Louie Schmitt Greeting Card!

October 5th, 2016

louie-schmitt-card-a.jpglouie-schmitt-card-b.jpglouie-schmitt-card-c.jpglouie-schmitt-card-d.jpgsmellbound-model-sheet-louie-schmitt.jpg I found this old greeting card in a stack of memorabilia that my Mother saved. It’s drawn for Hallmark Cards by Louie Schmitt, character designer and layout man for Tex Avery in 1945, animating shorts like “Bad Luck Blackie” and doing layout and design on “Lucky Ducky”, “The Cat That Hated People” and “Half-Pint Pygmy”.  I’ve included one of his model sheets for “L’il ‘Tinker”, above. That’s the cartoon with the outrageous parodies of Vera Vague and Frank Sinatra. Louie Schmitt animated on Snow White and Bambi, and worked on Walt Disney shorts starting in 1932 with “The Klondike Kid”. He also animated on ”Toll Bridge Troubles” for Screen Gems with the Fox and Crow.  I love how the Papa Rabbit is about to beat up the new-born rabbit with a baseball bat! Look at the sheepish grin he flashes at his wife as he tries to keep the bat hidden behind his back. The attitudes on this card are the essence of 1940s cartooning. You’re probably wondering why my Mom saved this little card. She was a Louie Schmitt fan! Honk! Naw! Hoaxed ya again, it was a card sent to my Mom congratulating her on my arrival! Who knew who Mr. Schmitt was in 1948, or Tex Avery for that matter? He didn’t get to even sign his name to the card, Hallmark liked to keep their artists anonymous.

felix-2-26-to-3-4-33.jpg Here’s Felix from 2-26 to 3-4-1933. In the Sunday, Felix is looking to bump himself off after his Gal rejects him. He accidentally socks a fish with his sinker rock and decides to eat instead. In the dailies, Felix and Danny are flying on their magic carpet to deliver a telegram to Colonel Snooper in the Arctic circle. Messmer loved to put Felix in snowy and desert locales, since his black fur made him stand out against very light backdrops. Felix drives an icicle into a polar bear in the 3-4, thinking it’s a snow bank.

myrtle-11-29-to-12-4-48.jpg Here’s Myrtle from 11-29 to 12-4-1948. There’s a good cat gag in the 11-30, but it’s not Hyacinth. I also like the Dudley Fisher timing on the 12-4, as Freddie unsuccessfully tries to thread a needle for Susie and gets Myrtle to help him. He wants to get sole credit for the needle duty, but Myrtle wants a nickle tip from Freddie to keep it a secret that she helped him.

krazy-3-8-to-3-13-43.jpg Krazy is from 3-8 to 3-13-1943. Garge is back to the War gags. The first three strips feature Ignatz’s mechanized brick-tosser. The tosser also can morph into a drone and drop bricks from the air.  Offissa Pupp would have to be a Katfish to keep up with the submarine part of the masonry Monitor. In the last batch of strips, Krazy is working as an aircraft “Spotta”. He spots a Koach Dog, then decorates himself with spots and then mistakes Ignatz’s indigestion for “Patri Yock-tic” behavior.

CU in downtown L.A. for the next few days. Cathy and I will be doing some plein air painting.

The Legend of Mangy Returns

September 13th, 2016



Here by popular demand, is the origin story of Mangy the cat from Cathy Hill’s “Mad Raccoons” #2! I love “the last straw struck” as Mangy steals the entire Thanksgiving dinner. I’m doing these comic pages all on one post, so you don’t have to search through a bunch of old posts trying to find pieces of the Mangy stories. You are perfectly welcome to look for Mangy in the search window, however. You’ll find pictures of the real Mangy and a lot more. Sadly, MU Press, which published the Mad Raccoons comics, is now defunct. But Mangy has a home here, and a quick scan of Ebay or Amazon should yield some Mad Raccoons comic links. Amazon has issues one and two, and the trade paperback: “The Mad Raccoons Collection”.

felix-2-19-to-2-25-33.jpg Felix is here for your enjoyment, from 2-19 to 2-25-1933. In the Sunday, Felix continues to explore the year 2000 by crystal ball. He can walk beyond the pull of gravity, and mechanical birds and dogs are the rage and cats are extinct! In the dailies, Felix and Danny continue the messenger boy service. In the 2-23, Col. Snooper is taking off for the arctic by airplane and Danny has a telegram for him. Danny and Felix miss the plane, but blunder into a Rare Carpets shop and take off to intercept the flight on a magic carpet.

myrtle-11-22-to-11-28-48.jpg Here’s Myrtle, from 11-22 to 11-27-1948. I like the 11-22, as Myrtle does a deft move with her hat to avoid too much bathroom exposure. The 11-23 and 24 episodes are very much in character, as Myrtle conspires against Freddy by getting her mother all dolled up in a new outfit so she doesn’t have to cook dinner and go to a restaurant. Myrtle tries to shake down the waiter for a percentage of the tip! The Sunday is back, as the gang explores the wonders of new-fangled contraptions such as automatic dishwashers. The wives reject the idea as it would give their husbands too much leisure time!

krazy-3-1-to-3-6-43.jpg Here’s Krazy from 3-1 to 3-6-1943. No war stuff this time, just the usual mouse, Kat and Kop antics. I especially like the 3-1, as Krazy gives the tough little Ignatz a kiss while he’s fast asleep. The tenderness of Krazy’s feelings for the “Mice” are charmingly revealed. Ignatz hides in hats and flower pots and receives a black eye from a lady friend in the balance of the strips.

