MEN OF THE MOUNTED
On February 11, 1933 there was a announcement in the Toronto Evening Telegram, that a new adventure cartoon strip “Men of the Mounted” would appear on February 13, 1933. This was journalist Ted McCall’s first effort at writing cartoon strips although he had previously wrote adventure stories for boys. For “Men of the Mounted” he wrote stories based on actual events. Harry Hall, an illustrator at the Evening Telegram handled the visual aspect of the strip.
The following year McCall succeeded in making an entry into the U.S. market when Whitman Publishing brought out a Big Little Book, Men of the Mounted in 1934. Here one gets a good look at McCall’s writing skills. The pace of his narrative was at break neck speed. His characters barely got out of one life threatening situation before they were in another. But, it was the underpinnings of his stories that were the most interesting. His focus was on the mounted police as an institution. His stories were about the front line men, the constables and the corporals but at the same time he never let you forget they were part of a larger organization. He also never let you forget that they worked as a team. In the Big Little Book, Corporal Rand is saved by Constable Lanky Booth and in turn saves Booth. They are both saved by the Indian guide and in turn the guide is saved by Rand. Although McCall uses the famous phrase “Get your man.” in the story he emphasizes the Mountie as a protector and an upholder of “Maintiens le Droit”. Although Rand and Lanky are after cattle rustles they take time out to save a family of settlers from a prairie fire and to defend a horse thief from cowboys looking for vengeance.
As told by the Donaldsons, in-laws to McCall he tried to get “Men of the Mounted” syndicated in the United States. He submitted his idea to King Features who told him they already had an idea from Zane Grey; they weren’t interested. McCall always believed his idea for which he had no copy write protection in the U.S. was stolen by King Features. McCall has justification for his suspicions. The team of Zane Grey writer and Allen Dean illustrator only began a Sunday page for “King of the Royal Mounted” in February 1935 two years after “Men of the Mounted” had begun with the Evening Telegram and about one year after it had appeared in the U.S. market as a Big Little Book. “King of the Royal Mounted” did not appear as a daily strip until March 1936.
Nevertheless there are significant differences between McCall’s “Men of the Mounted” and King Feature’s “King of the Royal Mounted”. Essentially “King of the Royal Mounted” is a U.S. Marshall wearing a red serge jacket. He is the American ideal of the lone lawman/vigilante focused on conquering the forces of evil and only incidentally in protecting the vulnerable. Even the name “King” denotes a kind of superior being in control of his surroundings. Compare that with McCall’s “Men” which denotes more human individuals working in teams to prevent harm befalling others. It is obvious that McCall got the tradition of the R.C.M.P. right while the King Feature missed the mark.
“Men of the Mounted” ended in the February 16, 1935 edition of the Evening Telegram (note the coincidence with the entry of “King of the Mounted” into the market). It seems that McCall concluded that a cartoon strip for the Canadian market alone was not viable. Within a few months he had a new strip “Robin Hood and Company” published and in the international market. For this strip he partnered with Charlie Snelgrove another Telegram illustrator. Harry Hall in turn went on to produce a humorous strip “News ‘n Nonsense” published in the Evening Telegram.
Although “Men of the Mounted” had ended as a cartoon strip its career was not over. About seven years after 1935, McCall brought it back to life in Anglo American’s Three Aces Comics, vol. 1, no. 8, September 1942 by the same method he used for “Robin Hood and Company”. He republished the newspaper strips. They continued to Three Aces Comics, vol. 2, no. 8 September 1943 where the last panels coincide with the last panels of the strip in the Evening Telegram February 16, 1935.Reprints from the Evening Telegram also appeared in Robin Hood vol. 2, no.2, May – June 1943 and vol. 2, no. 3, July – August 1943.
For Robin Hood vol. 2, no.12 January – February 1945 McCall wrote a new “Men of the Mounted” story, introducing “Constable Kip Keene”. There had been a Corporal Keene in the Evening Telegram strip. According to Ed Furness, June Banfield became responsible for the finished artwork on “Kip Keene”. This series next appeared in a new black and white title Freelance Robin Hood vol. 3, no. 1, March – April 1945. The first “Men of the Mounted” story in colour appeared in Freelance Robin Hood vol. 3, no. 27 July – August 1945 which immediately followed vol. 3, no. 1.. (Yes the numbering is inconsistent.) For the next three issues to Freelance Robin Hood vol. 3, no. 30 January – February 1946, “Men of the Mounted” was a coloured backup story. Then the title changed again and “Men of the Mounted” appeared under Robin Hood vol. 3, no. 31, June – July 1946. In this issue we are introduced to “Bastien” who became “Kip’s” unofficial partner in following issues. This fell into McCall’s style. In the Big Little Book there were three more or less equal partners.
Anglo American was collapsing and so it is virtually impossible to say if we have the full colour record of “Men of the Mounted”. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that “Men of the Mounted” and the titles listed below are the minimum. Anglo American then went out of business and “Men of the Mounted ended its long and varied career.
BOOK TEXT & GRAPHIC:
Men of the Mounted: Adventures of the Canadian Royal Mounted.” Illus., Harry Hall. Whitman Publishing Co., 1934.
