on Pinto Colvig
Biographical sources in vaguely chronological order; open the images in another window for a better view. Much more on Pinto here.
We are pleased to announce that the condition of Mrs. W. M. Colvig, which was critical for a time, is much improved at this writing. Dr. DeBar, assisted by Drs. Pickel and Geary of Medford, found it necessary to perform some operations, which have proved successful.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 5, 1892, page 3
A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Colvig at Jacksonville, on the 11th inst.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, September 23, 1892, page 3
A serious runaway accident occurred in Jacksonville on Saturday morning. Mr. Henry Murray, a fruit and vegetable dealer, was delivering his goods and while crossing the streets near the M.E. Church the clip came off the neck yoke and let one side down, which frightened his spirited team, and it started to run; a little son of Hon. W. M. Colvig was in the seat by Mr. Murray, and in his endeavor to shield the little boy from possible harm, the horses got the advantage of him, and in their wild run collided with a road cart in which Mrs. Mary E. Kime and her little grandson were riding. In the general smashup Mrs. Kime was thrown violently to the ground and quite seriously injured and the cart was upset on the boy. Mr. Murray and the little Colvig boy jumped from their wagon and let the team go and went at once to Mrs. Kime's assistance. She was carried into the residence of G. Elksnat unconscious and Dr. DeBar hastily summoned. She revived shortly after, but appears to have serious internal injuries. Mr. Murray's vegetables and fruit was distributed over several blocks, his horses badly hurt and his wagon almost a wreck.
Ashland Tidings, August 9, 1897, page 3
"I was born in Jacksonville and named Vance DeBar Colvig. At age 7 (because of too many freckles, and goony antics) I was nicknamed 'Pinto the Village Clown' (which I have used professionally during my circus and other show business activities, besides occasional jobs as a newspaper cartoonist."
"'Pinto' Colvig Writes About Names, History of Clowning," Medford Mail Tribune, July 12, 1961
I know that many people eat dinner by candlelight, but I feel sure that I am the only person who in this electric day and age enjoys eating breakfast on early December and January mornings by the light of a single candle. I started this custom for myself when I moved down to this apartment over six years ago and have been keeping it up ever since.
At Christmastime I always put candles in each of the many candlesticks (all antiques) I have scattered over my living room and dining room so on that one morning, six years ago, when for some reason or other the electric power failed I lit one of the candles and placed it on my breakfast table. How the light of that little taper in the morning dawn brought back memories of the old home in Jacksonville as I sipped my coffee and munched my toast, so during the holiday weeks since then I have eaten my breakfast by the flickering light of a "tallow-dip," as Dad used to call them. What magic it brings about! I cease to be an old lady all alone; I am changed into a child again and am in the midst of a family of brothers and sisters. I hear Dad blowing the "Reveille" on the battered old cornet up the stairway to jolt us from our slumbers long before daylight.
You never slept upstairs so you can't know how cold a winter morning can be. You and Don had a nice snug room off of the dining room stairs, and it was only a short dash for you boys from the bed to the red-hot living room stove. But we girls slept up close to the roof where on winter nights we could hear the very nails pop out of the ice-covered shingles close over our heads. The "spare room," across the hall was furnished with a wood stove-fire always "laid," in case of company--but never at any time was it lit for our own comfort. When we had reached the half grown-up age we girls ceased to be in the group of children dressing around the sitting room stove downstairs. Our father and little brothers--the male members of the family--must not see us in our union suits or even in our petticoats; we sure were taught modesty at an early age. So we shivered out of bed on those cold winter mornings, lighted the candles on the bureau, hustled into our clothes as hastily as we could and flew down the stairs, candlestick in hand, dripping candle grease on the stair carpet every step of the way.
Dad would not allow a coal-oil (kerosene) lamp to be carried up or down stairs on account of the danger of fire--hence the candles. For several years my Saturday job was removing the week's accumulation of tallow off of those stair steps, and a disagreeable but effective process it was. I placed a piece of "brown" paper over the grease and applied a hot "sad" iron to it. The grease, some of it, was blotted into the paper, the rest, I presume, was melted and absorbed into the carpet. Ugh! I can still smell that rancid hot odor of grease, paper and dusty carpet as I write these words.
Anyway, on those cold winter mornings, when we got to the warm haven of the dining room, we set the lighted candles on the breakfast table and left them there. There was a hanging lamp suspended above the table but coal oil was expensive so it seldom, if ever, was lit for breakfast on those dark winter mornings. There was no delay or straggling in to breakfast by different members of the family in our house, either in winter or summer; even the youngest member of the tribe, as soon as it was able to sit up in a high chair, had to be dressed and washed and combed by seven o'clock and take his or her place at the breakfast table. In the winter time we were assembled there, with a few hours of darkness still ahead of us. Dad always referred to this time of day as "early candlelight," which expression sounded to me as being very poetical and beautiful even when I was a child.
When we children had deposited our candles on the dining room table those shivering mornings, we could look out into the kitchen, which, to us, seemed brightly illuminated by two reflector lamps; one on the wall above the stove where steaks were sizzling, fried potatoes sputtered and mush and coffee boiled--the "hired girl" standing watch over them--another lamp on the shelf above the table where Mama would be rolling and cutting out the dozens of "sourdough" or baking powder biscuits for the substantial morning meal. We children would dip some hot water out of the tank at the end of the stove and carry our wash pans to the bench on the back porch and make a hasty and indifferent toilette. No wonder we did not wash behind our ears on those bitter cold mornings when the water almost froze on our faces and hands before we could give a tug at the roller towel and wipe it off. This finished, we girls had to go into the sitting room and help you little boys into your clothes. It was quite a task, and really an art, to get the legs of your union suits twisted about your ankles and pull the heavy black, ribbed stockings smoothly over them, without letting the underwear move up in lumps with the stockings.
Do you remember the stove that was throwing out heat in that room on those winter mornings? Quite an ornate piece of iron; filigrees of metal decorations all over its bulging rotundity, a window of opaque isinglass in the front of it through which we could see the flames, with a name of its own spelled out in nickel letters close to the top. For some reason or other our stove had been christened and branded "EMERALD." I think we had our first lessons in the alphabet from those familiar 7 letters. Later, when we had licked the entire alphabet, Dad got up the game for us of competing with each other to see how many small words we could make out of that one larger word, "Emerald." We spent days at it and each kept his or her list a secret from the others; when the specified time had elapsed Dad examined and counted our lists and he gave the winner--ME--ten cents as a prize. Yep! A whole dime! It was well worth striving for in those days when a weekly allowance of money for children was unheard of. Gosh! The only coin of the realm we ever handled during the entire year and could call our own was the ‘two bits" which was handed out to us on the Fourth of July.
But to get back to the candlelit morning meal. What a noisy laughing group we were, gathered around that table. Dad had a strict rule that nothing of an unpleasant nature could be voiced during meals, and he adhered to that rule all the rest of his life. Guess that is the reason I have never had stomach ulcers. No complaints, no criticism and no gossip allowed. I remember one time when I said: "I can't stand that old Sister Eusebius. I wish she wasn't my teacher." Dad looked at me with that one-sided smile of his and remarked: "I'd like to see her and find out what her opinion of you is." It acted as a perfect squelch and everybody laughed.
So thus my mind runs back into the past in the faint glimmering of my present breakfast candle. This morning it aroused memories that have laid dormant over a period of much more than half a century. While I was reveling in my comfortable apartment I thought of those unbearably cold mornings when I used to get up at dark in the winter time. Those mornings after Clara and I had graduated from the downstairs children's room to the front upstairs room of low, slanting ceiling and which had [an] uncovered porch opening out of its front door. Our constitutions began to be hardened from that time on to the extent of being able to endure any amount of roasting in the summer, and freezing to the point of death in the winter. This porch I have mentioned had a tin or zinc flooring which got red hot in the summer sunshine, retaining about 100 degrees of heat all night long, and became a sheet of ice during most of the winter months, except the rainy periods when every drop of water that hit the metal surface sounded like the beat on a too-tight drumhead. At the best it never would have served Juliet as a balcony. It was not in the least decorative nor was it useful except on the nights when we were expecting company from a distance, or Dad home from a railroad trip and the train was late. Having no telephone or other means of information as to how late the "overland" was in Medford, some one of us would be sent up to this porch to ascertain if we could see the headlight of the engine of our own short line coming up the valley from Medford below. Sometimes, weather permitting, one of us would be stationed on this lookout and when the light would appear we would rush downstairs shouting the news and run off to the little depot to meet the homecoming Father or whoever else was expected. If the weather was clear we sometimes could see the smoke from the engine of the "overland" as it neared Medford, five miles away, then we knew that our own little short line would soon be on its way up to Jacksonville. In those days trains were seldom, if ever, on time during the winter months, what with snow in the mountains and floods in the valley. Mr. Barnum, who owned and ran the short line, always had to wait in Medford until the "big" train arrived there because he had the contract to carry the U.S. mail, which it brought from Medford to Jacksonville--also it might have passengers aboard whose destination was our little out-of-the-way town.
Clara and I did not occupy this upstairs room alone. We slept together in one bed and the hired girl slept in another bed in the same room. Now, "hired girls" were an institution of that bygone era. They could not possibly be put in the same class with servants or "maids" of today. They were big, healthy, buxom, willing country girls who deemed it a privilege to be paid two dollars and a half--sometimes less--for living with a large family in town and doing all the heavy work and getting their room and board besides. They came as sort of a green apprentice to learn from the lady of the house how to cook, sew, and tend babies in between chores of washing, ironing and scrubbing--even milking the cow if there was no one else about to do that. The dish washing in such a large family as ours was a tremendous task three times a day, with all the water required for it to be drawn out of a well, and heated on a wood stove. Such piles of dishes! Aside from us five Colvig children there were two orphaned cousins living with us; then there always seemed to be a school teacher about whom Mama had invited to live with us awhile because the teacher couldn't find a place to suit her in which to live. Jacksonville, being the county seat, was overrun with people from out of town whenever court was in session so Dad was always bringing some client of his to a meal or to stay a few nights, also other lawyers who lived out of town and had to be in Jacksonville when their cases came up. We never counted relations as extras, even when they arrived in hordes. There was always enough to eat, hay and a place in the barn for their horses, and any or all of us children would gladly give up our beds to the visitors and sleep rolled up on the parlor floor if necessary.
Did the hired girl complain, rebel, give notice to quit or demand higher wages? She did not. Instead she made up extra beds, washed piles and piles of dishes, laundered stacks of sheets, tablecloths and napkins, towels and even some of the clothes of the visitors along with the regular family washing, which was no small item in itself. She was one of the family and it was hard sometimes to tell whether she or Mama was the hostess in that house. She aimed to please and she did it enthusiastically, cheerfully and tirelessly. These girls came to work for us and each one of them stayed years and years. None ever quit or was fired, and it was with tears on both sides that we parted when each one finally left to get married. The hired girl was always treated as one of the family. She ate at the table with us, and in the afternoons and evenings when the work was done she sat in the living room with us. Dad corrected her grammar and pronunciation of words just as he did us and Mama taught her manners and the art of fine embroidery. She shared our sorrows and joys and accompanied us on picnics and other family outings.
Somehow, my flickering candle at breakfast this morning brought out of my subconscious mind one of those hired girls who came to live with us when I was about ten years old. Her name was Hattie McComber. She came from up Talent way and replaced Florence Bolt who had been with us for several years. At the time of which I write, Hattie had not yet been with us long enough to entrench herself in our affections or Mama's entire approval.
The hired girl always got up and lit the candles in our room quite some time before Clara or I could get up enough courage to emerge from under the snug covers. Anyway we weren't required to be downstairs as soon as she was. The first thing Hattie did after she lit the candles was to take a big wad of gum from the shelf by the bureau, put it in her mouth and begin to chew ecstatically and happily while she hooked her whalebone corset into place and donned the rest of her clothes; but when her rapid toilet was completed and she was ready to rush downstairs to the kitchen she would take the gum from her mouth and tenderly put it back on to the shelf. Her reason for discarding the gum was not entirely motivated by Mama's disapproval of a gum-chewing hired girl, but because, to Hattie, this quid of gum was a very special, if not sacred, thing, and the chewing of it the first thing in the morning was a sort of loving ceremony with which she always started the day. She had told me all about it on the first day of her arrival at our home when I had escorted her upstairs, and, with childish interest and curiosity, watched her unpack her meager belongings. When she produced the gum from the side of her mouth and placed it on the corner of the shelf that day she not only warned me never to touch or displace it, but made me give my sacred oath of honor that I never would. This was the first time that anyone had taken me into their confidence about their love affairs and I was much awed, impressed and interested in this piece of gum, for it was a symbol of everlasting love, both to Hattie and to me. She told me that she was very much in love with a young farmer who lived up Talent way. He had been courting her for two years, but had never approached her with an offer of marriage in all that time, then a little over a year ago he had taken her to a Fourth of July celebration up at Ashland, and while there, sometime during the day when they had sought seclusion on a park bench, he opened up his heart and asked her to marry him. He explained that at the present time he was unable to support a wife and it looked as though it might be quite a spell before he got his farm paid for and could claim her for his own. Would she wait for him, was his plea.
She promised she would wait, no matter how many dollars or years away the wedding might be. O, yeah! She would be true to him.
To seal their vows he produced a full package of gum, divided it with her (two and a half sticks per person) and holding hands they each chewed their portion to the proper consistency for comfortable mastication (at that time Mr. Beeman had not perfected his product and it always crumbled when first put in the mouth). They then solemnly exchanged cuds, swearing that every day until the wedding bells rang for them--no matter how far apart they might be--they each would chew the gum which the other had started, and remember their vow.
If Hattie had shown me a thousand-dollar diamond ring as a pledge of her betrothal I couldn't have been more impressed. It was so beautifully romantic--and O! the wonder of it. Just think, keeping a piece of gum for over a year and thinking of him with every chew.
I used to stealthily take Maggie Krause, Ollie Huffer and other girls of my age up to the room to show them this wonderful piece of gum, and relate the romantic story of its origin. It never entered our heads, nor Hattie's either, that it was quite unhygienic to chew the same piece of gum every day for a year, especially when it laid around in the dust, attracting germs, between mastications. The very antiquity of Hattie's gum gave it value. You know a piece of gum gets lost or mislaid so easily--almost mysteriously at times. You even forget what piece of furniture you stuck it under--or, maybe, someone else discovers it and appropriates it by the time you do remember. The very marvel of being able to keep a piece of chewing gum for over a year's time strongly appealed to Marie and me, so without any romantic reason whatever we decided to get some gum, chew it and keep it in our possession even longer than Hattie had kept hers. Marie's father owned a general merchandise store and among the "generals" was a small confectionery department. It was a good thing for our proposed gum-chewing marathon that he did, for Marie swiped our gum from her father's store, and although we started out with the grimmest and best of intentions, after a few days or a week we had mislaid or lost our gum and would have to begin all over again. The carelessness on our part necessitated other raids on the store, and if we had not finally given up the idea or exchanged it for an easier or more exciting venture Mr. Nickell's entire gum stock would have been mysteriously depleted.
I am sorry that I cannot tell you whether Hattie ever married the young farmer from down Talent way or not. Maybe she is still hopefully and desperately chewing that cherished piece of gum and waiting for the wedding bells to ring.
The days are getting longer now and soon I shall be eating my breakfast in daylight. Both the candle and the memories will have to be shelved and I will be planning on the future of my spring gardening. Tell Peggy that there really was a Hattie and her wad of gum. She would be paying my imagination too much of a compliment if she thought that I made this one up. But, again I add, "it couldn't possibly have happened in any other place but Jacksonville."
