News of Yore 1914: Winsor McCay Screens Gertie the Dinosaur Cartoon to Fellow Cartoonists

NEWSPAPER ARTISTS GAZE AT DINOSAUR WITHOUT A SHIVER

“High Jinks” at Beefsteak Aid Atmosphere Somewhat Jarred After Refreshments by Some of Winsor
McCay’s Antediluvian Creations.
(New York Tribune, 2/23/14)

If Winsor McCay, the prominent vaudeville acrobat, hadn’t announced at the newspaper illustrators’ dinner yesterday morning that he was about to Introduce his latest freak, the dinosaurus, and if Arthur Hammerstein, the Broadway Adonis, hadn’t walked in just at that moment, surrounded by perfume and ten little “High Jinks” girls, one illustrators’ party would have gone down in history as having been held without police interference.

As it was, the sound of the applause reach the ears of the ever alert town constables, Luke Geeghan and Henry Rausch, who keep the peace o’ nights in Columbus Circle, and they just had to lope over to Reisenweber’s to find out what it was all about.

They were immediately placated, however, for Clive Weed, who is well known to the police, and Clare Briggs, who is rapidly becoming acquainted in the effete East, were determined that nothing should prevent the dinner from being what Mr. Hammerstein calls a “Chief Doover,” and nothing did. The two officers got what they came for and departed some time after, chanting a song that Briggs picked up in the Latin Quarter of Chicago. Outside of a few minor details like the above and the fact that there was little white space in the dining room, the dinner was a huge success.

Everything that could be done was done. Beefsteak was strewn about the floor in neat mosaics; Mrs. “Bud” Fisher threw herself into the spirit of things and taught Arthur Hammerstein the “Artists’ Amble”; “Hal” Coffman wrote his autograph on everybody’s hat; little Miss Barnett defied her manager and said that she would dance with.any fellow she liked after working hours, and the waiters were well dressed.

When everybody had met everybody else, and when the “High Jinks” ladies had become used to the artistic atmosphere, some one—it couldn’t have been a press agent—began showing moving pictures of Winsor McCay’s latest creation. He, being a shy fellow, only prefaced the views with a speech of about an hour’s length, but the pictures were good, even with that handicap. Even a moving picture critic from “The Mount Vernon Bee” admitted this fact. He said this, says he, not because he was a friend of Mr. Hammerstein, who is going to put them on in vaudeville, but because he couldn’t witness an artistic piece of work and withhold due praise. After the artistic pictures there were some regular moving pictures, but nobody looked at them at all. Someone attacked the piano and some one else cleared the beefsteak from the floor, so that those who were awake could dance.

Contributors to Illustration: (top left to bottom right): Percy Crosby, Walter Hoban, Cliff Sterrett, Clare Briggs, Oscar Cesare, Winsor McCay, Frank Fogarty, Clive Weed, Vic Forsythe, Lou Hanlon, Darata?, A. Weil, Cesare again, Reginald G. Russom, Frank Moser.

Thanks to Alex Jay for discovering this article!

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Ralph Kemp


“Ralph Kemp was born on a farm near Lewis Creek and did much of his drawing on a farm near Morristown, Indiana….” according to the book, Indiana’s Laughmakers: The Story of over 400 Hoosiers: Actors, Cartoonists, Writers, and Others (1990). The U.S. Federal census records put his year of birth at 1903. In 1910 Kemp was the oldest of two sons born to Charles and Stella. They lived in Hanover, Indiana, where his father was a farmer.

In 1920 the Kemps lived in Ripley, Indiana, near other farmers. Indiana’s Laughmakers said, “Kemp was a graduate of Morristown High School and attended the University of Detroit.” His marriage to Crystal Hollingsworth, on May 28, 1925, was recorded in the Indiana Marriage Collection at Ancestry.com.

The couple lived in Gadsden, Alabama at 118 Stillman Avenue, according to the 1930 census. Indiana’s Laughmakers said, “He tried many things but believed his great love of drawing prevented his success at other careers. Over time, drawing changed from hobby to a business. Prior to that he worked for the publicity division of the Indiana state welfare department, doing art work and photography. Over a period of eight years, he developed his characterization of Tode Tuttle.”

Editor & Publisher, in its December 9, 1939 issue, made the following announcement:


Tode Tuttle to Make Debut

A new cartoonist, Ralph A. Kemp, Morristown, Ind., free-lance, will be introduced to the national syndicate field Dec. 11 when his daily one-column panel, “Tode Tuttle,” lovable old character who will express the homely humor of the Indiana Hoosiers…

Debut panel, 12/11/1939.


