Frank King - Cartoonists, Timeline and Family

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Frank King's Personal Details

Frank King was a famous 20th century cartoonist who introduced for the first time the concept of aging in cartoon characters

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 9, 1883
Died onJune 24, 1969
NationalityAmerican
FamousMedia Personalities, Cartoonists
SpousesDelia Drew
Known asFrank Oscar King
Childrens Robert Drew King
Universities
  • Chicago Academy of Fine Arts
Birth PlaceCashton, Wisconsin
GenderMale
Sun SignAries
Born inCashton, Wisconsin
Famous ascartoonist
Died at Age86

// Famous Cartoonists

Frank King's photo

Who is Frank King?

Frank King was a celebrated cartoonist best known for his comic strip ‘Gasoline Alley’. He was a very innovative artist who introduced many novelties to the concept of comic strip creation. His most popular creation was a soap-opera style comic strip that dealt with a group of automobile enthusiasts who meet in an alley. What differentiated King from other cartoonists of his time was that he was not afraid to innovate and try out newer things. He played with colour combinations and page designs, and introduced for the first time in comic strips, the concept of real time ageing of the cartoon characters. He was a naturally born artist who began drawing as a small child. As a teenager he once won a country fair drawing competition—one thing led to another and he was soon offered a job at the ‘Minneapolis Times’ when he was just 19 years old. Realizing that his life’s calling was in creating art, he went to study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts before embarking on a career as a comic strip creator. He created many popular comic strips but the one that became his claim to immortality was ‘Gasoline Alley’ which became so popular that it ran successfully for decades.

// Famous Media Personalities

Childhood & Early Life

Frank King was one of the two sons of John J. King and his wife Caroline. His father was a mechanic. The family moved to Tomah in Wisconsin to operate a general store when Frank was four years old.

He was an artistically inclined child and started to draw when he was quite young. He graduated from Tomah High School in 1901.

Career

As a teenager he entered a country fair drawing competition and drew a sign for a hotel bootblack. An acquaintance of his father saw the sign and arranged for him to have an interview with an editor of the ‘Minneapolis Times’.

He was hired for $7 a week at the ‘Minneapolis Times’ as a cartoonist. King was only 19 years old at the time. He worked with the paper for four years.

In 1905, he gave a chalk talk on St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Chalk talks are monologue presentations given by artists while they draw with chalk, crayons or pastels. Chalk talks were popular acts in vaudeville in those days.

He enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts to study during the 1905-06 session.

He worked for a short period at an advertising agency and at the ‘Chicago American’ before shifting to the ‘Chicago Examiner’. There he spent three years working next to cartoonist T. S. Sullivant.

He joined the ‘Chicago Tribune’ in 1909 where he worked alongside Dean Cornwell, Clare Briggs, and Garrett Price. The next year he created a comic strip ‘Jonah, a Whale for Trouble’ which was however very short lived.

His next comic strip ‘Young Teddy’, a Tribune Sunday strip, appeared from September 1911 to October 1912 while another Sunday strip, ‘Hi-Hopper’ ran from February 1914 till December 1914.

The ‘Chicago Tribune’ began featuring a page called ‘The Rectangle’ which carried a variety of cartoons and serial features. The page was usually printed in black and white and appeared regularly from 1914. King created several strips which included ‘Tough Teddy’, ‘The Boy Animal Trainer’ and ‘Hi-Hopper’.

He drew war scenes for publication in American newspapers during the World War I.

King created a strip called ‘Gasoline Alley’ which began appearing on the bottom quadrant of ‘The Rectangle’ on Sundays from November 1918. It featured the characters Walt, Doc, Avery and Bill who held conversations about automobiles.

The characters in the strip were based on King’s real life acquaintances and the plot revolved around mild humour involved in simple day-to-day life. The strip became very popular and was made a daily comic strip from August 1919.

King introduced the concept of real time continuity in the strip where the characters age along with the passage of time. One of the main characters, Skeezix, introduced as a baby grew up to be a young man and later became a retired grandfather.

