Saturday, November 14, 2015

 

Herriman Saturday


Wednesday, October 21 1908 --- Herriman gives an awful hard time to a supposed (high school?) football phenomenon who turns out to have feet of clay when tested in actual combat. Seems like a mighty big cudgel for a very small target, George!

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Allan - I'm once again unable to send you any emails, attachment or no. Everything bounces back. Please add me to your contacts or email me directly. I have some info I'd like to share with you. Thanks - Carl Linich
 
Allan - I'm once again unable to send you any emails, attachment or no. Everything bounces back. Please add me to your contacts or email me directly. I have some info I'd like to share with you. Thanks - Carl Linich
 
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Friday, November 13, 2015

 

Walt McDougall's This is the Life: Chapter Four, Part One

This is the Life!

by 

Walt McDougall

Chapter Four (Part 1) - THE STREET OF A THOUSAND SINS


The Bowery of the ancients ... The confiding bank robber ... The coming of the Can Can ... My closest call ... To Albany and back for a quarter ... The making of artificial eggs ... Joys of canoeing ... A humiliating experience



In New York they used to strut and brag in a manner that infuriated their bucolic visitors about their towering six and seven-story buildings. Then came A. T. Stewart's Store at Chambers Street. Over in New Jersey it was mentioned with a gasp. Followed the Elevated Railroad, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grant's Tomb, the World Dome and the Flatiron Building, and the capacity for awe was exhausted. Began then the greatest tearing-down and building-up that any city has ever seen, the end of which is not in sight. Today the towers of Babel climb so fast that soon the only conspicuous building will be a church. Our thoughts, like the woodchuck's, are now below ground.


The only part of town that shows any resemblance to the city of my boyhood is the Bowery, and even there the eager hands of Progress pluck at the grimy crumbling walls. The "Bowerie," still believed by youthful sailors from Oklahoma and citizens of Orange County to be a seething crater of variegated vice, was, most likely, a four-flush and a humbug from the start. Probably it never, even in old Dutch days, had a bowerie anywhere along its whole length, but had the alluring title, as the "Old Grapevine," in Sixth Avenue, from a tavern-keeper's fancy. Washington Irving hints at something naughty, but side-steps in time; evidently even in his days its allure was tinged with impropriety.


A populous, rowdy, rough-house place filled with reasonably sober volunteer firemen in the "Roaring Forties," the White Light District of the city, it had become in three decades a Sodom and Gomorrah to be prayed over by pious folk in Erie, Pa., and Schenectady, N.Y., as a festering plague-spot utterly beyond human cure, inviting the lightning of Heaven, and every hick made straight for the spot from the Erie and the New Haven "depot" the minute he arrived, praying to be on time to see the heavenly pyrotechnics begin. The early students of Realism nibbling on the tender leaves of Howells's novels, flocked to the Bowery for snappy material, city editors thanked God for one spot that could be depended on to furnish at least one daily story of murder, mayhem, suicide or rape, the industrious crimp, a baggage-smasher by day, toiled all night carting the bonnie sailor laddies and their loads down to ships they never had heard of, bartenders passed out stronger whiskey for five cents a slug than the bootlegger gives now for fifty, and Expectation stood on tiptoe day and night—and often got a jolt. All the city's crooks drifted to the Bowery as today they all drift into the taxicab business.


Odd things happened often enough. It was the meeting place—and too, for ages, the manufacturing place—of freaks. Here were made the dime-museum monsters, and here the human monstrosities congregated. Some saloons were frequented by these, others had a clientele of fake cripples, still others were patronized only by panhandlers or pickpockets or pugilists. Andy Horn's, for some reason, was the favorite stopping-place for the newspaper men. I dropped into Andy's one day with Lew Dockstader for a glass of beer. We were followed by a slim young fellow who, nodding pleasantly, seated himself at our table. A moment later Dan Rice, the famous old clown, came in with Tom Powers and joined us, and during the general conversation the young stranger asked me if I had seen the account in the papers of the bank clerk who had stolen sixty thousand dollars a few days before. When I nodded, he whispered:


"I'm the guy. They've been looking for me everywhere except down here. They think I'm too tony to hang out in the Bowery. I'm going to give it up. It isn't worth all the trouble."

