Obscurities – Mister Gallagher And Mister Shean

Here’s a neat strip that mines the vaudeville tradition. Gallagher and Shean were a vaudeville comedy duo of the teens and twenties. Their lasting claim to fame is the classic pop comedy song “Mister Gallagher And Mister Shean”. You can read more about the comedy team in Wikipedia here.

Anyway, the strip started sometime in 1923 (my earliest examples are from October) and ended April 19, 1924. Jo Swerling was credited with the strip, and on a few occasions I find a signature on the strip “Done By Dunn”, so this Dunn may have been the bullpen artist who did the art. Unfortunately I have no background info on Swerling, nor can I say with any certainty who Dunn is – Bob Dunn? Alan Dunn? Charles Dunn? They were all cartoonists working in the 1920s. My guess is Charles Dunn, but anybody have a suggestion?

5 comments on “Obscurities – Mister Gallagher And Mister Shean

  1. Jo Swerling (sometimes, or originally, Josef Swirling, born in Russia) was a friend of the Marx Brothers. (Another cartooning connection: Groucho married the sister of Will B Johnstone, New York World cartoonist who worked on Marx Bros scripts) Swerling did the story for a lost Marx Bros silent of 1921, and worked on a 1918 stage routine of Groucho’s. Anyway, Al Shean the great vaudevillian was the Marx Bros’ uncle. Perhaps that is the connection when Gallagher and Shean “became” a comic strip and Swerling wrote it. Short-lived. The art was Charles Dunn, Hearst (und anderer) bullpen stalwart; NOT Bob Dunn, whose and drawing style put the possibility out of possibility. Swerling’s Hearst-bullpen connections — a friendship with Damon Runyon — possibly paid off when he wrote the book (with Abe Burrows) for Guys and Dolls, for which they won an Emmy. However Swerling had a separate career in the movies (even briefly as an actor) — writing duties on “Gone With the Wind” (uncredited) and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He also did the screenplay for Hitchcock’s “Lifeboat,” and the original “Pennies from Heaven.” His son Jo Swerling Jr is a movie producer (“The Brothers-in-Law”) and many Stephen J Cannell shows — “Baretta,” “A-Team,” “Rockford Files,” many more.

  2. Hi Rick! Thanks for all the information on ol’ Swerly (that had to be his nickname, right?). Any comic strip-related projects in the works right now, or are you concentrating on the country music or movie genres these days?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *