Merle Tingley circa 1973
Merle Tingley circa 1940’s. The Maple Leaf Forever, 1987: 29.
“When I tackle politics, I try to bring them into the viewer’s back yard.” Merle Tingley from The Hecklers, 252.
Merle Tingley, who signed his cartoons “Ting” was born 1921 in Montréal.
He studied art for a year and worked briefly as an apprentice draughtsman for a Montréal engineering firm. “Luke Worm” has long been a mascot on Merle’s editorial cartoons, but his association with Merle has a much longer history.
“ I’ve known Luke Worm … ever since that November day in 1948 when he first slid down my pen” While he is only a mascot, he is much more significant to me. It was through a worm that I lost my first job. I was an apprentice draftsman. One day my boyhood cartooning ambitions got the better of me and I drafted a fat juicy worm in the midst of a very technical drawing. I neglected to erase it and the worm appeared in the final blueprint. Oh well – – I didn’t want to be a draftsman anyway.” Merle Tingley from 1950 Luke-ing Back, A Worm’s Eye View Of Yesterday.
After losing the job, he joined the Army Signals Corps in 1942, and in 1943 became staff cartoonist for The Khaki, the Canadian army’s official bilingual magazine. There he created “This Doggone Army” in which he personified dogs which portrayed army life, and another feature “Postwar Poppy.” Colonel Dick Malone signed him up as cartoonist for a planned Pacific edition of the Maple Leaf but the war ended before Canadians moved to that front. Doug MacFarlane of the European Maple Leaf grabbed him to replace “Bing” Coughlin who was being repatriated. Merle joined the occupation force in Delmenhorst Germany in 1945. There he created the daily feature “Occupational Oscar” according to Merle the backs of abandoned SS posters made excellent drawing paper. The Maple Leaf’s finally closed its doors and Merle remembered the wake for its demise. “It would be a book in itself.” he said.
He returned to Montréal, and got a job with an ad agency. He soon became tired of the work and decided he wanted to be a cartoonist. He bought a used motorcycle and toured the country showing his portfolio to thirty-one editors, before, out of desperation, he took a job retouching photographs at the Free Press in London Ontario. He drew editorial cartoons in his free time and submitted them to the editor. After two months he was made, in 1947, the Free Press’ first editorial cartoonist. Soon the pipe smoking Luke Worm appeared in his cartoons. The Free Press held a contest to name this character and a reader’s suggestion “Luke” was chosen. It became the signature piece for Ting’s cartoons but it also contained the significant attachment to his past that has already been described.
In addition to cartooning, he wrote articles and columns while on assignment to sketch Canadian soldiers and to bolster moral in Korea, and the Gaza strip in the 1950’s. Later U.S. troops in Formosa and the South Pacific and again Canadian peacekeepers in the Congo, and Cyprus.
In 1955 he won a National Newspaper Award. In 2015, he was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame, formerly the Giants of the North Hall of Fame.
He died 4 June 2017 at age 95 years in London Ontario.
BOOK GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:
Content cartoon editorial:
The Art of Political Cartooning in Canada/1980. Ed., Steve Bradley. For., Robert LaPalme. Virgo Press, Oct. 1980.
Best Canadian Political Cartoons, 1983. Ed., N.M. Stahl. For., David Rosen. McClelland & Stewart Ltd. Sept. 1983.
Best Canadian Political Cartoons, 1984. Ed., N.M. Stahl. For.,Robert LaPalme. McClelland & Stewart Ltd. Sept. 1984.
Portfoolio, The Year 85 In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux & Alan King. Writ., Charles Gordon. Ludcom Inc. 1985.
Portfoolio, The Year 86 In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux. Writ., Charles Gordon. Ludcom Inc. 1986.
Portfoolio, The Year 87 In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Ludcom Inc. 1987.
1988 Portfoolio, The Year In Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Eden Press. 1988.
Portfoolio: 1989 in Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Macmillan of Canada, 1989.
|Portfoolio …: The Year in Canadian Caricature. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Charles Gordon. Macmillan of Canada, ….|
|6: 1990.||7: 1991.||8: 1992.||9: 1993.|
|Portfoolio…: The Year’s Best Canadian Editorial Cartoons. Ed., Guy Badeaux . Writ., Ken MacQueen Macmillan of Canada, ….|
|10: 1994.||11: 1995.||12: 1996.|
BOOK GRAPHIC COLLECTION:
Content cartoon editorial & Cover:
1950, Luke-ing Back: A Worm’s Eye View Of Yesterday With Luke Worm. London Free Press, 1950.
25 Years In The Inkwell, Ting Cartoons, 1948-1973. London Free Press, 1973.
Take Another Look With Ting. London Free Press, 1967.
Ting Cartoons. No publisher, no date.
Ting Cartoons. London Free Press, 1970.
Ting Cartoons: 1964 Edition, London Free Press, 1964.
Ting Cartoons: 1977 Edition,: London Free Press, 1977.
Ting Cartoons: vol. 8, London Free Press, no date. This edition follows 1977 edition.
Ting Cartoons: vol. 9, London Free Press, no date.
Content memoir & Cover dust jacket front:
Kooks & Dukes Counts & No-Accounts. Writ., William C. Heine. Hurtig Publishers, 1986.
The Best Of Freddy Flush. Delta Faucet Canada, 1993.
Herbie & Friends. Ed. & Writ., Barry D. Rowland. Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., July 1990: 18.
The Hecklers. Writ. & Ed.., Peter Desbarates & Terry Mosher. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1979: 251 – 252.
The Maple Leaf Forever: The Story Of Canada’s Foremost Armed Forces Newspaper. Writ. & Ed., Barry D. Rowland & J. Douglas MacFarlane. Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc. 1987.
1950, Luke-ing Back: A Worm’s Eye View Of Yesterday With Luke Worm. London Free Press, No publisher, no date.
Ting Cartoons: 1964 Edition, London: London Free Press, 1964.
Ting Cartoons: vol. 9, London: London Free Press, no date.
25 Years In The Inkwell, Ting Cartoons, 1948-1973. London: London Free Press, 1973.
“L’armee consacre le talent d’un Jeune Caricaturiste Montrealis.” n.p: Photo-Journal, 16 Nov 1944.
Herbie &Friends, July 1990: 18.
A comment on Canada’s role as Peace Keeper, London Free Press, 11 May 1964
Ting Cartoons, vol. 9 (circa1980): back cover.
25 Years In An Inkwell: 29
Tingley’s worm and Lou’s goose meet: a tribute to Tingley by Lou Skuce, 1951 (The year Skuce died.) Found by Ivan Kocmarek at the National Library and Archives, Ottawa.