CALLAN Les

CALLAN Les

“Unlike some cartoonists, who were in the position of having ideas supplied to them, I always came up with my own. But for the life of me, I still don’t know where those thousands of ideas came from.” They just happen somewhere in the back of your mind”                                                                                                  The Hecklers:231.

Born in 1905 in Ignace Ontario.

Iin 1926 he studied for two years at the Chicago Academy of Art, working for Canadian Pacific Railway in the summer and attending classes in the winter. He then moved to Winnipeg where he did freelance work for the Free Press. He moved to Vancouver where he was hired as a cartoonist by the Sun and remained there until 1937 when he went to work for the Toronto Star.

He joined the Army in 1942 and began sketching for the Canadian Army’s newspaper The Maple Leaf Northwest Europe Edition 1944-1945. Under the title “Monty and Johnny” he drew events from the D-Day invasion through France Belgium and Holland to VE-Day, recording both what he saw and humourous stories related to him by Canadian soldiers along the way. Johnny was the average Canadian soldier serving in the Canadian Army which was part of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery’s group of liberation armies in Europe. After the war these popular cartoons were collected into a book Normandy and on.

 

After the war he returned to the Toronto Star and remained there until 1961. The callous way the Toronto Star treated Callan at the end of twenty-five years service left a deep impression on his successor Duncan Macpherson. “They just pretended that he didn’t exist any longer… after twenty-five years. That’s why I never joined the staff of the paper to this day. It’s a pretty cold-blooded business.” [148]

This treatment may have resulted from Greg Clarke and Jimmy Frise leaving The Star in 1947. On learning that the Star Weekly had lost its two oldest and most popular features: “Birdseye Centre” and “Greg and Jim” owner J.E. Atkinson had declared that the Star must never again be in such a dependent position where a feature or staff member was so popular that they were almost indispensable. Hindmarsh interpreted this as a staff member must never be allowed to consider himself indispensable and that prima donnas (meaning anyone who stood up to Hindmarsh) must be nipped in the bud.

In 1963 he ran for the Ontario Legislature as a Liberal but was unsuccessful. After his defeat he moved to British Columbia.

WORK:

CARTOONIST:

BOOK GRAPHIC COLLECTION:

Cover:

Book:

Front: Normandy and on. Longmans Green and Co., Oct.1945.

Content:

Panel cartoon:

Normandy and on. Longmans Green and Co., Oct.1945.

SOURCE:

Book graphic:

“Introduction.” Writ., Les Callan. Normandy and on, Toronto: Longmans Green and Co., Oct. 1945.

Book text:

The Hecklers. Writ. & Ed.., Peter Desbarates & Terry Mosher. McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1979: 117, 228.

The Maple Leaf Scrapbook: Souvenir Book printed in Belgium at cost price to forces overseas, no editor, Belgique: No. 3 Canadian P.R. Group, no date: 12 -16.