News of Yore: Walt Scott Profiled

NEA Service’s Walt Scott – Triple Threat Cartoonist
By Erwin Knoll (E&P, 1952)

You never know just what kind of drawing is liable to come out of a small studio overlooking Lake Erie at NEA Service’s comic art headquarters in Cleve­land. It might be an editorial cartoon, or a story strip illustrat­ing an event in American history or a biblical anecdote, or an illus­tration for a fiction piece, or a Sunday page for the new “Little People” comic feature. The ver­satile cartoonist who turns out all this, and more, is Walt Scott, a triple-threat man at the drawing board if ever one there was.

Biggest of these projects now is “The Little People” and its com­panion strip, “Huckleberry Hol­low,” launched by NEA Service last spring and now appearing in almost 200 newspapers. Many more will use “The Little People’s Christmas,” a special series of 21 strips using characters of the Sun­day feature but with a plot all its own, for release Dec. 1 to 24. And NEA expects new clients for the regular Sunday page when a new sequence starts Dec. 28.

Though the strip is new, the “Little People” have been with Walt Scott for many years. The pixie-like creatures and their im­aginative “Valley of the Small Ones” began to turn up in Scott’s landscapes and water colors soon after his Army service in World War I. (He had previously worked in the back shop of a small news­paper plant, attended the Cleve­land School of Art and worked for an advertising agency.)

In the early twenties, after a short stint in the advertising art de­partment of the Cleveland Press, Scott joined the Cleveland Plain Dealer and here the “Little Peo­ple” first found their way into print. They were called “The Doonks” then, and made a Sun­day children’s feature.

The small-fry stuff was tempo­rarily abandoned when Scott joined NEA as magazine art director in 1935. But he kept his hand in by taking three years off to join Walt Disney’s Hollywood studios, where he worked on “Bambi,” “Pinnochio,” “Fantasia” and “Dumbo.”

Scott made his name for versa­tility when he rejoined NEA about ten years ago. He “specialized” in fiction drawings, special feature work and comics, pinch-hit for the regular NEA editorial cartoonists and originated the story strips which the service has been dis­tributing for special holidays in the past year or two. Revival of the “Little People” characters he launched 30 years ago has round­ed out his career.

Tall, mustached, gray-haired and fiftyish, Scott likes to spend his non-drawing hours—yes, he does get away from the board once in awhile—hunting and fish­ing or entertaining his four grand­children with tales of the “Little People.” Occasionally he takes a busman’s holiday at water color paintings, many of which have been displayed at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

3 comments on “News of Yore: Walt Scott Profiled

  1. Walt Scott ilustró varias planchas de Captain Easy en los años ´40. Su trabajo no era especialmente craneano.Sin embargo la belleza de su estilo asomaba en las viñetas, de figuras alargadas. Leí sus tiras en la Argentina. Las publicó la revisra Espinaca, y también Pif Paf.Hoy resido en Catalunya.
    Soy coautor de “Mark Kane. Detective en Hollywood” (dailies & six comic adventures, published By Cimoc, andi Italy Publishers) junto al dibujante Oswal. Discípulo de Crane e Eisner.
    Un saludo por este extraordinario Blog.

  2. I am Walt's great grandaughter; it was a lovely surprise to stumble across this today. My father has most of his first run work and several paintings; as well as some draft work, but I'm always looking for stuff on Ebay, hoping to pick it up. I'd never read this article before today, it was a real treat. I'm an artist myself (of other mediums)- had it not been for Walt, I would have sworn I was adopted 😉

    Thank you for sharing this, and keeping the spirit of his work alive. xoxo

  3. Walt Scott worked at the NEA Syndicate with my Grandfather, Bill Braucher(who wrote Major Hoople from 1939 to 1958).I still have the homemade Christmas cards that Edith and Walt Scott gave my Mom's family. When I was five I read The Little People regularly until it left the Plain Dealer in August, 1960.

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