Saturday, April 18, 2015

 

Herriman Saturday


September 21, 1908 -- This can give you an idea of how partisan newspapers operated back in the day. I keep looking to the Los Angeles Herald (available in the California Digital Newspaper Collection) to find out what's going on in the "Solid Three" bond-fixing scandal. Oh well, so sorry. The Herald was a Republican paper, so their coverage of this scandal was slight compared to the Examiner. They treated it as more like a minor misunderstanding and perhaps a little bad judgement, while the Examiner was (as you can see above) screaming for blood on a daily basis.

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Big Chief Tax Payer is a NAZI???

HOW ODD!!!
 
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Friday, April 17, 2015

 

Sci-Friday starring Connie


Connie, September 18 1938, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.

This is the final sci-fi Connie story we have available from Cole Johnson. If anyone out there can contribute scans of another complete Connie story (later than 3/26/1939), or can offer another sci-fi strip to take its place on Sci-Fridays, I'd be delighted and grateful to hear from you! Note that we elitists at Stripper's Guide do not generally use digital microfilm material here on Stripper's Guide, so we would need sharp 300-600 dpi scans from newspaper tearsheets or syndicate proofs. 

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Paul Fogarty


James Paul Fogarty was born in Michigan City, Indiana, on November 8, 1893, according to his World War I and II draft cards.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Fogarty was the oldest of two children born to James and Hannah. HIs father was a railroad engineer. The family resided in Michigan City at 324 East Sixth Street.

The next census recorded two more children in the Fogarty household at the same address. Who’s Who in the Midwest (1958) said Fogarty had a Ph. B. in Journalism from the University of Notre Dame in 1917.

Fogarty signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. On the line for occupation it said: Candidate, U.S. Government, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He was described as tall, medium build with blue eyes and dark hair. Who’s Who said he served from second lieutenant to captain in the U.S. Army infantry.

Fogarty has not yet been found in the 1920 census. According to Who’s Who, Fogarty was an instructor at the Culver Military Academy from 1920 to 1923.

Fogarty tried his hand at song writing. The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, 1924, New Series, Volume 19, Numbers 5–6, has this entry:

’Neath the Wabash moon; w J. Paul Fogarty, m Herbert B. Keller, of U. S. © May 5, 1924 ; 2 c. May 6; E 587897: Richmond-Robbins, Inc., New York. 10419
The 1929 song, Joe College, had words by Fogarty and music by Ted Fiorito and Guy Lombardo.

Fogarty resided in Chicago, Illinois at 5349 Sheridan Road, as recorded in the 1930 census. He was the manager of hotel entertainment. Fogarty collaborated with Rudy Vallee on Betty Co-Ed (1930), She Loves Me Just the Same (1930) and Charlie Cadet (1931).




In 1932 Fogarty was at Chicago radio station WGN where he produced and wrote the baseball program, Rube Appleberry. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the Rube Appleberry comic strip began August 3, 1936. The strip ended June 12, 1937 in the Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois). Fogarty was the writer and Al Demaree the artist.

The 1940 census recorded Fogarty at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, 5555 Sheridan Road, in Chicago. His occupation was broadcast radio script writer. A 1941 issue of Broadcasting reported Fogarty’s second comic strip: “Paul Fogarty, producer of WGN, Chicago, is producing a comic strip, Draftie, based on his experiences as a captain of U. S. Infantry during the World War.” American Newspaper Comics said the strip was written by Fogarty and drawn, initially, by William Juhre, who was followed by Loren Wiley and Len Dworkins. Draftie ran from February 3, 1941 to May 5, 1946.

1943 Big Little Book

Fogarty tried writing lyrics and music. He had a listing in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, 1941, New Series, Volume 36, Number 6

Pretty co-ed has gone to my head; w & m Paul [i. e. J. Paul] Fogarty. © June 16, 1941; E pub. 95860; Broadcast music, inc., New York. 29193
The Billboard, March 21, 1942, reviewed Fogarty’s morning exercise program, Keep Fit Corps.

On April 27, 1942, Fogarty signed his World War II draft card. He still resided at the Edgewater Beach Hotel and employed at WGN radio station. He was six feet, weighed 190 pounds and had blue eyes and gray hair.

Who’s Who said Fogarty married Elizabeth Sackley, August 1, 1942.

Radio Daily, March 8, 1948, noted Fogarty’s appointment as sports producer on the WGN-TV staff.

The Chicago Tribune, October 2, 1950, reported Fogarty’s televised exercise program, Your Figure, Ladies. Fogarty’s exercise book, Your Figure, Ladies, was published by A.S. Barnes & Company in 1955.




Paul Fogarty’s Famous Forty Exercises was released on a vinyl recording.


Fogarty passed away March 24, 1976 in Florida. The Register-Republic (Rockford, Illinois), March 26, 1976, published the Associated Press report of his death.

Ex-WGN personality Fogarty dies
Del Ray, Fla. (AP)—Funeral services for former WGN radio and television personality Paul Fogarty will be held Saturday in Del Ray.
Fogarty, 81, died Wednesday in Del Ray.
A figure in Chicago broadcasting for more than 31 years before he retired, Fogarty had a morning exercise program on WGN-TV during the 1950s.
He also was a sports writer and song composer.

—Alex Jay 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bill Juhre




William Hugh “Bill” Juhre was born in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin on February 21, 1903, according to Wisconsin Births, 1820-1907 at Ancestry.com. His name was recorded as “Wilhelm. His middle name is from a family tree at Ancestry.com. According to the Milwaukee Journal, October 27, 1927, “...his name is pronounced ‘Joo-ray,’ with the accent on the second syllable…. In the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, he was the youngest of two children born to Alice, a widow and dressmaker. They lived in Milwaukee.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, he lived in Milwaukee at 934 Fratney Street. His mother was a laundress. Sometime after the census his mother remarried. The Journal, February 28, 1919, reported his World War I exploits.

Milwaukee Yank, 16, Is Hero of 5 Battles
Though only 16, Private WIlliam Juhre, 538 Stowell av. recently discharged from service, spent a year in the trenches, was gassed and wounded, and took part in five big battles. He was only 14 when war broke out, but he gave his age as 18, and did not tell his mother about it until ready to leave.
“Twenty of our 250 men came through at Chateau-Thierry, and I was one of them, Private Juhre said. He was wounded by a piece of shrapnel in this drive. At Soissons he was wounded by a machine gun bullet, and at Champagne he was caught in mustard gas.
A follow-up story, in the Journal, appeared March 8.