Love to you both,Tim Colvig collection
Helen [Mar Colvig Gale Cook]
July 24, 1959
Hi There, "Father J-ville"!
You kin kill yer fatted calf, 'cause your Prodigal Son returneth!! That's right. Looks like he'll be there for the Big Gold Rush Days.
Yep! PINTO, The Village Clown--That Old Web-footed Oregon Appleknocker and His Corny Clarinet--J-ville's Perennial Juvenile Delinquent; Fugitive from the Poolhall Regions and Maker of Fine Cigaret Ashes Since 1892 hopes to say "Howdy" and toot his sour, squeaky E-flat clarinet in The Old Hometown Silver Cornet Band.
He wants to look over The Old U.S. Hotel Op'ry House, where (nearly 60 years ago) he started out on his Wild-and-Checkered Career in Show/Business as a Wand'ring Minstrel when he clown'd on/stage; pranced the hi-steppin' "Cake/Walk" and warbled "Any Rags, Any Bones, Any Bottles Today? There's a Dirty Old Rag-picker A-comin' This Way!"
Happy Days . . . and HAVE FUN!
[signed "Pinto" Colvig]
Typed letter on "Bozo" Capitol Records stationery, addressee unknown (a press release?), SOHS MS9, folder 1
Large crowds braved the heat yesterday afternoon to participate in first day events in the weekend Jacksonville Gold Rush Jubilee. . . . Pinto Colvig, "Bozo the Clown," who was born in Jacksonville, is official host for the two-day event, and led the Kids' Centennial Parade yesterday morning.
"Jacksonville Gold Rush Slate Features Big Panning Contest," Medford Mail Tribune, August 2, 1959, page 1
Clown Shows Interest in Hotel Restoration
Pinto Colvig's Visit Helps to Develop Interest
"But, take my J-ville. I can PICTURE it, but I can't WRITE it. I once spent a pleasant Sunday in Hannibal, Missouri. (Mark Twain's hometown.) I could describe it down to the last pebble. Could do the same with your New York--or Oshkosh . . . but words fail me when it comes to describing J-ville. Because there's no other town quite like it!"
The above is quoted from a letter to Robert Oberfirst in Ocean City, N.J.
"Reconstruct My Old Hometown LIKE IT USED TO WUZ!
"That U.S. HOTEL! Make President Hayes' old room into a BRIDAL 'SWEET' (and charge 150 bucks per night. Worth it!)
"Reconstruct that upstairs OP'RY HOUSE. That dinky little stage. Cheap scenery/paintings on the roller/curtain and wings. Oil footlight lamps. . . .
"Create a Hometown Stock Company and 'ham up' the old mellerdramas. Show old-time movies ('Great American Train Robbery'). The illustrated (and frustrated) singer of old tear-jerkin' ballads (with cracked slides)."
Those words are quoted from a letter to Rudy Tetreault, Jacksonville.
Both the letters were written by a clown who is interested in seeing Jacksonville restored. Oberfirst is Pinto Colvig's literary agent, and Tetreault, who is active in Jacksonville Lion Club activities, is one of Pinto's many friends in this area.
"The Village Clown" lived in Jacksonville between 1892 and 1906, and visited the town and his friends during last year's Gold Rush Jubilee at the invitation of Tetreault and the Lions Club.
Serves As Instrument
His visit, however, was more than just to see and talk with friends. It also served as an instrument in getting other interested people to Jacksonville to see what could be done in restoring it to bring a touch of the past to the present.
Even before The Village Cown visited his old hometown, plans were being discussed and formulated for restoration of the U.S. Hotel, and the reality of restoration appears nearer.
Proceeds from the Gold Rush Jubilee were turned over to the Siskiyou Pioneer Sites Foundation's fund for restoring the hotel. The amount was about $1,000 raised by the Jacksonville Lions Club, which has been instrumental in developing a general interest in Jacksonville as an old mining town, along with the Foundation.
A foundation committee headed by Dr. Frank Haines, associate professor of social studies at Southern Oregon College, will supervise the restoration project, plans for which may be available sometime this summer.
Others on the committee are prominent Jacksonville residents--Everett Ravenor, P. E. Matheny, Art Davies and Ernest McIntyre.
The hotel, which is some 80 years old, has been condemned for some time as unsafe, and most of the restoration work will be in the wall structure, which in some cases needs rebuilding and reinforcement.
But to restore it to the way it was when President Rutherford B. Hayes stayed in it soon after it was opened will be a major job.
Dr. Haines estimated that it would take over $8,000 to restore the building, if most of the material needed is donated. Some material already has been offered, but funds are needed now, he said.
Funds Can Be Raised
He said he believed necessary funds could be raised, and the foundation is interested in receiving donations from valley residents since it is the area which will benefit from any restoration project. However, the foundation is attempting to interest organizations outside this immediate area in the project.
The building itself is in a state of disrepair with windows broken out, cracks in the walls and loose floorboards. Layers of dust cover everything, and assorted litter is strewn about the rooms.
The City of Jacksonville, which owns the building, is using some of the downstairs area for equipment storage, and there is evidence in various rooms that the building has been used by other organizations.
But restoration of the interior is relatively minor, Dr. Haines said, compared to the work necessary on the basic structure.
Could Be First Step
Restoring the U.S. Hotel could be the first step in a general restoration project for the city of Jacksonville, Dr. Haines indicated. He expressed optimism about the restoration of the city, and indicated it would be an economic asset to the valley.
The foundation, however, is more interested in keeping Jacksonville as a "living memorial," and not as a formal tourist attraction such as Williamsburg, Va. Stores would be much the same as now--the only difference would be in restoring the atmosphere to that of an old mining town.
Pinto, too, has expressed this same interest in letters to valley residents, and helped develop interest in such a project during his visit last year.
In one letter to Tetreault, he suggested that Jacksonville streets be named. "And PLEASE change the business section to MAIN STREET. (Why give CALIFORNIA credit?)" he wrote.
Streets should be named after some of the pioneers, he suggested, like Beekman, Hanley and Applegate.
"--and these signs shouldn't be up-to-date. No. They should be prominent, in semi-crude lettering (or burned in like a cattle brand) on rustic, aged boards. And for heaven's sake, rebuild some of those old street lights and lamp posts and stick 'em around town!
"--and what happened to all of the HITCHIN' RACKS & POSTS as in the days of yore?"
It was after Pinto returned to Hollywood, Calif., where he now makes his headquarters, after his visit here, that he wrote to Oberfirst. The letter was in answer to questions Oberfirst asked concerning Pinto's boyhood in Jacksonville, and what kind of a town it was.
In his reply, Pinto painted the picture of Jacksonville as he knew it. The downtown area he described as follows:
"You wanta go Downtown J-ville, so at Pape's Saloon you turn RIGHT . . . and all along MAIN STREET (for a ½ mile) on both sides of the street you'll pass (within spittin' distance):
"3 or 4 General Stores.
"Billy Poole's Barber Shop.
"3 Candy Stores.
"Bum Neuber's 'Banquet' Saloon.
"The J-ville Sentinel & Jackson Co. News (Republican).
"Charley Nickell's The Democratic Times & Job Printing.
"'Doc' Robinson's smelly Drugstore.
"Beekman's Bank & Wells Fargo Agent & School Supplies.
"Johnnie Miller's U.S. Govt. Post Office (also garden seeds, hardware & coffins).
"Mister Kane, the Expert Harness & Saddle Maker & Boot & Shoe Repairs.
"Tom Kenny's Hardware Store.
"Now, go up GUMBO ALLEY and you'll find Zoop Coulter--The Pioneer Sign & Carriage Painter. Next door is Otto Biede, Tin Smith, Glazier and Expert Scythe Sharpener.
"So, you come back down the alley and on both sides of the street you'll find The United States Hotel & Op'ry House.
"Luke Ryan's Dry Goods Store.
"Geo. Lewis' Dry Goods Store.
"Mrs. Taylors 'Elite' Boarding House (for particular people).
"Shacks . . . and Donegan's Blacksmith Shop). Across street is Charley Basye's Blacksmith Shop.
"Now you're somewhere at other end of MAIN STREET--near The Old Grist Mill."
Jacksonville may never be restored to those days as Pinto describes and remembers it, but if the Siskiyou Pioneer Sites Foundation's program gathers momentum, Jacksonville could become one of the largest attractions in the state.
"Because there's no other town quite like it!"
Medford Mail Tribune, January 24, 1960, page 14
Sixty-three years ago Pinto danced the Cakewalk in the U.S. Hotel in Jacksonville, and sang his first song in public, "Any Rags." The act was in blackface, with a high silk hat, cane and tails.
"Jacksonville Jubilee To Star Village Clown," Ashland Daily Tidings, July 30, 1962
Oregon Street, Jacksonville, Oregon
William M. Colvig, 54, lawyer, born Mo. Sept. 1845, father born Va., mother Ohio
Addie V. Colvig, 44, born Ore. Jan. 1856, father born Ohio, mother Va.
Hellen M. Colvig, 17, born Ore. Feb. 1883
Mary F. Colvig, 13, born Ore. Dec. 1886
Donald L. Colvig, 11, born Ore. Nov. 1888
Vance D. Colvig, 7, born Ore. Sept. 1892
Annie Birdsey, 13, born Ore. Nov. 1885, niece
U.S. Census, enumerated June 5, 1900
Pinto Colvig in Jacksonville School, 1900
The battleship Oregon, an excellent miniature of the original, built by Voyle Bros., was manned by Don and Vance Colvig.
"Our National Holiday," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 11, 1901, page 5
There were three divisions to the parade. . . . The second division was led by the handsomely rigged battleship Oregon, Master Vance Colvig in command. This handsome little ship, designed by Mr. Francis Voyle, was a surprise to all who saw it. The float representing our army and navy was well planned and carried out the idea of protection in full.
"Jacksonville's Celebration," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 3
The following is the programme of the literary and musical entertainment to be given at the U.S. Hall Saturday evening, Nov. 30th, by Jacksonville's branch of the Society of Christian Endeavor: Piano duet, Peter Schmol, Florence DeBar, Agnes Love. Minuet, Ruth Peters, Frances Kenney, Fleta Ulrich, Vance Colvig, Vivien Beach, Donald Cameron. . . . Solo, "Coon, Coon, Coon," Vance DeBar Colvig. . . .
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, November 21, 1901, page 7
At 10 o'clock the parade was formed, and marshaled by Alex Orme, the grand marshal, passed through the principal streets in the following order . . . 14. Jacksonville Base Ball Club, with Vance Colvig as mascot, leading a goat.
"Jacksonville's Celebration," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 10, 1902, page 4
Hi! Would you be interested to know that my first job in [the] newspaper/publishing business was way back during the early 1900s, on the Jacksonville SENTINEL?
An itinerant printer named Miles Overholt (an O. Henry type) hit town and took over the Sentinel (I believe from a Mr. Meserve?). Overholt, a likable guy, mixed with the younger gay-blade set. Besides editing the paper, he concocted a comic booklet titled "TANGLEFOOT" Magazine (so called after a sticky FLY paper by the same name). For some time I had been pestering him for a job about the print shop . . . cartooning, writing, printer's devil . . . anything! So, eventually came a day when he gave me my first job . . . to catch for him 250 house flies: Which I did. A fruit jar full. Then, we suffocated them with camphor. My net pay was to be $1.50, but my job didn't end there. Now, I was to painstakingly place a drop of glue on [the] center of each PAGE ONE; and carefully attach a fine, fat fly thereon.
Yep! You guessed it. Or did you? The printing on that page was: NOTICE. THIS is the FLY-LEAF!
At the time I thought it was a funny gimmick . . . and I STILL do!
"Letter from Pinto," Jacksonville Sentinel, August 31, 1962, page 1
Pinto Colvig Returns to Jacksonville to Reminisce,Vance DeBar (Pinto) Colvig, famous Bozo the Clown from the early-day Ringling Brothers [sic] circus, ambled into his hometown of Jacksonville early last week in time for his 70th birthday recently.
Observe 70th Birthday
By. JOE COWLEY
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
Nobody knew quite how he arrived; he was just there. He wanted to look at the little town without the distraction of people pressing invitations upon him--even though Pinto is one who seems to love all of humanity and considers everything one endless pleasant joke.
Thursday morning he was having breakfast with Mayor E. O. Graham in Graham's Polar Bar restaurant when this reporter walked in and caught him in mid-story. Bouncing slightly on his toes, he raised himself to his full slender height with arms waving freely and sharp black eyes twinkling behind his glasses. His animation, full head of black hair and agility made him seem much younger.
Recalls C. C. Beekman
"We're going to see ol' Beek's house? Good! Good! By ol' Beek I don't mean any disrespect. That's what all us kids called him," Pinto said.
"This is the way we used to do. Y'know how kids are! We would see him coming along the street. All dressed up in his black suit with tails and market basket over his arm. Then one of us would go up to him and ask, 'Please sir, Mr. Beekman, could you tell us the time?'
"'Hmm--ah, yes, my good young fellow--let's see now--.' Then he would set his basket down. Reach back into the pocket in his tails, pull out a big handkerchief, blow his nose, reach into his vest pocket and pull out his big gold watch, adjust his eyeglasses, snap open his watch (which I'll swear looked as big as a dinner plate to this boy's eyes), squint at it, and say, 'Ah, yesss, my good young fellow, it is exactly--ah--let me see--8 o'clock. You're Judge Colvig's son, aren't you? Well good day to you sir!'''
Other Man Remembered
There were many other stories. One about Don Russell, now president of Southern Pacific railroad--another Jacksonville boy.
"Y'know, we used to think he was a sissy. Probably the main reason was that he was so polite to his mother. Always dressed in a little suit. We used to jus' itch to get him out behind a barn and teach him to cuss and swear, how to chew and smoke tobacco.
"Read about how he came up the hard way, though. As a gandy dancer! Y'know, one of those guys who . . ." Here Pinto illustrated by going through the motions of pounding a spike into a railroad tie.
After telling this story and others to Jacksonville Councilman George Brewer and Don Wendt and the mayor, the councilmen and Colvig climbed into Brewer's car and drove to Pinto's old home on Oregon St., now occupied by the C. D. Godleys.
In spite of all his joking, the clown became serious for a few fleeting moments. His eyes became a little misty as he said, "I just wanted to walk into that little house, stick my head in the door and say, 'Thank you, Mom and Dad, for having me born and raised in Jacksonville--this fine little town! Never did like to visit graves and this is my tribute to them. Bless 'em!"
In front of the little wood-frame house, everyone got out of the car and slowly walked around the yard with Pinto as he continued his stream of quips and reminiscing.
Visits Old Room
After greeting the lady of the house affectionately, he asked to see where he was born and walked into a small bedroom now occupied by a small child's dolls and sat down on a bed in the corner.
"This is where I was born. Right here in this corner. This old doctor always gave a silver spoon to the baby. Why, I dunno. But he always did."
From there, it was a short trip to the Beekman house. On the front steps Pinto took a broom from the hands of the caretaker, Mrs. Brewer, wife of the councilman, and swept off the steps.
"Look, I'm sweeping off the steps for old Beek just like I used to do."
In his own mind, the tall, thin, elderly man became a freckled-face boy (hence the name of Pinto) once more as he peered at all the pictures inside the home, read the 23rd Psalm from the open Bible which has Mr. Beekman's reading glasses on top of it and listened to an old gramophone in the front parlor.
Peering intently at one of the pictures in the family sitting room, Colvig chuckled softly to himself and remarked, "Why, there's old Grandma M--. See, she has her hand down behind her skirt as if she is hiding something. Probably her pipe. Didn't want anyone to know she smoked a pipe."
