Ink-Slinger Profiles: Hal Forrest

Harry Paul “Hal” Forrest was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 22, 1892, according to his World War I draft card. The California Death Index at said his birth year was 1893, and a Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), August 30, 1935 profile, said the birth year was 1895.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the youngest of three children born to William and Annie. They lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 1912 Sterner Street. The census said he was born “July 1892”. His father was an insurance agent.

Ten years later, the Forrests were in Philadelphia at 3501 Water Street. It’s not clear what his occupation was. The Spokesman-Review said, “From 1911 to 1915 Forrest attended the Art Institute of Chicago. He became a member of the art staff of the Chicago Tribune and then joined troop A, First Illinois cavalry. During 1915 to 1917 he was a member of the headquarters troop, third New Jersey in infantry….” He signed his World War I draft card in April 1917. His home address was in Clementon, New Jersey. His occupation was student at Fort Myers Camp in Fort Myers, Virginia. He was described as tall, medium build, with brown eyes and dark hair.

He has not been found in the 1920 census. His father, a widower, lived in Clementon, New Jersey. The Nevada State Journal published Forrest’s United Press International obituary, on November 26, 1959, which said, “…[Forrest was] an editor of the Culver City, Calif., News in the early 20s….” In the late 1920s, he created Artie the Ace, the forerunner to Tailspin Tommy.

The 1930 census recorded Forrest in Los Angeles, California at 3135 Durango. According to the census, he married Charlotte around 1925, and their daughter, Elizabeth, was born in early 1927. He was a newspaper artist. An August 5, 1934 passenger list, At, recorded their address as 9018 Olive Street, Los Angeles.

The Aberdeen American News (South Dakota) said on November 25, 1959, “…in 1952…Tailspin Tommy…became the basis for a television series, a radio program and several books….”

Forrest passed away November 23, 1959, in Culver City, California, according to the Associated Press report in the Springfield Union (Massachusetts), November 25. However, the California Death Index has the date as November 21. Samples of his original art are at Heritage Auctions.

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