Saturday, February 17, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


June 15 1909 -- Beulah Gunther was in the habit of allowing her telephone-less neighbors use her device. May Claussen, who lived in a neighboring boarding house, began to take too much advantage of Miss Gunther's largesse. When Gunther suggested that she'd like to have access to her own telephone on occasion, Ms. Claussen showed her with great force what she thought of that request. According to the article, Gunther emerged from the fight "minus a considerable part of a new shortwaist, eight long strips of epidermis and two handfuls of hair."

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Friday, February 16, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Kin Hubbard


Here's another Abe Martin postcard from the International Postcard Company. In case you're not up on your liquor terminology, a three finger drink is a straight shot that is as high on the glass as three stacked horizontal fingers. If you've got pudgy fingers, that can mean up to 2.5" toward sweet oblivion.

In an effort to standardize things, I understand the finger measure has been replaced these days by one ounce per digit. Seems unfair to the fat-fingered lushes amongst us.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 17 Part 2

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 17

The Sick Cat Chases the Mammoth (part 1)

link to previous installment   link to next installment



The first rumbling of the Associated Press storm that was to break upon Hearst came with word that his newspaper, the San Antonio Light, was to be deprived of its protest right. The San Antonio News was to be voted a membership. This was more than a slap in the face. It was a discrimination against a franchise-holder too violent to be other than a punitive measure. The situation was aggravated by notice that similar action was pending in Rochester, N. Y. There, also, the Hearst unit was to lose the exclusiveness of its service. Dismay seized Hearst’s advisers. This was a fight imperiling many millions of dollars represented in Hearst’s fifteen franchises—the largest number held by any member of the Associated Press.

This troublesome problem had prompted me several months before to advise a radical departure. My plan was to remove the bone of contention between Hearst and the Associated Press without real sacrifice to either side. A review of the central facts is necessary to envision the idea. When Hearst successively launched the New York Journal, the Chicago American and the Boston American, no adequate service of general news was obtainable for them from organized agencies. They were debarred from the Associated Press by the protest rights of existent members. A number of years were to pass before the United Press, under the vigorous management of Roy W. Howard, reached metropolitan stature. International News Service was organized not only to gather news for the Hearst dailies, but also to secure a permanent and inalienable source of supply.

It was possible to assure that objective without direct ownership. Operation by friendly hands could accomplish the desired end. It was my suggestion that Hearst rid himself of his Associated Press embarrassments by relinquishing formal ownership of International News Service to a purchaser on whom he could rely to safeguard his personal and his newspaper interests. I proposed to buy International News Service myself. My proposition was taken up by Hearst’s order at a special session of the executive council, his advisory board. The permanent chairman of that body was S. S. Carvalho, who had rejoined the organization some time before. The meeting began with the reading of a letter from Hearst, under date of May 6, 1926.

It told how Hearst had been startled by my proposition that he sell International News Service to me. He saw no reason to accept my offer. But the peculiar action of the Associated Press convinced him that he should maintain International News Service, if for no other reason than to protect his newspapers. This conclusion also embraced Universal Service. Nevertheless, he felt that the modifications of the present system which I had outlined might be advantageously applied to the organization under his continued ownership.

Hearst’s communication reviewed in detail my project to introduce a regime of mutuality in the relations between the news services and their clients. He accepted my plan for a committee of publishers, or at least for a Board of Control, on which the subscribing newspapers would have a 50-percent representation. He suggested the possibility of issuing stock certificates and bonds of which he would keep 50 or 51 percent. While he admitted that this would not make a wholly cooperative, mutual membership, he argued that “it would be about as good as the Associated Press” and that it would give the clients the feeling that they had something to say in the management of the institution as well as a certain permanence in the possession of their franchises. He completely endorsed the fundamentals of my proposition, but added some elements to assure his proprietary standing.

The executive council had not formulated any judgment on this proposal when the group in control of the Associated Press delivered its main assault on Hearst. It was the adoption by the board of directors of a resolution unparalleled in the annals of the organization. It was a formal declaration of Hearst's unfitness for membership. It was a patent preliminary to expulsion. Under date of October 8, 1926, it read as follows:

Resolved that in the judgment of the Board of Directors the relations of the newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst represented in membership in the Associated Press with the news services owned by Mr. Hearst, cause an ever-recurring evasion and nullification of the obligations each to the other of members of this mutual organization and must be regarded as highly prejudicial to the interests and welfare of the Associated Press and its members, the prime object of the organization being the mutual cooperation, benefit and protection of its members.
Hearst assigned as his field marshal on this front, David E. Town. It happened that Town joined Hearst on my recommendation and despite some untoward influences set in motion by some of my associates. My friendship with Town began when he was general manager of the John C. Shaffer chain of newspapers in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Colorado. It continued until his death in the ’30s. Town was engaged to carry out my suggestion that Hearst appoint a controller who would be in charge of mechanical, business and financial operations. He became one of my fellow members of the Hearst executive council.

Town’s efforts to smooth the friction with the Associated Press directors proved abortive. A clash between him and Kent Cooper, the Associated Press general manager, stressed the crisis. This phase of the trouble grew out of a demand that I cease my endeavors to persuade publishers to withdraw from the Associated Press to become clients of International News Service. An issue of fact arose between Town and Cooper as to a discussion of my activities in that respect. An exchange of communications between them was tinged with acrimony. Town reported the receipt of a complaint from Cooper on November 11, 1926.

It expressed Cooper’s conviction that none of my colleagues were aware of the insistence or extent of the International News Service raids upon the Associated Press membership. A memorandum from Town to the executive council outlined details of Cooper’s grievance. The State of North Carolina was cited as an illustration. There these members of the Associated Press had been solicited to desert that organization: Rocky Mount Telegram, Wilson Times, Concord Tribune, Henderson Dispatch, Fayetteville Observer, Goldsboro Argus, New Bern Sun-Journal, Wilmington News-Dispatch.

Cooper added that two papers in the state—the Greenville Reflector and the Edenton News—had already been induced to resign from the Associated Press and to substitute Hearst services. He named as other newspapers that had withdrawn from the Associated Press “upon such solicitation” that year: Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat; Yonkers (N. Y.) Statesman; Pulaski (Va.) Southwest Times; Charlottesville (Va.) Progress; Palatka (Fla.) Daily News.

All this apparently constituted a very grave affront to the dignity of the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Hearst’s advisers had fought off a panic stretching over several months. Hearst, himself, confronted the prospect of ouster from the Associated Press with a composure at strong odds with the alarm of his lieutenants. He instructed me to draft a plan of operation for institution at a moment’s notice. This was a precaution against cancelation of his memberships in the Associated Press. Various stratagems were submitted to him. He appointed a committee for their analysis. It consisted of Bradford Merrill, Morrill Goddard and Victor H. Polachek. They joined me in urging a consolidation of International News Service with the United Press. My views, outlined at a series of meetings with this special committee, might have been thus summarized:

1. Consolidation of International News Service with the United Press can be effected on terms assuring substantial and continuing profits for both with guaranties as to quality of service for the Hearst papers and with reservations that will withhold from papers affiliated with the United Press any special or exclusive prestige or advantage.

