Saturday, April 22, 2017


Herriman Saturday

January 23 1909 -- A ragtime 'American Idol' contest was held last night. Singers and dancers competed in a number of categories, and apparently a good time was had by all. However, the proccedings did not stimulate Herriman's creative juices beyond a tableaux of caricatures.


Interesting to see that Phil Stebbing competed. The recording studio he started with his brother in the 1940s is still thriving in New Zealand.
What Misto Simpson was singing:
It was referenced in a piece about Oliver Hardy, who sang it as a kid.
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Friday, April 21, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from Rose O'Neill

Not too often you're going to find a postcard featuring a photo of a cartoonist, but here's one featuring Rose O'Neill amid a selection of her Kewpie dolls.

This is actually a later card, dating from the 1950s or 60s would be my guess, and was printed for sale at the Shepherd of the Hills Farm in Branson Missouri. "Huh", you say? Well, it seems that Rose O'Neill kept a home in southern Missouri, lived her later life there, and the locals have sort of adopted her as their own.

An early attraction of Branson, now famed for it's country music theatres and buses of Q-Tip tourists, was a farm that was used as the locale of The Shepherd of the Hills, a popular 1907 novel by Harold Bell Wright. The farm was made into a tourist attraction, and over the years has included an outdoor amphitheater, a viewing tower, farm tours, museums of Ozark life, and of course every kind of merchandise that credit cards can buy.

In the 1940s, the owners of the Farm, who were friends of O'Neill,  put together an extensive collection of her Kewpie dolls and associated ephemera for display in the farm's Memorial Museum. I don't know how long the collection was housed there, but the latest description of the attraction I can find make no mention of it, so I presume it is no more.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 1 Part 3

Moses Koenigsberg

King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 1

Murder with a Carom Shot (conclusion)

link to previous installment   link to next installment

Austin’s pagan jubilation over Ben Thompson’s escape from the gallows gave impetus to the inter-city vendetta. The law-abiding residents of both communities disparaged the feud. They denounced it as a mere figment put forth by the criminal ele­ments in extenuation of law-breaking activities. But the quarrel derived stature from an epic rivalry in finance. It was waged between Joseph Nalle and George W. Brackenridge, foremost capitalist of San Antonio. Miscreants borrowed from it the color of civic implication for stark criminality. For months, there were few defendants in felonious-assault cases, either in San Antonio or Austin, who failed to plead entanglement in inter-community vengeance.

All this was mere poppycock to the City Marshal of Austin, who held himself aloof from mass movements of every sort. He was above everything an individualist. If any gangs came from another city to vent their spleen on Austin, he would welcome them in his own way. He made no other comment concerning San Antonio, though he did inquire at every opportunity about the operation of the Crystal Palace.

Ben Thompson
The only topic of conversation that engaged zest in Thompson was the “gambling parlor” in which he had met his card-playing Waterloo. The time that he was “robbed by those sneaking thieves,” seemed to command a larger share of his memory than any other experience. He was avid for every detail of activity in the place. He wanted to know “the size of the play” and the names of the players.

Mention of Joe Foster was to him like the scent of a quail to a bird hound. It brought him to the point.
“That’s the thief that ‘rolled’ me,” Thompson would snap in a venomous burst that contrasted startlingly with his habitual drawl. It was Foster who had repelled his charge of a crooked game as a “cheap try at welshing.”

And Joe Foster was still alive, the active symbol of the most devastating humiliation of Ben Thompson’s career. It was true that Billy Simms, the other partner of Jack Harris, remained one of the owners of the Crystal Palace, but Billy had been a protege of Ben Thompson before he moved to San Antonio and he had preserved his friendship with his former patron through all the blistering trials it suffered. He had promptly disavowed any share in the “gambling parlor” imbroglio and he had made his peace with Thompson after the murder of Jack Harris. So, the incurable canker in the soul of Ben Thompson festered anew at every mention of Joe Foster’s activities.

Twenty months passed. March 11, 1884, arrived.

King Fisher
King Fisher, Sheriff of Uvalde County, numbering among his constituents the John Nance Garner who later became vice-presi­dent of the United States, reached Austin on an official visit. He went to the State capital to settle his accounts as sheriff and tax collector of Uvalde County. Fisher and Thompson were cordial friends. Each respected the other’s courage and gunmanship.

Fisher was dapper and suave, with many of the manners and some of the apparel of a Parisian boulevardier. As a member of the notorious Bill Bruton gang, he had ranged up and down the Rio Grande, a veritable terror. Fifteen Mexicans were assigned by unofficial count to his “private graveyard.” The reputation thus gained for daring and marksmanship had commended him to the cattle barons of the Southwest for the task of cleaning out the lawless pillagers who infested the section.

Horse thieves and cattle rustlers with their cohorts had con­tinually raided the long stretch from Castroville to the Rio Grande. Fisher drove them out. In the course of his campaign, several of the marauding interlopers moved too slowly or in the wrong direction. They joined the list of “necessary fatalities” in Fisher’s personal record.

So, the reunion of Ben Thompson and King Fisher did not make the social columns of the Austin Statesman. It was, how­ever, the subject of animated gossip in other quarters. This was an ominous massing of potentialities for sudden tragedy. Still, there was no show of public agitation until the pair were seen boarding a train for San Antonio.

Then there was real alarm. Thompson and Fisher together represented a merger of lethal facilities calculated to make the heart of any peace-lover skip several beats even in an amiable social gathering. On a train bound for San Antonio the combi­nation spelled the certainty of dire consequences. Hadn’t word come repeatedly that Thompson would be mobbed if he ever again set foot in the Alamo city? Even if the danger of a public uprising were exaggerated, was it possible that the mere presence of Ben Thompson in San Antonio, accompanied by one of the most widely known killers of the time, would fail to provoke a critical outburst of violence?

The good citizens of Austin were deeply disturbed. They owed a duty to law and order. Telegrams of warning were flashed to police officials and to important friends in San Antonio. Then, in chagrin and foreboding, Austin sat back to await the inevitable.

The ride to San Antonio—the trip required three hours—was a grotesque gambol. Thompson behaved like a schoolboy on a spree. His boisterous pranks kept the passengers in trepid turmoil. The chief butt of his antics was the Negro porter. Thompson slashed the darkey’s cap into droll shapes and forced him to march through the train wearing each ludicrous design. Indis­criminate badinage, frequent swigs at a whiskey bottle and gruff whoops to startle cowering travelers alternated with rougher capers.

Two tight-lipped men swung aboard the train before it halted. They sought out the conductor. Evidently he gave them good news because, when the Southwestern Flyer drew up at the sta­tion, they waved “the high sign”—the O. K. notice—to several waiting watchers. These were scouts detailed to report the arrival of Thompson, to trail him and to keep police headquarters ad­vised of his actions.

The train conductor felt Thompson’s visit was not hostile. The City Marshal of Austin, he explained, was merely accompanying King Fisher to a performance of Lady Audley’s Secret at the Turner Hall Opera House on Houston Street. The play had been performed in the Austin Opera House the night before. As city marshal, Thompson collected the license fee exacted from theatri­cal troupes, and in the course of official duty he had met Ada Gray, the star.

He wanted to see the performance again and he wanted to present King Fisher to the leading lady. Perhaps he was flipping a sly jest at providence when he insisted that history would be incomplete without a meeting between the Beau Brummell of gunmen and the exquisite lady of the theatre. Thompson and Fisher did attend the play.

Each step they took was under the keenest surveillance. A dozen armed men, most of them sworn in for the occasion as special policemen or deputy sheriffs, had been stationed at care­fully selected points converging on the Crystal Palace. Everyone of them was a crack shot. Neither the source nor the nature of their instructions was ever divulged. It was afterward charged that more than half the members of this grim platoon were inside the Crystal Palace before Thompson and Fisher left the Turner Hall Opera House.

King Fisher never met Ada Gray. The omission was not for­tuitous. It could have been explained by Tom Howard, manager of the opera house. Thompson and Fisher made frequent excur­sions from the auditorium to the adjoining bar. Howard was always at hand. Proposals for a back-stage visit were skilfully shunted off. It was with a sense of supreme deliverance that Howard bade the two men goodnight at the close of the performance.

One block south across the St. Mary’s Street bridge brought the swaggering pair to Commerce Street. Two blocks farther west was the Crystal Palace. Between St. Mary’s Street and Main Plaza were several saloons. As Thompson and Fisher made their way past, a figure detached itself from the bunch of loiterers in front of each resort and, stepping into the street behind the passing twain, wigwagged a signal.

Billy Simms was standing in front of the Crystal Palace. He greeted both Thompson and Fisher with the cordiality of a pleas­antly astonished friend. The trio entered the saloon. John Dyer, the same bartender who had served Thompson on the tragic evening twenty months before, was again on duty. He exchanged grins with Ben. Thompson’s smile was tauntingly flippant. Dyer’s was plainly wry and nerve-taut.

