The Catblog presents Felix from 4-10 to 4-23-1932. Felix meets a kindly old scientist in the 4-11, who tricks Felix aboard his one-cat rocket to the Moon! Felix spends his time on the Moon pining for his girlfriend Trixie, much to the scientist’s disgust. Felix wins a race with comets and foils a spy’s attempt to steal the Old Scientist’s secret rocket invention in the 4-23. In the Sundays, Felix uses an Octopus he caught undersea to feed his animal friends and win a boxing match against one-round Gorilla! Make sure you clip and save the Felix Comic Stamps for your album! See you soon, Mark and Itza
This time out the “Now Listen, Mabel” strips are from 11-24 to 12-6-1919. Jimmie Doozinberry is jealous of Policeman Tom Walsh who turns out to be Mabel’s cousin and is married. The boys from the Police station gather around the piano and sing “Ohh, Listen Mabel” to her in the 11-26. I’m not sure if “Ohh, Listen Mabel” was an actual, or Herriman-created popular song? Do any of my readers know the answer? Jimmie solves his Police problem in the 11-29 by joining the Force! Prohibition was still a joking matter in 1919 as the two dads concoct a Near Beer formula. I like the way Garge constructs the graphics on these dailies, every other panel is a floating insert, hovering over the backgrounds. Mabel and Krazy Kat both seem indifferent to their suitors at times–Jimmie Doozinberry, like Offisa Pupp, is in love with a creature who seems constantly infatuated with somebody else–Garge is using some of his Triangular Titillation in his non-Kat strips. Remember to display the strips in a new window, so that you can enlarge them for easier reading. Thanks, Mark and Itza
Here’s our Felix from 3-27 to 4-9-1932. Felix’s Police Cat adventures continue in the dailies as Felix trails a mysterious scientist to his weird old house in the country. The little black cat is almost fooled in to thinking that a movie of a gorilla is the real thing, then succumbs to gas. The scientist places a metallic ring on Felix’s tail which acts as a receptor for the “Mystic Waves”, which influence the cat’s emotions and enable the scientist to magnetically control Felix’s body. In July of 1932, the comedian Charley Chase made a two-reel comedy called “Now We’ll Tell One”, about a scientist who invents a belt that can transmit a person’s personality to another one wearing the same kind of belt, ten miles away. In 1934, Chase made a second two-reeler, “Another Wild Idea” featuring a scientist who invented a ray gun that had the power to transform any person into one without inhibition. So Charley Chase picked up on an idea from the Felix strip, and formulated two film comedies out of it. This idea of the tail implant, and the impact it had on Felix’s personality, was used a few times in the Felix comic books of the 40s through the 1960s. I think, though, that this was the earliest appearance of the basic idea of mechanical alteration of the personality in the Felix comic strip. Today, the descendants of Otto Messmer might be tempted to plant A.I. in Felix’s body, and use it for the same type of gags. The Sunday pages continue Felix’s adventures with the Noah’s Ark animals on a tropical island. Enjoy these, the best drawn and designed Felix strips of the Golden Age! Mark
In the words of Bill Hay, “Here they ah!” The “Now Listen Mabel” dailies from 11-8 to 11-22-1919. In the 11-8 there are human figures in the first two panels that anticipate the characters in the illustrations to “archy and mehitabel” which Garge produced in 1931 for Don Marquis’ epic poetic volume about his New York Sun characters archy the cockroach and mehitabel the cat. Starting in the 11-10 strip, Garge writes about an epidemic of Mumps which manages to infect almost everyone in the cast of the strip, starting with Jimmie Doozinberry. I can’t find any record of a Mumps surge in 1919, but the disease goes back to the 5th Century BC at the time of Hippocrates. The virus was not isolated until 1945 and the first vaccine didn’t appear until 1967. So Jimmie and Company got Mumps before very much was known about it. Seems like nobody panicked, they just put up with the swelling until it went away. There was an early link between Mumps and deafness. Garge just used it for comedy.
