Where Was Ducky?

August 13th, 2014

ducky-nash-at-unknown-event-b-w-photo.jpg In imitation of Mike Barrier’s infrequent series over at his blog: www.michaelbarrier.com; he calls “Where Was Walt?”, I’m starting a one-part series called “Where Was Ducky?” This is a mystery photo with which my brother gifted me, that shows Clarence “Ducky” Nash with his Donald Duck ventriloquist dummy (Ducky was NOT a ventriloquist), at what is evidently a signing ceremony for the lady sitting at the desk. Was she an actress? My brother thinks she might be Jane Russell, but she doesn’t look like Miss Russell to me. Who are the rather grim faced bunch of gentlemen in the picture with the actress (?) and Ducky? Why is there a crucifixion wall hanging behind them, and who is the man in the framed portrait on the right side of the photograph? I think it must date to the 1949 to 1955 period, because that’s the later edition of the Duck Dummy.  If any of my readers can tell me anything about this photo, you’ll get a free subscription to this blog! (Oh, you say you already get that? We’ll give you the Stan Lee no-prize instead.)

krazy-6-8-to-6-13-42.jpgIn Krazy, 6-8 to 6-13-1942 this time, we have many delicious examples of Kat-Langwitch. “Kettle” in the 6-8, “Wekkum-Klinna” in the 6-10 and in the 6-13, Krazy’s accent is mistaken by a bullfrog in the pond as he mistakes “Fog” for “Frog”. Krazy even throws a cobble-rock at the Frog in the third panel, a slapstick turn in which the Kat rarely “inwulges”.

myrtle-3-1-to-3-6-48.jpg Myrtle is from 3-1 to 3-6-1948 this time. This being the Catblog, I will point out one of Hyacinth the cat’s rare appearances in the 3-3. In a typical Cat behavior, Hyacinth cozies up to Myrtle to get in on fresh milk. The 3-5 is very funny, as Myrtle’s Mom tries to lure errant husband Freddie back home from bowling with a lemon cream pie she hasn’t even made yet!

felix-5-28-to-6-3-34.jpgI predicted last time that Yimmy Yiminy would be Felix’s protector since the Yiminy family adopted him in the last batch of Felix the Cat dailies. In the strips from 5-28 to 6-2-1934, Otto’s proclivity for getting Felix in to tight jams continues and Felix is accused of stealing ducks and milk from the Minnesota farm. Here’s another prediction, Yimmy will find a way to clear Felix’s name very soon. In the Sunday, from 6-3-1934, Felix continues to be lost in the Antarctic blizzard and Danny Dooit and his kid brother want to save him with snow shovels.

I’ll be posting some new cat photos next time to cheer you, until then this is your faithful Catblogger, purrr-suing the mews!

Your Comics Page 7-24-2014

July 23rd, 2014

scout-on-the-pantry-shelf.jpg Scout is scouring the shelves in the komics kitchen to find this post’s oldies for you.

krazy-6-1-to-6-6-42.jpg Scout turns up Krazy from 6-1 to 6-6-1942. Garge starts a promising story line in the 6-1 about Ignatz wishing he was twins, and Krazy “witching” she was “twims” in the 6-2. Rather than draw two sets of Kats and Mices, the twin Ignatzes are just suggested in the 6-3, not actually shown. The real winner for this week is the 6-5, told entirely in pantomime as Offissa watches the unseen brick hurtling over his head and puts Ignatz in his jail cell in the last panel. This strip assumes such comfortable familiarity with the tropes of the Krazy Kat characters, that explanation isn’t necessary.

myrtle-2-23-to-2-28-48.jpg Myrtle this time is from 2-23 to 2-28-1948. The 2-24 is very funny, with Myrtle slopping up her Mom’s kitchen to show her a leaky garbage can, and the 2-28 highlights Bingo’s sacrifice as he takes Myrtle’s punishment. Freddie’s choice of words, “..you’ve got to learn to mind!” seems to apply to dogs more than little girls, anyway.

