Rosebud Welcomes Spring

March 31st, 2016

cat-blog-rosebud.jpg Cathy loves this little girl. Her name is Rosebud and she’s a rescue. She fell from the back tire of a bus in Springfield, Illinois, to the horror of two women who took the 8 week old kitten to a local animal shelter. She was adopted by Teresa Gregoir, who says that Rosebud has become the “bosscat” of her two Toms at home. The affectionate Rosebud likes to roll on her back and look up as if to say: “Look at me, I’m beautiful!” She has a face to launch a thousand kits!

felix-1-8-to-1-14-33.jpg Felix is from 1-8 to 1-14-33 this time. In the Sunday, Messmer has fun drawing outlandish dogs and rabbits for a Magician’s act. In the dailies, Felix is jealous of little Doris, Danny Dooit’s new love. We’ll see if the spirit of altruism hits Felix next time and he will accept Doris as a pal.

myrtle-10-11-to-10-17-48.jpg Myrtle is from 10-11 to 10-17-1948 this batch. No Hyacinth this time. I like the 10-13 as Myrtle’s Mom lolls all over the easy chair like a teenager figuring out a math problem. Bingo is funny in the 10-16 as he wears all of the necktie salesman’s product. The Sunday is a flight of fancy, as Freddie dreams that he is back in prehistoric times, complete with a dinosaur.

krazy-kat-1-18-to-1-23-43.jpg Krazy is from 1-18 to 1-23-43 on this tour through the Coconino. The first three strips are about a guard shack and a sleepy Offissa Pupp, and the final three revisit the Draft Board as Krazy tries to rob the coop by drafting eggs, including an “addled” egg and a Chinese thousand year old Duck egg. Herriman is beginning to blend his brand of nonsense with the topicality of the war.

Felix Travels Back to 1-1-1933

March 11th, 2016

felix-1-1-to-1-7-33.jpgFelix projects back in time to Jan. 1, 1933! He is once again the family pet of the Danny Dooit family and having his problems with space and feline respect. Felix could be a fanciful adventurer and traveller, but his 1930s strips were really family strips, the most common and most profitable newspaper comics format. In the 1920s, domestic situations were less common, but by the time of Bringing Up Father, and even more so, Blondie in 1934, a cast of Mom, Pop and 2 kids were comic gold. Sometimes Felix is crowded out of his own strip by the family or machinations of the human characters. We’ll see how he prevails in 1933.

myrtle-10-4-to-10-10-48.jpg Speaking of family strips, here’s Myrtle from 10-4 to 10-10-1948. My favorites are the 10-8 and 10-9, as Myrtle is reduced to knitting at home as Sampson deserts her for a Boy Scout meeting, and when Myrtle is given the go-by as Sampson declines to offer her a ride on his new bike. Her retort is pure Dudley Fisher: “I hope you fall off and break the continuity!” Hyacinth the Cat is not with us this time, not even in the Sunday page, as Myrtle performs an unlikely Juliet to Sampson’s Romeo in amateur theatrics.

krazy-1-11-to-1-17-43.jpg Krazy dailies are from 1-11 to 1-17-1943 and continue to reflect World War 2. Krazy is now in charge of the Coconino draft board and is trying to recruit early birds, worms, snipes and several comical dog characters. I especially like the dogs in the 1-14 and 1-15 strips, as they remind me a bit of Segar’s Wimpy. These dogs are the type to dive for half-finished cigar butts, like Uncle Willie in the Moon Mullins strip and Barney Google in his down and out phases.

Your Comics Page 2-23-2016

February 23rd, 2016

felix-12-24-to-12-30-and-12-31-24.jpg Felix is from 12-24 to 12-31-1934 this time. The 12-31 daily strip is displayed BEFORE the 12-30 Sunday page. The Sandusky Register did not publish on Christmas Day in 1934, so the Felix daily from that date is missing. If anyone can supply the missing daily, you’ll get a lifetime subscription to the Catblog. Felix is struggling mightily to keep his happy new home with the Dooits. He even makes himself into a footstool for Father Dooit in the 12-31. Felix seems to have crossed over into Bringing Up Father territory in the 12-30 Sunday, as he clobbers the Millionaire’s wife with a snowball, stopping her 0ff-key singing, much to the joy of Mr. Millionaire. If you want to continue reading Felix in date order, go to May 27, 2011 in the archives and click on the thumbnails. If you come back here next time, Felix will be skipping back in time to Jan. 1st, 1933. I’m curious where he was living then.