In the 11-17 through 11-22 strips, “Mabel” feels like a precursor to “Blondie” situations. Floods, vicious dogs, smelly pipes and one of Garge’s favorite comedy crutches, “Twins” and the damage they do, along with mistaken identity jokes. I like Jimmie’s reaction to his pal Sam’s luck in babysitting Mabel’s Aunt Ruby’s twins. They turn out to be attractive teenagers!
Enjoy these, I hope I can post more soon. The strip only ran another two months in the San Francisco Examiner.
Welcome back readers, as we present the Felix the Cat strips from 3-13-1932 to 3-26-1932. Felix is still a Police Cat Detective in these, trying to locate a sniper who is actually an umbrella thief who is using the umbrellas for golf clubs. In the 3-21 through 3-26 strips, Felix solves a cheese theft as Skidoo and his friend steal a whole wheel of cheese from a Nordic accented proprietor. It doesn’t pay to use guns, as Detective Felix shoots at Skidoo so many times that his shots penetrate the cheese wheel. The bullet holes leave the wheel looking like Swiss cheese, much to Detective Felix’s chagrin. I love the art all the way through these, but my favorite panel would have to be the last one of the 3-22 daily. There’s something very comical and appealing about Felix drinking milk from a punctured pail (Otto’s cow isn’t too tragic either). The old Catblog has been shut a long time, I hope it will be back in action before too long. See you then, Mark
Here’s “Now Listen, Mabel” from 10-27 to 11-6-1919. The theme is Office Rivalry for Mabel Millarky’s affections between Jimmie Doozinberry and his best pal, “Sam”. A Quarter was really a coin of value in those days, often the love struck swains would have to decide whether calling Mabel long distance in Prune Beach or being able to afford lunch was of the greater importance. “Sam” seems to always know his way around Mabel’s schedule and things like being kind to Mabel’s mother in the 11-6. Garge again anticipates Dagwood Bumstead’s early troubles with his rivals for Blondie’s affections in Chic Young’s “Blondie” in 1930. It’s been a long time since the old Catblog had a new post, I hope you enjoy it, readers. Remember to right-click the strips above and select, “Open image in new tab”. The strips will appear in a new window, open it, click on the strips displayed and you should see them larger. Remember that the daily comics of 1919 were displayed across the top of a very wide newspaper page, and took up 10 columns. That’s why there is so much more to read and look at then our contemporary comics, which are seldom more than three columns wide and are all crowded together on one page.
Here’s a special treat for the Holidays, my wife Cathy has done a special color drawing for the Catblog, featuring special ornaments of a steam engine and Laurel and Hardy. Laurel is an icicle design and Hardy is a nice round glass ornament. If you look a little further under the tree, Felix is here from 2-28 to 3-12-1932. I love how Messmer uses shadows in the 2-29 and 3-1. The 3-3 strip is highlighted by the “Saved by a Shiver” line in the last panel, as Felix narrowly escapes being “plugged” by a gangster. In the 3-9, a “depression in crime” robs Felix of his feast which he earned by capturing the whole bunch of criminals. Felix is mysteriously shot by large white pellets in the 3-10 to 3-12 strips. All the farm animals are knocked out in the 3-12 by the same pellets. I love the little house and the fence in the background of the last panel in the 3-12, just pure pen and ink magic! The Catblog wishes you the best for the Holidays, be they Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa. Thanks for reading and don’t forget the Catblog in 2023.
Here’s “Now Listen Mabel” from 10-19 to 10-25-1919. They come from the pages of the San Francisco Examiner. Here Mr. Herriman is dealing in silent comedy slapstick, as Jimmie Doozinberry’s rivals for the attentions of Mabel Millarkey (including Jimmie) get tossed out of her front door repeatedly. In the 10-19, Herriman says “We who have ever dealt in gentle humor..”, a well placed caption introducing this knockabout comedy sequence. I love the crazy poses the suitors take as they go sailing through the effulgent ether. “Mr. Bibbles” in the 10-24, wearing the striped coat, is a ringer for Charlie Chaplin, out of his tramp costume. I wonder if George Herriman ever played tennis at the Hearst San Simeon estate with Charlie Chaplin? Make sure and blow these up as large as you can, so you can appreciate the lettering and the pen work of Garge. You know how to do it, don’t you? If not, just click on the image with your mouse and select “Open Image In New Tab”. This should open the selected strips in a separate tab. Within that tab, just click on the image and they will be displayed larger. Nearly as large as the S F Examiner used to run them, which was clear across the page (more than 10 columns wide). Please enjoy the strips and Happy Holidays to you all.
