Month: August 2012
Well Folks, here are the last three weeks of Barker Bill strips available to me, from 8-8-55 to 8-25-55. If you find more of them, please write to me, I still don’t know the actual end date of the strip. These are all gag-a-day circus strips. The gag in the 8-24 was used by Stan Laurel for a phonograph record that he made with Oliver Hardy on their trip to England in the 1930s! Since it takes me quite a long time to get all the Jr. Times material on here, I won’t be replacing Barker Bill with another strip.
The L.A. Junior Times for Dec. 1926 burst forth with a comicopia of material from Fred Moore (rooster cover), Phil De Lara, with his cover, Pearl Handle panel and Hezy Tate strip. Note in his bio from 3-11-28, that his ambition was to become an editorial newspaper cartoonist (animation wasn’t on his radar yet), he was 14 years old in 1926 when he did all these cartoons for Aunt Dolly. You’ll see some episodes of “Dunk Dank” by I. Ellis, a Morris Redensky (Morey Reden) portfolio with episodes of “Hank’s Hash House”, “High Shine Joe”, “The Snickle Bros.” and many more drawings he made to promote the T.J.C. There are also three “Lucky Lem” strips by Bill Zaboly, a “Fido Bark” by Bob Wickersham and a T.J.C. promo drawing by Lee Morehouse. To enjoy all this work by future animation and comic strip greats, just click on the thumbnails. 1926 and early 1927 were the high points for the Junior Times for kid cartoonists. The Times published a great deal of their work, with several pages per week, loaded with amateur comic strips. The Junior Times cut back on the cartoons as 1928 chugged along, featuring more games and puzzles for the “juniors”, as we will see later on.
From 7-21 to 7-26-1941, Ignatz mostly takes to the air to bombard Krazy with bricks as he parachutes down. I like Offissa Pupp’s flying club in the 7-25. I don’t quite understand what Ignatz is using to hold down a brick evidently filled with helium gas in the 7-24. Is it a wad of gum, or a rock? Offissa Pupp knocks it off the brick, and the brick becomes a “billoom”.
Felix, from 9-9 to 9-14-1935 finds him waiting for rescue in the underground city. The sailors decide that Felix is “a pest and a nuisance” in the 9-9, and Felix stays underground to escape their wrath (everybody has such short memories in Messmer’s world). Felix discovers a one-eyed idol in the tunnels and uses it as a disguise, it comes in handy, as you shall soon see. The Sunday has Felix swearing off dreaming, as he tries to get adopted by an old professor who has invented an “energy drink” called Zowite. At first the Prof is hostile to Felix invading his home, but when Felix drinks some of the Zowite, thinking it is milk, he becomes quite powerful and beats up the Prof. The Prof decides to keep Felix around as an experimental cat!
Here is Myrtle from 4-7 to 4-12-1947. I love Sampson’s poses in the 4-11, as he hangs off the back of Uncle Freddie’s chair, and makes a hasty exit in the last panel, followed by his Uncle’s shoe. I like Myrtle’s attitude in the 4-12 as she nonchalantly shoots out the garage light with her slingshot. Fred commends her on her “fast work”, to which she saucily remarks, “I’m speedy!”
Here’s “The Flintstones” Sunday pages from 8-12 and 8-26-1962. These are the earliest examples of the strip that I have, and I’m using them here to augment Yowp’s recent post on “Flintstone Weekend Comics”. Just click the link over on the Blogroll to read Yowp’s account of this month’s strips. The 8-12 is the only half-page episode I have. I think Yowp credits Gene Hazelton with the art, Barney looks a lot like he does in the “Swimming Pool” episode. The other Flintstones strips I have are thirds like the 8-26, but I’ll help Yowp as much as I can. He gives good blog. It should be a tad simpler to do posts without Barker Bill, so maybe I’ll squeeze in another one soon. Make sure you go over to the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/someothercat to see some of the credit title designs and the original storyboard for the Cat’s latest cartoon. It may be one of the very last cel-animated cartoons produced in the USA on 35mm film!
