Al Taliaferro

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Al Taliaferro
Al taliaferro.jpg
Born Charles Alfred Taliaferro
(1905-08-29)August 29, 1905
Montrose, Colorado, United States
Died February 3, 1969(1969-02-03) (aged 63)
Glendale, California, United States
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist, Penciller, Inker
Notable works
Donald Duck

Charles Alfred Taliaferro (August 29, 1905 – February 3, 1969), known simply as Al Taliaferro, was a Disney comics artist who produced Disney comic strips for King Features Syndicate. Taliaferro is best known for his work on the Donald Duck comic strip. Many of his strips were written by Bob Karp.

Family background[edit]

The Taliaferros trace their origins to Northern Italy and were one of the early families who settled in Virginia in the 17th century. The family name, originally Tagliaferro, literally means Ironcutter in Italian.

Early career[edit]

After his family moved to Glendale, California, Taliaferro studied at the Institute of Art, Los Angeles, California. On January 5, 1931, he was hired by Walt Disney Studios as an animator, but soon transferred to the comic strip department. Once there, he at first lettered the Mickey Mouse comic strip (March 1931 – July 1932), and was then assigned to draw the Bucky Bug comics. He was also hired to ink the newly-founded weekly Silly Symphonies comic strip, with artist Earn Duvall as writer and penciller. Taliaferro's big break came in 1933, however, as he took command as sole artist on the Silly Symphonies Sunday pages after Duvall's departure. Taliaferro continued drawing the Silly Symphonies strip up to February 1939, with writer Ted Osborne usually writing the scripts.[1]

Donald Duck[edit]

Taliaferro was the first artist to draw Donald Duck in comic strip form. Only a few months after Donald Duck had made his first appearance onscreen, in the cartoon The Wise Little Hen (1934), Taliaferro drew a comic strip adaptation of said cartoon, which was published as part of the Silly Symphonies strip as a serial between September 16 and December 16, 1934, with Ted Osborne as writer.[2] This was even before Donald Duck made his first cameo appearances in Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse comic strip.

As a result of Donald Duck's sudden and immense popularity onscreen, it was inevitable that the duck would reappear in the Silly Symphonies strip. Between August 30, 1936 and December 5, 1937, Taliaferro and Osborne produced a series of weekly, mostly pantomime gag strips starring the duck. However, it wasn't until February 2, 1938 that Donald Duck was finally given his own strip in newspapers, followed by a Sunday page from December 10, 1939. At first, the strip's gags were written by Homer Brightman, but he was soon replaced by writer Bob Karp, who would remain with Taliaferro on the strip up to the 1960s.[3] At its height, it was reportedly published in 322 newspapers.

Taliaferro drew the daily and Sunday Donald Duck strip until his retirement in 1965. After 1965, other artists took charge, but Taliaferro oversaw the work of his successors on the strip until his death in 1969, in Glendale, California.

During his three decades as Donald Duck artist, Taliaferro co-created a number of characters, including Huey, Dewey and Louie, Bolivar, Grandma Duck, and arguably Daisy Duck.

Comic book reprints[edit]

While many of Taliaferro's strips were reprinted in Disney comic books, in only a few instances did he do original artwork for comic books. Among these was the Cheerios Premium Giveaway Donald Duck: Counter Spy (1947) and the cover of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #107 (August 1949) [1] plus two Bucky Bug stories in WDC&S #39 (Dec. 1943) and #60 (Sept. 1945) and a one page Donald and Goofy gag based on No Sail in the latter [2]. Two Children's books with Disney characters he illustrated are Donald and His Cat Troubles (1948) and Donald Duck and the Hidden Gold (1951).

Reprints[edit]

In 2015, IDW Publishing began three series of hardcover reprints of Taliaferro's Disney comics under their imprint The Library of American Comics:

Legacy[edit]

Animation historian Jim Korkis noted that Taliaferro designed the mascot Litternaut in 1967 who adorned the public trash receptacles in Glendale into the 1970s and to this day is the official mascot of the Committee for a Clean & Beautiful Glendale.

Taliaferro was posthumously honored with a Disney Legends award in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/taliaferro.htm Lambiek.net: Al Taliaferro (1905-1969)
  2. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/taliaferro.htm Lambiek.net: Al Taliaferro (1905-1969)
  3. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/taliaferro.htm Lambiek.net: Al Taliaferro (1905-1969)

External links[edit]