From Trees to Tribunes

By | Tuesday, March 05, 2024 2 comments
The Chicago Tribune was one of the behemoth newspapers back in the day. It's still known and respected, now, but it (along with newspapers more generally) carried a lot more clout in the days before television. Of course, it also had several local rivals -- there were eight local daily papers in 1910 -- so they actually had to do a bit of advertising to get buyers' attention.

One of the things the Tribune did was hire their own cartoonists. Little Orphan Annie, The Gumps, Gasoline Alley, and others started there. But then, of course, they had to TELL people that as well!

Which leads me to From Trees to Tribunes. It was a 1931 silent "documentary," about a half-hour long, that relayed how a newspaper is made. I use quotes because, really, it's just a long ad. They did this a few times -- there's another version with the same name from 1937. But, notably, they spend a decent amount of time showcasing their cartoonists. I found someone who had edited down the footage to just the cartoonists' part and added a period soundtrack over it, so I thought I'd share the video here.

The featured cartoonists include: John T. McCutcheon, Gaar Williams, Carey Orr, Sidney Smith, Frank King, Frank Willard, Carl Ed, Martin Branner, Walter Berndt, and Harold Gray. Judging by the strips that are shown, this appears to have been filmed in February 1931. Also worth noting is that, while most of the cartoonists simply sit and draw, Frank Willard gives us a bit of a neat sight gag.
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There are a couple versions of this up on Internet Archive and I bought a couple small booklets from circa 1930 and 1940 (very different in content) also published by the Tribune and named the same! Interesting stuff.

They must have REALLY loved that title! :D