Obscurity of the Day: This Man’s Army

In observance of Memorial Day, let’s take a look at a military-themed obscurity. This Man’s Army was one of those filler Sunday features that the New York Daily News used in their comic section. I know of it running on at least seven occasions, five times in 1957 and twice in 1959, but it probably ran more than that.

The strip was created by Henri Arnold, who is best known for his Jumble puzzle cartoons and for his fourteen year stint on that Daily News institution, Ching Chow, and for its more politically correct replacement, Meet Mr. Lucky.

Stripper’s Guide Video: Removing Clippings from Old Scrapbooks Part 1 of 3

This winter I got the idea to try creating a video for the blog. It turned out to be about 1000% more work than I thought it would be, and when I got it all done I had no end of problems using Camtasia to produce the final video. I finally shelved the project in disgust at the awful results.

Then just a few days ago someone wrote to me with some questions about removing comics from scrapbooks, which is the subject of the video. So I decided to take another swing at it, and I do seem to have gotten it to work — it’s not beautiful by any means, but, hey, you get what you pay for here at Stripper’s Guide.

I haven’t figured out how to embed the video in a Blogger post, so please click on the link to see part one:

Removing Clippings from Old Scrapbooks — Part 1 of 3

If anyone has suggestions for embedding the video here, or has problems viewing it, please let me know.

Obscurity of the Day: Little Chauncey

Little Chauncey was a talking baby, but as you can see from the samples, cartoonist Chase Craig didn’t really capitalize on the idea. The baby just mouths punchlines appropriate for essentially any age. This series appeared sporadically in the Christian Science Monitor from October 18 1938 to May 16 1942.

Craig’s CSM features could disappear for months on end, so presumably he was submitting them in between other jobs. His submissions slacked off to pretty much nil after the end of Little Chauncey, apparently finding himself all booked up as a scriptwriter at Western Publishing.

Obscurity of the Day: Dumbell Dan

Stan MacGovern may not exactly be a household name, but to those who read the New York Post in the 1940s he was a star of the first magnitude. It was in those years that he produced the totally demented Silly Milly comic strip, which is still fondly remembered by a select few. The Post did try to syndicate the nutty strip but with practically zero success.

Although Silly Milly itself qualifies as an obscurity, today we’re going to focus on a far more obscure MacGovern offering, Dumbell Dan. MacGovern produced this strip for Herald-Sun Features, the syndication arm of the New York Herald and New York Morning Sun, which the hated consolidator Frank Munsey merged in 1920 (the Sun name was dropped in 1924 when the Herald and the Tribune merged, so that syndication name came and went quickly).

MacGovern sold Dumbell Dan to the Sun-Herald when he was just eighteen years old, but his anarchic style of humor is already in evidence at that tender age. The gags are mostly joke book material but the zany drawings, full of rubber limbs and ass-over-teakettle takes, raise the material into a preview of great things to come. Dumbell Dan ran from March 6 1922 until at least November 1923.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples.

Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, November 12 1907 — Angels manager Hen Berry returns from another trip east, this time hauling in a few good prospects for next season.

The really interesting part of this cartoon, though, is the gentleman shaking Berry’s hand in the middle vignette. Am I crazy or is this fellow the very image of another character who will be making his debut a mere three days hence up the coast a bit in Frisco?

Thursday, November 14 1907 — A sports fan writes to the Examiner asking whether one of his heroes would make a good President. Herriman himself takes the question to boxing legend James Jeffries who expounds on the wisdom of that fan. Jeffries feels that the qualities that make for a star in sports are also appropriate for the Commander in Chief. I’m sure Jesse Ventura would heartily agree.

Obscurity of the Day: Jed Cooper, American Scout

Alright, I’m just going to have to admit it. I can’t figure out if Rick Fletcher and Richard/Dick Fletcher are the same guy. They both worked at the Chicago Tribune, they both worked on historical strips in the 50s (the former on The Old Glory Story) and I can’t find any bio material on either that sets me straight. Can anyone help?

In any case, today’s obscurity is Jed Cooper, American Scout by writer Lloyd Wendt and artist Dick Fletcher. You’ll find an article describing the strip and the creators in this News of Yore posting. Eye-pleasing Frank Robbins-esque art on the strip belied a pretty humdrum Colonial-era story of adventuring. The strip was hobbled by running as a third-page Sunday-only feature, so the story moved along at a very slow pace.

Jed Cooper was just one of a pretty long list of ChiTrib adventure strips of the 40s and 50s that just never seemed to be able to attract a newspaper clientele. Nevertheless, the Trib and partner NY Daily News kept some of these strips going for years despite the lack of interest. This one made it over a decade, starting on November 13 1949 and ending March 26 1961.

PS: It has since been established beyond all doubt that Rick and Richard Fletcher are indeed two different people, just an odd coincidence that they were both drawing for the ChiTrib.