In my admiration of this novel form of attack, for I supposed it was a mere preliminary to an attempt to borrow some money, I smiled and jokingly asked him where all the money was.

"That's the funny part!" he said, grinning. "It's in my girl's washstand away uptown. She doesn't know it's there, and I don't dare go near her, for the cops are watching her house, expecting me to come there. I've only got about fifteen hundred dollars of it."


He then revealed bills enough to paper a hennery, and I was convinced. Calling the attention of my confreres to this very unusual young man, we extracted the full particulars of his crime, a simple tale of putting sixty one-thousand-dollar bills in his coat pocket and absenting himself from the bank. When we had recovered our composure in some measure, being full of romance, we escorted the light-fingered moron to a young lawyer named Paterson, who had just opened an office in the new World Building, the same being now, through industry and thrift, a great legal light shining only for large corporations and banks. He so managed matters that when I happened to meet the young man a month or so later in the Hoffman House I was not surprised to hear that he had escaped prosecution, but I was almost bowled over when he informed me that he now had a much better position in the very bank he had robbed.


The theaters halted in the Bowery for a brilliant period on their uptown march to Fourteenth Street, where they lingered long. They were all up there when I began to frequent the town. It now seems as absurd to think of fashionable theaters, all the glitter and flash of gems, silks and feathers, shiny carriages and stiff footmen, here in this squalid street as it would have seemed silly to imagine them in Columbus Circle in 1890. Even yet the drabbled shells of some of these Bowery show houses still remain.


To me the most striking feature of the whole precinct was the bewildering number of saloons infesting it. Perhaps a third of the basements on Park Row held beaneries or saloons, but on the Bowery every other building, and often every building, harbored a more or less disreputable gin mill where liquor could be bought for from three to ten cents a glass. They thrived on the street's ill fame. The Bowery Girl and the Bowery Tough were, even in my day, nearly as distinct a type as were the Whitechapel costermongers. He wore "spring-bottom pants" long after they had been abolished elsewhere.


Beyond the Palisades and to points far West, the jovial Old Hoss Hoey had sung: "They do such things, and they say such things, on the Bowery!" until the name was the synonym for the one wide-open, rip-snorting vestibule of hell and the show window of Vice.


It may have been such in the prehistoric days when it was the first place visited by the hayseed in search of thrills, but it had long since lost its gilding and its tingle.


To be sure, there still was Billy M'Glory's Armory Hall at Hestor Street, seemingly doing a rushing business as late as '86. An extensive establishment, dingy and sour-smelling, cut up with numerous small narrow rooms and passages always crowded with noisy, tawdry girls, tough citizens rushing about with trays frantically asking: "Who wants the handsome waiter?" semi-pickled sailors, dope-peddlers and half-scared hicks, all the flotsam and jetsam of night life ebbing and flowing to and from the big barroom and dance-hall.



The Can Can was the name of the particular Parisian abomination just then undermining the morals of the Nation. On the theatrical stage it consisted mainly of altitudinous kicks at chandeliers or high hats, but in Armory Hall the kick was accompanied by indelicate bacchanalian gyrations and licentious cavortings, usually assisted by such a generous removal of clothing that the hilarious and abandoned dancers exposed their persons almost as freely as do our present-day flappers on the streets.


Nice girls in the privacy of their bedrooms practiced the steps of the devilish Can Can; it, very likely, was the cause of the first loosening-up of feminine muscles since the corset was invented in the time of Henry VIII, yet somehow it was never really popular in good society. One never saw it break out sporadically at a dancing party as we have become used to seeing novel features like the shimmie introduced of late years, for, after all, it was rather strenuously exercising, besides being somewhat hard on silk hats, and the athletic girl had not arrived. They were already on the way, however. One could not expect much of the steel-corseted girls when the men were still skating in plug hats, hunting in long melton overcoats, and rowing racing-shells in pea-jackets! Thousands of cultured persons wore their red-flannel three-ply BVD.'s all summer.


Along about this time I had a curious experience which strongly affected my view of circumstantial evidence and its value, as well as effectually diminished my natural bumptiousness. I had been away for a year, and during the interval John had married and taken up a residence on the top floor of No. 32 St. Mark's Place, a locality with which I was unfamiliar. One evening, finding myself in that neighborhood, I decided to visit him. On reaching the corner of Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street, I asked a passer-by where St. Mark's Place was.


