Thursday, February 07, 2013

Art Collection: "Outdoor Sports" Drawing By "TAD" Dorgan, Ca. 1925, With Bonus Jimmy Hatlo Promotional Scorecard

(Click for bigger. Photo: Heritage Auctions)

I've added another original drawing by Thomas "TAD" Dorgan to my collection. The specs on this one are identical to the others I've posted. And also like many of the others I've posted, I'm unsure of the date, but the relatively bucolic setting make me think this one is from Dorgan's post-urban period in the 1920s.

I don't have much to say about this one; it's a great drawing, of course, showing a good range of Tad's skill with the pen and brush, his able use of perspective, and the way he often splits his panels into two zones of activity. This one also shows the artist's wonderful guffawing faces and attention to wardrobe details.

And, again, it's not a "hilarious" gag, but more of an amusing slice of life, the kind Tad was so good at spotting. This was his most influential legacy, a type of experience-based humor which many other cartoonists ran with in imitation of his approach. Here are some details:

Next up is an interesting piece of ephemera which really demonstrates Tad's lingering influence. Below is a promotional piece on card stock, printed on the back of some kind of score card given away by the Chicago Herald-American (it measures 6.25" x 11.25"):

(Click for bigger)

Jimmy Hatlo's "They'll Do It Every Time" was the most obvious... well, rip-off of Tad's work, both in style and content. Here you can see that his comic panel is being explicitly marketed as "The Successor to TAD". But what's really noteworthy about this item is that it was made in 1940, a full 11 years after Tad's death. That's a real testament to how popular Dorgan was, even if his work is obscure today.

Other examples of cartoonists who followed in Tad's wake are Al Fagaly (his "There Outta Be A Law" was basically a clone of "It Happens Every Time"), J. R. Williams (I have an original "Out Our Way" drawing which I'll post soon), and Gene Ahern, whose "Our Boarding House" started as a rural version of "Indoor Sports."


Dale Hoyt said...

THIS is what I meant by an "old timey" strip called "There's One in Every Crowd". "There's one in every crowd" was a theme that "They'll Do It Every time" took up every year or so. Like the Family Circus and how one of the children "draws" the strip on Father's day. There's one in every crowd was a series of antiquated characters representing some cliche. I remember"TDIET"being in the Sunday funnies up into the '70's.

Peteykins said...

Dale, when you mentioned "There's One in Every Crowd," I just assumed it was a "TDIET" rip-off I hadn't heard of. That explains it.

I actually own three TDIET drawings from the mid 30s, but they're by a different artist, Bill O'Malley, who subbed for Hatlo when he took a long vacation (the same fateful trip when Hatlo's wife "fell off the boat" and drowned!).

samael7 said...

These are great! I love in the TAD one the flowers underneath the porch with the lattice. Just enough to suggest what was down there and frame that side.

I have a soft spot for TDIET. Your erstwhile co-blogger, the Comics Curmudgeon, always followed it, although of course it had been written by Hatlo's successor, Scaduto and Dunn, until they closed shop after Scaduto died a few years back (Dunn having died many years back).

I especially love this one because the first panel was instantly recognizeable to me as a San Francisco cable car. Well, I may be projecting and there's nothing particularly SF about that interior, but I see that Hatlo did live there after WWI, so I'm sticking with that impression.

Paul J. Marasa said...

Was it in "There Oughta Be a Law" that reader contributions were credited by the phrase "Thanx and a tippo to ..."? I still use that line on occasion. I any. Ass, I always liked the drawings more than the gags. The style reminds me of Jack Davis.

Peteykins said...

Hi, Paul, and thanks for the nice comments. That was Jimmy Hatlo, in "They'll Do It Every Time", where he said "Tip of the Hatlo Hat" to the reader contributions.

Paul J. Marasa said...

"I any. Ass." That's what I get for posting from my phone. There oughta be a law.