Month: January 2013
Here are more entries in “The Letters of Duane Crowther” series, (number 9) this time from July and August, 1954. I can’t find any information about the theatrical production of “Lucky You” at the Tempo theater in NYC from 1954. Maybe a kind reader can fill me in on that production. It seemed to have had film animation combined with live performance (possibly dancing), which Bob Balser did for the production. Duane sent him a drawing, there is a letter from the producer, Robert S. Corey, and a telegram apparently congratulating the Balsers for “Lucky You”. I’ve also included Duane’s letter to Bob Balser from 8-16-1954, in which he once more indicates his desire to start a family, and tells of his new job at Transfilm, a commercial studio founded by Dave Hilberman and Zack Schwartz. I don’t know if Hilberman and Schwartz were still in their studio in 1954, as they were blacklisted and lost control of Transfilm around then. Duane is still longing to move to California with his new wife Susanne, although the expense of NYC living was taking it’s toll. We’re almost down to the last letters of Duane’s that Bob Balser saved. More very soon.
Here’s as many of the January, 1963 Flintstones Sunday pages that survived in my collection, clipped 50 years ago from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. The 1-13 episode is missing, but you can see it, and the half-page versions of the above strips in black and white by going over to Yowp’s website, link at the right of the page. The first two strips seem to be by Dick Bickenbach, but the third, looks like the pencils were drawn by Harvey Eisenberg; probably Gene Hazelton or another capable H-B stalwart did the inking. Eisenberg did the art for several Flintstones Dell comics in the early 60s. I’m almost at the end of my small cache of “Flintheads” Sunday pages, I’ll continue posting them as an adjunct to Yowp for as long as I can.
Your comics page comes to you loaded with Kats and Little Girls. Here is Krazy from 9-8 to 9-13-1941 deep in analyzing the difference between the Nott and Sott Poles. I love the last panel in the 9-8 as Krazy looks at the penguins grouped around the Sott Pole, upside down. Of course Ignatz thinks the Earth would be better off square shaped, so he makes his own version of the “globe” in the 9-11.
Felix continues to hide the diamond from the sailors from 10-28 to 11-3-1935. A lucky sailor winds up with the diamond when Felix accidentally throws it at him in the 10-28, and it changes hands again in the 11-2. The Sunday page has Felix in a Cone of Silence, as the Chemist comes up with a device to block sounds from his vicinity. When Felix tries it out, he doesn’t hear oncoming traffic and gets socked by an auto.
Myrtle by Dudley Fisher comes to us from 6-2 to 6-7-1947. My favorite from this week is the 6-5. Myrtle realizes she is a character in a comic strip as she asks her Mom why she doesn’t age like “the kids in other comics”. The main reason she can’t get older is that her Mother would have to age, too! I also like the 6-4 as Bingo dons Freddie’s clothes by stealth and goes to Mac’s party in Fred’s stead. The 6-7 is really cartoony as Myrtle straps Sampson to the ground and plucks hairs out of his head like a daisy to find out whether he loves her or not. Myrtle sometimes seems to stand out from the world of her strip like a pixie, as she seems aware that she’s a comic strip character and keeps perching on the back of Freddie’s easy chair like she flew there.
Well that’s a couple of big posts for this week, hope you enjoyed them. More of Duane’s letters next time.
Here’s one of those posts I put off doing as long as I can, the Los Angeles Junior Times cartoons from April, 1927! Feast your eyes on the works of I.Ellis, Phil De Lara, Cal Howard, Milt Schaffer, “Louie” Salkin, Larry Martin, Hardie Gramatky, Frank Tipper and Manuel Moreno! I love Manuel’s cartoon from April 3rd, as he does a full page of little sketches commemorating the Charity Ball. Can you find Aunt Dolly in the jumble of figures at the bottom of the page? If you can, tell me, I sure can’t see her! I like the photo of Bob Wickersham, and the caption that tells of his election to the Vice-Presidency of the TJC, and his “good sportsmanship”. I’ve also included Hardie Gramatky’s “Capt. Kidd” strip from April 10th, I’ve been leaving him out of these Jr. Times posts, thinking I could catch up later. But there isn’t any “later”, there’s only now! Hardie was the most professional of the Junior Times cartoonists, and his contributions fell off as he got involved in art college. Manuel Moreno also went pro very early in life, so his Junior Times comics get increasingly rare. However, Phil De Lara proved to be the most loyal of the Aunt Dolly discoveries, lasting well into 1930. I’ll try to do another “Your Comics Page” later this week and include Myrtle, but for now I’m exhausted!
Here’s the next two letters from Duane Crowther to Bob Balser, from 1-24 and 2-23-1954. This post is “Letters of Duane Crowther # 7”. Much more personal this time, as Duane visits his home town (Los Angeles) and the Balsers for Christmas vacation, then marries his first wife, Susanne, on Jan. 22nd. Duane and Susanne were living with her mother by February 1954, on East 80th street, for the whopping rent of $138.00 a month! Two and a Half Rooms yet! Susanne liked Babies, Bartok and Beatrice Lillie, according to Duane, (you can tell they wanted to start a family), and likes to write poetry (“the good, sex-laden kind”, whatever that was). Susanne was Matt Crowther’s Mom, in case Matt is reading this. We are going through Duane’s early history at a fast rate, still six letters and a telegram to go!
Here’s Dudley Fisher’s Myrtle from 5-26 to 5-31-1947, in answer to Joe’s (and perhaps other) requests. I love the 5-28, as Myrtle catches her Mom in a fib to avoid talking on the phone. Her Mom asks Myrtle to say she’s “baking a cake”. The pixieish Myrtle hangs over the back of the easy chair in a great Fisher pose and asks Mom for “some of the cake”, forcing her into actually making one to cover her lie. Myrtle’s personality is really intriguing here, she’s childlike, but right on top of things, as she plays her mother like a Stradivarius. The 5-31 is almost Herrimanesque in it’s obtuseness as Myrtle sings one of her little songs about her cat, and then asks Sampson if he’s had his dinner. Go read the gag, it’s round-robin logic is a lot of fun. It’s good to know that Myrtle has so many fans, I’ll try to run more of her daily adventures very soon.
Hey Hey, that Yog’ Rogue is at it again! I bow to Yowp’s request and post the January, 1963 Yogi Bear Sundays. I have the 1-6 and the 1-20 in half-page, the other two are thirds. I don’t have as many halves as thirds for the balance of 1963, but it’s whatcha do with whatcha got! These all look like Harvey Eisenberg’s art to me, but Yowp seems to see Gene Hazelton’s work here as well, especially the kid designs. I like the fantasy of a talking Merry-Go-Round horse in the 1-6, and the “Modern Indian” gags in the 1-13 and 1-20. Perhaps H-B were contemplating a new series featuring Native Americans, perceived as primitive, but actually sophisticated, sort of the Flintstones premise, but more contemporary. I’d like to see that show today! The 1-27 actually tells the truth about how difficult it is to tune an Ocarina. There’s a song in “The Road to Singapore” (1940), called “The Sweet Potato Piper” which was done by a chorus of Ocarinas all tuned in harmony with each other. Today, that kind of tuning expertise with the Sweet Potato is impossible to come by, so the wonderful choral arrangements for Ocarinas are gone forever. To see the top third of the third page Yogis go on over to Yowp’s blog, he’s waitin’ for you.
Krazy from 9-1 to 9-6-1941 contains a psychological experiment. Offissa Pupp tries to convince Ignatz to banish bricks from his mind, at the suggestion of Mrs. Kwakk-Wakk. I like the 9-4 when Ignatz seems elated at the mental gymnastics of brick banishment. However, in the 9-6, a hod carrier appears with a new supply of the forbidden missles, and it seems that the tricky mouse was just making sport of the duck and the dog.
Felix, from 10-21 to 10-27-1935, continues to elude the curious sailors on board ship. He still has the oblong shaped diamond that he found on the Ape’s Island. I like the bit in the 10-25 when Felix is socked with a sailor’s boot in which he has hidden the diamond. The Sunday page is a lot of fun, as Felix makes use of the Chemist’s formula for liquefying metal. He feeds the liquid metal to the fish, in hopes of drawing them out of the water by magnetism. His scheme works TOO well, and he is soon almost smothered by the fish. I like Felix’s passed-out pose in the last panel as a fisherman makes off with the hapless cat’s catch. Now that’s a diet rich in iron! Hope your holidays and New Year were at least somewhat joyous! C U Soon!