Looking at other people in the picture of [the] old Jacksonville Pioneer Society, Pinto recognized himself as a boy sitting on his father's lap in the back row and his mother in front.
The former Jacksonville boy examined every room and article in it with minute care, then stepped gingerly down the front steps and across the street to the Brewers' home where he saw colored slides of the old Jacksonville Silver Cornet Band wagon, bright and shiny in red and gold paint, leading the Jacksonville Jubilee parade this year.
Pinto's attitude toward his old home town is summed up in the words he wrote in the Beekman house register--"Jacksonville kid since Sept. 11, 1892-- Pinto Colvig."
Medford Mail Tribune, September 18, 1962, page 16
At one time we had a willow whistle band with Pinto Colvig as conductor. He would write the music; instead of notes he would use numbers: every hole on the thing would have a number, and that would correspond to the number on the music.
One summer Pinto organized a kid circus--trained dogs, trapeze, snake man magician, and our whistle band played. Pinto was band leader, blackface clown and ringmaster with a big whip he would crack. As I remember, the admission was two sticks of gum or 10 marbles.
"Recollections by George W. Wendt," typescript 1970, SOHS MS115
Masters Don and Vance Colvig, accompanied by Geo. Birdseye, are spending their vacation with their grandmother, Mrs. C. Birdseye, near Woodville.
One of the most successful events of the week was the "American Beauty" party given by Miss Helen Colvig on Tuesday evening. This is one of a series of original and unique parties given by Miss Colvig this winter, and was a very pretty affair. Music, games and dancing was the order of the evening. Dainty refreshments were served. It was past midnight when the merry crowd dispersed--one and all voting the American Beauty a success. Those present were Misses Laura and Lucinda Reames, Sophia Muller, Marie Nickell, Gertrude McCallen, Messrs. P. Donegan, Louis Ulrich, Chas. Nunan and Irwin Eckelson.
"Jacksonville Items," Medford Mail, January 3, 1902, page 3
Mary and Vance Colvig are spending a portion of their vacation with their grandmother, Mrs. Clara Birdsey of Foots Creek.
"Jacksonville News," Medford Mail, January 11, 1902, page 3
Misses Mary and Ruth Peter, Zepha Basye and Donald Colvig, pupils of Mrs. E. E. Gore's musical class in Jacksonville, took part in the program of the pupils' recital at the Presbyterian Church in Medford Saturday evening, March 1st.
"Jacksonville Items," Medford Mail, March 7, 1902, page 3
Mary and Vance Colvig are spending a portion of their vacation with their grandmother, Miss Clara Birdseye, of Foots Creek.
"Jacksonville News," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
The procession, headed by Sheriff Orme, as grand marshal, marched in the following order: . . . Jacksonville's baseball nine in suits of blue and gold afoot preceded by Vance Colvig leading the team's mascot, a goat, wearing the blue and gold. . . .
"Jacksonville's Celebration," Medford Mail, July 11, 1902, page 3
Mrs. C. S. Birdseye and grandchildren, George Birdseye and Mary and Vance Colvig, were visiting at the home of W. V. Jones Sunday.
"Woodville Items," Medford Mail, July 18, 1902, page 3
Master Vance DeBar Colvig entertained a party of twelve of his friends on Saturday, Sept. 13th, the occasion being his tenth birthday anniversary.
"Jacksonville News," Medford Mail, September 19, 1902, page 3
"[In 1903], the Verna Felton Players came to town from up in Portland. Little Verna Felton (who stars as Hilda Crocker on KOIN-TV's 'Pete and Gladys' show, which starts [its] new season Monday night) was the Shirley Temple of her day. She was something, with her striped stockings and her little hat with a flower on it. I was a loony, skinny-legged kid with uncombed hair.
"But I applied for a speaking part in the show, 'The Power of Wealth,' [by William Joseph Lincoln] which was running for a week in the United States Hotel opera house, set there in the maples.
"After a lot of persuasion, they gave me three and a half words. I was to walk on stage carrying a cat, go over to a prop well, and say, 'Psst! Let's duck it!'
"But I was so entranced working with Verna that I just stood there on stage, grinned at the audience, and held onto the cat. She pulled and the cat started yowling, but I didn't let go until she took off her shoe and hit me on the head."
Pinto Colvig, quoted by Francis Murphy, "Behind the Mike," Oregonian, Portland, September 18, 1961, page 37
Verna Felton, February 23, 1901 Oregonian
Remember that little Verna Felton appears in "The Power of Wealth," which was written for her, at the matinee Saturday afternoon.
There will be a matinee at the U.S. Hall Saturday afternoon, when little Verna Felton, the theatrical wonder, will appear in a play especially written for her, entitled "The Power of Wealth." It is pronounced first class by all who have seen it.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 29, 1903, page 1
A FIRST-CLASS TROUPE IN SOUTHERN OREGON
Has Been Playing at Ashland and Jacksonville--Will Be in Medford Next Week.
The Allen Stock Company, which concluded a week's engagement at Jacksonville Saturday night, is now at Ashland, where it already had played a week. It is one of the very best that ever visited Southern Oregon. It can be truly said that never during their history have the people of those towns enjoyed a more royal treat, and their appreciation was shown in constantly increasing houses from first to last.
Besides being a company composed of high-class talent, its personnel is quiet and courteous, and the deportment of all in every way that of well-bred and self-respecting ladies and gentlemen.
The music at the open-air concerts during the afternoon and at each performance is worth much more than the price of admission, while the plays are presented with a refinement and delicacy possible only with true artists.
Each presentation is staged with appropriate scenery, while the costumes are rich and striking, and add much to each performance.
The company may well be proud of its cast. With the little heroine, Verna Felton, the child wonder, who apparently acts without knowing it, and always says and does the right thing at the right time; the modest and cultivated Miss Ethel Roberts, her ability, grace and rich modulation never fail to please the audience, compel its admiration and enlist its sympathies. Miss Dorathy Davis is a happy and faithful portrayer of human sentiment and passion, magnetic and forceful. Miss Georgia Francis, like the energetic and many-sided Dutchman, Wm. Bond, of rapid speech and acrobatic tendencies, always creates a broad ripple and makes telling hits.
It would be impracticable to mention specifically each member of the company, since there are twenty or more of them. The following are the leading artists, and will be seen to good advantage in their several parts: Hayden Stevenson, Sydney Platt, Reginald Barker, Wm. Bond, Russell Reed, Will Walling.
The specialties are by Frank Walsh, a splendid singer with a heavy baritone voice, of whom the audience never gets to see or hear half enough; Chas. Royal and Little Verna.
Democratic Times, May 6, 1903, page 1
"My family was always musical, and somehow I picked up the E-flat clarinet. I started out playing with the town band, and then I was playing for everything. When I'd hit the high notes, I screwed my face up and looked cross-eyed. I guess I was just meant to be a clown. And it finally happened when I was about twelve. My dad took me to the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition at Portland in 1905. But I never got past the Crazy House on the Midway. There was a guy outside beating a drum and roaring 'Hubba Hubba!" I went up to him and told him I could play squeaky clarinet. 'O.K. Come back tomorrow, and I'll give you a listen,' he said. 'No, sir, I'll be back today,' and I ran back to the hotel for my clarinet. I went to work that day, just 'squawking.' And the next day the guy put the clown white on me for the first time. Then he made me put on an old derby, and some big old clothes, and he stepped back and took a look at me. 'Now you make a good bozo,' he told me. A bozo clown in those days was a tramp clown.
"I never was able to get circuses and carnivals out of my blood after that. Wintertimes, I'd go to school, but the minute spring came, I'd turn up missing. I've hoboed a lot of miles across the country and back, eating stew in hobo camps down by the tracks. I even went to Oregon State College for three years, but every spring--off to the circus. Or the vaudeville circuit. Always with my screechy clarinet. I didn't know when I was going to school whether I wanted to be a clown, draw cartoons, write, hobo, or be a musician. So I wrapped it all up and made stew out of it."
Pinto Colvig, quoted in "A Brief History of Vance De Bar Colvig," Southern Oregon Historical Society 1980, page 4
"When I was 13 years old, I had so many freckles that kids called me Pinto, the Human Leopard. I was an E-flat clarinet player, so I came up to Portland in 1905 to look at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition.
"Portland used to have a well-known clown back in those days. His name was Habba Habba, and he had a ring in his nose like a cannibal. He used to say 'habba - habba - habba' while he was beating on a bass drum. He had a concession called the Crazy House [actually called the Temple of Mirth].
"I went up to him and said I had a clarinet and when I hit the high notes I couldn't help looking crosseyed. He tried me out and everyone laughed. It brought a big crowd.
"He said, you should be a clown like I am. So he took me back and opened a trunk and the moths flew out. He put a big red nose and a white face on me and said, 'Now you are a bozo clown (with a small b).' A bozo clown is a tramp clown like Emmett Kelly.
"I got four bits a day and all the goop I could eat like popcorn and peanuts. I got free tickets to all the concessions up and down The Trail, and everyone knew me.
"Over in the Streets of Cairo I met an Egyptian who let people ride on his camels. He was in love with a carny gal named Corina, but he couldn't read or write.
"So he gave me his cigarettes to write his love letters for him. In Jayville if you weren't smoking by the age of seven, you weren't a man. Then she'd write letters back and he'd call, 'Hey, keed, I got a letter from Corina. You read.' Then I'd get more cigarettes and camel rides. I think she was after his money. That's how I became a clown."
Francis Murphy, "Behind the Mike," Oregonian, Portland, September 18, 1961, page 37
There was no concession at the exposition named the "Crazy House"; Pinto is apparently remembering the Temple of Mirth. Originally built (apparently) for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, it also appeared in 1904 at the St. Louis world's fair, then in 1905 in Portland. It was moved to Venice, California in 1906.
For Examination Commencing May 14, 1908:
Vance Colvig--FailRegister of Uniform Eighth Grade Examination, Jackson County, Oregon, SOHS MS 912, page 5.
Civil Government: 26
English Grammar: 37
U.S. History: 44
Scores listed are out of a possible 100. Pinto's name also appears among those taking (or planning to take) the test on June 11, but with no scores recorded.
Other evenings they were entertained by Pinto Colvig, son of Judge Wm. Colvig, who sat on the counter and played tunes on the nail puller.
"Boom Day Clerk for Toggery Bill Tells About It," Medford Mail Tribune, August 15, 1930, page 4
Pinto (center) in the Medford town band, 1908
"Ki Ki, the Haba Haba Man," as he is known in the show world or the "monkey man" of street fair fame, has again won back his wife, formerly Miss Lottie E. Wilson, to whom he was wedded in Muscatine on September 10, 1900, and who deserted him at Seattle last summer. Shortly after the close of the Alaskan exposition the young wife secured a divorce from the picturesque spieler, but now she has returned to him, and they were again united in marriage at Portland on Wednesday. The couple were married here during the street fair, at which time the monkey man was heard daily barking for a show on Sycamore and Second streets. He was dressed and acted like a large monkey, and his "Haba Haba" cry drew hundreds to the tent before every performance.
The bride is 26 years old, as against the even two score years of the Haba Haba Man who, in private life, is known as Harry L. Blitz. . . .
For twenty-four years the Haba Haba Man has been wearing his strange rig and
shouting his strange cry, which, once heard at the Seattle fair, was repeated by thousands of children in imitation of the man with the monkey face.
"Monkey Man Wins Wife Back Again," Muscatine Journal, Muscatine, Iowa, February 11, 1910, page 4
Mrs. R. G. Gale entertained informally at dinner Friday at her attractive home on Mistletoe Street. Carnations and ferns were the decorations used, and the effect was most artistic. Those present were: Mrs. Edgar Hafer, Miss Nelson, Mr. Donald Colvig, Mr. Vance Colvig and Dr. and Mrs. Gale.
* * *
Messrs. Donald and Vance Colvig returned Friday from Portland, where they have been attending school. They will spend the Easter holidays with their parents.
"In Medford's Social Realm," Medford Mail Tribune, March 28, 1910, page 9
Colvig Donald L, stenographer Colvig & Reames, bds 8 S Laurel
Colvig Fred L, clerk L B Haskins, res 244 S Central av
Colvig Vance D, musician, bds 8 S Laurel
COLVIG WM M (Colvig & Reames), res 8 Laurel
COLVIG & REAMES (Wm M Colvig, C L Reames), Lawyers Medford National
Polk's Jackson, Josephine and Douglas County Directory 1910
Vance Colvig of this city has just grabbed his first laurels as a portrayer of the vanities and peculiarities of mankind, by winning the amateur prize offered by Judge each week with one of his cartoons. Vance is home from Portland on a short visit, accompanied by his brother Don, whose artistic temperament leans toward music.The boys are on a short business trip and will return to Portland Tuesday to continue their studies.
Vance for a number of months has been dabbling more or less with his pencil and recently went to Portland to take up the matter seriously. He now plans to put in several months of hard work and hopes to develop his talent to a point where it will be of some commercial value.
"I hope soon to be a member of a class Homer Davenport is thinking of taking in Portland," states Vance, "and make greater headway. I am number one on his list, and I hope he will decide to open a studio."
In regard to winning the amateur prize in Judge over several hundred competitors, Vance states that the suggestion came to him at the Orpheum while listening to a pair of comedians.
"'Tis the simplest thing in the world--just go and hear a good joke--then draw a picture to fit it."
In the meantime the young man's friends are constantly being regaled with clever caricatures of themselves.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 28, 1910, page 4
8 Laurel Street, Medford, Oregon
William J. Warner, 26, postal clerk, born in Nebraska, head of household
Mary C. Warner, 23, born in Oregon, wife
William M. Colvig, 64, lawyer, born in Missouri, father-in-law
Addie Colvig, 53, born in Oregon, mother-in-law
Donald Colvig, 21, stenographer, born in Oregon, brother-in-law
Vance Colvig, 17, born in Oregon, brother-in-law
Ira J. Dodge, 29, real estate agent, born in Minnesota, boarder
Harry Houston, 29, real estate agent, born in Minnesota, boarder
U.S. Census, enumerated April 18-19, 1910
Mrs. F. D. Arrington of the Heinz Apartments gave an enjoyable party Wednesday evening, June 15, in honor of Miss Marie Dewey, of Nampa, Idaho. The guests were Misses Edna Brockwell, Paloma Blumenthal, Ruby McKinnon, Eva Dryfoos, Violet Jones, and Lester Seed, Eddie Blumenthal, Don Colvig, Vance Colvig, Walter Lambert, George Kizer.
"Social Events of the Past Week," Oregonian, Portland, June 19, 1910, page 4
"In Medford's Social Realm," Medford Mail Tribune, July 3, 1910, page 9
Vance Colvig is once more on his old job with the canal company.
Vance Colvig has returned from Portland to spend the summer with his parents here.
"Social and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, weekly edition, July 21, 1910, page 7
Vance Colvig has forsaken cartooning for a while and will take a position with the Southern Pacific in the local depot.
"Social and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1910, page 5
A most enjoyable progressive dinner was given Monday evening by some of the members of the younger set. The first course of the dinner was served at the home of Miss Hazel Davis, with Miss Ruth Merrick assisting the hostess. The dining room was prettily decorated in nasturtiums. The second course was served at the Deuel home, the Misses Kentner, Jeannette Osgood and the Misses Marshall acting as hostesses. The third course was served at the Hutchinson home, with Miss Fern Hutchinson and her guest, Miss Alice Wehring of Portland, as hostesses. Masses of sweet peas and black-eyed Susans were used in decorating the home. The last course was served on the lawn of the Worrell home, Miss Alice Street assisting Miss Helen Worrell, the lawn being lighted by Japanese lanterns. After the dinner the party drove to the Natatorium and finished the evening with a dance, where Mesdames Hutchinson, Vawter, Lumsden and George Davis acted as chaperones. The Hazelrigg orchestra furnished the music.
