Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Importance of Mr. Peewee

[1] Mr. Peewee by MacGill, September 16, 1903.

MR. PEEWEE. The American-Journal-Examiner, Hearst’s San Francisco newspaper, was the first newspaper to publish consecutive daily newspaper strips. On January 31, 1903, appeared a one-shot gag strip called The Importance of Mr. Peewee by Ed Flinn. Harold Arthur MacGill (1875-1950) revived the character Mr. Peewee as a daily from September 9, 1903 and it ran until at least September 23, 1904, under a variety of artists including Fred Long and a cartoonist who signed visually with a bulldog in a tiny frame. This is based on following the cartoons in the New York World so might not be entirely accurate. The last strip I found was a cartoon drawn by MacGill in the Salt Lake Herald titled The Whole Peewee Family on March 1, 1908. So, did the strip run until 1908 or was the 1908 cartoon just a one-shot nostalgic remembrance by MacGill?

[2] H.A. MacGill, May 25, 1919.
Harold Arthur MacGill was born in Canada, in an as yet unidentified city, on November 5, 1875. His September 1918 draft registration card identifies him as a declared alien and states his present occupation as a cartoonist in the employ of Frank Munsey of New York and his next of kin as Agnes MacGill. He resided at Bayside, Queens, New York. 

[3] Percy and Ferdie, March 14, 1916.
“Cupples & Leon sold nearly 6,000,000 copies of the Percy and Ferdie series by H.A. MacGill and issued Bud Fisher’s Mutt and Jeff in a first printing of 1,000,000. Bringing up Father, by George MacManus, also sold in the millions.” — Fifty Years of Bestsellers
[4] Percy and Ferdie, April 21, 1922.

H.A. MacGill’s title The Hall-Room Boys, later titled Percy and Ferdie, his second comic strip, was copyrighted June 10, 1905; the next two strips appeared June 14 and 15, 1905. To discover if it appeared daily and consecutively or sporadically, the newspapers were not available. March 2, 1915, was the last available copyright date on that title, Percy and Ferdie began March 14, 1916. Just previous to this he had been drawing the daily title The 2nd Mrs. Mack.

[5] Mr. Peewee by Bulldog (a visual signature), January 19, 1904.
[6] Dozens of New York cartoonists and caricaturists pictured at their Beefsteak Dinner. Photo from The Fourth Estate, October 10, 1908.


  1. I like the Bulldog panel a lot. It seems ahead of its time visually, especially the composition of the second panel. His fake headlines are hilarious. 113 years later the tabloids still run headlines like this. I expect to see the one about Charles Dickens in the Enquirer tomorrow. As McGill comments in his panel, "Big Scare Heads Cover Little News."

  2. I have been puzzling over his identity - Gus Mager maybe filling in for MacGill?

  3. I don't know how I missed this the first time...the strip's subhead says, "Originally cartoonist Ed Flinn January 31, 1903." This means Bulldog is Ed Flinn, right? Whoever Ed Flinn may be.

    1. No Ed Flinn drew only one single strip and was followed by MacGill as a regular. I think Ed Flinn did this quite often with different characters - he would draw the first strip and others would carry on. His style wan't as good as that of the bulldog - may have been more of an idea man creating comic strips. That's a guess only since no information on him could be found.