J. J. Sedelmaier

The Motion-Graphic Ads Of Burma-Shave: 1927-1963

In a simpler time, when automobiles went slower and the pre-Eisenhower highway system in the United States was less developed, there was a popular advertising campaign that ran from 1927 until 1963. It consisted of rhymed messages sequentially staked on the right side of the road, all ending with the advertiser’s name, “Burma-Shave.” These...

Howdy 7Up!

I became interested in pop bottles (I grew up in the Chicago area where we all said “pop”) and related stuff when I was about 12 years old. I had gone inside an old garage that was attached to a neighborhood house that was being torn down and inside was a cache of un-returned...

Amazing X-Ray Glasses And 9000 Other Novelties – Johnson Smith & Co.

With Chicago’s “C2E2″ 2012 ComicCon (http://www.c2e2.com/) approaching this week from April 13-15 at McCormick Place, it seems fitting that I do a piece on an aspect of comic books that everyone even remotely acquainted with the realm knows well – the Johnson Smith & Company of Detroit, Michigan. You may not recognize the firm’s...

How Walt Disney Used His Kansas City Library Card

When the word “Disney” is mentioned, it’s almost impossible to separate it from the craft of motion picture cartoons. Whether it’s used to describe a multinational entertainment corporation, or it alludes to Walt Disney the man, it’s easily synonymus with the technique of film animation. This was obviously not always the case. In 1920,...

As Albert Hurter Drew, He Pleased The Disney Artists Around Him

In 1948 Simon and Schuster published a book titled He Drew As He Pleased. It’s a tribute to Albert Hurter, an inspirational sketch artist who worked at the Walt Disney Studio from 1931 until his death in 1942. The book itself was planned and prepared by Hurter himself and as outlined in his will,...

Joe Shuster’s Artwork for the 1942 Novel The Adventures of Superman

I used to spend a lot of time as a kid visiting antique (actually, “junk”) shops. It was like visiting a museum, except you pick up stuff and hold it. One of the things I found (probably around 1972) was a book by author George Lowther from 1942 about Superman. I’d never heard about...

An Obscure Book Captures the “Lighter Side” of The War In Vietnam

I picked up this book years ago because I was astounded by its naïve “design” and its raw unadulterated (hardly PC) presentation of a GI’s view of the Vietnam War.  I also haven’t seen many cartoon-books done by or about Vietnam GI’s. I wouldn’t go as far as comparing it to Bill Mauldin’s “Up...

A True Visionary Gives Chicago A Landmark Branding Campaign Circa 1920-30

(This piece is a much expanded version of an article co-written with photographer/writer John Gruber for Print Magazine and the British trade mag Ads International in 1998.) The thought of Chicago in the 1920’s usually conjures up images of gangsters, Prohibition, and other Roaring 20’s clichés, but there was another movement in the Chicago...

From A Frisky Bruce Lee to Stephen Colbert’s “Tek Jansen”

The Bruce Lee craze of the 1970s produced an endless array of merchandise in the hopes of cashing in on the world-renowned martial artist’s popularity – especially after his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 32. I’d been a fan of his since he’d played “Kato” in the old “Green Hornet” TV...