Comic Book Photographica and the first paparazzi Candid Charlie of Target Comics!
For the record, I do not collect comic books, and I do not own those shown above. For this post, I defer to the experts Steven Thompson and My Comic Shop, though in this case even they don't know too much. Both are linked below. Let's call this a query. Who the hell was B. Gordon Guth, the artist who conjured up "Candid Charlie" a red-headed kid with camera?
Every boy with a handheld is Candid Charlie now, but back when these came out, one had to lug it around their neck. I guess the stereotype of Japanese tourists snapping photos is finally retired too…now that we all take too many pictures with our cellphones. But back then, a shutterbug was nerdy and with thick glasses to go with his hobby.
By far the best place to find anything about Guth is Steven Thompson's blog Four Color Shadows. Mr. Thompson is the expert (truly) but even he seems stumped. He does reproduce an entire story HERE.
Candid Charlie appeared in Target Comics, sometimes as a cover model, and the rest of the time within. Some of the covers of Target are so cool they almost make me wish I collected them…but not all were done by B. Gordon Guth. In fact, it looks like once in a while (for "composite" covers) Candid Charlie was drawn by another artist…unless the ginger head bespeckled hero of B. Guth was a generic type. Note no camera on Charlie on the cover of "4 Most Comics" as he, or his look-a-like is hurled to the sand.
In one issue, a three-headed Charlie has to decide between a dame and his Brownie. Take the dame Charlie.
There is another Charlie looking dude slumped down after sniffing ether too, but it is drawn by Nina Albright. Nina was super cool. Check out this issue of Target with Kit Carter obfuscating the eyes of the bad guy with his sand wedge!
Another Guth cover shows a seemingly now grown-up Candid Charlie shooting a shark while the world's smallest one-man speedboat heads towards shore.
The census lists a B. Gordon Guth of the Bronx born 1910. I reckon that would be him.
As I said, I'm no comic historian, but Guth seems to have been hooked up with L. B. Cole, who I wrote about HERE and Art Helfant, like Nina both far better known.
Steven Thompson's fantastic comic book site Four Color Shadows is HERE
My Comic Shop (which has a few of these in stock) is HERE
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PRIVATE PHOTOGRAPHS OF A BURLESQUE QUEEN : LYNNE O'NEILL the ORIGINAL GARTER GIRL by Jim Linderman.
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A pinup snapshot! We can speculate. True love on the part of the shutterbug? An artist trying to document his painting in print? But guess what we need NOT speculate...as seen here, that the image comes from a 1952 issue of Esquire. Thanks to PROJECT B and Barbara Levine, vintage photography dealer extraordinaire for the snapshot. Thanks to Google and my well-trained eye for gams for solving my puzzle. Original Snapshot 1952 Collection Jim Linderman
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Folk Art Whirligig Surface and Patina
Galvanized steel lasts longer than regular, as the rust on this whirligig readily indicates. Can steel talk? If one listens. The use of two metals has created a curious mixture of surface and patina...but he still rides like the wind.
Whirligig, date unknown (1930?) collection Jim Linderman
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|Click to Enlarge "Uncle Willie as I Last Saw Him" by E.P. Hill 1943 Collection Laura Levine|
There was plenty of time to hone drawing skills. Thankfully many battles were brief, though brutal…and pencil and paper was frequently available.
I've written about foxhole art before…but mostly for the other blog. The number of accomplished cartoonists and illustrators who emerged after the war is considerable. Many had their art careers disrupted by the war, others picked up their skills painting on duffel bags for friends. Those with talent could trade a pinup for smokes. For some it was the aluminum media of glamour girls done on the noses of bombers. Many returning vets enrolled in commercial art programs, others did it by falling for those cheap "Learn to Draw" ads in the back of magazines.
One could look up Emil P. Hill and see if he served with distinction, if he made it home, and if he pursued his art career. I hope he did all three.
"Uncle Willie as I Last Saw Him" by Emil P. Hill II Collection Laura Levine Pencil on Paper 1943
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A few other examples of Trench Art, or what could also be dubbed "Foxhole Art" appears HERE HERE HERE HERE
It's MISS SUN-PHOTO (presumably the inventor's daughter) showing how to create wonderful SUN PHOTOS on fabric!