2. Negotiations to this end should be pressed with the utmost speed consistent with secrecy and safety because better terms will be procurable so long as nothing is known of the quarrel between the Hearst organization and the Associated Press. If possible, an option for consolidation should be obtained in writing in Mr. Hearst’s favor within two weeks, to be exercised within six months. He will then be in superior position to deal with any situation that may arise with the Associated Press.

3. Immediate steps should be taken, to compose all misunderstandings between the Hearst organization and the Associated Press directors as to morning memberships. This should be possible without any real sacrifice on the part of Mr. Hearst.

Adoption of a policy along these lines was urged upon Hearst by Bradford Merrill, Morrill Goddard and Victor H. Polachek. The recommendation was incorporated in a message wired over their joint signatures.

Hearst answered immediately. His code telegram—with the usual signature, “Doctor”—was translated by Merrill at a meeting that I attended with Goddard and Polachek. It was a characteristic message. It paralleled Hearst’s abiding passion to play a lone hand. He had talked with the United Press people. They were fully informed about the situation. “Doctor” believed they were concerned chiefly over the prospect of International News Service building an organization too highly competitive to suit them. They had submitted a proposal to which he was evidently indifferent, though he had promised to resume its discussion in New York.

Roy W. Howard

Not only did Hearst indicate a disposition to pass up any deal with the United Press, but he also favored holding the Associated Press at arm’s length. He was undisturbed over the possible loss of his Associated Press memberships. He cited, by way of approval, an estimate I had prepared showing that an additional expenditure of $10,000 weekly would provide an adequate service for his publications. “Doctor” would save almost that much if he stopped his payments to the Associated Press. He was inclined to favor such a course. Then his newspapers would have their own news and not be compelled to share it with competitors. However, he would not object to the arrangement of an accord with the Associated Press on a just basis. “But don’t expect any justice,” he warned. A bit of paternal advice followed Hearst’s wired wisdom. He counseled the committee not to worry, since “we were strong enough to take care of ourselves.”

A combination of International News Service with United Press would have produced an unrivaled organization. It could not have failed to affect the course of the world’s news-gathering history. Its possibilities were destroyed at a meeting between Hearst and Roy W. Howard, head of the United Press. Hearst took umbrage at an unintentional affront. Howard told him he was not fitted to operate a news service. He believed Hearst’s dominating interest in his newspapers could not be subordinated to an interest in a news service. The purpose of the remark was certainly not invidious. But it nettled Hearst to such a degree that the negotiation collapsed.


At that stage Hearst called up to the firing line a brilliant San Francisco lawyer, John F. Neylan, who held a membership in the Associated Press as publisher of the San Francisco Call-Post. Meanwhile, Hearst had decided to adopt a program submitted to him, at my instance, by my friend, Robert Ewing, publisher of the New Orleans States. This was a campaign to shear the strength of the cabal in control of the Associated Press. That clique, known as “the big six,” consisted of Adolph S. Ochs of the New York Times, Victor F. Lawson of the Chicago Daily News, Frank B. Noyes of the Washington Star, Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe, W. L. McLean of the Philadelphia Bulletin, and Elbert H. Baker of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Their power was derived from the regulations by which directors were elected. There were approximately 1,200 members. One hundred owned forty bonds apiece, each entitled to 100 votes as against the single ballot of a mere stockholder. Thus less than nine percent of the membership enjoyed a balloting strength of more than 4,000 against the 1,100 to which the remainder of the association was limited.

An intensive canvass directed by Neylan, with the assistance of Ewing and a group of so-called insurgents whom he rallied to the movement, resulted in the abolition of this oligarchic rule. The Associated Press was democratized. Every member was accorded an equal voice in the naming of the directorate. Hearst had mowed down the coterie that dominated the Associated Press.

A composition of differences between Hearst and the chastened Associated Press directorate included a condition of which no member would have dreamed a year before. It was the surrender of a cardinal principle. While it involved only one locality, it proved how far a great institution may bend backward. When the Associated Press was left with a single outlet in Pittsburgh, and that a Hearst daily—the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph—a. troublesome snarl developed. As an Associated Press member, the Sun-Telegraph was forbidden to deliver news to a non-Associated Press agency. Because of a unique news-gathering situation in that region, neither the Associated Press nor International News Service could reasonably afford to forego the correspondence facilities commanded by the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. Earnest consultations were held. Kent Cooper agreed that the Associated Press would be discreet enough to keep its eyes closed to practices that would otherwise be prohibited. But he failed to take into his confidence his Pittsburgh representative. An embarrassing complication followed. Cooper straightened it out with a special course in nictation. This was in amusing contrast with the attitude that Melville E. Stone maintained in a series of conferences with me a short time earlier.

In our several meetings aimed at unraveling tangles between the Associated Press and the Hearst organization, Stone presented in great detail a list of grievances. The case on which he dwelt most insistently arose in Rochester, N. Y. There an employee of the Democrat-Chronicle had been under surveillance for weeks. He was a copy reader. His tour of duty ended at three in the morning. He was trailed nightly. The spotters reported that he went direct from his regular place of employment to the building in which was situated the Rochester office of International News Service. This practice was condemned by Stone in the severest terms. The man was being exposed to suspicion of a heinous crime. Concealed on his person—possibly in the recesses of his mind—might be news belonging to the Associated Press. What was his purpose, so burdened, in entering the edifice in which a competitive news service functioned? The implications were awful. They recalled the traditional penalty for disclosure of unprinted Associated Press news—blacklisting for life.

It did not seem logical to me that responsibility should be impressed upon International News Service for the peregrinations of an employee of an Associated Press newspaper. There was a possibility that he was eking out his income with extra work for the Hearst bureau. If there were any obligation to determine that point, it did not seem to me to rest on International News Service. This was the weightiest of several questions that I failed to settle with “the grand old man” of the Associated Press.

The matter of greatest importance that arose in the conflict over news service involved the allegation that the Associated Press was a monopoly in restraint of interstate commerce. That averment, formally iterated in different tribunals, remains to be adjudicated. It was laid before Hearst in one of my reports outlining a method of counter-attack. It was my belief that the Associated Press would decline an issue in the courts. I felt that because of its vulnerability under the anti-trust laws, it would recoil from any judicial scrutiny of the power arrogated by its directors. The concluding paragraphs of an opinion on this subject, formulated by the law firm of Eppstein & Rosenberg, in conjunction with other attorneys, read as follows:

For the foregoing reasons, it is our opinion that the Associated Press is a combination organized for and engaged in the illegal restraint of trade, and that if proper proceedings should be instituted against it, it would be forced to dissolve.

Although proceedings might be instituted merely to restrain it from the further employment in its business of the illegal agencies herein pointed out, the effects of such proceedings, if successful, would in our opinion ultimately result in its enforced dissolution as a judgment, that so important an organization as is the Associated Press was organized and operating in violation of law, could hardly be ignored by the Department of Justice.

Upon such advice, judgment was reached that the millions of dollars represented in the memberships owned by Hearst would be exposed to too great a hazard by the institution of any suit attacking the validity of Associated Press regulations.

