News of Yore: C.R. Macauley

Brooklyn Eagle Personalities

C.R. Macauley
Editorial Cartoonist
[Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 9/22/1929]

Charles R. Macauley’s first cartoon appeared in the Canton Repository in 1892, on the defeat of John L. Sullivan by James J. Corbett…he loses patience with people who ask him if Canton is in Ohio, where it is…He’ll bet on it because he was born there…although he can’t prove it because he hasn’t been there in 35 years…he has drawn for Puck, Judge, Life, the World, and the New York Herald…he started out in life as a bookkeeper…discovered that he couldn’t add, and was eventually fired for drawing a caricature of his boss in the company ledger…he became a cartoonist two weeks after winning a prize offered by the Cleveland Press for the best cartoon on the subject of Thanksgiving…he conceived the unusual idea of including a Turkey in the winning composition…and got a job on the Cleveland World two weeks later as cartoonist…

when he works he wears a blue smock and a stiff collar…his favorite hates are hypocrisy and intolerance…he likes the theater, the movies and all sports, among which he classes chess…he likes the color blue, when it’s touched off with a complementary of yellow…he gained considerable reputation as an artistic, albeit amateur book-binder…he’s never written a testimonial letter or interviewed Bernard Shaw, whom he classes as the world’s foremost humorist…he thinks Mussolini is a synonym for applesauce…his godfather and mentor, who was President William McKinley, did his best to talk him out of art into commerce, unsuccessfully…back in the days when “T.R.” was bullying the Big Navy into being, it was Macauley who drew the “Big Stick” and sent it thumping its way down the Ages…

he has known five Presidents intimately, although one of his very best friends was the late Chuck Connors, Mayor of Chinatown…one of his most cherished possessions is a personal letter written him by the late President Wilson a few weeks before his death…he gets goose pimples when you mention the name of Volstead…and Prohibition has him to thank for its emblem, the camel…he has no hobbies, and collects anything…he prefers Biographies to all other forms of literature, and smokes cigarettes in a long, black holder…he has read Einstein and claims actually to understand the Theory of Relativity…which he’ll explain to anybody who’ll listen…he is an eager student of Astronomy, and once spent two weeks behind the Telescope at Mount Wilson, same being the largest in the world…he has several pet hates but can’t remember what they are…

he averages seven hours of sleep every night, although he doesn’t need more than five…with the exception of the Executive Offices, he has the only office in the Eagle Building that has a carpet…he has no superstitions, and eats fish on Friday only because he likes it…his chief ambition is to make a good after-dinner speech, but he has never been able to gratify it…his office walls are covered with contemporary cartoons signed by Briggs, Rollin Kirby, Ned Brown, and Maurice Ketten…he thinks there should be a law against thin soup…he is married and likes it…his favorite sport is trout fishing in blue water, and he wears tortoise-shell glasses…he smokes cigars when he has to…his middle initial stands for Raymond…and he declares vehemently that if he had it to do all over again he’d be a cartoonist. —Rian James

[Charles Raymond Macauley was born in Canton, Ohio on March 29, 1871, according to The Artists Year Book (1905). In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, he was the first of three children born to John and Abbie; they lived in Austintown, Ohio. A few years later the family returned to Canton where Macauley would meet his godfather, William McKinley, the future president of the United States.

In 1900 Macauley was a cartoonist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he boarded at 1416 Arch Street, near the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The following year he returned to New York City. In 1910, Macauley, his second wife, Emma, and daughter, Clara, lived in Manhattan at 203-205 West 112th Street; his occupation was cartoonist at a newspaper. He moved to California where the 1920 census recorded him and his third wife, Edythe, in Los Angeles at 6778 Hollywood Boulevard; he was a cartoonist in the motion picture industry. The book, Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea (American Historical Society, 1921), has an excellent profile, up to 1920, of Macauley.