Simms sparkled with persiflage. Dyer knew he was “putting on a play” and tried to help. His misplaced snickers of applause would have challenged the attention of an alert observer; but Thompson and Fisher seemed to have laid aside their character­istic vigilance.

Simms was unable to persuade the pair to join him on a jaunt “across the creek.” It was his purpose to lure them away from the arsenal of death-loaded malice in which they were dallying. “Across the creek” was the vernacular designation of the red-light district that lay west of San Pedro Creek. Simms believed he had offered the most alluring diversion he could conceive for the delectation of these visitors.

It was with real despair that he finally yielded to Thompson’s insistence on “seeing the show from the balcony.” Simms led the way upstairs, carefully threading a course as far as possible from that part of the house in which Joe Foster sat.

The Crystal Palace—which had come to be better known as Jack Harris’ Vaudeville—was of the conventional pattern of the variety theatres or honkytonks of that era. The lower part of the auditorium lay on a level with the downstairs bar. The orchestra or pit was filled with folding chairs cleated to movable planks. When the show closed, these seats and boards were slapped to­gether and stacked on each side of the hall with the same celerity and precision that attends the striking of a circus tent. The opera­tion uncovered a dance floor.

Overhead, on either side of the auditorium, stretching from the proscenium to the balcony balustrade, was a row of boxes with curtains adjustable at the will of the occupants. One could remain in complete seclusion in these draped stalls. In fact, they were engaged chiefly for pursuits that in more modern circles would have been described as petting parties. They were designed to facilitate the exercise of feminine suasion toward wine con­sumption. On the night of March 11, 1884, not one woman was in any of these boxes.

None of the occupants was visible to Ben Thompson or King Fisher from their positions in the balcony. But details as minute as Fisher’s tiny watch-fob or the cleft in Thompson’s chin were plainly discernible to anyone peering from behind the curtains. And each box was occupied.

The female members of the theatre staff were hired as actresses. Between turns on the stage they moved among the audience in short skirts and red stockings. It was their chore to capture the attention of sociable patrons and to intimate with more or less subtlety their readiness to accept a drink.

To many a callow rambler from the cattle ranges, these ap­proaches were roseate bids to romance. A smitten cowhand “rode the herd hard” in the gilded hour of conquest and his tipple mounted quickly from beer to wine. With each drink the waiter handed the girl a brass check, token of her sales commission. There was no pretense of concealment. Yet this crude routine of commercialism seemed only to fan the flare of flirtation. In such moments, the curtained boxes were most desirable. Never­theless, on this night they were rigorously forbidden to the “drink hustlers.”

Jacobo Coy had joined the party when Simms ushered Thomp­son and Fisher into the balcony. Still a member of the police force, he had become an attache of the Crystal Palace by special license. He stood at Thompson’s right.

Waiters moved back and forth serving whiskey to Thompson and Fisher. The point of snapping nerves was at hand for Simms when Ben finally decided to accept the invitation for “a run across the creek.” The party moved toward the head of the staircase leading downstairs. Halfway, Thompson halted.

“I want to see Joe Foster before I go,” he announced.

Instantly Simms abandoned his pose of nonchalance.

“Don’t do that, Ben,” he pleaded with genuine anguish in his voice. “It’s crazy. You know Joe doesn’t want to talk to you. He sent you word to keep away from him. Let us get out of here without trouble.”

The depth of Simms’s anxiety was dramatized by the simple word “us.” It linked him with Ben in a crisis involving his own partner.

Thompson was unmoved. “To hell with all that,” he growled. “I want to shake hands with Joe. I want to make up with him. Where is he?” And craning his neck, he sighted Foster near the front row of the balcony.
“Hello, Joe!” he called.

Foster arose. Adjusting his pince-nez he made his way toward the man who had hailed him, puckering his eyes intently as he approached.

At that moment, Thompson stood in the unobstructed vision of everyone in the theatre. Foster came almost within arm’s length of Ben before he recognized him. Coy moved closer to Thompson. Simms stepped back a pace. Fisher, standing beside Ben, seemed mildly amused. Neither noted that, except for Jacobo Coy, they were alone in the center of a space that a second before had been crowded.

Every eye in the balcony was riveted on that spot. There was none to detect the moving of the curtains in the boxes.

“Joe,” Thompson spoke in a tone of obviously affected friendli­ness, “I want to shake hands with you.”

Foster appeared cool and in complete mastery of himself. He answered in a firm voice: “Ben, I have told you that there is room enough in the world for both of us without our paths crossing and I will not shake hands with you.”

Thompson seemed to consider this for a moment. “Then come and take a drink with me,” he said, with an awkward effort at a smile.

“No,” Foster answered, “I will not drink with you, either.”

“Then take this!”

A revolver was in Thompson’s hand before the last word left his lips. It was a feat of legerdemain, but Jacobo Coy moved with almost equal quickness. A dozen other men, with tightened nerves, had been waiting for hours for that fateful instant. They acted as if by common command.

A fan of ribbed flame swept across the auditorium. A dozen bolts of fire resounded as one blast.

Thompson and Fisher went down as if felled by a single cleaver. Foster, though struck first, toppled a second later.

Fisher’s left leg crumpled under him and his head lay across Thompson’s chest. The desperado dandy died with empty hands.

Though Jacobo Coy had grabbed Thompson’s gun arm, he did not save Joe Foster’s life. Ben fired one shot. His aim was deflected by Coy’s tackle, but the bullet found fatal lodgment.

The triple tragedy passed into the legends of the Southwest, more frequently the theme of bitterly disputed details than the subject of righteous review. There were many to deplore the passing of King Fisher as sheer assassination. Uvalde County seethed with indignation over the ambuscade of its most pic­turesque citizen.
It was pointed out that before the fusillade had ceased to echo, City Marshal Shardein rushed into the theatre at the head of a police squad. Why, it was asked, did he happen to be waiting in front of the Crystal Palace with so large a force of men? How did he explain the smoking revolvers he saw in the hands of Jacobo Coy and Billy Simms? Why, when he took charge, did he permit all save a few selected witnesses to disappear?
Why was no autopsy held? Was the omission designed to hide the fact that Thompson had been riddled with seventeen bullets, that Fisher’s body showed a dozen mortal wounds, that both men had been shot through the left eye and that a half-dollar would have covered two punctures in Thompson’s heart?

Weren’t the theatre boxes reserved for men armed with car­bines, asked the partisans of King Fisher? Didn’t all the circum­stances prove that it was an ambush organized with such thor­oughness that each man had been assigned the very spot on the victims’ heads and bodies at which to fire?

All these questions were disposed of by a brief editorial in the San Antonio Express. It served as the community’s answer to the critics of that day and of the years that followed. It appeared in the issue of March 12, 1884. It was headed: “A Good Night’s Work.”

It was the journalistic practice to play down stories of lawless violence. Reviewers of a succeeding generation would have found abundant warrant for charging the newspapers of that period with truckling to the advertiser. They represented “the vested in­terests”—the business circles and property-owners. They demanded a “soft pedal on desperadoism.”

All this was to preserve the bait for tourists and new settlers. Newcomers would not flock to a region where popping guns and slashing knives were the fashion. They must be coaxed with alluring pictures of the romantic hospitality of a people flourish­ing in a plenitude of nature. So, there was great applause for the advertiser’s arguments against newspaper emphasis of those inci­dents that “retarded substantial growth.” And if the publisher, in response, was more paternalistic than journalistic, it must be said in his behalf that his readers, in the main, approved his policy.

Perhaps there was a prevalence of editorial strabismus. It might be traced to overstudy of the advertiser’s meretricious philosophy. Adequate publicity would have incited public measures for sterner law enforcement. The repression of news contributed con­trary effects. It was generally interpreted as reflecting a common acceptance of a policy of laissez faire. Thus, while the journalist substituted the role of the promoter for his duty as a publisher and salved his professional conscience with the spurious anodyne of “greater public service,” the gun and the knife of the desperado had continued to flash hourly contempt of the law. The press of the day, muffling its columns, muffed one of its greatest oppor­tunities to serve the very purpose for which they were blunder­ingly muffled.

A condensed account of the murder of Jack Harris was pre­sented by the San Antonio Express on the morning after the tragedy. It was relegated to the back page. In sharp contrast, sev­eral months later, was the Express’ extended description of Austin’s delirious jamboree welcoming Ben Thompson home. It apppeared on the first page under a “top head.”    
No episode of several years had commanded such keen public attention as the wiping out of Ben Thompson and King Fisher. It was not the mere killing of two adventurers. It was a massacre of desperadoism. Full newspaper pages would have been devoured by avid readers. But on the day after the spectacular slaughter, the San Antonio Express dismissed the epic story with less than a column on the last page. The heading was: "Jack Harris Revenged.” And the Express was then, as it has continued to be through succeeding generations, the foremost morning paper of the section, with a faithful devotion to its readers’ interests.

