Frank Godwin and “Uncle Henry” . . .

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

One of the features of Collier’s during a period of many years was the series of “Uncle Henry” articles. I don’t know whether the authorship of the articles has ever been established, although Irvin S. Cobb wrote an introduction to a book which included a number of the pieces.

Following is a somewhat cropped image of the front cover of the June 10, 1922, issue of Colliers. The basic image by Frank Godwin of Uncle Henry (with variations) was used in a number of contexts. For instance, it appeared on the dust jacket of at least version of the book mentioned above, and also on the actual cover (stamped in black), and also as the frontispiece.


—Tom Sawyer

November 24, 2016

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Comments on the Frank Godwin aviation print pictured on Liz Rizzo’s “Frank Godwin, Artist” Facebook page . . .

On November 1, 2016, Liz Rizzo posted (on her Facebook page) a few images of a Frank Godwin aviation print submitted by a reader. Basically, it is a World War I aviation scene.

I thought I would post a few comments here. It might provide added reason for people to visit this blog!

I have an example of the print in my collection, and it has white margins. I purchased it on eBay many years ago. I think I have seen two or so other examples on eBay over the years.

The print was issued by Collier’s magazine back in 1928.

Originally, the image was used as an illustration for a short-story by Laurie York Erskine, entitled “Pryde’s Fall.” The story appeared in the July 21, 1928, issue of Collier’s. (According to Wikipedia, Erskine served in France in the Royal Flying Corps starting in 1916.)

At the end of the story was a note stating that the print would be sent “on receipt of 4 cents in stamps.”

The illustration appeared on pages 26 and 27 of that issue.  The story started on page  24, and it included one other Godwin illustration as well.

The first illustration shows Captain Pryde (on the left) with an officer who was transferring out of Pryde’s unit. Pryde was a “go getter,” but since the war was near its end, some people just wanted to chill till the war was over.


The color illustration shows Pryde’s airplane on the ground.  He climbed out of it,. and then a German plane appeared to be attacking him. He fell to the ground (dodging bullets). The German plane (red, at the right) crashed.


People thought Pryde was dead, and after that they went all “gung ho” (instead of just waiting for the war to end).

The war ended shortly after, with everyone being thrilled when the learned that Pryde had survived.

The following shows part of both versions.  The “print” is on the right–you can see the margins.  Notice that the coloration is somewhat different from that of the magazine version. I suppose that one could say the print is a bit more nuanced.


—Tom Sawyer

November 16, 2016

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Re-posting: Brief comments on the first Sunday “Connie” science-fiction story (a 31-episode time-travel story, in which Connie, Dr. Chrono, and Jack travel to the thirtieth century), and a correlation of its appearance in the United States with its appearance (in “Paulette”) in Canada during 1936 and 1937 . . .

Note (11-14-16): Recently I purchased two 1936 Connie Sunday strips on eBay, as well as one strip from late in 1940.  I was especially glad to get the 1940 strip, which was was from quite late in the year, and was (as far as I can tell) not the final Sunday Connie, but almost so. In reviewing some other material, I noted that the first Sunday science-fiction Connie was the one for August 2, 1936. So the 80th anniversary of that strip passed not long ago.

I don’t think that the key August 2, 1936, strip is one of the rarest Connie Sundays. If you set out to find one, you might never be able to do that, but on the other hand, I think I may have three examples of that in my collection: one black-and-white full, one full-color full, and one full-color tabloid. I hope to check on that within the next few days, but if you collect Sunday pages from that era, you are probably aware that they can be quite cumbersome, and difficult to refer to.

Anyway, below is a post that related to the science-fiction story under discussion. I originally posted it in 2012, and then I took it down in January 2013, so I presume that some of you never saw it, and that most or all of the rest of you have little recollection of it.

Elsewhere in this blog, I have touched upon the relationship between Connie in the United States and Paulette in Canada.  La Presse ran Paulette on Saturdays.  It was a translation of Connie, and it generally appeared somewhat later than Connie. (I do not know whether Paulette appeared anywhere other than in La Presse.  It seems as though it would have.)

The first Connie Sunday science-fiction story started generally in the United States on Sunday, August 2, 1936.  In that episode, Connie and Jack visit Dr. Chrono, and he starts to demonstrate his “time traveler.” That first episode must have been a bit of a surprise to readers, because for (at least) months before that the Sunday strip had been mainly (maybe solely) a gag strip, and as far as I know the vast majority of Connie Sunday episodes, for years, were gag strips.  There were some detective-style strips, and at least a couple of gags where Connie was a reporter, and maybe there were some non-gag Sunday strips that I am not familiar with.  But overall, it seems that the Sunday Connie was a gag strip until that momentous date of August 2, 1936, which changed forever the direction of the Connie Sunday strip.