felix-5-21-to-5-27-34.jpgFelix is now the responsibility of Olaf Yiminy and Yimmy Yiminy, in the strips from 5-21 to 5-27-1934. Mr. Dooit ships Felix to Olaf while he takes the family on vacation, and poor Felix has to deliver himself to Mr. Yiminy’s house to save him the 5 bucks delivery fee. This endears Felix to the very cheap Mr. Yiminy. Of course his son Yimmy is going to be Felix’s great defender. In the Sunday page, Felix is snubbed by the sled dogs, and then he’s forced to pull the sled with every dog riding it. It’s lucky that Felix is at the South Pole or he’d really sweat from pulling that heavy load.

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yogi-8-16-64.jpgyogi-8-23-64.jpgyogi-8-30-64.jpgThe Yogi Sundays from August 1964 are here! Yowp whose blog is located at: www.yowpyowp.blogspot.com is the unofficial champeen Hanna-Barbera historian, and claims that he can no longer supply the half-page Yogi Sunday comics  from his Canadian newspaper archive sources. So here are the third-page versions that I clipped from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch back then. The 8-2 and 8-16 strips are still on the “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” promotional band wagon. Yowp was especially interested in the 8-16, as Yogi’s namesake, Yogi Berra, the baseball man is shown in caricature. The key artist on these is Harvey Eisenberg, I don’t know if he did Mr. Berra’s caricature or not. (By the way, Don, if you want me to send you scans of any of these pages for your own blog, you have only to ask.)

I don’t know how to block robot comments on this blog, so she’s wide open for the one-size-doesn’t-fit-all letters we get by the ton. Most of them say, “Your blog is very well-written, I learned a lot from it”, or “what a wonderful article” or “I’ll bookmark your site and visit often”. If only these comments came from real people and not from gmail or insurance companies or other instant mail generators. Robots, if you want your comments to be seen by my readers, you’re barking up the wrong cat! Bug off, or I’ll send you to the moon, with my magic spoon!

Your Comics Page 7-8-2014

July 8th, 2014

scout-on-the-bed.jpg Scout welcomes you into the inner sanctum of her Comics Room for a new batch of old stuff!

krazy-kat-5-25-to-5-30-42.jpgKK is from 5-25 to 5-30-1942 this time. You’ll note that all the gags except the 5-30 are potted plant jokes. Sort of Organic Krazy. The Kat Langwidge in the 5-27 stumped me for a bit, but I figured it out: “A Wiolet, same size as it were less wigg..” , that’s “last week” in the Kat tongue. The 5-25 was derived from the San Antonio Light of the same date, so much for the completeness of the King Features Archives.

myrtle-2-16-to-2-22-48.jpgMyrtle is from 2-16 to 2-22-1948 this time out. There are a lot of animal gags this time, featuring Hyacinth the cat, Junior the dog and Ebuceci the exotic Alaskan dog. Being that this is the Catblog, pay special attention to the 2-17, as Myrtle begs Hyacinth to catch just “One Little Mouse”, to cover her cookie thievery. We also have the Sunday page from 2-22, with Dudley Fisher’s patented downshot type layouts. These should be Uncle George’s favorite strips (that’s really an inside joke)!

felix-5-14-to-5-20-34.jpgFelix’s luck runs hot and cold as usual in the strips from 5-14 to 5-20-1934. Felix escapes the gas chamber at the Dog Pound, and gets back in the good graces of the Dooit family. It seems that the bulldogs he freed from the Pound were the property of a wealthy dog breeder and he rewards Mr. Dooit with a big check for Felix’s brave deed. However, Mr. Dooit decides to take the family to Europe with Felix’s check, and boxes Felix up to send him to Uncle Olaf for safe keeping. We’ll see what kind of cat care Felix gets from Olaf next time. In the Sunday, Felix gets into a chase with a fierce sled dog in Antarctica and gets a prop plane flying by mixing it up in the propeller with the aggravated canine. The pilots at last make Felix their mascot. I wonder how long will Felix’s good fortune last in the frozen wastes?