myrtle-9-27-to-10-3-48.jpg Myrtle is from 9-27 to 10-3-1948. The dailies tell a continuous story about Bingo talking “real human speech”. Of course, it’s just a gag that Sampson and Myrtle have cooked up, Sampson hides in the closet and talks, while Bingo stands in front of the closed closet door and mouths the words, in an attempt to fool Myrtle’s gullible family. I chuckled at the 10-2, as Bingo gives out with some naughty words. Look at the strip to find out why. Isn’t that lighting effect beautiful in the second panel of the Sunday page? Alas, Hyacinth isn’t with us this time.

krazy-1-4-to-1-9-43.jpg Krazy, from 1-4 to 1-9-1943 still reflects wartime conditions. This time it’s blackouts. Wardens would go around neighborhoods in the WW 2 days, making sure everyone turned their lights out or drew blackout curtains over the windows so that enemy planes would think there were no houses under them. In Coconino County, the citizenry seem to think that if they walk around with blindfolds on, they are sufficiently blacked-out and no enemy can see them. This all leads up to the 1-9, as Krazy points out that blackouts don’t apply to him as he can see in the “dokk”. I love the last panel as an unseen Kat converses with “Mr. Owl”, who has Ignatz with him. Mr. Owl explains to Krazy that he is Ignatz’s “ the dark”. There is a sinister undertone to this strip, as Owls feed on mice, and maybe Ignatz just escaped becoming owl chow, thanks to Krazy’s natural night vision goggles.


February 10th, 2016

power-from-the-sun.jpg Hey, don’t ever let ‘em tell you that solar power is easy. We had some panels installed on the roof and it took from last July to January of 2016 to complete the job. The roof had to be re-shingled, then we had to design the system (which took a lot of emails), then they put on the panels, then upgraded the meter to 200 amp service, then installed the inverter to change DC to AC power, then the Glendale Water and Power folks had to inspect the system (3 trips), then install a second meter, then give PTO (Permission To Operate). I threw the switch myself to turn the system on. We are now actually generating power from the sun! The photo above was shot before we got the official PTO. The inverter we got has an outlet on it which you can plug things into during the day if the electric grid does a Ken Lay and shuts down. This was my first brush with solar power and I was very excited and happy! The guy on the right side of the photo is an electrician who works for the solar company we used, Solar Optimum. They STILL aren’t through! A special little computer reader has to be installed to keep track of our generation and usage. Everytime I look at the panels I remember the Bell System Science Series show: “Our Mr. Sun” from 1956, SIXTY years ago. This wonderful TV show, directed by Frank Capra and Bill Hurtz (animation),mr-sun-and-father-time.jpeg predicted that the solar energy from Mr. Sun would solve the Earth’s fuel problem and even predicted the Solar Battery! After all this time, there still isn’t a really efficient and low cost Solar Battery, but the Tesla company is working on one. Hopefully Big Oil won’t buy up the patent THIS time! At last, part of the scenario of “Our Mr. Sun” is a reality.

felix-12-17-to-12-23-34.jpg Felix, 12-17 to 12-23-1934, features Felix’s happy reunion with the Danny Dooit family, and their cantankerous Dachshund. Plenty of long dog gags here. In the Sunday page, Felix continues to stay with the Millionaire’s family, feeding his bonanza of fresh milk to his alley cat buddies.

myrtle-9-20-to-9-26-48.jpg Myrtle is from 9-20 to 9-26-1948 this time. I like the 9-24, as Myrtle discovers a box of candy on the upstairs bed, then has to pretend she knows nothing when Freddy asks her about it. I like the little coy pose she does in the last panel. Myrtle’s bare head makes a rare appearance in the 9-22 as her hat flies off in surprise when the clock Sampson is repairing strikes 13. In the Sunday, Hyacinth the cat holds her nose at Myrtle’s fish catch in the second panel.

krazy-12-28-42-to-1-2-43.jpg Some WW 2 “Spy” points get made in the Krazy dailies from 12-28-1942 to 1-2-1943. Ignatz is in the “Sicritt Soivitz” and gets all his information from the “Grape Wine”.  Check out Garge’s mastery of knife technique in the 1-1 and 1-2-1943 strips, especially the final panel of the 1-2, as a character emerges from the “Grape Wine” who reminds me of Winston Churchill. The delicate knife scratches look like fine branches of ferns that surround the ”Churchill” character. Probably by this time in his career, George Herriman’s arthritis problems were starting to affect his drawing, as was the reduction in daily strip space caused by the wartime demand for newsprint.

