We have something very special for this week’s T.G.I.F. Action The Flying FLICK. Everyday I go to my fave blog, Cartoon Brew, to see what fascinations Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi turn up. Jerry is a big, valued, supporter of Yoe Books and The ITCH Blog. Jerry just sent me this incredible treasure he found. It’s a 1920 Mutt and Jeff Cartoon, where our dynamic duo go on strike against their creator Bud Fisher. Fisher’s Mutt and Jeff comic strip, some people call it the very first comic strip, brought him fame and fortune. His characters were licensed to the fledging animation industry in New York. Fisher retained the copyright and made a huge fortune from syndication and merchandising and presumably the animated cartoons, too. . The mega-rich cartoonist owned the largest stable of thoroughbred horses in America and married a countess! I’m wondering if the well appointed mansion in this movie is actually Bud’s.
The Web site where Jerry found this rare cartoon says, “On Strike is one of more than 300 animated ‘half-reelers’ produced between 1913 and 1926 starring the popular American comic-strip characters Mutt and Jeff—and is unusual in featuring live-action shots of its creator. ” These cartoons were done at the studios of Raoul Barré and Charles Bowers. Click on the image below to watch the movie.
Mutt and Jeff interacting with Bud reminded me of this, one of my very favorite pieces of original art in my collection. It’s “politically correct” and political criticism of newspaper cartoonists angle is as current as today’s headlines. And the ending resolve is rich–humor at its darkest! Click on the image below to see a larger file.
— C. Yoe (in the funny papers)