Public Welcome for Wounded at Arcade, Sunday

16-Year-Old Veteran Gives Glory to Bunkie Still on Other Side
Milwaukee’s first public reception for returned wounded soldiers, sailors and marines will be stage in Plankinton arcade Sunday, 3 p.m., under the auspices of the Society of Loyal Americans. Arrangements have been completed for every wounded man in Milwaukee to be on the platform, where several of them will give five minute talks.
“It is time for Milwaukee to honor these boys and we hope every American will be present,” said W.J. Kershaw, president.
Military Band to Play.
The program includes music by the Seventh Regiment band, vocal solos by William Drohan, community singing led by George Eckert, and a talk by William Juhre, 540 Stowell av.
Probably no returned soldier is of more interest than Juhre, 16, who sailed for France with the Ninth infantry in September, 1915. He was in every battle participated in by Americans except the Argonne and was wounded four times.
Gives Glory to Bunkie.
“Don’t say anything about me unless you tell about my bunkie, said the youth. “Frank Haupt, whose home is 560 Oakland av. went over when I did; he was only 16 when we left, and he is still there.
The 1920 census recorded Juhre in Waukegan, Illinois at 114 Seward Street. He was the second oldest of five children. His step-father was Max Pietschman, a carpenter, who had three children from a previous marriage. Information on his art training has not been found. During the 1920s, he returned to Milwaukee and was on the art staff of the Journal. One of his features was for the radio section; initially called Radio Age (May 4, 1924, page 49), it was retitled, a week or two later, as Radio Phun. It was very short-lived, ending June 8.

Juhre did a comic strip based on the characters Brownie and the Poor Cuss. A brief history of the characters and the writer who created them is in the book, Fill ’er Up: The Glory Days of Wisconsin Gas Stations (2008).

The May 1, 1926 edition of the Journal announced the forth coming strip, Sinful Emil, by Oswald P. Arrowroot and Juhre. It began on May 3 and ended June 26, 1926.

According to the 1930 census, Juhre married Grace when he was 19 years old and she was 21. They lived in Downers Grove, Illinois at 45 South Prospect Avenue, with their son and daughter. He was a freelance artist. Filling in for Rex Maxon, Juhre produced Tarzan daily strips from June 22, 1936 to January 15, 1938. A few samples are here. The Sheboygan Press (Wisconsin), March 8, 1956, said, “…for several years he was art director of the Chicago American-Herald. For eight years he taught figure drawing, illustration, anatomy and cartooning at American Academy of Art in Chicago.”

Juhre, his wife, son and three daughters lived in Dundee, Illinois at 418 Oregon Avenue, as recorded in the 1940 census. In 1935 he lived in Hinsdale, Illinois. He had four years of high school and was a commercial artist at an advertising agency. 


American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Draftie was written by Paul Fogarty and drawn, initially, by Juhre, who was followed by Loren Wiley and Len Dworkins. Draftie ran from February 3, 1941 to May 5, 1946.

Around 1946, The Orbits comic strip appeared. The Register-Republic (Rockford, Illinois), April 9, 1953, reported Juhre's visit and said, “…Juhre, creator of 'The Orbits,' a daily cartoon feature…and a color panel in the The Morning Star Sunday comic section, has been drawing the strip for seven years.” The strip ended in May 1953.

The Sheboygan Press, June 30, 1954, announced his upcoming chalk talk and said, “…Mr. Juhre is now in a semi-retired status as curator of art at the Neville Public Museum where he conducts classes in various phases of art work three days a week…”

Juhre was profiled in the Journal, November 11, 1964, which said:

With national success came some of the problems of success, too. Though he moved his studio to Dundee, a modest sized city of Illinois, he was only 40 miles from Chicago. It wasn't quite far enough.
The pressures for other elements of his art became great. So did a perplexing feeling that he was not using all of his skills as an artist.
“I didn’t really like Chicago,” he said Tuesday, reflecting on those distant days. “Yet it seemed the logical place for an artist. The hub bub was there, but so was a very large market.”
Dissatisfactions grew. One day he discussed them with his artist-wife, Grace, who comprehends the Juhre sensitivities. Superficial plans were made to scuttle the cartoon strip and go back—somewhere, somehow—to being a full artist.
On a casual trip to this small city to visit a friend, the Juhres found a plot of land which seemed to respond to their hungers: Five acres of a grass capped hill atop a rocky escarpment of Niagara limestone.
From its summit the Juhres looked far, far over parts of the Fox River valley, deep into Green Bay 10 miles north and over the city of De Pere four miles away. In between the hill and the cities, there were acres of undulating farmland.
It was too beautiful. Juhre promptly murdered the Orbits, bought the land, designed a house and—in time—moved into this rural setting where even the roads to the hill are obscure.
So it is that Bill and Grace Juhre have found that their hilltop aerie has been exactly what has been best for them both. They found that high on the craggy, rocky summit, they could manage to have both blessings—people and isolation.
Juhre passed away January 30, 1976, in De Pere, Wisconsin. He was buried at the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

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I always considered Juhre the luckiest artist on the planet!
For reasons not evident in his art, he got gigs on Tarzan [after the syndicate refused to meet Maxon's pay demands), Flash Gordon [according to Hames Ware and Paul Liefer, though I suspect this was on a Big Little Book], Buck Rogers [his Orbits was distributed by Dille; right place, right time] the Lone Ranger [Big Little Book] and got covers on Amazing Stories (June 1939, May 1939 back cover and interiors February 1946).
The advertising agency, by the way, was Lord and Thomas Agency.
He was also a staff artist for The Post Crescent (Appleton, WI) in 1961-3, and the Boston Globe.
 
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

Obscurity of the Day: Draftie



I guess it must have been pretty darn obvious to the average American, and thus the folks at the comic strip syndicates, that the USA was going to get into World War II well ahead of our actual entry into the conflict. I say that because it is quite astounding how, starting around 1940, the syndicates began to roll out their military strips en masse.

Take for example Draftie. It debuted on January 27 1941, eleven months before Pearl Harbor. And I don't think I'm far off-base if I say that that a strip about a couple of raw Army recruits would not have found many takers in, say, 1937. But by January 1941 Americans generally knew it was just a matter of time, and our comic strips were ready to reflect that. You might say that our newspapers' comic strip pages went onto a war-time stance well before reality finally kicked in.

Draftie paired up well-established radio and comic strip writer Paul Fogarty with accomplished cartoonist Bill Juhre. For some reason, Juhre signed himself 'Pony Proehl'on the strip at first.* Well, actually not quite -- Juhre mistakenly signed his own name on the first Sunday (oops!). Otherwise, though, Proehl got the art credit through June of 1941, and Juhre did not begin to sign the strip until far into the run, on 9/12/1943. (A footnote -- Len Dworkins said he ghosted the art for about six months in 1942).

The credits on Draftie are made even more interesting by an apparent mistake in Dave Strickler's E&P index. He credits Loren Wiley on the strip in 1942-43, and this information has been popped up in various places around the web, and even wormed its way into my book, I'm very sorry to admit. Only one problem with that credit --- there were no E&P syndicate directories in 1942 and 1943, so how could that credit be there? As far as I can tell, Loren Wiley, whoever he is, is a typo of Strickler's. I'm very glad to put that error to rest, and I hope the folks around the web who refer to this person will update their information accordingly.

Draftie concerns a couple of privates, Lem the country bumpkin and Oinie the Brooklyn-bred wiseacre, as a pair of completely mismatched but devoted best buddies. When the war came, there was an uncomfortably long time lag before the boys caught on. This, of course, is because newspaper cartoonists are generally working 6-8 weeks in advance. Once the boys got into the war, though, the comedy vied with drama, especially in the dailies. The boys shipped out to the south seas, and while the stories still allowed the boys to be their loveable half-witted selves, they were also fighting for Uncle Sam and (unusually inadvertently) doing more than their share to help win the war.