Those present were: Misses Alice Streets, Mamie Deuel, Jeannette Osgood, Lucile Marshall, Star Marshall, Ida Lee Kentner, Ruth Merrick, Bess Kentner, Hazel Davis, Fern Hutchinson, Alice Wehrung and Helen Worrell; Messrs. Herbert Kentner, Curtis Anderson, Albert Brown, Vance Colvig, Don Colvig, Lee Root, Alex. Budge, Weston Rider, Fletcher Fish, Bob Deuel, Treve Lumsden and Jack Switzer.
"In Medford's Social Realm," Medford Mail Tribune, August 21, 1910, page 9
Colvig Joins York's Band.
Vance Colvig, Medford's rising young cartoonist, leaves Sunday evening for Portland, where he will join York's band in an extensive tour.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 16, 1910, page 1
Medford Mail Tribune, September 19, 1910. Cartoon of Judge Colvig by Pinto Colvig.
JOURNAL CARRIERS' BAND FAIR ATTRACTION
(Special Dispatch to the Journal)
Pendleton, Or., Sept. 27.--One of the attractions of the district fair is the Journal Carriers' Band. Much praise of this harmonious institution is heard on every hand. It is an organization of 35 pieces, and 34 members are with the band now here. Therefore it is the largest band that has yet furnished music for the district fair.
The Journal band is under the management of David H. Smith, of the Journal circulation department, and he arrived with the band last evening. Mr. Smith will return to Portland tonight, but will be back in Pendleton for the closing day of the fair and roundup.
The band is under the direction of Major Charles E. York, a veteran bandsman, and a good one. The instrumentation and personnel of the Journal band is as follows:
Director--Major Charles E. York.
E flat clarinet--Vance D. Colvig.
B flat clarinets--Ellis Dedel, J. B. Venbaner, L. L. Ulbrand, C. Nielson, B. Hall.
Alto saxophone--Yaldeman Fiuck.
Tenor saxophone--Walter Ritter.
Cornets--Emil Janin, Frank Mueller, Frank Chipman, M. B. Meyers, C. W. Kennedy, Maurice Hyde.
Horns--Earl Griffith, Chester O'Neil, J. M. Ward.
Trombones--S. Kinman, Louis Janin, Frank Robinson, Jake Mueller.
Baritones--Lloyd Riches, Charles Faulkner.
Basses--James Clow, Clyde Sheets.
Drums--Roy Thomson, W. W. Allen, F. W. Coffyn.
Oregon Journal, Portland, September 27, 1910, page 10
The alumni office hadn't heard from a famous alumnus, Bozo the Clown, for some time and wondered what he was doing. Bozo (Pinto Colvig, '15) let us know right now that he's still clowning and just getting warmed up.
THE OREGON STATER
After rambling all over the country as a hobo-newspaper cartoonist and writer--and E-flat clarinet squeaker; having finished a tour with York's concert band at the first Pendleton Roundup (1910), I hobo'd my way from Portland to Corvallis (on the old Westside steam railroad) and landed in Corvallis October 10, 1910 (10-10-'10), where I met a lot of my hometown Medford guys. I was on my way to San Francisco to join a band en route to Australia; but when Cap' Beard learned that I played E-flat clarinet, he encouraged me to sign up for a course in [the] art department so I could play in the band.
Farley Doty McLauf was art professor. I also took a little ancient history from dear old "Jackie" Horner; mainly because he was an interesting and likable character. On the other hand I majored in campustry and canoe-ology! OAC had a good band in those days. About 60 pieces. No girls! No slick chick drum majorettes! Dammit! But we had fun--especially on tours to Roseburg Strawberry Festival each spring. On weekends (weather permitting) I'd get the urge and take off on hobo trips; returning Monday a.m. in time for first period. Come early springtime, however, and the green grass, elephants and Call-of-the-Calliope would lure me back to the circus, where I clowned, played Big Top and often pinch-hit as "barker" when our big show announcer showed up too stewed to spiel!
Left college Spring of 1913 to do vaudeville stint on Pantages circuit. Later rejoined Al G. Barnes Big 4 (Yeah, I said FOUR) Ring Wild Animal Circus. Continued with them for two more seasons. My crazy activities from then 'til now you'll find in the enclosed biography printed by Capitol Records, from whom I've recorded the "BOZO, The Clown" albums.
Excerpt, "Incoming Mail," The Oregon Stater, Oregon Agricultural College, February 1959, page 11
Mr. Vance Colvig returned from the O.A.C. last week and will spend the holidays with his parents.
"Society," Medford Mail Tribune, December 25, 1910, page 8
Vance D. Colvig, of Corvallis, is registered at the Cornelius.
"Personal Mention," Oregonian, January 30, 1911, page 9
Vance Colvig, who has been working in Corvallis, arrived today to visit his mother and father.
"Snapshots at Local News," Medford Mail Tribune, March 30, 1911
Medford Sun, August 13, 1911
Colvig, Wm M (Colvig & Reames), h 8 S Laurel
1911 Polk's Jackson County Directory
Colvig, Vance D, student Medford Business Coll, bds 8 S Laurel
Colvig, Wm M, Pres-Sec-Mngr Medford Commercial Club, Lawyer, Medford National Bank Bldg., res 8 S Laurel
1912 Polk's Jackson County Directory
Pinto Colvig cartoon, January 1, 1912 Medford Mail Tribune
MRS. W. M. COLVIG DIES IN MEDFORD
In the death of Mrs. William M. Colvig, in her home at Medford, Jackson County lost another of its pioneers and a most estimable member of its civic life. Mrs. Colvig was the wife of Judge William M. Colvig, and both are widely known over Southern Oregon.
Mrs. Colvig was a native of Jackson County. She was born at Ft. Birdsey, near Foots Creek. She was the daughter of David and Clara Birdsey, who settled on a donation land claim in 1852. Her father died several years ago, but her mother, who is now 78 years of age, is still living, her home still being on the old donation claim. She was married to William M. Colvig on June 8, 1878, and lived with her husband on land adjoining the Birdsey homestead until 1886, when she moved to Jacksonville with her family. The family resided in Jacksonville nineteen years, moving to Medford in 1905, where she has since resided.
Mrs. Colvig was prominent in social and lodge affairs, and a few years ago was grand chief of honor of the Degree of Honor, a woman's auxiliary to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. She was the mother of seven children, five of whom, together with her husband, survive her. The children now living are Mrs. C. L. Reames, Mrs. R. G. Gale, Mrs. W. J. Warner, Vance and Donald Colvig, all living in Medford.
Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, March 1, 1912, page 4
The marriage of Miss Star Marshall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. E. Marshall, to Donald L. Colvig, son of Judge Wm. Colvig, was solemnized at the residence of the bride's parents on South Oakdale Avenue, May 8th, at sunset.
Just as the last rays of the setting sun streamed across their path, the bridal procession entered the room led by the two small ribbon bearers in white suits, Jack Marshall and Windsor Gale.
Following them came little Rowen Gale bearing the ring, and Miss Hope Marshall, the only attendant of the bride. These were dressed in white lingerie dresses, over yellow slips. After these came the bride. She was dressed in white hand-embroidered liberty satin, veiled in silk marquisette and wearing orange blossoms. She carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley.
The procession was met by the groom and the Rev. Mr. Boyle of the Christian Church under an immense floral arch of vines and white lilacs, and here in an enclosure of blossoms was pronounced the beautiful and impressive ceremony that united the young pair for life.
Prof. Talliendier played Lohengrin's wedding march at the entrance of the bridal party and several beautiful selections afterwards.
The guests were: Judge Wm. M. Colvig, Prof. Talliendier, Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Reames, Mrs. Helen Gale, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Warner, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Hansen, A. S. Rosenbaum, Miss Jennie Hansen, Miss Florence Marshall, Miss Lois Fancher, Wilson Waite, Vance Colvig, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Marshall and the immediate family of the bride.
"Society," Medford Mail Tribune, May 9, 1912, page 2
Vance Colvig, who has been confined to his home by a severe illness during the past week, is again able to be about.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, July 3, 1912, page 5
Vance Colvig is making arrangements to return to Corvallis to continue his studies there.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1912, page 5
Mildred Antle, Cordelia Goffe, Fred and Virgil Strang, Vance Colvig, Mac McDonald, Bert Stull and Claire Taylor have gone to Corvallis to attend the O.A.C.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, October 3, 1912, page 5
In addition to the cadet band of 32 pieces, the concert this year will include numbers by Prof. Rees, a grand opera singer of note, and "Pinto" Colvig, a son of Judge Colvig of Medford, who is a student at O.A.C., and a cartoonist of merit, who will give a chalk talk during intermission in the program. Mr. Colvig drew cartoons for last year's college annual.
"Murphey Out Making Date for O.A.C. Band," Daily Gazette-Times, Corvallis, November 12, 1912, page 2
The concerts will include the latest music, and the program, which is of considerable length, will be divided into two parts. During the intermission, "Pinto" Colvig of Medford, a prominent student and a clever young cartoonist of the Oregon Agricultural College, will give a chalk talk and with the aid of the crayon will depict the frailties and vanities of mankind, and even some local celebrity may recognize his own likeness on the easel before Colvig completes his stunt.
"O.A.C. Cadet Band to Give Concert Here," Albany Democrat, Albany, Oregon, November 15, 1912, page 5
Mr. Vance Colvig returns to resume his studies at Corvallis Sunday.
"Society," Medford Mail Tribune, November 30, 1912, page 5
A specialty introduced "between halves" will be a "Pinto's Nightmare Stunt."
"O.A.C. Band Plans for Big Concert," East Oregonian, Pendleton, December 4, 1912, page 2
Vance Colvig returns to Corvallis Tuesday after Thanksgiving at home.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, December 5, 1912, page 5
One of the clarinet players, V. D. Colvig, better known as "Pinto, the Nightmare of Caricature," is an exceptionally good cartoonist. He promises a very interesting stunt to be put on during the intermission. With the easel, some large paper and crayon, he will furnish fifteen minutes of lively entertainment. He works with lightning rapidity, and with a piece of crayon in each hand he will actually draw two pictures at the same time.
The face of some well-known person in each town will probably appear in the drawing before the stunt is finished.
"Cadet Band Will Be Here This Month," Albany Weekly Democrat, Albany, Oregon, December 20, 1912, page 1
See "Pinto" at the high school Friday night, Dec. 27.
Don't forget the O.A.C. band concert at the high school auditorium Friday night, Dec. 27.
Pinto, the "Nightmare of Caricature," with the O.A.C. band at the high school auditorium Friday night, Dec. 27.
Vance Colvig and Fred Strang arrived with the O.A.C. band today and spent the day visiting friends.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, December 24, 1912, page 2
VANCE COLVIG ONE OF THE STARS WITH O.A.C. BAND
The Oregon Agricultural College band will appear next Friday evening, December 27, in the high school auditorium and will feature "Pinto, the Nightmare of Caricature." "Pinto" is Vance Colvig, well known in this city, where he was born and raised, and whose artistic abilities are well known. The organization is of unusual excellence and considered the best in the history of the school. The concert will commence at 8 o'clock, and tickets are now on sale at Haskins' drug store.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 24, 1912, page 6 Pinto was born in Jacksonville, not Medford.
Vance Colvig, billed as "Pinto, the Nightmare of Caricature," was a star of the first magnitude. With sticks of mustache blacking and graphite--so he said--he drew cartoons of various and sundry people, animals and "things," that kept the audience laughing and applauding throughout the fifteen or twenty minutes occupied. Colvig made a few scratches that formed nothing in particular, said a few magic words, made a few more scratches, and a fine likeness of Teddy, Dr. Bell, the Queen of Waldo Hall, the Rook, our old friends Mutt and Jeff, Irishmen galore, the "cullahed gentleman from New Orleans," and finally "Pinto, the Nightmare," an animal with many showy points. Nothing created more laughs than a cartoon developed from a bottle above a wine glass. A half-dozen strokes made this a long-nosed greenhorn "thuckin' thider through a thaw." Colvig is a hummer, with real ability, and his stunt will prove tremendously popular anywhere.
"O.A.C. Cadet Band in High Class Program Pleases a Large Audience," The Gazette-Times, Corvallis, Oregon, December 14, 1912, page 1 This paragraph also ran in the Roseburg Review of December 30, 1912, page 3.
O.A.C. BOYS HERE FOR BAND CONCERT
The O.A.C. cadet band arrived in Medford at 8:45 this morning, and their private car is parked at the passenger station. The band rendered a concert at Grants Pass last night and will play this evening at the high school auditorium under the auspices of the Medford High School.
The band pleased greatly at Grants Pass last night; every number of the program was encored, and the audience was insistent on a third solo by Mr. H. L. Rees.
Two members of the band, Fred L. Strang and "Pinto" Vance D. Colvig, are eating their Christmas dinners at home today, they having been with the band at Cottage Grove on Christmas Day. Strang is the baritone player in the band and takes part in a quartette, "Forest Echoes," in which the echoes of the band are heard from a distance. "Pinto" with his "nightmare" caricature stunt is making a hit at all concerts, and much will be expected of him here tonight.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 27, 1912, page 3
Messrs. M. E. Woodcock of Corvallis, H. S. Walters of Pendleton, W. L. Lexton of Idaho Falls and I. C. Day of Portland, members of the Oregon Agricultural College band, were guests at the home of Mr. Vance Colvig during their stay in this city.
"Society," Medford Mail Tribune, December 28, 1912, page 2
O.A.C. BAND IS GOOD ENTERTAINER
The band concert given by the Oregon Agricultural College cadet band at the high school Friday evening proved to be one of the most pleasing musical treats enjoyed in Medford in many days. The band is an excellent organization and deserves good patronage. Vance Colvig, a local boy, made a hit by a clever stunt with pictures during the course of the evening.
Every number was encored and re-demanded, Kiesler's "Forest Echoes" and the "Anvil Chorus" from "Il Trovatore" receiving perhaps the heartiest approval.
A baritone, Mr. Rees, delivered a lecture on "Carmen," and then rendered the "Toreador Song" therefrom in Italian.
A lightning young caricaturist, under the pseudonym of "Pinto" (and let it be known that this quixotic young colt is none other than Vance Colvig of Medford), had the audience in an uproar for 15 minutes with his rapid and fantastic chalk sketches, and his humorous, conversational babbling. Master Colvig is a real comedian.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 28, 1912, page 8
O. A. C. CADET BAND HAS SPLENDID PROGRAM.The program of the concert of the military band of the Oregon Agricultural College, which plays in Roseburg Monday night, December 30, at the armory, shows a higher standard than that of previous efforts, as it contains a large proportion of classic numbers.
Classical Selections, Vocal and Instrumental Solos and Cartoon Humor.
After the opening piece, a stirring march, "The O.A.C. Booster," written by the director, Capt. Harry Beard, the boys will play a Rossini overture, "Semiramide," and "Forest Echoes" by Kiesler. Then Everett Moses and Edwin Woodcock, of Corvallis, accompanied by the band, will play a duet for cornet and trombone from Bellini's opera, Norma, "Hear Me, Norma." This will be followed by a selection from grand opera, from Wagner's Tannhauser.
During the fifteen-minute intermission there will be a humorous chalk talk by "Pinto," the cleverest cartoonist the college has ever had. He is Vance D. Colvig, of Medford, who plays the E-flat clarinet.