While the classic chapter of news bestirred only a modicum of professional enterprise, it yielded to me the first inspiration for journalism. I sensed the call during the inquest conducted by Justice Anton Adam.
Again resting on my father’s shoulder, I sat in the window opening from the patio into Justice Adam’s courtroom. The scene was quite unlike the picture presented at the arraignment of Ben Thompson for Jack Harris’ murder. Afterward, it was explained that the permission for my presence was a sentimental concession to my share in that evening twenty months before.

There was a good deal of confusion to me in the fact that while the solemn proceedings concerned the same man, it was the nature of his absence that occasioned them. But I understood clearly that I was never again to see the big fellow who gave a whole bunch of bananas to the boy that had escaped a thrashing.

The men in the courtroom seemed altogether different. It was more than the change from gaslight to sunshine. These men., though very grave, were not at all nervous. They were extremely quiet, as if eager not to miss a word spoken by each of the men who swore to tell the truth.

As the procession of witnesses moved in and out of the chair to which they were led, a young man in a loose white shirt, with sandy hair and a wee yellow mustache, asked their names, where they lived, how old they were and what they did for a living; and he wrote it all down. He was scarcely more than a boy, but he seemed to be the only person in the courtroom with work to do.

Justice Adam told each witness when he might leave his chair, but it was the blond young man who asked them to repeat words and sentences. There was another man who put questions to the witnesses, but no one except the boy with the little mustache seemed to have the right to stop what was going on whenever he wanted to.

It was very puzzling. How could a young fellow, only half the age of anyone else in the room, be so important?

“That’s John R. Lunsford,” my father explained. “He’s a news­paper reporter. He works on the Light."

There was never again any doubt in my mind as to what I would be when I grew up. Other boys could dream of being policemen, circus clowns, drum majors, firemen, broncho-busters, Indian scouts, street-car conductors and even calliope players; but all those seemed foolish beside a newspaper reporter.

Years later, when Lunsford was a star on a metropolitan news­paper staff of which I was city editor, I learned the real inward­ness of his extraordinary activity that day in the courtroom in Veramendi Alley. Justice Anton Adam had no clerical staff. Ordinarily, he acted as his own clerk, transcribing in script such minutes as he deemed necessary. But the inquest into the killing of Ben Thompson and King Fisher was fraught with so many political and other complications that he wanted a more compre­hensive record than his own memory might assure. Lunsford was present to report the hearing for his newspaper. Justice Adam delegated him to set down the testimony for the official records.

So, it was the functioning of a recording clerk instead of a newspaper reporter that captivated my juvenile enthusiasm for journalism.

Chapter 2 Part 1 next week    link to previous installment   link to next installment


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Tradin' Paint

When it comes to sports, if it doesn't involve nine innings and a lot of spitting, you've pretty much lost me. Auto racing I find particularly sleep-inducing. It's like watching afternoon rush hour, except in an oval instead of a straight line. The occasional punctuation of a horrendous crash fails to win me over -- as exciting as it may be, watching it makes me feel like one of those rubber-necking morons who have to slow down for a long loving look at the scene of a car accident on the road.

That being said, I think that Geof Brooks' comic strip Tradin' Paint, subject matter aside, is quite an impressive accomplishment. Brooks was a big-time NASCAR fan who also loved to cartoon, so he quite reasonably sought to combine those two passions. His first taste of success in drawing racing toons was when they began to be accepted by Winston Cup Scene, a weekly newsmagazine of the sport. He came up with the character of Leadfoot McRae, a hapless NASCAR driver, and quickly developed a following.

Not thinking that the national syndicates would be interested in his concept because the NASCAR fan base is primarily in the southeast US, in 1995 he decided to try self-syndicating Leadfoot (the strip's title at the time). He garnered about six subscribing papers, but more importantly his strip was noticed by a Universal Press Syndicate salesman, who was impressed.

Universal Press Syndicate saw that interest in NASCAR was exploding across the country, so they felt the strip was worth trying nationally. Brooks was signed up to produced one daily-style strip and a Sunday per week. The daily-style strip was intended to be a fit for a newspaper's weekly NASCAR page, a round-up of the week's racing that was a pretty common sports section feature. About thirteen papers, predictably mostly in the Southeast, picked up the offering which debuted sometime in February 1997. A few biggies were in the mix -- the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Knoxville News-Sentinel.

With NASCAR fever at its height in the late 1990s, the sign-up was probably less than either creator or syndicate had hoped. What the problem was I don't know, but maybe newspaper editors felt that NASCAR interest was a fad that would shortly subside, or maybe they didn't want to make space in their Sunday comics sections for a strip with a niche audience. In any case, after two years Brooks and the syndicate decided to wave the checkered flag on the career of Leadfoot McRae.

PS: If anyone can supply specific start and end dates for Leadfoot or Tradin' Paint, I'd love to hear from you.


I know the Tradin' Paint daily was running as late as February 20, 2000 in the New Bern (NC) Sun Journal. There is no date on the strip itself, but it says "(c) 2000 Geof Brooks / distributed by Universal Press Syndicate." so apparently it was still being produced into 2000
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Faith Burrows


Faith Burrows was born in Dayton, Ohio, on November 17, 1904, according to her death certificate at

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Burrows was the only child of Ohio native Earl and “Eveline”, a Canadian. They lived at 231 North William Street in Dayton. Her father was a machinist at the National Cash Register company.

According to the 1920 census, the Burrows remained in Dayton but at a different address, 1125 Fourth Street.

Burrows graduated from Steele High School in 1922. For three consecutive school years, she was a member of the Ellen H. Richards SocietyBurrows’ death certificate said she had two years of college. Information regarding Burrows’ art training has not been found.

Dayton city directories from 1922 to 1928 listed Burrows and her mother, Evelyn, at 836 North Linwood. The 1924 directory said Burrows was a librarian at the Dayton Daily News.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio), May 8, 1925, printed a photograph of Burrows with her pet lion cub and said:

Members of the Dayton Lions’ Club were astonished when Miss Faith Burrows appeared at the meeting with her pet, a lion cub.
Club members asserted that Miss Burrows, a Dayton girl, appeared to be qualified not only to join their organization but also the Lion Tamers’ Club, to judge by the behavior of the cub, which acted more like a playful kitten.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Burrows drew the Ritzy Rosey panel for the O’Dell Newspaper Service, from 1927 to July 1927. The Fourth Estate, July 23, 1927, reported the panel’s new owner. 
Rights to “Ritzy Rosey,” a one-column daily cartoon by Faith Burrow [sic], featuring also a smart description of modes and fashions, have been purchased by King Features Syndicate, Inc. “Ritzy Rosey” will be released August 1.
In the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, March 6, 1928, King Features filed a trademark application for Ritzy Rosey
Ser. No. 260,279. King Features Syndicate, Inc., New York, N. Y. Filed Jan. 18, 1928.
Ritzy Rosey
Particular description of goods.— Newspaper Cartoons. Claims use since Aug. 1, 1927.
The November 6, 1928 issue of the Gazette said King Features filed a trademark application for Ritzy Rosalie, apparently a replacement for Ritzy Rosey
Ser. No. 272,408. King Features Syndicate, Inc., New York, N.Y. Filed Sept. 14, 1928.
Ritzy Rosalie 
For Newspaper Section. Claims use since June 4, 1928.
American Newspaper Comics said Burrows started a new series, Flapper Filosofy, for King Features. This panel ran from 1929 to 1935. The panel was included in a 1934 Canadian Patent Office Record.

Around 1929, Burrows married Jerrold A. Swank. The 1930 census said the couple resided in Dayton on Grand Avenue. Burrows’ (Faith B. Swank) occupation was newspaper cartoonist and writer, and her husband was a telegraph transmission man who was also involved in radio. The 1930 city directory listed their address as 729 Grand Avenue.

Editor & Publisher, January 30, 1932, listed Beautyettes by Aldine Swank. American Newspaper Comics said the artist’s name was a Burrows pseudonym. I suspect Aldine was the middle name of her husband.

The 1940 census recorded no occupation for Burrows who had no work in 1939. Her husband was a radio broadcasting engineer. Their home was Harrison, Ohio at 89 Nottingham Road.

In the late 1940s, Burrows’ husband formed Swank Films Incorporated. The Billboard, April 30, 1949, had this listing:

Swank Films, Inc.
19 W. 4th., Dayton 2, O. 
Hemlock 2879 
Jerrold A Swank, Pres.
Services: F

A similar listing appeared in the 1949 Broadcasting Yearbook.

The 1959 Dayton city directory listed Burrows as vice-president of Swank Films. Her husband was president and treasurer.

Burrows passed away April 11, 1997, at a long-term care facility in Washington Court House, Ohio. The Social Security Death Index said she had been a resident of St. Louis, Missouri. Her husband died in 1984

—Alex Jay


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Monday, April 17, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Flapper Filosofy

Once panels like Girligags and Flapper Fanny had proven that the combination of pretty girl drawings and sassy gags was gold with newspaper readers, every syndicate had to have one. King Features got into the race with Flapper Filosofy by Faith Burrows, which debuted on January 28 1929. Ms. Burrows was already producing another panel for King, titled variously Ritzy Rosie and Ritzy Rosalie, which looked like a flapper gag panel, but was actually concerned with beauty and fashion advice*.

