Obscurity of the Day: Carolina Hall Of History

Note: Now Blogger is allowing me to upload images, but when I try to upload my text posts its locking up my browser. Sigh. Couldn’t post yesterday, we’ll see what tomorrow brings…

Seems like I never stop finding these Believe It Or Not-style features. This one, by Henry McCarn, uses the form to tell tidbits from the history of North and South Carolina. Only place I’ve found this series is in the Lenoir (NC) News-Topic, a weekly paper, and they only ran this feature for two weeks. Presumably it ran longer elsewhere, since the panels they printed were copyrighted in different years. The copyrights on the two installments are from 1938 and 1939, and both appeared in the News-Topic in late January 1939. I’d be willing to bet that the paper ran the pair of samples sent to them by the cartoonist, who was probably attempting to self-syndicate his brainchild. Given the frankly amateurish drawing, I can’t imagine it ran all that long in any venue, but then again, look at Girls & Sports.

18 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Carolina Hall Of History

  1. One of my personal favorites of this type was the “Ohio Adventure” by Jim Baker. You can see some of them in The Chronicle Telegram from Elyria, OH from 1966 to 1970. Also the Coshocton Tribune from Coshocton, OH from 1960. Early on, the strip was heavy with Davy Crockett and the Indian Wars content. Baker also did a single panel called “As it were” and a Full Sunday of his Ohio Indian War Pioneer “Ben Hardy”.

  2. Yup, Jim Baker was a very prolific guy in this genre. I got to speak to his son a year or so ago, got some good info that has been filed away somewhere. I’m sure Jim’s various works will pop up here one of these days when I happen to have a few floating about the desk.

    Best, Allan

  3. I remember him mostly for his clever idea of using each of the 88 Ohio counties as a subject for his daily Ohio History panels. The were favorites of many Elementary School teachers who found themas a clever way to use comics to teach hisory.

    In his later years, he self-published many collection booklets of his earlier work and turned to painting. There are some interesting acrylic of four compass views of the main intersection of small town Worthington, OH hanging in the local library.

    The strip never ran outside of the state, but his illustrations have a charm of their own and his telling of obscure historical info was more peraonable than the colder believe-it-or-not weird facts of Ripley.

    Then, there’s that nifty Disney Wildlife Aventures panel strip. Don’t get me started…


  4. As someone who is as interested in regular comics as newspaper comics (anything from the fifties really), I am most curious about Jack Kirby’s contribution to the genre. In the late thirties he did several of these type of panels for weekly papers for the Loncoln syndicate under various pseudonyms, such as Jack Curtiss. What surprises me about comic fandom is, that there has never been much research into this. I’d love to see more on the Lincoln syndicate here, for instance a list of the papers that used it. There’s a website I subscribe to that has downpoadable microfiche material from thousands of papers. I did a search for some of Jack Kirby’s titles and found a couple of them – all in such low resolution scans that they were pretty useless. But I saw enough to tell me, that the ‘official’ information in Twomorrows Jack Kirby Checklist is wrong about some of the dates. So anything you’ve got would be great. If you are a a loss for titles and dates, I have to give them to you tomorrow, as I am typing this on my portable computer – the one that hasn’t got all the relevant files.

  5. Lincoln Features material appeared in so few newspapers that research has been limited. I’ve been looking for a decent source for Lincoln material for years and have yet to find one. I too have been searching the online archives and they have so many small papers I have been looking forward to find some Lincoln stuff. No luck yet, though. Care to share with us the paper names where you’ve found it?


  6. Hi,

    Sorry it took me w while, but here’s what I have on Jack Kirby. Or in fact, not all I have, because I seem to have something missing. but I’ll get to that.

    According to the Kirby Checklist, he did several strips and features for Lincoln Newspaper Features. The features were:

    – Curiosities and Oddities 1937 (signed Barton or Bob Dart)
    – Facts You never New 1968-38 (signed Jack Curtiss or Bob Dart)
    – Hollywood Tid-bits 1937
    – Laughs From The Day’s News (1937) signed Lawrence)
    – Our Puzzle Corner 1937 (signed Brady)
    Your Health Comes First 1936-37 (signed Jack Curtiss).