Evening Review, Roseburg, December 28, 1912, page 2
For fifteen minutes "Pinto," known off the stage as V. D. Colvig, of Medford, kept the audience interested and in the best of humor with his caricatures and witty sallies. He is certainly gifted, both as a cartoonist and as a comedian.
"Concert Was a Fine One," Ashland Daily Tidings, December 30, 1912, page 1
CLARINETSOregon Agricultural College Cadet Band roster 1912-13, SOHS vertical file "Special" is apparently short for "special student." Other band members were listed with their graduation date after their name.
Corporal--V. D. Colvig, Special . . . . . . . . . Medford
Ray Reter until his recent death had been a friend of the author's family for some 58 years. He was a good storyteller, including this one. It seems that when he was in the Jacksonville grade school, in the sixth grade, he was running with classmates Don Russell and Vance DeBar Colvig, whose nickname was "Pinto." During that year they were expelled for too much hell raising. On Halloween night one of their stunts nearly resulted in the demise of the old miner, John O'Leary, who lived alone in a shack up on Jackson Creek. That evening after dark the boys slipped up there and tipped over John's privy into the creek. What they did not know was that John was sitting there asleep. They managed to fish him out still breathing, but the school principal and the town constable took a dim view of this caper.
The following year Pinto decided he had [had] enough of the school and took off for parts unknown, living in the railroad jungles with the tramps. [page 186]
Oregon Agricultural College 1910
Vance DeBar "Pinto" Colvig decided that the sixth grade in the Jacksonville school was enough formal education for him. He liked the life of a "hobo," getting ideas for cartoons of tramps. His talent with an old E flat clarinet led eventually to a tryout with the Ringling Brothers big three-ring circus in Portland, and the band director Merle Evans hired him for one season, which was all he wanted. At the age of eighteen Pinto returned to the family hearth in Medford to reestablish the family relationship and to fatten up on his mother's good cooking. His older brother Don was then a student at the Oregon Agricultural College at Corvallis. Having no hankering for steady work, Pinto talked his parents into sending him along with his friends Wilson Wait and the two older Strang brothers, Fred and Virgil, to the same college in the autumn of 1911. Having no grade school diploma, and never having been inside a high school, Pinto was allowed to register as a special student, signing up for five hours per week in the art class, as his goal that year was to become a commercial cartoonist.
Pinto had played the clarinet in the Medford town band, and he joined the college military department band under the leadership of old Captain Beard. By Christmas time he was off for sunny southern California, and when next heard from he was a member of the band of the Al G. Barnes Animal Circus.
Oregon Agricultural College Band 1911. Pinto at far left.
In the summer of 1912 our dad [Joseph Stillwell Vilas] met Pinto on the Medford Main Street while the circus was making a one-night stand in Medford, and he convinced Dad that Ned and I should enroll with him at the Oregon Agricultural College. At that time the college freshman entrance requirement was only two years of high school. With Pinto and Paul MacDonald we rode the two trains into Corvallis in September, and all four moved into Mrs. Hardman's boarding house on 3rd Street, where Pinto had lived the year before.
Walking up the hill to the campus to register, Pinto met old Professor "Jackie" Horner, the history teacher, who insisted that being a Colvig he must sign up for his Ancient History class along with his five hours per week in the art class. Pinto did not have it in him to refuse the venerable prof, but rarely attended class. One day he did show up, and they were having a written examination. Pinto borrowed a blue book and, not knowing any of the answers, he spent the fifty minutes drawing cartoons of famous old Greeks and Romans and turned the book in.
Came the Sunday morning early in December following a night drinking party when Mrs. Hardman put all four of us out of our two rooms. In addition to the mess, she accused us of having enticed her housemaid to sleep in one of our beds. She was so furious there was no use arguing that point. Pinto quit school and secured work as a night watchman out at the sand and gravel plant. Paul and Ned and I moved into a fraternity house, and the men at the fire station gave Pinto a cot to sleep on in return for running errands for them.
Pinto went down to Portland and made the grade with a solo act on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit as a cartoonist. He told me years later in Hollywood that the day Ringling Bros. played Medford and he sat on an end seat on the top of the calliope in the morning parade down Main Street tooting his clarinet was the most thrilling event of his entire fantastic career.
His next steady job was in San Francisco employed by one of the leading daily newspapers as a cartoonist. His daily cartoon on the front page with his trademark, a pinto pony making comments, which amused the readers. It was during his San Francisco residence that his first two sons were born, and as I was working in the city at the time, we would get together frequently. Established as a first-rate cartoonist, he moved on to Hollywood and worked for the Disney firm for some forty years. He became a highly paid idea man, including the Donald Duck series. He was also a voice man, second only to Mel Blanc. He and his two oldest boys were three of the voices in the Seven Dwarfs pictures. Other studios borrowed him when directors were unhappy with certain voices.
While associated with Walt Disney, Pinto dreamed up the idea of making phonograph records for children, and sold Capitol Records the "Bozo the Clown" recordings. Now he was in the big time, with two substantial incomes. With his good wife Margaret a cripple in a wheelchair, he was financially able to put his five sons through the University of Southern California, after which they all became successful businessmen.
The Jacksonville, Oregon historical society made him an honorary officer, and for many years he led their annual parade dressed as "Bozo," and the many children were thrilled no end.
While in San Francisco in early October of 1967, attending the wedding of a grandson, this man of many talents suffered a heart attack, and the old reaper caught up with him. His funeral in Hollywood and burial in Forest Lawn Cemetery were attended by a crowd of celebrities. His lack of a formal education was no hindrance in his climb up the ladder of success. Perhaps his peculiar type of education was just what he needed in place of a college degree. [pages 189-191]
* * *George W. Vilas, Tales of a Rogue Valley Rogue, 1974. Vilas' valuable memoir contains many inaccuracies about Pinto's history.
One day on Main Street in Medford in August of 1912, Dad met Vance DeBar (Pinto) Colvig, the youngest son of Judge Colvig. He had followed his brother Don, and in the autumn of 1911 had gone to Oregon Agricultural College at Corvallis for three months. Pinto talked Dad into sending Ned and me up there with Paul MacDonald and himself the next month. At that time the freshman entrance requirement was only two years of high school. Pinto wrote his former boarding house operator, Mrs. Hardman, and reserved two rooms for the four of us.
We enjoyed the football games and the dances and taking coeds for long walks on Sundays. The boarding house was downtown on Third Street, only two blocks from the pool room, and Pinto hobnobbing with the volunteer firemen in the fire hall would bring home free whiskey. This combination was not conducive to much studying, and to make college life more complicated, the Andrews and Kerr Cafe-Ice Cream Parlor in the next block and the clothing store gave us credit until the first of the next month. To our dismay, Dad showed up one evening and advised that he had heard from our creditors, as we were delinquent. As usual, Dad in a quiet voice merely gave us a serious talk and some money to square our accounts with our promise to slow down.
When a snowstorm hit in December, Mrs. Hardman threw all four of us out into the street for having a drinking party and raising hell in general. Pinto got a job as a night watchman out at the gravel pit and a free cot to sleep on in the fire hall. Paul, Ned and I moved into a fraternity house, and when the half-year term ended in January I was placed on probation with one more chance to make passing grades, and that was in the School of Commerce, the softest course available. [pages 41-42]
The Al G. Barnes Circus parade makes a U-turn in Madras, Oregon in 1911
In Pinto's case, even the term "student" was a magnificent overstatement. Except for the band, he really took none of his courses seriously. The records show him taking Drawing I, auditing it for one semester and getting a "C" in the second. In the year 1912-13 he signed up for 12 credits in history and art courses, but didn't finish any of them. His was a lighthearted approach. "Every spring--off to the circus or the vaudeville," he wrote.
"The Comic Genius of 'Pinto' Colvig," The Oregon Stater, September 1955, page 18
Pinto Colvig cartoon, January 1, 1913 Medford Mail Tribune
Intermission--Fifteen minutes of fast and foolish ideas by "Pinto," the nightmare of caricature.
"Hundreds to Hear the Military Band," Albany Democrat, Albany, Oregon, January 3, 1913, page 6
During the intermission last evening "Pinto" Colvig entertained the audience with caricature, and his drawings were the cause of a continual laugh from the crowd. Among the cartoons drawn by Colvig was an excellent likeness of Mayor Gilbert.
"Six Hundred Hear O.A.C. Band Concert," Albany Democrat, Albany, Oregon, January 10, 1913, page 1
Glee Club Coming.The Oregon Agricultural [College] glee club will make its appearance in the local armory January 15 in songs, stunts, skits, readings and Scotch monologues. The club comes here preparatory to departing on an extended tour of Southern Oregon, arranged by its manager, Mr. A. J. Wilson. Those optimistic friends of last year's organization, who thought it had attained the acme of musical perfection, will be agreeably surprised as the work of the present club excels the fondest hopes of the director. The repertoire will surely please. It is arranged for a versatile audience and while containing a few semi-classic numbers, the stunts, readings and Scotch monologues predominate, this being the most popular form of entertainment. The readings of Mr. Joy Scudder, a former student of Oberlin University, is attracting unusual attention wherever the club appears. His impersonations of the "Dutch Butcher" and the "Canadian Skipper" are remarkable for their vividness. A special feature is offered in Vance Colvig, creator of "Pinto Nightmare." The absurdity of his drawings never fails to bring roars of laughter from his audience. H. W. Russell, the "wee bra" laddie, is in evidence again this year with "Lauder" songs. His "Every Laddie Loves a Lassie" and "Roamin' in the Gloamin'" produce an effect that is pleasing.
All in all, an evening of enjoyment is assured those who attend.
Polk County Itemizer, Dallas, Oregon, January 23, 1913, page 3 The same press release appeared in the Independence Monitor, January 17, page 1, announcing a performance January 23.
PINTO COLVIG WILL "STAR" NOW
Will Take "Nightmare" on Another Little "Pleasure" Trip
Vance D. Colvig, better known to the "Aristocratic Knights of the Road" and other societies as "Pinto," "The Human Leopard," "Wandering Minstrel," "Society Tramp," "Brakebeam Tourist," "Boxcar Idol," "Nightmare of Caricature" and many other titles too numerous to mention, will leave shortly to accept an offer from the Pantages Vaudeville Circuit, whereupon he will deliver "15 minutes of fast and foolish pictorial ideas" for the public's approval.
"Pinto" has been at O.A.C. two years and has furnished illustrations for the Orange three consecutive years. He will not return to enter school again but will always try to be back for the big football games each year.
Wherever he and the "nightmare" may travel in years to come, they will always be proud to let people known that O.A.C. is the "one school of the West."
Daily Gazette Times, Corvallis, April 1, 1913, page 2
An exhaustive search through the Seattle Daily Times from January 1, 1913 through May 10, 1913 (when the Al G. Barnes circus played Seattle) turns up no evidence of Pinto's career with Pantages (a stint Pinto barely mentions in any of his writings). During that time three chalk artists and cartoonists appeared at the Seattle Pantages under different names, all of whom had careers before and after 1913--ruling out the possibility of their being Pinto under a pseudonym. Vaudeville houses apparently advertised by placard and word of mouth, not by newspaper.
April 12, 1913 Salem Daily Capital Journal
Pantages Theater, Portland, Oregon circa 1920
SPRING, 1913: Jumped from Pantages vaudeville circuit in Seattle and joined Al G. Barnes Big 4-Ring Wild Animal Circus.
Pinto Colvig, Clowns Is People, unpublished manuscript at SOHS, 1935, page 150
Before the end of 2nd term [at Oregon Agricultural College] springtime and show business beckoned again. Did a stint on Pantages vaudeville circuit. When playing in Seattle (May 1913) Al G. Barnes circus parade passed the theatre. I recognized some old friends on the clown bandwagon. I wanted to ramble. One-day stands. That day I signed with Barnes.
Pinto Colvig, Clowns Is People, unpublished manuscript at SOHS, 1935, page 152
CROWDS LINE STREETS TO SEE CIRCUS PARADE
Promptly at 10:30 o'clock this morning the deep notes of silver trombones smote upon the air of upper First Avenue. Simultaneously the heads of the members of a colored band perched high upon a bronzed and gilded wagon appeared above the snarl of traffic that eddies about First Avenue and Pike Street, and out of the maze of vehicles appeared the parade of the Al G. Barnes Wild Animal Circus.
At its head rode two mounted police. Behind them came a troop of graceful chargers so perfectly as to appear parts of the animals themselves. Then came the band, colored, tuneful and hard-working, which first announced the approach of the "greatest of all parades."
Behind came a cage of laughing hyenas whose cause for mirth was not apparent. The following cage was closed, locked and barred; First Avenue is still speculating as to its contents. There were some more bespangled ladies who lightly sat their graceful chargers, and then followed cages containing all the beasts of mountain and forest.
Fearless Animal Trainers.Restless leopards paced back and forth in their narrow cells and lashed their tails against the iron bars that held them prisoners. Fearsome panthers and fearless women sat in the selfsame cages and gazed out on the busy thoroughfare.
One huge cage was filled with lions that licked their chops and gazed appraisingly at the faces that lined the curb. Children shivered apprehensively and hugged more tightly the garments of their fearless parents. Nor did they regain their normal spirits until the appearance of a wagonload of clowns, too funny for anything.
The clowns were followed by more cages of lions and baby lions that have spent all of their young lives in cages and appeared perfectly content as they basked in the sun, blinking at the crowd.
After the young lions came a cage of monkeys, which, whenever the procession halted, stretched out hairy paws and frisked the pockets of small boys for possible peanuts. After the monkeys came a troop of elephants that lumbered along, swinging their huge trunks to help them keep in step to all that music. A team of four camels followed, humping themselves to keep up with the procession. A calliope brought up the rear, playing steamfully all the latest airs.
Following down First Avenue to Yesler Way, the parade turned up Yesler Way into Second Avenue, thence northward to the show grounds at Fifth Avenue and Lenora Street, to be fed and groomed for the afternoon performance. [The Seattle Pantages was on the corner of Second Avenue and Seneca Street.]
Lured by the promise of a good show given by the morning parade, a crowd that completely filled the mammoth tent found its way to the show grounds this afternoon. There they found that the management had held out on them in the parade, for all kinds of performing animals, dogs, ponies and even sea lions were introduced for the first time.
The performances will be repeated tonight and twice daily Tuesday and Wednesday.
Seattle Daily Times, May 5, 1913, page 9
Route Traveled While with Barnes' Circus
May 5-7--Seattle, Washington
19--Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
8-9--Gull Lake, Saskatchewan
13--Weyburn (cyclone, Friday the thirteenth, '13)
15-16--North Portal, North Dakota
22-23--Clark, South Dakota
10--Cedar Rapids (quit th' show--total mileage 7,754)
Manuscript page from Pinto's scrapbooks, SOHS MS9 folder 18
Mrs. Charles Strang and her daughter have gone to Corvallis to attend the Oregon Agricultural school graduating exercises. Her son, Fred, is a member of the class.
Vilas brothers, who have been attending the O.A.C. at Corvallis, have returned for the summer vacation.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, June 10, 1913, page 2
Vance Colvig, the cartoonist, has returned from a trip on the vaudeville circuit.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, September 18, 1913, page 4
"PINTO" COLVIG GETS VAUDEVILLE OFFER
Vance D. Colvig, better known locally as "Pinto," will appear on the Pantages bill at the Page Theatre next Wednesday as an added attraction in his original caricature and cartoon stunt.
