Saturday, March 31, 2018

In the roads of Paree with cartoonist Pierlis

1909 [1] Detail.

Frenchman Pierre-Marie-Joseph Lissac (March 19, 1878, Limoges - 1955, Chevreuse) worked as cartoonist under the pennames ‘Pierlis,’ ‘Pierre Lissac’ and ‘Kiss.’ Bylined as Pierlis he did these large cartoons for Le Rire. This is a selection of fifteen, published as full-pagers in 1909-13. 

1890s [2] Title design of Le Rire weekly, Paris, France.
1909 [3] Small exercises. March 13.
1909 [4] War preparation. April 10.
1909 [5] The army’s role during a general strike. May 1.
1909 [6] A pretty Paris fire. May 29.
1909 [7] Large exercises. Sep 25.
1910 [8] Swedish gymnastics. Nov 19.
1910 [9] Melancholia. Feb 18. 
1910 [10] Air support. Aug 5. Signed with both his penname Pierlis and his real name Pierre Lissac. 
1910 [11] Nine days of camping. Oct 7.
1910 [12] First contacts. Nov 4.
1910 [13] Dung duty. April 5.
1910 [14] A fixed solution. May 10.
1910 [15] The husbands’ train. Aug 23.
1910 [16] A new school year starts. Oct 4.
1913 [17] Militairy program. Dec 20.
1913 [18] Found no photo of Pierre Lissac yet.

Pictures selected by Huib van Opstal from the Gallica archives.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Leo “The Lion” – Cartoonist O’Mealia

1913 [1] Odd Facts About Stars of Prize Ring, in The San Francisco Call, Sep 15. “…“Jack” Johnson always laughs when in the ring…”
“What did Leo do today?” was the question from the steady Daily News readers of his time. A sports cartoonist like no other I’ve seen doing this work, Leo had a style all his own. It was pen and ink painstakingly applied — line by line — by his talented hand, adding to it a whimsical sense of humor. He signed his name “By Leo” and put his trademark small lion in every drawing. The lion was a lovable little squirt of an animal who sometimes would run around the edges of the cartoon delivering a message. A cartoon without that lion was not a genuine Leo. — sporting cartoonist Bill Gallo, 1960

1913 [2] Lion plus Leo signature.

Leo Edward O’Mealia was born in Le Roy, New York, March 31, 1884. The family moved when he was fourteen and he grew up in Rochester New York where he “played baseball in the Caledonian Avenue vacant lots that back up to the Pennsylvania Railroad yards, and he was a pupil in Immaculate Conception school.” O’Mealia’s first job as a cartoonist was on the old Rochester Herald under John Scott Clubb where “I was put on sports … they made an artist out of me.” His most popular creation was called Sod Bug, about an insect who commented on local baseball games. From the Herald he moved to the Rochester Times, still drawing sporting cartoons, and compiling a collection of his newspaper cartoons titled Mut and Flea Brain Leaks. He sold over 1000 copies in advance of publication.
1913 [3] Three Men in a Tub, in The Evening Herald, July 29. “…I thought it was very dangerous, but it’s nothing but cheese!…”
Mr. O’Mealia worked on the New York Journal under the late Winsor McCay, once one of the best-known cartoonists in the country, and was assistant to the famous “Tad” Dorgan, the sports cartoonist of the daily paper. When Tad’s heart, which he always said was one of those “dime-a-dozen tickers,” gave out, Leo subbed and later succeeded the renowned Dorgan. Comic Strip Artist Visiting Old Home Town, in Rochester Democrat Chronicle, Aug 3, 1935
Winsor McCay was drawing political cartoons for Hearst at the time and touring the vaudeville circuit with the animated Gertie the Dinosaur. The company made a stop in Rochester and played the Temple theatre. John (Mickey) Finny, the Temple’s manager, introduced McCay to O’Mealia over a poker game. Through McCay’s intercession he was given a job as cartoonist on the “sporting side” of the New York Evening Journal. There he was given into the charge of sporting cartoonists/columnists Tad Dorgan and Hype Igoe.
1913 [4] The History of a White Hope No. 1, in The San Francisco Call, Sep 2. “…He “threw” all the strong men…”
On the journal he was doing small fill in bits when Arthur Brisbane, Hearst’s great editor, stopped at the young man’s drawing board, admired his work, and advanced him to a full-fledged sports cartoonist. At that time, he adopted the slogan “Leo the Lion,” which has identified his sports cartoons ever since.Seen and Heard, Henry W. Clune, Democrat Chronicle, June 13, 1957
1913 [5] The History of a White Hope, in The San Francisco Call, Oct 15. “…Moran walked all around the ring…”
The Great White Hope era began on Dec 27, 1908 when Negro boxer Jack Johnson defeated the Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia. Jack London, journalist, called for retired champion James Jeffries to return to the ring to “remove the smile from Johnson’s face.” The period ended April 5, 1915 when Jack Johnson lost the Heavyweight Championship to Jess Willard at Havana, Cuba.

