The Junior Times Marches On!

junior-times-knight-life-by-gramatky-3-16-24.jpg

junior-times-club-in-cartoons-moreno-6-22-24.jpgjunior-times-tuttlems-moreno-7-6-24.jpgjunior-times-cartoonists-club-moreno-7-13-24.jpg Continuing our new series on the L.A. Junior Times from 1924, I found a Hardie Gramatky front page drawing called “Knight-Life on the Ark” published 3-16-1924. About 9 years later, in March of 1933, Hardie was animating on “Father Noah’s Ark” in Ben Sharpsteen’s unit at Walt Disney Productions, so here he was predicting his own future! Manuel Moreno was so well thought of by “Aunt Dolly” of the Junior Times Club, that he became the “official” club cartoonist! I’ve run three of his more interesting drawings from the 1924 Jr. Times, “Our Club in Cartoons” from June 22, dutifully promotes all the divisions of the Club, writing, cartooning, baseball, acting, humane works and member recruiting. What a club that must have been! Manuel did a lot of different drawings for the Jr. Times, some showing pretty girls in flowery outfits, some showing an idealized Aunt Dolly (leader of the Club), and then his own comic strips. I ran a couple of “Mr. Peach” pages last post, here is the first strip of an irregular series called “The Tuttlems” that ran 7-66-1924, and an episode of the series, “The Boy Who Wants To Know”, from 7-13-1924. The latter strip uses a very old joke that must go back to 1889, still in use as late as ’24. I’ll post more of these as I come across them.

barker-bill-2-7-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-8-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-9-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-10-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-11-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-12-55.jpgbarker-bill-sunday-2-13-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-14-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-15-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-16-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-17-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-18-55.jpgbarker-bill-2-19-55.jpgbarker-bill-sunday-2-20-55.jpg In Barker Bill, from 2-7 to 2-20-1955, Peanuts Perkins’ mistake in mixing up costumes, leads Gorgonzola the Circus Gorilla to don Barker Bill’s extra tuxedo. The Boombar Gang catches Gorgonzola and believes him to be Barker Bill by the cut of his clothes and hat. Hatchet Head, one of the Gang’s minions, wants to run “Bill/Gorgonzola” for Mayor, believing the Gorilla can be easily controlled by the Boombars. Puddy, however, being the brains of the Circus, lures Gorgonzola back to the Circus using a beautiful Girl Gorilla for bait. In the Sunday page from 2-20, Puddy sings a little of “Beautiful You”, a song composed by Phil Scheib for the Terrytoon: “An Igloo For Two”, released in 1955, same year these strips were published. It’s interesting that Bob Kuwahara, who drew the Barker Bill strip, and Hardie Gramatky both animated on “Father Noah’s Ark” at Disney in 1933. Another animator in the Sharpsteen unit on “Father Noah’s Ark”, Tom Bonfiglio, was my first boss in animation in St. Louis when I was a kid. He trained me to do inbetweens and gave me cels in exchange for my “work”. He had changed his name to Tom Goodson by then. It’s interesting how everything hooks up eventually. Tom told me that the animators on “Father Noah’s Ark” were promised bonuses and other favors if they would work a lot of extra hours to finish all the “crowd” scenes with the Ark animals. All that they received for the moonlighting was fifty cents for a hash-house dinner, the bonuses never materialized.

felix-6-10-35.jpgfelix-6-11-35.jpgfelix-6-12-35.jpgfelix-6-13-35.jpgfelix-6-14-35.jpgfelix-6-15-35.jpgfelix-6-16-35.jpg In Felix, from 6-10 to 6-16-1935, Felix and the ship’s crew spend a week on the Ape’s Island being confused by a giant duck that swallowed the Captain’s two-way radio transmitter. The duck becomes terrified of the radio in his tummy and flies all over the island, mixing everybody up. In the Sunday page, Felix lures the subconscious mind of a skilled carpenter to Dreamland, to build a house for the elves, and we bid farewell to Laura, the first Felix “topper”. She concludes her 1927 to 1935 run by cussing a blue streak! Maybe that’s why she was fired?

krazy_vintage4-21-41.gifkrazy_vintage4-22-41.gifkrazy_vintage4-23-41.gifkrazy_vintage4-24-41.gifkrazy_vintage4-25-41.gifkrazy_vintage4-26-41.gifA good six strip continuity is in Krazy this time, from 4-21 to 4-26-1941. Ignatz and Krazy take turns scaring each other with really zany masks that only Garge could draw. In the 4-26, Ignatz turns his talents to scaring a pachyderm; love those Herriman elephants!

