Obscurity of the Day: Noodle the Poodle

We’ve seen J.C. Henderson on the blog before with a much later entry, Today’s Hookup. I’ve always liked Henderson’s style, proving that I’m a sucker for any cartoonist who develops his own signature lettering font.

Noodle the Poodle is Henderson’s earliest known feature. I found it in the Boston Post, but I suspect that it was supplied to them by Associated Newspapers, a cooperative syndicate. It ran from July 24 1913 until sometime in 1914 (I’m not finished indexing the early Post yet). It’s almost a true daily, missing only a day here or there, which is still a bit unusual in 1913. Henderson wisely decided to keep his style very simple in deference to the frequency. How some of these early daily guys produced a huge detailed 7-column strip every day is beyond me…

I can’t help wondering if Pat Sullivan was a fan of the strip. Is it just me or might this strip have served as some small inspiration in the creation of Felix? Seems to me they have a similar feel.

3 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Noodle the Poodle

  1. Hello, Allan—The honors for creating Felix the Cat really go to Pat Sullivan’s employee, Otto Mesmer. In 1919,Paramount ordered a cartoon from Sullivan’s cartoon studio, and the assignment was given to Mesmer, and he thus fashioned a character which became Felix. Being only a hireling, Otto couldn’t say anything when Sullivan took full credit when the cat became a star, and had his name alone on the films and the strips. ——Cole Johnson,

  2. Hi Cole –
    That’s just me being contrary. Everybody makes a big deal over Messmer being somehow robbed of recognition; in business the guy who takes the financial chances and pays the bills is due his part. And its not as if Sullivan was by any stretch inept as a cartoonist and idea man, so I like to throw the ball back in his court on occasion.


  3. Hello. Allan—Unfortunately, there seems to be very little that survives that Pat Sullivan actually directed. (A couple of the Charlie Chaplin cartoons, and a 1919 one-shot called THE ORIGIN OF THE SHIMMY are all I’ve ever seen, still, funny stuff–). On the newspaper page, I’ve somehow missed seeing much 1914-15 McClure stuff, but if you say he was good, then he was good. [[[I always wondered if it was Sullivan that did the “top pictures” on Marriner’s SAMBO.This somewhat crude artist also did occasional whole episodes,as well as some installments of POOR ROBINSON CRUSOE and even BUB-HE’S ALWAYS TO BLAME.]]] In John Canemaker’s book, THE TWISTED TALE OF FELIX THE CAT, Pat Sullivan comes off pretty badly, a liar, a cheat, a rapist, a philanderer who drove his wife to suicide, a man totally removed from artistic input after FELIX made him wealthy, and died of syphillis. Pretty harsh! Of course, all he really had was the word of Mesmer for a lot. He said Sullivan rarely set foot in the studio! An easy case can be made for this— after 1919, it’s clearly Mesmer’s distinctive, angular style in the studio’s films, rather than Sullivan’s plainer, rubbery looking work. MEOW!—-Cole Johnson.

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