Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hi-Yo Silver!

"A fiery horse at the speed of light! A cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-Yo Silver!' The Lone Ranger!"

America first heard those words on this date back in 1933 when the Legend of the Lone Ranger began on Radio. Created by Fran Striker and first heard on station WXYZ in Detroit Michigan, The Lone Ranger had a historic run that lasted until 1954.

Within a couple of years the show went on the Mutual Broadcasting Network, then the NBC's Blue Network (which became ABC in the early Forties). A few actors portrayed the Ranger until 1941 when Brace Beemer (pictured above) took over the role and played him the longest. John Todd played the Lone Ranger's faithful Indian Companion, Tonto through-out the entire run.

Very popular by the time the show went national, The Lone Ranger went on to conquer Movie Serials, Dime Novels, merchandising...

...Comic Books and a very successful and long running newspaper strip.

Of course there was the long running and popular Television series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, but it was the Radio show that started it all.

"So return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger Rides Again!"

Cue the William Tell Overture.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Time for Beany

A lot of people don't know this, but Beany and Cecil, the classic cartoon of the Sixties created by Bob Clampett, started out as puppet show. From 1948 to 1954, "Time for Beany" played weekday afternoons, Monday through Friday for fifteen minutes. Clampett's original vision for these classic characters came from his life-long love of puppetry and wanting to do a show for children that adults could watch as well. The show was so popular that it counted among it's fans Groucho Marx and Albert Einstein (YES, that Albert Einstein!)
Above I've posted some pictures of behind the scenes of "Time for Beany". Life Magazine has started posting pictures from their archives of these wonder pictures and more. Click on the link below to look at all of these great photos of Clampett, Daws Butler (Beany and Uncle Captain), Stan Freberg (Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent and Dishonest John) and the rest of the people who worked on this wonderful show.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Huckleberry Hero Hump-Day


Our Hound Dog Hero returns this week portraying two characters from the House of Ideas. First we have a high flying mutant and founding member of the X-Men. And next Huck bounces in as the Masked Marvel.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Popeye Week #7

I did the above sketch in 2004 for the 75th Birthday of Popeye. A nice piece but I felt it could be done better.

A couple of years later, I changed the composition, made it tighter and used it for one of my calenders for the Popeye Fan Club.
'Toon in tomorrow to see what I've done for Popeye's 80th.

Popeye Week #6

Forrest "Bud" Sagendorf has worked on Popeye in print the longest and produced the most material. Sagendorf was E.C. Segar's only assistant. They met when he was a young child selling newspapers on a street corner. Sagendorf said that Segar was his only steady customer, buying the paper to see how his comic strip "Thimble Theatre" looked in print. Rain or shine Segar would be there to buy a paper and give a tip to young Forrest, monetary or artistically.
As a young teen "Bud" became Segar's apprentice, assisting in everything from layouts, inking, and story ideas. Segar liked to work at night and would often call his young assistant to come over late at night because he had an idea that needed to be worked out.
Segar was a avid sportsman and loved to fish, something he did since his childhood on the banks of the Mississippi River in his hometown of Chester, Illinois. Often these late-night story sessions would take place in a rowboat off the banks of Santa Monica, pen, paper and fishing rod in hand. Many a time the two artists had to be warned by the local authorities to keep the loud laughing down as they would come up with ideas for upcoming strips.
Sagendorf continued assisting his mentor when in 1937, Elzie Segar was diagnosed with Leukemia and passed away on October 13, 1938. King Features Syndicate, owners of the copyright of "Popeye" and "Thimble Theatre", hired first Doc Winner then Bela Zaboly to take over the Comic Strip. Sagendorf continued working on the Sunday page, helping with the games and puzzles section, all the while perfecting his artistic skills so that he would one day take over the adventures of Popeye.

