Beginning with a performance emceed by humor columnist Bugs Baer at Halloran Hospital on Staten Island , these shows were produced and directed by Mendez. The group expanded to junkets on military transport planes, flying to military bases along the southeastern seaboard.
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Mendez recalled:. Only boys. The Society was organized on a Friday evening, March 1, , when 26 cartoonists gathered at 7pm in the Barberry Room on East 52nd Street in Manhattan. After drinks and dinner, they voted to determine officers and a name for their new organization. It was initially known as The Cartoonists Society. Goldberg was elected president with Russell Patterson as vice president, C. Russell as secretary and Milton Caniff , treasurer.
Mendez functioned as the Society's trouble-shooter and later became an agent representing more than 50 cartoonists. Batchelor Daily News and Richard Q. Seibel and sports cartoonist Willard Mullin.
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Marge Devine Duffy, a secretary in King Features public relations department, had been helping Russell handle correspondence to the NCS, and in , she was installed as the official NCS secretary and later given the title Scribe of the Society. As the organizing secretary, she handled agendas, organization and publicity. In the fall of , the NCS cooperated with Treasury Department to sell savings bonds, engaging in a nationwide tour to 17 major cities with a team of 10 to 12 cartoonists and a traveling display, 20, Years of Comics , a foot pictorial history of the comic strip.
In , Hilda Terry wrote a letter challenging that rule, and after more than six months of debates and votes, three women were finally admitted for membership in —Terry, Edwina Dumm and gag cartoonist Barbara Shermund.
Gathered in Washington to help the Treasury Department sell Defense Stamps, the group presented Truman with a bound volume of their comic strip characters, some interacting with caricatures of Truman. On the tour, the cartoonists engaged models in each country to join in their Laff Time show of audience participation stunts and gags. Hy Eisman described the atmosphere at the NCS when he joined in It was an actor's club, which was actually a copy of an actor's club in London.
Goldberg had even done a couple of movies and Dunn was on early TV doing a program called Quick on the Draw. They had gotten the club to allow them to use the premises as a meeting place for cartoonists. When I joined, they had what they called a Shepherd—after all, the meetings were at the Lambs Club—who was the president, Billy Gaxton.
The meetings were monthly, and there would be a dinner afterwards.
There was always a lot of drinking going on. For Pete's sake, there was a bar right there in the meeting room. In order to get the meeting going, they would always have to pry the guys away from the bar. The first guy I met, sitting right across from me at my first dinner, was Raeburn Van Buren.
He was the creator of Abbie an' Slats , and this was always a strip I liked.
What was so nice was that even though he was much older, he just talked to me like a fellow professional. As I went to more meetings, I got to talk to a few of them. To me, it was unreal that so many legends were just standing around talking shop and gossip with each other. They were all, so, let's just say, normal. These were guys I had idolized for years. The Preacher. All Blues.
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