Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Walter Berndt

Above: cool SMITTY sheet music from the Hogan's Alley site.

Happy Birthday to Walter Berndt -- the man who drew SMITTY for 50 years!

And don't forget about the Berndt Toast Gang -- the Long Island Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society!

"Berndt Toast?" What kinda name is that?!

Recently, Tim Lasiuta interviewed the one and only Lee Ames about the Berndt Toast Gang. Lee said:

When the Long Island group, Creig Flessel, Bill Ligante, Frank Springer, Al Micale, and I got together to work for Hanna Barbera [in the 1960s], we decided to have a Finnegan's (Bar) lunch every last Thursday of the month. During that period, Creig brought Walter Berndt to join us.

We fell in love with the cigar smoking old timer (look who's talking!), as he did with us. After a couple of years he passed away and left us grieving. Thereafter, whenever we convened on Thursdays, we'd raise a toast to Walter's memory. On one such, my big mouth opened and uttered, "Fellas, it's time for the Berndt toast!" I wasn't trying to be cute at the time but I'm not displeased that it stuck and we became the Berndt Toast Gang, one of the largest branches of the National Cartoonists Society.

More on the history of the Berndt Toast Gang here.

Big tip of the chapeau to Craig Yoe!!!!!

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