1913 [6] Here’s a Regular Hard Luck Story, in The San Francisco Call, Oct 27. “…He holds the stakes…”
One of O’Mealia’s one-panel serials on the sports page was about a boxer named George “Sledge” Seiger, titled The History of a White Hope. O’Mealia left after two years to draw comic strips for Associated Newspapers syndicate. For the next seventeen years he drew comic strips. Among them were Little Pal, Freddie’s Film, Jungle Definitions and Wedlocked. In 1929 he began drawing an adventure strip called Sherlock Holmes (the Conan Doyle character he was also illustrating reissues of novels at the time) followed by another comic strip, Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu.

1930 [7] Sherlock Holmes – The Musgrave Ritual; A New Adventure, Leo O’Maelia comic strip after Conan Doyle.
The busy cartoonist was reported to have assisted Percy Crosby on Skippy and Robert Ripley on Believe It or Not. He gave up comic strips in the early 30s to work as a free-lance illustrator and as a comic book artist at National periodicals drawing for More Fun, Action, Adventure and Detective Comics. He was one of the cartoonists Jerry Siegel considered for the drawing of Superman.

1950s [8] “I’ll string along.” Opening of the Baseball Season — with the  Pirates, Reds, Orioles, Senators, and a Dodger fan.
1950s [9] Photo of Leo O’Mealia.
In 1939 O’Mealia signed on with the New York Daily News. His first assignment was illustrating Jimmy Powers sporting column. Leo (“The Lion”) Edward O’Mealia died on May 7, 1960, at Brooklyn, New York.

1955 [10] Who’s a Bum! Leo O’Mealia’s classic victory cover outsold every other paper that October Wednesday when the Dodgers beat the Yankees — read Bill Gallo’s background story in our Further Reading link to the Daily Mail.
Other cartoonists signing with ‘Leo’ were the American Leo Hershfield, the Dutch Leo Debudt, and the Dutch Alfred Leonardus Mazure or Maz.

FURTHER READING. Genuine Leo – Gallo Remembers Leo O’Mealia, by sporting cartoonist Bill Gallo in the New York Daily News, May 8, 1960 HERE.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Rube Goldberg — Sporting Days in San Francisco

1910s  1  Cartoonists Rube Goldberg (right) & Harry Hershfield (left).

“Reuben L. Goldberg draws pictures with his funny bone and can write as freshly as he draws. He is now in Reno, and will write and draw of the great fight today for The Call.” — The San Francisco Call, July 4, 1910
by John Adcock
RUBE. Reuben Lucius Goldberg, previously sporting cartoonist on the Chronicle in San Francisco, where he had started at $8 per week in 1904, was hired to replace Tad Dorgan as the Bulletin’s sporting cartoonist. (Tad had left the San Francisco Bulletin for New York on March 31, 1904, to drew cartoons and write sporting columns for Hearst.) “One of my secret ambitions, which I never had dared confess,” Goldberg recalled, “was to learn to write — which I had never attempted. Now I commenced to write in the vein of the pictures; a sort of mild, semi-sarcastic ridicule, not of individuals but of situations and action.” At the Bulletin he was often teamed up with writer Bill McGeehan, who once described boxing as “the cauliflower industry.”

1907  2  ‘Fitz In Role Of Sculptor’s Model.’ Denver Post, Sep 24.
TEX. George Lewis “Tex” Rickard, following a career in the Klondike as a prospector, gambler and dancehall king pulled up stakes and headed to a new boom town at Goldfield, Nevada where he got in to the boxing promotion business. There he convinced the town big shots that a championship boxing event would put the place on the map. Pugilists Oscar “Battling Nelson” (34) and African-American Joe Gans (24) took him up on the offer. The prize of $30,000 in twenty-dollar gold coins was put on view in a shop window.
1909  3  ‘Many Forces At Work To Arouse Jeffries To Action.’ Denver Daily News, Jan 15.

