Itza Christmas

December 24th, 2016

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Here’s a beautiful drawing by one of our most faithful supporters, and a donor to the cartoon short, “Some Other Cat”. It’s by Nicolas Martinez, of Chicago Ill. He draws Itza Cat just about perfectly, I love Itza with the candy cane in his mouth, looking like a striped cigar! Look at that beautiful texture that Nicolas put in to the wreath, it’s colored pencil on textured paper. Real classy, Nicolas, Thanks again!
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Felix is from 3-12 to 3-18-33 this time. Felix and Danny Dooit have located Colonel Snooper’s abandoned radio and Danny’s mother listens in to Felix’s broadcast. I love the drawing of the windblown Felix and Danny in the 3-14, and the very effectively stylized polar bear in the 3-18. Savor these drawings of the Arctic in 1933, it doesn’t look that icy anymore. The Sunday continues Felix’s treasure hunt to impress his girlfriend, he goes to an undersea cave and is rescued from an octopus by a lobster boy!
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Myrtle is from 12-13 to 12-18-1948, this week I love the 12-15 as Hyacinth the Cat makes one of her rare appearances, chasing the family’s pet mouse. Dudley Fisher does a very animated cartoon style gag here, as the Mouse paints a lot of fake mouseholes along the baseboard. I also like the 12-18, as Myrtle confronts her teacher, Miss Flunkem. Myrtle’s attitude in the second panel is especially appealing.
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World War Two enters the Coconino County world (3-22 to 3-27-43) again as Ignatz, Krazy and Pupp play “Sentimentils” (Sentries in Kat Langwitch). I love the fractured Kat words, such as “retzkil”, “Weak kneeded” and “Paul Troom” in the 3-23 and “Migg-night” and “Moob Oba, Dollin’” in the 3-27. At this point, Herriman isn’t signing the strips, so you know they are his work.

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Bob Kuwahara again does the “art chores” on the Barker Bill Sunday page from 10-17-54. Ali K. Zam is in love with Phyllis the Strong Woman and makes Puddy the Pup vanish beneath his magic hat. Trouble is, Ali K. Zam doesn’t know how to bring the beloved pup back again. Continued next post!
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Here is yours truly, riding Balto in Ojai, Ca. where my wife and I were staying for the annual Film Festival. I got a two-hour ride on the gentle horse, we even went on a trot for a bit. I was the only rider on the trail that day. We went through a very dry Live Oak forest. It was the fastest two-hours I spent the whole year. I wonder what it’s like to ride for 4 hours, or 6? It would be fun to do a day’s ride with a lunch break some day. Remember to click the small thumbnails twice, and they will grow to readable size. Comments are ‘disabled’ for the time being, due to this blog recovering from a hack. Feliz Navidad and Prospero Ano Nuevo to all my readers!

Christmas Presence

December 13th, 2016

lil-bub-and-grumpy-cat-christmas.jpg It’s hard to believe that the Catblog hasn’t had a new post since October! So I’m present, front and center for the Holidays. This is a Christmas card rough featuring Lil Bub and Grumpy Cat, the famous Internet video felines. What? You’ve never heard of them? Well get over to You Tube and do a search! They are the cartooniest live action cats you’ve ever seen. Cathy and I love Lil Bub, look at the August post to see her Birthday drawing of Lil Bub. She’s funny looking, with huge eyes and short, stubby legs but she seems a very agreeable puss. I love the video of her sleeping in front of a fireplace, purring as she sleeps.

felix-3-5-to-3-11-1933.jpg Here’s Felix from 3-5 to 3-11-1933. In the Sunday, Felix knocks himself out trying to impress his haughty girlfriend, who finally thaws out when the Wonderful Cat finds a treasure map! I love that pose in the last panel as the couple stroll down the primrose path and Felix says “Stick to Me and you’ll wear diamonds”. In the Dailies, Felix and Danny find Col. Snooper’s plane as they continue their Arctic exploration. I like Danny’s sentimental attachment to Doris, his home girl, as he sculpts her out of snow in the 3-6.

myrtle-12-6-to-12-12-48.jpg Myrtle is with us, originally from 12-6 to 12-12-1948. I love the timing in the 12-7 as Bingo is banished from a comfortable chair to the floor, when Myrtle describes the dog’s current mischief, including chewing the leg off a kitchen chair! The 12-8 is very funny too, as Sampson hurries Myrtle off to a party without checking to see who is throwing it or where it is. Sampson’s hair becomes a question mark as Myrtle asks him “Whose party are we going to?” The Sunday involves the whole neighborhood as Susie tries to balance the checkbook.