"Pinto" recently received a letter from Mr. Pantages of Seattle offering to book him over the entire circuit, but before considering the proposition he desires to present this act before "the folks at home," and if successful may accept Mr. Pantages' offer.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 22, 1913, page 4
September 23, 1913 Medford Mail Tribune
PINTO COLVIG AT PAGE THEATRE WEDNESDAY
Something new in vaudeville will be offered by the Mus-Art Trio when the many excellent musical hits are illustrated by an artist in crayon. The Mus-Art Trio is composed of an instrumentalist, a singer and a crayon artist.
James Brockman is a singer of original numbers. Mr. Brockman will be heard in songs entirely new to the local public, and his personality is winning.
Sensational feats are said to be accomplished by the Bartletts, aerial stars.
The De Von Sisters are a pair of pretty girls who know how to sing and dance.
Vance Colvig, of Medford, better known as "Pinto," will appear in his original caricature and cartoon stunt.
Pagescope with usual strong feature film.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 23, 1913, page 2
Vance D. Colvig, 8 S. Laurel
William M. Colvig, 8 S. Laurel
Don L. Colvig, 928 S. Holly
Star M. Colvig, 928 S. Holly
"List of Registered Voters," Medford Sun, January 3, 1914, page 2
Land [Hotel]--. . . Pinto Colvig, Medford, Ore. . . .
"Hotel Arrivals," Sacramento Union, California, January 8, 1914, page 9
KIND WORDS BY "BO" TO "BO'S"
"Boxcar Cartoonist" Writes Quo Vadis Members from Oregon.
Since a story of the Quo Vadis Club appeared in a January issue of the Literary Digest, the club has been hearing from kindred spirits all over the land. The Quo Vadis Club originated and has its headquarters at the University of Missouri. To be eligible, one has to have a record of "bumming" at least 1000 miles and "panhandling" several meals.
The club has just received a skillfully and elaborately drawn cartoon letter from Medford, Oregon. It is signed "Pinto--The Boxcar Cartoonist," with several subtitles or degrees, such as "Boxcar Idol," and "Brakebeam Tourist." Pinto expresses great enthusiasm and the kindest feelings for the club and its members.
Pinto says: "Should any of you by chance come westward, remember the town, Medford, Oregon, where 'Highballs, Handouts and Tropical Skies are not a thing of the past.' I have a beautiful home in that town, just overlooking the stockyards--the bulldog is harmless! You will notice the familiar mark on the back door, meaning--'Kind Lady--No Dog.' There is always a pot of Onion Razzle-Dazzle on tap, and you are all welcome. Signed, Yours for Miles, 'Pinto'."
University Missourian, Columbia, Missouri, February 11, 1914, page 4
Vance Colvig, the original and only "Pinto," cartoonist and popular member of the cadet band, is in Corvallis from nowhere in particular and a little of everywhere. He has been traveling before the footlights, but just had to come back to Corvallis to see the old school again.
"Happenings of City and County," Daily Gazette-Times, Corvallis, March 21, 1914, page 1
Vance Colvig has returned from a trip to Northern California in the interests of the Korinek Veterinary Company.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 23, 1914, page 2
Vance Colvig of "Pinto" cartoon fame was operated on at Sacred Heart Hospital this morning for appendicitis by Dr. E. B. Pickel.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 31, 1914, page 2
Vance Colvig, who was operated upon the first of the week at Sacred Heart Hospital for appendicitis, is improving rapidly.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, April 1, 1914, page 2
Vance Colvig, who was operated upon a week ago at Sacred Heart Hospital for appendicitis, is improving rapidly.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, April 6, 1914, page 2
Should you happen to hear some weird sounds resounding through the corridors of Sacred Heart Hospital, don't be alarmed. It's probably the echoes from the wild wails I did there years ago following the gas pains I got when I had my appendix manicured. That was 44 years ago, 1914. In fact, it happened on April Fool's Day. No kiddin'! Ol' Doc Pickel done it. As I recall, I guess I must have raised hell while in there, and the Sisters, nurses and many of the patients were glad when I left. What I mean is, I had FUN. After they unstitched my incision I used to get into a wheelchair and gallivant up and down the halls. One day I locked wheels with another wheelchair . . . and Wow! Wow! Wow! In it was one of the most gorgeous, peachy-cream blondes you'd ever want to see. For the moment I forgot all about my missing appendix and said: "Where in hell did YOU come from?" Well, it turned out that she was the leading lady or saucy soubrette with a comic opera company that had played Medford the week before. She came down with an attack of appendicitis--they left her off in Medford--and she was operated on the same day I was.
From then on we ran wheelchair races up and down the hall. Then, at certain times, we'd stop in front of the door wherein different patients would be coming out from under ether. We enjoyed listening to them cuss. I remember one guy kept yelling: "Whoa . . . whoa . . . WHOA, you old ROAN son-of-a------!" Seems as though he had been in a runaway and had to have a few ribs mended. You guessed it. It certainly must have been a ROAN horse he'd been driving. I remember talking about it to Sister Superior. (The same Sister who sat bedside while I was coming out from effects of ether.) I said to Sister: "I didn't cuss, did I?" She said: "Oh--you swore something fearful." I said: "That's funny, I don't usually cuss." She said: "Well--maybe not . . . but one thing sure . . you didn't learned how to cuss while you were asleep!
Incidentally, I might mention that my appendix is still somewhere there on the premises. This comic-op'ry chick and I had the nurse bring us our appendixes (which they kept for us in a jar of alcohol). Well, we tied 'em together in a cute bow knot--wheelchaired ourselves out on the sun-veranda--coasted down the ramp and buried them in an airtight jar of alcohol, beneath a rose bush. The patients sitting on the sun porch thought we were crazy. They were right. But we had fun. We were decent, too. One can't do a hell of a lot of smoochin' an' neckin' when in a wheelchair and all taped up with adhesive--and with patients, nurses, doctors and Sisters looking on. Hem-m-m-m--I wonder what ever became of that gal. She left town and rejoined the show in San Francisco . . . and that was the last I ever heard of her.
Typescript letter on "Bozo" Capitol Records stationery to Tom Dunnington dated March 6, 1958, SOHS MS9, folder 1 Pinto's friend was most likely Margaret Randolph, touring with "The Tongues of Men," starring Henrietta Crosman.
LIFE IN CIRCUS AN EDUCATIONVance DeBar Colvig, 22-year-old son of Judge William Colvig, tax and right-of-way agent for the Southern Pacific, learned more from a circus than he did from college, according to his father, and he has been with both. The judge met his son in Eugene today, and the two went to Goshen, where the right-of-way agent is interested in the purchase of a tract of land to be used in moving the county road a few feet farther away from the Southern Pacific station at that place.
Such Is Opinion of Judge Colvig, Who Meets Son Who Tried Both in Eugene.
Young Colvig ran away from college a year or so ago, and joined a circus with which he spent a year, and later he made good on the Pantages vaudeville circuit as a comedy sketch artist. The father is very proud of his son, in spite of the original way which the latter chose to obtain an education.
The two are planning to leave shortly on a trip to Alaska, where Judge Colvig expects to take his vacation, and where the son expects to join a railroad survey there.
The Daily Guard, Eugene, Oregon, July 14, 1914, page 5
"Pinto" Colvig Returns--
Vance Colvig, popularly known as "Pinto" from his drawing trademark, left today for Portland with his father, William Colvig, Southern Pacific tax and right-of-way agent. "Pinto" is a former O.A.C. student, and a cartoonist of merit.
The Daily Guard, Eugene, Oregon, July 22, 1914, page 6
Pinto Colvig, Portland Ore.
"Hotel Golden Arrivals," Reno Gazette-Journal, September 5, 1914, page 7
Pinto Is Here
Vance D. Colvig, better known to the aristocratic Knights of the Rail as "Pinto," the tramp cartoonist, boxcar idol, and circus bandwagon enthusiast, arrived Friday evening from Portland, Oregon for the interests of The Rockroller, in which he will depict the various faces of Nevada citizens in cartoon form.VANCE COLVIG GETS FIRST CARTOON JOB
"Pinto's" cartoons have appeared in many publications of the Pacific Coast and elsewhere for the past seven years.
In some spot of his cartoons you will notice a queer, non-corpulent little animal which resembles that of a horse, which is known as "Pinto's Nightmare," and it will be interesting to note just what this little creature will have to say from time to time.
However, "Pinto" is with us, and he says he's going to stay 'til the largest boulder looks like a grain of sand, and [he] is not afraid to wield his pen in any direction as long as he knows he is in the right.
The Nevada Rockroller, September 5, 1914, page 1
Vance Colvig (Pinto) is now employed upon the Nevada Rock Roller, a political paper published at Reno, Nev., by Colonel Carl Young. The paper is assured of life until the November election, and if the right men win at the polls will keep on. Vance's work consists of drawing pictures setting forth the virtues of the select, and the faults of the unchosen. Copies of the paper show the Medford artist to be as versatile as ever with the pen, with the inevitable skinny mustang in the left-hand corner.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, September 12, 1914, page 2
September 13, 1914 Sunday Oregonian
The Sunday Oregonian speaks of Vance Colvig as follows:
"Perhaps it is the climate, and then again, perhaps it is the illustrious example of the late Homer Davenport, but climate or whatever, the soil of Oregon seems to be prolific of cartoonists.
"Another young disciple of Nast, who has just launched forth with his first regular newspaper job, with visions of becoming as famous at least as Cooper of New York or Bowers of Indianapolis, both Oregon boys, is Vance Colvig, 23 years old, late of Medford, who left Portland September 1 for Reno, to take a position as cartoonist on the Nevada Rock Roller, a new freelance journal that is stirring up the animals in the political jungles of Nevada.
"Colonel Carl Young, editor of the Rock Roller, has been sending urgent telegrams to young Colvig, and when he finally sent a ticket the temptation was too strong. So the budding cartoonist--all cartoonists are budding until the Review of Reviews begins to copy their work--departed for the erstwhile divorce capital.
"Colvig is a native of southern Oregon and the son of Judge William M. Colvig, once a leading member of the Jackson County bar, and at present right of way agent and attorney for the Southern Pacific lines in Oregon, with headquarters in Portland. Mrs. C. L. Reames, wife of United States District Attorney Reames, is his sister. Colvig is using the name of Pinto in his work."
O.A.C. STUDENT DOING THINGS
Vance Colvig, known as "Pinto," clarinetist and cartoonist with the O.A.C. band two years ago, has broken into print again. Accompanying the reproduction of a cartoon from his pen, Sunday's Oregonian gives the following bit of news about him that will be of interest to his many friends here:
"Perhaps it is the climate, and then again, perhaps it is the illustrious example of the late Homer Davenport, but climate or whichever, the soil of Oregon seems to be prolific of cartoonists.
"Another young disciple of Nast, who has just launched forward with his first regular newspaper job, with visions of becoming as famous as Nast, as Cooper of New York, or Bowers of Indianapolis, both Oregon boys, to Vance Colvig, 23 years old, late of Medford, who left Portland September 1 for Reno to take a position as cartoonist on the Nevada Rock Roller, a new freelance journal that is stirring up the animals in the political jungles of Nevada.
"Colonel Carl Young, editor of the Rock Roller, has been sending urgent telegrams to young Colvig, and when he finally sent a ticket the temptation was too strong. So the budding cartoonist--all cartoonists are budding until the Review of Reviews begins to copy their work--departed for the erstwhile divorce capital.
"Colvig is a native of Southern Oregon and a son of Judge William M. Colvig, once a leading member of the Jackson County bar, and at present right-of-way agent and attorney for the Southern Pacific lines in Oregon, with headquarters in Portland. Mrs. C. L. Reames, wife of United States District Attorney Reames, is his sister. Colvig is using the name of Pinto in his work."
Daily Gazette-Times, Corvallis, September 14, 1914, page 1
Vance DeBar Colvig, the cartoonist known as "Pinto," a brother of Mrs. Charles Morrison, is a visitor to this city for a short time.
"Here and Hereabouts," Carson City News, September 25, 1914, page 4
Vance Colvig, famed as "Pinto," writes that the career of the Reno Rock-Crusher, the political sheet on which he was employed, came to a sudden end when the publisher got the smallpox. Pinto is now cartoonist on the Carson City News. He says the people of Nevada are much interested in Eagle Point Eaglets and concludes with the following: "Tell Walter Mundy and Charley Palm not to work too hard."
Unidentified clipping circa 1914, Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library
Pinto says the sickest man he ever saw was one who was suffering with rheumatism and St. Vitus' dance at the same time.
"Newsy Notes of People We Know Here and There," Carson City News, December 23, 1914, page 1
Pinto saw a young lady slip and fall on the ice near the News office a few evenings ago and gallantly went to her rescue. Pinto has a natural smile that will not come off and consequently the young lady said several things to Pinto which has started him thinking. Pinto has not lived long enough in a freezing country to learn to never see a lady when she slips and falls.
"Newsy Notes of People We Know Here and There," Carson City News, December 29, 1914, page 1
Pinto was yesterday reading about the "Girls' Canning Clubs" of the South and said he supposed they were clubs the girls got up to tie cans on fellows they got tired of.
"Newsy Notes of People We Know Here and There," Carson City News, December 30, 1914, page 1
Pinto says that trouble never troubles him, for when trouble comes his way he always gives it to a friend of his who is always looking for trouble.
"Newsy Notes of People We Know Here and There," Carson City News, December 31, 1914, page 1
Pinto yesterday was heard talking to a young lady in front of the News office and was heard to ask, "Do you never feel an insatiable craving for the unattainable--a consuming desire to transcend the limitations which hedge mortality, and commune, soul to soul, with the spirit infinite?"
"Newsy Notes of People We Know Here and There," Carson City News, January 10, 1915, page 1
Farwell--"Pinto" Goes to Toot in Circus Band
"Pinto" is gone. The News will know him no more. No more from out the columns of this paper will his "Nightmare" view the world and comment on things as they are. The smell of the sawdust was too much for "Pinto," and he has gone with the circus again. "Pinto" was with the Barnes Circus as member of the band for the past two seasons [sic], and when his old comrades arrived in the city Sunday afternoon it was all off with "Pinto." "Pinto" will be seen, however, wearing a green coat and white pants with a German helmet upon his head hereafter, and he will be one of the band.
Carson City News, April 27, 1915, page 1
Vance Colvig, Assistant Musical Director
Al G. Barnes Circus list of staff and performers, 1915
Route Traveled En Route with Barnes' CircusVance "Pinto" Colvig, son of Judge William M. Colvig, and well known in this city, is one of the musicians with the Al G. Barnes wild animal show.
April 16--Carson City, Nevada
2--(En Route Sunday)
3--Salt Lake City, Utah
5--Malad City, Idaho
23-24--Baker City, Oregon
29--Walla Walla, Washington
18--Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
15--Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Typescript page from Pinto's scrapbooks, SOHS MS9 folder 18
A CIRCUS BAND STORY
THERE IS MUCH CHARM TO THE ROVING LIFE.
Vance Colvig, Free-Footed Wanderer, Loves to Follow
the Big Red Wagons of the Circus.
The circus has gone. It took with it its outstanding feature, the band, an organization of first-class musicians who take up the free-footed life of the "high top" armies for the pure love of travel, and for the little adventure they can get from the daily grind of two shows, parades and practice. It is a restless, discontented group of amiable young fellows who seem to have the instinct of hoboism covered with the smooth veneer given by good family ties and education. A man must have some few of the finer sensibilities in his makeup to be a musician, and it is not so much to his discredit if he chooses the carefree, roving life of the modern troubadour. The circus bandmen are mostly in their twenties, most of them are educated either in high school or college, and many can trace their family connections creditably. There are a number of college graduates in this organization and as naturally accustomed to a dress suit as they are to the green uniform of the band. The leader, E. A. Woeckener, has collected and capably trained the band. He is careful in his selection of material, and when he finds a really good musician he can usually interest him in an Al. G. Barnes contract, no matter what his previous condition of servitude may have been nor what his vocation is.