1929 was way too late to find many open newspaper spots for a flapper panel, as most papers already had one that they liked. Though Burrows' take on the genre was perfectly fine, with nice drawings and decent gags, her panel languished in obscurity, never attracting a large number of subscribers. King Features has generally been a syndicate where a new feature is given every possible chance, though, and the panel was produced until February 15 1936, quite a long run considering the small client list.

* there's some possibility that Ritzy Rosie and Flapper Filosofy might have been melded into a single feature circa 1930-31, as late in the run of the former it changes over to gags. I haven't found a decent run of the two features in that era, though, to compare side by side and answer the question.


I am surprised to see a Black woman presented as a beauty contestant. Definitely not typical of the time.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017


Herriman Saturday

January 22 1909 -- About as racist as imaginable, this sort of flippant and contemptuous treatment of black-on-black crime was pretty standard newspaper fodder in the day.


It's amazing that Herriman could bring himself to create this, given that he was (secretly) blavk himself. Or black-ish, I guess, as a Creole. Looks like he absorbed all the racist attitudes of the white community. I don't really understand how that would work.
I guess Herriman was just going along with the ethnic humor of that period. I'm can't exactly wrap my head around it either.

Ben Ferron
Perhaps he viewed ethic humor similar to the way whites enjoy "you know you are a redneck when" or how blacks can use the racist n-word in humor.

Perhaps he was more interested in making a living entertaining an audience than share the same views about race that people in the 21st Century have.
What? Herriman didn't want to entertain people in the 21st Century?
I guess we don't pay him enough:) Seriously when you think what the world was like when this gag was done. 1909 - WWI has not begun, American was a rural nation and even in the cities the blacks and whites lived separate. All the two races had were their prejudices.

I have not seen a picture of Herriman but not all Creole looked black. Here in Louisiana Cajun country there is the French looking as well.

What makes the entertainment of the past that is offensive to us today worth examining is trying to place yourself in a world where this exists. Your original question is a good one. In over a hundred years I suspect that future society will ask the same questions about us.

It has been too long since this site has shown some forgotten black cartoonists work. It is always interesting in comparing the characters designs from both sides of the tracks.
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Friday, April 14, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from Percy Crosby

Here's another early Percy Crosby production, a divided back card with no maker info, with art that I'm kinda surprised he would want to sign. Interesting thing is that this card has weirdly colored lettering, just like this other Crosby card I ran awhile back. Almost seems like a code, but WIGSODUSDILSOUOFOD means nothing to me other than maybe the sound of a sneezing fit.


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Thursday, April 13, 2017


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 1 Part 2

King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 1

Murder with a Carom Shot (continued)

link to previous installment   link to next installment

Justice of the Peace Anton Adam was ready at every moment of the night or day to tie a nuptial knot, preside over a mortuary inquest, make out a bail bond, conduct a misdemeanor trial or perform any of the varied functions for which he was competent “under the authority vested in him by the Commonwealth of Texas.”

As if chopped out of a square block, his five feet of height was matched by his breadth. Each contour of his face harmonized with his figure. The chin and jaws suggested the handiwork of a woodsman with a dull adze. One gentle brown eye, disdaining the preoccupations of its mate, gazed steadily beyond those pres­ent. It might have been the orb of a dreamer in rapt contempla­tion of mystic realms. The other eye was startlingly different in color and behavior. A bright marine blue, it seemed driven by a tremendous diligence in never-ceasing scrutiny of all visible minutiae. Few persons sought to trace in Justice Adam’s counte­nance any hint of his thoughts. It was no more revealing on the bench than in a poker game.

The magistrate was seated under the single gaslight in the tiny courtroom when the posse with Ben Thompson deployed in Veramendi Alley. The desk behind which Anton Adam sat, his back against the east wall, was so scarred and battered that its mere aspect offered a rowdy taunt to the majesty of the law. The only other furniture was two benches and an assortment of camp stools and kitchen chairs.

Fully forty perspiring men squeezed into the smoke-filled room behind Ben Thompson and his police guard. Among them were several friends of the prisoner, including Lee Tarleton, a lawyer hurriedly fetched by Ben’s brother, Bill, who had been for several years a resident of San Antonio. From outside, through Vera­mendi Alley, came the sullen murmur of the waiting crowd. All the adjacent streets were now choked with a surging mass of men, their stern faces more ominous than their numbers.

Ben Thompson
Policemen and county peace officers, with drawn revolvers, blocked off both ends of Veramendi Alley, the two strategic points that commanded the only open routes to Justice Adam’s courtroom. The cell-like chamber in which Ben Thompson awaited arraignment was also accessible through a window that opened from the north wall into a patio shared by the residents of the block. For a mob to reach that patio, however, would have entailed breaking through one or more of the houses surrounding it; and thus far there was no hint of such an extremity.

It was into one of these buildings that I was led by the police­man detailed by Marshal Shardein to restore me to my father. Perhaps a painful scene would have followed the reunion were it not for the salving influence of official attention touched by the policeman’s genial humor. Instead of the thrashing that ordinarily would have attended a similar set of circumstances, there was an animated discussion of what I had seen and heard on Main Plaza.

In a few moments, excited neighbors were questioning me, and presently the party repaired to the patio for more comfortable conversation. Then I saw Ben Thompson the second time. He was seated beside the window opening into Anton Adam’s court.

I never understood my parent’s indulgence on that occasion, but it required little wheedling to have a table moved from his shop to a point at which, though outside the building, we joined the spectators of Justice Adam’s courtroom, actually nearer to the magistrate himself than most of the persons inside. My father’s elbows rested on the windowsill. Standing on the table, I leaned over his shoulder.

Ben Thompson was whispering with Lee Tarleton and another lawyer.

Marshal Shardein was in close conference with Jacobo Coy and several other officers.

The prosecution was in a dilemma. Coy’s canvass of the evi­dence had yielded a unique problem. There was no question about the corollary facts. It was gen­erally known that a bitter enmity had subsisted for months between Thompson and the proprietors of the gambling parlor over which Joe Foster officiated in the Crystal Palace. Thompson had openly charged that he was fleeced out of a large sum of cash in a monte game. He had been heard repeatedly to threaten to “clean out the joint.” He had visited the Crystal Palace earlier that day and demanded to see Jack Harris.

In mid-afternoon, Coy, learning that Thompson had announced an intention to return and “get” Harris, sought out several of his friends. A program was arranged to keep Ben engaged in other parts of town until he could be persuaded to return to Austin, eighty miles north. At sundown, a messenger brought word that Thompson had disappeared from a poker game in a resort “across the creek,” eluded his friends and supposedly gone on a rampage. It was then that Coy took up his vigil under the shadows of San Fernando Cathedral.

Thompson slipped through the loungers in front of the Crystal Palace shortly after seven o’clock. Stepping to the bar, he ordered a pint of champagne. Barney Mitchell, a habitue, greeted, “Howdy, Ben!” and was out of the front door before Thompson could respond, leaving him alone with John Dyer, the bartender.

No patron ever received prompter or politer service. Thompson quaffed the wine as if it were water.

“Now give me your best Havana see-gar,” he ordered.

Dyer was pushing forward a box of cigars when Thompson demanded, “Hasn’t that bastard, Harris, come down yet?”

According to Dyer’s circumstantial account to Coy, repeated later on the witness stand, he answered, “I’ll go look for Mr. Harris.”

“Well, tell him we’ll settle for these drinks in my private office in hell.”

Thompson sauntered toward the street while Dyer climbed to the upper floor. There he reported to Harris that the blustering visitor from Austin awaited him below. Harris came slowly down­stairs. Perhaps until that moment he had hoped to avoid a meet­ing with Thompson. He peeped through the three-inch aperture between one of the swinging fiber doors and the wall on which it hinged. Billy Simms was in front talking with Thompson. Everybody else had vanished. Simms was trying to mollify his old friend, Ben.

The ticket office, a tiny enclosure the inside of which was open to view from all parts of the saloon, stood back of the swing­ing fiber doors. When incomers entered, they continued straight north to the bar or turned west to the ticket window. Dyer, again behind the bar, had an uninterrupted vision of everything inside tile main entrance. He saw Harris walk into the ticket office and pick up a double-barreled shotgun. He saw Simms step back into the saloon.

It was possible for Thompson and Simms to glimpse each other through the space between the two swinging doors and Dyer heard them exchanging words. Thompson on the sidewalk was invisible to Harris, and Harris in the ticket office was completely out of Thompson’s sight.

“Why don’t you make that yellow-bellied bastard come out and fight?” Thompson yelled to Simms.

