Can You Help With These Mystery Strips?

These E&P articles refer to comic strip features that I’ve been unable to find. Do you have information or samples you can share?

Tigers Fly Again
E&P, October 1946

If the first two weeks’ continuity is a fair example, Bell Syndicate’s new comic strip, “Flying Tigers”, will have plenty of action, from street fights to intrigue to live tigers. Source of the material, chief character in the strip, and co-byliner is Capt. George (Pappy) Paxton, who was a member of one of the first groups to join the Flying Tigers, who served as a flight leader and member of Chennault’s staff and who was shot down over the Burma Road in January 1942.

Charles Clarence Beck, a professional artist since the age of 15 and supervisor for three years of all comic magazine script preparation for the Anglo-American Publishing Co., is the artist. For 10 years he was a staff artist at Fawcett Publications, but for the past two years has headed with Peter Costanza a rapidly expanding art studio of their own. The strip is due for daily release soon.

New Feature
E&P, 1/18/47
A two-column weekly cartoon, “Oddities of Nature” is being offered by the A. S. Curtis Features Syndicate. The creator and author of this panel, Chuck Thorndike, has appeared in numerous newspapers in the United States and Canada and has written and illustrated 12 books. A veteran of both world wars, he had charge during the recent war of a department creating syndicated posters and visual materials.

Comic Strip Features Cute Baby Photos
By Helen M. Staunton (E&P, 12/14/46)

Because Constance Bannister was never satisfied to take only one picture of a baby but “had to take about 50 pictures,” she originated a unique feature that has achieved considerable acceptance in daily newspapers and special use in Sunday roto sections–a photographed “comic strip” of incidents in babies’ lives.

Her strips, syndicated by Consolidated News Features, consist of four pictures of one or two babies in action with imaginary baby monologues in balloons. The formula is deceptively simple: In each a baby deals with some object or faces some problem and reacts, while Miss Bannister dubs in some baby comments with an unexpected twist. Perhaps one baby is confronted with another baby who’s yelling, tries to soothe it, then asks, “Hey, Mom, should I slug her?”

The trick, says the baby photographer, is “to get the expressions to say the words. I frequently have to take 50 or more shots. It’s always very difficult to start out with a positive idea.

“We get the thought-and give it a little leeway.” She has been trying to get a good football sequence for some time she told E & P, “but hasn’t been able to get the babies to do it yet ” Now when she manages those pictures, they’ll have
to go in the file for next season.

A professional baby photographer – and so photogenic herself that many of the papers using the feature have played her picture alongside the other babies – Constance Bannister has been persuading babies to grab a toe, look interested, point, make faces, etc., for years for a wide variety of magazine covers.

Then her own interest in seeing babies in more than one pose convinced her that a feature showing babies in successive poses ought to capture wide readership. A number of newspapers agreed. The New York Sun runs “Baby Banters by Bannister” as a twice-weekly strip. Other newspapers use it stripwise or as a full page in Sunday rotos. The Milwaukee Journal, which belongs to this group, made a local feature out of it not so long ago by running a local man’s imitation with his baby granddaughter underneath it.

7 comments on “Can You Help With These Mystery Strips?

  1. C.C. Beck never mentioned this strip as far as I know, but I will try and alert the Peter Hamerlinck at Alter Ego’s FCA, which is all about Beck and Costanza and Fawcett and their Captain Marvel. They also have a column by Marc Swayze, who drew Flying Jenny for whoeever’s name was on that and was wroking at the Beck/Costanza studio at that point, as far as I can remember.

  2. Alan,

    Paul (not Peter) Hamerlinck wrote back to me to say the Flying Tigers strip was once mentioned in a 1960’s interview, but never again. He reckons it was one of many newspaper tries that didn’t eh… fly.

    Personally I’d love to get into those syndicate drawers and get all newspaper try-outs out of their files. Especially from the late fifties when ever comic artist out of a job tried to get into the papers. Someone shoudl go out and try to interview the surviving editors…

  3. Thanks for checking, Ger. I was afraid that would be the case.

    I used to own two big boxes of CC Beck’s files, containing all sorts of interesting stuff, but I never saw anything about Flying Tigers in there either.

    As for interviewing syndicate editors, I think that’s a fantastic idea. I’d definitely not be one to do it, though, as I’d want to grill them like they were hostile witnesses!


  4. By the way, Paul is now preparing an article about the Captain Tootsie ads, which will include some of the daily Captain Toosie tiers I have found in a mid fifties paper. Did you ever come across that ad strip and do you have any dates on those?

  5. Ger – Regarding CCB’s files, I traded them along with a few Beck originals to a guy who was (he said) the biggest collector/expert on Beck in the country. Don’t recall the fellow’s name, but he seemed to really know his Beck.

    I traded all that stuff for a really great Boots and her Buddies and a couple Out Our Way originals.


  6. Regarding Captain Tootsie, I don’t track ad strips for Stripper’s Guide. I know it ran at least 1946-48 as a Sunday color ad strip, but that’s just based on a few clippings that I saved for my files.


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