I wrote last week about my grandfather, Charles Hurst, and his talent for writing, painting and creative engineering designs. The post was the result of a friend commenting about what an interesting man he must have been.
After reading that, our good friend Cheryl dug a little more into my family’s past and came up with some information about my father, Victor Lamb, that I had not known before.
My dad was always involved in newspapers, acting as editor and publisher of the Ruidoso News in the 1950s and 60s, and as editor and writer for at least three newspapers in West Texas. It turns out his father was involved in the newspaper business in Florida as well.
My father was a good writer, even though he never completed high school and banged out his stories blindingly fast by using just two fingers on each hand on his old typewriter.
I also knew he was an artist as well, mostly drawing cartoonish things for special publications but occasionally venturing into artwork which we displayed in our home in Ruidoso.
What I did not know is that he had created a cartoon character named Archibald that appeared on the front page of his newspaper in Abernathy, TX.
A story in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Sept. 24, 1933, profiled my father and his cartoon creation in the Abernathy Review newspaper.
“We are the only weekly (newspaper) in the U.S. printing a home drawn cartoon,” my father boasted. “And if there were another, it wouldn’t be printing a comic drawn by the editor.”
The character first appeared in a newspaper in La Mesa, TX, where my father worked before moving to Abernathy.
“When Lamb went to Abernathy, Archibald went along too,” the Avalanche Journal article noted.
I looked online and could not find any examples of the cartoon in old newspaper files. A search of comic strip or cartoon characters on Google did not find any examples of my father’s work. It appears that there were other cartoon characters named Archibald, so my father apparently never copyrighted or trademarked the character or the name.
I’m not sure what kinds of topics Archibald addressed in his cartoons. I’m sure it was mostly just corny, folksy stuff, based on a few cartoons of his that I had seen earlier. I’m sure he followed humorists of the time like Will Rogers and cartoonist Mort Walker (“Pogo”).
However, I don’t think Archibald would be politically correct now, since he is depicted as having a cigarette dangling from his mouth and dressed in a way that makes him appear to be homeless. But who knows, maybe pants with obnoxiously big patterns will make a comeback for men’s fasion.
It was fun to discover a little more about my family’s history. I’m sure my readers (all three or four of you) have interesting stories about people in your family tree. I encourage you to dig into Ancestry.com or Newspapers.com and find undiscovered stories about your own family. I’m still looking for things about my family I didn’t know. Hope I don’t find anything too embarrassing.
And thanks again Cheryl, for finding out about “Archibald.”