Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Brief Account by Fontaine Fox Describing Trolley in Pelham Manor as Inspiration for Toonerville Trolley Comic Strip

Occasionally I have written about the "Toonerville Trolley" and its ties to Pelham. For a few examples, see:

Mon., March 5, 2007: An Ode to the Toonerville Trolley and Its Skipper Published in 1921.

Wed., November 15, 2006: Another Letter by Fontaine Fox Describing How the Pelham Manor Trolley Inspired Him to Create the Toonerville Trolley.

Tue., September 19, 2006: Toonerville Trolley Cartoons Available For Free Viewing Online

Wed., August 9, 2006: The Saddest Day in the History of Pelham Manor's "Toonerville Trolley"

Tues., October 11, 2005: The Toonerville Trolley Pays its Bills -- Late!

Tues., September 20, 2005: Pelham's "Toonerville Trolley" Goes To War

Fri., June 17, 2005: "Skipper Louie" of Pelham Manor's Toonerville Trolley

Tue., April 19, 2005: Pelham Manor Residents Fight Construction of the Toonerville Trolley Line

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes an excerpt from an article written by Wesley W. Stout from interviews he conducted of Fontaine Fox, the creator of Toonerville Folks. The article appeared in the July, 1936 issue of The Magazine Sigma Chi. According to the author, Fontaine Fox noted that his first efforts to draw sketches of trolleys arose when he worked for a local newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky, but the idea for the comic strip arose when he rode on the little Pelham Manor trolley one day. Below is the excerpt, followed by a citation to its source.

"In Louisville, there is a belt line around the city known as the Brook Street line. It gets all the cast-off equipment of the trunk lines. I lived on it, as did my managing editor, A. T. MacDonald. He lampooned the service in his daily column of paragraphs and had me draw some sketches to support his campaign. These memories were stored in the back of my head.

Soon after coming to New York, my wife and I went up in the Pelam neighborhood to call on Charley Voight and found a rattletrap trolley at the station. The car and its combination conductor-motorman were a pretty close approximation of the Toonerville Trolley and its Skiper. When we got back home, I worked out the idea."

Source: Stout, Weley W., A Noted Cartoonist, The Magazine Sigma Chi, July 1936, pp. 133, 139.

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