Harris laid the shotgun in the crook of his left arm and braced himself against a chair. The barrel projected across the opening through which he had peeped a moment before. The muzzle pointed due east. A line drawn from the triggers straight south would have passed through Thompson’s chest a dozen feet away.
Alongside Harris stood an iron pillar, twin of another column on the opposite side of the fiber doors, both serving as props of the upper story. They were round and smooth, each eight inches in diameter. 

Measurements taken afterward showed that Harris stood a full foot north and west of the iron shaft nearest to him.

“Why doesn’t that stinking coyote come out?” Thompson called. “Is that him behind the door with a shotgun?”

“Yes, you dirty  -----, I’m here,” Harris answered.

A revolver-shot crashed. Harris slumped down. The shotgun, undischarged, slipped from his arm. Another pistol blast came while he lay crumpled on the floor. That bullet was never traced.

Simms and Dyer helped Harris upstairs. A lead slug had pierced his chest, rupturing die right lung. Death came before the doctor.

“There won’t be any dispute about these things,” Jacobo Coy told his police confreres, “but what’s a jury going to do when Ben’s lawyers prove that there was no straight line between his gun and any part of Jack Harris’ body? Won’t they have a lot of fun showing that you can’t curve a pistol-shot like a baseball pitcher curves his throw? I know what happened, but a smart lawyer could make my testimony sound like a joke. They’d laugh me out of court.”

“What do you mean ?” asked Shardein.

“Ben killed Harris with a carom shot,” was the answer. “He couldn’t have done it any other way. He laid his sight through the crack in the door against the iron post so that the bullet would carom off into Harris’ body. I’ve taken all the measurements and marked all the positions with chalk lines. I found a sliver of lead on the iron shaft where the bullet glanced off. And Dyer swears he doesn’t know whether the shots were fired over the doors, through die opening between them or through a crack on one side.”

A sharp rap on the magistrate’s desk halted the whispered conversations.

“A prima facie case has been presented and the defendant will be held for the action of the grand jury,” Justice Adam an­nounced. “No arguments will be heard at this time. It would be foolish to consider any question now except the safe conduct of the prisoner to the proper place of confinement.

“In view of the circumstances plain to all present, the court expects the fullest cooperation of all within the hearing of my voice. Certain arrangements have been made. Those not charged with their execution will, immediately upon the adjournment of court, file outside in an orderly manner and refrain from any comment of any kind among themselves or to others until such time as their intelligence indicates that the need for silence has passed. Until court is adjourned you will remain quietly in your present positions.”

Two mounted policemen were dispatched for a cab. There was no secrecy about their errand. In fact, they made a good deal of fuss over it.

At the moment the hack arrived, the courtroom crowd was emptying into the narrow street. The squat figure of Justice Anton Adam was conspicuous. Immediately behind him, a group moved into a huddle, apparently surrounding and screening someone. The magistrate paused a moment as if presenting him­self for observation. Then he stepped into the cab. The compact bunch of men following him gathered around a door of the vehicle. Suddenly, three of them were thrust inside. The move­ment was so swift and abrupt that even the mounted policemen at hand could not have identified the trio.

The courtroom light went out and a constable appeared in the entrance, slowly closing the door and then turning the lock. The cabman lashed his horse. Eight mounted policemen set off, two on either side in Indian file, two ahead and two behind.

A shout, starting at the corner of Veramendi Alley and Acequia Street, rolled through the neighborhood: “They’re taking Thomp­son away!”

Justice Anton Adam stuck his head through the open cab window. “Disperse! Go home! Respect the law!” he roared.

Perhaps the nine galloping horses alone would have forced a path through the weltering crowds; but the grisly visage of Anton Adam, drawing added austerity from his hoarse shouting, left no doubt of the sortie’s success. Men fell backward in real alarm.

The cab and its escort whirled south on Acequia Street, across Main Plaza and then turned eastward on Market Street. It was a mystifying move. Every man in the mob had believed the cab was carrying Ben Thompson to the county jail; but that building lay in the opposite direction. What, they asked, did this mean? Was the killer being hurried to a friendly refuge?

Shouts of mixed perplexity and resentment arose. The horde that had filled the contiguous streets broke into knots and small groups moving eastward, less in purposeful chase than in be­fuddled quest. The mob was dispersing.

Ben Thompson was not in the cab with Anton Adam. The instant the lamp in the tiny courtroom was extinguished, the prisoner, in the hands of four policemen, made his way through the window into the tomb-like darkness of the patio. By the light of a small lantern, he was taken into the living-room that lay behind the Koenigsberg shop on Soledad Street. There, with hushed voices, Thompson and the four policemen sat while my father busied himself among the shelves in front. I spent the interval examining my five companions.

Thompson showed evidence of impatience. He had been an intent listener while Justice Adam was explaining the plan to outwit the mob. He had sneered at the detail of climbing through a window, but he offered no objection when the moment for action arrived. Now the vigil in the back room obviously irked him. He asked for a drink of whiskey. No one had a flask.

He urged that one of the policemen do a bit of reconnoitering. It would afford opportunity to pick up a pint of liquor. The officers were companionable but not obliging. Then Thompson had an inspiration. “Why don’t one of you get something for the kid?” he asked. “I’ll pay for a bunch of bananas if you’ll get it for him.”

That thought found receptiveness. Anyhow, each of the men in the room was eager to know what had been happening out­side. Two of the officers, in mufti, strolled through the shop into Soledad Street. Ten minutes later they were back with a bunch of bananas. No one offered me a counsel of moderation. That is why my recollection of Ben Thompson, though poignant, has been vastly more visceral than mnemonic.

A knock at fhe front door was followed by the entrance of a deputy sheriff. “The coast’s clear,” he announced. “The crowd’s scattered.”

The four policemen and the deputy sheriff led Thompson to the Houston Street side of the patio, where egress had been mean­while arranged. Two cabs waited outside. In ten more minutes, the City Marshal of Austin was safely lodged in the Bexar County jail. There he remained for months until his trial for murder.
The records of Bexar County show that the prosecutors of Ben Thompson exercised every precaution against being “laughed out of court.” Details indicating that the fatal bullet was a carom shot were scrupulously withheld from the testimony at the in­quest over the body of Jack Harris, at the preliminary hearing of Thompson before Justice Anton Adam and at his long-drawn-out trial before Judge George H. Noonan. Apparently, the police dread of ridicule affected the presentation of their case. At all events, Ben Thompson was finally acquitted of the murder of Jack Harris.

His exoneration supplied abundant tinder for a feud between two cities. The acquittal was cited by his Austin friends to em­phasize the harshness of the treatment Ben had suffered in San Antonio. Now that this man’s innocence was certified by a jury of his peers, it was shocking to recall “how he had been held for hours before the dangling noose of a mad mob.”

No mollifying effect flowed from the ruse by which the police had spirited Thompson through the throngs gathered around the neighborhood of Justice Anton Adam’s court. On the con­trary, indignation in Austin was sharpened by the fact that such a stratagem had been necessary.

When Thompson returned to Austin after his formal acquittal, he was greeted as a conquering hero. The International & Great Northern Railroad depot was festooned in flowers and decorated with banners and enormous placards acclaiming the valorous city marshal. Thompson was carried from the train on the shoulders of clamorous admirers to a waiting carriage. Then the horses were unhitched from the vehicle. Ropes were commandeered to attach to the shafts so that a long line of shouting citizens might pull the carriage through the main street to the great granite capitol building. Confetti wasn’t in style at the time. Instead, 45-calibre Colt revolvers echoed in salvos while bands blared, whooping horsemen dashed to and fro, bibulous orators vied in panegyrics and the capital city of Texas turned itself loose in a wild celebra­tion.

“Austin has neglected one tribute to Ben Thompson,” wrote a wag in a San Antonio newspaper of that week. “It should erect a bronze monument to commemorate his invention of ‘the forced loan.’ ”

The quip epitomized one of the outstanding traditions of the Southwest. It was linked with as large a share of Thompson's infamy as his reputation for killing. The story attributed to him the origination of a practice afterward adopted with varying degrees of finesse by other desperadoes.

Joseph Nalle
The technique was best exemplified by an account of its first presentation to Joseph Nalle, the wealthiest man in Austin. Thompson devoted the night before that historic occasion to one of his many losing bouts at table stakes poker. “Frozen out,” he exhausted all his resources for borrowing. Daylight found him seated on the front step of Nalle’s banking house, reeking with liquor, his head between his hands, his elbows on his knees, the embodiment of melancholy.

Nalle always rose before dawn. His first stop of the day was at his bank before any of the employees arrived. It was with con­siderable misgiving that he discovered Thompson on the door­step.

“Howdy, Ben?” the banker greeted. “Is there anything wrong?”

Thompson got slowly to his feet, rolled a pair of bloodshot eyes and mumbled in tragic tones: “Good morning, Mr. Nalle. I’m terribly sorry.”

“Sorry for what, Ben ? What’s happened ?”

