Friday, May 27, 2011

In the News-Indianapolis 500

Cartoonists of the Indianapolis 500

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first running of the Indianapolis 500, the world's largest single-day sporting event. The race is known for its traditions and pageantry, and for its long and colorful history. Anyone who has grown up in Indianapolis remembers the month-long run-up to the race, the special sections in the Indianapolis News and the Indianapolis Star with their color photos and colored flags, and the sound of the lap-by-lap account called over a static-filled AM radio to the people of Indiana.

Between 1962 and 1979, the starter of the race was an unforgettable character named Pat Vidan. Born in 1914 in Portland, Oregon, Vidan was by turns a sign painter, book binder, commercial fisherman, police officer, designer, and operator of a gym. He was also a cartoonist. Unfortunately, I don't have any samples of his work, but there's a very fine account of his life and character in a book called The Indy Five Hundred: An American Institution Under Fire by Ron Dorson. You can find that book on Google books, but there are many other websites with information on and photographs of Pat Vidan.

Vidan started flagging automobile races in 1946 and became assistant starter at Indianapolis in 1958. He moved up to chief starter in 1962 and was known for his bodybuilder's physique, his crisp black-and-white outfits, and his flourishes with his colored flags. Vidan appeared on television in 1958, on a show called You Asked for It, and in the movies in 1969, in Winning with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Robert Wagner. After seventeen years at the 500, Vidan retired to Portland, Oregon. He died in 1983 and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Keith Bratton of Fort Wayne and Indianapolis has had a long career in cartooning and has illustrated several books, including Little Known "Facts" of the 500! (1978). Born in Fort Wayne in 1925, Mr. Bratton enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and flew bomber missions in the Pacific Theater. After the war, he attended Butler University and went into advertising and commercial art. His other books include Monday Follows Tuesday by Ed Sovola (1951) and Complete with Commas by Richard W. Geib (1968).

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

Pat Vidan (1914-1983), Chief Starter for the Indianapolis 500 from 1962 to 1979, and Hoosier cartoonist. This photo is from 1972.
Little Known "Facts" of the 500! by Keith Bratton (1978)
As a bonus, here's an Indy car as drawn by a French cartoonist, Jean Graton, for his comic strip Michel Valliant, from the book Comicar (1975).
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hoosier Cartoonists Today

Irene Olds

For over 100 years, Brown County, Indiana, has been known for its art and artists, from T.C. Steele to the artists of today. One of those artists is Irene Olds, also known as Irene Joslin. Originally from Indianapolis, Irene has lived and worked in Brown County for many years. Since 1994, she has drawn cartoons for the local paper, the Nashville Democrat. She is also an illustrator who takes commissions. Her work is bright and colorful and worth a look.

Her website:

And an article from Our Brown County from May 2001:

Copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What Is a Hoosier?

I began writing this blog not long after the new year began and already I have had visitors from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Whether you're just browsing or looking for some particular piece of information, you have probably asked yourself: What in the world is a Hoosier? Even people from the United States wonder. As anyone from Indiana knows, the debate as to a definition has been going on for almost as long as Indiana has been a state.

The simplest answer to the question "What is a Hoosier?" is that a Hoosier is a person from Indiana. That leads to some problems, though. For example, the official nickname for Indiana is "The Hoosier State." So if a Hoosier is a person from Indiana and Indiana is the Hoosier State, then (by substituting terms) you end up with Indiana as the state of people from Indiana. I think the philosophers call that a tautology. Or how about this: The nickname for the sports teams from Indiana University is "The Hurryin' Hoosiers." Once again, by sticking one definition inside the other, you end up with "The Indiana Hurryin' People from Indiana." Ridiculous.

So, obviously, the word Hoosier has some other definition or origin. Some people think it came from a question asked through the heavily barred door of the frontier home: "Who's there?" Then there's the story that in the rough and tumble days of early settlement, men would ask upon finding an auditory appendage on the floor after a brawl, "Whose ear?" Others say that the term came from questions asked by inquisitive (or suspicious) pioneers: "Who's yer father? Who's yer grandfather?" And so on. "Who's there?" "Whose ear?" "Who's yer. . . ?" These expressions became "Hoosier"? It sounds like they could be authentic frontier gibberish, but the explanation sounds like gibberish, too.

