Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Solly Walter –

 Death of a Great Cartoonist.

Solly Walter, caricaturist, newspaperman and illustrator, was born in 1846 in Vienna, Austria. He settled in San Francisco in 1883, and died February 26, 1900 in Honolulu.

     DEATH OF A GREAT CARTOONIST. INTO the fifty-three years of his life, Solly Walter, who died in Honolulu two weeks ago, had crowded an eventful career as soldier, engineer, and artist. The last was his chosen vocation, and in it he was a master of technique, while the boldest of his conceptions gave a strong, vigorous individuality to all his work. As a cartoonist he was at his best, and his finest productions in this class of art were unquestionably those he designed for the Wasp during his seven years’ connection with this paper as head of the art department. 

His cartoons for the Bohemian Club high jinks, at several of which he was sire, were pure art, too, and are valued possessions of the club. Walter, born an Austrian, had become a true citizen of the world. He was an adept linguist and a brilliant man in every respect. That, after years of travel in many lands, he should finally repose under the palms of peaceful Oahu, is an end that fits his own conception of perfect rest. The Wasp, San Francisco, March 17, 1900

     THE BOHEMIAN CLUB JINKS at Meeker’s Grove last Saturday night was the most successful affair the club has had for years. From soda to hock” the outing went with the go that only brilliant and jolly fellows could give it. There was not a moment when all the Bohemians assembled beneath the forest shades were not imbued with the spirit, or spirits, of the night. It was a grand — a howling success, and the members of the club and their guests cannot be too extravagant in their expressions of appreciation of tbe excellent work done by the gentlemen who directed the festivities. Joe Redding was the presiding genius, and to him belongs most of the honor for the scheme of the entertainment. 

In making out the details he consulted with that prince of good fellows and excellent artist, Solly Walter, otherwise known as “The Melancholy.” Solly, for the nonce throwing off his funereal air, which has been more pronounced than usual since his brief but tempestuous career at Fresno, entered with a will into the spirit of the thing. He devised the beautiful and appropriate decorations, and conceived the “props,” including the Druidical arches, the altar, the catafalque with its four ox skulls, and the skeleton dancers. 

From a scenic standpoint, the jinks were perfect; not a detail was omitted which would have increased the impressive beauty of the forest temple. Nor are the participants in the solemn ceremonies to be less praised than the originators, designers, and directors.

For a week previous to the night of nights, the advance party had the camp to themselves, and they made the forest resound as they howled and howled in the endeavor to develop the proper forest pitch in their voices. The evening before the jinks a jolly party composed of Donald de V. Graham, Joe Redding, Jack Stanton, Amadee Joullin, Van Stow, Solly Walter, W. G. Harrison, Jack Levison, Frank and Charlie Stone, and other sons of Bohemia, gathered round the campfire, they swapped lies in the good old way, and shook the leaves from the trees with their boisterous laughter, a hollowed log acted as a chimney to their fire, and made a lasting pyrotechnic display that gave light to a scene of weird beauty. 

All the surrounding trees were brilliantly illuminated, and where the light fell full upon the branches it formed with them a beautiful silver lace-work, made the more beautiful as it was thrown into bold relief by its back-ground of jet. The dark figures of the forest devotees showed but where the rays of light found an angle to rest upon. Here the prominent nose of Graham cast fantastic shadows upon the pale cheek of Joullin, and the images seemed to dance the merrier as if to keep time with the music that flowed from the tips of the Redding fingers, as tbe gentle Joseph hammered out his repertoire upon the piano.

The High Jinks closed with a devil of a speech delivered by Ned Hamilton, who represented Beelzebub. It was a masterly effort, and uttered in Hamilton's deep tones, with great impressment, filled the audience with a weird dread. The speech, in construction and in delivery, well-illustrated the great virility of the speaker's mental and physical individuality. 

The address of General Barnes, the Bohemian, was the poetical flower of the evening. One who saw and heard the doughty veteran at the jinks and saw him next morning in the tented town's principal street, as he carefully scraped the superabundant whiskers from Joullin’s cheek with a dull razor, would understand why the General is popular. In the Low Jinks, Graham made a hit as a lightning change artist. He impersonated Uncle George Bromley, Harry Brady and Solly Walter in form, face, beard, hair, voice, and movement in rapid, succession, and was rewarded with rounds of applause. 

Adolph Bauer must have walked on air. His great success was well merited. His symphonic orchestra and the chorus, led by his masterly baton, performed their programme faultlessly, and the Sunday morning conceit, also under his direction, was to many the banquet of the whole affair. Of course, everybody was sorry that Stewart and Rosewald were not present. Their “unavoidable” absence, it is said, was entirely due to “professional reasons.” Lotz’s solos on the horn were magnificent. Without going into more detail, it may be said in concluding these remarks upon the Bohemian festival, that the club may well congratulate itself upon being able to give a better entertainment than similar organization in the world.S.F. News Letter, July-Dec 1893