More letters to Bob Balser from Duane Crowther, Part Six! The letter from 7-29-53 has some salty words, shows how far back common cuss words go! Those contemporary screen writers who constantly pepper their dialog with the “Universal Adjective” and various synonyms for scatology, may think they are being current, but the stuff they think is so contemporary was pretty tired even in 1953! I love the Joan Miro style doodles that Duane drew on the back of the envelope, the bird with the obelisk for a head at the bottom of the envelope feels like a Calder wire sculpture. In the 7-29 letter, Bob Balser’s draft status prevents him from joining Duane at UPA New York, and a Famous Studios employee fills the gap. If you read Duane’s letter of 10-7-53, you’ll find out that the Famous Studios guy screwed up the spots he was working on for the Tuberculosis Society, and left the UPA studio. I typed the 10-7 letter, as the original was written in light blue pencil and wouldn’t have scanned well. You’ll also read an account of a vacation trip that Duane made through the southeast to visit an Army buddy in Miami, Florida. He liked it so much there that he missed his plane going back to New York! Duane took in PORGY AND BESS featuring Cab Calloway, WONDERFUL TOWN and the movie version of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, which he liked better than the book. He refers to a “Mr. Babet” in his 10-7 letter, but I’m not sure if that’s Art Babbitt or not. It could be, since Art was working for UPA in those days, but on the West Coast. In the 7-29 letter, Grim Natwick leaves the UPA New York studio for the West, and Duane refers to him as “that grand and good man”. I’ll never forget the respect and admiration for Grim that Duane had for him when Grim turned 100, evidently that respect went back to 1953. Stay tuned into the New Year, for the further New York adventures of Mr. Duane Crowther.
Dudley Fisher’s Myrtle strips from 5-19 to 5-24-1947 are funny! I like the 5-21 as Myrtle tosses Pop’s pipe cleaner over the fence and a robin cusses as he mistakes it for a worm. The 5-22 is pretty rich as Myrtle beats Aunt Minnie’s time in the living room with her boyfriend Slug. Myrtle’s character is so energetic and mischievous in these 1940s strips. She lets Slug have it with her slingshot in the 5-24 strip, and Slug thinks that Aunt Minnie is getting fresh! Ever reflect on how many famous comic strip cartoonists were named Fisher? Besides our Dudley, there’s Bud, Ham, Dave, Dean, Edwin, Jack and Thornton, to name a few. You might want to throw in Al Smith, Bud Fisher’s ghost for so long, as an unofficial Fisher. (Smith was pretty good at signing Fisher’s name to his artwork.) Happy New Year!