This week’s Kats


In the strips from 8-12-38 to 8-18, we have the finish of Krazy’s canoe, and the beginning of “Pupp’s Glue” storyline. What is a “kobble rock” anyway? That’s what I call those little porous rocks in the bottom of our bar-b-q pit, but that may not be correct. I am still working on Sc. 24 of the new cat cartoon, did about three feet this week. Cathy and I went to the Rubel farms on Thursday out in Glendora, for our painting group’s weekly outing. Mike Rubel, whose dad was Heinz Rubel, is the owner of the “farm”. It’s a great place, with a castle built of big stones and rocks, many odd-sized apartments for rent, with a big clock tower that chimes on the hour and half-hour;  works imported from England. Mike is a train buff, and has a full-sized Santa Fe caboose on the property which we painted “en plein air”. There are many rooms throughout the estate, one is called the “tin palace”. It contains some nice H.O. scale miniature trains, and many books and display cases about Mike’s family history. His dad Heinz, under the name “Hal Raynor” wrote for Joe Penner’s “Baker’s Broadcast” radio show in the early thirties, writing the songs that Joe sang every week. The articles on display in the tin palace even give Heinz Rubel credit for the line: “You wanna buy a duck?” My personal theory is that the popularity of Joe and his duck, Goo-Goo, laid the comedy tracks for the funny ducks of the cartoons: Donald and Daffy. Mel Blanc even claimed that he did Goo-Goo’s voice on Joe’s radio show. However, none of the existing Penner shows has Mel doing the duck’s voice. It’s sad that there are only eight Penner Baker’s Broadcast shows that survive today, the earliest being from 5/13/1934. A study of the “Baker’s Broadcast” show is essential for a student of 1930s comedy, which is certainly a big part of the humor of the animated cartoon. Heinz Rubel was one of the writers of this seminal program, with it’s blend of crazy puns, non-sequiters and slapstick. At one point, Heinz Rubel was an ordained minister, with his own church. It could have been the church of Goo-Goo! In the tin palace there are also artifacts from Heinz’s ministarial days in a display case. Mike Rubel, who built this incredible castle mostly by himself, can no longer walk and doesn’t live on the property anymore. Cathy and I used to come to the Rubel farms to paint years ago, and at that time Mike was walking around and greeting people in his farm outfit, denim overalls and an engineer’s hat. Mike used to hold court on one of the balconies of the castle and a bunch of Glendora good ol’ boys would get together for iced tea and “train talk”. Mike’s collection of roosters, hens and horses still roam about the estate; the crowing and whinniing keeps you awake! The Rubel farms are a great eccentric treasure of Glendora, and are available for tours, if any of you are interested. It’s worth seeing and there are a lot of subjects to paint and draw! Mike also collected lots of old cars and farm machinery, some of the walls of the castle are made up of old bottles set into the concrete. I’m looking forward to our next visit.

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