More on Uncle Henry . . .

Some of the Uncle Henry articles (discussed in an earlier post not so long ago) were collected into a book published in 1922.  I’m not sure, but I think the portrait by Frank Godwin of Uncle Henry that appeared on the cover of Collier’s in that previous post may have been created for use in connection with the book. The title of the book is stated as Uncle Henry, and the title page does not state any author. Rather, it says ANONYMOUS. The publisher was Reynolds Publishing Company, Inc.

I have two copies of the book in dust jackets. I don’t remember ever seeing any copies in the DJ, other than the ones in my collection. I don’t think the book (without DJ) could be considered scarce, though.

Below is an image showing my two copies in DJs. Now one might assume that the two copies are identical. This however, would be an error. The main differences between the two is that the flaps on the DJ are blank in the copy on the left, and not blank in the copy on the right. The front flap quotes from the introduction by Irvin Cobb, and the back flap quotes Uncle Henry.

 

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Based on a superficial analysis, I suspect that the book on the left was issued earlier than the other, for two reasons. First, the coloration is a bit more nuanced in the copy on the left (the one on the right is kind of contrasty). Second, I feel that the publisher probably added the printed matter to the flaps after they thought about it a little (and they just might have been in a bit of a rush initially). It would seem, under the circumstances, logical to add text to the flaps, and there would seem to be no reason to omit the material that appears in the copy on the right.

I suspect that the lettering shown (for the title) was created by Godwin. My principal reason for saying this is that I have a copy of Maurice Switzer’s 1921 Trying It on the Dog in a dust jacket, and the lettering of the author’s name is in a very similar style. That book was illustrated by Godwin. The DJ on that one has an unsigned illustration (obviously by Godwin). I don’t think that illustration is repeated within the book. It was published by a different publisher (The Bobbs-Merrill Company). That style is kind of cool, informal, and non-modern, and fits in well with the material in the book.

The DJ on the left is protected by a mylar cover (rather reflective), and the white at the upper left is white paper.

If you look carefully at the base of the spine in the copy on the left, you will notice a water stain. Many years ago, I bought three or four certain books illustrated by Godwin, in DJs, from multiple dealers, maybe three or four different dealers.  (Sorry to be so hazy about the details.) If I were to line them up next to each other on a shelf, the stains could be made to line up quite nicely.  To me it is obvious that the books were all (slightly) damaged in the same incident!

—Tom Sawyer

January 2, 2017 (taken down right after posting)

Revised February 9, 2017

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Re “The Little Lame Prince”

In an earlier post, I discussed (a little) the fact that Frank Godwin produced  “cover-labels” for several rather small books in David McKay’s series of books known as “McKay’s Young People’s Classics.” (The cover-labels are the paper labels pasted to the fronts of many books back in the “olden days.”) I believe that Godwin produced illustrations for eight or nine (or so) of the covers in that series.

This is apart from several larger books published by McKay that also had cover labels by Godwin.  These larger works included Robin Hood, The Black Arrow, and The Blue Fairy Book. A version of The Black Arrow published in England had a different cover-label by Godwin. The cover-labels of the books mentioned in this paragraph were based on illustrations also found inside the book. I have copies of all of these as well.

Of course, cover-labels by Godwin also appeared on still other books.  Offhand, I think all such others were published by Winston.

In my collection, I think I have eight or so different examples of “McKay’s Young People’s Classics” with Godwin covers.

In another post, I discussed the cover for The Arabian Nights, from the same series, which was quite lovely.  The one for The Little Lame Prince is simpler and not really as attractive as the one for The Arabian Nights and certain others in the series.  (Still pretty attractive though!)

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Obviously the above is only a portion of the image–probably about half of the image, since I cropped off a lot of the top and bottom (but not all that much of the sides).

—Tom Sawyer

January 18, 2017

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Happy New Year from “Connie,” 76 years ago–but not Frank Godwin’s Connie!

Below is shown the Connie bottom-strip for the Sunday episode for December 29, 1940. If you are somewhat familiar with Frank Godwin’s principal styles of Connie art, it is unlikely that you will think that this portrayal of Connie was actually drawn by Frank Godwin.

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It is not at all badly drawn, but (for instance) the haziness of Connie’s far shoulder is very uncharacteristic of Godwin. And her hair is somewhat “off” from Godwin’s style.

In another segment of that Connie page, shown below, it is easily seen that the lettering is nothing like that of Godwin’s attractive style.  Likewise, it can be seen that the execution of the drawing is quite well done, and it even seems to have been executed in a Godwin-esque style of art, but it is different enough from Godwin’s typical work that one can say that Godwin did not draw it. I could not swear that Godwin did not do the pencils, but there is no real reason to suppose that he did. The foregoing comments also apply to the small portion of the story itself shown above.

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The complex layout of the panels (or quasi-panels) is also rather Godwin-esque.

Additionally, as I noted in a different post, Godwin’s name does not appear in the logo (not completely shown above).

Nonetheless, the art is quite nice.   The clouds are very Godwin-like, as is the composition.  But Connie herself does not look much like a Godwin rendering, and the speech balloons are not Godwin-esque.

This line of dialog, spoken by Connie, seems quite strange to me: “WHILE YOU’RE AWAY I’LL GO LOOK AT THE BOATS–JUST FOR EXCITEMENT–TERRIFIC EXCITEMENT ISN’T IT?”

