Saturday, July 26, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, July 26 1908 -- It's a rare Herriman Saturday when the dates match up as they do today -- this cartoon was originally published exactly 106 years ago today in the Los Angeles Examiner!

Herriman continues to bemoan the long road trips undertaken by the Angels this season. Frank 'Cap' Dillon, otherwise known as 'Pop', was the Angels manager from 1905-15.


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Friday, July 25, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, February 7 1937, courtesy of Cole Johnson. 
Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


Stratoball sure looks a lot like Quidditch!
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Thursday, July 24, 2014


Wake up kids! It's time for your Morning Funnies Cereal!

If you were a kid in the late 1980s, you may have had a well-meaning parent inflict Morning Funnies cereal on you at the breakfast table. From the various accounts I find around the web, this cereal was pretty awful -- way too sweet, and the 'laughing face' cereal pieces were apparently so ludicrously big they were hard to get in your mouth. Lucky for me I was well beyond the age of wanting novelty cereals by 1988 when Morning Funnies debuted. I think the ad above, with an unusually high-value 65 cent coupon, tells us how desperate the Ralston folks (yes, the makers of Dog Chow) must have been to get some of these to move off the shelves.

I've never actually seen a box of this stuff in person, but evidently there was a fold-out ("secret") panel so lots of comics could fit on the package. Based on this ad, the line-up was Tiger, Hi and Lois, Dennis the Menace, Funky Winkerbean, Marvin, Hagar, Beetle Bailey and Luann. I've also seen late packages claiming Popeye as well, and early packages offered the rather obscure What a Guy. The question I'd love to have answered is whether the comics used on the packages were special material produced for them, or if they just reused existing strips from these features.

The cereal lasted on the supermarket shelves for two years or less, and during that time at least 10 different numbered boxes were available. Enough were saved by collectors that I think you could purchase a set of them on eBay if you keep a watch for awhile. But who would want to? I dunno. I suppose if the material was original to the boxes, that might be appealing to all those Hi and Lois completists out there.

Seriously, though, these were mostly comic strips that appealed primarily to grandmas, even in the halcyon days of 1988. Did Ralston really think any kid would scream at his mom to buy this stuff so he could read a Beetle Bailey strip? Okay, okay, Funky Winkerbean and Luann had a little teen/pre-teen appeal, but geez, how about a little Bloom County or the like?

And later in the day you could eat your lunch sandwich and wash it down with Sunday Funnies soda (which featured daily strips).
Those strips left the date on, so obviously they were not original to the product.
D.D.Degg (hat tip to Brian Cronin)
Wow! Looks just as good as the cereal. What in the name of Helga and Hagar do you figure "Red Pop" was supposed to taste like? The delicious sounding "artifical color and flavor" fail to give much insight.

I remember seeing a coupon ad promoting adding to the Morning Funnies cereal box Funky Winkerbean, Hagar, and Popeye; but never seen these boxes.

Too bad Blondie and Dagwood never got a chance to appear on the Morning Funnies cereal box.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Thach Folsom

William Thatcher “Thach” Folsom was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 25, 1887, according to the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records at; the records spelled Thatcher with two Ts, while other sources, such as periodicals used one T, which, I believe, was Folsom’s preferred spelling.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Folsom was the oldest of three children born to William and Mary. His father was in construction. They resided in Medford, Massachusetts at 115 Winthrop Street. Information regarding Folsom’s art training has not been found.

Folsom was a newspaper artist according to the 1910 census. He remained in his parent’s home, now in Boston, Massachusetts at 187 Belgrade Street. According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Folsom produced Bob Bonedome for the Boston Post; the strip ran from August 7 to 15, 1911.

Folsom signed his World War I draft card in June 1917. He lived at 71 Clement Avenue in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. His occupation was artist at the Boot and Shoe Recorder, a periodical devoted to footwear located in Boston at 207 South Street. He stated that he was the sole supporter of his mother. The description of him was medium height, slender build with brown eyes and black hair.

The 1920 census recorded Folsom and his wife, Mary, in Boston at 107 Jersey Street. He was a commercial artist. His cover illustration credit for House Beautiful, June 1920, is here (scroll up 16 pages to see cover). The Boston Register and Business Directory 1921 had a listing for Folsom in the “Architects—Artists” category: “Folsom, W Thatcher 126 Mass av rm 505”.

Folsom designed an alphabet for the National Display Alphabet Company’s Innes Alphabets. Advertisements appeared in Advertising & Selling, April 17, 1929, and Printers’ Ink Monthly, May 1929.

Canton, Ohio was Folsom’s home in 1930; his address was 1621 Shorb Avenue N.W. He worked as an advertising artist for a few years then returned to Boston.

Folsom was counted twice in the 1940 census. He and his wife lived with his sister-in-law at 542 Newbury Street. His highest level of education was one year of college. He was an advertising artist. The following day Folsom was counted at the same address and had the same occupation but his highest level of education was recorded as three years of high school, the same as his wife.

