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HENRY ENOCH SHARP

(1912-2005)

Henry Enoch Sharp was born June 25, 1912 in Manhattan, New York City. His father, Hyman Sharp, was born Hyman Scharfstein in 1886 in Russia of Jewish ancestry, and moved to America in 1906. His mother, Sadie Selkovitz, was born in 1890 in Lithuania of Jewish ancestry, and moved to America in 1907. The parents married in New York City on June 28, 1910 and moved to 276 Monroe Street on the Lower East Side. They had two children, Philip Sharp, born February 6, 1911, and Henry Enoch Sharp (b.1912). The father owned and operated a sign painting shop.

In 1916 the family moved to the Bronx, where they lived in an apartment building at 155 Vyse Avenue.

The two brothers attended public school in the Bronx.

On September 12, 1918, during the Great War, the father registered with the draft board. He was recorded at the time to have been born April 30, 1886 in Russia. He was thirty-three, short, medium build, with brown eyes and brown hair. Because of his age, and his support of a wife and two children, the father was not selected for military service.

One month later, on October 18, 1918, the father died. After this tragic death the mother supported the family by working as a dressmaker at a factory in the Bronx.

In 1927, while attending high school, Henry Enoch Sharp, at the age of fifteen, became interested in following his father's work as a sign painter and a career as an advertising artist.

In June of 1928, at the age of sixteen, he completed the tenth grade of high school and then entered the work force.

That fall, the widow and her two sons left NYC and moved to Chicago, where she worked as a dressmaker, while the sons worked as clerks at a cigar factory.

In 1933 the mother, Sadie Sharp, married her second husband, Barnett Axelrod. He was born in 1886 in Polotzk, Russia. He was a widower with three sons, Samuel (b.1911), David (b.1912), and Phillip (b.1919). His first wife, Sarah (Minkinstz) Axelrod, had died at the age of forty-four one year earlier on April 14, 1932. The newly-wed parents and their five sons lived together at 3452 Lexington Street in Chicago, IL.

The stepfather, Barnett Axelrod, was the top artist at The Fine Art Decorating Company of Chicago, at 3644 Grandshaw Avenue. His new step-son, Henry Enoch Sharp, went to work for the company and apprenticed with his stepfather for four years.

In 1938, at the age of twenty-six, Henry Enoch Sharp, left the company and opened his own free-lance art studio. He created line art, decorative borders, and lettering for newspaper advertising.

On March 11, 1942, three months after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war, Henry Enoch Sharp enlisted in the Army. He was recorded at the time to be twenty-nine, five-five, and 130 pounds. His civilian occupation was listed as "Commercial Artist."

His older brother, Philip Sharp, also enlisted at the same time. Both brothers served for the duration and were honorably discharged in the spring of 1946.

During the war years, when so many artists were serving in the military, several painted covers of Ziff-Davis pulp magazines were credited to "James Axelrod," however, the artist was actually Henry Enoch Sharp's step-father, Barnett Axelrod.

After the war, Henry Enoch Sharp returned to Chicago to resume his art career. He found free-lance work illustrating pulp magazines produced by Ziff-Davis. His work appeared in Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, Mammoth Adventure, Mammoth Detective, Mammoth Mystery, and Mammoth Western. Other pulp artists who worked for the same company include Malcolm Smith, Robert Gibson Jones, J. Allen St. John, Harold W. McCauley, Arnold Kohn, Robert Fuqua, Julian S. Krupa, and Rod Ruth.

Henry Enoch Sharp also wrote two stories that were published in pulp magazines, "McDaniel In The Lion's Den" for Mammoth Detective (July 1946), and "Unfinished Business" for Fantastic Adventures (August 1948). It is unusual to create both illustrations and stories that were published in the same pulp magazine. A few of there rare exceptions are Joe Archibald, Hannes Bok, and Curtis Delano. But in the case of Henry Enoch Sharp, this second talent as a writer of exciting fiction was only a sign of things to come!

In 1950 Ziff-Davis moved their executive offices from Chicago to NYC, after which Henry Enoch Sharp also left Chicago and moved to an apartment at 20 Pierpont Street in Brooklyn. He also rented an art studio at 670 Lexington Avenue at 56th Street in Manhattan.

He continued to work for Ziff-Davis in NYC and also drew for their new line of comic books. The new editor was Herb Rogoff. His work appeared in Crime Comics, Horror Comics, Romance Comics, Sports Comics, Science Fantasy, G.I. Joe and Sky Pilot. These last two comic books had covers painted by Norman Saunders.

By 1953 the pulp magazine and comic book industries suffered hard times, due to lost readership, who had grown fascinated with television, and a widespread concern that uncensored comic books promoted juvenile delinquency. As the publishing industry shrank, most illustrators needed to find new sources of income.

In 1953 Henry Enoch Sharp illustrated stories for the pulp magazine Other Worlds from Bell Publications. He also drew comics for the St. John Publishing Company. He drew Mystery In Space and Strange Adventures for DC Comics. These were his only works published outside of Ziff-Davis.

By 1954 his brother, Philip Sharp, had become a successful writer on The Sid Caesar Show. Philip Sharp went on to write teleplays for The Phil Silvers Show in 1956. In 1958 Philip Sharp was writing The Real McCoy's, and invited his brother to become a co-writer on that TV show. The two brothers again teamed up on scripts for The Gale Storm Show (1958), The Ann Southern Show (1959), and The Donna Reed Show (1959-1961).

In 1958 Henry Enoch Sharp closed his art studio and left NYC and moved to California, where he focused his creative skills on writing scripts and drawing storyboards for the television industry.

The subsequent career of Henry Sharp in Los Angeles should not be confused with the popular stage and screen actor, Henry Sharp (1889-1964), or the renowned Hollywood cameraman, Henry Sharp (1892-1966). To distinguish himself from these two established professionals, he used the name "Henry E. Sharp."

His older brother, Philip Sharp, continued to have a successful career as a special "script doctor" for CBS Television. He wrote for The Patty Duke Show (1964), Hogan's Heroes (1968-1971), Bewitched (1970-1972), The Doris Day Show (1971-1972), Maude (1975-1976), and All In The Family (1978-1979).

Henry E. Sharp went on to write for The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1962), The Andy Griffith Show (1963), McHale's Navy (1964), The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964), Petticoat Junction (1964), The Addams Family (1965), The Wild, Wild West (1966-1968), Mission Impossible (1970-1971), and Bewitched (1970-1972).

On September 11, 1971 his mother, Sadie Axelrod, died at the age of eighty-one in Los Angeles, CA.

Henry E. Sharp also wrote scripts for TV cartoon programs, including The Amazing Chan And The Chan Clan (1972), Super Friends (1973), and Valley Of The Dinosaurs (1974).

On June 23, 1980, his older brother, Philip Sharp died at the age of sixty-nine in Studio City, Los Angeles, CA.

Henry E. Sharp married and had three children. He retired in 1980 and spent his final years in his private home in Los Angeles, CA.

Henry E. Sharp died at the age of ninety-two in West Hollywood, CA, on May 26, 2005.

                                © David Saunders 2016

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