That same episode appeared in La Presse on August 29, 1936.  So, right there, that Paulette episode appeared close to four weeks later in Canada (at least in La Presse) than it did in the US.

The second Connie Sunday science-fiction episode appeared on August 9, 1936.  In that episode, Connie is transported one thousand years into her future, to the year 2936.

But in Canada, that episode appeared on September 26, 1936, creating an additional three-week separation — there was then a seven-week gap between the US and Canada appearances!

Below is an attempt at a further correlation.  This is based almost entirely on my Paulette comic strips, which, in all but a few cases, bear both the (Saturday) date of the paper (not as part of the strip proper), and the (Sunday) date on the strip.  Where I have placed a date in brackets, it means that I didn’t find the date on the strip itself.  The dates on the strips themselves are usually two numbers separated by a hyphen, showing first the month, and then the day, such as “9-6” for September 6.

I’ve already discussed the first two episodes (above). Below are listed the other 29 episodes.  Episode numbers below were created by me:

Episode 3

Connie, in her twentieth-century garb, talks with the people of the future.  The final frame has a “UN” logo.

US:  August 16, 1936

Canada:  October 3, 1936

Episode 4:

Connie is still in twentieth-century dress.  The fourth panel shows a flying vehicle, and the sixth panel shows a reclining Connie.

US:  August 23, 1936

Canada:  October 10, 1936

Episode 5:

In the first frame, Connie is wearing twentieth-century clothes.  In the second frame, she is wearing thirtieth-century clothes.

US: August 30, 1936

Canada: October 24, 1936 (At the time there was an eight-week gap.)

Episode 6:

Jack and Dr. Chrono are in panels six, seven, and eight.

US:  September 6, 1936

Canada:  October 31, 1936

Episode 7:

Jack and Dr. Chrono arrive in the thirtieth century and are shown in the last panel.

US:  September 13, 1936

Canada:  November 7, 1936

Episode 8:

The top row is one panel, and it shows Connie, Dr. Chrono, Jack, and others.

US:  September 20, 1936

Canada: November 14, 1936

Episode 9:

The top row is one panel, showing Connie, Jack, and Dr. Chrono in their futuristic garb.

US:  September 27, 1936

Canada:  November 28, 1936 (At the time there was an additional delay of a week.)

Episode 10

First appearance of the spaceship called “Meteor.”

US:  October 4, 1936  (The strip is dated “10-4,” so it corresponds with the date given.  As I indicated, most of the actual strips are dated.)

Canada:  December 19, 1936  (We might have expected it to appear on December 5, so there is yet another delay, this one of two weeks.)

Episode 11:

The third panel shows the moon in the distance.

US: October 11, 1936

Canada:  December 26, 1936

All right, for the remaining episodes, I am going to be more succinct.  I will state the episode number, and the US date, and, in parentheses, the Canada date.

12: October 18, 1936 (January 2, 1937)

13:  October 24, 1936 (January 9, 1937)

14:  October 31, 1936 (January 16, 1937)

15:  November 1, 1936 (January 23, 1937)

16: November 8, 1936 (January 30, 1937)

17:  November 22, 1936 (February 6, 1937)

Episode 18 would have been published in the United States on November 29, 1936, and in Canada on February 13, 1937. I did not locate the relevant Paulette when preparing the list.

19: December 6, 1936 (February 20, 1937)

20:  December 13, 1936 (February 27, 1937)

21:  December 20, 1936 (March 6, 1937)

Episode 22 would have been published in the United States on December 27, 1936, and in Canada on March 13, or March 20, or March 27, 1937.  I either don’t have that episode of Paulette, or, more likely, I just don’t have it readily available.

23: January 3, 1937 (April 3, 1937)

24:  January 10, 1937 (April 10, 1937)

25:  January 17, 1937 (April 17, 1937)

26: [January 24, 1937] (April 24, 1937)

27:  January 31, 1937 (May 1, 1937)

28:  [February 7, 1937] (May 22, 1937)

29:  February 14, 1937 (May 29, 1937)

30:  February 21, 1937 (June 5, 1937)

31:  February 28, 1937 (June 12, 1937)

And that (February 28, 1937) was the final episode for that time-travel story.  A new story started in the US on March 7, 1937.