Now I was unaware that these two streets converge at Fourth Avenue, and therefore when he pointed westward into a black gulf lit only by a few dim street lamps, I saw merely the sidewalk of Eighth Street before me, so I proceeded to number 32 and rang the bell. A shrewish, hatchet-faced woman opened the door and, when I inquired for my brother, raspingly informed me that he did not live there. "This is 32 St. Mark's Place, is it not?" I asked.


"No, it isn't! It's 32 Eighth Street," she snapped, and slammed the door in my face.


Returning to the corner, I asked two different men for direction. Each of them pointed out St. Mark's Place, but to me they appeared to point up Eighth Street, which convinced me that the woman of number 32 must be drunk or crazy. I decided to beard her again. Just as I was about to ring her bell, the door opened, a man came out, and politely stood aside for me to pass in. I had never been in an apartment house; had a notion, in fact, that they were like tenement houses. Knowing that John lived on the fourth floor, I started up the carpeted stairs. I was rather surprised at seeing many of the room doors open, but my confidence was undisturbed. I imagine that I was in a rather high-class boarding house. I felt assured when I reached the top floor that I had found John's apartment.


The light from the hall revealed numerous photographs arranged along the walls, as was his custom in his studios, and upon a table were piled many large "art" books, apparently. I rummaged around a bureau, upset a powder jar, found matches, and lighted the gas. I almost instantly discovered that the photographs were all quite unfamiliar to me, and as a chill of doubt assailed me I hastily examined some of the art books. These were inscribed with strange, Spanish names. In a flash I realized that the furniture, hangings, pictures, everything about the room were not my brother's and that the woman knew what she had been talking about.


Turning out the light, I hastened downstairs. A fat Negro woman passed me, regarding me curiously, but she said nothing. As my shaking hand reached for the door-knob, it turned, the door opened, and once again a polite man stood aside for me to pass, but outside I heard a shrill voice and turned to face the irate landlady, who demanded to know what I wanted. I felt safe, for I saw that she thought I was about to enter instead of escaping. I suavely inquired if she was certain that a Mr. John McDougall, the eminent painter, did not there reside, as several persons had assured me this was number 32 St. Mark's Place.


Her swift access of irascibility was remarkable. She pushed me from the doorway with energy and uttered some biting words anent my sanity and sobriety as I fled down the steps. Outside, in the dark street, a great throng was moving with eyes directed aloft. Wondering, I asked a boy what was causing all the excitement.


"They are hunting a burglar up on the roofs," he explained. "They caught one over the saloon on the corner and the cops are after the other, but I guess he's got away from them."


Before I reached Newark I had thoroughly canvassed all the possibilities of the dramatic situation. Had that peppery old woman caught me red-handed—or at least, powdered—on her top floor and called the police, it may be conjectured that a few years of my life might have worn a vastly different aspect.


The funny thing is that I never did get to No. 32 St. Mark's Place and never wanted to.


** END OF CHAPTER 4 PART 1 **

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Tingle




Horace Berchard “Harry” Tingle was born in Cambridge, Ohio, on June 24, 1878. Tingle’s full name was found on his World War I draft card which also had the birth date. His birthplace was mentioned in the book, Men of Illinois (1902).

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Tingle was the youngest of two sons born to Thomas, a confectioner, and Rebecca. The family resided in Cambridge. Information regarding Tingle’s education and art training has not been found.

Men of Illinois published a photograph and brief summary of Tingle’s career.


Born in Cambridge, O. Located in Chicago in 1896; with the “Cincinnati Post” 2 yrs.. “The Cincinnati Enquirer” 3 yrs., and the “Commercial-Tribune” 2 yrs.; newspaper artist on the “Chicago Chronicle.”
The 1900 census recorded artist Tingle in the Atwell household of seven including the servant. He lodged in Chicago at 5737 Kimbark Avenue. The head of the household was a patrolman.

Tingle produced a series portraits of Chicago businessmen in 1904.


American Art News, April 22, 1905, named Tingle as one of several contributors to the first annual exhibition of the Newspaper Cartoonists’ and Artists’ Association at Chicago’s Art Institute (page four, column 3). A catalog of the exhibit was published.

