Jimmie Frise at his drawing board
|Born||James Llewellyn Frise
Scugog Island, Ontario, Canada
|Awards||Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame|
James Llewellyn Frise was born in 1891 in Scugog Island, Ontario. It was a stroke of fate that Frise would endure in cartooning as long as he did, after maiming his left hand in a munitions accident during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in World War I.
His career began during a heated debate in the pages of the Toronto Daily Star between a Star editor and Toronto area farmhand where both claimed that they would be better at each other's job. Frise submitted a cartoon of the editor milking a cow from the wrong side. Though the cartoon immediately captured the attention of the Star editor, Frise had neglected to send along a return address. After responding to a published request for the artist to come forward, Frise was welcomed on staff at the Star.
Frise's first comic strip creation was Life's Little Comedies published in the Star's weekend supplement, the Star Weekly, in 1920, which he renamed Birdseye Center in 1923. Frise was wooed away from the Star Weekly by the Montreal Standard in 1947, but the embittered Star maintained all publication rights to Birdseye Center. Unfazed, Frise created the feature Juniper Junction, which featured strongly similar characters and situations. The occasional gag was even borrowed, which Frise argued was his creative property in the first place.
During his stay at the Star, Frise struck up a friendship with columnist Greg Clark, then illustrated a series of Clark's articles featuring misadventures of the duo. The friendship lasted until Frise's death in 1948. Clarke eulogized that Frise "gave a whole generation of 30 years smiles and laughter and never hurt a soul in all that time".
After Frise's death, a young Montreal cartoonist named Doug Wright took over the reins of Juniper Junction.
In 1965, Canadian publishers McClelland and Stewart honored Frise by printing a hardcover treasury of "Birdseye Center".
An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected at Scugog Shores Museum in Port Perry, Ontario by the province to commemorate James Llewellyn Frise's role in Ontario's heritage. In 2009, Frise was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame.
- Ontario Plaque
- Heer, Jeet (2009-06-06). "Jimmy Frise and the Canadian Cartooning Tradition". Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- Brief biography of Jimmie Frise
- Scugog Archives of Frise cartoons
- Greg Clarke recalls Jimmie Frise in 1972 CBC Radio interview