I dunno…inside the box is TWO pair of wooden tweezers, a bottle full of what looks to be both illegal and unsafe, and reams of instructions for making the sun create an image from your own negative onto a shirt.
One thing we know, whenever a product is called "FOTO" someone already owns the copyright for "PHOTO" I guess. The other thing we know is that no one seems to have written about this little device yet, so as it would appear henceforth anyone searching SUN-FOTO will land here, so I better be factual.
SUN-FOTO contained enough poison solution to create 150 pictures, and "anyone" can do it. The product came out of Hollywood, a sunny place, and the instructions do indeed say to use the sun, not a lamp to burn your picture onto a piece of cloth.
They even linked-up with the Cherrin Brothers in Detroit to run some kind of bogus contest. "All entries become the property of Sun-Foto Mfg. Co." Hey, just like Facebook!
SUN-FOTO (No Date) Collection Jim Linderman
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I would love to know more about this bentwood "peach basket" I found the other day. It has some age, there is wear on nuts, bolts and brass washers used in construction. A lovely craft design. It is also footed. 20 inches long. Anyone seen one like it?
Peach Basket, no date Collection Jim Linderman
A demented Captain Sully celebrates safe landing with a bottle of champagne. A man in slim-fit Dockers wields a Bunsen burner against wild prison girls. Japanese buffoons guffaw as minks on strings have their way with a staked tourist. Central Park strollers are left for dead after their meal at the Tavern on the Green (Ambiance 4 stars. Food 1 star) A living ship's figurehead is saved by an island-dwelling tan man with a burp gun. An unfortunate with no winter coat purloins a harpoon to fend off Big White so he can freeze in the arms of his mink-collar woman friend. An obviously insane Baron von Leprachaun comes hunting el-boffo game. And AGAIN with the fire, this time Shicklgrubers thug.
Every woman a wanton and every man a man wanting a women!
It is no WONDER magazines today are withering on the rack like tomato plants lacking water. There's no JUICE left at the newsstand. Where is MY Naked Daughter of Papua? When can I fend off Hitler's woman burner? (that fire gadget again!) What do I get? The new Swimsuit issue once a year and perennial world traveler Nat Geo? The Galapagos Islands AGAIN? Let's jazz things UP there Hearst. Stop putting do-little Jennifer Aniston on the cover and give us some red meat with our big media lies. We're MEN here.
Wildcat Adventures published for 5 years, and everyone of them was on the rack for impressionable ME. I didn't buy or read any…I used the library and these obviously did not meet the rigorous selection standards. Candar Publishing was responsible. I read the Hardy Boys instead.
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Mr. Gay mounts up Pluto the lion here at Gay's Lion Farm in El Monte, California. Mr. Gay seems a lot more gay than the lion…but then the only work he is doing is wielding a riding crop. (Actually, I believe, a "quirt" but let's call it a whip) Gay's farm was some 15 miles north of LA and he supplied the movie business with lions.
Puto was the grandson of Numa, a famous lion now stuffed. Well, back in 1930 stuffed, but Numa is probably no more. Numa worked with Charlie Chaplin (!) At one time, Gay's farm had TWO HUNDRED LIONS.
A film of Mr. Gay in action (sorta) is shown below.
Real Photo Postcard Mr. Gay and Pluto the Lion collection Jim Linderman
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Folk Art from one piece of wood. Swiveling man, ball in a cage, wittled with a knife and patience.
Folk Art Whimsey, circa 1920? Collection Jim Linderman
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Olof Krans Folk Art Painting on a Real Photo Postcard
An original real photo postcard from 1927 showing a magnificent naive painting by Olof Krans. Krans was a Swedish immigrant brought to Illinois at age 12 by his parents in 1850. They settled at Bishop Hill, as noted on the image, a utopian settlement founded by Devotionalists.
Olof Krans painted for much of his life, initially producing stage backdrops and signs. Could he have also painted backdrops for photographers? He worked at a photographer's studio in the late 19th century (according to the Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Folk Art and Artists by Chuck and Jan Rosenak) but his major works were done from 1900 to 1916. Estimates of his output range from 90 to 200 paintings. Many are portraits, but his best works are his farm scenes of prairie folk lined up as straight as a horizon. Sow straight and reap!