So Long, Carson

January 14th, 2016

carson-van-osten-obit.jpgcarson-van-osten-drawing-mickeys-60th.jpg I’m very sorry to report the passing of a real cartooning icon, Mr. Carson Van Osten. The L.A. Times Obituary writer can’t seem to decide whether Carson left us on November or December 22nd, 2015, but this Obit. didn’t get published until January 10th, 2016. Carson started out animating or assisting, maybe both. I can’t remember if he always worked at Disney’s or not. Perhaps I met him during my freelancing years in the 1970s and 1980s. He got kicked upstairs at Disney’s, becoming a model trouble-shooter on all the classic characters, especially Mickey Mouse. In 1988, I was doing some animation on the “Mickey’s 60th” TV special. One of the segments of that special featured Mickey’s visit to the “Cheers” bar. If you look at the snapshots above, you’ll see Kirstie Alley and Ted Danson with Mouse stand-ins, arranged so we animators could gauge the relative sizes of Mickey and the “Cheers” cast.  I remember it was kind of risque to have Mickey in a bar setting, I hadn’t seen “Plight of the Bumble Bee” at that point, or the idea of the mix of alcohol and Mouse wouldn’t have seemed so radical. To the right of the Cheers snapshots, you’ll see a rough sketch that Carson drew of Mickey in a casual outfit, complete with tennis shoes. The notes in red, are in my friend Sam Cornell’s printed script. Sam directed the “Cheers” sequence, and I seem to recall he was quite taken with Ms. Alley. Carson worked on many Disney television projects, merchandise designs and notably, the comic strip department. If you look around the Internet, you’ll probably find some of Carson’s wonderful “style guides”, which not only featured Disney character drawing hints, but advice on how to make an effective panel layout, the “silhouette” rule, and other theories. I didn’t realize that Carson had gone to Disney Paris, in 1994, or was voted a Disney Legend this past August. Carson was a very talented cartoonist, and evidently a painter of miniatures as well. (Read the Obit.) In addition, Carson was a heckova nice guy, a very patient teacher and very fast on the comeback, especially when defending his drawing expertise. I haven’t seen him since 1988, but I’ll always remember. This little post is designed as a memorial to Carson; who should be remembered by anyone who admires good Disney-style drawing in the classic manner. Adios, good friend.

felix-12-10-to-12-16-34.jpg Felix, from 12-10 to 12-16-1934 has Felix emerging from his hollow tree hiding place and attempting to return the stolen jewelry that the robber put into the tree. It turns out that the jewels belong to the Danny Dingle family! Felix is reunited with his favorite family at last. In the Sunday, Elmer the millionaire kicks Felix out of his house, and back IN to win a bet with his wife. Felix now has TWO families, Daily and Sunday.

myrtle-9-13-to-9-19-48.jpg Myrtle’s from 9-13 to 9-19-1948 this post, a bunch of non-continuity gags this time in the dailies. The Sunday features Hyacinth the Cat in a non-speaking role as the neighborhood meets the local Weatherman. I admire the way Fisher designs the Sunday pages so that the reader can start anywhere on the page, with any balloon, and understand the story.

krazy-12-21-to-12-26-42.jpg Krazy, from 12-21 to 12-26-1942, the characters keep busy for “Our Duration”. Mrs. Kwakk-Wakk in the 12-21 is thought by Krazy to be a “Snoopa”. The brick is delivered by air on the 22nd and 23rd, and Offissa Pupp’s Jail goes plastic, followed by Ignatz’s Brick on the 24th and 25th. Durable goods made out of plastic were considered very newfangled in the 1940s, reference the Donald Duck cartoon, “The Plastics Inventor” (1944) with the Duck’s all-plastic airplane that melts in water. Ignatz actually pulls a rifle on Offissa Pupp in the Dec. 26th strip, but the Pupp ignores him. I hope that Carson read my blog from time to time, he was a great fan of Gottfredson and Barks.