Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lost Recording: James Swinnerton Interview


 1932 photo of Swinnerton at his desk from the fotosdecomics blog. 

James Swinnerton (1875-1974) was one of the early giants of American cartooning. Four years before THE YELLOW KID, Swinnerton was drawing a little bear on the San Francisco Examiner every day. The bear cub became a hit and the Examiner's owner, William Randolph Hearst, asked "Swin" to move to New York to join his New York World bullpen, which included Tad Dorgan, George McManus, George Herriman and others.

Swinnerton created a lot of characters and was an early experimenter in comic strip narrative technique. An early success was THE LITTLE TIGERS. The naughty Mr. Jack became his breakout character, and the strip was later renamed for him. His longest running comic was LITTLE JIMMY (1904-1958).

Around 1905, this successful cartoonist was diagnosed with life-threatening tuberculosis. He was told he had a short time to live, and he should move out to the desert, where the air would be better for him. Swinnerton did this -- but he also defied the doctors by living for another 69 years, healthy and productive, continuing cartooning and painting his desert environs.

Below is the background on the 1963 interview and the audio itself. The video has a lot of rare art and certainly begs to be watched full screen:
In 1963, Milt Kagen arranged for Master Sergeant Percy Brown, Jr. to interview legendary cartoonist Jimmy Swinnerton for a program that was broadcast by shortwave to troops overseas.

A lifelong comics fan, Mr. Kagen carefully preserved the tapes of that interview and is now making the program available to the public.

OSU site
Coconino County page
Spectatorship and Framing in the Strips
Animation Resources
Illustration Art

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