Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bob Pilgrim Santa Claus Cartoon – November 10, 1954

Here's a neat little cartoon that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 10, 1954. It provides a capsule history of the American version of Santa Claus.

The cartoon has a few funny bits – especially the bratty little kid who wants Santa to bring him Jane Russell for Christmas.

At first I assumed that it would be impossible to find out who drew the cartoon. But then I noticed the artist's last name was Pilgrim (seen in the lower left hand corner of the cartoon), so I did an online search to find out more about him.

With help from Allan Holtz, comic strip historian and author of American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide (as well as a fellow blogger), the artist was positively identified as Bob Pilgrim. Mr. Pilgrim apparently began his long running career in the 1920s, working as an artist for different syndicates on a variety of features.

What's interesting to me is that Mr. Holtz recognized the small symbol in the cartoon underneath Bob Pilgrim's signature. It's the logo of Central Press Association, which was a division of King Features Syndicate in Cleveland. It supplied features and artwork to newspapers such as the Journal from 1910 until the early 1970s.

Why is all this interesting to me? Because my grandfather worked at Central Press, retiring from there in the early 1960s.

Central Press may long gone, but tomorrow on the blog, we'll drop by its offices and take a look around, so to speak.

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