As the strip continued, the title seemed less and less apt, and so it was officially changed to Lem And Oinie on October 1 1944.

After the war, the strip tried to hold the interest of returning GI's by chronicling the travails of Lem and Oinie as they adjusted  back to civilian life. There were so many strips trying to remain relevant in the same situation, though, that the goofy duo were fighting their first and last losing battle. The strip managed to soldier on on until May 5 1946, when the boys were permanently discharged from the newspaper comics pages.

* That intrepid ink-slinger-tracker-downer Alex Jay tells me that there was an illustrator named Paul Proehl working in Chicago at this time, which also happens to be where Juhre was based in this era. Maybe this Proehl fellow was the original artist on the strip, but I really don't think so. The style on Draftie appears to be that of Juhre from start to finish. Maybe Juhre was contractually unable to take credit on the strip at this time, and so played a little practical joke on his friend, Mr. Proehl?

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The Fabulous Fifties blog ran quite a number of these
a couple of times recently. If anything, the strip portrayed American soldiers- especially the two leads- as unstoppable, perfect, gosh-and golly, mom's apple pie supermen.I'm sure that making the war look easy was a great morale booster for the US public during that time, But it seems soldiers identified more with types like Sad sack and Private Berger.. which might explain why "Draftee" didn't take on..
 
The revival of the draft in 1940 was huge news. There was a difference of opinion at that time whether the US was going to get into the war. But there were clear defensive measures that the country was taking, including sending lots of young men into the service. These comic strips reflected the current interest in this big change. When war started, these military-based strips were already in place, as were the draftees.

F Flood
 
There were quite a few animated cartoons in 1941 that anticipated the war. A by no means complete list would include Friz Freleng's "Rookie Revue" (released October, 1941), the Terry-toon "Sham Battle Shenanegains" (released March, 1942, but obviously in production before the war), Bob Clampett's "Meet John Doughboy" (released July, 1941), et alia.
 
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Monday, April 13, 2015

 

News of Yore 1916: A Primer on Line Photoengraving



A remarkably lucid explanation of the amazing amount of work that went into making a metal printing plate, via the method of line photoengraving. This explanation was originally published in The Students Art Magazine, April 1916.

About Photoengraving

by

C.F. Sauerbrunn


By the term photoengraving is meant the production of printing plates having images formed in relief upon a metal surface, these images being obtained by a series of photographic and chemical operations.

There are two general classes of these engravings known respectively as line plates and half-tone plates-r-the former being reproductions of subjects formed only of lines or masses of solid black or white; the latter those of subjects, having intermediate tones such as photographs or wash drawings, ' This article is devoted to a description of the operations necessary in producing a line plate (commonly known as a zinc etching).
Sample of a vintage print block (currently for sale on eBay)
The order for a drawing is first given to the artist who furnishes a pencil sketch to a prospective customer. If the sketch is satisfactory it is returned to the artist for finishing up in ink. Drawings must be in black ink on white paper and ordinarily are made about one-half size larger than the finished engraving. The finished drawing is given to the operator who places it under a piece of plate glass on the copy board in front of the camera and focusses the design down to the proper size. He then coats a sheet of glass by flowing it over with iodised collodion. As soon as the collodion sets it is placed for a few minutes in a bath of silver nitrate to sensitize it. The plate is taken from the bath and placed in the plate holder, wet. Exposure is then given by artificial light—two high power electric arcs being used for illuminating. After exposure the plate holder is taken to the dark room where the plate is removed and developed in iron sulphate and fixed with potassium cyanide. After intensifying with copper bromide and silver nitrate it is cleaned with iodide and cyanide and blackened with ammonium sulphide. The negative is then placed in a rack to dry. When it is dry it is coated with para rubber dissolved in benezine and later with collodion. This is done to thicken the film so it will not tear or stretch in stripping it off the glass. When the collodion is dry the film is cut around with a knife and the negative placed in a solution of acetic acid and water to loosen the film from the glass. The film is stripped from the negative glass, reversed, and placed onto a thick sheet of plate glass which will stand the pressure of the printing frame.


Another from eBay; seller even found it being used in a 1916 newspaper, same year as this article

The next operation is to saw a piece of zinc large enough to take the print from the negative, allowing about an inch margin all around. The zinc is polished with a piece of cotton, powdered pumice stone and water. While wet it is flowed over with the sensitizing solution, composed of albumen, fish glue, ammonium bichromate and water. In this condition the zinc plate is placed in a whirling device and kept in motion over a gas flame until dry. The negative is placed in a heavy printing frame and the sensitized zinc put in just as it is done for printing a post card from a kodak film. This printing frame is supplied with strong clamps that press the metal into absolute contact with the film. The exposure is made and the frame taken to the dark room where the zinc is rolled up completely with etching ink. The zinc with the ink covering is placed under a tap and water allowed to flow over it until all of the unexposed sensitizer is dissolved out, carrying the etching ink with it. Where the zinc has been exposed to light through the transparent lines of the negative, the sensitive coating becomes insolvent and remains in place, retaining the etching ink. When the print is properly dissolved out one has left a piece of polished zinc with the design upon it in lines of etching ink. Now the zinc plate is taken to the etching room, dried with a piece of chamois skin, warmed and powdered with etching powder or dragon's blood. When warm the ink lines are sticky and retain the powder, the surplus being brushed from the zinc with a soft brush. The plate is now placed over a gas flame and heated until the powder fuses with the ink. The back of the plate is painted with shellac to keep the acid from etching it. All the lines being protected with an acid resist we are ready for etching. The first bite, or etching, is given by placing the zinc into the etching tub containing nitric acid and water — about ten per cent solution. The tub is rocked until the metal in the exposed parts is etched away to a depth equal to the thickness of a sheet of heavy writing paper. The plate is taken out, dried, warmed and powdered again, this time in four different directions so that the powder will bank up against the sides of the lines and protect them from undercutting. Two bites are usually necessary and the same method of procedure for powdering must be gone through. When the design is etched deep enough the plate is taken out and the acid resist removed with hot lye water.


Another one from eBay; this one is later vintage without wood backer.
The next operation is to deepen and clean out the open places in the etching with the routing machine. Such a machine has a rapidly revolving spindle head into which is inserted different sizes and shapes of cutting tools according to the kind of work in hand. The spindle head and cutter can be moved universally in all directions and the metal is thus cut or drilled out of the open places. This takes the place of deep etching and can be done more rapidly and economically.

After this the etching is nailed to a block of birch or other hard lumber which has previously been planed flat in the surface planer. Then it is sawed up close and trimmed square on four sides. It is again placed in the surface planer, face down, and the back of the block planed down to type-high.

Several proofs are pulled on a hand press and the print examined for spots or flaws. These spots, etc., are removed by hand by the finished. The final proof is delivered to the customer with the engraving.

