Cartoonist publishes last regular work
On this day in 1972, William J. McClanahan's last regular cartoon appeared in the Dallas Morning News. He had started his career at the News as a sportswriter in the late 1920s, and did not find his forte as a cartoonist until 1946, when his first regular sports cartoon appeared. McClanahan became well known--as the "father of the Southwest Conference cartoon mascots"; as the popularizer of the "Grid Gram," a column that was, according to him, a "visual box score of a football game"; and as the inventor of the challenging "Texas Sports Exam." In 1957, after the retirement of senior News cartoonist John F. Knott, McClanahan joined Jack Howells (Herc) Ficklen as an editorial cartoonist for the paper, a position he held until his retirement in 1973. Among his numerous awards McClanahan won the Southwest Journalism Award in 1970 and multiple National Freedom Foundation awards. In retirement he published two books, a collection of cartoons called Texas: The Way It Used to Be (1968) and Scenery for Model Railroads (1958, 1967). McClanahan died of a heart attack in Dallas on September 7, 1981.