The handicaps imposed by deference to Hearst’s Associated Press complications did not deter either International News Service or Universal Service from setting new records in their field. Universal was the first agency to adopt automatic printer telegraph machinery as its exclusive means of transmission. It was the first to establish in America a transcontinental automatic printer circuit. These innovations were installed by Chester R. Hope, editor of Universal Service, whose vigorous enterprise contributed greatly to the efficiency of my executive staff. Under Hope's direction, Hollywood and New York’s “Four Hundred” made their joint debut as daily telegraphic features. Louella Parsons and Cholly Knickerbocker (Maury Paul) were starred on the same coast-to-coast line.

International News Service performed a historic feat in the sending and transcribing of news by radio. The potentialities of this pioneer achievement have yet to be measured. Its first public demonstration was made at the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association convention at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1924. In room 1590 of that hostelry,  journalists gathered from day to day for a week to watch a typewriter capture from the air and transcribe a complete news report at the rate of sixty-five words a minute. It was the International News Service High Speed Automatic Radio Printing System. It was the result of more than three years of experimenting.

The inventor was William George Harold Finch, afterward recognized as one of America’s leading radio engineers. Finch was an insurance company inspector of wireless sets in Buffalo in 1921. I was combing the country for an instrumentality with which to push International News Service ahead of its competitors. The search had been suggested by the pyrotechnic advances in wireless. Word reached me of a relay invented by Finch. A week later he was installing a laboratory in the offices of King Features Syndicate. Lieut. Col. Archibald M. Stevens and William A. Bruno were engaged as his collaborators. After a series of successful tests covering many months, the cooperation of the Federal Wireless and Telegraph Company of California was enlisted. Rudolph Spreckels, the managing director, brought the president, Ellery Stone, to New York to confer with me.

Spreckels agreed to join the Hearst organization in the erection of three powerful wireless stations to blanket America. The commercial facilities were to be used by the Federal Wireless and Telegraph Company and the news channels by International News Service. Hearst showed keen interest. His executive council opposed the project. Meanwhile, my friend, R. R. Govin, now the owner of four dailies in Havana with circulations exceeding those of all the other newspapers in Cuba, expressed eagerness to associate himself with the undertaking. A meeting was held on Hearst’s yacht. Spreckels, Govin, Arthur Brisbane, Bradford Merrill and Louis B. Eppstein, counsel for King Features Syndicate, attended. It was Brisbane who devised a way to overcome the objection raised by the executive council. He suggested that Hearst and Spreckels share equally in the underwriting. Both assented. It was agreed that a total investment of $1,750,000 would suffice.

Spreckels and Stone brought a staff of technicians to New York. More than twenty men busied themselves in a New York hotel suite perfecting details of the organization. Their task was being completed when Hearst telephoned me. He wanted me to meet him at the office of Martin Huberth, manager of his New York real estate operations. It was a spot suited for privacy. Showing more embarrassment than I had ever noticed in him, Hearst called off the deal with Spreckels. He explained that his financial advisers had counseled against it. Not long afterward Spreckels sold the Federal Wireless and Telegraph Company to the Postal Telegraph Company for $20,000,000. That did not underline the wisdom of the advice Hearst had accepted.

The revolutionary changes with which radio was to overwhelm the empire of news were slow to reveal themselves to those most concerned. They flashed on me in a dramatic episode. It was August 2, 1923. Charley (C. O.) Powers, political editor of the Boston American, an old friend, hailed me on Broadway that afternoon. We had not met in years. Powers punctuated the chat with an astounding remark. “Harding is going to die,” he said, as if repeating an authoritative message. “What do you mean?” I asked in amazement. “Coolidge luck,” was the crisp answer. “It’s proverbial among those who have watched his career. I can trace every step in his advance to some circumstance of fortune. That night, Fred Mayer, a member of the Friars Club, burst into the room where I was seated, with the excited exclamation, “President Harding is dead!” Both the manner and the substance of his announcement shocked me. It was incredible. How could this stockbroker, without any newspaper connections, get such tremendous news before it reached me, the president of four different news organizations with worldwide affiliations? The thought was almost insulting. Mayer was insistent. “I know it’s true,” he said. “I just got it over my radio set.”

At that moment a page summoned me to the telephone. Clyde West, night manager of Universal Service, was on the wire. In the excitement that possessed him, his sense of values was upended by an enthusiasm for his calling. The order in which he stated the facts of his message is unforgettable. He was a newspaperman whose work was more important than the world’s history.

“Boss,” West’s voice came in shrill contrast with his customary drawl, “we’ve just scored an eight-minute beat on the death of the President.” Then, without waiting, he went on to tell how James R. Nourse, the Universal Service correspondent accompanying the presidential party, had come in first. Nourse’s room was on the same floor as Mr. Harding’s quarters in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. He was on the way to the elevator when a slight commotion attracted his attention to the presidential suite. He was at the door before the doctor had announced the tragic news.

West was still on the telephone when a recollection of Charlie Powers’ weird prediction gave me a start. And then even that strange coincidence faded into a commonplace beside the phenomenon which had enabled such a person as Fred Mayer to apprise me of an historic event. In one stroke, providence had sliced apart the chief domain of the Fourth Estate. The radio had come to share the primacy of the press in the world’s greatest cultural function—the dissemination of current intelligence.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

Toppers: Washable Jones


When Al Capp's Li'l Abner became an almost overnight hit for United Feature Syndicate in 1934, they requested that Capp create a Sunday page to accompany the daily. The Sunday started about six months after the daily, debuting on February 24 1935. Capp needed to come up with a topper strip to accompany Li'l Abner, and the result was Washable Jones. This topper appeared only in the full and tab versions of the strip; in halfs there was no topper included.

In this series Capp used the same familiar hillbilly milieu to tell a fantasy about a boy who gets into fantastical adventures. The strip definitely had a dashed-off quality to it, and Capp presumably wasn't satisfied with what he'd come up with. He also probably wanted more room to develop his Li'l Abner Sunday stories. That meant jettisoning Washable Jones after a mere four months, who's adventures turned out to just be a dream on the final Sunday of June 16 1935 (sample above). The next week Li'l Abner gained another full tier of panels plus a page-wide title panel. The only remnant of a topper was a small panel cartoon titled Advice fo' Chillun, which we'll talk about some other day.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Al Stahl




1934

Alvin Lester “Al” Stahl was born on July 3, 1916, in Yonkers, New York, according to his Social Security application that was transcribed at Ancestry.com. His parents were Jessie Stahl and Helen Mandell.

In the 1920 U. S. Federal Census, Stahl and his parents resided in the Bronx, New York at 933 Tiffany Street. The trio were in the household of Jacob Lory who was the uncle of Stahl’s father, a real estate broker. Lory was married with three children.

Stahl, his parents and brother, Irwin, lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey at 364 South Virginia Avenue in the 1930 census. Stahl’s father was a furniture merchant.

Stahl graduated from Atlantic City High School. The 1934 Herald yearbook published Stahl’s senior photograph and group photograph of the Cartoon Club.

Stahl is in the front row, third from the left.


Information about Stahl’s art training has not been found. In 1934, Stahl wrote and illustrated the 68-page book, The American Course of Cartooning for the American School of Cartooning. that was based in Chicago, Illinois. The book was advertised in many publications including Popular Mechanics.

