Obscurity of the Day: The Commodore


One of the cartoonists who supplied strips for the Boston Globe in the mid-1900s went only by the moniker ‘Grif’; now that the Globe is online, I went on a fool’s errand trying to find a mention of him in which his full name would be divulged. After searching on every variation of Grif, Griffin, Griffith, cartoonist, etc., I could think of, I’ve still come up empty. Oh well. 

One of Grif’s few series was The Commodore, aka The Admiral, aka The Tar. Believe it or not, Grif managed to go through all those title names in a span of just eight strips. The early episodes were all about the portly officer chasing a cat that has gotten loose on the ship. The title of one episode, “The Commodore, the Coxswain and the Cat” would have made an excellent series title; too bad it was only used once. Anyway, in later episodes the cat doesn’t figure anymore. The series ran from October 9 1904 to June 25 1905, with long gaps between appearances.

Grif was a fair enough cartoonist, but his gags (as seen above) are rank amateur work. His eventual disappearance from the Globe could not have left many readers pining for him. Unless Grif underwent a serious change in styles, I do NOT think that he is the same Grif who did It’s Only Ethelinda for the Philadelphia North American in 1908-10.

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