The 1942 Boston directory listed Folsom as a 53-year-old artist at 12 Hemenway Street. His address in 1941 was 542 Newbury Street. On April 27, 1942, Folsom signed his World War II draft card, which had his middle names as “Thacher”. His address was unchanged. He was employed at the Boston Post.

What become of Folsom is not known. An obituary has not been found and he does not appear in the Social Security Death Index.

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Mort M. Burger

Mortimer Moses Burger was born in South Carolina on April 24, 1880 or 1881. His full name was on his World War I draft card which had his birth date as April 24, 1881. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census said he was born in April 1880. Information about his education and art training has not been found.

According to the 1900 census, Burger, an artist, resided in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at 423 Madison Avenue. His name was recorded as “Moses Burger”. His parents, Nathan and Regina, both German emigrants, and three siblings, Sallie, Gustave and Sidney, resided in Manhattan, New York City.

An article in the Fourth Estate, February 7, 1920, told of Burger’s early career.

Mort M. Burger…started his newspaper career at the age of 17, cartooning for the New York World under the direction of the famous Walt McDougall. Later he started a school of caricature with Dan McCarthy, another well known cartoonist….
In Printer’s Ink, April 23, 1902, McCarthy explained how their business, The National School of Caricature, operated.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Burger produced these series for The World: The Trouble Brothers (1902), Scrappie Sisters (1903), and Drawing Lessons for Young Cartoonists (1904).

After the school closed, Burger moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. He was listed as art manager of the Morning World, 210 Camp, in the 1908 New Orleans city directory. He stayed at the Hotel Gruenwald. The 1909 directory was not available.

According to the Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), January 27, 1908, Burger, a photographer for the Morning World, was assaulted while attempting to photograph a former police inspector and judge. The February 6, 1908, New Orleans Item, said the local newspaper artists formed the New Orleans Newspaper Artists’ Society to exhibit their work. Burger was the society’s treasurer.

 New Orleans Item 10/9/1909

Fort Worth Star-Telegram 12/9/1909

The Daily Picayune, April 5, 1909, reported Burger’s new school.
A School of Art. 
The Burger School of Art has just been opened in this city in the Cosmopolitan Bank Building, and executive offices in the Hennen Building. The aim of the institution is to give to the student a thorough knowledge of the methods of illustrating for reproduction in the newspaper and magazines. This will be a home concern, offering the same advantages as schools of art in distant cities.
Exhibitions of the work will be held from time to time, and prizes will be awarded. Mort M. Burger is the director and N.D. Boniel assistant director.

In the 1910 and 1911 city directories, listed Burger as director of the Burger School of Art, 317 Carondelet. He still resided at the hotel.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Engravings, etc., New Series, Volume 3, Number 23, June 1908, had this entry: “Burger (Mort M.), New Orleans, La. [14512 Blackbirds. (F 65541, May 20, 1908.)”

In the 1910 census, Burger was recorded, as Moses, in his father’s household. They lived in Manhattan, New York City at 2527 Seventh Avenue. Burger was a newspaper cartoonist. He was listed as Mortimer, in the 1915 New York State Census, at his father’s residence, 167 West 146 Street in Manhattan.

Burger turned to vaudeville as reported in the New York Dramatic Mirror, December 31, 1913:

Mort. M. Burger, the comic artist whose work has appeared in the foremost newspapers of America, is entering vaudeville in a cartoon act.
The action is built about an artist and his model. Mr. Burger will be supported by Elsa Howard, formerly with the Aborn opera company.
His act received mixed reviews. The New York Dramatic Mirror, February 14, 1914, said:
Mort M. Burger presented his novelty cartoon act in New Britain last week. The act was well received, according to reports. Mr. Burger is assisted by Elsie Howard in poses and songs.
The Billboard, April 16, 1914, gave their opinion of the act:
Mort M. Burger, cartoonist, assisted by Elsa Howard, the singing model. To pass judgment on the first performance would not do the act justice as almost everything went wrong. Eleven minutes, in three.
R.L. Polk & Co.’s 1915 Trow New York Copartnership and Corporation Directory had this listing: “Associated Art Studios (RTN) (Mort M Burger) 949 B’way”. Advertisements for Burger’s school appeared in periodicals such as Puck, Cartoons Magazine, and Our Navy. Puck published Burger’s letter in its June 26, 1915 issue. The Fourth Estate, August 26, 1916, wrote about Burger and his school.

The Daily Capital Journal (Salem, Oregon) carried two Burger strips: Did It Ever Happen to You? ran from March 27, 1915 to April 13, 1916, and Heeza Boob ran from August 11, 1915 to December 2, 1916.

On September 12, 1918, Burger signed his World War I draft card, parts of which are illegible. He worked for a company based in South Amboy, New Jersey.