The foregoing will give some idea of the many operations necessary in producing even the smallest kind of a line etching. There are many schemes which the photoengraver must make use of in order to turn out the small engravings at a profit. Sometimes a number of exposures of different reductions can be made on the same plate. In this way all of them are developed in the same time it would take to develop one. A large number of negatives can be stripped onto the same plate glass so that the printing and etching can be done at one time.

In case an order comes for a large amount of engravings of the same kind and size, one or two engravings are first made from the copy. A goodly number of clean proofs are pulled from these engravings and the proofs pasted or arranged on a sheet of board so they can be photographed at one time.

The process of making the other kind of plate (halftone) from photographs or wash drawings is practically the same except in making the negative.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

 

Herriman Saturday


Sunday, September 20 1908 -- Mr. Proones the Plunger makes a curtain call almost a year after the publication of his short-lived weekday strip ended. Why Herriman feels it necessary to remind fans of the upcoming horse-racing season almost two months early I cannot guess.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

 

Sci-Friday starring Connie


Connie, September 11 1938, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.

This is the final sci-fi Connie story we have available from Cole Johnson. If anyone out there can contribute scans of another complete Connie story (later than 3/26/1939), or can offer another sci-fi strip to take its place on Sci-Fridays, I'd be delighted and grateful to hear from you! Note that we elitists at Stripper's Guide do not generally use digital microfilm material here on Stripper's Guide, so we would need sharp 300-600 dpi scans from newspaper tearsheets or syndicate proofs. 

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Val Heinz


Valentine Matthew “Val” Heinz was born in Streator, Illinois, on April 20, 1927. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index. The 1927 Streator city directory listed Heinz’s parents, Val and Ann, at 107 West Elm Street. Matthew was the name of Heinz’s paternal grandfather.

The Heinz family resided at the same address in the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Federal Censuses. Heinz was the oldest of three children and his father was a self-employed baker.

In the mid-1940s, Heinz attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts where he was discovered by Frank King of Gasoline Alley fame. The World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), April 25, 1948, published a profile of King and said:

…Frank’s assistants are Bill Perry, who has worked with him 22 years and who also draws Ned Handy, and Val Heinz, a young man he picked out of the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago two years ago.
The three work a regular schedule in King’s studio in his home. They start their day at 9 a.m. and work until 4 p.m. with time out for lunch. They do this five days a week, keeping six weeks ahead on the daily strip and 10 weeks ahead on the Sunday page.
In 1949, Heinz produced Dawn O’Day in Hollywood for the Chicago Tribune. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the strip debuted as a Sunday feature on October 2, 1949. The following entry was in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 3, Part 1B, Number 2, Pamphlets, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, July–December 1949. 
Heinz, Val. Dawn O’Day in Hollywood. [Cartoon strip] (In Chicago Sunday tribune, Oct. 2, 1949, p. 10, pt. 9) ©Tribune Co. (in notice: The Chicago tribune); 2Oct49; B5-11780 .
Editor & Publisher, August 12, 1950, announced the Dawn O’Day daily:
“Dawn O’Day in Hollywood,” a Chicago Tribune-New York News comic strip initiated a year ago as a Sunday color feature, will go on a daily basis Sept. 18. Now syndicated in 15 newspapers, the strip is drawn by Val Heinz, 23, the youngest of the CT-NYN’s cartoonists. Mr. Heinz, a native of Streator, Ill., worked in Florida as an assistant to Frank King for four years before becoming a student at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
The strip ended in 1954.

At some point Heinz moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. The 1956 city directory listing had his wife’s name, Harriet; home address at 1412 Eagleston Avenue; and occupation as commercial artist at Allied Art and Photo Service. In the 1959 directory, Heinz lived at 1009 Coolidge Avenue and was an artist at Bahlman Studio.

The 1972 Kalamazoo Suburban City Directories had a business listing for Heinz: 

Artists—Commercial 
Heinz Val M 7525 Sandyridge St (Portg)
The Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2008, said Heinz had three sons, Mark, Michael, and Val. The Boston Herald American, July 11, 1975, published a photograph of Val, a student at MIT, posing with a model of the Starship Enterprise composed of 75 empty beer cans. Val was in the Class of 1975 which donated the model to the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Heinz passed away March 1, 1983, according to Michigan Deaths at Ancestry.com. He was a resident of Portage and died in Kalamazoo. His wife, Harriet, passed away April 8, 2003, in Livermore, California.



—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

 

Obscurity of the Day: Dawn O'Day in Hollywood




Dawn O'Day in Hollywood was a semi-precious gem of a strip that, unfortunately, was rarely seen by anyone except the readers of the Chicago Tribune. After the end of World War II, the Tribune tried out quite a few rather interesting series in their Sunday sections, some of which they ran for years. However, they seemed to have no luck in selling them to other client papers. Why? I dunno. They certainly had no trouble selling the old guard (Gasoline Alley, Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy et al).

Dawn O'Day debuted in the Sunday Tribune on October 2 1949. It was a light-hearted strip, tap dancing around the genres of soap opera and adventure, but always with lots of levity. Starlet Dawn O'Day and her manager Wally Crackle romp through tinseltown hijinks, getting into hot water with crazy old faded stars, murderous directors ... you know the drill. Dawn sometimes exhibits dumb blonde tendencies, but generally she's a gamer with a good head on her shoulders and witty repartee always at the ready.

If you took the art styles of George Wunder and Frank Robbins and mashed them together, you'd end up with the style of creator Val Heinz. His art is quite stylized, yet more attractive and inviting than either of his influences, both of whom can take a little bit of getting used to, if you don't mind me saying. There are probably art swipes involved, but I definitely think Heinz creates something that is quite a bit greater than the sum of its parts. With only a third page at his disposal (EDIT -- it appears that Heinz was drawing these to a full tabloid format according to the E&P yearbooks. The Trib apparently just cut them down to thirds after a brief period as halves in the first months of the run. Did anyone ever run the full tab strips? Unknown at this time.), he makes every square inch work for effect. Great character design, ever-changing camera angles, interesting backgrounds, you name it, he does it well. According to a Tribune article, Heinz learned cartooning as an assistant to Frank King; that may be so, but the influence of King is nowhere to be seen here.

The strip must have appealed to someone at the Tribune, because in spite of the scarcity of client papers (did it have any other than perhaps a few in the Tribune chain?), the strip was granted the addition of a daily strip on September 18 1950. Evidently it was on a one-year contract, as it disappeared from the Tribune on Saturday September 15 1951.

The Sunday, though, ambled along, seemingly getting the approval of Tribune folks if no one else. Finally, though, in 1954 several of these no-client strips were led to the chopping block. On May 30 1954, the strip came to the end of a storyline, promised a new one, but did not appear next week. Oddly, though, it reappeared one last time on June 27, already well into the middle of the next story. Maybe there was at least one other paper still running the strip, because Ohio State's Bill Blackbeard Collection lists Sundays for August 29 and September 22 in their collection. Only problem is that September 22 is a Wednesday, so I don't know how well we can trust their records. Anyone know of a client paper that ran it to the bitter end?


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I've seen samples of this strip over at Ger Apeldoorn's blog, and I am puzzled by Val Heinz. His artwork, though admittedly derivative, is polished and professional. I've never seen anything else by him, though. You'd think he'd have had a more visible career. I even speculated Heinz was a pseudonym for someone else, but I think not. Do you know any more about him?
 