According to Indiana’s Laughmakers, “The syndicate and Kemp parted ways after a few years and the character was taken over and drawn by another artist…Kemp followed his cartoon career with careers in resort management, real estate, and as a tavern owner.” [Al Woods began signing the feature shortly before it ended — Allan]

While in Mazatlan, Mexico with his wife, Kemp suffered a heart attack and passed away on February 12, 1964, according to the Department of State Foreign Service of the United States of America record, Report of the Death of an American Citizen, at Ancestry.com. The document revealed he was retired and lived in Franklin, Indiana at 1001 East Jefferson. The Indianapolis News, (Indiana) published an obituary on February 20, 1964.

Herriman Saturday

Saturday, February 22 1908 — Today is the middleweight championship between Stanley Ketchel and Mike ‘Twin’ Sullivan up in San Francisco. The younger Ketchel defends his title against veteran Mike Twin, who is for the first time moving up from welterweight to middleweight class (though for some reason Wiki calls him the defending middleweight champ). The move turns out to not be wise, as Ketchel will knock him out barely a minute into the first round.

News of Yore: Luther D. Bradley

Photo from Cartoons by Bradley


Entry in The Book of Chicagoans (1911)


BRADLEY, Luther Daniels, cartoonist; born New Haven, Conn., Sept. 29, 1853; son Francis and Sarah Beaman (Ruggles) Bradley; ed. Evanston pub. school, 1865–6; Northwestern Preparatory Acad., 1867–70; Northwestern Univ., 1870–3; Yale Coll., 1873–5; married Evanston, Ill., Oct. 31, 1901, Agnes Floyd Smith; children: Francis, John Freeman, Elizabeth, Margaret. Upon leaving Yale, 1875, entered business in employ of Baird & Bradley, real estate, Chicago; went to Australia, 1882; cartoonist for Australian Tid Bits, 1884; later cartoonist and editor Melbourne Life; cartoonist Melbourne Punch, 1888–93; returned to Chicago, 1893; cartoonist Chicago Journal, 1894, Inter Ocean, 1894–8, Chicago Daily News and head of art dept. since 1899. Independent Republican. Episcopalian. Residence: 822 Michigan Av., Wilmette, Ill. Office: The Daily News.
1914 (British wartime security)



The Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), 1/11/1917

Luther D. Bradley
Chicago, Jan. 10—Luther D. Bradley, for many years cartoonist of the Chicago Daily News, died of heart disease at his home last night [January 9]. Mr. Bradley’s political and war cartoons have attracted international attention. Some of his original drawings hang on the office walls of foreign Cabinet Ministers.

Bradley was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1853. After a course in Northwestern University, and graduation from Yale in 1875, he entered his father’s real estate office in Chicago. In 1882, however, his ambitions underwent a change. After traveling extensively he became interested in newspaper work in Australia. He drew cartoons for Australia Tid-Bits, Melbourne Life and Melbourne Punch. Bradley was fond of athletics and was of athletic build. While at Yale he was a member of the rowing team. He is survived by a widow and four children.


(In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Bradley was the oldest of two children born to Francis and Sarah. They lived in Chicago, Illinois. Ten years later he was the oldest of seven children. They lived in Evanston, Illinois. In 1880 the family remained in Evanston; Bradley’s occupation, like his father, was money loaner. In 1900, Bradley’s mother, a widow, was the head of the household. They lived in Evanston at 1624 Hinman Avenue. Bradley’s occupation was artist. The 1910 census recorded Bradley, his wife, three children, sister and two servants in Wilmette, Illinois at 822 Michigan Avenue. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Four months after Bradley’s death, Cartoons by Bradley was published. The book, an appreciation with a biographical sketch, includes seven photos and a wide selection of his cartoons from Australia and Chicago newspapers. You can download the book here. A Bradley profile is here.)

Bradley was eulogized in Cartoons Magazine in their March 1917 issue:

Obscurity of the Day: Captain Vincible

Ralph Smith had a pretty darn brilliant idea when he came up with Captain Vincible, his daily and Sunday strip. He knew that the put-upon nebbish everyman character is a favorite of newspaper readers — from George Bungle to Ziggy, people seems to enjoy a character who always seems to be the butt of the joke, draw the short straw, and act as a poster-child for Murphy’s Law. The challenge is to set your character apart, to make readers remember him.

Smith found an innovative solution by dressing up his everyman in superhero garb, of all things. The conceit was never really explained in the strip — Captain Vincible just seems to fit naturally in his otherwise pretty normal world despite wearing long johns, a cape and goggles over his tubby little frame. He never demonstrates any superheroic powers, and he doesn’t fight for the downtrodden or anything — he just is. That costume, however, gave the strip a memorable visual. Combine that with concise dialogue and polished minimalist art and you have what ought to be a winner. King Features certainly thought so, and they were rewarded with a pretty decent list of subscribing papers when the strip debuted on April 25 1983.