How, or why, one of his paintings was shown on this postcard (mailed in 1927) is beyond me.
In 1996 Krans was the subject of a 30 minute documentary produced in Sweden by Göran Gunér available for purchase HERE. A translated description of the film follows.
Målaren från Bishop Hill/The Painter of Bishop Hill
(30 min, 1996). Written, directed and produced by Göran Gunér. English narration.
This is the story of a Swedish Utopia on the prairie founded by a religious sect in 1846. Led by their prophet Erik Janson some 800 Swedes emigrated to the US this year, which also marks the start of mass emigration from a poor country in the north. Soon the prophet was murdered in a court house, but the colony continued to prosper until the breakout of the Civil War in the early 1860s.
Olof Krans, the painter of Bishop Hill (born in Sweden 1838, brought to Bishop Hill By his parents in 1850) recalled at old age his childhood memories and painted them with naïve charm. Through these images it is still possible to visualize this Utopia on the prairie. Bishop Hill is nowadays considered the most remarkable cultural monument outside Scandinavia. And Olof Krans is one of the most prominent names in American folk art. He has his own museum at Bishop Hill, Illinois, a few hours by car from Chicago.
Real Photo Postcard 1927 Olof Krans Painting Collection Jim Linderman
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The color photographs of Apache Harry which ran in Life Magazine in 1936 are fascinating, as color photos of tattoo artists from before World War Two are scarce indeed. I do not think the picture here has ever been shown (at least since 1940) and while not identified by photographer name, it ran in the Volitant publication Laff, an early Life wannabee copycat.
Apache Harry's studio in the 1930s and 1940s was way at the south end of the Bowery. Today 22 Bowery, at the corner of Pell Street and Bowery in Lower Manhattan is part of Chinatown…which continues to spread north and has eclipsed Little Italy. He didn't have much space there. In 1938 he was interviewed by Joseph Adams for the North American Newspaper Alliance (an early wire service) who reported "Hour by Hour, he sits in his little two by six cubicle…" as he lamented the loss of interest in folks asking for tats. At the time, he was making most his money tattooing social security numbers on folks.
|Apache Harry's Dump Today|
Why would folks pay Apache Harry to tattoo their social security number on them? Because at the time the "Social Security Law" was new…and for a time it became fashionable for folks hoping to receive their reward in their golden years to be ready with their number inked on them for good. They did it to prevent amnesia from taking away their claim! Today, of course, that number is hidden so scammers don't steal your identity, but back then crime was more physical. Like with a sap in the head.
In 1938, Coronet Magazine picked up the story and ran an article titled "Apache Harry: Who Has Reaped Social Security's Most Generous Dividend." You see, the naysayers in the ruling class back then never thought the system would work…and they lampooned it using Apache Harry as their shill. Screw them…it's been seventy five years and the system is still solvent, despite what you'll hear Republican scare-mongers say.
Harry charged from fifty cents to ten dollars a tat. Presumably, the numbers were the cheapest. Harry says the late night crowd is still his big money customers, but the social security folks come in during daylight. They want the simple designs…a small bit of embellishment, not the flourish Harry was capable of.
IN 1936, Apache Harry is reported to "put beauty spots and initials on about a dozen women a day, but still my mail clientele is soldiers and sailors" in the Milwaukee Journal. He is also mentioned in the book New York City Tattoo by Hardy Marks which came out in 1997.
Later, Apache Harry did a better business in tattoo removal than in tattoos According to Laff magazine in 1940, which I cribbed the photo here from, he also specialized in doing make-up to cover black eyes.
I am afraid I do not know who ended up with Apache Harry's original flash. It looks great. I also do not know Apache Harry's real name, but I am inclined to think he was no more Apache than the white dudes from Brooklyn who dressed up like Indians for early silent pictures. He did have some long hair though.
Apache Harry was rendered by master printmaker Eli Jacobi, the study for the portrait is shown HERE on the Child's Galllery.
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