Archive for the ‘Milton Caniff’ Category

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Cartooning: Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning Part One

Cartoonists People On Paper

Footage of Milton Caniff, Hal Foster, Bud Fisher, Chic Young, Al Capp and other cartoonists at work in their studios…

"Passing Parade: People On Paper" (MGM/1945)

(Quicktime 7 / 24 megs)

REG’LAR FELLERS, LI’L ABNER, FLASH GORDON, TERRY & THE PIRATES, GAGS & GALS, STEVE CANYON… Meet The Men Behind The Comics

ByrnesByrnesToday, we began digitizing an important book… Gene Byrnes’ Complete Guide To Cartooning 1950. Marc Crisafulli and David King generously lent us a copy of this amazing collection of capsule features on all of the major cartoonists of the early 50s for digitization. It’s said that Ralph Bakshi learned to cartoon from this book.

In the coming days, I will be posting more from this book, along with a little biographical info on the featured artists. Today, the cartoonists profiled are all newspaper comic strip creators… Gene Byrnes, Jefferson Machamer, Alex Raymond, Louis Eisele, Charles Voight, Al Capp and Milton Caniff.

REG’LAR FELLERS
By Gene Byrnes

Gene Byrnes intended a career in sports, but after being laid up from a leg injury in 1911, he took to copying cartoons by Tad Dorgan and decided to take a correspondence course in cartooning. He began his career as a professional cartoonist with the help of Winsor McCay, who got him a job with the New York Telegram as a sports cartoonist around 1915. In 1917, he created his most famous strip, Reg’lar Fellers. which ran for over thirty years. He wrote several influential books on cartooning and illustration in the 40s and early 50s. He passed away in 1974.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

RIP KIRBY
By Alex Raymond

Alex Raymond is best known for creating the comic strip, Flash Gordon in 1933. He was responsible for several other important strips as well, as creator or ghost artist, including Rip Kirby, Jungle Jim, Tim Tyler’s Luck and Tillie the Toiler. His strip, Secret Agent X9 was created in collaboration with Dasheill Hammett. He died in a car accident in 1956.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

JEFFERSON MACHAMER

Thomas Jefferson Machamer began as a staff artist on the Kansas City Star in the early 1920s, and soon moved to New York, where he secured work with the New York Tribune. He made his name with his cartoons of pretty girls in Judge magazine in the late 1920s. In 1932, his strip, Gags & Gals debuted in the New York Mirror. He continued to be active in both newspaper cartoons and magazine illustration throughout the 40s and 50s, and passed away in 1960.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

LOUIS EISELE

I don’t have any information on Louis Eislele. If anyone out there knows his biographical details, please post them to the comments below.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

CHARLES VOIGHT

Charles Voight was known as a “girl specialist” with illustrations and comics in the New York World and Life magazine in the early decades of the 20th century. His strips included Petey Dink and Betty. He passed away in 1947.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

ON THE WRITING OF CONTINUITY
By Al Capp

At the age of nine, Al Capp lost a leg in a streetcar accident. He became the youngest syndicated cartoonist in the country at age 19 with his strip, Colonel Gilfeather. He ghosted the strip Joe Palooka for Ham Fischer for a while, before striking out on his own with Li’l Abner in 1934. The strip was among the most popular of all time, entering the popular culture with Capp’s creations like "Sadie Hawkins Day", "Kickapoo Joy Juice" and "The Shmoo". Capp’s strip inspired a Broadway musical and feature film and ran until 1977. Capp died two years later.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

DETOUR GUIDE FOR AN ARMCHAIR MARCO POLO
By Milton Caniff

Milton Caniff was born in Ohio in 1907. He took a job as a staff artist with the Associated Press in 1932, and soon inherited Al Capp’s strip Colonel Gilfeather when Capp left the syndicate. In 1934, Caniff created the comic strip he is best known for, Terry and the Pirates. The series was hugely popular throughout the war years, but Caniff didn’t own the copyright- it belonged to The Chicago Tribune/New York Daily News. He left the comic behind to create a new one, Steve Canyon, which spawned a short-lived television series and ran until Caniff’s death in 1988.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

STUDYING THE COMICS PAGES

In this section, there are three articles on how to get fresh ideas, Byrnes goes through the newspaper analyzing the appeal of various comic strips, and Chic Young and Hal Foster are featured.