I am seeing more than a bit of Mel Graff as well. My next stop in the ether is the Fab Fiddies for more. I'm lovin heinz.

And The older I get the closer Frank Robbins and Johnny Hazard get to the top of my favorites (I didnt say 'best')
Wunder was terrific except for the faces. Latter day Terry reads well and was pretty damn fun.

But those faces..ugh
 
I have an almost complete run (especially of the first years) in the process of being scanned and prepared. Some in three tiers even, which makes my think that althugh the strip was almost always shown in two tiers it may in fact have been produced in three for a long time. I will have a look what I have of those last few months/weeks. In the first year you can see Hein
z' style move from what I would call 'the Chicago style' to that of the Caniff school.
 
Sounds great, Ger! What paper do you have that printed the strip in three tiers?

--Allan
 
Thats's the funny thing. I thought I only had the Chicago tribune. But apparetnly not. I bought the whole lot as a set of cuttings from a seller. And now I am wondering (and not at home to check) if I wasn't mistaken and was it only thrtee tiers with some in half page format to preserve the three tier strip on the back?

 
Well, at least the first four I have on this computer from October 1949 are three tiers. After that it's all two tiers. A format change or a different paper? I will have to look when I am home.

 
You mention the same starting date as my first one. So you are saying that your October 2, 1949 copy is two tiers? In that case mine should be from a different paper and the paper name may be on the tear sheet.
 
Hi Ger --
I don't have any samples from the first couple months; my start date was based on microfilm indexing.

As to format, though, your half-pagers prompted me to check the source I should have checked before opening my big mouth. According to the E&P yearbooks in which the available formats are listed, poor Val was drawing these up as FULL TABS, only to have the Trib chop them down to thirds! What a shame.

Wonder if anyone has seen a Dawn O'Day original so we can verify that.

--Allan
 
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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dorothe Carey


Dorothe Louise Carey was born in Springfield, Ohio, on June 23, 1911. Her birthplace was determined from the census records, and her birthdate is from the Social Security Death Index.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Dorothe was the youngest of two daughters born to William and Muriel. They resided in Springfield at 14 East College Avenue. Her father was a salesman.

The 1930 census recorded Dorothe, her sister and divorced mother in Dayton, Ohio, at 40 Locust Street. Dorothe was a stenographer at a stationary supplier.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Dorothe created Alice in Beautyland, for King Features Syndicate, which ran from January 8, 1938 to November 5, 1939. No information has been found about any art training Dorothe may have had.

Information about Dorothe’s employment was found in the Lima News (Ohio), April 21, 1938.
News Writers Will Nominate Queen Jubilee
Van Wert, April 21—Judges for the selection of Queen Jubilee VII to reign over Van Vert’s 1938 Peony Festival June 8 and 9 were announced today by J.F. Beam, queen committee chairman.
The judges are C. R. Corbin, managing editor of The Toledo Blade; Miss Dorothe Carey, women’s editor of The Dayton Daily News; and Dudley T. Fisher, Jr., Columbus Dispatch staff cartoonist.
The queen’s selection will be made the night of May 11, at Lincoln school auditorium.
A posting at RootsWeb said Dorothe married Robert Edward Doty in Baltimore, Maryland on September 4, 1938.

They were listed in the 1940 census in Washington Township, Ohio, on Mad River Road. Her husband was a newspaper photographer. She was the advertising manager at a retail furniture store. During World War II, her husband served from March 3, 1944 to May 15, 1946. A son was born to them in 1947.

At some point Dorothe returned to newspapers through advertising. A single sample of “Belinda Goes Shopping”, with the byline Dorothe Doty, was found in the weekly Oswego Valley News (New York), April 15, 1954. It’s not known when this campaign started. The copy refers to “a Dayton store”.


The Ohio Divorce Index, at Anestry.com, said Dorothe’s divorce was granted on July 8, 1970. She was an out of state resident at the time.

Dorothe’s husband passed away November 22, 1981 in California. Dorothe passed away August 26, 1999, in California. According to the Social Security Death Index she was a resident of Berkeley. RootsWeb said her death was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 1999. Her son passed away in California, December 2, 1985.



—Alex Jay

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Just a couple small points of clarification. The Doty's would have lived in Washington Township, Ohio, on Mad River Road -- both just a few miles south of where we live. Oddly enough, when I worked at Dayton Newspapers, I would run across photos in the newspaper's morgue stamped "Doty" on the back. If I would have only known, but by then they were both gone anyway.
Love all the profiles, Alex.

Frank Pauer.
 
Thanks, Frank. Corrections made.
 
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Monday, April 06, 2015

 

Obscurity of the Day: Alice in Beautyland



It's surprising how many times the form of the comic strip was applied to the subject of fashion and beauty. Starting in the 1920s, several syndicates introduced features that looked like comic strips, but were actually illustrated essays on the latest style in fur collars, a new diet fad, or how to apply mascara. Surprisingly some of these strips met with some modest success.

A latecomer to the small party was Alice in Beautyland, a delightfully drawn feature by Dorothe Carey. The weekly feature debuted on January 8 1938 as part of a Sunday page of beauty advice syndicated by King Features Syndicate. The initial installment, though, was not so much a strip as a collection of individual illustrations on various beauty-related subjects. On the second week, though, Carey changed gears a little bit and began tying the illustrations together into a little story. Some of the strips are more strip-like than others. The top example here is more 'strippy', as we follow Alice's toilette routine when she is preparing for a day at the beach. Less like a strip is the bottom episode, which has little sense of a narrative, but more of a list of tips for taking care of short hair.

If Carey's feature was available for use outside of the Hearst Sunday magazine page, it certainly didn't find a lot of takers, because I've only seen it in that venue. The strip occasionally changed names, to Alice's Adventures in Beautyland and Alice's Exploits in Beautyland, but the content was consistently beauty advice. The weekly strip lasted almost two years, ending on November 5 1939.

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


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Love it!

Craig Zablo
 
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Saturday, April 04, 2015

 

Herriman Saturday


Sunday, September 20, 1908 -- William Randolph Hearst effectively ends the public life of Senator Joseph Foraker when he publishes letters to him from Standard Oil vice-president John D. Archbold. In the letters Archbold seems to indicate that Foraker was being bribed for killing legislation that was harmful to Rockefeller's rapacious oil company.

Sorry for the reproduction on this cartoon, but the microfilm was in really bad shape on this page. The text along the bottom of the cartoon is a replacement, as the original was close to impossible to read.

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Friday, April 03, 2015

 

Sci-Friday starring Connie

 
Connie, September 4 1938, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.

This is the final sci-fi Connie story we have available from Cole Johnson. If anyone out there can contribute scans of another complete Connie story (later than 3/26/1939), or can offer another sci-fi strip to take its place on Sci-Fridays, I'd be delighted and grateful to hear from you! Note that we elitists at Stripper's Guide do not generally use digital microfilm material here on Stripper's Guide, so we would need sharp 300-600 dpi scans from newspaper tearsheets or syndicate proofs. 

