Category : News of Yore

News of Yore 1984: New Strip Dick and Jane Announced


Newspaper Readers Watching ‘Dick and Jane’ Run 

(from Editor and Publisher, March 24 1984)


 “Dick and Jane,” a comic featuring the characters many American schoolchildren learned to read with, was introduced by the Register and Tribune Syndicate (RTS) earlier this month.

Charter newspapers for Chuck Roth’s new strip include the Philadelphia Inquirer, Orlando Sentinel, Dallas Times Herald, Detroit News and Baltimore Evening Sun.

One Sunday episode reads, “See Dick eating a vanilla ice cream cone,” “See Jane eating a chocolate ice cream cone,” “See Sally eating a strawberry ice cream cone,” then the dog Spot zooms by and swipes the ice cream from each of the three cones. The last panel states, “See Spot eating a Neapolitan ice cream cone.”

“Even though the comic strip may be classified as adult-level humor, I have tried never to lose sight of the pure, simplistic approach,” said Roth. “Actually, as the strip progressed, I felt like one of the kids! I guess emotionally there’s still a child somewhere in all of us.”

RTS president Dennis R. Allen found Roth after a more than seven-year search for the right  “Dick and Jane” cartoonist.

Roth is president and founder of the California-based Roth International. The design company works with over 200 firms worldwide under licensing contracts to apply Roth designs to products in more than 100 categories. Prior to that, he headed the Roth Greeting Card Company.

The cartoonist traces his artistic beginnings back to the third grade in Toronto, where he entered the Ontario Safety League poster contest and won second prize over thousands of other entrants. Roth later completed the art course at Central Technical School in Toronto, and, after moving to the U.S., attended the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles.

 Thanks to John Lund for sending the article. John, your email address is not working, my emails are bouncing back.


4 comments on “News of Yore 1984: New Strip Dick and Jane Announced

  1. So… Scott Foresman (or whoever by then owned the no longer used "Dick & Jane" books and characters) officially licensed this strip?

  2. Hello Allan-
    I myself was once taught with the aid of Dick and Jane,and their baby sister Sally. Though the adventures on offer were so imperceptible as to border on Zen, all these years later, are still vividly recalled. Don't believe "Dick and Jane" were a copyrighted trade mark as you can't control common forenames. The once familiar early readers were discontinued as their teaching method (Sight-Say) was abandoned in favor of more pop-fashionable theories (phonics). The short-lived Dick and Jane strip came along years after their schoolastic inspirations vanished from kiddies' sight.
    Denny Allen missed the mark many times in the last yearsof the R&T, and if memory serves, this was one of the titles that was often thrown back at him as an example of his poor judgement.

  3. I have a collection of the entire run of "Dick And Jane" from newspaper clippings and photocopies, and actually remember every gag, even down to their original publication dates. I have scanned all of them on my computer before, but consider making newer and bigger scans. Even though the "Dick And Jane" comic strip is not quite as strong in my mind nowadays, it still very much plays a big influence in my tastes for humor and characters today. When I first read this comic strip back in 1984, that was when I first discovered that I adore cute characters. I also draw comics as a hobby, and have drawn mainly adult male characters for years. But I am currently in a cute and gentle – and toning down – phase and now enjoy drawing small children. I began doing such a comic strip series in 2020. An old comic strip series that I worked on for years is now taking a back seat to this new comic strip series.

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News of Yore 1914: Winsor McCay and Wife Involved in Lurid Courtroom Drama

 From the Brooklyn Times, Sept. 24 1914:


An alienation suit for $250,000 has been filed in the Supreme Court by Mrs. Irene Lamkin against Miss (sic) Maude McCay of Sheepshead Bay.

Mrs. Lamkin alleges that Miss McCay stole her husband’s affections and prevailed upon him to abandon her June 15. When Mr. Lamkin left her, so Mrs. Lamkin asserts, he went to Sheepshead Bay. The Lamkins were married eight years ago. According to Mrs. Lamkin her husband met Miss McCay during the summer of 1913.

From the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 23 1914:

Winsor McCay Tells Threats Of Mrs.Lamkin

 Cartoonist Testifies in Effort to Prove ”Frame-Up” in $250,000 Heart Balm Suit.


 [Special Telegram to Gazette Times]
NEW YORK, Dec. 22.    Winsor McCay, the cartoonist, was the star witness today in the trial of the divorce suit brought by Mrs. Irene Watkins Lamkin against her husband, Henry Tobin Lamkin. The case is being tried in the State Supreme Court before Justice Erlanger. Mrs. Maude McCay, wife of the cartoonist, is named as co-respondent.

