Machamer Thomas

Holdredge, United States


He was born in Holdredge, Nebraska, in 1899. Jefferson Machamer graduated from Nebraska University and got his first job on the art staff of the Kansas City Star. Sales of spot gag cartoons to Car­toons Magazine in the late 1910´s whetted his appetite for Big Apple markets, and he moved to New York. After a stint with the Tribune he joined the staff of Judge around 1924 and became one of that weekly’s major contributors. For the Judge he did countless boy-girl cartoons, color covers and Laughs from the Shows (illustrated lines from Broadway hits), and drew the spots for the High Hat feature, a gossipy review of New York’s speakeasies. When Norman Anthony left for Life in the late 1920´s, Machamer began writing High Hat in addition. He later contributed to College Humor.

As the magazine market declined, Machamer scored variously with newspaper strips and panels: Petting Patty for Hearst: Gngs and Gals, also for Hearst, begin­ning in 1937; and The Haffles (about a small-town family in Hollywood) for the Los Angeles Times in the early 1940´s. He was the author of several revues and con­ducted a correspondence school in cartooning from his home in Santa Monica, California until his death on August 15. 1961.

Machamer had an individualistic drawing style that varied little from the 1920´s to the 1980´s. His lark of Art Training was obvious, but he never shied from any subject or depiction. He drew in slashing, harsh brushstrokes and stereotyped his characters: men were wistful, bewildered and henpecked; women were as­sertive, dominant and racy (and in fact trod a thin lino between the sexy and the grotesque).

the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons 1981

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