HOW TO GET IDEAS
By Dana Coty

I don’t have much information on Dana Coty (Dec. 19, 1901 – March 19, 1962) aside from the fact that he worked at Disney in the mid-30s, and was a story man at Famous Studios.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

J. N. Darling (Ding)
on EDITORIAL IDEAS

Ding DarlingDing Darling"Ding" Darling was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Sioux City Journal, The Des Moines Register, the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Globe. His editorial cartoons dealing with conservation causes were a staple of the opinion sections of many papers for decades. He passed away in 1962.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

IDEAS FOR ADVERTISING CARTOONS
By Sam Cobean

Sam CobeanSam CobeanSam Cobean was an inbetweener on Snow White, barely surviving on $16 a week, when he joined the strikers fighting for the creation of the Screen Cartoonists Guild. After returning to work when the contract was settled, Sam realized that Disney was not the place for him and took a job as a copy boy at the Washington Post. There, he developed an interest in political cartoons. During the war, he worked in a unit producing training cartoons and pamphlets along with cartoonist Charles Addams. Addams introduced him to the editor of the New Yorker, and Cobean’s cartoons appeared there for many years afterwards. In 1950, he created a book of cartoons, titled "Cobean’s Naked Eye" which was a bestseller. He died in a car accident in 1951.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

STUDIES OF COMIC STRIPS

In this section, Gene Byrnes analyzes the style and appeal of various contemporary newspaper comics. The most interesting thing about the strips he features is the high level of draftsmanship, and the diverse variety of styles and approaches to the medium. Newpaper comics were once considered the pinnacle of cartooning… but today, they have plunged to its nadir. Comparing Prince Valiant to Drabble or Bringing Up Father to Cathy is a depressing task. It’s shameful that so great an artform has been allowed to deteriorate so far. I hope there are aspiring cartoonists out there who are willing to take up the difficult task of restoring the comics page to its rightful place in American culture again. This overview is a good place to start investigating the forgotten art of newspaper cartooning.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

SUNDAY PAGES
Featuring Chic Young & Hal Foster

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

Chic YoungChic YoungChic Young was born in 1901 and began his career as a newspaper cartoonist in 1923. His first strip for King Features was Dumb Dora and in 1930, he created the strip, Blondie, one of the longest running newspaper comics of all time. He drew it until he passed away in 1973, and his son, Dean continues to write it to this day. Blondie was hugely successful and spawned film and TV adaptations.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

Prince Valiant

Hal FosterHal FosterHal Foster was raised in the wilds of Halifax, Nova Scotia where he was an avid boater and outdoorsman. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade and began a course of self education studying sketching and anatomy. He set art aside to become a hunting guide and gold prospector, but at age 28, he decided to devote his life to a career in art. He received classical training at the Chicago Art Institute, the National Academy of Design and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. In 1927, he was contracted to do a comic strip adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes. 1n 1937, Foster introduced an original property, Prince Valiant, the most successful adventure strip of all time. Foster produced the strip for over 40 years, passing away in 1982.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

Other artists featured in this section are Jimmy Hatlo, Otto Soglow, George McManus, Chester Gould and Frank King… all worthy of spending a few minutes Googling and reading up on.

Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning
Byrnes Complete Guide To Cartooning

The posts I present here at Animation Resources aren’t intended to be the last word on any subject, particularly one as large and multifaceted as the history of cartooning. My hope is that you use these posts as a springboard for your own investigation. Take the names and examples I present here and start searching the web for more… scour bookstores and flea markets… and expand your frame of reference beyond just what is presented here. I wish I had a source of "hot tips" like this when I was first starting out. Take advantage of this great resource we’re building.

