Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Coogy: Nice Jewish Cartoonist Does Santa

I'm snowed-in here in the northeast, still waiting on a guy to come and plow 150 feet of driveway. What's to do? How about we get my Christmas post out of way? Don't kids like to open their presents early? (Trust me, in the manner I was raised there was no such thing as delayed gratification). If you like to frequent Spectorphile and the same kind of blogs I do, then I suspect you are just a kid. I know your type alright. Why must you wait?

From December 23, 1951:

What I really want to know is...where are all the Chanukah strips drawn by Christian cartoonists hiding?
You kids, whatever you may celebrate, if anything, please have a good time. And don't blog and drive.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stocking Stuffers

As you might have guessed, the above items are from my dad's last days in the Army Animation Unit (WWII). If you're wondering why there is a "T" on the chevrons, that's because the AAU was actually part of the Army Technical Corps.

The above has to be from the mid-70's, because my dad is sporting those graying sideburns which were so popular among balding middle-aged men from that era. Oddly, I like the photograph.

Yes, there really is a reel in the can. It has three commercials: Nabisco Shredded Wheat, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Buster Brown Shoes (don't forget his dog Tige -- he's in there too.) Actually, that is my own ugly handwriting at the top of the label -- to remind myself what is inside -- because if you've ever had to unspool something of this length using a pencil, like I did -- you'll never want to do it again.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Comic Book Interlude: The Farmer's Daughter #1

Here's a real Spector oddity of cheesecake. The Farmer's Daughter ran for four issues, beginning with the February-March 1954 issue. What is it with the four-and-out titles from this era such as Muggy-Do, Boy Cat, Lucky Duck, and now this? You'll notice that the story is copyright Hal Seeger, although my dad drew and wrote all the stories in it (Muggy is also copyright Seeger). Anyway, I am personally taken with the rushed yet controlled abandon of its loosey-goosey style.

Yup, she was only the farmer's daughter's butt. I don't have my Overstreet guide at hand but I do recall there being a mention of a "lingerie panel", or "nudity panel" -- or something to that effect -- in this same issue. Here's a one-pager to which they must have been referring.

Thanks to Glenn Bray for inadvertantly mentioning this title to me, Bob Jaques for locating and sending me scans of issue #'s 1 and 2 from Golden Age Comics (UK) and of course the folks who uploaded them in the first place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Anyway, that's the way I heard it...

...and if that ain't the truth let me be struck by lightning.

Here's a story I must have heard a half-dozen times in my life when I was much less than half as old as I am now. The tale never wavered. It goes something like this:

My dad, when he was young(er), used to draw single-panel gag cartoons and send them off to celebrities that he was fond of. Now, some of you might know that his industry sobriquet was "Spec", yet few of you know that in those early days he would often sign his artwork with a pair of spectacles (I myself have yet to see this phenomenon, but I take his word for it). Well, one piece he sent to Gary Cooper...the actor, not the astronaut. Cooper did a goodly number of western cowboy flicks and so my dad drew a gag about a cowpuncher, something about a bull with a black eye, if I recollect correctly. Decades go by, and Cooper eventually passed in 1961. My dad is flipping through some Cooper magazine retrospective and comes across a caption something to the effect of, Most people don't know it but Gary Cooper was a very good artist. So, my dad looks at the drawing, it seems vaguely familiar, and then notices a pair of spectacles in place of Cooper's signature.