The McCays assert that the Lamkins are acting in collusion. Mrs. Lamkin has begun a suit for $250,000 damages for alleged alienation of her husband’s affections against Mrs. McCay. Lawyer Norton announced he would prove a “frame-up” by the plaintiff and defendant of the divorce case to obtain money from the McCays.

Mr. McCay testified that he had been married 23 years and was satisfied that his wife was true and the victim of a “frameup.”

The night of March 8, McCay said, Mrs. Lamkin sought him at the stage door of a theater where he was appearing and threatened that unless he did something for her she would begin proceedings  against Mrs. McCay, saying:

“Your wife has ruined my home, alienated my husband’s affections and you will have to support me.” When he protested he could not support her, McCay said, Mrs. Lamkin threatened publicity, adding: “You are making $100,000 a year. I’ll bring suit against you and drive Mrs. McCay from New York.” McCay said she telephoned him continually until he consented to a meeting, He said Mr. Lamkin remarked: “They are together this very minute.”

Later he took Mrs. Lamkin to dinner and during the meal Mrs. Lamkin said; “If they are out together why can’t we be out together?” McCay said he spent $28 for wine that night and bought imported cigarets, after which he took her in a taxicab to Shanley’s.

“Her actions were such that I knew I was in the hands of a bad woman,” the cartoonist testified. “I would rather not tell the details. I took her behind the scenes at Hammerstein’s and later took her home, as she said we ought not to stay out all night.”

“After many telephone entreaties,” McCay said, he went to the Iowa apartments, “to see this $250,000 husband,” meaning Lamkin. Both Lamkins greeted him so cordially that he took them out for an evening in the all-night restaurant belt, the party continuing until 5:30 o’clock in the morning.

Lamkin on that occasion, the witness swore, declared that Mrs. Lamkin was the cleverest, handsomest woman in the world and that he was not going to give her up. Mr. McCay said his own reply was: “You stick to your wife, and if you injure my wife I’ll kill you.” He said Lamkin replied: “Your wife is a good pure woman. She thinks you are a great man, but you don’t take her out often enough.”

And finally from the Washington Post, Dec. 24 1914:


 Cartoonist’s Wife Vindicated of Charges in Divorce Case


 New York Jurist Dismises Action for Divorce on Motion of Attorney for Artist’s Helpmeet, but Refuses Similar Motion by Mrs. Lamkin’s Lawyer on Ground of Collusion 

New York, Dec. 23.

Mrs. Maude I. McCay, wife of Winsor McCay, a cartoonist, was vindicated today when Justice Erlanger, in the Supreme Court, dismissed the action for divorce brought by Mrs. Irene Walkins Lamkin against her husband, Harry Tobin Lamkin, in which Mrs. McCay was namd as corespondent.

The justice declared that there was evidence of collusion between the plaintiff and the defendant and refused to permit further attacks upon the character of Mrs. McCay by counsel of Mrs. Lamkin.

Denies Bathing Charge

In her deposition, Mrs. McCay denied, among other things, a charge that on one occasion she had taken a bath in the same tub with Harry Tobin Lamkin. Mrs. McCay not only denied all the charges made by Mrs. Lamkin, but advanced the contention that she and Lamkin were never married legally.

Refuses to Call It Mistrial

Mrs. Lamkin’s counsel made a motion that the trial be declared a mistrial, but this was promptly denied by Justice Erlanger, who said that in a case of this character, where the defendant refused to defend the action, the corespondent must be given all the rights of the defendant and be permitted to testify fully.

Lived Together Despite Conditions

Elliott Norton, counsel for Mrs. McCay, moved that the action be dismissed, and in his argument directed attention to the fact that it had been proven that the plaintiff had continued to live with her husband at least one year after she admitted she knew of his relations with other women.

News of Yore 1952: Cartoonist F.O. Alexander Honors Newsboys with Stamp Design


 Tribute Paid To Newsboys In Stamp Issue


Given Special Recognition Nation-Wide; Ceremony at Philadelphia

Philadelphia, October 6 1952 (AP) — The nation’s great paused yesterday to pay tribute to the boy next door — the one who delivers your newspaper.

The youthful champions of free enterprise got special recognition yesterday when the U.S. Post Office placed on sale a three-cent stamp honoring their service to community and country.

In a special ceremony at Benjamin Franklin Institute, Postmaster General Jesse M. Donaldson will present the first stamp to a newspaperboy. The Franklin Institute was chosen, Donaldson said, because Franklin was “probably the first newspaperboy.”

The stamp will be sold exclusively in Philadelphia for a short time and then will be placed on sale throughout the nation. It depicts a newspaperboy carrying papers in an average American community. On the boy’s bag is the legend, “Busy Boys . . . Better Boys.”The stamp, printed in three shades of purple, was adapted from a sketch made by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin’s editorial cartoonist, F.O. Alexander.