Many thanks to Marc Crisafulli and David King for sharing this great book with us.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Comic Strips: Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon Dalies

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Today, we have an exciting post for you… original artwork by Milton Caniff for the Steve Canyon newspaper strip.

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Animation Resources supporter, John Ellis is working with the family of Milton Caniff on a DVD release of the live action Steve Canyon television series, which debuted in September of 1958 on NBC. In searching through the family’s collection of memorabilia, John stumbled across a batch of original inks of daily and Sunday pages that the family didn’t realize that they had. The estate of Milton Caniff has generously allowed Animation Resources to digitize the material for inclusion in our cartoon database.

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

John Ellis has been doing considerable research into Caniff and Steve Canyon. I asked him to write a few words about Caniff…

Milton Caniff has been referred to as "The Rembrandt of the Comic Strip", and oft by himself as "an Armchair Marco Polo", but in fact this whirlwind of a comic strip innovator and writer was essentially a sincerely nice man who loved to draw. Yes this gentleman born in Hillsboro Ohio in 1907 created and drew Terry and The Pirates from 1934 to 1946, which absolutely set the standard for the adventure comic strip. True, he raised the bar with Steve Canyon, which unlike Terry, he owned lock stock and barrel from the first daily strip in January 1947 through to June 1988, the final installment published shortly after his death. Absolutely he worked rain or shine, seven days/strips a week for 54 years, even from his hospital bed, the deadlines never ended.

Milton Caniff in his studio

Milton Caniff in his studio ca. 1947
(click for a larger view)

But beyond the art and dedication, what is true is that I’ve never heard an unkind word in his regard. His nephew Harry Guyton can’t even remember Milton ever losing his temper. My friend David Haft, who produced the NBC Steve Canyon primetime TV series in 1958, made a comment as we watched Milton on a vintage filmclip promoting the series recently. He said "Lovely, lovely man". Happy 100th birthday Milton.

John Ellis
Hollywood, 2007

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Make sure to click on the images to see high resolution versions. Caniff’s amazing adventure strip from the late 40s has never looked better!

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon
Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

STEVE CANYON TV SHOW

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

For info on the Steve Canyon TV show DVD, see… www.stevecanyondvd.blogspot.com

STEVE CANYON AT AMAZON

Milton Caniff BookOrder Steve CanyonOrder Steve CanyonFantagraphics has a great book on Caniff’s career, and Checker has released year by year reprints of the classic Steve Canyon strip. Caniff was a master storyteller, and the first few years of Steve Canyon are examples of his genius at the height of its powers. Click on the pictures of the books for more info.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Comic BooksComic Books

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Comic Books.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Comic Strips: Milton Caniff- A Remembrance

Milton Caniff

Milton Caniff with Jack Benny

UNCLE MILT
By Harry Grant Guyton

I would like to share some of my special memories about my uncle Milton Arthur Caniff.

Bunny (My aunt Esther) and Milt never had children, so my older sister, brother and I were their kids for years. But they also adopted many, many other children. One is Hesper Anderson, the screenwriter of Children of a Lesser God. They put a number of young adults through school and college, so in this way they were parents to many. Unfortunately, none of us were artistic in the same sense he was, at least not to my knowledge.

I recall that when I was twelve and living in Los Angeles in 1936, Milt gave my sister, brother and I yellow slicker raincoats that he painted large pictures of the characters from Terry And The Pirates on the back of. I believe my sister had a large black drawing of Pat Ryan on her slicker, my brother had Terry and I had Connie. I often wonder what happened to those raincoats.

Milton Caniff

Milton Caniff with Joan Crawford,
the inspiration for the "Dragon Lady"

Milt had narcolepsy and could- and did- fall asleep anywhere and at any time. In the old days when he was smoking, drawing and watching TV, he would fall asleep, drop his cigarette, and burn his drawing. When he burnt a hole in the strip, he always hoped it was in a spot he could cover; if not, he had to redo the whole strip. Speaking of Milt’s smoking, after Milt quit, he always used to light up women’s cigarettes so he could get a few puffs.

