuff instantly recognizeable.
Regarding the June 1913 end date, I can't do better than that because the Philadelphia Inquirer on microfilm very rarely includes the Sunday comic sections starting about 1910. I've checked different versions of the film, but all are missing most sections. It's a real shame since there's some great material there to be indexed. Most of my Inquirer dates after 1910 come from indexing papers that took the section in syndication. That gets me pretty good dates for most stuff up to about 1915. After that it gets really tough because, as I mentioned in the last post, the Inquirer's syndication pretty well died after that.
This name came up elsewhere sometime back and it sent me on a google search.
The name "Shellcope" doesn't have a lot
entries so the search was rather quick.
First is a 1928 Ocean City, N.J. city
directory which lists a R. Edward and
Marie Shellcope as homeowners and in the
business of "Art goods".
This leads us to a Marie Carter Shellcope who was a graduate of the
Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts.
An Andy Madura page selling Sunday
comic strips gives us a Jimmy the
Messenger Boy page credited to
"Rube Shellcope?". Don't know if the
question mark is for crediting the
page or the name.
Of course the Ohio State page gives us
"Red W. Shellcope".
So what is his name? I dunno.
But it was an interesting journey.
"R. Edward" makes a lot of sense, tho I see no period in his sig between the R and E. The romantic in me always hoped that his name was something like "Redwing", though.
Here's some other Inquirer dates that I've been unable to find on microfilm:
Fineheimer Twins - continued running as an occasional filler until at least 1930 - do you have an end date, and do you know if they were just reruns in later years?
Hank Hinkle by Gallagher (1908)- can you shed any light on this feature - my notes make no sense to me.
Kid Trubbel - I have tentative running dates of 1910-18; the film is so fragmentary that I can't get any closer.
Plumbing Pete by Gallagher - another mysterious one from 1908 - not in my Inky index, but referenced in SG as being in my files, but can't find it there.
That Irresistable Rag - best I can do are tentative dates of May 1913 to sometime in 1916. Another Doyle production after Knerr left?
Our Friend Mush - need an end date for it in the Inquirer (before it became Just Kids that is).
Hippo And The Monks by Gallagher - looking for an end date, best I can do is sometime in 1915. I note that this one ran more often in the Inquirer's syndicated section than it did in the home paper. That's all we need...
Little Possum Gang - need an end date, sometime in 1916?
DeSmears the Portrait Painter - need an end date, sometime in 1902?
* I have a note that the latest Inky Fineheimer I have found was in the January 12 1930 section.
* Hank Hinkle - here's a weird one - the strip ran twice in the Boston Globe as a b&w strip on 9/12 and 10/9/08, earlier than in the Inquirer itself. Do you figure the Inky only ran it in their section when they had a hole to fill, and it was syndicated earlier? Is this one of those that requires a trip the Gateway of the West?
* Kid Trubbel, thanks for the info, and for sending me off to wiki to find out who the hell Schliemann is.
* Irresistable Rag, I take it Doyle's start is interspersed with Knerr leftovers? My latest on this series is 12/3/16 in the Pittsburg Dispatch, which may be running late. I have a 10/29/16 from the Evansville Journal-News which seemed to be running things on time.
*Hippo and Monks - this is the end date I had from the Inky, but I had a cryptic note saying that it lasted until early 1915 at least, but no reference as to where I saw it. Doing Mr. Schliemann proud here today...
* Little Possum Gang - ok, any idea when Doyle took it over from Payne?
* DeSmears - there's a 12/1 episode signed Elliot, but seems to be by Mohr (?!?!), and the other was your date of 12/29. I think I got that 1902 date from one of those Trina books, but looking over my index I think its likely those were the only two.
Thanks very much for checking into all this stuff!
* Yes, I've too seen quite a few Big Scalpers in other papers compared to the few that ran in the Inq. What I wouldn't give to understand the logic behind it all...
* Much thanques for the Possum Gang run-thru.
* According to my indexing notes the Elliot DeSmears did appear to be about the same as the Jean Mohr version.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Obscurity of the Day: Sheer-Luck Homes
Sherlock Holmes was already an institution by 1907 when this satire appeared. There were quite a few strips that played on the Conan Doyle character, and this particular one ran just three times between 2/10/1907 and 4/14/1907. The creator, Myer Marcus, was a workhorse cartoonist who did many recurring features and one-shots for the Philadelphia Inquirer between 1906 and the late 1910s.
One tidbit about Marcus is that it took me a LOT of digging to determine whether his name was Myer Marcus or Marcus Myer. He always signed his work Myer, and seldom got a byline. When he did, though, the names were given in practically random order from one to the next. I don't recall anymore where I finally got a source that tied it down, but tie it down I finally did.
The Inquirer had lots of interesting strips running in these days, most of which have been summarily ignored by the published comic strip histories. I'll be posting several more samples in coming days. The Inquirer began its own Sunday comics section in 1901. The syndication of the section seems to have begun in earnest in 1906 (or at least that's when I start finding it appearing outside Philly). The section did quite well in syndication for a long while, but in 1914 when Harold Knerr left to take over Katzenjammer Kids the section went in to a nosedive in quality and the syndication business dried up quickly. The section limped along until the late 1910s and then the Inquirer started dropping most of their own strips in favor of buying syndicated material from other syndicates.
of Alfred E. Neuman. By the way, this is a great site.
That third episode of Sheer-Luck didn't appear in the Inquirer - I found the third in the Washington Post which ran their section for awhile. I guess the Inky ran an ad or a one-shot in that space.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Merry Christmas from World Color Printing
I suppose I should be saving this one for a month from now. This wonderful Christmas strip ran as part of the World Color Printing Sunday section in 1908 (for more on World Color Printing see the post 3 down). Here we have gathered together the stars of all the strips then appearing in the section. They're all named so I won't list them off here. The host of the party, Pinkie Prim, was created by Dick Wood. This clumsily drawn strip was supposed to appeal to the little girls in the audience. The strip ran 1906-1910.