Cartoonist, Olympic athlete, radio host, our featured artist enjoyed a charmed life and an eclectic career. I also nominate Feg Murray as a Monster Kid.
As admittedly circumstantial evidence, I submit the frequent, lovingly illustrated monster movie references in his Seein’ Stars newspaper feature of the Thirties and Forties, especially considering how little coverage the movie magazines and the celebrity gossips ever gave the classic era horror stars and their films, unless for cracking wise and looking down at them.
As another piece of evidence, it is worth noting that Murray’s very first Seein’ Stars cartoon spread in 1933 featured Boris’ Monster sharing equal space with Greta Garbo!
When Murray parlayed his newspaper fame into a radio host gig, he presided over the extraordinary on-air appearance of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi performing a now legendary duet, signing, “We’re Horrible, Horrible Men”! Listen to the clip here. And as another small hint, we note that the inventory listing of the Feg Murray Papers, archived at Stanford University in California, includes a photograph of Feg posing with makeup man Jack Pierce. That’s one still I’d love to see!
Digging up info on Murray, trying to find pictures of the artist and more samples of his work, I came upon film footage of Feg. This is from THAT'S RIGHT, YOU'RE WRONG, a 1939 RKO musical that introduced radio bandleader Kay Kyser to the movies. As a novelty — and a guarantee of lots of free publicity — the film features cameos by all the big-name movie reporters and Hollywood gossip columnists of the time. These included Sheila Graham, Jimmy Starr, Harrison Carroll, Erskine Johnson and, sharing the screen with the formidable Hedda Hopper, our friend Feg!
Here’s the brief clip where Adolphe Menjou is introducing starlet “Sandra Sand” to celebrities at a poolside party. Sand is played by a very young Lucille Ball… Enjoy!
More full-color Sunday strips coming up!