“Well, you see, Mr. Nalle,” drawled Thompson, “I know you’re my friend and I’ve come to you because I want to keep out of trouble. I never get into trouble unless I’m worried and I’ve never been so much worried as I am now. You know I never shot a man in my life except after I got into a nervous spasm from worry.
When I get worried my head gets all churned up. It feels as if it were splitting and then something happens inside of me and I don’t know what I’m doing. I guess it’s a sort of a fit. That’s the only time I get into my scrapes. And it feels like one of those times now.”

Nalle would have been delighted to thrust a city’s width be­tween him and his visitor; but that was impossible. To dash into the bank seemed futile. Thompson might suffer a seizure before Nalle could open the door.

“What are you worried about?” the banker parleyed.

“That’s kind of funny, you asking me,” Thompson responded.

“I thought you knew I never worried about anything except money. I just can’t stand owing anybody anything and I’ve got myself into a bad financial mess.”

There was real relief in Nalle’s voice when he said, “Come on in, Ben, and let’s see what we can do about it.”

Of course, the imminence of one of Thompson’s fits was not lessened indoors. It must have weighed heavily on the conscious­ness of the banker because Nalle acted promptly and effectively in applying the preventive treatment Ben prescribed.

And that was how Ben Thompson got his first loan from Joseph Nalle. It was $5,000. Thompson insisted on executing a promissory note and on receiving in return a memorandum signed by Nalle indicating the amount and the due date. This document not only served to quash any taint of extortion, but it also sup­plied a formal record of the Ben Thompson system of forced loans.

Chapter 1, Part 3 next week   link to previous installment   link to next installment


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Magazine Cover Comics: Social Advice from Aunty Climax

We can't get enough of Fish's American Weekly covers around here at the Stripper's Guide blog, so enjoy a sample from another of her series, titled Social Advice from Aunty Climax. This one is a satirical take-off on newspaper advice columns, a genre that Fish would poke fun at in several of her series.

This series has the distinction of being her very first offering from the newspaper magazine, as far as I can determine. It began on February 26 1928, and ran in groups of 2-3 in a run, punctuated with other cover subjects by other creators, and ended on July 1 1928.

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You have the correct debut date, It's given the "No. 1" designation in an ad for the American Weekly in the upcoming issue of the Syracuse Sunday American in the 25 February 1928 issue of the Syracuse Journal.
Hello Allan,

I found a comic strip that was not listed in your book.

It is "Horace and Buggy" by Don Edwing and Paul Coker Jr., syndicated by McNaught Syndicate.

From browsing Newspaper Archive, I found that it ran in the following papers between February and June 1971: Snyder Daily News, Scottsdale Progress and the Kannapolis Daily Independent.

I was able to get an example from the latter, dated April 11th, 1971 (but with comics from the previous day):

Ben Ferron

Hi Ben --
Thanks for finding Horace and Buggy, which has been resisting my efforts to locate it for many moons! Unfortunately none of those papers you mentioned is on, where I do my research. Would there be any possibility that you could get me start and end dates based on your bonanza of papers that ran it?

Thanks, Allan Holtz
Hi Allan...

Sorry for not giving you start and end dates, but if I remember correctly, the earliest start date I could find was February 8, 1971 and the most recent end date is June 11, 1971 (a Friday, so obviously not the exact end date)

In any case, I can provide you with the comics pages for both dates on a later date, if that is OK with you.

Ben Ferron
Thanks Ben, I'll just go with the tentative Feb-Jun range on the SG listing if you don't think any of these papers had a definitive run. Best, Allan
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Tom Dibble Jr.


Thomas Reilly “Tom” Dibble Jr. was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, on April 19, 1898. The New Jersey, Births and Christenings Index, at, said his parents were Thomas Dibble and Arabella Chase.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Dibble as the only child. His father was a reporter. The family resided in West Haddonfield. At some point, the family moved.

The Dibble family of five were New York City residents in the 1905 New York State census. Dibble was the oldest of three brothers. They lived in Manhattan at 416 St. Nicholas Avenue.

Englewood, New Jersey was the home of the Dibbles, now six members, in the 1910 census. Their address was 28 Grand Avenue.

During World War I, Dibble served in the navy. His service was recorded in The Book of Englewood (1922).

Dibble, Thomas R., Jr.
In Federal Service from: April 21, 1917, to March 8, 1919.
Branch of Service: Navy, U. S. S. “Bussum;” U. S. S. “Herbert L. Pratt;” S.P. 579 New York.
Grade or Rank at Discharge: Quartermaster, 3rd Class.
On June 16, 1919, Englewood resident Dibble filled out the Application for Seaman’s Certificate of American Citizenship (R.S. 4588). It’s not known when he departed or where he sailed.

Dibble was counted in his parents’ family in the 1920 census which was enumerated in early January. They lived in Englewood.
Aboard the S.S. West Eldara, Dibble arrived in the port of New York on February 2, 1920. The crew list said his address was “Alexander Place, Englewood, New Jersey”.

The listing in Who Was Who in American Art (1985) provided a bit of information regarding Dibble’s art training, “Dibble, Thomas (Reilly), Jr. [P] Englewood, NJ b 19 Apr 1898, Haddonfield, NJ. Studied: V.D. Perrine. Member: Palisade AA; AFA [29]”. Dibble was a painter and a member of the Palisade Art Association and American Federation of Arts. His last 
listing was in volume 29 of the American Art Annual.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dibble created Who’s Zoo which ran from October 19, 1925 to May 28, 1927. It was distributed by Press Publishing. His cousin was cartoonist Bernard Dibble. 
Anna Dibble left a comment at the Stripper’s Guide about the family relationships.
Bernard Dibble was my husband's father.
Tom Dibble, Jr. was Bernard Dibble's first cousin.
Bernard Dibble was the son of Theodore Savage Dibble.
Tom Dibble, Jr. was the son of Thomas Reilly Dibble.
Theodore Savage Dibble & Thomas Reilly Dibble were twin brothers. Their father Theodore Hoyt Dibble was a Civil War hero.
Dibble had a wife and son when he passed away March 2, 1929, in Englewood. His death was reported the following day in the New York Times.
Englewood, N.J., March 2.—John Ireland Howe, New York dress manufacturer, and Thomas Reilly Dibble Jr., artist, son of the late T.R. Dibble, former editor of The New York Evening Journal, died today in Englewood Hospital several hours after they were injured in an automobile accident on Sylvan Avenue in the Englewoods Cliffs district of the Palisades. Each of the victims was 29 years old and both lived in Englewood.

Mrs. Howe, Mrs. Dibble and Mrs. James B. Boynton of Tenafly also were injured in the accident. They are still in the hospital.

The party was returning from New York at 1 A.M., the police said, when the automobile, driven by Howe, skidded off the new concrete road, smashed into a pile of rock on the east side of the highway and then overturned. Mrs. Boynton was hurled through the windshield and the others were crushed or severely jolted, but remained in the car. They were picked up a few minutes later by a passing motorist.
The June 26, 2013 issue of Seven Days profiled Dibble’s granddaughter Anna and said: 
Dibble grew up in an artistic family in Peru, Vt. Her dad, Thomas Reilly Dibble, was a painter who owned a frame shop in Manchester. Her grandfather, whom she never knew, had a comic strip in the New York Sun called “Who’s Zoo” that featured made-up animals. Indeed, hybrid animals are a family specialty. A framed painting of a duck wearing a man’s suit, by Dibble’s father, sits on his daughter’s studio desk.

Further Reading
Anna Dennis Dibble Website
Equinox Village Press Release

—Alex Jay


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Monday, April 10, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bernard Dibble

Alfred Bernard Joseph Dibble was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey, on August 26, 1899. The New Jersey, Births and Christenings Index, at, recorded the name as Alfred B. Dibble. Bernard Joseph Dibble was the name on the World War I draft card.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, “Aathur” Dibble was the only child of Theodore and Nina. His maternal grandmother was part of the household. They resided in Haddon, New Jersey on West Haddonfield. The Official Bulletin of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, December 1921, identified Dibble’s ancestors. 

Bernard Dibble, Camden, N. J. (Pa. 35468). Son of Theodore Savage and Nina (Da Costa) Dibble; grandson of Theodore Hoyt and Mary Shelly (Reilly) Dibble; great-grandson of Timothy Taylor and Esther (Taylor) Dibble; great-grandson of Joshua Taylor, Sergeant, Colonel Swift’s Regt., Conn. Cont’l Troops.
The quartet was recorded in the 1910 census in Woodbury, New Jersey. Dibble’s father was a railroad stenographer.

On September 12, 1918, Dibble signed his World War I draft card. He lived with his parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 202 South DeKalb Street. Dibble was a clerk, with the West Jersey Sea Shore Railroad Company. The description of Dibble was medium height and build with hazel eyes and brown hair.

Information regarding Dibble’s education, art training and whereabouts in the 1920 census have not been found. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Dibble was self-taught. From 1920 to 1923, Camden, New Jersey city directories listed Dibble as a clerk who resided at 726 North 4th.

Apparently, Dibble moved to Manhattan, New York City in the mid-1920s. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dibble created the strip, Danny Dingle, which ran from July 29, 1924 to 1938. The topper was called Dub-Dabs.