“I had no idea that the big newspapers of the country would pay any attention to us. I knew it would attract sportsmen, and that we might have a chance to break even. But we weren’t concerned about profit and loss. We figured to lose. I got my first big shock when two young fellers came up to me and said they represented the San Francisco Bulletin. They looked so young that I thought that somebody had sent them in to kid me. But when young Bill McGeehan and Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist, showed me their credentials, I nearly fell down. And I got shock number two when they hired a hole-in-the-wall on the main street and stretched a banner across the street announcing to the world that here was the San Francisco Bulletin’s headquarters for the great $30,000 ‘Battle of the Century’” — Tex Rickard quoted in ‘Yes, “Tex” Gave Them a Great Show Until the End,’ in the Literary Digest, Jan 26, 1929
1910  4  ‘Anything To Help The Big Fight Along.’ Rube Goldberg sporting cartoons in the Denver Daily News, April 5.
1910  5  DRAMATIC PHOTOGRAPH. This week’s front page of The San Francisco Dramatic Review — ‘A Group of Notables Who are Interested in Theatricals and Well Known in Business Circles’ — presents Jack Kipper, Walter Kelly, Hector D. McKenzie, Nat C. Goodwin, James J. Jeffries, Sam Berger, and Tex Rickard. March 12.
WINNER JOE GANS. The fight took place on Sept 3, 1906 and was filmed. Battling Nelson lost on a foul, disqualified for low hitting in the forty-second round. It was America’s first national boxing spectacle.

“Bill McGeehan and Rube Goldberg received a wire from their editor instructing them to meet a lady reporter at the train. They looked anxiously for her all night. Between waits they bathed their patience at Tex Rickard’s bar. The lady writer arrived at 7 A.M. and got a very incoherent welcome from two wobbly young men. Bill and Rube sat down to write their stories for the paper. Rube’s hands floundered over the typewriter keys, his eyes became glassy, and darkness closed in around him. He fell forward, dead to the world, using the exclamation mark as a pillow. McGeehan deposited him in a convenient waste basket, re-wrote Rube’s entire story and sent it to the paper signing Rube’s name. when Rube woke up, he was handed the following telegram: ‘Best story you ever wrote. Send us more of the same stuff. Fremont Older, Editor.’” — ‘In One Ear,’ in Collier’s, Dec 22, 1928
1910  6  ‘In The City Of Sagebrush And Divorce.’ The San Francisco Call. June 24.
BULLETIN. Goldberg worked for the San Francisco Bulletin as both cartoonist and sporting columnist until 1907.

“From the Chronicle, I went to the Bulletin, where the cartoonist was given a better show. Here I developed a New York bug. The editor offered me $50 a week to stay put, but it was the big town or nothing. Arrived in the city of my dreams, I peddled my drawings to every paper. I ended with the Mail and there I landed. That was thirteen years ago (1907). I’ve been on the Mail the entire stretch.” — Seven Men Who Draw Funny Pictures — and Large Salaries,’ in the Literary Digest, Aug 14, 1920
1910  7  ‘Reno Is As Reno Does.’ The San Francisco Call. June 25.
WINNER JACK JOHNSON. Goldberg took a train to New York in 1907 and hit every newspaper office in the city before landing a job on the New York Evening Mail. In 1910 he took a vacation from the Evening Mail to cover the fight between Johnson and Jeffries at Reno, Nevada. His coverage of the match appeared in the San Francisco Call. On July 3, one day before the match Goldberg wrote that “asking a man to pick a winner in the Jeffries-Johnson battle is like requesting a condemned felon to choose between the electric chair and the gallows.” Nonetheless, based on a week of studying the two fighters in the training camps, Goldberg took “the fatal Brodie” and chose the Negro boxer to win.
1910  8  ‘Writers and Fighters Who Will Describe the Big Battle for The Call,’ full sporting news page in The San Francisco Call with mugshots of the 11 men-strong crew. Writer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg. Writers Fred R. Bechdolt, Edward F. Cahill, Robert Edgren, Joe Murphy, Ashleigh Simpson, William J. Slattery, and James W. Coffroth. Prize fighters Bob Fitzsimmons, Battling Nelson, and Tommy Burns. July 4.

“I drew and wrote sports until around 1914, when I was working on the New York Evening Mail. I created Boob McNutt, my principal character, in 1915, and continued a human-interest daily cartoon, both of which I am still doing for the Hearst papers and others round the country.” — Rube Goldberg, looking back in 1933, in the Literary Digest.
1910  9  ‘The Last Page Of The Johnson-Jeffries Story.’ The San Francisco Call. July 6.
Picture [1] photo source: Harry Hershfield Collection (Billy Ireland Museum).