Obscurity of the Day: Professor Howler’s Calamities

Professor Howler’s Calamities ran in the New York Herald‘s Sunday editions from July 23 1911 to April 14 1912*. The strip concerns a fellow who looks like a perfect milquetoast, but he actually has the call of adventure in his bones. Meek little Professor Howler will not shrink from any challenge, but he always ends up looking the fool (or worse).

This well-drawn and written strip was never signed by the creator. Now I may be totally off-base here, but when I look at these strips I hear a little whisper in my noggin saying “Ding Darling.” I’m very likely wrong, I suppose, but Darling had just arrived in New York at this point to work at the New York Globe, and maybe he shopped his portfolio around town and had this strip accepted at the Herald. Of course, he wouldn’t have been able to sign the strip. Any comment on my guess?

* Source: Ken Barker’s New York Herald index

4 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Professor Howler’s Calamities

  1. Do you have David Lendt's biography of Darling? If not, my copy is waiting for me in NYC (I just got it), and I can check that. Not dispositive if it doesn't list it…

  2. Lendt's biography has this to say at page 26: "He [Darling] also resisted management pressure to do comic strips for the Globe." In the next para, Lendt notes that Darling at this time had issues with his drawing arm that threatened to derail his career. This doesn't settle the issue, but in my mind, the facts that Darling didn't want to do strips and he was having drawing issues makes the ID for this strip unlikely. Feel free to disagree, since this is a guess on my part.

  3. I guess so. Darling was in fact producing a general humor cartoon series for the Globe in 1911-12, which eventually was focused and became Professor Specknoodle 1912-13 (you'll find samples on this blog). But I suppose if he was doing that against his will, he wasn't likely to do another. Thanks for checking!

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