The Catblog presents Felix at his best in the strips from 2-14 to 2-27-1932! My favorites are the 2-19 and 2-20 dailies as the gangster is clobbered with his own rock in the former (Love that Felix pointing and laughing pose) and Felix deftly popping through a hole in the fence in the last panel of the latter. Prohibition is referenced in the 2-22 and 2-23 dailies as Felix says “I put extra raisins in this home brew to make the corks pop..”. There is an Aesop Fable cartoon from 1923 called “The Fable of A Raisin and a Cake of Yeast” which were the main ingredients of home made beer, so the recipe was well known in the era of the Great Experiment. We also learn that Felix’s Girlfriend was named “Phyllis” in 1932 as opposed to “Kitty” for so many of the other Felix years. Phyllis is such a wispy little cat, isn’t she? Sorry it’s been more than two months since the last entry around here. I keep busy with my weekly post of “Someday Comics” for the Daily Dose online comics sharing group. But I love to do these blog posts best of all. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Folks, this time up we have Felix the Cat from 1-31 to 2-13-1932. The Sunday pages continue the adventure of Felix’s Ark, which you can see in color in David Gerstein’s book, “Nine Lives To Live”. The dailies have not been collected, and continue the story of “Felix the Police Cat”. Having secured a place for his friend the dog in the police department, Felix catches the Cop Bug himself, and wants to be a great Police Cat and Detective. The art in these strips is just superb, look at the woods background in the last panel of the 2-1 strip as Felix closes in on the Hobo. I also love the detail on the bank door in the second panel of the 2-2 opus. In the 2-4, second panel, Otto shows a real eye for “noir” shadows on the gangsters, and he repeats the motif in subsequent strips. The angularity of Felix’s elbows really comes in to play in the 2-10 strip, as Felix fishes a nickel out of a hobo’s burned-up clothes. There are many more well-designed and staged panels in these comics, look for ’em! You know how to blow them up, don’t you? Just right-click the image and a pop-up menu appears which says, “Open Image in New Tab”. Click on that, and the comics will appear in a new window, just click on it and you will see enlarged panels. Enjoy, everyone.
Here’s another week of the rare Herriman daily strip, “Now Listen, Mabel” from Oct. 13-0ct. 18th, 1919. Mabel was also the name of George Herriman’s wife, Mabel Lillian Bridge. The gags here would just about fit Archie and Reggie in the 1940s Archie comic books. Jimmie Doozinberry’s constant wooing of the beautiful Mabel are continuously frustrated and flummoxed. Garge works the “mistaken identity” gags hard in the Oct. 14th and Oct. 16th through the 18th. Jimmie is surprised by a black couple wearing Mabel’s and her Dad’s shoes in panel three of the 10-18. Mabel’s dog “Tizwin” is mistaken for another pooch in the Oct. 14th. As Jimmie and another suitor wait for Mabel in the Oct. 15th strip, Mabel cozies up to a third lover, Jack. The house in the Oct. 15th strip looks a lot like the house that Garge lived in at 2217 Maravilla way in the Hollywood Hills, complete with the low adobe wall in the front of the property. I am unable to come up with a definition of a “Jinji’s Bush”, which Jimmie hides behind in the Oct. 16th strip. It MAY be a Japanese flowering bush from which a tea is made. That’s my educated guess. Can any of my readers help me with this puzzle?