Burger was involved in a new service, Telephotography, according to the Fourth Estate, April 19, 1919, and Advertising and Selling, May 10, 1919:

Pictures by Telegraph 
Another means of eliminating time is an invention of Le Roy J. Leishman of Ogden, Utah. By the use of this new device a picture can be drawn in New York and reproduced by wire, at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, in San Francisco — or between any other two points where this electrical apparatus is installed.
As a result of the experiments made with this invention, the Leishman Telegraphed Picture Service has been organized. This company is establishing zone centres in thirty large cities, where artists will be in charge to illustrate big events and instantly wire them to newspapers using the service.
Mort M. Burger, an experienced newspaper man, is in charge of the New York office, which has been established in the Flatiron building, and active operations will begin about June 1.
Burger, his parents and brother, Gustave, lived at 53 Adrian Avenue in Manhattan according to the 1920 census, which had his name as “Morton M”. Burger was head of a “correspondence office.”

The North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune (Nebraska), August 6, 1920, published a photograph of Burger’s students, wounded veterans, at a life drawing session. I believe Burger is the one who is standing.

A horrible automobile accident killed Burger on August 29, 1924, in New York. The Recorder (Catskill, New York), September 6, 1924, published this account:
Purling Resident Killed. 
Mortimer M. Burger of New York and Purling, one of the owners of the Columbian Hotel, Purling, was almost instantly killed in an automobile accident near Rifton, a few miles below Kingston, last Friday evening. Two other members of his party—Walter Kaufman and Ira Wulf—also died soon after from injuries received. Mr. Burger was thirty-eight years old, a member of Catskill Lodge of Elks, and was on his way to Purling for the Labor Day holiday when the accident took place. He was driving a new Paige car. When Philip Miller attempted to pass in his Cadillac. The machines came together at the foot of a hill, it being said that each was going about fifty miles an hour. The impact threw the Cadillac to the side of the road, tearing up a piece of concrete. The machine bounded back onto the highway, hitting the Paige full in the back and diverting its course, the vehicle going head-on into a tree, while the other automobile smashed into a telegraph pole and turned over several times. Both machines were badly damaged, the Paige being rendered practically useless.
In the car with Mr. Miller, who was on his way to his camp at Tannersville, were Benjamin Burnett of Brooklyn and William Musken of New York. All were more or less injured and were hurried to the Kingston City Hospital. Large crowds soon gathered at the scene of the accident, and the general opinion was that both drivers were exceeding the speed limit, they having chosen a dangerous part of the road to try out their machines, Thompson Hill being steep and long.
Who was to blame is merely conjecture, but with two automobiles traveling in the same direction it would seem that the man behind should take plenty of room in endeavoring to pass a car ahead unless he has plenty of room to insure a safe and sane passage. These accidents are regrettable, when it is considered that a minute or two in time would undoubtedly have saved the lives of three men and kept harmless as many more.
Here are the first two paragraphs of the article in the Stamford Mirror-Recorder (New York), September 3, 1924:
A taunt, followed by a thrilling race between two cars, a Paige and a Cadillac, ended in a horrible tragedy near St. Remy, about four miles south of Kingston, Friday evening, in which three men were killed and three others were sent to Kingston hospitals. The dead are:
Mortimer M. Burger, 38, of No. 949 Broadway, New York, driver of the Paige, who was killed instantly. He was a member of the firm of N. Burger & Sons, proprietors of the Columbian Hotel at Purling, N. Y. He was on his way to spend Labor Day at the Purling resort.

—Alex Jay 


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Monday, July 21, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Heeza Boob

You really have to hand it to Mort M. Burger. His cartooning ability wasn't much better than your typical fourth grader. But would he let that stop him? Heck no. He was a man with a dream to make it as a professional cartoonist. 

What Burger lacked in artistic ability he almost managed to make up in salesmanship and energy. Although Mr. Burger has very few credits that made my book, his doggedness and chutzpah are certainly worth remembering.

Speaking of my book, the only credits for Burger you'll find there are a few minor series he penned for the New York Evening World in the early 1900s. But that under-represents his time at the World, because his style (well, perhaps style is too strong a word) is recognizable on literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of those little one-column spot cartoons that adorned the evening paper in those days.

After his time at the World I lose track of him for a long while, but then in the 1910s he keeps himself constantly in the public eye by showing a flair for self-promotion. He started sending out press releases to industry journals for every event in his life, and often they printed them. From these we could (if we had a really good searchable version of E&P and The Fourth Estate, et al) probably track him on practically a monthly basis.

I have on file articles in which he was running an advertising art company, a photo reproduction studio, and even (I kid you not) a cartooning correspondence school. He would also occasionally promote a new comic strip series, presumably self-syndicated though he tended to puff the press release up with a high-class syndicate name.

Heeza Boob, which he seems to have self-syndicated, appears to have been a daily strip though I have not yet found a paper that ran it with great consistency. Alex Jay found it appearing with pretty good regularity in the Salem Capital Journal, and from there we offer tentative running dates of August 11 1915 to December 2 1916.

Thanks to Mark Johnson, who found some reasonably clear PDF newspaper pages from which our samples are taken. As rare as these strips are, we could all wait forever to find actual tearsheets.

Tomorrow, Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile will fill us in on Mort Burger's life story much better than I ever could.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


Very clever!
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