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

 

Obscurity of the Day: Sea Urchins






If there were a sweepstakes for the most unlikely plot in a modern daily comic strip, Sea Urchins would no doubt take the prize. Let’s see if I can capture it all in a nutshell. The strips stars the Unrun family; mom Ali, dad Ole, and seven kids (Cuss, Germy, Sherfew, Ella, Darla, Shirley and Lucky Mordy), and they live in the mythical land of Terrasfumato. Ole has the whole brood living aboard a ship he built named the Banana Moon, erected by mistake too far from water to be launched. Ole is a veteran of the Great Sea Ape War, in which he lost a toe, and he has vowed revenge, just as soon as he can figure out how to get the boat in the water. Meanwhile, this decidedly eccentric family gets involved in wacky adventures with their friends and enemies in the nearby community of Nettletown.


If this seems like a rather involved plot to throw at readers at the rate of one 2" x 6" strip per day, you're right. However, that was the dream of Sea Urchins creators Scott Eckelaert (writer) and Jason Whitley (art), and they actually realized that dream when they convinced the Myrtle Beach Sun News into running the strip on their daily comics page starting in February 2001. Early admirer Tom Heintjes (editor of Hogan's Alley) said of the strip, "When I first read Sea Urchins ... I didn't get it. When I went to the strip's website to read more of it, I still didn't get it ... But I kept reading it. And eventually I got it."


I have to go along with Heintjes. Reading the reprint book of Sea Urchins first published by Plan Nine Publishing in 2003, and now available as an e-book, I was initially confused, then dismissive, but by the time I got to the end of the slim book I was intrigued and hungry for more.


The creators claim to be trying to resurrect the old-time continuity strips, citing Thimble Theatre and Prince Valiant among their favorites. They mention that the kids, oddly enough, were patterned (very loosely) on the street urchins found in Gene Carr’s Lady Bountiful.


The early Sea Urchins strips are frankly a bit tough to read. Eckelaert and Whitley don’t really introduce the characters or explain their odd world (think Popeye’s Puddleburg crossed with Middle Earth). The strip meanders, not sure how to structure the gags or storyline, weaving between serious and humorous, and juggling a (literal) boatload of characters we don’t know, but that the creators assume we are as comfortable with as our own family.


Once we get over the initial bumps, though, the writing starts to gel. The continuity begins to hang together, the story becomes sensible in its own weird and whimsical way, and the characters become familiar enough that we don’t feel like we walked in on the second act of a play.


To the great credit of the Myrtle Beach Sun News, they stuck with the strip through those bumpy early days. In fact, the strip lasted over three years there, ending only when Whitley, who was employed by the paper, left for greener pastures. The strip ended October 30 2004, a victim not of reader disinterest but of creators who had too many other projects going on.


However, Eckelaert and Whitley have never been able to completely close the door on Sea Urchins. Since the newspaper strip ended they have produced occasional comic book stories featuring their characters, and just a few weeks ago they began a Kickstarter campaign to gather funds to print new reprint books of Sea Urchins, since only the earliest bit of the strip has been reprinted, and then only in a very scarce book (most of the publisher’s print run was destroyed). I was certainly entertained enough by book one to want the rest of the Unrun family’s saga in print form, so I made a contribution, and if you would like to place a vote that continuity strips aren’t yet dead, I suggest you do so too. Whitley and Eckelaert also promise that if they can find a demand, they would still be delighted to produce new adventures of the Sea Urchins. However, their experience in trying to tell stories in a postage stamp space leads them to prefer that the new adventures be produced for an online or graphic novel audience. I wish them all the best!

[PS -- thanks very much to Jason Whitley, who answered questions and loaned me some of his archive of Sea Urchins material to make this post]

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Audrey Blum



Audrey Anthony Blum was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 11 or 12, 1918. On November 5, 1919, Alex Blum, her father, submitted his Petition for Naturalization, which included the birth dates of his wife, Helen, born August 17, 1886, and daughter, January 11, 1918. In an interview published in Alter Ego, #99, January 2011, Audrey’s husband, William “Bill” Bossert, thought she was born on January 12, 1918.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Audrey and her parents resided in Philadelphia at 1001 Pine Street. Her father’s occupation was newspaper illustrator, while her mother’s occupation said “none.” In fact, Audrey’s mother was an artist according to Who’s Who in American Jewry (1926) which published this entry:

Blum, Helen Abrahams:
Artist; b. Aug. 17, 1886, Phila., Pa.; d. Simon and Theresa Abrahams; ed. Public and high schools (awarded four year scholarship); School of Design for Women, Phila.; Academy of Fine Arts; m. Alex A. Blum, Jan. 17, 1917, Phila., Pa. Exhibited at Phila. Art Club, Water Color Show, 1909; portraits purchased by William Chase (noted artist and teacher); 1910, won second Water Color Prize at Wanamaker Exhibit; Still life picture in oil purchased by permanent collection of Fellowship of Academy Fine Arts, 1915; exhibited in various galleries throughout country. Designed scenery and costumes for Little Theatre Movement; managed, staged and acted in various religious orgs, in Phila.; participated in many artistic pageants and plays. Author of a short story, numerous articles, etc. Fellow: Penna. Academy Fine Arts. Member: Rodolph Shalom Sisterhood; Internatl. Peace Movement. Address: 3303 Queen Lane, Germantown, Pa.
The 1930 census recorded Audrey, her parents and brother, Robert, in Philadelphia at 3303 West Queen Lane. Sometime in the early 1930s, Audrey’s family moved to New York City where her father had previously lived and worked beginning in 1900, the year he emigrated from Hungary.

In Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History (2001), William B. Jones, Jr. wrote:

…Around 1938, [Alex] Blum signed on with the Eisner-Iger shop; it was an association that lasted until 1954. The artist’s daughter, Audrey (“Toni”) Blum Bossert, also joined the team in 1938 as a scriptwriter.3…
Jones’s source for the dates was Who’s Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. I believe Audrey joined the Eisner and Iger Studio in 1937. According to Who’s Who and Bossert, Audrey’s nickname was Toni; some of her pen names included Toni Blum, Toni Boone, Toni Boon and Toni Adams.

The Eisner and Iger Studio’s syndicate was called Universal Phoenix Features and one of its comic strips was Stars on Parade which originally had a “Lora Lane” byline. Below are two samples from Alter Ego #99 which reproduced them from Jerry Iger’s Classic Jumbo Comics #1. The strip dated November 22, 1937 was signed “Toni Rossett”. Another strip, December 6, 1937, was unsigned.




I believe Audrey was the writer on the series because the byline was a woman’s name and the artist’s signature has Audrey’s nickname, Toni. It’s not clear who drew these two strips. According to Who’s Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999, the Eisner and Iger Studio personnel, in 1937, included Bernard Baily, Dick Briefer, Don de Conn, Will Eisner, Lou Ferstadt, Robert Golden, Jerry Iger, Bob Kane, Jack Kirby, Les Marshall, and Itwin Myers. Will Eisner drew several strips under various pen names, including Willis B. Rensie and Carl Heck, and in various styles. Maybe, Toni Rossett, was another Eisner pen name.

