Grace Drayton produced some slyly funny cards for Reinnthal & Newman, but here she is in cloyingly cute mode. This is card #488.
I love Walt Munson’s postcards, and he produced a ton of them. The colouring on these linen cards is just so vibrant and attractive, and Munson’s gags are always great little chuckle-makers. He specialized in slightly naughty, or at least adult-oriented subjects, like this one on drinking.
The maker of this card is anonymous, but it is card number 60327, and the back states it as being from the “Drinkers Comics” series. Although undated, I’m guessing a publishing date in the late 1930s, or maybe it could be as late as the early 1950s.
May 17 1910 — The boxing world has not come to a standstill while awaiting the Fight of the Century. Lew Powell and George Memsic are set to meet in the ring on the 21st. It’s not a championship fight, but Memsic and Powell are both famous enough fighters that there’s plenty of interest.
As Herriman’s cartoon shows, many luminaries are in town to see the fight, including promoter Tom McCarey, fighters like Jeff Perry and England’s Owen Moran, and actor DeWitt Van Court.
May 15 1910 — If there’s one thing even funnier than people doing stupid things, it’s RICH people doing stupid things. The California Club is apparently still in operation, and still very exclusive; only the rich need apply, and then only if they have an introduction from another rich person who is already a member.
The other day I was going through some of Jim Ivey’s voluminous files, of which some boxes still remain in process to be wedded with my filing system. I came across a folder marked “Optical Illusions.” In amongst clips of op art and clever bits of drawing, I found these three clippings that knocked my socks off. Apparently it was a thing, at least for a few editorial cartoonists, to do a Christmas greeting in their regular space. Burris Jenkins Jr. (top two, 1965 and 1960) and Karl Hubenthal (bottom, 1964) produced these incredible cartoons, in which the entire drawing is made up of hundreds or probably even thousands of expertly lettered names to whom they wished to send Christmas greetintgs. I can’t even imagine the time and expertise that went into creating these masterpieces.
There’s no way you’ll be able to read all these names at the size I can put on the blog, and the smallest of the names are tough to read even at full size on the crumbling old yellowed tearsheets filed away by Jim Ivey, but I can supply high-resolution versions to anyone with a serious interest. Just let me know.
Being over a hundred years old, Muggsy could certainly qualify as an Obscurity of the Day, but I think he is a better fit for Under The Radar since the strip had an incredibly long run for those days, two whole decades.
You may be thinking to yourself, if the strip ran that long, and I’ve never heard of it, was it some local thing? Nope, it ran in lots of higher profile papers. What makes it utterly forgotten is the fact that it was pretty literally the SAME DARN GAG for its whole long run. The question, then, is why it lasted so long, and for that question I have no answer, but I’d sure like to know why myself.
Muggsy, as you’ll see when you peruse the samples above, is not only the same gag over and over, but the art is clunky to boot. The cartoonist, Frank Crane, came onto the comic stripping scene in 1900 with this full-fledged style of his, and it never grew or changed appreciably over his entire career.
Muggsy may have only had one joke, but he didn’t have only one syndicate. He debuted in the Philadelphia North American on December 1 1901* and ran there until April 20 1902. Crane was actually a much more important player at the New York Herald at this time, and apparently decided Muggsy was too good for the less auspicious comic section of the North American. He moved the strip to the Herald starting there on May 18 1902.
Whether the Herald tired of the strip, or the North American balked at the loss, it remained there only a short period. It ended in the Herald on August 24 1902, and reappeared in the North American on October 12.
From then on the strip ran consistently, 99% of the time as an interior half-pager, in the North American section, except for one long hiatus from April 15 1906 to August 25 1907, coinciding with Crane taking on some extra work for the Boston Herald with Val the Ventriloquist.
Muggsy kept up his ultra-repetitive shenanigans until the Philadelphia North American‘s Sunday comic section ended on July 4 1915**. At this point Crane went back to the New York Herald, where he tried out several new strips. None of them caught on though, and Crane seems to have retired from newspaper cartooning in 1916, and he died in 1917.
But even that couldn’t keep Muggsy down; World Color Printing bought the backlog of quite a few North American strips and ran Muggsy in reruns from 1916 to 1920, rounding out the total run for this strip to a nice even twenty years.
* Sources: All dates from Philadelphia North American, except New York Herald dates from Ken Barker’s Herald index, and World Color Printing info from various papers in my collection.
** A comic section I’d dearly love for my collection — the North American strip characters all get blown to kingdom come by fireworks.
Here’s an example of what may be Albert Carmichael’s scarcest series, Taylor & Pratt Series #669. These cards all featured fish and they’re usually worth a bit of a grin, so I don’t know why they didn’t sell. The series seems to have been produced in 1910, or at least that’s how Carmichael dated them.
Postcards related to hunting and fishing were quite popular, a quick and convenient way for a fellow on a sporting expedition to let the family at home know he was still alive.