The paper carriers were honored by the Bulletin at a banquet Friday attended by such prominent former newspaperboys as Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, Harold Stassen, president of the University of Pennsylvania, former U.S. Senator Francis J. Myers and Horace A. Hildreth, president of Bucknell University and former governor of Maine.

Similar ceremonies were held throughout the country in conjunction with National Newspaper Week.

This post was possible courtesy of Mark and Cole Johnson, who sent me the newspaper clipping (from the Glens Falls Post-Star) along with the following promo photo of Alexander. Cole wrote the following on the back of the photo:
“F.O. Alexander in his office at the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on May 28 1965. 
Alex strikes a pose with an unlit pipe at his drawing board. Out the window can be seen the northern end of the platforms at 30th Street Station. 
He gave me this original in about 1980, I have no idea where or if it was published. He passed away in 1993. He told me he lost his hair in a mustard gas attack in frontline combat in WWI. Pictures of him in the 1920s would bear that out.”

One comment on “News of Yore 1952: Cartoonist F.O. Alexander Honors Newsboys with Stamp Design

  1. Hello Allan-
    Actually, It were I who wrote the description of the photograph. I put in a lot of hours at the Philadelphia library tracking down (based on the edition of the Bulletin in the foreground and the cartoon he is pretending to work on) the exact date of the picture. It was great to have lots of time and energy to spend on such things.
    Still have yet to find any ultimate purpose for the photo's creation, it occurs to me he had it commissioned for his own use, if there were autograph fans, or something. The rough, unmatted edges, and the sharp quality tell me this is the photographer's proof, the last copy of the picture in his possession. It's now framed, on my hallway wall, next to a picture, undoubtably the final time ever, that he drew of Hairbreadth Harry, Rudolph and Belinda.
    You will remember on New Year's day 2019 the Stripper's Guide entry about the Evening Bulletin souvenir booklet? Well, Alex's office was on the side of the building, looking across to the train station.

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News of Yore 1972 : Morrie Turner Profiled

Wee Pals Strip takes its Creator into Big Business

by Jim Scott (Editor & Publisher, January 15 1972)


Morrie Turner conducts a ‘chalk talk’ for children in Berkeley school.
Integration came later to the fiercely competitive world of cartooning than it did to sports. But the progenitor, Morrie Turner, of Oakland, California, is making it just as big as Jackie Robinson did in baseball, proving anew to youngsters that it’s talent, not color, that counts. 

The genial Morrie, whose voice flows as soft as sorghum, is the creator of “Wee Pals,” a daily comic strip, that the Regis­ter and Tribune Syndicate, Des Moines, distributes to 75 papers, including two in Africa. 

(One African girl wrote Morrie: “Is it possible to make a living selling lemonade on the street?”) 

“Cartooning has always been the big interest in my life,” ,says Turner. “But newspapers have provided me with an extra bonus. It’s prestige, prestige that opens many doors, principally the door to childhood.” 

Close to Children
Turner appears frequently before school children in Oakland and Berkeley for “chalk talks.” He’s particularly proud of the “Wee Pals Read-in,” which he con­ducts during the summer, in Berkeley pub­lic libraries. Sometimes children refuse to believe that this kindly gentleman is an artist but their doubts vanish rapidly as he sketches Nipper on the blackboard. 

He draws about 30 letters a week, about half of them from youngsters. They even send him cartoon ideas-some usable. 

Morrie gets no inspiration from his own family, for his and Letha’s only child Morris, is grown, gone and working for the telephone company. 

Charles Schulz, of “Peanuts” fame has been Turner’s hero, and he admits pattern­mg Wee Pals after “Peanuts.” (Schulz first strip was called “Little Folks”) 

Like Schulz, Turner now is big in books – author of four cartoon works, “Wee Pals,” “Kid Power,” “Right-On, Wee Pals,” and “Wee Pals Getting Together.” He’s also produced two children’s books, “Nipper” and “Nipper Power.” Moreover, he and Letha turned out a “Black and White” coloring book. 

Further, Morrie authored “Freedom Is,” a cartoon compilation of opinions of sixth grade pupils in Berkeley schools. Another of this stripe, bowing shortly, is ‘God is Groovy,” in which youngsters  talk about God. 

Turner also is following Schulz into television. ABC will give Nipper and his friends the full-hour treatment in the Fall. 

Again like Schulz, Turner has gone into merchandising. An Oakland firm, Outta Print, is producing Wee Pals T shirts, bearing such legends as “Rainbow Pow­er” and “Peace Loves Peanut Butter and Jelly.” 