A better explanation is that the word Hoosier comes from a southern expression, Hoozer, meaning, "somebody who was tall and green and gawky, and ripped his side of meat apart instead of using a knife" (as described by Heath Bowman in his book, Hoosiers). That definition may go back into the obscure past, before Indiana was a state or even a territory. Hoosier may simply mean someone from the hills, with the implication that if he's from the hills, he's backward and uncouth as well. In Edward Anderson's novel Thieves Like Us (1937), the bank robbers who are good at what they do describe the amateurs in their line of work as "hoosiers," as in "Those guys are a bunch of hoosiers." Even today, in Missouri, a Hoosier (or hoosier) is someone stupid, backward, incompetent--a lowlife or a guy who has just fallen off the turnip wagon. Not a very good image of the Hoosier as a type.

In Hoosiers (1941), author Heath Bowman probably came closer to the meaning of Hoosier the way Hoosiers from Indiana think of themselves. A fight between a new settler and an Indiana boy who has earned his stripes by making a trip downriver to New Orleans results in a thrashing of the settler. The Indiana boy announces, " 'We don't take no argefying. We're Hushers.' " When asked what that strange word means, he replies: " 'It means we kin "hush" any rip-tail, screamin' scrouger in this-hyar country. We're half-men, half-alligators. We're Hushers.' " They were rough, tough, and full of boast and tall tales (some about themselves). They were strong, resilient, and hardworking. They were pioneers, frontiersmen, flatboatmen, and farmers. They opposed slavery and gave up their sons to preserve the Union. They built roads and railroads, riverboats and landing craft. They made automobiles, airplanes, fine furniture, mother-of-pearl buttons, Coke bottles, and Clabber Girl baking powder. They knew a good thing when they saw it and they stayed put, making the most of some of the richest land on earth. In short, they were Hoosiers.

Hoosiers are proud to call themselves Hoosiers, despite the negative connotations of the word in other parts of the country. And they know what the word "Hoosier" means. A Hoosier is not just a person from Indiana. Hoosiers are people renowned for their hospitality, hard work, and attachment to a place and a way of life. Hoosiers are aware of their history and proud of their accomplishments. Indiana University doesn't have a mascot for its sports teams because you can't make a Hoosier out of foam, fabric, and wire. Hoosiers are made by land and history.

In 1941, Bobbs-Merrill of Indianapolis published Heath Bowman's Hoosiers, a paean to the state and its people. Here are the endpapers, yellowed and stained, but listing some of the Hoosiers who had made a name for themselves in the wider world. John T. McCutcheon (1870-1949) is on that list (No. 4). As front-page cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, he became the dean of American editorial cartoonists. Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) is also on the list (No. 9). Although born in Ohio, Hubbard became famous as the Hoosier author of Abe Martin, a daily panel of wisdom and humor straight from the hills of Brown County.
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In the News-Disney in Concert

"Disney in Concert" Set for Thursday Evening in Merrillville

The Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra will perform "Disney in Concert," a program of music, song, and animation, at 7:30 in the evening on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana. The concert is part of a traveling show featuring Disney vocalists, as well as art and video clips from Disney movies. The music from the concert is drawn from scores written for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other films. For details, see the website of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra.

Copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Corky Lamm Award

Corky Lamm Sportswriter of the Year Award Given to Elkhart's Bill Beck

Sportswriter and editor Bill Beck of the Elkhart Truth was named the 2011 Corky Lamm Indiana Sportswriter of the Year in March. He received the award at the Hall of Fame Banquet in Indianapolis on April 16, 2011. Mr. Beck has been on the staff of the Elkhart Truth since 1984 and sports editor since 1999. The award is given by the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association in honor of Corky Lamm (1915-1974), a sportswriter and sports cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis News

Originally from Wayne County, Indiana, Robert Corwin "Corky" Lamm graduated from DePauw University in 1937 and served in the Army during World War II. He spent most of his adult life in Indianapolis, covering sports for the city's two main daily papers. He  was elected to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.

You can read the story of Mr. Beck's award at the website of the Elkhart Truthhere. And you'll find the website of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, here.