    When I signed up with the Newspaper Archive website, I searched all of these titles and found copies of Our Puzzle Corner and Laughs From The Day’s News. Unfortunately the combined effect of the low resulution and the bad microfilm is desastreous and I can’t even make out the text. I did manage to track down at least two papers carrying them.

    Unfortunately, misfiled the copies I pulled and for now I only have the information for one of the papers.

    I have Our Puzzle Corner on friday April first in The Cullman Banner. I can’t make out if it’s by Jack Kirby, because I can’t read the signature.

    I haven’t got the name of the other paper at this moment, but I could find it again.

    I also pulled a lot of comic pages from other issues of The Cullman Banner. My wife’s calling me to dinner now, but i’ll list the strips that are in there. Plus some of the other stranger finds.

  7. Hi Ger –
    Keep in mind that those Lincoln house names were used by multiple cartoonists – just seeing the name on a strip most decidedly does not guarantee that it’s Kirby.

    I have a beautiful batch of original art to a quasi-Lincoln Features series, all signed with the same name, but representing the work of a minimum of three different artists. Kirby was one of them, I’m thrilled to say (earliest Kirby originals known to exist I wonder?).

    Could you save us some searching and tell us what state is the Cullman Banner in?

    Thanks, Allan

  8. Oh, forgot to mention. Jeffrey Lindenblatt just told me that Greg Theakston is going to publish something that purports to reprint all of Kirby’s comic strip work. Does anyone have the inside dope on this project? Is it going to cover all that rare Lincoln material?


  9. Oops, yet another comment. Many moons ago Greg Theakston gave me a list of papers known to have carried the Lincoln Features material (probably a list he got from Kirby’s files). About ten or so papers were in the list. Believe it or not, not one of them seemed to be available on microfilm. The list is filed away somewhere, if and when I find it I’ll be glad to post it (for all the good it’ll do anybody!).

    – Allan

  10. Allan,

    I believe Greg’s book is going to reprint all of Socko the Sailor. Quite a run too. I’ll have a look for the state of the Culman Banner. And I would love to see the list of Lincoln papers. Even if they are not on microfilm, they may turn up at actual libraries. I found a significant Kurtzman rarity in a bound volume at a junior college library in Texas – they somehow inherited a local libraries stuff. Same goes for the names of the local paper Kirby is supposed to have done some political cartoons for in the fifties. If it was local it must have been New Jersey, but other than that nothing is known.

  11. Allan,

    I had another look and here’s what I could find for now.

    The Cullman Banner is from Cullman, Alabama. Every friday it featured Our Puzzle Corner and a couple of weekly strips that seem to be from Lincoln as well. Here’s what I have:

    – Little Julius sneezer by Baker from as early as 8-27-37 until as late as 12-31-37. It was replaced with Little Buddy by Bruce Stuart, the earliest I have is from 2-25-38, the latest 6-17-38.

    – The Goofus Family by H.T. Elmo is there from 8-27-37 until 6-17-38.

    – Detective Riley by Richard Lee from 8-27-37 until 6-17-38.

    – Mr. I Knowitt by Thornton Fisher from 8-27-37 till 2-25-38. It was replaced with Squire Scapegoat by Louis Richard (or Rickard) in my 6-17-38 sample, which was also there before Dash Dixon on my earliest one on 8-27-37.

    – Dash Dixon by Dean Larr from 11-19-37 until my latest on 8-27-38.

    I have only nine sample between these dates. There will be more inbetween and probably before and after, but searching NewspaperArchives takes time.

    I also found another paper which had Lincoln Features: The Chief advertiser in perry, Iowa. It appeared every thursday and has both Our Puzzle Corner and Your Health comes first in 1938 and 1939. On the same page is also another Ripley clone, called The Pocketbook of Knowledge by Topps. I have several of those. Your health is signed by Curtiss and clearly by Kirby.

    Other oddities: The Ironwood Daily Globe as a very nice Ripley Clone by William Fergusson, called This Curious World. Sems familiar and you may know it.

