Wednesday, June 13, 2018

From the Dick Buchanan Files: Clyde Lamb Gag Cartoons 1946 - 1965

There is not a lot about drawing for a living that is action-filled. It is a quiet, sedentary existence, bent over your drawing board. No dashing in front of trains, committing armed robbery or escaping the police. Unless you are cartoonist Clyde Lamb.

Here's Dick Buchanan with an explanation and sixteen great Clyde Lamb cartoons:




1946 - 1965

Born in Sidney, Montana, Clyde Lamb was drawing while he was in the Montana Industrial School of boys at 17.  After one year of high school he left Montana and wound up in Memphis, Tennessee where he was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 5 years. He escaped after 18 months and was working as a sign painter in 1934 when he was once again arrested for armed robbery in Hammond, Indiana.  Allowed to visit his pregnant wife in Chicago, he escaped his escorts by dashing in front of an oncoming train.  He was recaptured a few months later, suffering a gunshot wound. He wound up in the Indiana State Penitentiary, to serve 2 Consecutive 25 year terms.

Lamb began drawing in prison, just has he had done in reform school.  At first he painted and then began drawing cartoons for the amusement of his fellow prisoners.  The prison arts and craft director encouraged him to submit his efforts to magazines. Lamb gave it a try and began to sell cartoons. His early efforts appeared in Judge, later his drawings appeared Collier’s, This Week, The Saturday Evening Post, True, Argosy and others.

In one year Clyde Lamb reportedly earned $11,000—an impressive income for anyone in the mid-forties. National attention was focused on Lamb and he was pardoned in June 1947, returning to Montana to pursue a career drawing simple cartoons.

1. Judge March 1946.


2. Judge February 1947.

3. The Saturday Evening Post June 14, 1947.

4. The Saturday Evening Post August 7, 1948.

5. Argosy April, 1950.

6. The Saturday Evening Post September 8, 1951.

7. Boys’ Life February 1951.

8. Judge October 1953.

9. American Legion Magazine June 1954.

10. The Saturday Evening Post December 10, 1955.

11. American Legion Magazine March 1956.

12. 1000 Jokes Magazine August-October, 1955.

13. True Magazine March 1949.

14. Boys’ Life August 1950.

15. Lamb was a Boys’ Life regular. Millicent, a panel cartoon featuring a mischievous elephant, appeared in the monthly until 1966. Boys’ Life August 1955.

16. Lamb created a panel cartoon, "Open Season" for the Iowa Tribune & Register Syndicate in 1957. Brown & Bigelow subsequently reprinted some of these cartoons in a booklet called Call of the Wild. Call of the Wild circa 1950’s.  


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