I woke up late the other night with a nagging thought running through my cartoonist-type brain. I really needed to see a certain cartoon instruction book I used to have as a kid. I can’t say why, but I just HAD to see it again.
The book was called Tack’s Cartoon Tips For The Aspiring Cartoonist. It was dated 1923, by B. “Tack” Knight. There were pages showing examples of cartoon face expressions, how to draw hats and shoes, cartoon animals and people. Quite a neato little book to the young Me.
A relative gave it to me as a gift when I was a kid. As a teenager I brought Tack’s Cartoon Tips with me to a comic convention and showed it around to the comics dealers, hoping they might know something about it. They didn’t know or care about it at all, since there were no pictures of Batman in there. I should have showed it to rare book collectors instead, I betcha.
About fifteen years ago, much to my dismay, I discovered it missing. Where did it go? Was it part of the stuff stolen from my car years ago? Was it mistakenly left in the boxes of comics I sold? I looked everywhere for it, but it was gone. Hungry to see it again, I turned to the internet, which at that time was still very new. I searched online for information on this book, but found absolutely nothing. I pouted and gave up the search.
So just the other night, inexplicably, I woke up with the urgent need to find this book. I grabbed my (internet enabled) phone. It was time to search again. Right then, right tere in bed. I searched for “Tack’s Cartoon Tips”. And I found it, just like that. Success!
Dave Blog posted a flickr set of scans of Tack’s Cartoon Tips that he bought at an estate sale. Twenty nine scans, every page, front and back covers, everything. I went crazy from childhood nostalgia when I saw the pages again. What a trip, dude.
Some more searching found info on the artist himself. B. “Tack” Knight’s real name was Benjamin Thackston Knight. He was born in North Carolina in 1895. He was a newspaper cartoonist and animator. He created the newspaper strip “Little Folks”, and it is notable that Charles Schulz had to rename his “Li’l Folks” strip to “Peanuts”, because the names were too similar. Tack animated for both the Disney and Fleischer studios. He was awarded the National Cartoonist Society’s “SIlver T-Square award” in 1974. He passed away in 1976.
I was heartened by my success. I thought I might like to find and buy another copy of this little gem. I did some more internet searching. Oh look! Someone is selling a used copy on Amazon. The price? One thousand dollars.
Dang. Oh well.