By the time the story ended, the Canada version was about fifteen weeks later than the US version!

The science-fiction story discussed in this post is extremely important to the whole Connie series.  As far as I know, the Connie Sunday strip never included any gags after that story started.  The story’s art, including the settings, compositions, attire, figures, colors, and everything else about it, is handled beautifully.

—Tom Sawyer

March 24, 2012

Slightly revised on March 26, 2012

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A little update on the mysterious Frank Godwin murals at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn . . .

Later on in this post is the text of an earlier post, that I posted back in 2012. I made it “Private” a long time ago, but I decided to re-post it in the light of certain recent content regarding Frank Godwin’s hospital murals, on Liz Rizzo’s “Frank Godwin, Artist” Facebook page.

On Liz’s Facebook page just mentioned, there is a highly fascinating Godwin drawing (posted October 19, 2016) showing the Pied Piper leading the kids from Hamlin. I thought I would here throw in a few rather subjective comments about the drawing, which I had never seen before.

Liz indicated that the drawing may relate to one of Godwin’s murals at Kings County Hospital. I tend to agree that this is the case, for a few reasons. Godwin produced what I would call a fair number of illustrations relating to nursery rhymes and fairy tales, and the Pied Piper story is more or less in that category. It might also be somewhat suitable for the “children’s department” (see below) of the hospital, although personally I would never choose it for that purpose, because of the dark nature of the story.

I think it was some kind of preliminary drawing (which in the end might not have been used as the basis of a mural). It does say “Defraude” instead of “Defrauded,” and that even by itself would hint that it was subject to further development.

To me the main thing that ties it in with the hospital is the “notching-out” of a couple of major areas (at the lower right and lower left) that appear to have nothing to do with the Piper scene. These suggest that the design was intended for wall space that had features that needed to be “worked around” and could not be painted over.

The painting discussed below had (or has!) a similar “notching-out,” such that the bottom edge of the painting appears at various heights from the floor.

Okay, that concludes my commentary for now.  The rest of this post (in boldface) represents a reposting of an earlier post on this general subject, as indicated above.

I think that the first place I heard of Frank Godwin’s murals for Kings County Hospital and the Riverside Yacht Club was in Who’s Who in American Art.

Google Books has Architectural Forum, Volume 57, 1932, in “Snippet view.” The following tantalizing text (at least) is visible, apparently in connection with Kings County Hospital:

Below are sketches of wall treatments in the children’s department.  The murals were executed by Frank Godwin [. . .]

So, I suppose that at least sketches of Godwin’s Kings County Hospital murals may have been published in Architectural Forum.

Based on a visit I made to Kings County Hospital back in 1975 in search of a Frank Godwin mural, I can say that I did not locate any such mural.  This is not to say that Godwin’s murals for the hospital did not exist then (or now).  I truly hope that they do exist!  I would love to see them someday.

Anyway, at the hospital in 1975, I was shown a box of materials which included a black and white photograph taken apparently in a children’s ward, showing portions of a mural which I am certain was painted by Frank Godwin.  It portrayed a little girl and a little boy (I believe somewhat larger than life-size), each reading a book, and the background had a nursery-rhyme theme — a very charming picture, somewhat reminiscent of (but quite different from) Godwin’s wonderful cover illustration for Tales from Shakespeare.

—Tom Sawyer

March 1, 2012

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A few tentative thoughts on the market for Frank Godwin original art . . .

These are subjective observations, based on my own experience, and the views of others might easily differ.

Lately I have taken note of a phenomenon, and maybe a trend, regarding collector interest in Frank Godwin original art. It appears to me that most of the interest is in Frank Godwin’s comic-strip work, and to some degree in his pen and ink drawings.

Collector interest in his original illustration art (other than pen and ink) seems to be far lower. In the past, on several occasions, I have listed on eBay a certain original drawing by Godwin, which was used as a Redbook illustration back in 1932. As I recall (someplace around here I have the receipt), I paid $850 for the drawing about 15 years ago. It still have it. Recently I offered it on eBay for $725, and even threw in a Rusty Riley daily. No takers, no inquiries.

Last year, I listed an oil painting (used as for the frontispiece image in most Godwin printings of The Swiss Family Robinson), full color, a beautiful, large painting, at two different prices, $3750 and $3500.  No takers.

I actually think that on the whole, even the market for Rusty Riley art in general seems depressed. If this is so, it is probably in large part because there is such a huge quantity of Rusty Riley original art “out there.”