Stahl copyrighted a few projects. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 31, Number 1, had an entry for Stahl’s Needles followed by Stahl and Richard Mackay’s Al n' Mac. Another entry for Needles was in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 31, Number 3. Happy Trailings was included in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 31, Number 4. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Books, Group 2, 1937, New Series, Volume 34, Number 3, had Stahl’s Trailer Family.

Who’s Who of American of Comic Books 1928–1999 said Stahl was an animator at Terrytoons and Famous Studios in the 1930s. At some point Stahl worked at the Fleischer animation studio. In Alter Ego #12, January 2002, Gill Fox said he met Stahl at Fleischer’s which was located at 1600 Broadway. Near the end of 1938, the studio moved to Florida.

Stahl produced material for Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. The New York Times, July 1, 1939, said Stahl had a $334.20 judgment, filed in Nassau County, against Wheeler-Nicholson.

The 1940 census said Stahl was a commercial artist residing at 103 West 91 Street. It’s not clear why Stahl told the enumerator he was born in Switzerland.

During World War II, Stahl enlisted in the army on September 4, 1943. Fox recalled how Stahl shorten his army service.

…World War II started, and because he was classified 1-A, Al knew he was going to get called into service. He didn’t want to go. I was still editor at this point, and six months after he left, Al walked into the office. I said, “I thought you were still in the service.”

He said, “I was, but I got out. I figured it out. Because of my background, they put me in the Signal Corps. You have to climb poles. So I got to the top of the pole and yelled out, ‘I can’t move! I’m afraid! I can’t move! I can’t come down!” They had to go up and take him down.

“It worked!” It was typical Al. He was a helluva cartoonist. And he’s still working! He’s kind of nuts and a lot of fun. A great cartoonist who knows how to make a buck. Anything he does is good. And he wrote his own stuff.
Fox chose Stahl to draw Flatfoot Burns, Star Detective, that appeared in The Spirit comic book newspaper insert. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the back-up feature ran from May 6, 1945 to November 3, 1946.

On January 29, 1944, Stahl obtained a marriage license in Manhattan, New York City. The name of the bride is not known.

During the 1940s Stahl worked for several comic book publishers. Who’s Who said Stahl used the pen name Bruce Baker on stories that appeared in Ding Dong and Frisky Fables. There was a comic book artist with that name according to the Utica Daily Press (New York), April 3, 1946. The newspaper identified some of the contributors to the Rhoads General Hospital publication, Mohawk Rhoadsman: “Among the reporters, photographers and artists who worked for The Mohawk Rhoadsman were: …T 5 Bruce Baker, comic book artist…” There were at least nine comic book stories signed “Bruce Baker”. It’s not clear what role Stahl had in those stories.

In the 1950s Stahl left comics and turned to animation. Business Screen Magazine, March-April 1951, published a list of regional film companies. Stahl was in charge of animation at American Film Producers, located at 1600 Broadway. In 1952 Stahl and his brother, Irwin, headed up Animated Productions, Inc., also at the same address. Stahl was in animation for over 35 years.

Stahl passed away December 10, 1999, in New York. He was laid to rest at Calverton National Cemetery.


Further Reading
Al Stahl’s Cartoon Studio (site says incorrectly that Stahl’s first name is Albert) 


—Alex Jay

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He looks half-Asian. Was that mentioned nowhere in the records? I think things like that should be honoured.
— Katherine (half-Arabic)
 
Stahl’s paternal and maternal grandparents were Austrian.
 
Austrian and Hungerian have Monogolain dna in their anestry.
 
For many years throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Al took out small ads in film trade publications, notably Business Screen, that read; "Al Stahl Animates Everything". The ads promoted his free lance animation business.
 
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Monday, February 12, 2018

 

Obscurity of the Day: Flatfoot Burns, Star Detective





Flatfoot Burns Star Detective was created for Quality Comics by Al Stahl in 1943. It first appeared in Police Comics #19, and ran there irregularly into 1946 issues. But that's not why we're talking about it here on Stripper's Guide, of course. No, it's because this fun but unassuming little backup feature was chosen by Will Eisner to hit the big time as a backup feature in his syndicated Spirit section.

As far as I know, this was the only time that Al Stahl's delightful rubber-boned artwork would appear in newspaper syndication. However, Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile, which will run tomorrow, found a number of possible newspaper series listed in copyright records.

In the Spirit section, Flatfoot Burns was a four-page feature that replaced Intellectual Amos by Andre LeBlanc. According to my indexing of the Chicago Sun, the first Flatfoot Burns story appeared in the issue of May 6 1945. The Grand Comics Database, on the other hand, claims that the switch happened with the issue of June 24. Who is right? I dunno. Maybe my indexing was faulty, or maybe the GCD is a little confused. I can't recheck the Chicago Sun microfilm without a 2000-mile trip, and as far as I know it is not available digitally. At least we agree on the last appearance, which was on November 3 1946. This was when the Spirit section was reduced from 16 pages down to 8 pages.

I'd like to give credit for the scan of the story above, but I found it shared through a site that collects images from other websites (including mine *harrumph*) and offers no credits or back links. That's just not cricket, whoever you are.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


June 14 1909 -- The newly formed Vernon team splits a Sunday morning-afternoon double-header with the Angels. In the accompanying editorial, much is made of the fact that the fans were more vocal in rooting for the Vernon underdogs than the home team. Tsk tsk,

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The Vernon team had both quite an origin story and quite a history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Tigers
 
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Friday, February 09, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Fred Opper


Here's a 1904 Fred Opper postcard sporting an iconic image of Happy Hooligan. The reverse offers no publisher's information, so it would seem reasonable to assume that this was a freebie included with the Sunday Hearst papers. However, I'm used to those being on really cheap pulpy paper, and this one is on good quality postcard stock. So ...?

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That's a beauty! Great colour! Speaking as a devoted Opper fa, of course . . .
 
It isn't one of the Hearst supplement cards, it might be published by Kaufman & Strauss, in New York.
 
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Thursday, February 08, 2018

 

King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 17 Part 1

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 17

The Sick Cat Chases the Mammoth (part 1)

link to previous installment   link to next installment



The jealousy with which W. R. Hearst guarded the making and handling of his features was explained by his immense confidence in their power. It was that faith which produced for me the opportunity to write the title of an important chapter in journalistic history. It put me in position to defeat an international cabal striving to establish a monopoly in news. A telegram from Hearst to Bradford Merrill was a prelude to this exciting sequence of events. Dated at Los Angeles, April 1, 1919, its purport was telephoned to me by Merrill, as follows: “General management of International [News Service] should be immediately turned over to Koenigsberg. This will enable International to be introduced by means of Koenigsberg’s features. Moreover, profits of Koenigsberg’s syndicate can maintain International until self-supporting. Universal, too, should be under general direction of Koenigsberg.”

The reference to “Universal” identified a corporation formed on June 17, 1918, as Universal Service, Inc. to furnish supplementary or special stories gathered at world centers for morning papers. The message had left a deep impression on Merrill. It meant a sweeping change in central functions of the Hearst organization. Merrill was prepared to give the assurance that he expected me to demand. The news services would have the same independence of management as the syndicates. My authority would be subordinate only to the owner himself. Hearst confirmed this understanding to me personally at a meeting the next week.