patrick-2-20-to-2-25.jpg In Patrick, from 2-20 to 2-25-1967, little brother Nathan has the starring part in two strips, and Suzy’s meringue pie and “very chewy” caramels drive Patrick nuts! In the 2-22, a Washington’s birthday strip, Patrick refers to “L.B.J.”. To those of you who weren’t around then, that’s Lyndon Baines Johnson, President from 1963 to 1969, Patrick’s President!

yogi-3-4.jpgyogi-3-11.jpgyogi-3-18.jpgyogi-3-25.jpg You know, if it weren’t for Yowp’s blog (see link to your right), I couldn’t start posting each month. The black and white Yogi Sunday pages he posts, spur me on to put up the color half-page versions. These ran 3/4, 3/11, 3/18 and 3/25/1962, and feature the work of Harvey Eisenberg (also an animator on “Father Noah’s Ark”-Just Kidding!), and others. I had some good news on “There Must Be Some Other Cat” this week, I’ll tell you more about it when I get some more definite info. Until the next time, when, possibly you all will tune in again…

4 Responses to “The Junior Times Marches On!”

  1. Hey Mark,

    That’s really interesting that you worked for Bonfiglio. Did he ever mention anything about his time at Terrytoons to you? I have records of scenes he worked on from some of the earliest Terrytoons, first as Frank Moser’s assistant and then as a full fledged animator.

  2. Mark says:

    Tom Goodson was an fabulous character. I met him at a little company called Perceptual Development Laboratories in St. Louis, Mo. Through a contact at Gardner Advertising, I found that Tom had done the animation for a local commercial featuring a little character called “The Nibbledebuck”, which I enjoyed. I contacted him by phone and told him of my quest to find blank cels for a film I was making at home. Tom offered to go barter on the cels, if I would do inbetweens for him after school in the early evenings, he would give me cels in exchange for the “work”. I lasted only a few months, but really enjoyed meeting Tom, who was a good teacher and gave me a lot of respect for the power of good inbetweens. Tom never mentioned Terrytoons, but he was proud of the time he spent at Disney, less so of Fleischer. In fact, Tom was rather a gruff and taciturn sort of man, who was bitter about his industry experience. He wasn’t too negative though, and encouraged me to stick with animation. I remember a lot of beautiful paintings he showed me done in airbrush, with elves, sprites and fanciful creatures. He really loved that folk lore world. Tom was also a bit of a drinker, he kept a hip flask in his overcoat and would occasionally sneak a nip while on the job. Tom was the first pro animator I ever met, and I’ve never forgotten him. I still hear his somewhat rough, New York voice in my head, saying to me “Don’t draw ‘banana fingahs’, kid.”

  3. Hello Mark,

    Great blog you have here; as I enjoy reading your posts.

    I was just asking a question but Joe Campana told me that you’ve met Rod Scribner in real life when he was picking up work at a studio? What do you recall about Rod when you saw him? I love his animation he did at WB and I find him a very, solid, wild animator.

  4. Mark says:

    Thanks Steven,
    It’s nice to know that my blog is read by a few good people. Yes, Joe spoke the truth. I met Rod Scribner for the first and only time when I was working at Spungbuggy Works on Sunset in about 1971. He trudged upstairs to see Frank Terry, who was the main director at Spungbuggy. Frank came back to my office and said, “There’s a guy named Rod Scribner out here. I never heard of him, maybe you’d like to talk to him. We don’t have any work to hand out right now.” I almost jumped out of my chair! Rod Scribner! One of the greatest animators of all time was cooling his heels in the lobby of l’il ol’ Spungbuggy, and I would get to meet him! I walked out to the lobby and saw a rather rumpled, forlorn looking little man with a sort of “Jose Jimenez” face. I shook his hand and introduced myself and told him how much I liked his animation on “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves” that he had done for Bob Clampett. He stared at me blankly; “Coal Black?” “Clampett?” He couldn’t remember having ever worked for Bob Clampett. The last job he could remember was animating “Peanuts” for Bill Melendez. He told me he had just been released from the hospital, and needed to find some work, so would we please keep him in mind? I told him “we” (Spungbuggy) would. He turned away and slowly trudged back down the stairs. Rod passed on not long after that. He suffered from both mental and physical ailments in his last years that frequently landed him in the hospital. I’ve often wondered if the reason that Frank Terry didn’t want to talk to Rod, was that his reputation as a problem personality preceded him. Evidently, Rod couldn’t do freelance animation anymore. It was a sad time to meet him, but hell, I didn’t care, I met a childhood hero! The pioneer animators really needed to be loved, and us fans were happy to oblige. God bless you, Rod.

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