Milt had the habit of falling asleep while talking to you. We were in a chauffeured Limo in Panama. The chauffeur, Milt and I were in the front seat with the girls in the back. Milt, talking, fell asleep and awakened about five minutes later, still continuing the conversation. Needless to say, the chauffeur was amazed. Milt had bought Bun a 1959 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce for her 1958 Christmas present. When Milt drove, he put the back part of the seat down so far, it appeared he was sleeping. Alas, one day en route to the Racquet Club in Palm Springs, he did fall asleep while driving like this. After that incident, Bunny would not let him drive unless he had just awakened from a nap.

Milt and Bunny spent money like it was water. they enjoyed their life and lived it fully. When they lived in Palm Springs, Bun sent their dry cleaning to New York because no one in California could do it right. Bun always had Milt on a diet, such as eating celery and carrots and having just one drink before dinner. In Palm Springs they had a main house and three blocks away they had a duplex. One side of the duplex was Milt’s studio with the other side for guests. Milt would spend half of a 24 hour day or more in the studio. The first time we stayed in the guest part, Bun always had "goodies" such as food and liquor in the kitchen. We had a favorite cookie, so she had four or five packages of these laid out on the kitchen counter. The next morning they were gone. While Milt was working, he wandered over, saw the cookies and devoured them. Needless to say, we always left some goodies out for Milt, and no one ever said "boo" about them.

Milton Caniff

Caniff with Bob Crane of "Hogan’s Heroes"

Milt had the ability to talk to you and remember almost everything you said. He picked the brains of everyone he spoke with and was able to fit almost any conversation into his strip in one form or another. It mattered not if you were a general or a private. He could elicit information from either and use it. When he visited a base and found a military person he liked and wanted to have in the strip, he would use the person’s first name as his last name, such as Sgt. Andy Trone became Sgt. Andy. The character Charlie Vanilla was Charles Russhon, a US Army photographer who was on the first US plane to land in Japan. To my knowledge Milton never put any idea down on paper that went into his files. It mostly came from his head and went into the strip as he drew it. I found no notes or other papers that would give a clue as to what Milt had in mind or what future strips would show.

Of course Milton Caniff was a stickler for accuracy, but his fans were eagle-eyed. I was with him at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. He climbed into the cockpit of a fighter plane (an F-104 I believe), and spent maybe five minutes in it. That evening, he used it in Steve Canyon. He had committed the control panel in that cockpit to memory, and months later when the strip was published, he received numerous letters saying that had Steve been flying as high as Milt implied in the strip, one of the gauge readings was wrong.

He loved to get letters of criticism as well as praise because this meant people were reading the strip. One time an editor who was a friend of Milton’s said he had sent back a letter of criticism to the writer. Milt asked him not to do that in the future. He wanted them forwarded to him because maybe he had made a mistake and he wanted to correct it if he had. When he was doing Terry and the Pirates, he had once put Terry’s insignia on wrong, and got hundreds of letters pointing out the error. His eyes would twinkle as he said, "See! They’re following the strip!"

Milton Caniff

Japanese newspaper cartoonist
Yoshirou Kato with Milton

Milt told me when he was switching from Terry And The Pirates to Steve Canyon that he had to get William Randolph Hearst’s OK on certain aspects of the strip. Milt said he flew to Los Angeles, took a plane to near San Simeon and was driven up to Hearst’s "castle". He was shown into the dining room where Hearst sat at the opposite end of a long table drinking a cup of coffee. Hearst asked Milt questions such as what he had in mind for Steve and how much money he wanted. Milt said to himself, "You ungracious bastard!" and told Hearst what he had in mind for the strip, asking for double his present salary and all the fringes- plus ownership of the copyrights to his strip. He related how Hearst said, "You’re a high-priced son of a bitch." and got up and left the room. Milt left and two weeks later was informed that Hearst had agreed to the terms.

