The small world of editorial cartooning was delivered a blow to the body last week, as the industry said goodbye to two legendary pioneers.
No one blazed a trail quite like Etta Hulme, the long-time political cartoonist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. When she was first hired back in 1972, Hulme was among the first female cartoonists working at a major metro newspaper. Her powerful cartoons eventually earned her a national following, several top awards and the title (at least among her peers) of “the Molly Ivins of cartooning.”
Hulme, who was reportedly in bad health in recent years, past away last Wednesday in her Arlington home. She was 90.
A small, amiable woman who charmingly hid behind a pair of glasses, Hulme was a feisty liberal in the heart of a conservative state. Despite her charm and good nature, she relished in poking and prodding the powerful once a day out of her corner office for decades.
“Most of my hate mail — sure, I get hate mail — calls me a liberal,” Hulme said back in 1993. “But whatever opinions I have come naturally without my trying to take any particular stand. If I go on too long without one of my cartoons gettin’ me in the soup, I start to worry. A cartoonist ought to provoke.”
“She was a very liberal cartoonist, but she was a very excellent cartoonist,” former Star-Telegram publisher Wes Turner recalled last week. “She could tell a story better in one frame than a writer could in a thousand-word story.”
“Her political persuasion and mine diverged, but I thought she made our paper better because she certainly got people talking and got people thinking,” Turner continued, “and that’s what a good political cartoonist does.”
Here’s a brief clip from the 2004 documentary “Trailblazer: The Editorial Cartoons of Etta Hulme”:
Last week, we also lost legendary sports cartoonist Amadee Wohlschlaeger, who died last Tuesday in St. Louis at the age of 102.
Known professionally as “Amadee,” his sports cartoons for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch captured all the charm and energy of the city’s thriving sports scene for more than 70 years. From Dizzy Dean to Whitey Herzog, the cigar-chomping Amadee wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers or keep his opinions hidden.
Amadee also drew the Weatherbird, a popular feature in the Post-Dispatch that dates back to 1901. Dan Martin, who has drawn the Weatherbird since 1986 (here’s Martin’s Weatherbird cartoon remembering Amadee), says Amadee was a local legend and a reminder of the great history of journalism in St. Louis.
“Amadee actually learned a lot of this stuff from cartoonists in the 1890′s,” Martin told Fox 2. “So you can make a direct line back from Amadee to 19th century newspapering almost.”
One of my favorite Amadee cartoons shows former St. Louis skipper Red Schoendienst, frustrated at the struggling team’s performance following their championship run in 1968. In the cartoon, Schoendienst is aiming a shotgun at a bunch of Cardinals on a telephone line, which reportedly angered catcher Tim McCarver, who demanded to know what it meant.
Amadee supposedly responded, “It means some of you [guys] aren’t going to be around next year.” McCarver was traded before the end of the season.
Here’s another great Amadee cartoon from 1967, shooing Schoendienst along with then-Cardinals owner Gussie Busch stampeding over the National League in a clydesdale-led Budweiser wagon: