The Duane Crowther Letters Pt. 3

duane-letter-12-23-52-stitch.jpgduane-letter-1-6-53-stitch.jpg Here are two more in my continuing series of Duane Crowther’s letters to Bob Balser from New York, dated 12-23-52 and 1-6-53. In the 12-23, Duane continues his running joke with Bob about typewriter snafus and the mistakes caused by the “touch system”. Duane was quite the student of pantomime, and went to see the Jean Louis-Barrault Troupe perform a 20 minute sketch. Duane has to sit through a 2 and a half-hour drawing room comedy beforehand, though, and he didn’t speak French! He also ribs Gene Deitch for being into “the straight design stuff” and “Doesn’t UNDERSTAND us animators..(knows) NOTHING ABOUT IT.” Duane really liked Gene’s design ability, as you’ll read. Duane had moved out of the YMCA by this time, and his description of his apartment is very funny, cost him a whopping 75 bucks a month! Note the little drawing of Duane with his new coat and the little dog at the left margin. In the 1-6 letter, Duane criticizes Chaplin’s “Limelight”, asks for a print of “Waiting” by Flora Mock (see his March 5, 1952 letter in “The Duane Crowther Letters Pt. 1”), and fakes Bob Balser out by deliberately not putting a page one in his letter, because Bob failed to put a header on his letter. It would be interesting to read Bob Balser’s side of the correspondence, but Duane probably didn’t keep them. He was not a “saver”, as I remember. Duane concludes the letter with a little drawing of a lady being scared by a spider hiding in a typewriter, which seems to be another running gag between Bob Balser and Duane. Charles Brubaker and Mike Sporn both like these letters and want to see more! I’m especially pleased that Mike is reading them, since he is a consummate film-maker, blogger, and New Yorker, choose your own order.

felix-9-30-35.jpgfelix-10-1-35.jpgfelix-10-2-35.jpgfelix-10-3-35.jpgfelix-10-4-35.jpgfelix-10-5-35.jpgfelix-sunday-10-6-35.jpgFelix, from 9-30 to 10-6-1935, continues Felix’s adventures as a stowaway. Thanks to the little gold idol he stole from the Ape’s island, Felix continues to elude the sailors who are after him. The Chinese cook, Wong, in the 10-3, is a harbinger of the Tong intrigue coming to Felix’s world. In the 10-6 Sunday, the Professor swabs Felix with a powerful anesthetic, which makes him insensible to pain! Felix swipes two hamburgers from a lunch counter and is unhurt by the blows from Joe, the proprietor. Felix proves his humanity in the last panel, as he vows to chase the mice out of Joe’s place someday, to pay him for the hamburgers.

krazy_vintage8-11-41.gifkrazy_vintage8-12-41.gifkrazy_vintage8-13-41.gifkrazy_vintage8-14-41.gifkrazy_vintage8-15-41.gifkrazy_vintage8-16-41.gif Krazy continues to entertain Current, his Jelly Fish visitor in the 8-11 through 8-16-1941 strips. This adds to the story begun in the previous week’s strips, posted in “The Duane Crowther Letters Pt. One”. Herriman spins all kinds of verbal and visual puns out of the parade of fishy characters that flop in Krazy’s house all week, including an Angel Fish, a Flying “Fitch”, a Star Fish and an Electric Eel. Keep reading, folks, I’ll be seeing you soon.

3 Responses to “The Duane Crowther Letters Pt. 3”

  1. I love those little drawings in these letters. I’m glad Bob Balser saved them. Interesting time capsule of the era, including Duane’s frustration with typewriters (thank god for word processors!)

    I know Balser’s still alive, having emailed him before. I think he lives in Barcelona now. He had a studio there.

  2. Alfons Moline says:

    Being from Barcelona and having worked in the animation field, I got the chance to know personally Bob Balser for many years. He doesn’t live there anymore, having closed his studio, Pegbar Productions, way back in 1993. After that, I still met him once in a while at the Annecy animation festival. The last I heard from him was a few months ago; one lady who had been his production assitant at Pegbar told me that he was indeed still alive and living in L.A.

  3. Mark says:

    Yup, Charles and Alfons, Bob and his wife still live somewhere in Los Angeles County, probably on the west side. I see them every year at the Academy shorts screenings. Thanks for commenting!

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