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1924-01 Shadowland
1949 The Latin Quarter
1924-11 Snappy Stories
1949 The Latin Quarter
1925 Switchboard Sally
1950 Diamond Horseshoe
1927 Shampoo Ad
1952 The Copacabana
1932 Tiajuana Bibles
1958 Bazooka Joe
1943-03 Gags & Giggles
1960 Bazooka Joe








Wesley Cherry Morse was born on June 17, 1896 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Charles Morse, was born 1868 in Wisconsin. His mother, Frances Cherry, was born 1874 in Texas. His parents married in 1893 and had two children, Talley Ware Morse (b.1894), and Wesley Cherry Morse (b.1896). The father was a newspaper publisher, who eventually worked for newspapers in Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York City.

In 1908 the father was hired by a newspaper in St. Louis, so the Morse family moved there, and lived at 5000 McPherson Avenue.

In 1916 the father was hired to work for a newspaper in New York City, so the family moved to Manhattan, where they lived at 960 Park Avenue at East 82nd Street.

On 1918 during the Great War both brothers joined the army. Wesley Morse served overseas as a private in Battery C of the 27th Division in the 104th Army.

After his honorable discharge in 1919, Wesley Morse returned to NYC to work as a commercial artist. During the roaring twenties he drew cartoons of sexy chorus girls for risqué magazines. His work appeared in Shadowland, Snappy Stories, Judge, and Film Fun.

On November 20, 1920, his brother, Talley Ware Morse, married Monica Boulais in NYC. She was born in 1898 in Philadelphia of Irish ancestry, and worked in NYC as a stage actress in a vaudeville troupe headed by Ed Wynn (1886-1966).

On March 27, 1925 The New York Telegram & Globe reported, "A new cartoonist illuminates Broadway. His name is Wesley Morse. And he did the vivacious study of the new Ziegfeld Follies. It is something new in cartoonery. Even beauty is possible."

In 1925 Wesley Morse drew the syndicated comic strip "Switchboard Sally," which was written by H. C. Witwer (1890-1929).

Also in 1925 Wesley Morse drew "Frolicky Fables" in collaboration with VEP (Victor Estenio Pazmiño) for newspaper syndication.

In 1926 Wesley Morse drew "Kitty of the Chorus" for The New York Daily Mirror and The New York Graphic.

On February 2, 1929 the father, Charles Morse, died in NYC at the age of sixty-three.

During the Great Depression Wesley Morse anonymously illustrated several of the infamous "Tijuana Bibles," which featured the indecent adventures of popular comic strip characters.

In 1938 Wesley Morse drew "Beau Gus" with Bud Wiley for Circus - The Comic Riot, a comic book published by the Globe Syndicate.

In the 1940s Wesley Morse drew gag cartoons for risqué joke books, such as Gags, Giggles, Grin, and Gayety.

In 1942 during WWII Wesley Morse reported for draft registration, but as a veteran, aged forty-six, he was not selected for military service.

In 1944 Wesley Morse married Lucy Olsen. She was born in 1910. They had two children, Talley Ware Morse (b.1945), who was named after the artist's brother, and Nancy Morse (b.1947). The family of four lived at 224-54 Horace Harding Boulevard in Bayside, Queens, NY.

In the post-war period Wesley Morse illustrated fashionable posters, murals, pamphlets, and menus for a variety of popular Broadway nightclubs, such as The Latin Quarter, The Diamond Horseshoe, and The Copacabana. The artist designed the famous logo of "The Copa Girl" for The Copacabana Club.

In 1951 the wife of Wesley Morse, Lucy (Olsen) Morse, died at the age of forty-one in NYC.

In 1953 the newly-hired creative art director team at Topps Bubblegum Company in Brooklyn, Woody Gelman and Ben Solomon, hired Wesley Morse to draw the "Bazooka Joe" comic strip. These miniature comics were printed on paper that was coated in wax and used to wrap individual pieces of one-cent bubblegum. This novelty item remained popular enough for Wesley Morse to draw thousands of comics for "Bazooka Joe And His Gang" during the final decade of his career. Other artists who worked for this company included Norman Saunders, Jack Davis (1924-2016), Wally Wood, Basil Wolverton (1909-1978), Bob Powell (1916-1967), Maurice Blumenfeld (1918-1968), and Ed Valigursky.

On July 21, 1959, his brother, Talley Ware Morse, died at the age of sixty-four.

Wesley Morse died at the age of sixty-seven in NYC on July 31, 1963.

                           © David Saunders 2016

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