It’s not known if any newspaper published Stars on Parade in 1937. The name of the series apparently originated in the Jerry Iger-edited Wow—What a Magazine! #1. Some of the strips appeared in half-a-dozen issues of Jumbo Comics beginning in 1938. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Stars on Parade ran in the Brookshire Times in 1938, and 32 strips appeared in the Philadelphia Tribune from November 16, 1939 to June 27, 1940. These strips carried the Toni Rossett byline. A few of the strips were signed “Gustafson”, a name not found in the Eisner and Iger Studio. At least two strips, below, were signed by Bernard Baily who was in the Eisner and Iger Studio.






In 1939 Eisner ended his partnership with Iger. Audrey continued working for Iger until 1942, when she joined the Eisner Studio.

The 1940 census recorded Audrey in her father’s household. They resided in Manhattan, New York City at 60 East 94th Street. Her occupation was writer.

Bossert 1939

In 1942, Audrey married Bill Bossert whom she met when he joined the Eisner and Iger Studio in 1939, the year he graduated from Pratt Institute. The Daily Argus (Mount Vernon, New York), August 17, 1951, profiled Audrey and said she had been married for nine years. Bossert served in the army during World War II; he enlisted March 7, 1941.

The Daily Argus profile of Audrey said:

…During World War II Mrs. Bossert was a nurse’s aide at Bellevue, worked with service men’s wives for the American Association for the United Nations, and studied story writing at Columbia University. Her friends were other wives whose husbands were in service.
…Before her marriage, Mrs. Bossert did some acting at a Summer theater near Newburgh, radio work on dramatic programs, and extra work for a movie company in New York. She says “I didn’t have success, but I did have lots of fun.”
The New York Sun, April 16, 1945, published a list of wounded soldiers and it included Bossert:
Pacific Area: Bossert, William T., capt.; Mrs. Audrey A. Bossert, 60 E. 94th st.
The Brooklyn Eagle (New York), September 26, 1945, said: “Capt. William T. Bossert of 235 86th St….is a civilian again and expects to return to his former work as a commercial artist.” He served his country again during the Korean War. The 1951 profile of Audrey in the Daily Argus said:
…Last April as a member of the Pleasantville Players, she played the lead in “The Women” by Clare Booth Luce, presented for the benefit of the Westchester Mental Hygiene Association. Rehearsals took almost two months. Once a week she meets with a sketch group and is teaching herself to draw from her husband’s old anatomy book.
Mrs. Bossert entertains friends and their husbands at her home frequently. She advises others in similar circumstances to do the same. She finds activities with others more satisfying than trying to entertain herself.
…This Summer she has been busy taking her own and neighbors’ children to the pool and visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Blum of Rye. Mr. Blum is a well known painter and etcher. Mrs. Bossert also spends hours talking with adolescent children who drop in to see her about their problems.
The big question facing her now is next Winter. “I’m scared of it,” she admits. With Tommy in kindergarten, and baby-sitters to stay with Jill, she hopes to get into school activities, participate in civic affairs, and continue the art and drama group work.
Bossert came home after his service in the army and resumed his commercial art career.

The Boston Traveler (Massachusetts), April 2, 1956, printed the Associated Press report on the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation’s award-winners in the comic book field. The winning publishers received a scroll while the artists and writers were given citations and $100 cash prizes at the Waldorf-Astoria luncheon. In the category, Best Comic Book for Children Under 8, the winner was Gliberton’s Ugly Duckling, which was drawn by William A. Walsh, of Colonia, New Jersey, and written by Audrey, of Pleasantville, New York. Audrey’s father also worked for Gilberton during the 1950s.

The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), August 9, 1962, reported the Bossert family-of-five’s month-long trip to the Far West.

Audrey’s father passed away September 5, 1969, in Rye, New York.

Audrey passed away in either 1972 (Who’s Who) or 1973 (Bossert’s date in his Alter Ego interview; he said the cause was breast cancer). Audrey has not been found in the Social Security Death Index, which recorded Bossert’s passing on June 5, 2013.


—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Alex Blum / Al Boon


Alex A. Blum was born in Budapest, Hungary, on February 7, 1889. Blum’s birthplace and birth date were found on his application and petition for naturalization, and his World War I and II draft cards. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said his name was Alexander Anthony Blum. According to Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History (2001), his birth name was Sándor Aladár.

A passenger list at Ancestry.com listed “Alader Blum”, his mother, older sister Hedweg and younger brother Inare. They sailed on the S.S. Potsdam from Rotterdam on May 17, 1900, and arrived in New York City on May 29. The Herald Statesman (Yonkers, New York), August 22, 1964, said Blum and his family settled in Cincinnati:

“I always had an interest in drawing,” he Blum says, “and when I won three prizes in a contest run by Cincinnati newspapers at the age of 13 I was sold on art.”
He attended the Cincinnati Art Academy and then was lured to New York, where he worked and attended night school. “As reporter for the old New York Herald I really banged around,” recalls Mr. Blum. “I was in and out of all the courts and precincts.”
At night he studied at the National Academy of Design, winning a scholarship after a few months. While a student there he was awarded a bronze medal in a city-wide etching competition and first prize in the National Academy show in 1909.
The New York Herald, May 15, 1909, named the prize: “Etching Class—First prize, A.H. Baldwin Fund, $50, Alexander Aladar Blum”. Two years earlier, the New York Tribune, May 11, 1907, reported Blum’s Suydam bronze medal for illustration at the academy. 

According to the American Art Annual, Volume 29 (1932), Blum was a pupil of Frank Duveneck and Charles F.W. Mielatz.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded Blum (as “Alex A.”), his mother and siblings in Manhattan, New York City at 500 West 172 Street. He was a newspaper artist. At some point he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he filed his Declaration of Intention with the Naturalization Service district office. He lived at 40 Huntington Avenue when he signed the form as “Aladar Blum” on April 18, 1913. 


In the 1915 New York State Census, “Alex Blum” resided with his mother and brother in Brooklyn New York at 2060 83rd Street.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), October 21, 1915, published a glowing review of his work.