The couple returned to New York City. Macauley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon, Paying for a Dead Horse, can be viewed at the Ohio Newspaper Association website. The cartoon was published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on February 23, 1929; the award was announced on May 13, 1930. The Macauleys lived in Brooklyn at 231 Ocean Avenue, as recorded in the 1930 census. Macauley succumbed to multiple ailments on November 24, 1934 in New York CIty. Excerpts from the New York Times article of November 25:

Charles Raymond Macauley, the newspaper cartoonist…died yesterday morning in St. Vincent’s Hospital after an illness of only a few days. The causes of death were pneumonia, a cardiac malady and low blood pressure.…From 1901 to 1904 he was engaged in literary work…Besides a number of novels which he wrote and illustrated, Mr. Macauley wrote several photoplays. His written works, besides “Fantasmaland,” were “The Red Tavern.” “Whom the Gods Would Destroy,” “Keeping the Faith,” “The Man Across the Street” and “The Optimistic Spectacles.”…

…Mr. Macauley was born at Canton, Ohio, on March 29, 1871, the son of John K. and Abbie Burry Macauley. He went to public school in his home town but devoted more time to sketching his teachers than to study…For forty years Mr. Macauley’s cartoons had appeared in leading newspapers and periodicals in New York and Philadelphia, but for three years previous to his coming East he had drawn cartoons for newspapers in Canton and Cleveland….Walt McDougall, veteran cartoonist, said of Macauley that he was “a heaven-inspired thirty-third degree master cartoonist.”

He married three times. His first wife, whom he married in 1893, was Miss Clara Hatter. They had one daughter, Clara. He married Miss Emma Worms in 1897. In 1914 he married Miss Edythe Belmont Lott, who survives. Mr. and Mrs. Macauley lived at the Hotel Chelsea, 222 West Twenty-third Street….]

News of Yore 1952: Heads of State Love, Hate the Funnies

Farouk Has ‘Harold Teen’ To Console Him in Exile

E&P, 8/9/52

A few weeks before his abdi­cation from the throne of Egypt, former King Farouk requested and received a set of cards bearing drawings of characters in the “Harold Teen” comic strip, syndi­cated by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate un­der the pen of Carl Ed, the artist.

Like millions of American youngsters, Farouk collects cards that are distributed from time to time with candy cigarettes. A few years ago characters of the comic strips marketed by CTNYNS were stamped on cards distributed with candy bars manufactured by a Cambridge, Mass., candy company.

Lacking from Farouk’s collec­tion was a set of “Harold Teen” cards, including Harold, Lillums, Shadow Smart, Pop Jenks and other characters.

In mid-June Farouk’s private secretary asked a collector in Bris­tol, England to supply the set for him. The collector did not have the set and forwarded the request to Col. Robert R. McCormick, edi­tor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Col. McCormick turned the request over to the syndicate managers and Carl Ed. A set of cards was assembled and sent to Egypt. With them Mr. Ed sent two original drawings.

A note of thanks from Farouk was sent to Mr. Ed and the syndi­cate by H. Husny, the then king’s private secretary. Whether former King Farouk has taken his cartoon collection with him into exile, Mr. Ed hasn’t heard.

News and Notes
E&P, 9/27/52

Prime Minister Nehru of India told the All-India Newspaper Ed­itors’ Conference last week that he “couldn’t stand what are called comic strips. I am supposed to laugh, but I feel very gloomy.” He said he would “even pay money to escape from them.”

News of Yore 1952: No Day of Rest for Beetle

King Offers Sunday Page On Private Beetle Bailey
By Erwin Knoll 8/2/52

Private Beetle Bailey, who in the past year-and-a-half has safely entrenched himself as by far the most accomplished goldbrick in this man’s army, will per­form his duty-shirking antics for Sunday read­ers too when King Features Syndicate launches a color page Sept. 14. Undertaken at the request of papers subscrib­ing to the daily strip, the Sunday page will be available in tabloid, one-third and half-page regular sizes, and has already been signed by the Amer­ican Weekly.

As in the daily strip, Sunday action will take place in and around the stateside training camp in which Private Bailey seems to be doomed to spend the rest of his army days, relieved only by an occasional home furlough. As be­fore, the emphasis will be on army humor with primarily civilian ap­peal. And the theme will con­tinue to be Private Bailey’s re­lentless war against standard oper­ating procedure.