To non-Hoosiers, Corky Lamm's cartoon from the Indianapolis News (Nov. 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated) may be incomprehensible. The Old Oaken Bucket, though, is the trophy traded back and forth between Indiana University and Purdue University football teams since 1925. On the left is Purdue's coach, Jack Mollenkopf, and on the right, his rival from Indiana, Phil Dickens. Purdue won the game that year, 21 to 15, taking the trophy back home to West Lafayette.
Text copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cartoonist of the Month-May 2011

John Tomlinson Brush (1845-1912)

John Tomlinson Brush is known for his involvement in professional baseball of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but he was also an amateur cartoonist and a humorist. Born on June 15, 1845, in Clintonville, New York, Brush was orphaned by age four and ran away from his grandparents' home at seventeen. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War and ran clothing stores in New York State before coming to Indianapolis in 1875. The new arrival immediately drew the attention of Circle City residents by placing advertisements in the newspaper asking an enigmatic question: "When?" After asking the question for several weeks (as well as "Where?" and "What?"), Brush opened the When Clothing Store on North Pennsylvania Street in Indianapolis in March 1875. An outlet for a New York-based wholesale house, the store boasted a gas flame in front, balconies, a courtyard, 
cast iron balustrades, and a band shell in which the When Band gave concerts. The store proved such a success that other stores followed Brush's lead. There was another When Store in Worthington, Indiana, and a Why Store in both Worthington and Muncie. By the way, The Why Store survives today in the name of a band from Muncie. They had a hit with their single, "Lack of Water," many years ago.

John T. Brush was an innovative advertiser and promoter of his business. His newspaper ads included humor, weather reports, and lighthearted poetry. He got involved in baseball as a promotion as well, building a ballpark in 1882 for the hometown Indianapolis Hoosiers. That team soon folded, so Brush brought in the Saint Louis Maroons as replacements in 1887. Brush's trading in baseball clubs continued until he acquired the New York Giants in 1902-1903. He held that team until his death.

Brush suffered from ill health, aggravated by a car accident in 1912. Not long after his New York Giants lost the World Series that year, Brush was on his way to California to recuperate when he died in his private train car near Louisiana, Missouri, on November 26, 1912. His body was returned to Indianapolis for a funeral attended by hundreds, including baseball executives and players. Brush is honored today by the John T. Brush Stairway at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, built in 1913 and still holding up after nearly a century of foot traffic.

John Tomlinson Brush, businessman and baseball executive, was also a cartoonist and humorist. Unfortunately, I don't have any of his drawings or writings to offer, so I'll post a photograph of him instead. The date is unknown.
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In The News-Baseball Art Exhibit

Baseball Art Exhibit in Indianapolis

In honor of 125 consecutive years of professional baseball in Indianapolis, the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) is placing more than forty-five original works of art on display at its home in the Circle City. Included are works by John Groth, Ray Ellis, Dan Edwards, and cartoonist Willard Mullin, named the Sports Cartoonist of the Century by the National Cartoonists Society (NCS). The exhibit begins Friday, May 6, 2011, and runs through the end of the Indianapolis Indians' baseball season, until Wednesday, October 5, 2011. The museum, founded in 1959, is located at 850 West Michigan Street, just west of downtown, and is free and open to the public. You can read more about NAMOS and its exhibit at the museum's website. You can also read a press release at the official website of Minor League Baseball. As for Willard Mullin, see the Willard Mullin Website created by illustrator Bob Staake, here.

Sports cartoonist Willard Mullin (1902-1978) is among the artists whose work is on display at the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) in Indianapolis, May 6-Oct. 5, 2011. Here's a cartoon by Mullin showing sluggers Babe Ruth and Hank Greenberg. My dad tells me that his father saw Babe Ruth and a group of barnstorming players in an exhibition game at University Park in Indianapolis, probably in the late 1910s or early 1920s. The building housing the art exhibit is probably not far from the site of that game. It could even be on the same spot. And so the circle closes.
Text copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, May 1, 2011

In The News-Bill Blackbeard

Comic Strip Historian and Preservationist Bill Blackbeard Dies

The world of comics suffered a great loss with the death of Bill Blackbeard on March 10, 2011, in Watsonville, California. He was only a few weeks short of his eighty-fifth birthday. Born on April 28, 1926, in Lawrence, Indiana, William Elsworth Blackbeard began collecting newspaper comics at the age of twelve. That collection eventually became a mountain of comics: by his own estimate (in the early 1990s), Blackbeard clipped 350,000 Sunday comic strips and 2.5 million dailies from newspapers that would otherwise have gone in the trash. If it were not for him, America would have lost an invaluable piece of its cultural and social history. Instead, Blackbeard's collection--eventually seventy-five tons in all--was housed at the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, from its founding in the late 1960s until six tractor trailers hauled it to what is now the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University. The collection also became the source for Blackbeard's 200 or more books, reprints of well known and obscure comic strips going all the way back to the nineteenth century. On a personal note, Blackbeard was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and attended Fullerton College on the G.I. Bill. He was married at one time but apparently left no direct heirs. Indirectly, we as a nation are his heirs, and his bequest to us is of incalculable value. 

