George Lichty

George Lichty

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George Lichty was an American cartoonist
Cartoonist
A cartoonist is a person who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is usually humorous, mainly created for entertainment, political commentary or advertising...

, creator of the 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....

 and Sunday cartoon series
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...

 Grin and Bear It
Grin and Bear It
Grin and Bear It is a daily panel created by George Lichtenstein under the penname George Lichty. Initially distributed by United Feature Syndicate, it was syndicated by Field Enterprises beginning in 1940. Field Enterprises was sold in 1986 to King Features Syndicate which continues to distribute...

. His work was signed Lichty and often ran without mention of his first name.

Born George Maurice Lichtenstein to Julius and Ella Hirsh Lichtenstein in Chicago, Illinois, Lichty was 16 years old when he launched his art career by selling his first cartoon to Judge. He attended the Chicago Art Institute (1924–25) and was the editor of the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

's humor magazine, The Gargoyle
Gargoyle Humor Magazine
Gargoyle Humor Magazine or The Gargoyle is the official student-run humor magazine for the University of Michigan. It has been satirizing both local and national events for more than one hundred years...

.

Graduating from the University of Michigan in 1929, he began his newspaper career doing spot cartoons and sports drawings for the Chicago Daily Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

. Lichty and Eleanor Louise Fretter married on January 5, 1931. After he created his Grin and Bear It series in 1932, it was syndicated by Field Enterprises
Field Enterprises
Field Enterprises was a private holding company founded on August 31, 1944, by Marshall Field III and others whose main asset was the Chicago Sun. That same year the company acquired the book publishers Simon & Schuster and Pocket Books....

 in Chicago. Lichty also contributed to 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....

during the 1930s.

The artwork had a hastily drawn, loose appearance. Frequent subjects included computers, family life, excessive capitalism and Soviet bureaucracy. Scenes in his cartoons were often set in the offices of commissars or the showrooms of "Belchfire" dealers with enormous cars in the background. His series Is Party Line, Comrade! also skewered various Soviet bureaucrats, who usually were drawn wearing a five-pointed star medal labeled "Hero".

Awards and influence


Lichty was a four-time winner of the National Cartoonists Society
National Cartoonists Society
The National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists in the United States. It presents the National Cartoonists Society Awards. The Society was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops...

's Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award. Grin and Bear It received this award in 1956, 1960, 1962 and 1964.

Lichty's cartoon style had an influence on cartoon animation in what was known as the "animation smear technique," dubbed the "Lichty style" by Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 animator Rob Scribner. Lichty also influenced cartoons drawn by Joe Teller, as evidenced in the book, "When I'm Dead All This Will Be Yours!": Joe Teller—A Portrait by His Kid (2000) by Teller
Teller (magician)
Teller is an American magician, illusionist, comedian, writer, and the frequently silent half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with Penn Jillette. He legally changed his name from "Raymond Joseph Teller" to just "Teller"...

 (of Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller are Las Vegas headliners whose act is an amalgam of illusion and comedy. Penn Jillette is a raconteur; Teller generally uses mime while performing, although his voice can occasionally be heard during their performance...

). The artist Ed Ruscha, who originally planned to be a cartoonist, incorporated a Lichty cartoon into one of his artworks.

A member of the San Francisco Press Club, Lichty performed as a percussionist with the Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band
Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band
The Guckenheimer Sour Kraut Band was a humorous musical group of amateur musicians living in the San Francisco, California, area who played a repertoire of polkas and light classical music while adopting a persona of mild confusion and wearing self-created uniforms once described as rejects from...

. Lichty lived with his wife and their two daughters in Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa is the county seat of Sonoma County, California, United States. The 2010 census reported a population of 167,815. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Wine Country and fifth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont and 26th...

 and later on Apple Ranch in Sebastopol, California
Sebastopol, California
Sebastopol is a city in Sonoma County, California, United States, approximately north of San Francisco. The population was 7,379 at the 2010 census, but its businesses also serve surrounding rural portions of Sonoma County, totaling about 50,000 people...

. At age 78, he died July 18, 1983 of a heart attack in the Santa Rosa Hospital in Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa is the county seat of Sonoma County, California, United States. The 2010 census reported a population of 167,815. Santa Rosa is the largest city in California's Wine Country and fifth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, after San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont and 26th...

.

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