“Beetle Bailey” was launched by King two years ago as the nation’s only comic strip dealing exclusively with college life, fea­turing Beetle as B.M.O.C. (Big Man on Campus for the uninitiat­ed.) With the beginning of mass inductions under the Selective Service law, it was decided to have Beetle join the colors, and immediately the strip’s popularity took an upward turn.

Fan mail indicates that wives, sweethearts and mothers clip the strip and forward it to servicemen, and reprint rights are often re­quested by camp newspapers. Teen-agers also seem to make up a large part of “Beetle Bailey’s” fan circle.

Creator of “Beetle Bailey” is Mort Walker, 28 and, of course, an ex-GI. He patterns Beetle and his buddies after some of his Kappa Sig fraternity brothers at the University of Missouri, where he edited the Missouri Showme, once described in these columns as the outhouse of journalism.

Walker, the son of an architect and a former newspaper illustra­tor, started drawing at the age of four, sold his first cartoon when he was 11. When he was 15 he drew a once-a-week comic strip called “The Limejuicers” for the late Kansas City Journal. A year later he was an editorial designer for Hallmark greeting cards.

In 1948, college and army serv­ice behind him, he came to New York and started selling gag panels to the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, This Week and other national magazines, and joined the top 10 cartoonists in the country in number of panels sold. It was in the pages of the Satevepost that he introduced the confused youth with hat perennially over his eyes who evolved into Beetle Bailey.

While turning out his daily strip and advance pages for the new Sunday feature Walker continues to hit the big magazines with gag panels regularly. And to keep busy he has just taken on the editorship of the Cartoonist, quar­terly publication of the National Cartoonists Society.

News of Yore: Autry Enters the Comic Strip Cowboy Ranks

New Autry Strip Has Cowboys, Spies, Space
By Erwin Knoll, 7/26/52

Anyone who says Western comic strips are fading out—and some syndicate people have been saying just that in recent months —will find folks who strongly dis­agree with him up in the New York offices of general Features Corp. for General has just announced with much bally­hoo a new “Gene Autry” strip to be offered to newspapers this Fall, and executives at the syndicate confidently speak of building the strip into one of the nation’s top comic features.

But “Gene Autry” won’t rely on a Western story line alone for its audience appeal. In fact, the strip is something of an “all things to all men” proposition. It will feature, besides the cowboy angle, conventional airplanes, jets, rockets, guided missiles and such. The first sequence starts right off with a foreign agent’s episode complete with “beautiful mystery girl.” Gimlet, a bearded sidekick to the hero, provides comic relief. All sections of the comic strip audience seem to be provided for.

The strip has the magic of the Autry name, of course, and Gen­eral Features expects to benefit from scads of tie-in promotion. Since Autry came to New York with his guitar and a ten-dollar bill 17 years ago, he has made more than 450 phonograph re­cordings with sales of 37,000,000 records; a network radio show has been on the air for 12 years; 32 television stations carry Gene Autry shows, and six full-length motion pictures have been pro­duced this year. The aviation as­pect of the strip will be promoted on the cowboy star’s personal ap­pearance tours, for Autry, a World War II veteran of the Air Corps, pilots his own private plane. In addition, the Gene Autry label has about 60 product tie-ins.

The new strip is being pro­duced for General Features by the Whitman Publishing Co., a division of Western Printing and Lithographing. Artist is Tom Cooke, a veteran of comic mag­azines, commercial art and the Marine Corps. A native New Yorker, Cooke now lives in Big Bear, Calif., where many of the Autry television productions are shot on location. Like Autry, Cooke is a qualified aviator. The strip will be written by Phil Evans, whose background includes free-lance writing, movie scripts, comic magazines and other strips.

“Gene Autry” is scheduled for Sept. 8 release as a six-a-week feature in four and five-column size. A Sunday color page is planned.

News of Yore: Walt Kelly Profiled – 1952

Walt Kelly Is Named Cartoonist of Year
By Erwin Knoll (E&P,4/26/52)

In a smoke-filled room in Darien, Conn., a deceptively mild-looking man named Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr., is grooming a dark-horse Presidential candidate. The candidate hails from the deep South—the Okefenokee swamp in Georgia, as a matter of fact—but he isn’t a Democrat. Nor a Re­publican either.