There are several articles available on the Internet regarding Blackbeard's life and death. If you want to read more, The Comics Journalthe New York Times, and even Wikipedia would be good places to start.

The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics (1977), what you might call Bill Blackbeard's magnum opus, is a one-volume compilation and summation of American newspaper comic strips, from Hogan's Alley (also called The Yellow Kid, 1896) to Jerry Dumas' meta-comic, Sam's Strip (1962). I should also give credit to Martin Williams, Blackbeard's co-editor, and John Canaday, who wrote the foreword. Make room on your bookshelf for this very large volume--you won't regret buying a copy. 
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Emerson Quillin

Emerson Quillin Featured

Indiana cartoonist Emerson Quillin, transplanted to Florida, was recently featured in the Bradenton Herald (April 22, 2011). After drawing the cartoon panel Listen Honey for the Cincinnati Post for a quarter century and working in design for a couple of different companies, Mr. Quillin moved to Anna Maria, Florida, four years ago. He now runs his own shop, selling prints, apparel, and other items decorated with his own designs and cartoons. You can read the full story here. Mr. Quillin also has his own website, Emerson's Humor.

Copyright 2011 Terence Hanley

In the News-Choc-Ola Returns

Choc-Ola, Everyone's Favorite Chocolate Drink, Returns!

If you've been looking for a shot of cow power, you can get it once again from a cold bottle of Choc-Ola, that long-ago chocolate drink peculiar to the land of Hoosierdom. If you grew up during the Baby Boom era in Indiana, you probably remember Choc-Ola, a soft drink invented by Harry Normington, Jr., in 1944 and bottled in Indianapolis for over forty years. Choc-Ola became harder and harder to find over the years, but it was recently announced that Dan Iaria of Indianapolis has acquired the rights to make Choc-Ola once again. His first bottle went on sale on March 21, 2011. Initially available only at Martin's Super Markets in northern Indiana, Choc-Ola will soon be on store shelves in other locations. So what does this have to do with Hoosier cartoonists? If you have ever seen a bottle of Choc-Ola, you know that there's a cartoon cow on the label. A cartoon cow on a product made only in Indiana? Doesn't that suggest that an Indiana artist was the creator? If anyone knows the answer to that question, please send it my way. In the meantime, drink your Choc-Ola, made with real milk, and gain some cow power.

Choc-Ola is back! And you can read more about it at the official website of Choc-Ola, the drink that gives you cow power! Shake well!
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Michael Molinelli

Michael Molinelli Featured

In news of another architect and cartoonist, Michael Molinelli, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, was recently featured in The Observer (Feb. 18, 2011), the independent newspaper serving Notre Dame and St. Mary's. (You'll find the article here.) Between 1977 and 1982, Mr. Molinelli drew a five-day-a-week comic strip called "Molarity" for the paper. Despite the strip's popularity (his three collections sold thousands in the university bookstore), Mr. Molinelli brought Molarity to a close after graduation--until recently. Molarity Redux now appears periodically online on the website of Notre Dame Magazine (here) alongside reprints of the original strip.

Mr. Molinelli now runs his own architectural firm and lives in Briar Cliff, New York, with his family.

Copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Herman Terzino

Architect and Cartoonist Herman Terzino Dies

Herman J. Terzino, a prominent architect in LaPorte, Indiana, died on April 17, 2011, at age 89. Between 2004 and 2010, he drew a cartoon called "Full Moon" for the LaPorte Herald-Argus. His second wife Mary wrote a column for the paper at about the same time.

Mr. Terzino was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, on March 9, 1922. He was a decorated Army veteran of World War II and graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in architecture in 1950. Mr. Terzino married a LaPorte native, Nancy Rumely, in 1951 and returned with her to that city. His career in architecture and his life in Indiana spanned fifty years. Mr. Terzino designed buildings for a number of clients in the eastern United States. In addition to drawing architectural renderings, Mr. Terzino doodled and cartooned. In his work for the Herald-Argus, he became one of a rapidly disappearing breed: the local editorial cartoonist.

A drawing by Indiana cartoonist Herman Terzino.

I didn't know Mr. Terzino. Nonetheless, I honor him. They don't make men like him anymore.

Text copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-NCS Awards

Two Hoosiers Nominated for Awards by the National Cartoonists Society (NCS)

The National Cartoonists Society (NCS) has announced its nominees for awards to be presented at its annual banquet to be held in Boston on May 28, 2011. They include at least two Indiana cartoonists. Gary Varvel, cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star, is nominated for his editorial cartoons. Jared Lee is nominated for book illustration for The Three Wise Guys by Mike Thaler. You can read more about the awards at the website of the National Cartoonists Society. Gary Varvel also has a blog, here.  You'll find the website of Jared Lee here.

Copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Rube Goldberg Competition

Purdue Hosts Annual Rube Goldberg Competition

The University of Wisconsin-Stout were repeat winners at the 24th Annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest held March 26, 2011, at Purdue University. In a mere 135 steps, the Wisconsin team watered a plant in a model of creativity combined with "inefficiency and complexity" as required by the competition. In consolation for the home team, a Purdue University machine completed an unassisted run of 244 steps, surpassing Ferris State University's world record. You can read the full story and see a video of a machine re-staging the world's history in its goal of watering a plant, at the website of the Purdue University News Service.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is named for the American cartoonist, sculptor, and author, Rube Goldberg (1883-1970). Born in California, Goldberg graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in engineering. Despite his education, Goldberg went into cartooning and became famous for devising ridiculously complicated machines that accomplish extremely simple tasks. For that, his name passed into common usage so that even today, we talk about "Rube Goldberg devices." Goldberg also won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartooning. Perhaps more significantly, the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) hands out its annual Reuben Award to "The Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year" in his honor. Goldberg designed the award himself, but the original was sculpted by Hoosier cartoonist Bill Crawford (1913-1982). Today, four decades after his death, Rube Goldberg has an official website. It's only fitting that he should. After all, isn't a computer just one more Rube Goldberg device?

The Reuben Award, the highest award given to a cartoonist by the National Cartoonists Society (NCS), designed by Rube Goldberg and sculpted by Bill Crawford of Hammond, Indiana.
Text copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Joel Bustamante

Wabash College Student Wins Editorial Award

The Indiana Collegiate Press Association awarded Wabash College student Joel Bustamante first place for an editorial cartoon in a small college newspaper at its annual convention, held April 1-2, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana. The award was for a cartoon depicting President Barack Obama and an injured elephant representing the GOP.  "A classic cartoon treatment of a national topic," judges wrote. "Clear caricatures and few words make this the most powerful of the bunch." Mr. Bustamante's award was one of twenty-two awards, including ten first place awards, picked up by The Bachelor, the Wabash College weekly newspaper. Wabash College, located in Crawfordsville, Indiana, is the alma mater of several other Hoosier cartoonists, including Allen Saunders (Mary Worth), Dave Gerard (Citizen Smith), Frank Beaven, Bandel Linn, Tom Henderson, and Don Cole.

Copyright 2011 Terence Hanley

In the News-Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl in Print

First Second Books recently released Zita the Spacegirl, the first graphic novel by Indiana cartoonist Ben Hatke. Hatke's Zita is a young adventurer in outer space. In addition to appearing in print, Zita can also be found online, on her own website, Zita the Spacegirl, and on her creator's blog, Art and Adventure. Finally, Mr. Hatke has a website for his fine art and illustration, here.

Although native to Indiana, Ben Hatke lives in Front Royal, Virginia, with his family. He attended Christendom College and spent two years studying art in Florence, Italy. He was recently the subject of an article (Feb. 26, 2011) on the website of the Northern Virginia Daily. His websites and blog are well worth a look.

Copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Dele Jegede

Nigerian-American Dele Jegede's Art on Display

Artist and cartoonist Dele Jegede is holding an art exhibit, called "Peregrinations," in his home country of Nigeria, beginning yesterday, April 30, 2011, and on display until May 12 at the Nike Gallery in Lagos. Born in Ikere-Ekiti, Nigeria, in 1945, Mr. Jegede graduated from the university in 1973 and worked as art editor for the Daily Times in Nigeria. In 1979, he migrated to Bloomington, Indiana, to study art at Indiana University. Since graduating with a doctorate in 1983, he has been back and forth between Nigeria and the United States, working in journalism, art, and academia, including a stint at Indiana State University from 2002 to 2005. Mr. Jegede is a pioneering cartoonist in Nigeria. He started drawing a daily comic strip, Kole the Menace, in 1976. In the early 1990s, he assembled a team of cartoonists who put together the first color Sunday comics section, called Funny Cords, in a Nigerian newspaper. You can read more about him with a simple Google search and by looking at his website, here.

Dele Jegede's Kole the Menace, reprinted from Glendora Review: African Quarterly on the Arts, 1997 (Vol. 2, No. 2).
Text copyright 2011 by Terence E. Hanley