The use of the word “excitement” twice seems odd.

There are many ways that line of Connie’s could be improved.  Something like this might have worked better: “While you two are away, I’m going to take a look at those boats–they look exciting.” But even that seems weird, because, to make the subsequent adventure seem more interesting and unexpected, her real reason should be along the lines of “it’s something to do to kill the time,” or there might have been an indication that something was unusual and worth investigating.

In short: (a) art quite nice but very probably not Godwin; (b) lettering  (including spacing within the balloons) not that great; (c) dialog could probably have been better.

I discussed this episode in some detail in the post found at the following link: LINK.  Also, in the post found at this link: LINK.

–Tom Sawyer

January 12, 2017

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Comments on Connie’s “sort of” final Sunday story . . .

I don’t think anyone has set forth–or even has knowledge of–“when” the final Connie Sunday episode appeared. It is pretty certain that Frank Godwin left the Sunday Connie strip before the end of 1940. I imagine that he stopped work on the Sunday strip several weeks before the end of the year. But, of course, his final work on the strip would have been published a noticeable amount of time after he stopped, maybe six weeks or so.

Connie’s first Sunday science-fiction story had her travel 1,ooo years into the future, to the year 2936, due to the activity of a mischief-causing cat.

In the final “known” complete story, she travelled 100 or so years into the past (measuring from the newspaper date). In an earlier post (not viewable at the moment), I mentioned that she had gone to the year 1840, but I am not certain what I based that on.

Below is an image of a portion of the November 24, 1940, strip. The introduction kind of sets the scene. Notice that Jim Walker’s sister has the name Sylvia, which also was the name of Godwin’s second wife.

This time machine, a two-seater, looks completely different from the machine built by Dr. Chrono, whose machine had one seat only.

This strip definitely shows no signs of anyone’s work besides that of Frank Godwin. In other words, this strip (that is, the original art, probably not in existence now) was drawn and inked by Godwin.

The dynamic shapes of the panels  (as opposed to rectangular boxes) are reasonably typical of the layouts of many (but not all) of the Connie science-fiction and adventure pages. I doubt that any of the Connie “gag” (humor) strips used that sort of layout.

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The entire story consisted of strips for the following dates:

November 17, 1940

November 24, 1940

December 1, 1940

December 8, 1940

December 15, 1940

  December 22, 1940

I have in my collection the Connie strips for the dates shown in boldface. I have the Paulette strips for all six dates. Paulette was the title of the Connie strips as published in French in Canada. (The Paulette strips appeared after the Connie strips.)

I have not seen the ones in English for 11-17, 12-1, 12-8, or 12-15, but I see zero possibility that they don’t exist! Well, let me take that back. There is ALMOST zero possibility. The only secure way of showing they exist would be for someone to produce examples of them!

Regarding the last two episodes mentioned, it is pretty obvious to me that someone else besides Godwin inked the final one, and I think someone else at least partly inked the second-to-last strip. I discussed this at some length in another post.

Now there are a few other points to bear in mind when thinking about the final Connie stories and final episodes. The six strips mentioned above do constitute a story. But one could probably also disregard the first one, because (based on my Paulette example) the end of the 11-17 strip is basically a transition to the new story.

Then again, on the other hand, one might want to say that the five or six strips under discussion constitute a “sub-story” that is part of a longer narrative beginning some time before those strips.

The other wrinkle to all this is that the Sunday strip did continue after the December 22, 1940 strip. Exactly how many strips appeared, and whether they were published in papers other than the Boston Sunday Post, and whether any were in color, are questions that even now are shrouded in deep mystery. I do have examples of the strips for December 29, 1940, and January 5, 1941, in black and white, from the Boston Sunday Post. The relevant website of Ohio State University lists one for January 19, 1941.

—Tom Sawyer

December 30, 2016

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76 Years Ago Today — December 22, 1940 — A Merry Christmas Wish from a “non-Frank Godwin” Connie — and from Tom!

Merry Christmas!

Below is an image of an extract from the December 22, 1940, Sunday episode of Connie.  Mainly shown is a large chunk of the “bottom strip,” which when present normally featured The Wet Blanket or Wonder-Land.

So, that was 76 years ago today! Weird, how long ago that was.

This is from the Boston Sunday Post, which normally ran the Connie Sunday strip (and bottom strip) in color, but not the last few episodes.

You can see the 12-22 date in the lower-left corner of the actual Connie strip.

In is quite certain that Godwin had little if anything to do with this particular episode (though he may have pencilled it). Even from the very bottom that I show here, it is obvious that the inking was of a “scribble” nature that is quite unlike Godwin’s inking.

It is also obvious that the picture of Connie in the bottom strip was not drawn by Godwin. Her hair is rendered rather crudely, and the shading is very non-Godwin.  A “Connie” logo does appear after the “Merry Christmas.”

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This was the final episode of this story, but there were at least two Connie Sundays that appeared after this. (The daily continued well into 1941. As I recall, this is shown by the strips cataloged on the Ohio State University comic-strip website.)

—Tom Sawyer

December 22, 2016

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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.

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—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.

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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.

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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.

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—Tom Sawyer

November 16, 2016

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