Back to the strips, yet again! Here are the next two weeks worth of Barker Bills, 7-25 to 8-4-1955. According to Allan Holtz’s new book on American Comic Strips, there is no ending date for the feature except sometime in 1955. We still have a few more to post. Spot gags continue, featuring Phyllis the strong lady, Little May, Peanuts Perkins, the India Rubber Man and all your favorites!
Felix keeps on walking, from 9-2 to 9-8-1935. Felix and Danny are trapped undergound in the Ancient City all week, and have a surprise encounter with a ground mole in the 9-5. Felix’s adventures in Dreamland finally come to an end in the 9-8 Sunday page. A hobo sets fire to him and wakes Felix from a nightmare. It seems he was going to be ignited in the tobacco for the Giant’s pipe. This is almost the exact situation that Mickey Mouse encountered in “Giantland” Nov. 25th, 1933.
Here’s the Kat from 7-14 to 7-19-1941, the theme is “On Vacation”. At first Krazy is singing and pining away, then he decides to visit a “Heppy Lend Fur Fur Away” and takes Ignatz with him, at the suggestion of Mrs. Kwakk-Wakk. Offissa Pupp follows in the 7-19 with his portable jail. The 7-18 strip has some juicy architecture in it, Herriman style. I love Mrs. Kwakk-Wakk apparently walking right THROUGH a wall in the last panel, leaving an amazed Pupp on the other side.
From the L.A. Junior Times in November, 1926 we present a cross-section of strips and artwork from the soon-to-be-greats. A cover and a Fido Bark strip by Bob Wickersham, a strip by Fred Moore, three “Dunk Danks” and a drawing by Izzy Ellis, three “Lucky Lem” strips and two drawings by Bill Zaboly, “Macy and Hank” by Lee Morehouse (future Donald Duck animator), two “Hezy Tates” and a “Pearl Handle” drawn by Phil De Lara, together with a photograph of him, an “Average Home” strip and a drawing by Frank Tipper, a Thanksgiving cover by Henry Formhals, who later in the 1930s was a key assistant to Merrill Blosser who did “Freckles and His Friends”. Formhals also took over the art on “Joe Jinks” in the 1930s. We also have an episode of the “Snickle Bros.” by Morris Redensky. He later shortened his name to Morey Reden and animated and drew comic books in New York and Los Angeles, working for Disney (Pluto’s Playmate, Canine Caddy),Famous (Pop-Pie A La Mode, Lulu’s Birthday Party), Screen Gems (The Schooner the Better, Pickled Puss) and other cartoon studios, ending with “The Grinch Grinches the Cat In The Hat” for Marvel Prods.
Here is Myrtle from 3-31 to 4-5-1947. I like Papa dressing up like a girl in the 3-31 and then getting a kiss from the milkman. That’s a great pose in the last panel as Papa contorts himself at the kitchen sink to wash his mouth out. I also like the spelling word that Papa springs on Myrtle in the 4-5, Dudley Fisher had a good range of intelligence to his gags.
Here’s the August, 1962 Yogi Bear Sundays, all drawn by Harvey Eisenberg. I’ll bet that Yowp will like the all-star Hanna-Barbera cast on the teeter-totter in the 8-5. I like the intensity of Yogi’s bowling poses in the 8-26. Well, looks like I’ve beaten you to the dog dish this time, fella! Don’t you bare your teeth at me, be nice!