At the moment, someone is auctioning on eBay an original Frank Godwin oil painting used for Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Black Arrow. It will be interesting to see how the bidding goes on that. (There is a “reserve,” which as of now has not been met.)

—Tom Sawyer

October 24, 2016

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I can hardly believe it! I found the Frank Godwin letter!

This post (now somewhat edited) was written in 2014.  Not sure why I did not post it then!

I am referring to a letter written by Frank Godwin, of which the late Gordon Campbell sent me a copy. It was a letter from Godwin to Campbell, who had written to Godwin.

Actually, I found the letter about ten months ago.  True, I have misplaced it again, but I did find it. And I imagine that I put it in an “obvious” place this time.

I am really fascinated by the existence of such “personal” things relating to Frank Godwin.

Oh, and as indicate above, it is not the actual letter itself — it’s a photocopy of a letter, which the late Gordon Campbell sent me back in 1998.  No, it had not been lost for 16 years.  But it had been lost for about 7 years.

I have a couple of original handwritten Frank Godwin letters or the like in my collection, which I like quite a bit.  But Gordon’s letter was earlier than mine.

The copy Gordon sent me was of a typed and signed letter —  it is quite interesting.  The envelope (Gordon sent a copy of that as well) was postmarked ENE 18 1939 — meaning January 18, 1939. So, it was beginning to be toward the end of the Connie strip, which probably concluded about two years later.

Godwin told Gordon that he couldn’t send him a strip (presumably Connie), because he didn’t receive them back (from the syndicate).  He more or less suggested that Gordon write to Douglas Borgstedt at the Ledger Syndicate.

I guess the foregoing is actually “inside baseball” information about Godwin’s strips.  But I’m sure some of you think it’s fascinating.  (I do!)

—Tom Sawyer

September 19, 2014

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REVISED POST: Comments on Taffy Allerdyce (sort of) and the September 24, 1950, “Rusty Riley” Sunday comic strip original art and third-page version . . .

Note:  This is a revised version of a post I first posted on (probably) July 19, 2013. I was looking at some of my Rusty Riley Sunday strips (as extracted from newspapers), looking for a certain Sunday for which I have the bottom tier of the original Sunday art, thinking I might want to sell that original art.

Well, at some point I noticed Taffy Allerdyce’s name, and I seemed to remember that I had done a post relating to that character. I found the newspaper strip. I checked for the post, and I found that as well, and I was surprised at the horrible quality of the images (which were not based on scans). So I decided to revise the post with better scans and a few little revisions.

I think I have in the past made pretty clear certain reasons for believing the “third-page” version of some Rusty Riley Sunday strips are a significantly inferior format in which the view the Sunday strip. (For example, see this post.)

This post further supports that thesis.

Some years ago, I came into possession of the bottom row of a Rusty Riley Sunday for September 24, 1950. Since the back is covered with dried glue, it appears that the entire row was a “replacement” row. I also have in my collection a daily strip in which the center panel is pasted on top of other artwork — another apparent example of wholesale replacement of a large section of art.I believe, however, that this phenomenon is quite unusual in examples of original Rusty Riley art.

Below is an image of a small portion of the original art showing the entire height of the art (and frame as well). This is probably as it appeared in the half-page version, although I believe that even the half-pages were not always identical to the original art. The differences between this and the published third-page version are numerous. These are the kinds of changes that were sometimes necessary in adapting the half-page (three-tier) art to the third-page format. (I think in recent years of the strip they probably tended more toward dropping certain panels, and perhaps dropping the top tier, but I do not know that there was any hard-and-fast rule.)

Plainly, the changes impaired the art (when compared with the original). In essence, the left portion was chopped off, and so was the right portion. The top edge was raised.  The left speech-balloon was modified (note the pointer) and was raised and moved to the right. Quite a bit of shadowy area was added under the balloon.

9 24 50 Rusty Riley cropped orig 3 300

Below is an image of the corresponding section of the third-page version of the strip, as published. Anyway, the speech balloon has been completely redrawn, and the speech is now ten lines instead of five. Also, part of the right-hand side of the panel has been cropped off. The cigar smoke was modified. The right-hand speech-balloon was verticalized and the words were rearranged. The whole frame went from an attractive (though wordy) horizontal format to a rather square format. It’s all okay, but it is inferior to the original, and it ain’t really Godwin.

9 24 50 Rusty Riley_0001 color cropped

—Tom Sawyer

July 19, 2012

Revised August 15, 2015

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