Happy Birthday from Li’l Bub!

August 13th, 2016

lil-bub-says-happy-birthday.jpg The world’s most famous cat, besides Felix, Li’l Bub, makes her first appearance on the Catblog! My dear wife, Cathy, made this charming pencil sketch of the zany little cat and put her left paw up in a gesture echoing the traditional Asian cat statues you see in restaurants and shops. Most readers of this blog are no doubt already well-versed in the land of YouTube cat videos, BUT if you haven’t seen Li’l Bub, here’s a link to one of our favorite videos featuring her unique face: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaFQ8bUSq4U .  She has eyes like a Keane painting and a Snuffy Smith tongue! Once at YouTube, you can find dozens of other videos that will teach you more about her origins and health issues than you will ever want to know.  Oh, I didn’t get any balloons or a cupcake, but a lovely sugar-free peach pie! Cathy always makes my birthday a special one.

felix-2-12-to-2-18-33.jpg Felix is from 2-12 to 2-18-1933 this time. In the Sunday, Felix continues his adventures via crystal ball into the world of the year 2000. Messmer predicts that robots will be doing all the drudgery, (not illegal workers), and that skyscrapers will be built so high that the upper floors will be beyond the pull of gravity! The dailies resolve the story of Danny Dooit’s ill-fated stint as a messenger boy. Felix puts his considerable brain to the task, and completely subdues the jewel thief who holds Danny prisoner. Danny gets a raise in pay and a hundred dollars in cash as a reward. Will he share if with Felix? Next time we’ll find out.

myrtle-11-15-to-11-20-48.jpg Myrtle is from 11-15 to 11-20-1948 this time. Dudley Fisher’s gag timing is very evident in the 11-17, as Sampson finds that the reluctant dog Bingo has neither manners nor pride. I also like the 11-20, as Susie is convinced that she is going to be ill, and Myrtle un-”veils” the problem in the last panel. No Sunday this time, all copies were blocked.

krazy-2-22-to-2-27-43.jpg Step up to Krazy, from 2-22 to 2-27-1943. The Kat langwitch is very evident in the 2-24, as Krazy thinks that a Bactrian camel is twice as “med” as a Dromedary. I like the 2-26 as well; Krazy kries as her Kreaking, Kracking, Kar actually Krokes because it needs a Krutch. The Kangaroo in the 2-27, bears a striking resemblance to Don Kiyoti in last time’s batch, same type of needle nose and ears, but with a pouch and a long tail. Come back soon for more gems from Herriman’s pen.

Linus Outtakes, Gerard Baldwin

July 21st, 2016

linus-sunken-treasure-a.jpglinus-sunken-treasure-b.jpg I had an article appear this Monday on Cartoon Research: http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/mark-kausler-on-ed-graham-jr-s-linus-the-lionhearted/ . I made a lot of frame grabs from my 16mm prints of the Linus the Lionhearted show for illustrations, more than Jerry Beck had space for, so I’m posting them on my blog. The frames above are from the wraparound episode called “Sunken Treasure”. Gerard Baldwin animated it, and his cousin George Cannata, Jr. designed the characters. The action of Linus tying up the octopus’s tentacles and then popping to a “presenting” pose is in two successive frames! Gerard animated with great economy, using effects animation, in this case the bubbles and some painted streak lines, to show the action path that Linus takes over to the bottom corner screen right. The effects helped “cushion” the abrupt action “pop”, in the same way that Gerard used smooth mouth action to cushion his “holds”. I love that parallelogram whale, too, not sure if Cannata designed it or not.

linus-whats-on-third-first-pose.jpglinus-whats-on-third-second-pose.jpg In the description I made of Gerard’s animation in the Linus episode: “What’s On Third?” I talked about how he just popped from an anticipation drawing of the elephant pitcher, to the extreme pose above. The elephant doesn’t waste a lot of drawings curling his trunk to pitch a screwball, his trunk is already in that position and the effects of the baseball taking a twisted path carry the action and make the held drawing of the elephant look like it’s in motion. This looks terrific “at speed”. We’ll have more Linus frame grabs soon, he is a “cat”, after all.

felix-2-5-to-2-11-33.jpg Here’s Felix, from 2-5 to 2-11-1933. The Sunday page has chapter two of “Felix in the Year 2000″, an automated brick (steal from Garge), and a kind lady treats Felix to a Roast Beef dinner that turns out to be a Chicken dinner food pellet. In the dailies, Danny Dooit continues his career as a messenger boy, but a jewelry store crook decides to keep him prisoner. The 2-8 stars Danny and Felix doesn’t make an appearance in his own strip! Note the resemblance to “Jerry on the Job” in this sequence.