This is a cel from my first professional scene of animation. It was used in the “Archy Declares War” sequence from “Shinbone Alley”, which was made in the summer of 1969 at the Colorvision studios over on Sunset. Since then, Channel 28 and now the Church of Scientology have taken over the building. I’ll never forget the way the studio looked like then, we were in a little ramshackle bungalow across from the main lot with the sound stages that had been the Monogram studio in the dim distant past. They actually were shooting soft-core porn features on those stages in 1969. Several of us young bumpkins looked in on the deserted stages during our lunch hour and saw whips, chains and manacles attached to the walls. We wondered what in the heck could they be shooting in there? We got a big clue when a covy of heavily made-up ladies paraded past our bungalow one day, heading for the sound stages. The animator I was assigned to, Frank Andrina, took great amusement at our reactions, chuckling softly to himself. Frank was keying a lot of his extremes in Pentel pen, and I was expected to mimic his line on the inbetweens:Frank liked what I did with the Pentel lines, he was very complimentary about the drawings I made for him. On the basis of these drawings, and a lot of badgering from me, Frank gave me a couple of brief scenes in the “Archy Declares War” sequence for me to do. Sam Cornell was the key layout on this sequence: You can see by the little doodles of Ignatz and Krazy Kat, that Sam was a Herriman fan. His layouts really had the spirit of Garge in them and inspired us all! Many of us on the production thought that the whole picture should have been in the Herriman style, but John Wilson, the director, leaned towards a more Disneyesque approach (though he would have been reluctant to admit it). Frank got the plumb assignment as key animator on the sequence, and we had a lot of fun with it. Of course, the animation had a sort of limited look to it, that was Frank’s training. He used to refer to full animation as “fool animation”, thinking it a waste of money. Frank animated at Hanna-Barbera and TV Spots a lot through the 1960s and his timing style, dialog: and his way of breaking body parts up to separate cel levels all reflected the H-B thinking. Frank was an affable person, somewhat short in stature, smoked heavily in those days and had a stammering way of talking, especially with words beginning with “S”. He could also be extremely serious at times, and his voice could be very rich sounding and commanding (perhaps due to the cigarettes). He made me aware of Union issues and was one of the first animators to fully realize the devastating impact that runaway production was about to have on the cartoon industry. Even though John Wilson was signed with the Teamsters union, Frank talked me into attending some MPSC (Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists) meetings about a possible labor action to try to stop runaway before all our jobs went overseas or to Canada or Mexico. Jay Ward (Rocky and His Friends) and Bill Hanna ( The Funky Phantom) were among the first to take work out of the country, and companies like Rankin and Bass did all their animation in Japan. Thanks to Frank and some other concerned animators, the issue actually came to a strike vote in 1969. However, ink and paint artists outnumbered animators and assistants in those days, since I and P were the most labor intensive (and lowest paid) positions in the industry. Bill Hanna decided to throw a scare into the I and P ranks by selectively laying off these “girls” at unexpected times during the high production season that summer. The I and P artists were certainly shaken by these actions and chose to vote down the strike proposal. As it turned out, that was the best chance the MPSC had to stop the runaway train from leaving the USA station! When we missed that chance, as Frank often told me, we lost the industry.
Frank lived in the Hollywood Hills and was good friends with John Sparey, who I’ve done extensive posts about elsewhere on this blog. He collected arms and armor and had some really rare pieces dating back to the 16th century in Spain (some breastplates) and had some beautiful swords and muskets as I remember. He would occasionally bring these in to the studio to show them off. I remember the bosses being a little afraid of the swords. I think Frank was also adept at fencing, he really loved that era. Frank’s body English was a little like Peter Falk’s, very shy, a lot of internal gestures, stammering, but authoritative when he had to be. He was born in 1929 and started at the Ray Patin studio in 1954, he also worked at UPA and animated on the Linus the Lionhearted show for Ed Graham, and Calvin and the Colonel for TV Spots. It seemed Frank was always animating somewhere, even in his seventies he was picking up work here and there. I’ll never forget how elated he was at joining the Motion Picture Academy just a few years ago. He had always wanted to be a member, and at last was accepted. I saw him at a few of our animated short subject screenings. When he saw my cartoon, “It’s ‘The Cat'”, his only comment was, “Looks like your stuff, alright.” He followed that up with his patented little giggle. Gosh, I hate to see Frank leave us, passing on this year at the age of eighty-three. He was a really great pro cartoonist and beloved by his friends. In later years I saw him rarely, but will always remember how generous he was to give me those two scenes to animate. Frank not only started me off as an animator, but greatly enlarged my world with his forward thinking Union activity, and his knowledge of world history and just about every battle every waged all over the globe. Thanks, Pal! May you rest in peace. SHINNNBOHNNE ALLEEY! SHHINNNBOOOHOOONE ALLIEEE! (Imagine Allan Reed singing that.)