CU Soon!

Your Comics Page 6-25-2014

June 25th, 2014

 scout-table-that.jpgScout welcomes you to sit down at her table and read another blog post with more of your favorite comics!

krazy-kat-5-18-to-5-23-42.jpgHere’s Krazy from 5-18 to 5-23-1942. It’s mousecellaneous gags this week, some featuring Ignatz and some Offissa Pupp. In the 5-21 and 5-23, Herriman uses his Coconino Stage idea for knothole gags in the floor. Can anyone tell me what Ignatz is poking Offissa Pupp in the face with in the 5-21? I guess it could be a billy club, but Ignatz usually uses bricks! The 5-23 Saturday strip was culled from the San Antonio Light of that date. It’s interesting that the King Features Syndicate archive has so many holes in it, and that the strips they use on their Comics Kingdom website rarely go back earlier than 1936. It’s also interesting that some times they claim not to have a strip in the archive, say an old Barney Google, only to find that the reason they claim they don’t have a particular strip, is because it contains an appearance by a comical black porter, or has an ethnic gag in it that they don’t feel comfortable in reprinting. Here’s another example of a big business, in this case the Hearst Corporation, making profit from comic strips and characters that in many cases are 80 to 100 years old, and yet not held responsible for maintaining a complete archive of their features and strips! I suppose that means that KFS relies on collectors and library sources and collections of old newspapers for the truly vintage material. It seems strange to me that they could be reprinting the early Segar material, like “The Five-Fifteen” or Thimble Theatre before Popeye, but because they don’t have that material, they resort to recent strips like “Quincy” or “Boner’s Ark” and try to convince us that they are old classics. I am a devoted reader of Comics Kingdom, but as an archive, it’s pretty chewed up.

myrtle-2-9-to-2-14-48.jpgHere’s Myrtle, 2-9 to 2-14-1948. This week, it’s pure fantasy as Dudley Fisher presents Supersonic Cecil, the baby bird that breaks the sound barrier! Alice and Archie, the two sparrows who are running characters in “Right Around Home”, hatch out their offspring, Cecil, who demonstrates remarkable flying ability for a youngster. Cecil flies so fast that he breaks Sampson’s watch a couple of times. In the 2-14, Cecil comes in for a landing and uses a wheel from Sampson’s broken watch as landing gear. 

felix-5-7-to-5-13-34.jpgFelix, from 5-7 to 5-13-1934, again eludes some crazy looking Messmer bulldogs, by providing them with a giant dinosaur femur to eat. The dogs are rounded up by the pound, but Felix steals a key from the dogcatcher and frees them all, saving them from the gas chamber. In the Sunday, Felix continues his adventures with the two aviators in Antarctica and makes a soft mattress for himself out of walrus whiskers.

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yogi-7-12-64.jpgyogi-7-19-64.jpgyogi-7-26-64.jpgYogi Bear Sundays are from July, 1964, clipped from the St. Louis Post Dispatch back then. Yogi continues his Hollywood adventures in support of his debut feature film: “Hey There It’s Yogi Bear”. In the 7-5, we see a caricature of Zsa-Zsa Gabor, (real name: Gabor Sari, Miss Hungary of 1936) who evidently was a close neighbor of Joe Barbera in the Studio City neighborhood where he lived. The cartooning by Harvey Eisenberg is quite strong in the 7-26. I love Yogi’s disdainful attitude in the fifth panel, and Mr. Casholder’s attitudes in panels 4 and 7 are delightfully over the top. Layouts this strong would have been welcome in the Yogi Bear TV cartoons of the period, but often the background drawings were better than the character attitudes in those episodes. 

Cels For Sale!!

