Before it was Minute Movies

Before Ed Wheelan renamed his feature Minute Movies, before even it bothered with the name Midget Movies on a consistent basis, his long-running feature was just an untitled strip of ‘movie film’ that ran along the bottom edge of the New York American‘s comics page. These are examples from the very first year of the strip, mostly November and December 1917. The feature began on January 31st of that year.

The samples shown here are in pretty sad shape, even after a bit of a cleaning in Photoshop. Running along the bottom of the page as they did, clippings of these strips are usually brown and brittle. Bound volumes do a good job of protecting most of the newspaper within, but the material along the edge, exposed to the air, does not age very gracefully. The same problem applies to much of the early Krazy Kat material, which was similar in that it ran in a long strip (vertically in the Kat’s kase) usually along a page edge.

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