A comparative little guy himself, at 5-9, 165, Turner has odd work habits. He prefers the still of the night. 

He starts work at midnight and re­mains at the drawing board until around 4 a.m. 

“I also watch television,” “Rather, I listen to it. I watch the start of a movie for about five minutes to place the charac­ters in my mind, then turn away from it to go to work. After that, I don’t see the screen but simply hear the words.” 

He sleeps till around noon. Oatmeal is his favorite breakfast food. 

The Turners occupy a two-bedroom unit in an Oakland apartment building, and one bedroom serves as his office. Plaques and trophies he has won decorate the walls. 

Morrie finds plenty to do after break­fast. With Letha’s help, he answers his mail. Besides his grade school visits, he teaches an adult cartoon class at night at Laney College and also serves the Volun­teer Bureau, a wing of the Community Chest. And several times monthly he planes to the East or Midwest for appear­ances before school and parent-teacher groups. 

Turner didn’t make an impressive start in cartooning. In fact, he flunked an art course at Berkeley High, where his only fame came as a quarter-miler on the track team. (“We were always drawing flow­ers,” he said. “I prefer people.”) 

At this time, Morrie had already start­ed sketching friends and neighbors. 

After his graduation from high school, Morrie Turner joined the Army, and it was in camp papers that his cartoons first appeared. 

In Police Clerk’s Job

At war’s end, Morrie returned home in 1946 and married his high school sweetheart. He caught on as a police clerk in Oakland, remaining on the job 13 years. 

In his spare time, Turner kept busy at the drawing board. He sold often to trade journals, then he began hitting Collier’s, Look and the Saturday Evening Post.

By 1960, Morrie was making enough on his cartoons to quit his job and go full­time into his beloved avocation. He began turning out “Dinky Fellas,” for free for the Berkeley Post, a black weekly. It in­cluded only three characters; today, 11 populate Wee Pals. 

Lew Little, looking for a Negro strip for his syndicate, heard about Turner’s talent in 1964, checked over his Post creations and signed him up.

The Oakland Tribune and the Los An­geles Times were the first papers to ac­cept the strip and Morrie was on his way. Since then, it has been only onward and upward. 

In his Sunday cartoon, Turner early introduced “Soul Corner,” in which he often salutes some outstanding Negro out of the past. 

“Letha does all the research on this for me,” said Morrie with a wink. 

3 comments on “News of Yore 1972 : Morrie Turner Profiled

  1. Hello Allen-
    Here's a question (that nobody ever asked but me), What strip went through the most different syndicates? I think it might be Wee Pals. It started as a Lew Little, then became a Register & Tribune, then King Features, Then United Features, then Field Enterprises,News America, North America and finally Creator's.

  2. Mark, you know that's the sort of question that's like red meat to me. Look for a post exploring the answer here next week, and get ready to argue about it — no two comic fans will ever agree on the answer.


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News of Yore 1972: End of an Era — Bell and McClure Syndicates End


Bell Features and Personnel move to United

[originally printed in Editor & Publisher, January 8 1972]
 United Feature Syndicate has taken over a substantial part of NANA and Bell-McClure Syndicate features as of January 1, with a number of key employes also being hired by United.

William C. Payette, president and gen­eral manager of UFS, announced that Sidney Goldberg, president of NANA and its affiliate Bell-McClure, has joined the Scripps-Howard syndicate with the title of general executive. Goldberg, former NANA editor, has been president of the NANA-Bell-McClure operations since last February. 

NANA and Bell-McClure are owned by Good Reading Corporation, and the move of the acquired features operations to UFS offices at 220 East 42nd Street is expected to be completed by the middle of the month. 

Jack Anderson’s Washington column, published in more than 700 dailies, is among UFS acquisitions, as are colum­nists Bill Vaughan, Marya Mannes, Sid­ney Margolius, Ernest Cuneo; Sheilah Graham and Harry Golden; the editorial cartoons of Art Poinier, TV Time, NANA and Women’s News Service, and comics “Hizzonor” by Bill Feld, “Funland” by Art Nugent, “Life’s Like That” by Fred Neher, and “Little No-No and Sniffy” by George Fett. 

Al Hoff, NANA-Bell-McClure trea­surer, has joined the United Feature staff as well as Sheldon Engelmayer, an editor of NANA, who will continue in the same function. Bell-McClure editor Martin Linehan and Donald Laspaluto, sales, are among others making the move to UFS. 
[Allan’s note: Bell-McClure’s few remaining comics evidently weren’t of primary interest to United, as the copyright slugs didn’t change until March-April of 1972. TV Laffs, not even worth a mention in this article, also made the transition to United.]
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