June 15th, 2014

soc-silhouettes-of-pearly-and-rival-matted-with-drawing.jpgsoc-pearly-grabs-itza-matted-with-drawing.jpgsoc-pearly-cries-matted-no-drawing.jpgsoc-itzas-stuck-lips-no-matt-no-drawing.jpgsoc-itza-swings-rival-matted-no-drawing.jpgsoc-itza-at-pearlys-portal-matted-with-drawing.jpg In response to at least two requests, we’re making six cel set-ups available from our 2013 production, “Some Other Cat”. These are some of the last of their kind, original, hand inked and hand painted cels created by some of the best in the business, notably our “Igor”, who inked nearly every cel with Itza Cat in it, and that’s quite a few. Just click on the thumbnails above to see them full-screen. The backgrounds are photo-reproduced, and each set-up comes with a DVDr of “Some Other Cat”. Three of the set-ups come with the original animation drawings mounted on the back: the silhouettes on the shade, Pearly’s hand about to grab Itza and Itza with the big heart over his head at Pearly’s mailbox. These one-of-a-kind art pieces are $100.00 apiece, or $80.00 apiece if you’re taking two or more. They make great gifts, and you’ll be helping to support a rare independent animated short that actually employed traditional ink and paint artists! If you’d like to take one of these cats home with you, just leave a comment below, or write to kausler@att.net, and we’ll make all the arrangements.

krazy-kat-5-11-to-5-17-42.jpg The Krazys are from 5-11 to 5-16-1942. In the first panel of the 5-12, Ignatz mentions many African animals by their correct names (smart mouse!) such as the Eland (Savannah Antelope) and the Okapi (zebra giraffe). I love the abstraction of the last panel, as Krazy hops over a lot of geometric hedges as Ignatz and K. discuss the “Mountains of the Moom”. The last three strips for the week show Ignatz’s brick ingenuity using geothermal, hydro-fall and a “nesting” brick disguise in the 5-16. Next post I will discuss and criticize King Features Syndicate’s rather loose attitude toward their archives, which they exploit on the website “Comics Kingdom”.

myrtle-2-2-to-2-7-48.jpg In the Myrtle dailies from 2-2 to 2-7-1948, Ebuceci the Alaskan dog has a prehensile tail that can hold bones when it has a glove attached to it. Of course Bingo is very jealous, for when he tries to hold a bone with a glove attached to his tail, he’s just “all thumbs”. In one of Dudley Fisher’s rare flubs at visual humor, the 2-7 is a little inept. It appears that Myrtle is trying to paint the fish bowl black so that the family’s pet goldfish can’t see her stealing cookies. In the third panel, I can’t make out exactly what Myrtle is doing, is she using a fountain pen, or a brush, is that an inkwell she’s dipping her pen into, or just a flat dish? If you readers can explain this one, please comment. Just click the thumbnail image above, to see it larger.

felix-4-30-to-5-6-34.jpg Felix continues his running battle with bulldogs in the dailies from 4-30 to 5-5-1934, and in the Sunday from 5-6-34, encounters walrus at the South Pole (is that possible?). Mr. Dooit tries to fend off the bulldog that’s been chasing Felix these last few weeks in the 4-30, then the owner of the Kennely Kennels shows up to pick up the miscreant dog, but leaves another one in it’s place. Messmer is just about as good at creating funny cartoon dogs as he as with felines. Just look at the crowds of canines in the 5-4 and 5-5. There is something quietly humorous about Otto’s dialog balloon placement sometimes, witness his little “bow” balloon in the last panel of the 5-4. In the Sunday, the Funny Films topper has a little lady who reminds me of the heroine of the silent cartoon: “Felix Busts A Bubble”. There is a sequence in that film in which Otto animates a whole range of emotions on the little brunette’s face as she acts for the camera. The faces in the Funny Films topper, resemble the brunette’s, even though this one’s a blond. Felix continues his travels beyond the Zodiac, as he lands at the South Pole as the Mascot of the two aviators introduced a couple of Sundays ago. I love Otto’s funny walrus who show up in the last panel of the 5-6 Sunday. I hope you enjoy these wonderful comics, let me hear from you.