krazy-kat-3-15-to-3-20-43.jpg Krazy does a whole week of strips submerged from 3-15 to 3-20-1943 as World War Two creeps into Coconino. The animals are deeply concerned about Uboats and Japanese submarines, although most of the boats turn out to be watermelons and squashes with periscopes stuck into them. I especially like the 3-20 as Offissa Pupp pulls an extra-long periscope out of the water with his crook.

barker-bill-1-2-55.jpg Here’s your Christmas Present! It’s the Barker Bill Sunday page from 1-2-1955, signed by Paul Terry but drawn by Bob Kuwahara. It was featured in the New York Daily Mirror concurrently with the Barker Bill TV show which featured a lot of the early black and white Paul Terry-Toons. You may remember the theme song: “Who’s the man in the big black hat, and who’s the man who is round and fat, He’s the man you are looking at, his name is Barker Bill!” You’ll notice that Puddy the Pup from the mid-30s Terry-Toons is Bill’s confidant and smarter sidekick in these pages. In this one, Ali K. Zam, the circus magician, gets beaten up by the strong woman; Phyllis Fezeek. As we continue this neglected old blog, you will see some earlier Barker Bill Sunday pages, from 1954. The best of the Holidays to all you readers. As Walt Kelly used to say, “let nothing you dismay”.

Louie Schmitt Greeting Card!

October 5th, 2016

louie-schmitt-card-a.jpglouie-schmitt-card-b.jpglouie-schmitt-card-c.jpglouie-schmitt-card-d.jpgsmellbound-model-sheet-louie-schmitt.jpg I found this old greeting card in a stack of memorabilia that my Mother saved. It’s drawn for Hallmark Cards by Louie Schmitt, character designer and layout man for Tex Avery in 1945, animating shorts like “Bad Luck Blackie” and doing layout and design on “Lucky Ducky”, “The Cat That Hated People” and “Half-Pint Pygmy”.  I’ve included one of his model sheets for “L’il ‘Tinker”, above. That’s the cartoon with the outrageous parodies of Vera Vague and Frank Sinatra. Louie Schmitt animated on Snow White and Bambi, and worked on Walt Disney shorts starting in 1932 with “The Klondike Kid”. He also animated on ”Toll Bridge Troubles” for Screen Gems with the Fox and Crow.  I love how the Papa Rabbit is about to beat up the new-born rabbit with a baseball bat! Look at the sheepish grin he flashes at his wife as he tries to keep the bat hidden behind his back. The attitudes on this card are the essence of 1940s cartooning. You’re probably wondering why my Mom saved this little card. She was a Louie Schmitt fan! Honk! Naw! Hoaxed ya again, it was a card sent to my Mom congratulating her on my arrival! Who knew who Mr. Schmitt was in 1948, or Tex Avery for that matter? He didn’t get to even sign his name to the card, Hallmark liked to keep their artists anonymous.

felix-2-26-to-3-4-33.jpg Here’s Felix from 2-26 to 3-4-1933. In the Sunday, Felix is looking to bump himself off after his Gal rejects him. He accidentally socks a fish with his sinker rock and decides to eat instead. In the dailies, Felix and Danny are flying on their magic carpet to deliver a telegram to Colonel Snooper in the Arctic circle. Messmer loved to put Felix in snowy and desert locales, since his black fur made him stand out against very light backdrops. Felix drives an icicle into a polar bear in the 3-4, thinking it’s a snow bank.

myrtle-11-29-to-12-4-48.jpg Here’s Myrtle from 11-29 to 12-4-1948. There’s a good cat gag in the 11-30, but it’s not Hyacinth. I also like the Dudley Fisher timing on the 12-4, as Freddie unsuccessfully tries to thread a needle for Susie and gets Myrtle to help him. He wants to get sole credit for the needle duty, but Myrtle wants a nickle tip from Freddie to keep it a secret that she helped him.

krazy-3-8-to-3-13-43.jpg Krazy is from 3-8 to 3-13-1943. Garge is back to the War gags. The first three strips feature Ignatz’s mechanized brick-tosser. The tosser also can morph into a drone and drop bricks from the air.  Offissa Pupp would have to be a Katfish to keep up with the submarine part of the masonry Monitor. In the last batch of strips, Krazy is working as an aircraft “Spotta”. He spots a Koach Dog, then decorates himself with spots and then mistakes Ignatz’s indigestion for “Patri Yock-tic” behavior.

CU in downtown L.A. for the next few days. Cathy and I will be doing some plein air painting.