One of these is "Pinto," known to his family and good friends as Vance DeBar Colvig, a roving youth of many talents, and known to thousands of people from end to end of the United States by his nickname, awarded in honor of his very freckled face. Studying himself "the boxcar idol, the brakebeam tourist and the society tramp," he has followed circus band life for many years and has been taken to practically every city in the United States and Canada. Occasionally "Pinto" forgoes the charms of the wandering musician's life and says he will settle down. When he settles he employs his talents as a cartoonist to bring him a living, and they can bring a good one. He is an artist compared to most cartoonists, and can almost command a position in that work. His own story of his last settlement is interesting. He was employed last year as cartoonist on the Carson City (Nev.) News, where his little horse, used as Reynolds uses his tiger, and called "Pinto's Nightmare," won him great popularity. Barnes' circus was billed to show in Carson City in the early spring of this year. He sat at his easel, immune to the call of the big tents and the pleas of his former colleagues. Along came Mr. Woeckener, who said: "Pinto, think of the life; think of the world you see." "Aw, shucks," says Pinto, "gimme a contract." [Influencing Pinto's decision must have been the fact that after the close of the legislative session the News only required cartoons every other day, instead of daily. Pinto's last cartoon appeared in the News more than two weeks before Barnes played Carson City.] That's the way it is with Pinto. His father is Judge Colvig, for eight years at Medford, and at present head of the tax and right-of-way department of the Southern Pacific, with offices at Portland. The judge is well-known in Dallas, where his legal work has brought him many times. He cannot influence his son to calm himself, but thinks, as does the young fellow himself, that he will finally end his roaming by the time he is thirty years old. Pinto allows himself that much time; he is twenty-five now, to adjust himself to normal conditions of existence. Pinto tried for a number of years to get a college education. As soon as the circus started out each spring, however, he would forsake his studies and climb on the band wagon. Some of those who knew him in college asked him on Tuesday what he thought he would do when he was too old to play the E-flat clarinet and too old to wield the pen and ink in his present masterful style. Colvig looked shocked at the question, and asked in retort: "What do you think they build poor houses for?" He attributes his loose-footedness to a peculiar disease, over which he has no power, and called the malady the "nigger's itch." Which it must be to make a talented youth, capable of earning better money at music or art, forsake a good home, pleasant surroundings and a chance in the world, for the charm of the big white canvassed arena and the joy of waking up, as Pinto put it, "in a new town every morning, with hundreds of strange faces in a sea about the cars seeking curiosity as I seek the life I love."
Polk County Observer, Monmouth, Oregon, August 27, 1915, page 2
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, September 2, 1915, page 4
The Al G. Barnes wild animal show exhibited in this city Thursday without an untoward incident. A large crowd attended both performances. The animal acts were unusually good. A feature of the show is the band, which is probably the best circus band in the land. They gave a concert on Main Street Thursday evening.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, September 3, 1915, page 2
"Pinto" Colvig, clarinet soloist of the big band, was in his glory in nearly every Oregon town played. That's his home state.
"Al G. Barnes Circus," The Billboard, September 18, 1915, page 57
CARTOONIST SPENDS SUMMER PLAYING IN A CIRCUS BAND
Vance DeBar Colvig, who is playing the E-flat clarinet in the band with the Barnes circus, is a newspaper cartoonist when he is not traveling with a circus. He has the wanderlust, however, and likes the life of the sawdust ring. His last berth in the cartoon line was on the Carson City Daily News in Nevada, and he is going back there when the show reaches California and goes into winter quarters, probably at Venice, Calif.
El Paso Herald, October 26, 1915, page 3
Animated Advertising Co of Cal (Inc), Phelan Bldg
San Francisco City Directory, 1916
Vance Colvig visited Grants Pass Monday.
Judge Wm. M. Colvig, tax attorney of the Southern Pacific, was a visitor in Medford Tuesday. He reports the marriage of his son, Vance, popularly known as "Pinto," the cartoonist, to Miss Mary Slavin at Portland. The marriage was a surprise to the Colvig family, the first knowledge of it being a phone request asking the judge if he wanted to see his new daughter-in-law. Pinto has a position with the Hicks-Chatten Engraving Co.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1916, page 2 Margaret was a telephone operator. The Hicks-Chatten offices were in the Blake-McFall Building on Ankeny Street between 2nd and 3rd; there was a Pacific Telephone and Telegraph building one block away at Fourth and Ankeny.
"Pinto" Takes a Bride
"Social Items from the Capital City" [Carson City], Nevada State Journal, Reno, Nevada, April 16, 1916, page 7
Vance Colvig, well known throughout the Pacific coast as a cartoonist, is now working for a Portland engraving concern, and will shortly issue a book of drawings entitled "On Band Wagon and Box Car," depicting Vance's experiences with the Sells-Floto circus, and elsewhere in travels that have taken him over a large portion of the United States. He has discarded the piccolo [sic] for the artist's brush for good, Mr. Colvig states in letters to friends in this city.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, September 26, 1916, page 2
Tirey L. Ford Host to Film Company Heads
Tirey L. Ford was host at a luncheon given yesterday at the Stewart Hotel to the Animated Cartoon Film Corporation, with covers laid for sixteen. Matters of interest to artists, cartoonists and photographers were discussed, and views exchanged. Among those present were Frederick Burgh, president of the corporation; Byington Ford, secretary and treasurer; C. E. Cleaveland, superintendent, and Seth Heney, manager.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 1916, page 30
Among the factories and new commercial concerns which have located in San Francisco during the year are many which already have largely increased their plants, according to statements made by leasing agents. A greatly variety of industries is represented in the following list of these new enterprises in the city:
Animated Cartoon Film Corporation. . . .
"Many Factories Enlarge Premises," San Francisco Chronicle, December 23, 1916, page 9
Animated Advertising Co of Cal (Inc), Phelan Bldg
Animated Cartoon Film Corporation, 1501-1521 Hewes Bldg, Market 6th, tel Sutter 4757, advertising service, cartoon films, theatre advertising, motion pictures, cartoon comedies, "A real run for your money"
Colvig Vance, artist, ACF Corp r 600 Bush
San Francisco City Directory, 1917
My Dear Dad:
It's only been a week since you left, but to us it seems like a month. We certainly did enjoy your visit, but we feel that you were too much the host when it should have been vice versa, and the next time we get together we'll see that it shall be us who does the entertaining. You surely did make a hit with our friends, the Emlays. They're not through talking about you yet. When Earle and his wife got home that night they were talking about you, and he said to her, "Believe me, I'm goin' to be like that someday."
Letter, Pinto Colvig to William M. Colvig, December 2, 1917
ANIMATED CARTOON FILM CORP., Byington Ford, Genl. Mgr., 1620 Hewes Bldg. Sutter 4757.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 19 through December 16, 1917, page C7
Animated Film Corporation, San Francisco, circa 1917.
From left: Angel Espoy, Tack Knight, Pinto Colvig, Byington Ford.
Animated Cartoon Film Corp, 995 Market
Colvig Vance B. (Margaret), cartoonist, r 235 Oak
San Francisco City Directory, 1918
A son was born last week to Mr. and Mrs. Vance Colvig of San Francisco. The happy daddy is better known as "Pinto," the cartoonist who was on the force of a Reno paper a couple of years ago. Mr. Colvig is also a clarinetist of note and a vaudeville entertainer as well. Mrs. Charles Morrison of this city is a sister of Mr. Colvig.
"In and Around Carson City," Reno Evening Gazette, March 21, 1918, page 5
April 27, 1918 Medford Mail Tribune
MEDFORD BOY'S PICTURES AT RIALTO
Men are rarely appreciated in their own communities, but Vance DeBar Colvig, known to the artistic world as "Pinto" the cartoonist, is at least an exception to this rule. His material, which will be shown at the Rialto Theater Monday and Tuesday, cannot fail to be favorably received by the Medford public.
"Pinto" is the creator of a new and novel style of motion picture animated cartoon. While his figures are as others in this line of work, the heads are of live human beings. In this his material is both original and unique.
"Pinto's" work has another element of distinction. His humorous titles convey a satire that carries a deep and philosophical meaning, and this enhances its value. Some of the patriotic suggestions conveyed in his cartoons are of great value in arousing patriotism. He is a distinct product of southern Oregon, and with the fame that is certain to come to him his life work will surely add to the reputation of the community. Here it was that he secured his early inspiration.
Medford Sun, April 28, 1918, page 10 also Medford Mail Tribune, April 27, 1918, page 4
August 15, 1918 Medford Mail Tribune
Colvig Vance De B (Margaret), cartoonist, r 1230 Jackson
San Francisco City Directory, 1919
They had colored cartoons as early as January 1919. At that time Pinto Colvig, who is prominent in cartooning today, drew a series called "Pinto's Prizma Comedy Review." They were colored by the William V. D. Kelley Prizma color [process].
Earl Theisen, "Hollywood Note Book," International Photographer, May 1934, page 3
"Pinto" Colvig, cartoonist for the Tam Slide company, is the guest of Mrs. Nixon from San Francisco.
"Personals," Nevada State Journal, Reno, February 24, 1919, page 4
As the patrons and 25 members of San Francisco's motion picture row, who are guests of Mrs. K. I. Nixon, passed out of the Majestic Theater, five motion picture cameras filmed the large crowd. . . . Film guests present were: . . . V. D. Colvig, Gaumont Weekly and Tam Films. . . .
"Majestic Patrons 'Shot' by Film Men," Nevada State Journal, Reno, February 24, 1919, page 6
March 5, 1919 San Francisco Bulletin
NOT SO EASY AS IT SOUNDS
JUMPING INTO FILM STARDOM HAS ITS DRAWBACKS.
Even to Help the Red Cross, a San Francisco Woman Found the Experience
Sadly Lacking in Inspiration.
Ruth Taylor in the San Francisco Bulletin.
If someday my name is blazoned forth in flickering lights in front of a "fillum" theater, and you go in and see me get dragged over a cliff by the head of my hair, to be rescued in the last act by a tall, dark, handsome man, and you say, "Why on earth doesn't that wonderful man pick a girl to play opposite him who wouldn't hurt your eyes to look at"--don't blame me for causing your agitation. It will be all the fault of one "Pinto" Colvig, who made a movie actress out of me the other day.
It was a drama for the Red Cross, so I let my patriotism get the better of my inherent modesty. And I hereby announce that there is nothing to compare with the sensation you have when the director yells, "Aw right! Begin to act. Register joy." And you feel like registering only a hasty exit.
This was a drama in which there was a weeping and destitute woman with a chee-ild, whose father was hunting Heinies in Hunland. And the lady wept upon a table on which were the empty milk bottle, the lone crust of bread, and the rent bill--widely known symbols of extreme poverty. And just when she sighed and set down the picture of her absent spouse, I had to knock at the door, enter like a Red Cross angel of mercy, press some cash into her trembling hand, caress the child and depart, leaving only gladness behind me.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, that's as far as the simplicity goes--sounding.
In the first place, the poverty-stricken woman appeared in a dainty morning dress and a frilly boudoir cap that made her look like a million dollars. But I don't blame her. If I were as good-looking as she, I wouldn't waste my beauty in a ragged gown, either. But they finally fixed her up, and gave her the child and a husband, both of whom it was a bit hard to acquire and assimilate in such a brief moment.
I shan't dwell on my emotions as I attempted to register compassion, and I haven't decided yet whether I'll go in for a film career or stick to writing. I'll see this picture first, and if my face doesn't show TOO much in it I may be able to land a role as mummy in some movie, provided they keep the mummy in a sarcophagus.
Kansas City (Missouri) Star, March 22, 1919, page 11
P-I-N-T-O"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, September 8, 1920, page 2
That making an animated cartoon is the beginning of the answer of "Why Padded Cells Are Crowded."
"Before making an animated cartoon of the little California Theatre bears, I generally take a couple of cups of catnip tea, take a bath in a compound solution of ice cream soda and sassafras oil; then I recite all my prayers backwards and go to bed and sleep beneath a crazy quilt.
"The following morning when I go to the movie studio, all I have to do is draw about 500 little bears, cut 'em out like paper dolls, photograph 'em one by one with the movie camera, and after the motion picture film is thoroughly soaked in a barrel of puree of onions and garlic juice, it is then ready to bring to the California Theatre to either be rejected or paid for.
"After that it's done, all I gotta do is run over to The Bulletin and write a story and draw a picture to fit it.
"Pretty soft for some fellers, ain't it?"
California Theatre, San Francisco, program for "The Crimson Gardenia," June 15, 1919, SOHS MS9 folder 25
The surprise portion of the Tivoli's programme hereafter will be the Pinto Cartoon Review. A "surprise" because they are so unusually good even for cartoons and local talent. Each week he of Pinto fame will inject into the programme bright spots from the world of humor, editorials, kid stuff and woman's fashions from a mere man's viewpoint.
San Francisco Chronicle, September 14, 1919, page 5
October 3, 1919 San Francisco Bulletin
Vance D. Colvig, 27, newspaper cartoonist, born in Oregon, father born Iowa, mother Oregon
October 22, 1919 San Francisco Bulletin
November 7, 1919 San Francisco Bulletin
1385 Clay Street, San Francisco
Margaret N. Colvig, 27, born in Oregon, father born Ireland, mother England
Vance D. Colvig Jr., 1 11/12, born in California
U.S. Census, enumerated January 6-7, 1920
"Pinto" Colvig, well known in Reno as well as here, is on the cartooning staff of the San Francisco Bulletin but expects to take up animated picture work shortly. He and his family contemplate a visit to Reno and Carson this summer.
"Carson City Items," Reno Evening Gazette, January 26, 1920, page 6
December 18, 1919 San Francisco Bulletin
The California Theater has adopted a bear as its mascot, and for the last two years not a program has been presented at this house without being introduced by bruin in animated form on the screen. It has brought out the "Li'l Movie Bear" in plaster form and has sold many of these in the lobby of the house.
Mansfield F. House, "The Business Column," The Racine Journal-News, Racine, Wisconsin, April 3, 1920, page 11
Mrs. [sic] Vance Colvig and two children of San Francisco are guests of their father and grandfather, Judge W. M. Colvig.
CARSON CITY, Oct. 13.--Vance Colvig, better known to this section as "Pinto," the cartoonist, is doing work for the screen now. "Art-I-Jokes" are a combination of the witticism of the day and the illustration of them in cartoons, the drawings being shown in the course of production.
"Carson City Briefs," Reno Evening Gazette, October 12, 1920, page 9
Educational to Release Cartoon Novelty
"Art-I-Jokes" is the unusual title of a half-reel series to be released every two weeks through Educational Film Exchanges, Inc. They are described as an unusual novelty combining the cleverest written humor of American publications, combined with animated sketching that not only reproduces the original illustrations, but adds the interpretation of the designer of the pictures.
"Art-I-Jokes" are the work of Vance de Bar Colvig, one of the most noted newspaper artists of the Pacific Coast, under the name of "Pinto."
There is very little "reading matter" in "Art-I-Jokes." The words are flashed on the screen and then the drawings are seen in the course of their creation, the original work of the author-artist finally resulting.
