Thursday, May 03, 2012

Rediscovered: Jimmy Hatlo's Comics For The San Francisco Call, 1926-1932, Part Three

(Typical Hatlo matrimonial fun, June/July 1932. Click any for bigger!)

UPDATE: Looks like I'm as wrong as everybody else about the birth of They'll Do It Every Time. I just discovered that Hatlo did, indeed, start the feature considerably earlier, as early as 1931, but in a different, smaller, square format for at least three or four years. The larger format seems to date to 1934, when he was phasing out the editorial cartoons. I don't know how he was able to do so much work.

Here's my last batch of Jimmy Hatlo's editorial cartoons from the San Francisco Call. I've poked around and done a little research, and it appears that Hatlo's early career is basically undocumented, and the info about him on the web and in the general reference literature is unsourced, anecdotal, and apparently mostly wrong. Some things I've noted in my limited research:
  • Hatlo's work from this period was syndicated after all. (a pay site) includes scans of the San Antonio Light, a Hearst paper, from these years, and they featured Hatlo's comics daily, as presumably did other Hearst papers. He was already referred to as a "famous cartoonist" in the 1935 news stories about his wife's death, a full year before "They'll Do It Every Time" debuted (see below).
  • Most of Hatlo's comics in this series appear to be more straightforward, traditional editorial cartoons (See a great collection of examples culled from here). My collection of clippings appears to be biased towards the more comedic and unusual examples. Perhaps they were clipped by a child?
  • The "origin" story of They'll Do It Every Time, as featured on the Hatlo Wikipedia page and elsewhere, appears to be muddled and wrong, and seems to have its origin in a vague/confusing statement in a 1936/37 press release about the strip. Hatlo did do a few panels with this title as part of the series I've been featuring here, but to say the TDIET series itself started in 1929 appears to be incorrect. It started as a regular feature in the SF Call in 1934 or 1935 (I'm mistaken here: see above), and was syndicated nationally in 1936.
  • Hatlo seems to have ended this series of editorial cartoons in 1934 (not 1932, oops), and then presumably took some time off to develop his new humor series and... uh... to perhaps plan his wife's murder (see part one). He also drew ads for Standard Oil ("Give it a whirl!") around this time.

Anyway, let's get back to these fun things. Here's another "five-column" formatted one featuring another "justifiable homicide":

(March, 1930)

Imagine the look on my face when I saw this one:


And then imagine my confusion when I contemplated that the National Gallery of Art was still seven years away from existing*! Next up, an autobiographical vignette:


More fashion anxiety, and another self-effacing self-portrait:


I wonder what Hatlo would make of today's men, forever clad in their pajamas? Below, a very strange free association on Gandhi's "salt march" triumph:

(Undated, but certainly 1931)

Below, how many can you guess? I only got two:


More Christmas Card anxiety, more domestic strife:


And an uncharacteristically sympathetic note to women:


LOVE this Uncle Sam paper doll:


Condoleezza predecessor Frank B. Kellogg had just won the Nobel Peace Prize for being, basically, the most peace-loving Republican ever.  Andrew Volstead gave his name to the congressional legislation which outlawed liquor in the US. Below, a very inventive use of drawings of hands:


 More gags starring the artist himself:


And more meta-cartooning, showing his ease, and perhaps boredom, with the conventions of editorial cartooning:


And, finally, more Christmas fun:


And that, unfortunately, is all I've got of this remarkable, forgotten series of non-fiction comics from one of the great practitioners of the genre. I'll be keeping my eyes open for more! I do, however, have close to 1,000 (!!) They'll Do It Every Time clippings from its first few years, so perhaps I'll post some (Not all! OMG.) of those here sometime.

Part one is here, part two is here, and an original drawing from this series is here.

*This could refer to what is now known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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