The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, at Ancestry.com, recorded Tingle’s marriage to Mabel Viola Ermen on October 22, 1907 in Chicago.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Tingle produced the Sunday comic strip, Uncle Dan and Aunt Sally, which ran from December 26, 1909 to May 29, 1910. The strip appeared in The Sunday Morning Star (Wilmington, Delaware), Elmira Morning Telegram (New York) and other newspapers.

According to the 1910 census, the Tingles lived in Chicago at 4532 Clifton Avenue. Gordon St. Clair, an illustrator, was lodging with them.

Ester Mable Marie was the name of Tingle’s daughter who was born May 6, 1915 in Chicago. She was best known as Dolli Tingle, an artist who also designed postage stamps.


The American Magazine 11/1917; 
advertisement also appeared in Boys’ Life

Tingle signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He lived at 5633 Kenwood Avenue in Chicago and had his studio at 21 East Van Buren Street. He was described as tall and medium build with brown eyes and hair.

Tingle passed away January 16, 1919, in Chicago, according to the death certificate which said he was a commercial artist. An obituary has not been found.


—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 

Obscurity of the Day: Uncle Dan and Aunt Sally





By 1910 World Color Printing was ending a decade of originality and experimentation, and starting on a long, slow slide into oblivion. There were still a few interesting tidbits though. One was Uncle Dan and Aunt Sally, a strip starring a couple of hicks from the sticks. Granted, the Ma and Pa Kettle routine had already been done to death, but this cartoonist, who signed himself Tingle, threw in a few fresh wrinkles. Our hayseeds, Dan and Sally, are taking a trip around the world, and they write back to their son Hiram detailing all the wonders they discover in a new country each week.

The cartooning by Tingle, who has no other documented series with World Color Printing or elsewhere, is quite accomplished -- not exciting, but it gets the job done very well (which is more than you can say about a lot of other World Color material). Alex Jay has sleuthed out the identity of Tingle, and you'll meet him tomorrow.

The strip, and the trip, played out in weekly installments from December 26 1909 to May 29 1910.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ed Carey


Edward James Carey was born in Illinois in October 1871, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.

In the 1880 census, Carey was the oldest of two sons born to Edward and Laura, both Canadian emigrants. His father was a blacksmith. The family resided in Chicago, Illinois at 9 North Hoyne Street. Information regarding Carey’s education and art training has not been found.


Carey had an interest in boxing as told in The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame (1988) and Sports and the American Jew (1998).


Daily Inter Ocean 12/22/1894

The 1900 census recorded the family of four in Chicago at 1137 West Taylor Street. Carey’s occupation was artist. The New York Times, October 12, 1928, said “Carey drew sports cartoons for the old Chicago Inter-Ocean for many years and also for The Chicago Daily News.”

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Carey created at least 17 strips; continued two strips by other cartoonists; and may have contributed art to a few others. Carey’s earliest strips were for the Chicago Daily News from July 1900 to November 1901. The majority of Carey’s work was for the McClure Syndicate from February 1903 to April 1915. He also produced material for the New York World (1911–1912) and New York Evening Telegram (1909–1911).


Carey was a Brooklyn, New York resident according to the 1910 census. The newspaper artist lived with the Rosenfeld family at 1214 73rd Street.


The 1915 New York state census listed Carey the cartoonist with the Rosenfeld family who had moved to Greenburgh, Westchester County at 36 Chatterton Avenue. A 1918 White Plains, New York city directory said Carey’s home was 81 Main Street.

Carey was a lodger in a three-person Chagen family who lived in White Plains at 46 Lexington Avenue. The 1920 census said he was a cartoonist with the McClure company.

Carey relocated again in White Plains, this time at 3 Hunt Place according to the 1925 New York state census. There were seven members in the Isaacs household.

Carey passed away on October 10 or 12, 1928, at the White Plains Hospital. The Times and New York Evening Post both published news of his death on October 12. The Times story had an October 11 dateline and said he died October 10. The Post said he died October 12. The cause of death was believed to have been cerebral hemorrhage. At the time, Carey lived at 15 Oakwood Avenue in White Plains.