    I also have one page from another weekly paper, that seems to have lost it’s date. I know none of the strips there. The paper is The Progress Review from Iowa. The strips are:

    – Snoopie by Joe Day
    – The Featherheads by Osborne
    – Finney of The Force by Ted O’Loughlin.

    Last oddity: In the same period I also found a Riply clone advertisement for teh alabama Power Company: it is called Would You Believe it and has the cartoon Kilowatt figure from General Electric in the main body of the ad. I’ll send you a copy.

  12. Ger, you give me a lot to comment on there! I haven’t gone to look at that Cullum paper yet, but here are comments on some of the material you’re discussing:

    Little Julius Sneezer – this series was originally published in 1917 by World Color Printing. It was sold to various bargain-basement syndicates to resell for many years after.

    Mr. I. Knowitt – also a reprint of much earlier material – on this series I’ve seen the reprints many times, but not the original series.

    Squire Scapegoat – a reprint of Squire Edgegate, another WCP title from the teens.

    Pocketbook Of Knowledge – seems to have been given away free to papers (unknown if it was issued by the governmewnt or perhaps an industry group). You’ll find it in many small papers, who would usually run this free material. Such free series were common in the 30s-50s. Larger papers just chucked them in the wastebasket, small papers were hungry to eat up the space with freebies.

    This Curious World – a standard NEA strip – ran in hundreds, maybe over a thousand papers. I could wallpaper my house with my files of this title.

    Featherheads, Finney of the Force – these were strips from Western Newspaper Union, one of the more successful syndicates that catered mostly to weekly papers.

    Reddy Kilowatt – adverising strips and panels using this character are pretty common in rural papers.

    Phew – now I can go look at that Cullman paper!

  13. Allan,

    Squire Scapegoat may have been my misreading my ownn notes. Edgegate sounds more like it. So does that mean that , The Goofus Family, Dash Dixon and Detective Riley are Lincoln features? H.T. Elmo is mentioned in the Kirby Checklist, because Kirby is supposed to have ghosted another strip for him.

  14. Yup, those three are definitely Lincoln strips. And H.T. Elmo was the owner of the syndicate. I’ve looked over the 1937-38 material, and did you notice when the paper picks back up in 1942 that the Lincoln material is still running, and that the numbering and copyright of the strips would seem to indicate that the material is still new?

    I’m still putting together my notes on this paper, will share when done.


  15. I’ve spent the morning looking at The Chief Advertiser and spent another Kirby strip, a Ripley rip-off called Facts You Didn’t Know in december 1939. This time it is obviously drawn by Kirby, so it may be a later example. But still december 1939 seems to be far to late in Kirby’s career to have been drawn recently. This opens up the possibillity, that these strips were used far after they were drawn. I’ll have a look at those later samples of Our Puzzle Corner and Your Health. It’s still not clear of those 1939 Health panels are Kirby’s. I’ve sent some to Greg Theakston, who was gald to see them. More as we find out.

  16. Yes, Ger, Lincoln and practically all the bargain basement syndicates recycled material for years. Makes it practically impossible to get really reliable dates on any of their output unless you can find a paper that runs the material consistently from the beginning to the end.


  17. Allan,

    The search goes on… dig, dig, dig… I have found another paper handling Lincoln Features… the Alabama Courier in Athens, Alabama has a long run of Facts You Never Knew from late 1939 until at least 1941. These scans are a bit better than the others in the Cullman Banner and the Chief Advertiser. From late 1939 until early 1940 the strips are by Kirby. But the feature continues into 1941.

    When I expended the search till 1943, I found that The Cullman Banner picks up Facts again in 1942, with what seems to be the same Kirby strips… maybe with higher numbers (all strips were numbered). Both also have the continuation of Your Health under the title Healthy, wealthy and Wise (numbering continued) from around #110. These higher numbered ones are by Kirby again. Maybe reprints from the earlier numbers? Anyway, it shows the Lincoln Syndicate going on into 1943 and who knows when.

    I also found two other interesting feautures in the later Cullman Banner… Harry Karry by Rensie (Eisner) and a strip by Jerry Iger. Both seem to be reprints from material from Wow magazine. The first Harry Karry story is cartoonish. The second one is more like Secret Agent X.

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