Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's in here somewhere

see also Gaylord Du Bois: Cartoon legend Joseph Barbera dies at 95�

I have a habit of reading through reams of information and making all my notes in my head so then when asked where I got it -- I have to wade through all the info again.

Lets start at the beginning. In a spare room of my New Mexico home I have no less than 10 large file storage containers, baskets and tubs housing a great portion of the history of Gaylord Dubois. Two boxes have some of the many comic books he has written, one is overfilled with big little books, one of novels and one of miscellaneous books, biographies, poetry, genealogy, etc. The remainder, outside of some paraphenalia like the genuine Roy Rogers felt hat, grandpa's old wallet, a wealth of family photographs, his baby book and his christening gown, is all papers. And there are lots of papers ranging from a hand written essay by his great aunt describing the sinking of the schooner jupiter (she was on it when it struck the iceberg), personal and business letters both to and from Gaylord Dubois, (he kept carbon copies of all he wrote), unpublished manuscripts, transcripts of interviews with GDB, draft copies of poems, newspaper and magazine articles, published articles in fanzines, personal journals of GDB, letters from fans, photocopies of pre 1943 comics, draft manuscripts (i.e. the working copies of Randy Scott's publication) and assorted little notes, cutouts and other things that have been found in his belongings. There is a hand written note with greetings from aunt polly that is signed by Tom Sawyer.

In an effort to sort this all out and get a grasp of how I want to present this in my exhibition I tend to dive right in without keeping a record of where I came across something. In addition to this I have my own memories of things grandpa has told me at some point in time. In answer to David Porta's question on the previous blog post I am not sure at this point what documents or articles have the Tuffy story written out but I do know I came across it in more than one location. Until such time as I can give you the actual details of the sources I will paraphrase the event as told by Grandpa.

During a telephone conversation with Oskar Lebeck GDB was told that one of his cartoon stories was a little weak and repetitive. The story was Tom and Jerry.
Grandpa comments "Its a cat and mouse -- cat chase mouse, mouse chases cat -- mouse wins. What more can I do?" Oskar says it needs another character. Grandpa suggests another mouse -- more of a trouble maker but also mentions they would be hard to tell apart. Oskar mentions dressing him, grandpa mentions a 3 corner diaper and Tuffy the mouse was born.
This is not exact but its close and when I find one or more of the sources again I will post them here.
During Randy Scott's work on the account books he had frequent contact with Gaylord Dubois and much of this was by letter and I have copies of those as well as carbons of grandpa's replies. Since the account books only show Tom and Jerry #3 after they start in 1943 Randy sent copies of earlier comics to Grandpa. One of these was Our Gang #1, 1942 where Tom and Jerry appear for the first time. Grandpa confirmed that he wrote it. Also, Irv Ziemen recalls grandpa telling him of his creation of Tuffy during his interviews.
My comments in the previous post were that I understood the creation of Tuffy (as in the story above) was after the cartoon had been running for awhile. However Tuffy appears in the very first story in Our Gang #1 so the conversation between grandpa and Oskar Lebeck would have taken place prior to the first publication.
Another source David inquired about was the newspaper article I mentioned where Gaylord Dubois is quoted as saying, in reference to Tom and Jerry, "Yes I created those two characters...". This article has a byline Jean Brooks, Sentinel Star and it says Orange City at the start of the column but there is no date on the clipping.
After I came across this article I started trying to find anything at all that would shed light on this and did come across online information (again, I can't quickly cite the source but I do have them printed out in hard copy) mentioning Hanna and Barbera starting work for Hugh Harmon/ Rudolph Ising and the first assignment being the animated feature of "Puss gets the boot" with a cat named Jasper and a mouse named Jinks. So far its a chicken/egg dilemma and the cartoon Tom and Jerry and the animated cat and mouse team seemed to have merged after each was in circulation.

This is all I can offer at this time and if I were able to make any proclamations I can assure you they would be accompanied by the sources rather than a plea for assistance.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cartoon legend Joseph Barbera dies at 95 

Cartoon legend Joseph Barbera dies at 95 Entertainment Entertainment News
"Barbera and Hanna, who died in 2001 at age 90, met at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
film studio in 1937 and first worked together on the cartoon, 'Puss Gets the
Boot,' which led to the creation of famous cat and mouse friends, Tom and

My condolences to the families and friends of Joseph Barbera and it would seem he lived a long creative life.
The excerpt above is one more little shred of conjecture on my trail of finding the facts. "Puss gets the Boot" led to the creation of Tom and Jerry. In a newspaper interview in Florida, Gaylord Dubois said (regarding Tom and Jerry) "Yes, I created those two...".And there is more -- the dialogue of creating Tuffy with Oskar Lebeck in a phone call has been noted on several occasions and in several published places and it was my belief this was at some point after Tom and Jerry had been being published. I now have the first 'Our Gang" comic that Tom and Jerry appeared in and Tuffy is already a character.Anyone out there have anything they can add -- shed any light on this?