“Dance of the Pen” is
“Dance of the Pen” is Cathy Hill’s comic tribute to an art supply, the DIP PEN, the holder and the pen point. It’s a tribute, not only to the dip pen, but to a lost art in a world that doesn’t celebrate drawing by hand so much anymore. As you have seen on past posts, Cathy is an experienced artist and handles the recalcitrant and stubborn pen with grace and aplomb. Her lines are exquisite, full of rhythm and scintillating, undulating beauty. Her text is all in rhyme, full of lines that celebrate the experience of an inker, “..a sideways slice–through thick and thin..(I must confess) the pen is in good form tonight.” I love her celebration of the “choreographer” of the page, the pencil! (On page six) “The final curtain’s down, Alas, We won’t be certain how he did until we see the pencil lines erased.” Cathy equates the “Dance of the Pen” to show business; the inkwell and the white out bottle are the pen’s managers. Note the “fans” clamoring for the Pen’s autograph on page Seven as the Pen replies to the autograph hounds, “Thank you, do you have a pen?” My favorite touch is the little car driving off with the Pen and his pals as they say: “Let’s celebrate in noisy joints! The night is going to waste.” Cathy and I often quote this line to each other. I hope you will enjoy the “show”!
I’m having fun reading these old Felix strips from 19320117 to 19320130. It’s different to see Felix operating as his own “cat” and not in thrall to the Danny Dooit family. The police dog that Felix teams up with is called “Snoopy”, many years before Charles Schulz used the name for his dog creation in “Peanuts”! I wonder if Mr. Schulz may have read this Felix story in his youth and remembered the dog’s name? Felix solves the Missing Mule Mystery in the 1-22 and finds a crook’s derby hat in the 1-27. This clue goads Felix in to a totally independent investigation and he pursues his man as a full-fledged ‘Police Cat”. Is that a “gat” in his had in the 1-29, or just a “gitten”? I love that frog on the lily pad in the 1-30, perhaps he’s an ancestor of Flip the Frog! The Sunday pages are the last chapters of “Felix’s Ark”, a story begun in 1931. Find a copy of David Gerstein’s “Nine Lives To Live”, to see the entire Sunday continuity in color. Until next time, “Right-e-O!”
Mabel and Jimmie match wits and dating success as Jimmie tries to prove that he loves Mabel’s pup, “Tizwin”, when he really dislikes dogs. Did people really kick dogs around with such alacrity in 1919? In 1912, a popular song called “They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dog Around” or “The Missouri Dog Song” was recorded for Victor. If you search for it, you can hear it, the lyrics are not easy to figure out. I’m sure the song was well remembered in 1919, and perhaps Garge used dogs and shoes as a nostalgic reminder of those canine kickin’ days. These strips are from Oct. 5th through Oct. 10th, 1919 with the strip from Oct. 7th missing. The San Francisco Examiner printed these all mixed up and out of date sequence, so I tried to restore order to them. The dogs in “Now Listen Mabel” don’t speak in anything but “grrrs”, “rowrs” and “Graaa”s. English is reserved for dog conversations in “Krazy Kat”. Remember to pass your mouse over the images until you get a menu that has the item: “Display Image in New Window”. Click on that, and you will be able to see the strips in a different window and displayed larger. If they are not immediately larger, just click on them with your mouse. Enjoy these for now, Mark
As promised, here are the Felix strips from the first two weeks of January, 1932. The model of Felix used in these comics has to be one of my favorite cat designs. His fingers are square, his knees are pointy, his torso looks like a miniature bowling pin, and his ears go high up off his head and end in points. I love how Otto shows the bottom of Felix’s feet and the Sleuth Hound’s feet as they walk along in the first panel of the 1-15. If you animated the foot coming forward almost parallel to the ground, the character would stumble or trip over his own shoes (see also the burglar in the second panel of the 1-5). The main story here really starts in the 1-7, as a funny old guy complains to the police captain that his mule is “gone”. Felix decides to train the “Official Police Dog” he met in the 1-5 to become a detective by taking up the mule case. Felix and the Hound keep coming up empty, until they see the imprints of the mule’s shoes on the rear end of a black mule wrangler. We’ll see what happens to Felix in the next exciting chapter in the Adventures of Felix The Cat!
Remember to right-click on the images until you see a menu of instructions. Click on the line saying “Open Image in a New Tab”. When you see that, click on the new tab at the top of your screen. You will then see the image in a new screen with black on both sides of it. Then enlarge the image by clicking on it, or hitting plus or minus on your keyboard. Can you figure that out?