Farewell to Phil Davis!

In March 1933, Phil Davis, one of Art Davis' brothers, left Charles Mintz's studio to move back to New York. He was given a scrapbook full of caricatures by his fellow artists. This treasure trove is a veritable who’s who of important figures in animation that worked at Mintz during this period: Don and Ray Patterson, Al Eugster, Manny Gould, Ray Patin, Bob Wickersham, Irv Spector, Milt Schaffer, Harry Love, Rudy Zamora, Irv Spence, Reuben Timmins, Dick Huemer, Ray Huffine, Ed and Alice Rehberg, Preston Blair, Lou Zukor, Carl Urbano, Sid Glenar and Ralph Somerville.

Born August 14, 1898 in Yonkers, New York, Philip Davis (original name: Davidovitch) became a young sales-boy by 1915, according to the Yonkers census. He enlisted in the military September 13, 1917, receiving a sergeant ranking on November 26. On February 8, 1918, Phil Davis was ultimately ranked Quartermaster Sergeant in the Auxiliary Remount Depot #303 in Camp Dix, New Jersey. He was honorably discharged a few months later, on March 8, 1919. Davis found a job as stenographer for an oil company by 1920, but soon became a salesman of sporting goods five years later. By 1930, he had continued to sell sporting goods, in a partnership with his brother Sid. It is not entirely clear when exactly Phil Davis went to work for Charles Mintz, but it might have been between 1930 to 1932. He arrived back in California by 1937, when he married to radio artist Jean Nedelman on December 17. Davis found himself at Mintz/Screen Gems as the head of their in-betweening department. His youngest brother, Arthur, was fired from Screen Gems in late 1941, when production supervisor Frank Tashlin reorganized the studio—it is safe to assume Phil was one of the casualties of its restructuring. Unable to find work in animation, the two brothers managed a liquor store together. Suddenly, on May 20, 1942, Phil Davis succumbed to a heart attack, leaving his young brother alone with the business.

Decades later, Art Davis said about his brother: “Phil was a pretty personable guy, and everybody liked him.” These gag drawings and caricatures presented here make this statement plainly evident. These images are courtesy of Art Davis’ grandson-in-law Steve Marshall and his wife, Sharon Davis - one of Art's granddaughters. (Please excuse the image quality herein.)

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