Alex Aladar Blum of 2060 Eighty-third street, Brooklyn, is showing until November 6 in the Print Gallery, above Ehrlch’s, on Fifth avenue, Manhattan, about two score etchings, this being his first exhibition in Greater New York. He is only 26 years old, and yet his works exhibit both the delicacy and strength of men far older than he. Moreover he shows that he is open to tho most modern influences, such as those of the French school, instanced by Matisse, although he taboos the ultra tendencies of that school. The collection is singularly interesting, in that it shows Mr. Blum’s development in various phases of the art of etching. While he is master of expressive drawing and modeling, he evinces, especially in his latest work, a gift for suggesting light and color and rhythm, in the latter using the slightest means for producing large results.
More than mere cleverness is revealed in the “Rhythm of line; a sequence,” as he terms nine examples. In them he gives a feeling as of music, and all by the use of the line. Perhaps the most beautiful in the nine etchings is “The Wave,” lines in a cure of grace passing across the picture and, in various well composed attitudes, accompanying the wave is a number of nudes. “The Comet” is also striking, with nudes posed as though mounting upward in a curved course, while effect in opposition is given by lines curved in the background. In the same category are “Nudes,” “The Lake,” “Mother and Child,” a peculiarly interesting composition; “Bathers,” “Hills and Lake,” “The Castles" and “The Dance,” in which the interfering line of the main motive has a stimulant effect to the eye.
Many of Mr. Blum’s etchings of fact were done in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts. He knows exactly where to be delicate and atmospheric, as in “On the Beach,” the frontal of tho Boston Public Library, “Copp’s Hill,” “Brewer Fountain.” “Pigeons,” “Revere Bench” and “Bath Beach.” Also, he knows where to be a faithful reporter, as in the on board ship “Halting Hooks” (two examples), “T Wharf,” the Paul Revere house, and in “Tho Two Giants,” a capital presentation of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. He also knows emphatically, how to bring out character, as in the two examples termed “Ghetto,” with a man and a woman as excitedly engaged in bargaining as in a bazar in an Oriental city; furthermore, in a lovely “Study,” a young girl at her books; “Mother and Baby,” “Apple Mary,” “The Pretzel Vendor” and “Old Woman.” Two studies in dry point show soft and velvety blacks, and distinctive are two roulette works, “Danseuso” and “Roof Garden.”
Mr. Blum was born in Cincinnati, Ohio [sic], in 1889, and after visiting Europe he returned to the art school in his native city. Later he was a pupil at the National Academy of Design, where he won first prize for etching and a bronze medal for drawing. For a time he taught at the Boston Art School.
The Herald Statesman told of the next major event in his life.
Working on a newspaper during the day, Mr. Blum did some oil painting and etching before becoming involved with a theater group. He designed a stage set for one production and at the theater he met an attractive costume designer. “We were co-workers, both young, and—you know—one thing led to another.” Mr. Blum married the former Helen Abrahams in 1917.
A marriage notice appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 1917: “Aladar Blum, an artist, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was granted a marriage license to wed Helen Abrahams, of 3119 Diamond street. Blum is 37 and his intended bride 30. Miss Abrahams’ father is a manufacturer.” On January 17, 1917, Blum and Helen Abrahams married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to her profile in Who’s Who in American Jewry (1926) and Jewish Women in America (1997).

On May 6, Blum signed his World War I draft card, which had his name as Aladar and Manhattan address at 12 West 8th Street. The artist’s description was tall, medium build with brown eyes and black hair.

Blum, his wife and daughter, Audrey, were in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 1001 Pine Street, when the 1920 census was enumerated. He was a newspaper illustrator. Two months earlier on November 5, 1919, he had filed his Petition for Naturalization in Philadelphia. It was approved on May 14, 1920. When Blum swore his oath of allegiance to the United States, he also changed his name:
…It is further ordered, upon consideration of the petition of the said, Aldar [sic], that his name be, and hereby is, changed to Alex Blum, under authority of the provisions of section 6 of the act approved June 29, 1906...
Who’s Who of American Comic Books said Blum worked in advertising during the 1920s. Advertising Arts and Crafts (1927) had this listing: “Blum, Alex A., Baker Bldg., Rit 7893 Philadelphia, Pa. Figure, Etching.”

Blum illustrated two books by Mary Hazelton Wade: The Boy Who Dared: The Story of William Penn (1929) and The Boy Who Loved the Sea: The Story of Captain James Cook (1931).

In the 1930 census, Blum was an artist and remained in Philadelphia but at a different address, 3303 West Queen Lane. New to the family was a son, Robert. Sometime before 1935, the Blums moved to New York City. According to Who’s Who of American Comic Books, around 1938 Blum joined the studio formed by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger.

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Books, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1936, New Series, Volume 33, Number 8, has an entry for Oddities of the News by Dic “Lacalzo”, which was a misspelling of Loscalzo. Loscalzo produced a limited number of strips that were signed Dic. Editor & Publisher yearbooks credit “Alex Boon” in 1937, “Al Boon” in 1939 and “Al Blum” in 1942 for the remaining Oddities strips. Who’s Who of American Comic Books credits Blum on the strip, Oddities in [sic] the News, and said “Alex Boon” was a pen name. I believe Blum produced the Oddities strips after Loscalzo’s departure.

In the 1940 census, Blum lived in Manhattan at 60 East 94 Street. He was a freelance artist who had eight years of elementary education. His move to New York was explained in the Herald Statesman:

Then early in the depression, when, as he says, “things were awkward for artists”, Mr. Blum became art director of Classic Magazine, a position he held until after World War II.
Blum signed his World War II draft card April 26, 1945. His address did not change and employer was “Iger Eisner, 204 East 44”. Blum referred to the partners even though Eisner and Iger had parted ways in 1939.
In 1946, Blum illustrated a version of Puss in Boots by Ruth A. Roche, who worked in Jerry Iger’s studio.



Blum was one of several artists who worked on the Illustrated Classics series which was published in newspapers. Blum’s Alice in Wonderland was serialized in four parts with each part consisting of four full-pages. Each page held the equivalent of four comic book pages, so the adaptation was a total of 63 pages of art plus a page about the author. The New York Post published its weekend color comics on Saturday; Alice appeared on June 21 and 28, and July 5 and 12, 1947. The comic book version used 44 of the 64 pages. Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History has a chapter devoted to Blum, “Alex A. Blum: ‘A Prince of a Man’”.



Blum’s comic book career ended around 1961; many of his comic book credits are here.

The Herald Statesman said Blum and his wife moved to Rye, New York in 1946. They bought a 275-year-old barn (287 Rye Beach Avenue) and converted it into their home and studio.

The artists held informal art classes starting in the mid-1950s.

Who’s Who in American Art (1953) had an entry for Blum. 
Blum, Alex A.— Etcher, P.
287 Rye Beach Ave., Rye, N.Y.
B. Budapest, Hungary. Feb. 7, 1889. Studied: NAD; Cincinnati A. Acad. Awards: prize. NAD. 1924. Work: MMA; LC; Yale Univ.; BMFA; Weslcyan Col.
Blum passed away September 5, 1969. His death was reported in the Rye Chronicle (New York), September 11.
Alexander Blum, 80, a noted artist, of 287 Rye Beach Ave., died on Friday at United Hospital.
Mr. Blum, was born in Budapest Feb. 7, 1889, the son of the late Alexander, and Rose Blum.
He moved to Cincinnati with his family before he was 10. He had won three prizes in art by the time he was 13 and attended the Cincinnati Art Academy. He moved to New York and became a reporter on the old New York World and attended the National Academy of Design at night.
In Boston he continued as a daytime reporter and did free lance etching at night. He and his wife the former Miss Helen Abrahams, moved to Great Neck, Long Island where the artist became art director of Classic Magazine until after World War II.
Mr. and Mrs. Blum moved to Rye 23 years ago in order that the artist might paint in quiet, scenic surroundings.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Blum is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Audrey Bossert of Pleasantville; a son, Robert Blum of Deerfield, Ill.; five grandchildren and a sister, Mrs. Hedwig Bleier of New York.

—Alex Jay

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