In 1946 Dell Publishing, in their Four Color Series, wanted to start printing original Popeye material in their comic books. Bud Sagendorf took up the task of writing and drawing these comic book adventures of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy and the rest of the cast of characters created by his mentor, Elzie Segar. (The new stories started in Four Color #113 July,1946) After four issues, Popeye was awarded his own title in February of 1948, starting with #1.
In these comics, along with the cast of Thimble Theatre, Sagendorf included stories starring (from Segar's second strip) John Sappo and Prof. O.G. Wattasnozzle, the Mad Genius. He also in the early issues included stories of Olive Oyl's first boyfriend, Harold Ham Gravy. Ham had moved out West and these tales centered around his mis-adventures as a Cowboy.
Sagendorf produced 90 (plus) comic books published by Dell, Gold Key and King Comics. When the publishing rights went to Charlton Comics in 1969, he did covers for the first two issues and wrote and drew a couple of stories for the #100th issue.

In 1959 Bud Sagendorf was finally given the job that he trained for as a young apprentice, writing and drawing the Popeye Comic Strip. He took over the Dailies and Sundays in August of that year and added some new members to the cast. Between the strip and comic books Sagendorf introduced Granny, Popeye's irascible Grandmother - famous for her lousy cooking and fisticuffs. There was also Dufus, Popeye's dim-witted nephew (actually the son one of Popeye's old sailor buddies) and the ghost of his Great-Grandfather, Patcheye the Pirate.
Sagendorf also produced material for Little Golden Books, Western Publishing, coloring books and art for all the merchandise made from the 1950's to the 1990's.
In 1979 Bud Sagendorf wrote "Popeye: The First Fifty Years", a history of the One-Eyed Sailor and Elzie Crisler Segar, celebrating Popeye's Golden Anniversary.
Sagendorf continued on the daily strip until 1986 and the Sunday until his death in 1994. Today King Features Syndicate runs reprints of Sagendorf's work in the daily strip.

If Elzie Segar is the creator and father of Popeye, Olive, Wimpy, Swee'pea, etc. and the comic strip that introduced them, "Thimble Theatre", Bud Sagendorf would be their Step-Father.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Popeye Week #5

A couple of art pieces by E.C. Segar:

Segar would do promotional ads for upcoming story lines in his Thimble Theatre Comic Strip. Above is the promotional piece for "The Eighth Sea", the 1932 story introducing Bluto the Terrible.

Above is a water-color painting done by Segar for his only assistant, Forrest "Bud" Sagendorf. I think it's great that there is a nautical theme to it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Huckleberry Hero Hump-Day: Special Edition

This week Huck dons his Navy Whites to give a special greeting to a fellow Cartoon Star.

Popeye Week #4

The above pencil sketch was done for one of my calenders that I did for the Popeye Fan Club. It was the cover and made to show how Popeye has change through his 80 years.
I posted the finished inked version back in September, but I thought I'd share the original version with you for Popeye Week.

Popeye Week #3

Above is a piece of art work that E.C. Segar (Popeye's creator) would send to fans that would request a drawing. He did quite a few different pieces, some of which I'll post later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Popeye Week #2

For 51 years Jack Mercer was the voice of Popeye and contributed much more to the animated version of the famous Sailor.
Born in 1910, Mercer came into the world a child of a theatrical family. His parents performed in vaudeville traveling the country and Jack himself made his stage debut at a young age adopting the stage name "Baby Winfield". He continued to perform into his early twenties when his parents, seeing that Vaudeville was dying, encouraged their son to find another profession.
Jack loved to draw so he became an inbetweener at the Fleischer Bros. Studio in New York City. Max and Dave Fleischer (Producers of Betty Boop Cartoons) started producing Popeye cartoons in 1933 and was having tremendous success with the series.
Billy Costello was the original voice of Popeye and due to the success of the cartoons, became very popular. The success went to his head and started making demands on the Fleischer Brothers.
After a couple of years, The Fleischer's (having enough of Costello's prima donna attitude) fired him and the search was on for a new voice artist for Popeye.
Now as the story goes, Jack Mercer (having a great gift of mimicry) used to entertain his co-workers with his impersonations of movie stars, radio stars and his fellow employees. He would also imitate sound effects and more importantly, Popeye.
One day when Lou Fleischer was walking through the Art Department, he overheard Mercer doing Popeye. He went to his brothers and told them that he had found Popeye's new voice. They had Mercer audition and he won the role, beginning his long association with the Cartoon Sailor.
Mercer had a better vocal range than Costello, and could reflect all forms of emotion using his voice. He could also sing better as the Sailor which would serve him well in his first cartoon as Popeye, "King of the Mardi Gras".
Jack would also add-lid additional dialogue in the cartoons, making it sound like Popeye was mumbling under his breath some funny comments on what was taking place in the cartoon. Mercer came up with these ad-libs on his own and The Fleischer's, enjoying what they heard, assigned Jack to the Story Department to help out with scripts.
In the early 1940's, Mercer started submitting full scripts to the Story Department and began writing for the Popeye Cartoons as well. Now Jack Mercer was talking for Popeye, writing for him, and as an artist, became the only voice artist in the Golden Age of Hollywood to be able to draw the character he was giving voice to.
Above and below are samples of Jack's drawings of Popeye.

