Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If I Had A Hammett

Wednesday Advertising Day.

Sam Spade's adventures for Wildroot Hair Cream had an intresting history. Not only as a sponsored radio show (which ran on three different networks) but also as a series of comic strip ads. These ads wee probably produced by the Johnstone and Cushing company and it seems several artists worked on them. All the ads refer to the CBS incarnation of the radio show, which ran the longest. Some of the ads were recut and used in comic books and seemed to have appeared slightly later than the newspaper versions. The Sunday paper ads seem to have appeared once a month. Some times they were even numbered. The first samples of this strip I have are fom comic book ads. I have included one from 1947, but I may have an even earlier one somewhere.The style on the first few is opener and may even have been done by a different artist. I don't know who the bulk of the ads did. The usual suspects at Johnstone and Cushing would be Leonard Starr, Stan Drake, Elmer Wexler, Alex Kotzky, Greig Flessel, Mike Arens and John Spranger, but I have no way of determining who did what in that period.

In 1950 a change in the radio show resulted in a complete make-over of the strip, but more about that next week.

As soon as i have a complete run of this strip, I will try and write a definitive article about this forgotten gem.

An early comic book version from the July/August issue of Real Fact:

Another comic book appearance from the March/April issue of Real Fact 1948:

The January 1948 installment of the newspaper version:

The February 1948 installment of the newspaper version:

The same February 1948 installment of the newspaper version as it ended up in the May/June issue of Real Fact :

The March 1948 installment of the newspaper version:

The May 1948 installment of the newspaper version:

The August 1948 installment of the newspaper version:

Which was recut for a comic book appearance (which I showed earlier). From Boy Commandos #27, 1948:


Booksteve said...

Lou Fine is usually credited with art on some of the SAM SPADE ads, also. One thing's for certain. They were usually better drawn than the rest of the comic they were printed in!

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Lou Fine did not work for Johnstone and Cushing from the late forties onward. But the dick in the first panel of the last strip sure looks like his work, so it may have been one of his own accounts..