Although the strip is a little too amiable and easygoing for my own tastes, the Ziggy-loving masses should have loved this stuff (try visualizing Ziggy replacing the Captain in most any strip — it’s an almost perfect fit). Maybe it was all just a little too high-concept, maybe readers were confused by the tights, I dunno. Anyway, the strip never really set the world on fire, and Smith, who was also employed at the Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune as editorial cartoonist, put the strip out to pasture sometime in July 1989 (exact date unknown).

One possible explanation for the strip ending is that Smith’s good friend Dik Browne had just died. Smith is known to have assisted him in some capacity on Hagar the Horrible, and he may have needed to take a more active role on that strip upon Dik’s death.

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Larry Antonette



Lawrence Jospeh “Larry” Antonette was born in Washington on August 31, 1909, according to the Social Security Death Index and the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. The census recorded him as the only child of Joseph and Florence. They lived in Tacoma, Washington at 4051 South Tacoma Avenue. His father emigrated from Italy and was a grocery salesman. They family remained at the same address in 1920.

In the 1930 census, the family of three lived at 1912 South M in Tacoma. Antonette’s father was a salesman for a mining company. According to Lambiek, “…He graduated Washington State University in 1931 and attended the Grand Central School of Art [in New York City]”. The date of his move to New York City is not known. In 1935 Antonette produced three strips. The first was Bozo and the Baron for the Van Tine Features Syndicate. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1935 New Series, Volume 32, Number 9 had this entry:


Antonette (L.) Bozo and the baron. v. 1. © July 16, 1935; AA 184135; Van Tine features syndicate, inc., New York. 27211

Marysville Tribune (Ohio), 11/17/1936


His second strip Biff Baxter’s Adventures, syndicated by Lincoln Newspaper Features, followed in December 1935. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1935 New Series, Volume 32, Number 12 recorded the registration:


Antonette (Lawrence) Biff Baxter’s adventures, by Bob Dart [pseud.] © Dec. 6, 1935; A 69964; Lincoln newspaper features, inc., New York. 37491

Key West Over-Sea Sunday Star (Florida), 4/12/1936


Less than two weeks later, Dash Dixon was the third strip, also syndicated by Lincoln, to be copyrighted. The following entry is from the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, etc., 1936 New Series, Volume 33, Number 1:


Antonette (Lawrence) Dash Dixon, by Dean Carr [pseud.] © Dec. 19, 1935 : A 70681 ; Lincoln newspaper features, inc., New York. 204

Key West Over-Sea Sunday Star (Florida), 4/12/1936


Since Antonette’s name was on Van Tine’s Bozo and the Baron, two pseudonyms were used for his strips from Lincoln Features, which was operated by H.T. Elmo. It’s not known who came up with the pseudonyms “Bob Dart” and “Dean Carr”; my guess would be Elmo since he was the owner. Another artist, Jack Kirby, drew Facts You Never Knew for Elmo’s syndicate and signed the strip as “Bob Dart”.

A few years later, Antonette found work in the comic book industry. An overview of his comics career can be viewed at Who’s Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Some of his comic book work is identified at the Grand Comics Database.

He collaborated with fellow artist Carl Pfeufer; their work was recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, etc. 1945 New Series, Volume 40, Number 10.


Antonette, Lawrence J. & Pfeufer, Carl T. 11466, 11467
Pfeufer, Cart T. :
Alfy and Bugs. — Alfy and Bugs. They hit the water. © 1 c. each Oct. 8, 1945 ; G 46256, 46257.

This feature, assuming it was a newspaper comic of some sort, has not yet been found running in any newspaper.

Eventually, Antonette returned to Tacoma, Washington where he was the director of the Northwest School of Art at 3605 South 52nd Street. The school offered classes in commercial and fine art, and was advertised in American Artist magazine.

Antonette passed away on February 23, 1997 in Tacoma, according to the Social Security Death Index. His wife Eileen predeceased him by 22 months. The date of their marriage is not known. Their Social Security numbers were issued in New York state, so it’s possible they met and married in New York City. They are buried at Calvary Cemetery in Tacoma.

Obscurity of the Day: Newsy Movie Notes

A popular sub-category of the ‘weird facts’ newspaper comics genre focuses on the world of movies and movie stars. One of the earlier examples of it is Newsy Movie Notes, a local feature of the Chicago Daily News. It ran in their Midweek feature section on Wednesdays, where it proffered news items from Hollywood accompanied by cartoons and photos. The writer/cartoonist was a fellow named MacArthur, of whom I know nothing.

The weekly feature began sometime in 1928 and ended on November 6 1929. I missed the 1928 start date in my microfilm indexing because it was a rush job at the Library of Congress, leaving me with yet another item on my seemingly endless to-do list.