By the way, I've yet to come across this drawing. If any Spectorphile does find a copy of where it appeared, I guarantee you a nice original authentic artistic piece of work in trade for your trouble.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gulliver Animation - King Bombo on the Carriage Step

It's difficult to identify my dad's actual pre-war (WWII) animation. However, two days after my dad passed away, Arnold Gillespie (who not only worked at Fleischer but went on to have a glorious career in special effects), paid me a wonderful telephone call to let me know that, back in the day, this particular piece of animation from Fleischer's Gulliver's Travels just "tickled" him. We can thank Bob Jaques for the clip. It seems like the moment I press the send email button to ask "Do you have...", the darn thing is already in my inbox.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comic Book Interlude: Little Lionel

We can thank Mr. Bob Jaques for this one. Bob was searching for moonlighting-comic-book-drawing animators and came up with this from a Wacky Duck titled reprint pubbed in 1958 (I.W. Enterprises). My dad had already exited from a decade-long comic book era at that point, and Little Lionel dates back to the post-war 1940s. Still, I like the sort of pre-war old-fashioned flavor of it all: the telephone, the firemen panel, et al.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sad Sack

Harkening back to the old U.S. Army Signal Corps days, here's an old mildewed book I have that Sgt. George Baker, creator of The Sad Sack, personalized (above) to my dad. I don't know if Baker was technically in the animation unit, but then again, when it came to creatives -- no mattter what their particular facility -- every cartoonist (using that term in general) knew each other.

Rather than send you to Wiki's blurb on Sad Sack, let's just let the book do the talking.

Books in wartime, Egad!:

The Introduction: You might want to read the whole thing, but I'll paraphrase that Sad Sack first appeared in Yank magazine in 1942. "The Sack is Army's perfect personification of the Army's little man, the hopeless underdog who has no stripes, no glory, no friends in the orderly room, no escape from the dread terror of red tape and higher ranks. Since he is the Army's little man, none of his problems are of his own making. No matter what he does or leaves undone, trouble will come to him from outside forces. "

The deal, storywise, with Sad Sack, is that no matter how hard he tries, he always gets the crap end of the military pecking-order stick: the end gag is always the same...he's just a sad sack of... The book is flush with pages -- those scanned below are, to my own eyes, representative of what you would find.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Spectorphile will be offline for the next several days, as will my email. The Mrs. has ordered new carpeting to be installed 11/4, which means I have to disassemble my antiquated computer setup and stick the Irvchives into that strange place under the stairwell. I'll be up all night with this kind of stuff. See you shortly therafter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Christmas In October

When I blogged the Coogy Columbus Day post, I found out that they were already celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada! What the heck is going on here? The absolute nerve! Not to be beaten to the punch again, I'm skipping this coming November's scheduled T-day post and going straight on to Christmas. On December 25th, expect my July 4th post, unless somewhere else someone is celebrating their Independence Day before that.

I have no idea who drew this card. Likely, the conversation went this way:

ARTIST (to Spec): Uh, Spec, what are we going to do about an Xmas card?

SPEC: Good idea -- hadn't thought about it. Would you like to do it?

ARTIST: I'd love to.

And so there ya go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You're in the army now...

...You're not behind a plow
You'll never get rich
By digging a ditch...

Hey, you know that old military tune, don't you? Well, here's a bunch of mugs that I doubt ever dug ditches in the Army. More than likely, they never even had to get behind a plow; rather, they were behind lightboards. That would be my own dad, front-right. The identities of the other guys are open to your suggestions.

The above photo had to be taken when many of the Army Signal Corps Animation Unit was moved from Astoria (Queen, NY) into Manhattan. How can we tell? Check the date-stamp at the bottom of the photograph.

Here's an envelope that Vince Fago -- then at Timely -- sent my dad while he moonlighted comics during his Army stint (and he wasn't the only one doing that.) I wonder what was in it.

Funny Frolics #1? That's his penciled handwriting on the cover. I guess he wanted some credit.

My dad was so delighted that eight years later he snuck Vince into the New York Herald Tribune! Check out the name on the green door, middle tier center.

However, life can be tough in the military, especially when you have to draw all day long. I own plenty of drawings from those days, although I'm usually hesitant to attribute them to my dad unless I have some sort of corroborating evidence. As my dad was often hesitant to sign his work, I am always grateful when I can find a single drawing with his signature that leads me to believe that I can, by drawing style, accredit more to him. Now, I'm not saying whether the artwork is good enough or not to be post-worthy, I'm just saying they exist, so why keep them in a box?

Troop dismissed!