To muster in support of International News Service all the syndicate resources available, I added several corporate units. The time came when the list of corporations which recorded me as president and general manager was long enough to tickle a stock promoter’s fancy. But each of these eight companies fitted into a coherent operation: King Features Syndicate, Newspaper Feature Service, International Feature Service, Premier Syndicate (specializing in elements distributed on a commission basis), Star Adcraft Service (translating news illustrations into business promotion projects), International News Service, Universal Service and Cosmopolitan News Service (paralleling in the afternoon field the budget of telegraphic matter supplied by Universal Service to morning editions).

International News Service was in dire need of all the assistance that could be squeezed out of its pretentious roster of affiliates. It was one of the sickest cats that ever clung to the door-posts of metropolitan journalism. Deprived of cable facilities in 1916 by both the British and the French governments in rebuke for its methods, it had not divested itself of the stigma of propagandism with which it had been assiduously smeared by critics of Hearst. In the twelve months ending June 30, 1919, its deficit was calculated as $388,934.40. In the next eight years, its clients increased from less than 300 to 591. Its annual income meanwhile rose from $694,230.69 to $2,054,601.59. Its books showed several profit-paying years.

The accomplishment reflected in these figures lacks meaning without an understanding of the desperate plight to which International News Service had sunk. The lowliness of its estate was indicated by the distrust it excited among those who should have been most anxious for its welfare. Editors of Hearst papers, compelled to rely on it exclusively for general news, used its dispatches with proverbial fear and trembling. It became a by-word in the organization. It was called “reliably unreliable.” Not only did its institutional facade bear the bar sinister etched by the British and French governments, but it stood unacquitted of charges of piracy tried in United States courts.

Only two years before the management of International News Service was entrusted to me, it had been laid under an historic injunction. On complaint of the Associated Press, it was enjoined by the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York from “bribing employees of newspapers published by complainant’s members to furnish Associated Press news to defendant before publication.” It was also prohibited from “inducing Associated Press members to violate its by-laws and permit defendant to obtain news before publication.” The suit was appealed.
Melville Stone

That litigation was the climax of Melville E. Stone’s quarter of a century campaign to establish the claim that news might he held as private property. The sanctimonious passion with which the “grand old man” of the Associated Press clothed this so-called crusade, won the collaboration of a tremendously powerful circle. Such adversaries as Charles Anderson Dana and H. H. Kohlsaat, who came forward from time to time to contest his purpose, were weighted with the impedimenta of selfish interest. They fought just long enough to safeguard their individual assets.

No champion in shining armor ever led an array of ethical forces in front-line attack against the movement to create the basis for a news monopoly. Opposition to Stone, pathetic in its feebleness, did come from obscure workers anxious to shield a vital principle of human liberty. In this might be counted my own quixotic gesture of enlistment in the Laffan News Bureau of the New York Sun in 1897.

It is reasonable to assume that Stone suffered one of the worst shocks of his highly active life when the Supreme Court of the United States tarred the Associated Press with the same stick that was applied to International News Service. Both were placed under a reciprocal injunction. Each was enjoined from appropriating the news of the other. This decree was rendered May 19, 1919, six weeks before International News Service came under my-management. It did not absolve International News Service of culpability. It did imply that the Associated Press—that exalted assemblage of prestige and piety—might stoop to the same depraved practices of which it had accused the Hearst group.

But an adjudicated parity in potential impropriety did not embrace parity in business prospects. Membership in the Associated Press was the most highly prized privilege in newspaperdom, even if there were some stains on its background. There were critics harsh enough to describe it as born in perfidy and reared in subterfuge. The natal slur had reference to the machinations and betrayals through which the Western Associated Press deserted en masse from the Associated Press of New York in 1893 and entered a new corporate phase as the Associated Press of Illinois, progenitor of the present body.

The suggestion of trickery concerns the flight in 1900 of the Associated Press of Illinois from the State of Illinois to escape the application of a judicial mandate. That ruling required the organization to deliver its service to any newspaper tendering payment therefor. The escape was to New York. There a law existed under which a non-profit-making corporation could own property and yet function as a social unit. Thus, it was free to exclude any unsatisfactory member. The statute had been enacted at the behest of a coterie of sportsmen. It was framed to authorize corporate ownership of shooting and angling preserves. So the Associated Press obtained a charter on the same footing as a fish and game club.

Contemplating the taints on a competitor’s record neither gained additional subscribers nor strengthened the satisfaction of the current clientele. And there were some stains that International News Service must erase from its own escutcheon before pointing elsewhere. Hearst realized this. He cheerfully approved my plans for reorganization. Foremost was the need for a thorough house-cleaning. Next must come a different window-dressing. Convincing proof must be furnished that a changed management was eliminating whatever bias may have tinctured the service in the past.

Hearst expressed particular pleasure over the slogan I proposed to adopt. It was an amplification of a legend that had been in use. To the line, “Get it first,” I added, "But First Get It Right!’ That was the keynote of the policy Hearst sanctioned. “How can we expect the editors of our papers to comment intelligently on the actual news,” he asked me, “if the news we supply to them is false?” There was no naivete in that question. It had a double purpose. Primarily, it was a disclaimer of direct responsibility for the past. Secondarily, it was a sanction of the altered course.

It should be noted that Hearst never revised this instruction to me. The closest semblance to friction with him concerning International News Service arose over some dispatches from Mexico. Hearst’s vast holdings in that country afforded him sources of intelligence inaccessible to the ordinary newspaper correspondent. Moreover, Hearst cited a complaint from E. H. Clark, his general financial counsel, who specialized in Mexican affairs. A similar criticism some time later evoked a corrective program. I proposed to dismiss the offending correspondent and to replace him in each case with any of three seasoned journalists whom E. H. Clark would select from a list I would submit. Hearst was pleased with this arrangement.

That method of handling the International News Service personnel in Mexico was in effect in 1927 when the Hearst newspapers committed the historic fiasco of publishing a series of documents alleged to have been abstracted from the official archives of Mexico. It will be recalled that one of these writings mentioned a $500,000 bribe to a United States Senator. Another gave details of a conspiracy to foment a Central American revolution inimical to the United States. Still another outlined a plot to colonize Mexico with hordes of Japanese in preparation for possible invasion of this country. The investigating committee of the United States Senate, which finally declared the letters spurious, left untouched several phases of this extraordinary miscarriage of journalism. One, germane to my management of International News Service, is set down here.

Hearst had instructed three of his lieutenants to assure the fullest publicity for these “sensational disclosures.” The trio were Victor H. Polachek, for many years one of Hearst’s chief editorial functionaries and at the time the director of Sunday circulation for all the Hearst Sunday newspapers; Edmond D. Coblentz, managing editor of the New York American; and Victor Watson, executive editor of the New York American. Polachek, Coblentz and Watson urged me to take over the promotion and distribution of “this historic revelation.” I declined.

Not one word of the fantastic fake was transmitted over the wires of International News Service. No mention of the forged documents was made in any of its reports during my administration of the Service. Hearst never communicated with me about them. He suffered the penalty of an excessive faith in what he wanted to believe.