Milt told me that in the early 30s and 40s, he sent his original strips to the syndicates, instead of sending photostat copies. One day they cleared out the storeroom and sent him back what was left. A lot of Milt’s original Terry art had been taken from that storeroom by a person or persons unknown. So Milton decided to bequeath his alma mater, Ohio State University, his files, art and memorabilia. Ohio State has a great many of Milt’s original pieces that he drew from the beginning of his career. After Milt passed away, when I was going through the file cabinets and belongings in New York, I came across some things that I really wanted to keep but couldn’t. I donated everything Milt had to Lucy Caswell and the Milton Caniff Reading Room at Ohio State University, including the #2 pop-up book of Terry And The Pirates which I loved so much.

One time whoever took his weekly strips to the photo engravers had lost them and he had to do the whole week over. As I was taking the strips to be copied he jokingly told me, "Do not lose these." When I returned, I told him I was going to wash the Rolls Royce and found the lost strips under the passenger seat. He said, "Since you found them, they’re yours." He always gave me strips and items he had done for various organizations, because of the Terry And The Pirates originals that had been taken. He instructed me to not give them away, because someday they may become valuable. So I kept them and forgot I had most of them. Earlier this year John Ellis and I were going through boxes of papers and files and we found them.

Milton Caniff

Dean Fredericks (TV’s Steve Canyon),
Harry Truman and Milton Caniff

During the 1954 National Cartoonist’s Society convention in Washington, D.C., I had been invited to join the group and was to present the Silver T-Square Award to President Eisenhower and Secretary of the Treasury Humphries. However, there was a military officer who belonged to the NCS who said that since I was only a Master Sergeant, he should be the one to present it. In the end, Milton presented it himself. Walt Kelly was trying to fix me up with any and every girl we ran into. I heard that he and Al Capp got into it, but I was not present when they did and I don’t recall what it was about.

Here’s an interesting side note to all of this… I was stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia at the time and had been loaned a Major General’s plane to get to the NCS convention in Washington D.C. When I reported to Bolling AFB for my flight home, a Lieutenant Colonel was waiting to fly me back to Fort Eustis. As we were walking down the ramp to the plane, a paratroop Major from Fort Bragg, NC with his combat boots bloused and his ribbons shining, asked the Colonel for a ride. The Colonel stated, "You’ll have to ask the Sergeant- it’s his plane." The Major finally swallowed his pride and asked me if it was OK, I said yes. The Major tried to get into the co-pilot’s seat, but the Colonel said. "No way. That’s the Sergeant’s seat." As we arrived at Fort Eustis, the Major jumped out and ran into Flight Operations. As I entered they were all trying to figure out how a Master Sergeant in the Army could have a Lt. Colonel type fly him around! Milt tried for years to fit this incident into Steve Canyon but couldn’t come up with a good story that would fit.

Over the years Milton would use my name in the strips, usually on signs or on soldier’s uniforms. I always got a big kick out of that. You can see the name "Guyton" clearly in the last panel of the December 24th, 1961 Steve Canyon Sunday page. My son, Terry Wayne Guyton was named after the comic strip Terry. My sister has two daughters who Milt used in Steve Canyon, Dianne was the model for "Doodly Bixenshoos", and Sandra was the model for "Orbs Corbs" in the mid 60s. I had a wonderful relationship with my uncle and saw him usually six times a year. On each visit he would talk to me for hours while drawing and watching sports on TV. He always said I took care of him. Bunny kept him on that diet and I always left treats in the kitchen. Often, I would find a thank you note on the table. Every day with him was a holiday, and I learned a lot. I miss him.

STEVE CANYON TV SHOW

Milton Caniff Steve Canyon

For info on the Steve Canyon TV show DVD, see… www.stevecanyondvd.blogspot.com

STEVE CANYON AT AMAZON

Milton Caniff BookOrder Steve CanyonOrder Steve CanyonFantagraphics has a great book on Caniff’s career, and Checker has released year by year reprints of the classic Steve Canyon strip. Caniff was a master storyteller, and the first few years of Steve Canyon are examples of his genius at the height of its powers. Click on the pictures for more info.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.