| Robert Sidney Smith is primarily known as Sidney (Robert Sidney) Smith
Ad Code: 4
from Auction House Records.
Andy Gum and Family Speeding Past
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|A famous comic-strip artist in the 1920s and 1930s, Sidney Smith was
known as being one of the highest salaried in the business, and his
employers, the executives of The Chicago Tribune, used his
salary as a lure for hiring other employees. In 1922, he signed a
million dollar contract with that newspaper, which specified
$100,000.00 a year for the next decade and included a Rolls-Royce.|
Smith was a celebrity at a time when comic-strip artists were of much
interest because the characters they created with story lines became a
focus of many households. He also was a pioneer in having a team
do the work for which he was given signature credit, was a dedicated
physical fitness person, doing long-distance running and amateur
boxing, had quite a reputation for his extensive wardrobe a-la Beau
Brummel and for his love of fast cars. It was written that
"No one ever yet has built an automobile fast enough for him."
(339) Smith lived near Chicago on a large estate and erected a
six-foot bronze statue of Andy Gump, his main comic character, on his
Sidney Smith was born Robert Sidney Smith in Bloomington, Illinois
where his father was a prominent dentist. Smith never completed
high school, as he was much more interested in sports than books.
By age 18, he was drawing cartoons for the local newspaper, and several
years later became a "chalk-talk" itinerant artist, moving around the
country on newspaper staffs including Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
He joined the Chicago Examiner in 1908 as a sports cartoonist. From 1917 to 1935, working for the Chicago Tribune, he drew The Gumps, which became one of the most popular comic strips in America. His drawing style was described as "scratchy, self-taught" looking as though he was a "fairly gifted high school boy."
Smith died October 20, 1935, having just signed the day before a
three-year contract at the Tribune offices, raising his salary to
$150,000.00 a year. He and friends then celebrated, and driving
back to his farm at 3:45 AM, he died in a head on collision. He
was 58 years old.
Ron Goulart, Editor, The Encyclopedia of American Comics From 1897 to the Present, pp. 338-339
|Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:|
|Robert Sidney Smith was the creator of the great American family cartoon epic
'The Gumps'. Smith was already almost forty years old when the first
panel of this strip was published, in 1917. In 1908, he published his
first comic, 'Buck Nix'. |
When he got hired by the Chicago Tribune, the
name changed to 'Old Doc Yak'. In 1919, Smith was forced to abandon
this strip due to the immense popularity of 'The Gumps', which had
greatly boosted the Tribune's circulation.
The Gump family brought Smith fame and riches, which he spent on
several houses and cars. The Depression of the 1930s did not affect
him, for he was able to sign a new contract with the Tribune that paid
him a million dollars over the next three years, plus a brand new Rolls
Royce as a bonus.
Driving home after having closed the deal, Sidney
Smith collided with another car and was killed instantly. After that
'The Gumps' were taken over by Gus Edson.
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