The first step in dissipating the propagandist atmosphere that hovered over International News Service was the employment of a chief of staff who could be held forth in promise of the new order—whose reputation offered a distinctly non-Hearst flavor. I appointed Marlen E. Pew editorial manager. Prominently identified for a while with the United Press, he had later served as editor of the Boston Traveler and of the Philadelphia News Post.

Pew was fanatic in his repugnance for secret influences. That quality made him especially valuable in the regeneration of International News Service. Unfortunately, at the end of three years, he found himself at loggerheads with his chief assistant, Earl Barry Faffs. They had been on the most intimate terms—a Damon and Pythias relationship. Pew demanded Faffs’ resignation. Faris was the wheel-horse of the news service. It would have been folly to let him go. Pew went instead. Afterward, he became the head of Editor & Publisher. George G. Shor, with a highly creditable journalistic record, replaced Pew as managing editor. In 1927, Faris became general news manager and in 1932, the editor. Evidently, no mistake was made in the choice that Pew forced upon me.

The rapid progress of International News Service led to an embroilment with the Associated Press of major consequences. The strife began with a letter I addressed to Melville E. Stone. It attacked what he esteemed sacrosanct—a claim for which he contended above all others—the exclusive ownership of news assembled by members of the Associated Press. Before the quarrel subsided, it wrought revolutionary changes in that august organization.

My communication was dated March 5, 1925. It called Stone’s attention to a story published on January 5th in the Associated Press newspaper in Lakeland, Fla., duplicating, almost word for word, an exclusive International News Service item which appeared the same day in the other Lakeland daily. The dispatch told of a criminal assault on two women in Jacksonville. It bore the dateline of that city.

This was a perfect predicate for the charge that the permanent injunction of the United States Supreme Court had been violated. Stone's answer was indulgently patronizing. It was an exposition of the sophistry on which the Associated Press position was based.

Stone did not deny that the Associated Press had made use of International News Service news. On the contrary, he asserted that the action had been fully warranted. The story had been “furnished” by the Jacksonville Journal. That newspaper was both a member of the Associated Press and a client of International News Service. Stone cited this notice regularly published by the Jacksonville Journal and by all other Associated Press papers: “The Associated Press is exclusively entitled to the use for republication of all news dispatches accredited to it or not otherwise accredited in this paper and also the local news published herein.” The Jacksonville Journal failed to label the story in question. Hence, according to Melville E. Stone, this piece of intelligence became the property of the Associated Press.

The issues raised in my response have never been met. The annoyance and apprehension they aroused in the Associated Press directorate were indicated by the bitterness of the onslaught that followed against Hearst.

My reply, dated March 23, 1925, contended that the absence of a label did not alter the facts of a story’s origin and that the Associated Press could not gain rightful proprietorship of a competitor’s news through any incorrect or misleading notice published by its members. The great care taken by International News Service to investigate the source of each report it used was contrasted with the Associated Press pronouncement which authorized the taking of matter with no further inquiry than a glance for credit lines.

On the part of International News Service we found faithful observance of the United States Supreme Court injunction against the appropriation of a rival’s news. On the part of the Associated Press we observed a policy capable of interpretation as constant incitement to violate that writ.

These premises formed the basis for even more serious representations. Under the theory stated by Stone, it was pointed out, International News Service would suffer deprivation not through any fault or omission of its own but by reason of the remissness, neglect or deliberate design of members of the Associated Press. Finally, the requirement for publication of the notice purporting to vest in the association the ownership of news appearing in the papers of its members made it possible for them to print the dispatches of other services without credit so that the Associated Press could lift and use those dispatches on the theory that it was entitled to do so.***

The first rumbling of the Associated Press storm that was to break upon Hearst came with word that his newspaper, the San Antonio Light, was to be deprived of its protest right. The San Antonio News was to be voted a membership. This was more than a slap in the face. It was a discrimination against a franchise-holder too violent to be other than a punitive measure. The situation was aggravated by notice that similar action was pending in Rochester, N. Y. There, also, the Hearst unit was to lose the exclusiveness of its service. Dismay seized Hearst’s advisers. This was a fight imperiling many millions of dollars represented in Hearst’s fifteen franchises—the largest number held by any member of the Associated Press.

This troublesome problem had prompted me several months before to advise a radical departure. My plan was to remove the bone of contention between Hearst and the Associated Press without real sacrifice to either side. A review of the central facts is necessary to envision the idea. When Hearst successively launched the New York Journal, the Chicago American and the Boston American, no adequate service of general news was obtainable for them from organized agencies. They were debarred from the Associated Press by the protest rights of existent members. A number of years were to pass before the United Press, under the vigorous management of Roy W. Howard, reached metropolitan stature. International News Service was organized not only to gather news for the Hearst dailies, but also to secure a permanent and inalienable source of supply.

It was possible to assure that objective without direct ownership. Operation by friendly hands could accomplish the desired end. It was my suggestion that Hearst rid himself of his Associated Press embarrassments by relinquishing formal ownership of International News Service to a purchaser on whom he could rely to safeguard his personal and his newspaper interests. I proposed to buy International News Service myself. My proposition was taken up by Hearst’s order at a special session of the executive council, his advisory board. The permanent chairman of that body was S. S. Carvalho, who had rejoined the organization some time before. The meeting began with the reading of a letter from Hearst, under date of May 6, 1926.

It told how Hearst had been startled by my proposition that he sell International News Service to me. He saw no reason to accept my offer. But the peculiar action of the Associated Press convinced him that he should maintain International News Service, if for no other reason than to protect his newspapers. This conclusion also embraced Universal Service. Nevertheless, he felt that the modifications of the present system which I had outlined might be advantageously applied to the organization under his continued ownership.

Hearst’s communication reviewed in detail my project to introduce a regime of mutuality in the relations between the news services and their clients. He accepted my plan for a committee of publishers, or at least for a Board of Control, on which the subscribing newspapers would have a 50-percent representation. He suggested the possibility of issuing stock certificates and bonds of which he would keep 50 or 51 percent. While he admitted that this would not make a wholly cooperative, mutual membership, he argued that “it would be about as good as the Associated Press” and that it would give the clients the feeling that they had something to say in the management of the institution as well as a certain permanence in the possession of their franchises. He completely endorsed the fundamentals of my proposition, but added some elements to assure his proprietary standing.

The executive council had not formulated any judgment on this proposal when the group in control of the Associated Press delivered its main assault on Hearst. It was the adoption by the board of directors of a resolution unparalleled in the annals of the organization. It was a formal declaration of Hearst's unfitness for membership. It was a patent preliminary to expulsion. Under date of October 8, 1926, it read as follows:

Resolved that in the judgment of the Board of Directors the relations of the newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst represented in membership in the Associated Press with the news services owned by Mr. Hearst, cause an ever-recurring evasion and nullification of the obligations each to the other of members of this mutual organization and must be regarded as highly prejudicial to the interests and welfare of the Associated Press and its members, the prime object of the organization being the mutual cooperation, benefit and protection of its members.


