Clyde Lamb

Clyde Lamb

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Clyde William Lamb was an artist and cartoonist whose gag cartoon
Gag cartoon
A gag cartoon is most often a single-panel cartoon, usually including a hand-lettered or typeset caption beneath the drawing. A pantomime cartoon carries no caption...

s, signed Clyde Lamb, were published in leading magazines of the 1940s and 1950s. He also drew a syndicated comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

 during the 1950s.

Born in Sidney, Montana
Sidney, Montana
Sidney is a city in and the county seat of Richland County, Montana, United States, less than away from the North Dakota border. The population was 5,191 at the 2010 census. The city lies along the Yellowstone River and is in proximity to the badlands of the Dakotas...

, Lamb was drawing while he was in the Montana Industrial School for Boys at age 17. After one year of high school, he ran away from a broken home. At age 19, in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

 in 1932, he was convicted of armed robbery and given a five-year sentence. After escaping 18 months later, he made his way to Hammond, Indiana
Hammond, Indiana
Hammond is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States. It is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The population was 80,830 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Hammond is located at ....

. While working there as a self-taught sign painter, he met and married Gladys Lamb on August 4, 1934. Ten days after his marriage, he was again arrested for armed robbery and sentenced to two 25-year terms in the Indiana State Penitentiary in Michigan City, Indiana
Michigan City, Indiana
Michigan City's origins date to 1830, when the land for the city was first purchased by Isaac C. Elston. Elston Middle School, formerly Elston High School, located at 317 Detroit St., is named after the founder....


Lamb on the lam

On August 31, 1934, when Gladys was living in Calumet City, Illinois
Calumet City, Illinois
Calumet City is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 39,072 at the 2000 census. The ZIP code is 60409.Calumet City was founded in 1892 when the villages of Schrumville and Sobieski Park merged under the name of West Hammond, since it lies on the west side of the...

, she inserted a dozen broken hacksaw blades into pears and traveled to Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana
Gary is a city in Lake County, Indiana, United States. The city is in the southeastern portion of the Chicago metropolitan area and is 25 miles from downtown Chicago. The population is 80,294 at the 2010 census, making it the seventh-largest city in the state. It borders Lake Michigan and is known...

 to visit her husband in the Lake County jail. As she passed the pears to her husband, Chief deputy sheriff Carroll Holley became suspicious and intervened. Gladys was kept overnight and then released because she was pregnant. (Carroll Holley was the nephew of Sheriff Lillian Holley, whose car was stolen by John Dillinger
John Dillinger
John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. was an American bank robber in Depression-era United States. He was charged with, but never convicted of, the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana police officer during a shoot-out. This was his only alleged homicide. His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations...

 when he used a wooden gun to escape from that same jail earlier that summer.)

In April 1935, when Lamb was escorted to Chicago to visit Gladys after she gave birth to their stillborn son, he escaped from a guard at the train station by running in front of a moving train. Shot by a police officer when he was captured July 1935, he was returned to prison. Gladys Lamb filed for a divorce at Clyde's insistence, which was granted on November 1, 1937. She gave birth to Joan Charlotte on June 30, 1938.


During the 1940s, Lamb began drawing cartoons while in prison, initially for the amusement of other inmates, and he painted several oil paintings. He was urged to sell his cartoons by the prison's former arts and crafts director who had just retired from the prison system. Between 1943 and 1947, Lamb began successfully marketing his cartoons to The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

, Collier's
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

, The American Magazine and other publications. During one year while incarcerated he made $11,000. His success and the surrounding publicity led directly to his release. Granted a new trial, he was convicted, but Judge William J. Murray at Crown Point gave him a ten-year suspended sentence. He was still wanted in Tennessee as an escaped convict, but Tennessee Governor Jim Nance McCord
Jim Nance McCord
Jim Nance McCord was an American journalist and politician who served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives and two terms as Governor of Tennessee ....

 commuted his sentence and ordered him paroled to Indiana authorities.

After he was released June 24, 1947, Lamb left for Glendive, Montana
Glendive, Montana
Glendive is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Montana, United States. The population was 4,935 at the 2010 census.The town of Glendive is located in South Eastern Montana and is considered by many as an agricultural hub of Eastern Montana...

 to visit relatives. Gladys and Clyde Lamb then remarried in Montana.

Comic strip

On November 14, 1949, Lamb launched his pantomime newspaper comic strip, Herman, as a daily
Daily strip
A daily strip is a newspaper comic strip format, appearing on weekdays, Monday through Saturday, as contrasted with a Sunday strip, which typically only appears on Sundays....

, with a Sunday strip
Sunday strip
A Sunday strip is a newspaper comic strip format, where comic strips are printed in the Sunday newspaper, usually in a special section called the Sunday comics, and virtually always in color. Some readers called these sections the Sunday funnies...

 added November 2, 1952. Distributed by Iowa's Register and Tribune Syndicate, Lamb's strip was carried during the 1950s in 55 newspapers in the United States, India and Africa. (It had no connection to the strip Herman
Herman (comic strip)
Herman was a comic strip written and drawn by Jim Unger. While the daily ran as a single panel with a typeset caption, it expanded on Sunday as a full multi-panel strip with balloons.It was syndicated from 1975 to 1992, when Unger retired...

by Jim Unger
Jim Unger
Jim Unger is a Canadian cartoonist, best known for his syndicated comic strip Herman which ran for eighteen years in 600 newspapers in 25 countries....


In 1957, Lamb began Open Season, a newspaper gag cartoon panel about hunting and fishing. Lamb also created oil paintings of landscapes and portraits that are currently owned by his granddaughter Kathleen.


On March 2, 1955, Lamb was surprised on live television to learn that Ralph Edwards
Ralph Edwards
Ralph Livingstone Edwards was an American radio and television host and television producer.-Early career:Born in Merino, Colorado , Edwards worked for KROW-AM in Oakland, California while he was still in high school...

 had made him the subject of that week's This Is Your Life
This Is Your Life
This Is Your Life is an American television documentary series broadcast on NBC, originally hosted by its producer, Ralph Edwards from 1952 to 1961. In the show, the host surprises a guest, and proceeds to take them through their life in front of an audience including friends and family.Edwards...

episode. The episode is available at the UCLA Film and Television Archive
UCLA Film and Television Archive
The UCLA Film and Television Archive is an internationally renowned visual arts organization focused on the preservation, study, and appreciation of film and television, based at the University of California, Los Angeles. It holds more than 220,000 film and television titles and 27 million feet of...


In November 1956, Clyde and Gladys were vacationing in Miami with plans to extend their vacation to Havana. The couple traveled extensively through California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oregon, Washington, Europe, Africa and Mexico from 1947 until his death. His last address in the United States was 22839 Saticoy Street in Canoga Park in Los Angeles.

At the age of 53, he died of pancreatic disease in Dublin, Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 on July 8, 1966, and was cremated at the Belfast Crematorium in Northern Ireland on August 12, 1966. His ashes were scattered by his family in Makoshika State Park
Makoshika State Park
Makoshika State Park is the largest of Montana's state parks at more than 11,000 acres . It is located east of Glendive. The park contains spectacular badlands which conceal dinosaur fossils. The park contains rock from the Hell Creek Formation and dinosaurs such as Triceratops are found there...

in Montana. Gladys Lamb died in Arizona in 1983.

External links