The ‘Gasoline Alley’ became so popular that it made King a millionaire. He retired from the Sunday strip in 1951 and from the daily in 1959. His assistants Bill Perry and Dick Moores took over the responsibility of running the strip.

Major Works

The comic strip ‘Gasoline Alley’ is the second longest running comic strip in the U.S. and appears in more than 300 newspapers. The strip was critically acclaimed for its innovative ideas and has won several awards from the National Cartoonists Society.

Awards & Achievements

The National Cartoonists Society honoured him with three awards: Silver T-Square Award (1949), Humor Comic Strip Award (1957), Reuben Award (1958).

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Delia Drew in 1911. They had one son Robert Drew King.

During his later years he retired to Florida and spent time on his hobbies which included gardening, sculpting and collecting maps. He was found dead in his bathroom in 1969 at the age of 86.

Trivia

The comic strip ‘Gasoline Alley’ has been adapted into two feature films.

The King’s highway in Florida is named in the honour of this great cartoonist.

// Famous American

Frank King awards

YearNameAward

Other

1949 - Silver T-Square Award
1957 - Humor Comic Strip Award
1958 - Reuben Award

Frank King biography timelines

  • // 1901
    He was an artistically inclined child and started to draw when he was quite young. He graduated from Tomah High School in 1901.
  • // 1905
    In 1905, he gave a chalk talk on St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Chalk talks are monologue presentations given by artists while they draw with chalk, crayons or pastels. Chalk talks were popular acts in vaudeville in those days.
  • // 1905 To 1906
    He enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts to study during the 1905-06 session.
  • // 1909
    He joined the ‘Chicago Tribune’ in 1909 where he worked alongside Dean Cornwell, Clare Briggs, and Garrett Price. The next year he created a comic strip ‘Jonah, a Whale for Trouble’ which was however very short lived.
  • // 1911
    He married Delia Drew in 1911. They had one son Robert Drew King.
  • // 1914
    The ‘Chicago Tribune’ began featuring a page called ‘The Rectangle’ which carried a variety of cartoons and serial features. The page was usually printed in black and white and appeared regularly from 1914. King created several strips which included ‘Tough Teddy’, ‘The Boy Animal Trainer’ and ‘Hi-Hopper’.
  • // 1918
    King created a strip called ‘Gasoline Alley’ which began appearing on the bottom quadrant of ‘The Rectangle’ on Sundays from November 1918. It featured the characters Walt, Doc, Avery and Bill who held conversations about automobiles.
  • // 1919
    The characters in the strip were based on King’s real life acquaintances and the plot revolved around mild humour involved in simple day-to-day life. The strip became very popular and was made a daily comic strip from August 1919.
  • // 1951
    The ‘Gasoline Alley’ became so popular that it made King a millionaire. He retired from the Sunday strip in 1951 and from the daily in 1959. His assistants Bill Perry and Dick Moores took over the responsibility of running the strip.
  • // 24th Jun 1969
    During his later years he retired to Florida and spent time on his hobbies which included gardening, sculpting and collecting maps. He was found dead in his bathroom in 1969 at the age of 86.

// Aries Celebrities

Frank King's FAQ

  • What is Frank King birthday?

    Frank King was born at 1883-04-09

  • When was Frank King died?

    Frank King was died at 1969-06-24

  • Where was Frank King died?

    Frank King was died in Winter Park

  • Which age was Frank King died?

    Frank King was died at age 86

  • Where is Frank King's birth place?

    Frank King was born in Cashton, Wisconsin

  • What is Frank King nationalities?

    Frank King's nationalities is American

  • Who is Frank King spouses?

    Frank King's spouses is Delia Drew

  • Who is Frank King childrens?

    Frank King's childrens is Robert Drew King

  • What was Frank King universities?

    Frank King studied at Chicago Academy of Fine Arts

  • What is Frank King's sun sign?

    Frank King is Aries

  • How famous is Frank King?

    Frank King is famouse as cartoonist