And though he hasn’t yet de­clared his intention to run, “Pogo for President” clubs are being formed all over the country and “I Go Pogo” buttons will soon be seen on every college campus.
Reason we mention all this at this time, besides the obvious po­litical overtones, is the fact that Walt Kelly, who draws “Pogo” for Post-Hall Syndicate, has just been named outstanding cartoon­ist of the year by his colleagues in the National Cartoonists Society. The sixth annual Billy DeBeck Award, given in honor of the late creator of “Barney Google,” was presented to Mr. Kelly Wed­nesday night at the Society’s ANPA Convention dinner.

Campus Boosters
But to get back to politics, the “Pogo for President” movement seems to be here to stay. The strip, which in less than three years of syndication has built an impressive list of over 250 news­papers, has from the first found its greatest fans among the col­legiate set, and it was on the cam­pus that the Presidential boom began. Early this year political bids started showing up in Mr. Kelly’s ample fan mail—over 100 letters a week. And several weeks ago Mr. Kelly took formal note of the movement in a letter to some of his campus fans. The letter said, in part:
“It seems a lot of college people want Pogo for President. Nobody has made it clear what they want him President of, but presumably they don’t want him for President of Nicaragua or even of General Motors—though they are both nice outfits, no offense.

“What we have come up with is the suspicion that Pogo is in demand for the job of President of these United States. That is, no large party has come out for him unless you count a large party named Harold from Cornell, but many college groups have been demanding something tangible:
some sign, some word, a campaign button, a free trip to Europe. Any­thing that would indicate Pogo is available would do.”

Mr. Kelly has ruled out the free trip to Europe, but the cam­paign button is in the works. So far, requests for 50,000 buttons have been received.

Walt Kelly is no newcomer to the stresses and strains of a po­litical campaign. In 1948, while working for the late New York Star as art director, political car­toonist and editorial advisor, he drew a series of devastating “me­chanical man” cartoons of Gov­ernor Thomas E. Dewey, depict­ing the Republican candidate as an adding machine, a cash register, a tank, a music box and just about every other mechanical de­vice. The cartoons received nation­wide attention and were widely reprinted.

‘Nature’s Screechers’
It was while working for the Star that Mr. Kelly, in his capacity as art director, directed himself to launch the daily “Pogo” strip. He took his cast of talking ani­mals—they call themselves “na­ture’s screechers”—from a series of children’s comic books he had been doing since 1943. (Before that he had worked for Walt Dis­ney Studios for six years.) He still does four “Pogo” comic books a year.

The new strip caught on with Star readers, but the paper didn’t stick around long enough to bene­fit. When the Star folded in Jan­uary, 1949, the New York Post saw a good thing and took “Pogo” on. Several months later, Post-Hall Syndicate started distributing it na­tionally, and added a Sunday page. The list of papers hasn’t stopped growing since.

Fanatic Fans
Editors who try dropping “Pogo” —several have made the attempt— invariably find the strip has an al­most fanatic claque of fans, who usually succeed in getting it re­stored to the comics page. Mr. Kelly himself is at a loss to ex­plain this great enthusiasm.

“I try to comment on the pass­ing scene,” he says, “and get peo­ple to stop taking themselves and the world quite as seriously as they seem to be doing. It’s a good thing, these days, to make people relax and feel that there’s always tomorrow. The Okefenokee swamp, where Pogo and his friends live, is a land of its own, enabling read­ers to escape into another environ­ment for a few seconds every day. But after all, these are things that so many comic strips try to do, and most of them succeed.”

Some of “Pogo’s” special appeal may be in the almost hypnotic weirdness of the dialogue, a syn­thesis of Elizabethan English, French, Negro and Indian dialects heavily interspersed with out­rageous puns. Mr. Kelly is a stu­dent of languages and a former civilian employee of the Army’s Foreign Language Unit. The “Pogo” dialect is definitely not genuine Okefenokee talk, since Mr. Kelly has never been to the swamp country.

Poison Pun
But “Pogo’s” main asset is un­doubtedly the friendly satire which spares no institution from Mr. Kelly’s poison pun. His credo when he launched his cartooning career was: “I just want to be friendly and maybe make a buck at it.” At 38, Mr. Kelly seems to be succeeding pretty well on both counts.