—Alex Jay

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Monday, November 09, 2015

 

Obscurity of the Day: Adventures of a Bad Half-Dollar






Here's a superb series from the accomplished cartooning pen of Ed Carey, titled Adventures of a Bad Half Dollar. This continuing series, rather than featuring a human star, instead traces the comings and goings of a counterfeit coin. Carey uses this framework to explore with a jaundiced eye the many shortcomings of humanity, and boy does he have us pegged as a bunch of miserable, self-serving, egocentric, hypocritical schmucks. Spot on, in other words!

While you may think the idea seems sorta neat but extremely limited, Ed Carey was able to dream up all sorts of interesting situations and personality types to be saddled with the bum coin. The best part, though, is that he made it a true continuing narrative, with the coin having to pass from one situation to another in the strip itself -- the coin doesn't just flit from one situation to the next unexplained. The series ran on a weekly or more frequent basis in the weekday editions of the  New York Evening Telegram from October 30 1909 to June 18 1910, quite a long run for a series in that paper.


If that seems like a substantial series, though, an imitator of Carey actually managed to outdo him. In 1930, when the Chicago Tribune instituted a new policy that their Sunday comics would include topper strips, Frank King of Gasoline Alley came up with That Phoney Nickel, an outright copy of Ed Carey's by then long-forgotten strip. The only change was the denomination of the coin. The inexpensive coin made the stakes much less dire, and King kept his narrative in a lighter vein. Carey's fifty cent piece in 1909 was a pretty substantial amount in a time when an unskilled laborer might be paid less than ten dollars per week, but a nickel in 1930, even in Depression dollars, wasn't all that much.


What also interested me about this strip is the coin itself. I wondered if a 'plugged' coin, a term used often in the strip, was a counterfeit or something else. You've certainly heard the phrase "not worth a plugged nickel" to mean something utterly worthless. But my online research about the subject has not really led to definitive answers. It turns out that a plugged coin is one that has had a hole drilled in it, and then the hole has been patched, usually with a cheap metal. Although there is a pretty good consensus online that this was at one time done in order to remove a plug of expensive metal (gold or silver) from the coin and substitute a cheap one (lead or tin), there's a problem with the story. When I search for actual examples of plugged coins online, all I can find are ones that have had a small hole plugged --- these are obviously coins that were drilled out to be strung on necklaces, not to remove a comparatively tiny bit of the metal. If you were going to try to turn a profit on drilling out coins, you would certainly make a bigger hole than in the ones I saw.


That then brings up a side issue. If a coin had a hole drilled in it, for jewelry or any other reason, did that make it no longer legal tender? Why else would anyone bother 'plugging' a coin (sometimes quite artfully, I might add), but so that it could be used in commerce? That theory doesn't seem to pan out, though. According to the U.S. Mint, as long as a coin can be identified as such -- in other words, not utterly and completely defaced beyond recognition -- then the coin is valid tender, and if it is so bad that merchants will not accept it, the bearer can take it to a federal bank to trade it in on an undamaged one. Of course that's the rule now. What it might have been a hundred years ago I haven't been able to determine.


The question that I think makes for an interesting little etymological mystery, is whether people referred to outright counterfeit coins as 'plugged' in those days. Perhaps the term, which originally meant a drilled coin, was gradually redefined as a bad coin of any kind. There was certainly no shortage of counterfeit coins then. If you wonder why counterfeiters would bother with the seemingly tough job of making faking coins, as opposed to running fake paper currency off of a hand-crank printing press, the answer is simple -- in those days coins were worth comparatively a lot more than they are today, and people were less likely to carefully examine a coin, as opposed to paper currency, before accepting it. Therefore, there are lots of known examples of coins counterfeited back then, many so well done that even coin collectors are often fooled by them.



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The idea of following the adventures of an inanimate object had quite a vogue in the 18th Century, when there were many of what scholars now call "it-narratives" actually told by the objects in question. Charles Johnstone's 1760 "Chrysal, or The Adventures of a Guinea," narrated by a coin, was one of the earliest and most popular it-narratives, and supplies a precedent for Mr. Carey's strip.
 
Fascinating info, Patrick! Sounded like an interesting read and I found an online source for that novel:

https://archive.org/details/chrysaloradventu00johnuoft

But on reading the first few pages, I was already drowning in that purplest prose. I guess I'll stick to Ed Carey's version.

Thanks, Allan

 
I'm downloading it as I write, and I'm sure I'll read it, since I have a very high tolerance for 18th Century prose - lit professor and all - and I have never read this one.
 
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