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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lank Leonard


Lank Leonard was born Francis Edward Leonard in Port Chester, New York, on January 2, 1896. Leonard’s birth name and birth date were on his World War I draft card, and the birthplace was from his New York military service card. In the 1925 New York state census and later federal censuses, Leonard’s first name was Frank; earlier censuses had Francis.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Leonard was the only child of James and Annie. Leonard’s father handled railroad baggage. Also in the household was Leonard’s maternal grandfather, Patrick Smith. They resided in Rye, New York, at 425 Orchard Street.

The 1905 state census recorded the Leonards’ family address as Ridgeview Place in Rye. Leonard’s father was a railroad conductor.

The Leonard family was at 7 Exchange Place, Rye, in the 1910 census. Five years later, in the state census, the address was 3 Ridgeview Place.

Leonard signed his World War I draft card June 5, 1917. He lived at 7 Ridgeview Place, Port Chester, and was a bookkeeper with the RBMB&N Company. His description was tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair. He claimed an unnamed disability.





Leonard’s New York military record said his service began in Greenwich, Connecticut: 12 Company CAC Connecticut NG (& Long Island Sound NY) to October 24, 1918; Battery B, 30 Artillery CAC to discharge; Corp July 18, 1917; Sergeant, March 14, 1918; 1st Sergeant October 22, 1918; December 14, 1918, honorable discharge. Leonard did not go overseas.

According to the 1920 census, Leonard lived with his parents at 7 Ridgeview Place. Leonard was an assistant manager with a national baseball company.

The Schenectady Gazette (New York), April 14, 1934, published a profile of Leonard.

“Lank” Leonard, sports cartoonist and feature writer, will contribute a daily cartoon and story for the Gazette, beginning on Monday morning. Leonard is known to many Schenectadians, having lived here for more than a year, being employed at the Wilson Western baseball factory. He also tried out for the Schenectady team of the New York State Basketball League and played a few games with the Cohoes and Utica quintets in the same league.

“Lank” (christened Frank) was born in Port Chester. N. Y., in 1896. He grew up in the town where he was born and as one of his friends once coyly remarked: “Grew up—and how!” Six feet, 2 inches tall when he entered high school, and built along the lines of Bob Fitzsimmons, freckles included—it is rather easy to understand how his “Frank” was changed to “Lank.”

It was in high school that Lank’s talent for drawing first became apparent. The faculty, however, did not particularly enthuse over his brand of humor, or the likenesses he made of them on his textbooks. Consequently he received so little encouragement that he finally decided to abandon the thought of becoming a Rembrandt or a Michelangelo—for the time being at least.

Came the war! “Lank” enlisted. When he had reached the rank of first sergeant the armistice interfered with his climb.

Active in athletics from a boy, “Lank” decided to concentrate on sport cartooning as a profession and was taken on by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Realizing that only study would attain the goal he sought, Leonard resigned that first job and entered the Art Student’s League in New York. Money being none too plentiful, study had to be interrupted by work. No newspaper connection was available and he accepted an offer by a sporting goods concern to travel as a salesman. For five years he traveled from coast to coast, always on the side securing data on sports, practicing drawing.

The Art Student’s League course was resumed where it had been left off. A course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago followed. In 1924 “Lank” decided he was good enough to convert his knowledge into cash and has been on the George Matthew Adams Service staff since 1925. Today his sports cartoons and sports stories appear in an impressive list of representative newspapers throughout the United States and Canada.
The New York Times, August 4, 1970, added a few more details about Leonard and said he “graduated from the Eastman Gaines Business College in New York”; was “an $11‐a‐week inker at the Bray Studios, a New York producer of animated cartoons”; and later “sold sports drawings to Ring magazine”.

The Knickerbocker News (Albany, New York), March 5, 1951, provided more details:

[Leonard] took a job as a bookkeeper in one of his home town’s factories and drew cartoons for the plant’s house paper….

…On one of his sales trips he chanced to meet the late Clare Briggs, the famous cartoonist. Briggs liked his samples and offered him many helpful suggestions….

…By chance Lank heard that Charles V. McAdam, president McNaught Syndicate, was interested in a strip. He brought some sketches to Mr. McAdam and together they planned “Mickey Finn” with the broadest possible human appeal—a delightful combination of the excitement of police work plus the life of a wholesome Irish-American family.
The Tarrytown Daily News (New York), July 23, 1953, noted that Leonard “began his newspaper career with the Port Chester Daily Item as a sportswriter and cartoonist.”

Two Leonard cartoons were found in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 27 (below) and 29, 1922.






Schenectady Gazette 11/5/1926

The 1925 state census listed the Leonards in Rye at 50 Park Avenue. Leonard was a salesman.

The Schenectady Gazette, January 24, 1930, reported the death of Leonard’s father.

The 1930 census said sportswriter and cartoonist Leonard and his widow mother were at the same address.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Leonard produced the strip, Mickey Finn, for the McNaught Syndicate. Leonard drew it from April 6, 1936 to November 29, 1970. Leonard had several assistants who were Ray McGill, Morris Weiss, Johnny Vita, Allie Vita, Larry Tullipano, Tony DiPreta and Martin Bailey. When Leonard died, Weiss continued the strip from November 30, 1970 to September 10, 1977. The Sunday strip had four different toppers: Know Your Merchant Marine, Know Your NavyKnow Your Sports, and Nipple—He’s Often Wrong.

The 1940 census said newspaper cartoonist Leonard, his wife, Florence, and mother, lived at 333 Putnam Avenue in Rye. Leonard’s 1939 income was five-thousand dollars and his house valued at fifteen-thousand dollars.

The New York Sun, November 3, 1943, reported the death of Leonard’s mother.

Leonard passed away August 1, 1970, in Miami, Florida. He was laid to rest at the family plot in St. John Cemetery. Leonard’s wife passed away July 12, 2002. 



—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

 

Toppers: Nippie -- He's Often Wrong


I'm going to start right out by confessing that I never really understood the popularity and longevity of Mickey Finn. I've forced myself to read a little of it in the spirit of giving it a fair try. Based on that experience my main takeaway was that it seemed so low-key as to be practically no key at all. It had gags but they weren't especially funny, and it had soap opera but wasn't particularly dramatic.

What it was, I suppose, that made it popular was being directed with pinpoint accuracy at (1) the Irish, and (2) those in law enforcement -- two audiences that have significant overlap, and form a pretty good sized audience in east coast and midwest cities. Combining that with Lank Leonard's (later Morris Weiss's) really attractive but never flashy art, and apparently you have a success on your hands that can last over four decades.

But that's not what we're here to talk about today. No, it's Mickey Finn's long-time topper strip, Nippie -- He's Often Wrong. This topper was the only one ever used with Mickey Finn if you don't count the little one-panel factoids about the armed forces and sports that were included in 1943-46. Nippie - He's Often Wrong was introduced along with the new Mickey Finn Sunday page on May 17 1936, and ran atop the strip every week for over a decade, ending July 28 1946. After this date Mickey Finn eschewed toppers altogether.

This topper strip should win some sort of award as the most repetitive and unentertaining topper ever to be associated with a mainstream Sunday strip. Every week it was exactly the same thing. We begin with Nippie about to do something dangerous or just plain asinine, then he hears counsel from some onlooker suggesting that he not do it, then he does it anyway and gets his comeuppance, often involving grievous injury.


