December 12, 2014

The Art of Frankenstein : Feg Murray (Part 10)

It's hard, today, to fully appreciate just how popular Feg Murray’s Seein’ Stars cartoon feature really was. In the Thirties and Forties, a golden age for newspapers as America’s primary source of information, a generous offering of comic strips and illustrated features provided entertainment. Murray’s celebrity-centric panel was neither first nor the only one of its kind, but an 18-year run attests to its enduring popularity. Seein’ Stars ran daily from 1933 to 1941, then as a weekly until 1951.

Along the way, Murray would bring Seein’ Stars to radio. We’ve seen Murray putting in a cameo in a Hollywood picture, and Seein’ Stars was name-checked among other important national sources — including Life magazine, Popular Science, New York Times and New York Daily News — in a trailer for DESTINATION MOON (1950).

Over the past month, we’ve looked at some of Feg Murray’s genre illustrations, mostly his Frankenstein images. Wrapping up the series, we have yet another Karloff Frankenstein, and a superb rendering of Raymond Massey channeling Karloff’s Monster in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE (1944). Be sure to click the thumbnails below and see the whole feature as it originally appeared. Note that Massey shares space with the curious Sea Monster from Republic’s HAUNTED HARBOR (1944).

Non-Frankenstein monster movie illustrations included Fredric March’s Oscar-winning Mr. Hyde, beautifully drawn and colored, appearing in the Murray panel (thumbnail below) with his John Barrymore and Spencer Tracy counterparts. Under the bandages is a young Vincent Price, from THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940), portending a career to come as a horror film icon. Buster Crabbe aims a super-sized raygun in FLASH GORDON’S TRIP TO MARS (1938), a feature film version of a Universal serial.

Over a month’s worth of posts, we’ve still only scratched the surface. Evidence of Feg Murray’s love for horror, fantasy and science fiction keeps popping up on the ‘net. Check the thumbnails below for a (low quality) glimpse of THE CRIMSON GHOST (1946) and Acquanetta as CAPTIVE WILD WOMAN (1943). Murray would also cover KING KONG (1933), WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935), as well as Charles Gemora and fellow gorilla-suited performers.

The low quality strips posted here are from eBay. The high quality scans we’ve seen all month are from the collection of the ever-generous George Chastain, without whom this Feg Murray series would have been simply impossible. Thanks very much, George!

More of Feg Murray’s art:

The Feg Murray Papers at the Online Archive of California.
A 1930 painted calendar, some black and white Seein’ Stars panels and a Christmas card by Murray on Michael Sporn Animation.
A great collection of Seein’ Stars panels on The Fabulous Fifties here and here.
Feg Murray on Booksteve’s Library.
Art and information on Feg Murray at Comics Kingdom.
Terrific super-sized Feg Murray panels from the collection of comic strip artist Terry Beatty.

1 comment:

Karswell said...

Love these! Thanks for posting, Pierre!