“The Old Home Town” – by Lee Wright Stanley

“The Old Home Town” was a series of comic panels created by Lee Wright Stanley and published in several newspapers over a span of many years. During the 1930’s, when paper dolls seemed to be all the rage, he drew some cut-outs that were also published in the papers. I am posting one comic panel for each paper doll character that I found.

Otey Walker, the highly popular town marshal in the very funny Globe-Gazette comic, “The Old Home Town,” drawn by Lee Stanley, appears today with his two suits of clothes. If you like this doll write the Globe-Gazette editor and ask him to print more.

The dark frock coat with lighter trousers ensemble is what  you usually see him wear. They are his work clothes. The other suit, a very nobby affair, is Otey’s Sunday-go-to-meeting togs. Very nifty, indeed. And you’ll notice, he hasn’t forgotten to pin his marshal’s badge on it.

Dress Otey in these togs — and see how he looks.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Apr 18, 1935

*****

Aunt Sarah Peabody, one of your favorite in Lee Stanley’s “The Old Home Town” cartoon, today joins your cut-out paper doll collection. The two dresses shown here are her week-day dresses and her party gown.

The dark every-day dress is the costume Sarah usually wears when attending a meeting of her Society for the Prevention of Pipe Smoking. The other is very elegant with its large flower pattern and lots of frills.

If you want more cut-out paper dolls of the Globe-Gazette comic heroes and heroines write the editor of the Globe-Gazette and tell him so — he may print more if you do.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Apr 19, 1935

*****

Here’s a real surprise for all you young readers of the Globe-Gazette — a movable cutout paper doll.

The doll is Mrs. Ed Wurgler, the comic character in Lee Stanley’s very funny panel, “The Old Home Town.” Mrs. Wurgler is always getting after her lazy husband with a rolling pin or a skillet — so the artist pictures her that way today.

Cut out the doll, the arms, skirt and hats, then follow the instructions given above. By moving her arms you can make her wave either the rolling pin or skillet.

Try it — you’ll be surprised how life-like the doll works.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Apr 29, 1935

*****

Several days ago the Globe-Gazette published a cutout paper doll of Mrs. Wurgler. Since then many young readers have written in requesting a Mr. Wurgler doll. Here he is.

Artist Lee Stanley, who draws “The Old Home Town” comic panel in which the Wurglers appear, shows Ed doing a job of work — which is what he hates most — and another outfit, which, if placed on top of the doll, shows Ed doing what he likes best, going fishing.

Most cut-out paper dolls have several hats but not Ed. You’ll notice his every-day “work” hat and his Sunday hat are one and the same.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) May 10, 1935

Nation-wide Comic Favorite, Creator of “Old Home Town” A Product of Village Life

Lee Stanley Puts the Rich, Earthy Humor and Character Of Typical Small Town Into Feature That is Aces With Millions of Readers.

THE CRACKER BARREL wits and wisecracks of the hamlets and whistle stops in the vicinity of Topeka, Kas., back in the horse-and-buggy era, never noticed the wide-eyed attention of a small boy who peered up at them in silent wonder.

However, if those rural Fred Allens and rustic Fibber McGees paid no attention to young Lee Wright Stanley, little Lee was paying plenty of attention to them — especially what they said.

Those corn-fed colloquialisms and bucolic bombasities which sprayed the tender Stanley ears somehow sank in and stuck in his brain. So — some years later, a young man and a budding cartoonist, Lee Stanley remembered them and put them into a cartoon series which he titled, “The Old Home Town” — now one of the most popular comic features on the feature page of the Herald-Genius.

The new comic was an instantaneous hit and has gained in popularity every year that Lee has done the now famous newspaper feature.

“The Old Home Town” laughs with and not at the folks who live in the Sauerkraut Centers or East Bicyclevilles of America. That’s why he is as popular with rural readers as with his host of followers in the metropolitan centers.

Into “The Old Home Town” Stanley puts the rich, earthly humor and character of the typical small town but being a small town man himself, and, it may be said, inordinately proud of that fact, he treats his characters with a human understanding, without ridicule, and without prejudice.

The characters of “The Old Home Town” are not soulless clowns capering at the command of a big town smart-aleck but human characterizations whose farcical triumphs and tragedies hold a mirror to the realities of life in a light-hearted manner.

Thus, today, there exists a real fondness and friendship of the reader for such folks of “The Old Home Town” as Marshal Otey Walker, Aunt Sara Peabody, Station Agent Dad Keys, Old Doc Pillsbury, Ed Wurgler, Lassitude White and the other characters — many of whom are better known to the average American citizen than the name of some outstanding motion picture star.

Another proof of “The Old Home Town’s” widespread popularity is the fact that many of the catch phrases originated by Stanley for his cartoon characters have had unusual vogues, such as — “Hold ‘er Newt, she’s arearin’,” “Git fer home, Bruno,” “Just ez I thought,” “Effen it’s news to you –,” and “What’s the fuss?”

Stanley’s fertile imagination constantly is creating new characters for his cartoon. They appear for a short period during which the artist attempts to learn reader reaction to his new brain child. If readers like him or her or them — they stay.

Among his later successes is — or are — the six gray-bearded grandpappies who make up the membership of the Die-Hard Social club, a sextet of nongenerian ninnies.

Morning Herald (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) Aug 4, 1939

Above,  is one of the earlier panels, published in 1921. The first ones were published a year earlier.  This one includes the famous line,  “Git fer home, Bruno!”

Lee W. Stanley, creator of The Old Home Town cartoons, Picture shows Cartoonist Stanley holding the red plush covered rolling pin which was awarded as first prize in the Dad Keyes Whisker contest. Mrs. Henrietta Kuecks, Peoria, Ill., won it. More than 5,000 readers all over the country submitted suggestions. Globe-Gazette readers have shown a remarkable interest in the contest.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Jun 3, 1929

NOTE: I am not sure what this “whisker” contest was, but a woman won; wish they would have published her picture too!

1930 Census - Rocky River, Cuyahoga, Ohio

1930 Census - Occupation

Death Elsewhere

Lee W. Stanley, 84, who created in 1920 the comic strip, “The Old Home Town,” which once appeared in 400 newspapers; began his career with the Cleveland Press in 1903 and drew sports and political cartoons and courtroom sketches of murder trials; in Cleveland.

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) Feb 13, 1970

Lee Wright Stanley also illustrated some children’s books; two that I found were both written by Alice Crew Gall:

First, Dora Duck, which I found put to music on YouTube.

This next one is a page from Mother McGrew and Tommy Turkey, which can be read online at the Children’s Books Online: the Rosetta Project website.

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4 Responses to ““The Old Home Town” – by Lee Wright Stanley”

  1. Blair Alsip Says:

    I am wondering if Stanley had any connection with Clyde, Ohio ? I have an original drawing of The Old Home Town
    that I baught there and Clyde did have a Sauerkraut factory
    back in the 20s and 30s .
    I enjoyed your hard work , SO THANK YOU !

  2. mrstkdsd Says:

    I looked at census records again, and found him in 1910 in Cleveland, OH. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had some connection to Clyde, Ohio; is wasn’t that far away.

  3. JOYCE DOZIER Says:

    I have many home-town clippings out of old new paper’s for sale. Tom Dozier 209-745-4256

  4. Margo Day Says:

    I have some of the original artwork for “The Old Home Town” by Stanley. I am interested in selling it……..714-970-5764

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