There is no attempt to be funny. Never. Just the same three-panel tragedy every week, with the unspoken moral being: if you are a moron you might want to listen to other people's advice. There's no telling how many times Nippie would have been dead in the fourth unprinted panel of the strip, but it would have been often. Like in the example above, in which he sleds into heavy traffic, and hits a moving car. Doesn't that sound like the sort of story that ends with a child-size coffin being bought?No matter how many times Nippie should have been visiting St. Peter, unfortunately for readers, he was revived for another go the next week.

Lank Leonard's assistants may have had a hand in producing Nippie -- He's Often Wrong. In the years that this topper ran, known assistants were Morris Weiss, Ray McGill, Johnny Vita, Allie Vita, and  Larry Tullipano

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I can't disagree with you on either of your points about both Mickey Finn and Nipper That being said, I've always been oddly fond of both, perhaps because I find the feature so non-threatening I find it mildly reassuring. And I've taken to saying "I'm very often wrong", in tribute to Nippy.

Mostly I'm amazed that the Irish of the time tolerated the grotesque antics of Mickey's unemployable apelike Uncle Phil. The only stereotype of the Irish that he didn't embody was in spite of his frequent visits to Clancy's he wasn't a drunk.

During the war when everyone was expected to do their bit he was moderately rehabilitated, at least to the point where he could hold a minor position of authority as Sheriff.


 
Curious about the Lucky Bucks Play Money at the base of the page. I've seen them here and there, but always featuring characters from the strip on the page. Here we've got Mickey, Pluto, and I think Old King Cole from a Silly Symphony. Production error or emergency filler, I'm guessing.

Digging around, it seems somebody has done a book about them but can't find any general articles. Was this a syndicate initiative?
 
The Silly Symphony Lucky Bucks indicate that this page is from the New York Sunday Mirror, which used the play money from several different strips as margin filler when they hadn't a long skinny advert (like "Babby Ruth" or Doane's Pills) to fill the space.
 
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Monday, February 05, 2018

 

News of Yore: Pittsburgh’s Cartoonists, 1905











































The Index
February 25, 1905


1. F. E. (Frederick Earl) Johnston, Leader
2. H. S. (Harry Samuel) Palmer, Press
3. E. W. (Eldridge Wallace) Jamieson, Dispatch
4. Charles Payne, Gazette
5. Jos. (Joseph) Rigby, Press
6. R. (Robert) Sidney Smith
7. O. (Oliver) Shiras, Chronicle-Telegraph


Father Pitt in Cartoons
The Index
October 6, 1906
William Parker Canfield, Robert Frazier, Eldridge Wallace Jamieson, 

Frederick Earl Johnston, Charles Milard Payne, Joseph Rigby, and 
Oliver Cameron Shiras

* * * * * 

WILLIAM PARKER CANFIELD


ROBERT FRAZIER


ELDRIDGE WALLACE JAMIESON
July 24, 1883 (World War I draft card) or 1884 (1900 census), Illinois

1900 United States Federal Census
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Household Members:
Name / Age
A Jamieson, 48
Carrie Jamieson, 45
E W Jamieson, 15

1910 United States Federal Census
Des Moines, Iowa
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
E W Jamison, 26, Newspaper Cartoonist

1911 Des Moines, Iowa, City Directory
Name: Eldridge Jamieson, Cartoonist
Randolph Hotel

1917 Des Moines, Iowa, City Directory
Eldridge W Jamieson, Artist
Randolph Hotel

World War I Draft Card
Eldridge Wallace Jamieson
Cargill Hotel, Des Moines, Iowa
Photographer, Register Tribune

1920 United States Federal Census
Des Moines, Iowa
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
Eldridge W Jamieson, 36, Newspaper Artist

1928 Denver, Colorado, City Directory
Eldridge W Jamieson, Commercial Artist
1315 Curtis

1929 Omaha, Nebraska, City Directory
Eldridge Jamieson, Artist
Henshaw Hotel

1930 United States Federal Census
Chicago, Illinois
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
Eldridge W Jamieson, 46, Newspaper Artist

1940 United States Federal Census
Omaha, Nebraska
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
Eldridge W Jamieson, 56, Artist

1941 Omaha, Nebraska, City Directory
E W Jamieson, Artist, W P Co
1913 Farnam

World War II Draft Card
Eldridge Wallace Jamieson, Art Department, Omaha World-Herald
Conant Stanford Hotel, Omaha, Nebraska

1948 Omaha, Nebraska, City Directory
E W Jamieson, Artist, World-Herald
Conant Hotel

California, Death Index
October 18, 1968, Los Angeles, California


OLIVER CAMERON SHIRAS
Birth: March 23, 1873 (Social Security Death Index); 1874 (1900 census) or 1876 (World War I draft card), Pennsylvania

1880 United States Federal Census
Sharon, Pennsylvania
Household Members:
Name / Age
David Shiras, 36
Lydia Shiras, 31
Daisy Shiras, 9
William Shiras, 7
Oliver Shiras, 6
Donald Shiras, 1 month

1900 United States Federal Census
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Name / Age / Occuparion
Oliver C Shiras, 26, Newspaper Artist

1910 United States Federal Census
Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania
Household Members:
Name / Age /
Oliver Shiras, 36, Newspaper Cartoonist
Rebecca Shiras, 32

Michigan, Marriage Records
Oliver Shiras to Mary Pratt
June 15, 1912, Lake Shore Drive, Michigan

World War I Draft Registration Cards
Oliver Cameron Shiras
1921 East 70th Street, Cleveland, Ohio
Commercial Artist. Allied Publicity Bureau
Medium height and build with blue eyes, sandy hair

1920 United States Federal Census
Cleveland, Ohio
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
Oliver C Shiras, 43, Advertising
Mary P Shiras, 25

1930 United States Federal Census
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
Oliver C Shiras, 55, Advertising
Mary P Shiras, 45
Jane B Shiras, 6
Mabel W Hunt, 35

1940 United States Federal Census
Hudson, Ohio
Household Members:
Name / Age / Occupation
Oliver Shiras, 65, Advertising
Mary Shiras, 35
Jane Shiras, 16

Death: June 17, 1967, Cleveland, Ohio
Grace Lawn Cemetery


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Any idea if Newark, New Jersey editorial cartoonist William Newton (Bil) Canfield
is any relation to William Parker Canfield above?
Or if Bil Canfield (b. 1920) is still alive?
 
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Saturday, February 03, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


June 13 1909 -- Evidently Herriman is referring to some talk about Battling Nelson retiring and getting married, but he wouldn't actual retire until 1917, and he married cartoonist Fay King in 1913. So I guess we should all bellow "FAKE NEWS" and take this as a sign that mainstream journalism has failed us.

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Friday, February 02, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael


Here's another Carmichael card, this one from the 1909 "Your Fortune" series, which is Taylor Pratt & Co. Series 621. These cards must not have done well on the spinner rack, because they seem to be scarcer than other Carmichael series cards.

Wait ... did they have spinner racks in 1909?

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