The death of Dibble’s father was reported in The New York Times, February 12, 1928, and said in part:

Theodore S. Dibble, for more than thirty years with the freight traffic department of the Pennsylvania Railroad, died here Friday night, after an illness of many months. He lived recently with his son, Bernard Dibble, a newspaper cartoonist, at 214 Riverside Drive, although his home and office had been for years in Camden, N.J. He was 53 years of age.
Dibble’s artistic cousin, Tom Dibble Jr., died in a car accident March 2, 1929. Tom produced the strip Who’s Zoo. Anna Dibble left a comment at the Stripper’s Guide about the family relationships.
Bernard Dibble was my husband's father.
Tom Dibble, Jr. was Bernard Dibble's first cousin.
Bernard Dibble was the son of Theodore Savage Dibble.
Tom Dibble, Jr. was the son of Thomas Reilly Dibble.
Theodore Savage Dibble & Thomas Reilly Dibble were twin brothers. Their father Theodore Hoyt Dibble was a Civil War hero. 
According to the 1930 census, newspaper cartoonist Dibble married Barbara when he was 28 years old. They lived in Manhattan, New York City at 610 Riverside Drive. During the 1930s, American Newspaper Comics said Dibble drew Hawkshaw the Detective, Captain and the Kids, Cynical Susie, and Looy Dot Dope.

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc., 1938, New Series, Volume 35, Number 2 had this entry: “Dibble, Bernard. Captain and the kids with Uncle Seltzer. © Jan. 8, 1938; AA 254616; Stephen Slesinger, inc., New York. 3863”. The entry in catalog number seven said: “Dibble, Bernard. Captain and the kids in Boys vill be boys. © June 14, 1938; AA 270773; Stephen Slesinger, inc., New York. 25252”.

Information in the 1940 census said Dibble was a 1935 resident of Cresskill, New Jersey. Dibble’s 1940 address was 3120 Broadway in Manhattan. The self-employed cartoonist was married to Eleanor and had two sons, Michael and Theodore.

American Newspaper Comics said Dibble produced Jonesy in the mid-1940s, and ghosted Arnie Mossler’s The Young Idea. According to Alberto Becattini, Dibble ghosted Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy in the 1950s. Dibble’s comic book work is noted here.

Manhattan telephone directories from 1949 and 1953 listed Dibble’s address as 3133 Broadway. Dibble resided in Manhattan at 536 Isham in 1957 and 1959.

Dibble passed away in 1961 according to Who’s Who of American Comic Books.

—Alex Jay


I have the world's best Bernard Dibble art at
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Saturday, April 08, 2017


Herriman Saturday

January 18 1909 --Poor Mr. Taft. He hasn't even taken office yet, and already he's catching hell for his shortcomings in loquacity compared to President Roosevelt. In this case, I get the impression that he was just trying to say something nice to some apparently non-marriage material girls. Look ladies, he says, even if you can't find a husband, you can still be good and useful members of society. Sounds like a pretty decent and nice thing to say (in 1909). Today, of course, the quotes of either chief executive would now be unthinkable.


With proto Offisa Pup and Krazy!
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Friday, April 07, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from Dr. Seuss (?)

This unsigned postcard sure looks like the work of Dr. Seuss to me. That face is about as Seussian as it comes, IMHO. I find no info online, though, saying that Geisel did any postcard work, so maybe the manufacturer appropriated a drawing of his?

This postcard was "Made in U.S.A by E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee Wisc., with code on the back "HJY #29203. I'm guessing it dates from the 1930s, but it is unused and there is no copyright date on it.


I dunno. The text is certainly far below Seussian standards, and I would have guessed a more odd-monster like design for the creature. Opinions can vary, of course.
Not by Seuss. Way too crude. Probably influenced by him, though.
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Thursday, April 06, 2017


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 1 Part 1

Moses Koenigsberg is a pivotal figure in the history of newspaper comics syndication. King News is his autobiography, and so is essential reading for the comic strip history buff.  Of course the book discusses many subjects besides newspaper syndication, but it is all worthwhile to give a picture of the man. Mr. Koenigsberg is not above improving a tale for entertainment purposes (he originated the infamous tale of the yellow ink test that supposedly gave birth to the Yellow Kid), and his substantial ego sometimes colors his opinions. However, when taken with a few well-advised grains of salt, this memoir is tremendously revealing about newspapering in the early years of the 20th century.

PS -- does anyone have a better photo of our author they could share?

King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 1

Murder with a Carom Shot

link to next installment

Jacobo Coy was an emphatic contradiction of his name. But nobody ever mentioned the fact. It was not the vogue to twit a man who could make a perfect trey out of a deuce with a 45- calibre revolver at thirty yards.

Anyhow, Jacobo’s personality, like his first name, was so robustfully Mexican that in his presence the English word “coy” was too remote to remember. Also, he was Number One Detective of San Antonio, the third oldest city in the United States, and as a native Texan and proud American, he held at a maximum rating the importance and dignity of his official position. To him the insolence of a malefactor or the gibe of a punster would be a stinging insult at the Lone Star State.

Yet here was Coy, the merciless man-hunter, behaving more like a poet than a prowler. Above him rose the north wall of the historic San Fernando Cathedral. He leaned against a stunted huisache tree, plucked an aromatic bloom from one of its breast-high branches and cupped the blossom in his copper-colored hands, inhaling its fragrance.

He might have been composing a sonnet to the perfumes of a golden sunset. Or he might have been considering an ode to the belfry tower overhead, from the embrasures of which General Cos, less than fifty years before, cannonaded the heroes of The Alamo. Even the closest observer would have scoffed at a sugges­tion that Coy was on the alert.

From the Ranch saloon around the corner at Dolorosa and South Flores Streets came the call of a roulette-wheel operator, accompanied by the rattle of dice tossed against the metal sides of an adjacent craps table.

A bevy of Mexican girls, their lace mantillas covering dance-hall finery, tripped with light laughter through the alley that led a few paces away to Military Plaza. Behind them trailed a motley troop of Mexican men and boys, bent over with grotesque burdens.

In a few moments, the loads released from their backs would be transformed into an open-air restaurant filling a large part of the plaza. Long planks laid across saw-bucks would support huge kerosene lamps of polished brass and an assortment of cutlery and crockery whisked as if by magic from queer bundles. On camp stools alongside the improvised tables would gather towns­men and tourists, some for their evening meal and others to linger until the approach of dawn. The girls, their mantillas now tucked away in ornate baskets sheltered from the steaming caldrons behind them, would stand forth, the celebrated “chile queens” of San Antonio, so-called partly for their beauty but more for their bearing.

When the yellow moon came to lengthen the shadows between the shining lamps, they would move with the stateliness of gra­cious chatelaines in this collapsible fonda al fresco. They turned menial service into a social favor, spacing a dish of chile con carne, a plate of tamales or a cup of black coffee with a merry quip, a whiff of corn-shuck cigarette smoke, a fugitive smile of elusive coquetry, a gay sally or a hand-clap for the volunteer musician at the end of the table coaxing the tender strains of Sobre las Olas from a venerable guitar. Tonight it would be as it had been for thousands of nights, a moving picture reminiscent of a scene from an Old World opera.

Jacobo Coy gave no apparent attention to the straggling pro­cession of chile queens and their retinue, though he moved a bit farther out of view under the foliage of the huisache tree.

Less than a hundred yards away, on the east side of Main Plaza, in the gambling emporium on the second floor of the Revolving Light saloon, scores of coatless men were plainly visible through the open windows bent in long rows over their cards in the keno game. Above them, on a high stool, the caller of numbers was methodically twirling the lacquered goose from which he ex­tracted the ivory balls. Each call was a chant. “Number e-o-leven,” beginning in a nasal drone, rose to a triumphant shout.

On the north side of the Plaza, diagonally opposite the Revolv­ing Light and a scant hundred feet away, a small knot of men was gathered in front of Jack Harris’ vaudeville theatre. Harris, the Tony Pastor of that section and age, was quite willing for the establishment to be heralded with his name. But his partners, Billy Simms and Joe Foster, preferred the more colorful designa­tion of “The Crystal Palace,” a rather pretentious title for the combination dance-hall, theatre and saloon.

Just a step around the corner on Soledad Street, a four-year-old boy was clambering among the carved rocks and cement molds that cluttered the site of the new courthouse. Here was to rise “the palace of justice” for the County of Bexar, sometimes called “The Republic of Bexar.”

It was July 11, 1882.

A hesitant breeze stirred the languor of the midsummer eve­ning. As if in benediction, the bells of the cathedral chimed the angelus. Jacobo Coy made the sign of the cross. The reverent gesture was like a baton timing the last note of the chimes.

But Coy’s right forefinger remained poised in mid-air. It sig­naled a startling change in the attitude of every living creature in sight.