myrtle-11-8-to-11-14-48.jpg In Myrtle, from 11-8 to 11-14-1948, it’s revealed that Myrtle’s mom used to wish “that Myrtle was a boy” in the 11-9. Myrtle is a real tough this week, scrimmaging in football, beating up Sampson with one glove and jumping fences to eat Sampson’s candy. I really like the Sunday strip this week, as the whole gang tries to help Myrtle with her homework, only to be foiled by Sampson.

krazy-2-15-to-2-20-43.jpg Krazy is from 2-15 to 2-20-1943 this time. A seldom used member of the Coconino cast shows up for 5 strips, Don Kiyoti. The whole week is spent in gags trying to decipher “coded” messages that may be English, musical notes or Spanish. They sometimes turn out to be Krazy’s poetry (2-18) or a brick that is really a love letter that’s 2692 years old (2-20). Note that Garge doesn’t sign his strips very much at this point, more about that later on.

Stephanie Remembered

June 16th, 2016

stephanie-on-guard.jpg Here’s the third cat that ever lived with me, Stephanie, posing by a boxful of 16mm film, sometime in the early 1970s. Stephanie was loyal, sweet, long-suffering and a true friend. She came to me as a kitten, given to me by my old friend Mike Sanger. She was named after our favorite waitress at the old Van de Kamp’s coffee shop over on Fletcher Drive. Stephanie the waitress served us our morning coffee and bear claws several times a week, as Mike and I spun tales and built animated air castles. Stephanie the cat was always around the little rented house I had on Fargo Street. She loved to eat Kitty Queen cat food, mostly liver and kidney flavors. I had a somewhat cruel little game I played with her. I squeezed her, and she growled. When I squeezed her in rhythm, she seemed to growl out: “Way, down upon the Swanee RIV-ER!” The word “Riv-er” was always growled out in two quick squeezes. I really deserved to get scratched or clawed for playing rough with her that way, but the sweet little cat never lashed out. After I did my trick with her, to the entertainment of folks, Stephanie usually jumped out the window and didn’t return for awhile. But in the morning, I’d wake up and she would be snuggled next to me in bed. She didn’t usually make much noise except for when I squeezed her, and when she was hungry. She had a gentle, high-pitched “meow”.  As the years went by, Stephanie, an already gray cat, got a bit grayer. But she was still always nearby, never a lap cat, but quite a companion. I admit I took her pretty much for granted and was never very sentimental about her. I found out how much I cared for her, when tooth problems led to mouth cancer which ultimately killed her. I had to have her put “to sleep” by our veterinarian, and I refused to look at her body, with tears in my eyes. stephanie-and-cathy.jpg Here’s another portrait of my wife Cathy, holding Stephanie. Steph is her usual compliant self, and you can see just how much Cathy loves cats by her expression. Cathy was much more gentle with her than I was. These two pictures were taken by my dear friend, Vincent Davis, and I have many more photos of Stephanie, even a black and white 16mm movie of Steph roaming the yard at the old Fargo Street house. She was with me more than 10 years, and I’ll never forget her.

felix-1-29-to-2-4-33.jpg Here’s Felix, 1-29 through 2-4-1933. The Sunday is the first chapter of a continuity involving Felix and his girlfriend Phyllis. I love Otto’s little feminine poses he uses on Phyllis. A frozen soap bubble becomes a Crystal Ball to reveal the couple’s future. In the dailies, Felix gets Danny a job as a delivery boy so that he won’t pay so much attention to Doris. The story develops as a package that Danny is assigned to deliver ticks like a bomb. In the 2-4, you’ll see the conclusion of the “fish story”.

myrtle-11-1-to-11-7-48.jpg Myrtle is from 11-1 to 11-7-1948. My two favorite dailes are the 11-3, in which Junior talks Bingo out of learning to twirl a Yo-Yo, for a very “canine” reason. I also like the 11-6, as Freddie stops an annoying “thumping” noise by putting his foot on Bingo’s tail. There’s something extra “right-around-homey” about this gag. In the Sunday, Freddie is putting anti-freeze in his car which turns out to be a can of maple syrup, and Bingo and Junior want to chase Hyacinth the Cat from “here to Christmas”.


 Krazy is from 2-8 to 2-10-1943 this time, with 2-9 missing. The whole week revolves around egg rationing in Coconino, everyone is allowed one egg a week. This story reflects World War Two rationing, you’ll note there aren’t any ration cards yet. Ignatz of course, rebels against this state of affairs by getting an Ostrich egg and adopting his own chicken. I like the 2-14 best, as Offissa Pupp gets spanked by an egg-juggling stranger who thinks that Pupp and Ignatz are running a confidence racket. We’ll see you next, when the cats learn to make cream from moonbeams! (By the way, do any of you readers have the Krazy Kat daily from 2-9-1943? I offer a lifetime subscription to the Catblog if you do.)

LATE EXTRA: Our faithful reader, G. Heinlein, has contributed the missing Krazy daily from 2-9-1943 which you will find included above. This isn’t the first time Mr. or Ms. Heinlein has contributed to our little enterprise, and we ain’t fergitten!