Men of the Mounted: Adventures of the Canadian Royal Mounted.” Writ., Ted McCall. Illus., Harry Hall.Racine: Whitman Publishing Co., 1934.
|Front: Illus., Unidentified. Robin Hood,|
|2-2, May/June 1943. ( Called “The Scarlet Sentinel.”)
2-3, July/Aug.1943. (Called “The Scarlet Sentinel.”)
3-32, August/Sept. 1946.
3-33, Oct./Nov. 1946.
Note that while the periodical is called Robin Hood Comics all of the front cover illustrations for the final colourwed editions feature Kip Keene of the Mounted.”
Front: Illus., Unidentified. Three Aces, 1-8, September 1942:
Reprints from Evening Telegram [Toronto].
“Men of the Mounted: The Border Patrol.” Writ., Ted McCall. Illus., Harry Hall. Three Aces Comics. 1-8, September, 1942: 28-39.Black & white.
|“Men of the Mounted ” Writ., Ted McCall. Illus., Harry Hall. Three Aces Comics. B.& w.|
|1-9, Oct. 1942: 28-39.
2-1, Feb. 1943: 33-44.
|2-2, Mar., 1943: 35-44.
2-3, April, 1943: 33-44.
|2-4, May, 1943: 34-45.|
“Men of the Mounted”, now called “The Scarlet Sentinel.” and transferred to Robin Hood Comics, 2-2, May/June 1943.
“The Scarlet Sentinel.” Writ., T. McCall. Illus., H. Hall. Robin Hood, 2-2, May/June 1943: 27-55.
“The Scarlet Sentinel.” Writ., T. McCall. Illus., H. Hall. Robin Hood, 2-3, July/Aug.1943: 29-53.
Unknown. Robin Hood, 2-4 to 2-9
Does not appear in Robin Hood, 2-10 Sept./Oct. 1943.
Does not appear in Robin Hood, 2-11 Nov./Dec. 1943.
“Men of the Mounted.” Writ., T. McCall. Illus., Unidentified. Robin Hood, 2-12, Jan./ Feb.1945: 29-47. Black & white.
“Men of the Mounted.” Writ., T. McCall. Illus., Unidentified l. Freelance/Robin Hood, 3-1, Mar./Apr. 1945: 42-47. Black & white.
“Men of the Mounted.” Does not appear in Freelance, 3-2, May/June 1945.
|“Men of the Mounted featuring Kip Keene.” Writ., T. McCall. Illus., Unidentified. Freelance/Robin Hood. Colour.|
|3-27, August.1945: 26-33.
3-28, September/October 1945: 25-32.
|3-29, November/December 1945: 27-32.
3-30, January/February 1946: 15-22.
“Freelance” and “Robin Hood” plus “Men of The Mounted” split to separate periodicals again.
Men of the Mounted Kip Keene Meets Comet.” Writ., Ted McCall. Illus., Ed Furness. Robin Hood. 3-31, June/July.1946: 27-38. Colour.
|“Men of the Mounted featuring Kip Keene.….” Writ., Ted McCall. Illus., Unidentified. Robin Hood. Colour.|
|“… and the Race of Death.” -31, June/July.1946: 39-48.
“ and the Lost Valley Of The Totem Builders.” 3-32, August/September 1946: 2-15.
“… “3-32, August/September 1946: 33-46
“… in Flaming Gold.” 3-33, October/November 1946: 33-46
“… and the Counterfeit Ambergris.” 3-34, December/January.1946/47: 2-13.
“… in the Case Of The Sunburned Crooks.” 3-34, December/January.1946/47: 35-46.
Serial cartoon strip:
“Men of the Mounted”, Writ., Ted McCall. Illus., Harry Hall. Toronto Evening Telegram, Feb.13, 1933 to Feb.16, 1935.
“King of the Royal Mounted.” Writ., Peter Harris. The World Encyclopedia of Comics, Ed., Maurice Horne. Chelsea House Publishers, 1976.
With Mr. and Mrs Donaldson, brother and sister in law to Ted McCall.
Illus., Harry Hall. Men of the Mounted, 1934: Front cover.
Three Aces Comics, 1-8, September/October 1942: Front cover.
Reprint from Evening Telegram strip. Threes Aces Comic, 1-8, Sept. 1942: 35.
Reprint from Evening Telegram strip. Robin Hood, 2-2, May/June 1943: 29.
Reprint from Evening Telegram strip. Robin Hood, 2-2, May/June 1943:41.
Robin Hood Comics 2-3, July August 1943. Front cover.
Robin Hood Comics, 2-12, January February 1945: 29.
This the first new art. The best sequence I’ve seen in Anglo-American products. Although unidentified probably Ed Furness did the layouts and June Banfield did the finished art.
Robin Hood Comics, 2-12, January February 1945: 30.
Robin Hood Comics, 2-12, January February 1945: 31.
Robin Hood Comics, 2-12, January February 1945: 32.
Illus., Unidentified. Robin Hood Comics, 3-31, June/July 1946: Front cover.
Robin Hood Comics, 3-31, June/July 1946: 34.
Kip meets Bastein. Robin Hood Comics, 3-31, June/July 1946: 36.
Illus., Unknown. Robin Hood, 3-32, August/September 1946: Front cover.
Robin Hood Comics, 3-32, August/September 1946: 44.