A silence fell on Main Plaza. Its suddenness jarred the ear. Men stood in positions of arrested motion as if instantly obedient to a command. The numbers goose of the Revolving Light keno game, caught midway in a spin, was clasped in both hands of the operator.

The tableau ended as abruptly as it had begun. The knot of men in front of the Crystal Palace broke into scattering figures speeding for the shelter of doorways, windows and posts. The keno game in the Revolving Light melted into white-shirted streaks that disappeared under tables or clung to the walls farth­est from the windows.

A stalwart figure stood alone where a moment before a dozen men had been idling in front of the Crystal Palace. His legs were wide apart as if bracing his body for a shock. The left arm hung loosely. The right hand rested on a leather belt.

A double door of fiber, extending from the knee to the top of a six-footer’s head, served ordinarily to screen the patrons of the bar from passersby. The man on the sidewalk stood a step to the east of the entrance. He was talking to someone somewhere behind the fiber doors, though neither speaker could see the other.
The signal that smote everyone else on Main Plaza with a momentary paralysis had exerted a wholly different effect on Jacobo Coy. It galvanized him into a prodigy of speed. Coy made fifty yards at a pace professional sprinters might well envy. He was within speaking-distance of the man in front of the Crystal Palace when the two revolver shots crashed out.

“Carramba! Too late!” Coy groaned.

He had reached the curbing when the man with the smoking pistol turned to face him.

“Howdy, Jake! Here’s my gun,” came in casual greeting as BenThompson, City Marshal of Austin, offered his weapon, handle first.

Ben Thompson
If Coy replied, his words were lost in the sound of rushing feet and the cursing of angry men. The groups of idlers, gamblers and workers, who had scrambled from the plaza like fluttering chickens fleeing a hawk, were back now, augmented tenfold by excited townsmen converging from every quarter.

Dapper Billy Simms came out of the Crystal Palace. He was trying to talk. His face had the chalky pallor of one who has just slipped through the fingers of death. It set off, as if in caricature, the waxed mustache that at other moments stirred a secret mirth —always, however, a carefully dissembled merriment, since this slight fellow in his early thirties bore a record of multiple homi­cide, including two Mexicans liquidated in a monte game.

Afterward, Simms’s friends explained his agitation as a mix­ture of rage and chagrin. Striving to shout, he could not lift his voice above a whisper.

“That dirty dog,” he croaked, pointing at Thompson, “killed Jack Harris, my partner. It was plain murder!”

The most notorious killer of the Southwest, charged with the wanton slaying of a popular resident, confronted a furious crowd. In each face burned a grim indignation inflamed as much by the stories of this man’s homicidal exploits as by the shooting from which he had just stepped red-handed.

Thompson was known from the Rockies to Red River for his surpassing dexterity with the revolver, with a record thus far of twenty-one white men, “not counting Negroes, Chinese and Indians.” His pistol had accounted for more tragedies than were charged against any other living man.

If ever there was a Public Enemy No.1, here he stood unarmed and unafraid, though clenched hands were thrust before him, numerous enough to tear him to shreds. Providence seemed to have set the stage for mob violence. Scores of shoving, hustling men shouldered each other roughly to get closer to the killer. “Let’s hang him!” urged a number of voices.

“I surrendered to you, Coy.” Thompson spoke in a meaningful undertone.

It was an unnecessary reminder of the detective’s responsibility. Already, he had maneuvered Thompson to the wall of the Crystal Palace. Now, his back to his prisoner, he faced the snarling crowd, his own revolver in his right hand and Thompson’s gun in his left.

“Hold on here!” Coy commanded. “I saw the shooting. This man’s entitled to a trial in court and he’s going to get it.”

There was a roar of anger. It subsided in a violent buffeting, jostling and jerking from which emerged several policemen in uniform headed by City Marshal Phil Shardein and accompanied by another group of stern-visaged men—deputy sheriffs and con­stables, with silver badges pinned on their shirt bosoms. Detective Coy saluted his chief, Marshal Shardein. The threat of an im­pending riot began to fade. In the presence of these two men, the air became vibrant with a sense of power and authority. The incipient mob turned into a herd of grumbling bystanders.

There was a further transition when Billy Simms and an assist­ant bore through the fiber doors a canvas cot on which lay a motionless figure covered with a white sheet. It was the body of Jack Harris. Heads were bared as at a funeral. The makeshift cortege passed directly in front of Ben Thompson, standing in the center of the police group. Simms paused an instant, lifted his end of the bier a bit higher and glared into the eyes of the man who had just killed his friend. Thompson jammed his hat down tighter.

“I had hoped to prevent this,” Coy told Shardein. “But Ben fooled his friends and slipped back here from Soledad Street while I was watching Dolorosa. And there’s something queer about the shooting. There were two gun blasts. I saw them both. Neither man was in position to get the other. They’d have had to shoot around a corner and Harris wasn’t even in sight. I don t see how he could have got a bullet from Ben’s gun.”

“You stay here and check on the high spots,” Shardein in­structed, “while I take Thompson over to Anton Adam. Meet me there; but—” He broke off. “What in the hell is this?”

Shardein and Coy usually posed as stoics. Both now betrayed an astonishment wholly out of key with the habitual deportment of either. They were staring open-mouthed at a little boy who had sidled between them and stood gazing up at Ben Thompson. It was the same child one might have seen a short while before at play on the courthouse site around the corner. His disheveled blond hair reached the level of Shardein’s hip-pocket. His pink waist was torn to tatters. Evidently, he had been in the midst of the struggling crowd during the critical interval that preceded Shardein’s arrival.

Shardein and Coy grabbed the boy at the same instant, each seizing a shoulder and rattling off the same questions—“What’s your'name? Where do you live? How old are you? How did you get here ?”

Both police officers were fathers. They could take in their stride the hazards of exploding firearms and of bodies mangled and bones crushed in melees, but they stood aghast at the picture of such a child sharing the quarter of an hour from which they had just emerged. The boy had been oblivious of any danger so long as he remained unnoticed. His curiosity about what was happen­ing to others had included no awareness of what might happen to himself. Now, suddenly the center of attention, he was scared speechless by a dynamic consciousness of self.

A policeman on the fringe of the group caught sight of the child. “That’s the son of Koenigsberg, the tailor on Soledad Street,” he exclaimed.

“For God’s sake,” grunted Shardein, “get him home and tell his father to keep him there.”

And that explains my attendance “on the spot” of the first news story that “broke” within the range of my attention—the initial chapter in one of the most lurid tales of Southwestern desperado-ism. From the dramatic sequels of that evening’s tragedy was woven part of the pattern of events, circumstances and influences through which I subsequently entered the profession of journal­ism. The tragedy also afforded a recurrent source of personal earnings. Again and again rehearsed with me by Jacobo Coy a decade later, the details were fitted into a stock story of several thousand words. Over a span of years, I sold the yarn, revamped on each occasion, to thirty different newspapers.

Only a short block lay between Main Plaza and the little one-story adobe structure on Veramendi Alley, directly behind the Crystal Palace, to which the police cordon escorted Ben Thomp­son. But the procession was impeded at every step by a saturnine throng of muttering men. Their abortive adventure in lynching had not slaked the blood-lust that still seethed under outer re­straints. Vengeance was not abandoned, but it no longer teetered uselessly on the tongue. It worked in the mind. Plans were afoot.

The city of San Antonio gulped a deep draft of civic resent­ment every time a rifle cracked or a revolver barked in punctua­tion of some private grievance. These incidents were irritating to the citizenship generally. They tended to justify the regular daily feature in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat under the caption “Texas Killings.”

A citizen might thrust his tongue in his cheek at fervid orations proclaiming “the repression of outlawry,” but he cherished and tended the communal fetish of “security from personal violence.” No matter how often that fetish was bowled over by a bullet in a brawl or slashed by a knife in a fracas, the loyal resident hastened to restore it.

But this evening’s tragedy was different from the ordinary kill­ing, argued the crowd milling behind and around Ben Thomp­son. It was replete with a malevolence too significant to be tied to one man, no matter how abhorrent that creature might be. It was, in short, a public affront, an unspeakable outrage to a city’s pride and dignity, not to be charged in full to an individual, but to be handled on the broad scale it deserved.

When the principal police executive of the capital city of Texas invaded the metropolis of the State and shot a gaping hole through its aegis of personal safety, he set one community against another.

It was all very well for the taxpayers of Austin to follow a widespread practice of the period in delegating a “bad” man to keep other “bad” men in hand. They had chosen their most con­spicuous “bad” man for their city marshal and so long as he operated within the limits of Austin, San Antonio had no right to complain. It was a different situation, agreed the spokesmen, when he exploited his aptitude for murder among the law-abiding citizens of another city.

To let him fare forth on such an errand was as culpable as to assign him for the specific purpose. Was Austin parading its prowess? Here was a challenge that must be met. Some drastic measure should be taken to convince the little town of Austin that the good city of San Antonio was not to be so flouted, abused, humiliated and outraged. And thus was launched the feud of two cities.

Chapter 1, Part 2 next week         link to next installment


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