In 1943, The Fleischer's lost control of the studio to Paramount Pictures, the distributors of their cartoons. Paramount renamed the company Famous Studios and continued making Popeye cartoons and others as well.
Mercer, after serving in World War II, returned to Famous to write and speak for Popeye. He also began to do voice work and write for other cartoons for the studio as well. Mercer spoke for Popeye in 192 theatrical cartoons and wrote 34 scripts for the Sailor.
In 1960 King Features Syndicate, the owners of the Popeye copyright, began producing Popeye Cartoons for television. Again Mercer was hired to voice Popeye and write for him. 220 cartoons were made for TV.
Jack Mercer also gave voice to Felix the Cat for his TV series and his cartoon co-stars. Mercer also wrote scripts for Milton the Monster and Deputy Dawg.
In 1978 Hanna-Barbera, creators of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and The Flintstones, wanted to bring back the One-eyed Sailor to TV. After getting approval from King Features, Hanna-Barbera began producing new Popeye Cartoons for Saturday Morning Television. Once again Jack Mercer was back giving voice to Popeye and writing his animated adventures.
During this time Mercer suffered a heart attack. He survived the attack and part of his rehabilitation was to continue speaking for Popeye. Hanna-Barbera set-up a special recording studio at the Hospital and Jack recorded his dialogue while he was recuperating.

Jack Mercer is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the Voice Artist to work on a single character the longest. Mercer recorded Popeye's voice for Cartoon Shorts, Radio, Television, Children's Records, Commercials and Public Address Announcements.
Out of all the people to work on Popeye in any medium (film, print, comics, etc.), Jack Mercer has the distinction of being with The Sailor the longest.

Elzie Segar created Popeye. Bud Sagendorf was his Step-Father. Max and Dave Fleischer gave him animated life. Jack Mercer gave Popeye not only his voice, but character, heart, and a soul.

Today, January 13, is the 99th Anniversary of Jack Mercer's birth. Let's celebrate Jack's Birthday as we celebrate Popeye's 80th Birthday.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hanna-Barbera on Flickr

About a week ago I joined a group on Flickr called the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera. It is a group of people who post pictures of their collectables related to the stars of all the Hanna-Barbera Shows. They have everything from toys to model sheets and from lunch boxes to magazine articles. It's like a Hanna-Barbera Museum on the web.
I've posted My Huckleberry Heroes on there and my other Hanna-Barbera artwork.
Go and check it out, it's a lot of fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Huckleberry Heroes Hump-Day

OK it's a New Year, so let's get started with two Heroes from the Golden Age of Comics.

Spy Smasher

This week Ol' Huck portrays two Heroes from Fawcett Comics, famous for publishing the original Captain Marvel. Both were very popular during WWII, and Spy Smasher also appeared in his own movie serial.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Funnies

It's Sunday so I thought I'd post some of my interpretations of Classic Comic Strip Characters.

Dick Tracy

Alley Oop
The Shmoo from Li'l Abner

Hans & Fritz - The Katzenjammers Kids

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I'd like to start the new year with a couple of various pieces of art.
First we have DC's Mistress of Magic, Zatanna. This was done as part of a promotional package I hope to sell them on one day.

Ol' Elmer Fudd here is a simple line sketch in marker for a painting collage of all the Looney Tunes Characters.

Above is one of the few airbrush pieces I did that turned out OK. I've always found airbrushs to be cumbersome and unpredictable and VERY expensive to use. Give me a good old paint brush or crow quill pen any day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a Happy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year.

By the way, Popeye has a very important anniversary coming up. Stay 'tooned!