Obscurity of the Day: In the Tall Timber

Back in the oughts and teens, there must have been a constant battle to keep the back pages of the New York Evening World filled with cartoons and strips. Many’s the time that items of questionable merit found their way onto the pages of even such an august daily, and of those some even stuck around for a good while.

For instance, on February 6 1911 a new weekday panel cartoon debuted, titled In the Tall Timbers. A relatively bald-faced copy of Abe Martin, the only nod to originality was that a small cast of recurring characters delivered the rusticated wisdom instead of just one emcee. It took two creative talents to produce this copycat: George W. Rehse handled the art, while someone named Aulsbrook provided the pickle barrel wisdom. Rehse seemed to get cold feet about having his name on this dog, and last signed it on March 1, while Aulsbrook, often using the not-particularly-jaunty contraction ‘Auls’, took credit until the end on September 7.

At the time of my book’s publication, I believed that Aulsbrook took over for Rehse; however, now being able to peruse at the Evening World at my leisure in digital form, I have concluded that Rehse continued on, but decided to stop signing his name.

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