The Legend of Mangy Returns

September 13th, 2016

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Here by popular demand, is the origin story of Mangy the cat from Cathy Hill’s “Mad Raccoons” #2! I love “the last straw struck” as Mangy steals the entire Thanksgiving dinner. I’m doing these comic pages all on one post, so you don’t have to search through a bunch of old posts trying to find pieces of the Mangy stories. You are perfectly welcome to look for Mangy in the search window, however. You’ll find pictures of the real Mangy and a lot more. Sadly, MU Press, which published the Mad Raccoons comics, is now defunct. But Mangy has a home here, and a quick scan of Ebay or Amazon should yield some Mad Raccoons comic links. Amazon has issues one and two, and the trade paperback: “The Mad Raccoons Collection”.

felix-2-19-to-2-25-33.jpg Felix is here for your enjoyment, from 2-19 to 2-25-1933. In the Sunday, Felix continues to explore the year 2000 by crystal ball. He can walk beyond the pull of gravity, and mechanical birds and dogs are the rage and cats are extinct! In the dailies, Felix and Danny continue the messenger boy service. In the 2-23, Col. Snooper is taking off for the arctic by airplane and Danny has a telegram for him. Danny and Felix miss the plane, but blunder into a Rare Carpets shop and take off to intercept the flight on a magic carpet.

myrtle-11-22-to-11-28-48.jpg Here’s Myrtle, from 11-22 to 11-27-1948. I like the 11-22, as Myrtle does a deft move with her hat to avoid too much bathroom exposure. The 11-23 and 24 episodes are very much in character, as Myrtle conspires against Freddy by getting her mother all dolled up in a new outfit so she doesn’t have to cook dinner and go to a restaurant. Myrtle tries to shake down the waiter for a percentage of the tip! The Sunday is back, as the gang explores the wonders of new-fangled contraptions such as automatic dishwashers. The wives reject the idea as it would give their husbands too much leisure time!

krazy-3-1-to-3-6-43.jpg Here’s Krazy from 3-1 to 3-6-1943. No war stuff this time, just the usual mouse, Kat and Kop antics. I especially like the 3-1, as Krazy gives the tough little Ignatz a kiss while he’s fast asleep. The tenderness of Krazy’s feelings for the “Mice” are charmingly revealed. Ignatz hides in hats and flower pots and receives a black eye from a lady friend in the balance of the strips.

Happy Birthday from Li’l Bub!

August 13th, 2016

lil-bub-says-happy-birthday.jpg The world’s most famous cat, besides Felix, Li’l Bub, makes her first appearance on the Catblog! My dear wife, Cathy, made this charming pencil sketch of the zany little cat and put her left paw up in a gesture echoing the traditional Asian cat statues you see in restaurants and shops. Most readers of this blog are no doubt already well-versed in the land of YouTube cat videos, BUT if you haven’t seen Li’l Bub, here’s a link to one of our favorite videos featuring her unique face: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaFQ8bUSq4U .  She has eyes like a Keane painting and a Snuffy Smith tongue! Once at YouTube, you can find dozens of other videos that will teach you more about her origins and health issues than you will ever want to know.  Oh, I didn’t get any balloons or a cupcake, but a lovely sugar-free peach pie! Cathy always makes my birthday a special one.

felix-2-12-to-2-18-33.jpg Felix is from 2-12 to 2-18-1933 this time. In the Sunday, Felix continues his adventures via crystal ball into the world of the year 2000. Messmer predicts that robots will be doing all the drudgery, (not illegal workers), and that skyscrapers will be built so high that the upper floors will be beyond the pull of gravity! The dailies resolve the story of Danny Dooit’s ill-fated stint as a messenger boy. Felix puts his considerable brain to the task, and completely subdues the jewel thief who holds Danny prisoner. Danny gets a raise in pay and a hundred dollars in cash as a reward. Will he share if with Felix? Next time we’ll find out.

myrtle-11-15-to-11-20-48.jpg Myrtle is from 11-15 to 11-20-1948 this time. Dudley Fisher’s gag timing is very evident in the 11-17, as Sampson finds that the reluctant dog Bingo has neither manners nor pride. I also like the 11-20, as Susie is convinced that she is going to be ill, and Myrtle un-”veils” the problem in the last panel. No Sunday this time, all copies were blocked.

krazy-2-22-to-2-27-43.jpg Step up to Krazy, from 2-22 to 2-27-1943. The Kat langwitch is very evident in the 2-24, as Krazy thinks that a Bactrian camel is twice as “med” as a Dromedary. I like the 2-26 as well; Krazy kries as her Kreaking, Kracking, Kar actually Krokes because it needs a Krutch. The Kangaroo in the 2-27, bears a striking resemblance to Don Kiyoti in last time’s batch, same type of needle nose and ears, but with a pouch and a long tail. Come back soon for more gems from Herriman’s pen.