They All Pass Through the Iron Gate (Fourth in a Series)

We resume our series spotlighting rarely-seen artwork from The Iron Gate, the 25th Anniversary hardcover tribute to New York’s toney “21” nightspot — our prior three installments can be found here, here, and, yes, here, too. As you’ll see in the images that follow, guys & gals, tramps & sailors, “Cap” Stubbs & Tippie — they all pass through the distinctive Iron Gate that marked “21’s” main entrance.

Arthur “Brownie” Brown was most closely associated with The Saturday Evening Post, though he also did advertising work and made appearances in Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Collier’s, and other magazines. Known as a talented pen-and-ink man, he was also accomplished in his color work.
Born around the turn of the 20th Century, T. Jefferson Machamer got his start on the staff of the Kansas City Star before moving to Manhattan to begin an association with Judge magazine. Later in his career he did a variety of magazine work, including gag drawings for the “Humorama” line of pulp-digests …
… In between he produced perhaps his most famous project, “Gags & Gals,” which ran in the New York Mirror. The set-ups often featured statuesque women palling around with considerably less attractive older men (Machamer often used himself as a model for the latter). Spurred by some acting work he did in the late 1930s, Machamer relocated to Hollywood, where he did “The Baffles” for the Los Angeles Times.
As proof “21” was not exclusively a boys’ club, here’s the always-delightful Edwina Dumm offering up 25th anniversary wishes through the persons of “Cap” Stubbs and Gran’ma Sara — while Tippie, of course, steals the show — and those flowers! — and barks at the foot of the Iron Gate! Readers may enjoy the “Tippie” volume in our LOAC Essentials series.
Another Judge alum, cartoonist Clarence D. Russell first featured his Pete the Tramp character in the pages of that magazine before turning it into a comic strip for King Features Syndicate, beginning in 1932. Russell and Otto Soglow made many charity appearances together during World War II. Russell continued to draw and write Pete the Tramp until his death, in 1963.
Finally, a couple who need no introduction — though perhaps the squinky-eyed sailor is about to be introduced to washing dishes in the kitchen in order to pay his “21” bill! Bela (sometimes known as “Bill”) Zaboly was associated with Popeye and Thimble Theater from 1939 until the end of the 1950s, and certainly must have one of the “top twenty” signatures in comics history.

More from The Iron Gate — including a pair of stylists whose work has appeared in five different LOAC volumes — coming your way in July!

3 thoughts on “They All Pass Through the Iron Gate (Fourth in a Series)

  1. Paul C Tumey says:

    These are wonderful., Bruce! Thank you for sharing them. Boy, Zaboly really had the Segar cartooning style down, didn’t he? Love the Machamers. I have one of his comedy film shorts and it’s satisfyingly nutty. He was on the board to be included into the Screwball! book, but space limitations caused him to be cut.

  2. Bruce Canwell says:

    Hey, Paul — My birthday comes up in mid-July, but I’ll be offering the presents, with another half-dozen “Iron Gate” images! Machamer had a career that’s in many ways as distinctive as his drawing style, didn’t he?

    • Paul C Tumey says:

      Happy Birthday, Bruce — a bit oily! Machamer’s story is fascinating and I was so tempted to try to work him into Screwball! I hope to write about him, someday. Perhaps in the book about comics and film that I am slowly working on.

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