Moving Picture World, October 9, 1920, page 813
"Pinto," with his nightmare safely caged, is revisiting the scenes of his youth--the days before he came to fame and acquired two little Pintos and a life mate. "Pinto" is Vance DeBar Colvig, son of Judge William M. Colvig of Medford, former head of the tax and right-of-way department of the Southern Pacific. The Portland visitor, who first gained fame as a cartoonist by his work in his college publication, has just returned from New York, where he contracted for a series of unusual film comics that may be coming this way before long. He has, since he quit the circus band wagons, aboard which he played an E-flat clarinet, been doing newspaper and sports cartooning in California.
"More or Less Personal," Oregon Journal, Portland, October 21, 1920, page 10
"Pinto," with his nightmare safely caged, is revisiting the scenes of his youth--the days before he came to fame and acquired two little Pintos and a life mate. "Pinto" is Vance DeBar Colvig, son of Judge William M. Colvig of Medford, former head of the tax and right-of-way department of the Southern Pacific. The Portland visitor, who first gained fame as a cartoonist by his work in his college publication, has just returned from New York, where he contracted for a series of unusual film comics that may be coming this way before long. He has, since he quit the circus band wagons, aboard which he played an E-flat clarinet, been doing newspaper and sports cartooning in California.--Portland Journal.
"Personals," Medford Mail Tribune, October 22, 1920, page 5
Vance Colvig, well known to Medford as "Pinto" Colvig, is in the city a few days visiting his father, Judge Mr. Colvig. Mr. Colvig is a cartoonist of no mean ability and is now engaged in producing animated cartoons for the movies.
"Personal," Medford Sun, October 31, 1920, page 5
"Art-I-Jokes" is the unique title of a screen novelty just announced by Educational Films for early release. They consist of paragraphs and illustrations from leading magazines and newspapers. In each case the original drawing is utilized, but the audience sees their recreation, with the interpretation of the designer and his pen comments added. They are the work of Vance DeBar Colvig, an artist who is well known on the Pacific coast under the pen name of "Pinto."
Moving Picture Stories, November 12, 1920, page 27
John Reter of Jacksonville spent Friday in the city making arrangements for the banquet and jollification to be held in that city tonight over the retention of the courthouse. Vance "Pinto" Colvig has drawn a cartoon for the occasion, with Col. H. H. Sargent as the central figure.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, November 20, 1920, page 2
Vance D. Colvig (Margaret), cartoons, 1112 Market r 1160 Clay
Pinto Cartoon Comedies, 1112 Market
San Francisco City Directory, 1921
During the concert of Al. G. Barnes' superb band, both afternoon and evening, they played "Pinto's Nightmare" in honor of Judge Wm. Colvig, father of Vance "Pinto" Colvig, and the number received loud applause. "Pinto" traveled with the Barnes circus band two or three years and had the honor of being leader on several occasions. It was a splendid compliment to both Judge Colvig and "Pinto," and a credit to the band.
"Local and Personal," Medford Mail Tribune, May 5, 1921, page 2
May 26, 1921 San Francisco Chronicle
Vance "Pinto" Colvig left yesterday for San Francisco after spending a couple of days in the city. He is drawing animated cartoons for the moving pictures, which will be released in September.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 20, 1921, page 3
W. M. COLVIG CELEBRATES HIS 77TH BIRTHDAYMedford Mail Tribune, September 2, 1921, page 6
Judge William M. Colvig, a pioneer of Oregon, and one of the state's best-known citizens, is celebrating his 77th birthday anniversary today, and started the day by reviewing an animated movie cartoon of his son, Vance, known as "Pinto." Judge Colvig was born in Richmond, Missouri, a year after Jesse James, the notorious bandit, saw daylight in the same town. A birthday dinner will be the feature of the day. Judge Colvig received congratulations from scores of friends throughout the state and county.
"LI'L MOVIE BEAR" IS COMING BACK
TO BE MASCOT OF THEATER
"Li'l Movie Bear" needs no introduction to the San Francisco public. For more than four years he acted as "general mascot and chief title patroller" on the California Theater screen. A sassy, impudent little rascal who was ever on the job, but dear to the hearts of many--especially to the children.
"Pinto," his creator, will be remembered as "The Sagebrush Jollier," who, with "The Duke of Windy Gap," philosophized, both in cartoon and story, their contrasted views between "small-town stuff" and big city ideas on the pages of The Bulletin a year or so ago. "Pinto" now is making animated cartoons for national distribution at the Pintacko Studios.
MYSTERY SOLVED."OH, WHERE, OH, WHERE, HAS THE MOVIE BEAR GONE?"
That's what the California's patrons have been wondering for the past few months. Here's the mystery solved:
Pinto made a clay model of "Li'l Bear," which was destined to run a neck-and-neck race on the market with the kewpies and other popular "mud characters." The original model was copyrighted in the archives of Washington, D.C., jointly by Pinto and Charlie Pincus, one of the managers of the California. A manufacturer was chosen to make up several thousand plaster casts of this model. When he delivered the first lot they were not as ordered. Pinto and Pincus, out of respect to their little mascot, refused the order, taking into consideration the fact that "Li'l Bear" should not be insulted or maltreated in such a manner. To place a muddy-looking grotesque of their happy little friend on the market would have been a gross insult to the character itself, they contended. Subsequently the manufacturer had his attorney herald Pinto, Pincus and "Li'l Movie Bear" into the courts on a suit to recover payment.
Why the case was filed in Oakland no one has ever yet found out. Pinto, Pincus and their attorney, nevertheless, were in the corridors of the Oakland courts early on the morning that the case was called.
WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT.BANG! sounds the judge's gavel. All was still in the courtroom. Pinto holds his freckled duke high toward the heavens and swears to tell "nuthin' but th' truth!" Attorney for the plaintiff cross-examines Pinto. Attorney for the plaintiff also relates to the good judge his facts of the case. It looked like "curtains" for "Li'l Movie Bear" until the defendants' attorney steps forth and tells the judge how dear to the hearts of the movie populace "Li'l Movie Bear" really is and how the manufacturers did him up in mud and made a joke of him.
After both sides put forth their arguments, the judge finally asks Pinto just what part of Oakland he lives in.
"Never lived in Oakland in my life," retorts Pinto. Attorney for the plaintiff looks surprised.
"Well, then," says the judge. "I presume, then, that the plaintiff lives in Oakland?"
"No, your honor," came a reply from the plaintiff's attorney; "he is a resident of San Francisco."
"Well, what THE SAM HILL IS THIS CASE DOING IN MY COURT OVER HERE," says the judge. "You fellows better go back to your home town and fight it out amongst yourselves!"
BANG! goes the judge's gavel! "Court's adjourned," . . . and thus ended a wild and checkered career for poor "Li'l Movie Bear."
So now he's going back to work on his old stamping ground, amid the bright lights. Back on the silver sheet at the California, where he'll be ever welcome by his friends of yesterday.
HE CRAVES ACTION."Li'l Movie Bear" feels just as important to the silver screen as Herman Heller is to the orchestra. They both believe that "every li'l movement has a meaning all its own." "No more statue life for me," says "Li'l Movie Bear." "I crave ACTION, and, by golly, I'm gonna git it."
So there you are.
Beginning November 20, "Li'l Movie Bear" makes his second initial bow to the California's patrons, never to desert them again.
San Francisco Bulletin, November 16, 1921
Colvig Vance D. (Margaret), cartoonist, 1112 Market r 2631 Anza
Pin-Tack-O animated cartoons, 1112 Market
San Francisco City Directory, 1922
Pinto, the well-known cartoonist who was formerly connected with newspapers both in Reno and Carson City, is now cartoonist on the San Francisco Chronicle. He has also gained considerable reputation in moving picture cartoons. Few know him by his real name of Vance Colvig.
"Carson City Briefs," Reno Evening Gazette, March 31, 1922, page 2
Pinto Tells How He Uses Ink
It's All a Question of Ideas, Artist Says, with Patience as First Aid
Everybody in San Francisco knows and loves "Li'l Movie Bear," who marches so proudly across the screen at the California Theater and then marches back, guarding the pictures, spreading laughs, bringing cheer and endearing himself to patrons of the house.
Once the managing directors thought the public had tired of his quaint antics, and he was banished from the program, but there was such a storm of protest, such a flood of letters asking for his return to guard duty, he was put back, and he is likely to stay put so long as the California houses pictures, which seems a long, long time.
He's a sassy little creature, this Li'l Movie Bear, in looks at least, with his sharp little nose and his round little paunch, and his sturdy little stride as he makes his way from one end of the screen to the other, turns with military precision and goes back the same road.
And then his big act, for he is versatile, when he juggles a bomb, which finally explodes in the air and fragments spread out into the caption "The California Theater Presents." How proudly he goes about that.
HE'S REALLY [A] TAME LITTLE QUADRUPED
The little fellow is docile. He does whatever he is told to do, or made to do, by his creator and the manager of the California. And he never talks back, and has only one vice. He drinks ink! Bottles of it, just like a baby drinks milk. He is cheerful, never sulks, nor plays truant, nor tires.
He might well do that, for in the five years, or nearly five years, he has been walking across the screen of the California, he has walked many weary miles, about 1826 of them in fact. He made his bow when the California Theater was opened, November 1, 1917, and except for the brief time when he was banished, he has been on duty day and night ever since.
He walks approximately one mile a day, 365 miles a day, and in five years, with the extra day in leap year, has walked 1826 miles.
Uncle Sam is his protector and friend, for he is copyrighted and registered in Washington, D.C., and nobody but his secretary and manager, Pinto, and the managers of the California Theater, can order him about.
Once they made a statuette of Li'l Movie Bear, and they went so fast the supply was sold in a few days.
For everybody loves him.
Maybe a word or two about Pinto might be interesting, for Pinto created Li'l Movie Bear.
HIS NAME ALMOST SPOILS THE ILLUSION
His real name isn't Pinto at all, but Vance De Bar Colvig, and in his time he has played many parts. He is a college graduate, has been a hobo, director of a circus band, and actor, writer, cartoonist. He says he has been everything but a dressmaker or a manicurist, and that the only things he has escaped are fortune and jail.
But he is young, and there is time for both.
He is married and has three children, and he loves Li'l Movie Bear as though he were one of his children, for he is such a lovable little fellow, always willing to work, whether it be in a newspaper cartoon, on the screen or wherever he is put.
Then he costs nothing to keep, except the ink and the drawing board, and he brings in a comfortable income to his creator, which is a thing many children do not do.
The film showing the bomb bursting is fifty feet long. It takes Pinto from four to six days to make it, and it runs off on the screen in less than one minute. Three hundred drawings are necessary for that one bit. Each drawing is photographed, one at a time, and according to mathematical arrangement, by a movie camera that is focused downward on the drawing board.
EVERY STEP MEANS HOURS OF LABOR
To make him take one step requires twelve separate drawings. The walk is a repetition of the step, so the twelve drawings are photographed over and over again until there are enough steps to cover the space on the screen.
"The artist who makes an animated cartoon," Pinto says, "has a sort of idea how the action will look, but he is sometimes surprised when he sees the fruits of his labor flashed on the screen. Often the action is better than he expects. Sometimes it is not."
And now you know something about Li'l Movie Bear's history, his habits, his mechanics and his creator.
San Francisco Chronicle, September 3, 1922, page D6
Pinto, popular cartoonist of the United Feature Syndicate, and known from coast to coast, has been made "gagman" for Century Comedy productions.
February 16, 1924 Universal Weekly
"Comedy Clippings," Camera, January 13, 1923
Continuity on the Buster Brown comedies is now being prepared. These will star Brownie, the dog, as "Tige." Pinto, cartoonist of United Features Syndicate, has been engaged as gag man.
"Century Cut-Backs," Motion Picture News, January 20, 1923, page 373
Vance de Bar Colvig, or Pinto, as he is known by his work for the United Feature Syndicate, has been added to the Al Herman unit at Century as gag man.
"Coast Brevities," The Film Daily, January 27, 1923, page 3
Stern Brothers Secure "Pinto" as Gag Writer
Vance de Bar Colvig, known as Pinto to the readers of newspapers supplied by the United Feature Syndicate, has been engaged as gag writer for Century Comedies by the Stern Brothers. Pinto, known throughout the United States as a cartoonist and caption writer of exceptionally subtle humor, was made gag man for the Al Herman Century Comedy unit.
The acquiring of Pinto stands behind the Stern Brothers' statement that no expense would be spared to make the 1923 crop of Century Comedies a record one.
Exhibitors Trade Review, February 3, 1923, page 506
Cartoonist and Writer Gag Man for Century
Vance de Bar Colvig, better known as "Pinto" by over 7,000,000 readers of newspapers supplied by the United Feature Syndicate, has been engaged as gag writer for Century Comedies by the Stern Brothers. "Pinto," known through the United States as a cartoonist and caption writer of exceptionally subtle humor, was made gag man for the Al Herman Century Comedy unit. Clever men who create comedy situations--in the vernacular of the studio "gagmen"--are very scarce. The acquiring of "Pinto" stands behind the Stern Brothers' statement that no expense would be spared to make the 1923 crop of Century Comedies a record one. His first job was with Al Herman in his initial release for the new year.
Motion Picture News, February 3, 1923, page 590
In keeping with the high-class material used in Century comedies, Stern Brothers have signed a well-known cartoonist and caption writer who is known throughout the country for his work under the name of "Pinto," and his cartoons are widely syndicated in newspapers. He is already at work on his first production providing the "gags."
The Moving Picture World, February 3, 1923, page 495
"Pinto," the famous cartoonist of the San Francisco Call, has been engaged by Educational-Cameo Comedies to write titles and supply comedy ideas for the future productions under the direction of Fred Hibbard.
"Studio Chatter," Mansfield News, Ohio, February 19, 1923, page 3
Hollywood, Cal.Dear Don & Family,
1342 Myra Ave.
Apr. 1st 1923
I am nurse to the 4 Pintos tonight. Vance & wife have gone down to Venice to attend a try-out of a comedy that his company has just finished (ink all gone). The film is entitled "The 3rd Strike." It has to do with a baseball game. I have witnessed the making of some of the parts, and it is very funny. Vance named it, and is the author of the "gags" & the explanatory notes. It is the custom to run a new play before an unsuspecting audience--and see what kind of a reception the public will give. The company will have 8 to 10 people scattered through the audience to observe--and if 60% of the people laugh, the owners will pronounce it O.K. and release it to distributors over the U.S.--but if it falls below, it will be worked over. Vance is one of the critics tonight. I wanted Margaret to go, as she has every hour taken up with the babies, and seldom or never gets out. So I screwed up courage to propose caring for the whole outfit tonight, including Bourke--the latest Sinn-Feiner that has added hilarity to his house. It takes 50 minutes to go to Venice. They left @ 7 & it is now 8--and "all is well"--not a squawk from any of them--and they are, without doubt, the noisiest bunch of kids I ever knew. They will fight at the "drop of a hat" and drop it themselves--but they are very bright and interesting.
I have been here just 1 week. I stayed 3 days at Byron Springs for "rheumatiz"--but without effect. I am no better than when under the sunny skies of R.R.Vy.
We have a fire in the fireplace nearly every morning and evening since I came. Last night it rained enough to lay the dust.
Everybody in this part of the city is connected in some manner with production companies (moving pictures). These people do not spare expense. Vance's company has been at a cost of $2000 per day for 10 days in getting out the 3rd Strike.
Some of the dogs earn $10 per day--educated ones, & with their master included--but the money comes rolling back in increased volume.
A company near here are filming the story of Miles Standish. They are making an exact replica of the Mayflower here, in sight of the front door, 20 men working at it--and have been ever since Helen was here. It is nearly finished, at a cost of $100,000. They will not use it after it is filmed. Every detail is perfect, but of course only a shell. Last week the Jack White Co. bought 2 second-hand Ford cars. They filmed a collision--a complete wreck--and the cars were a pile of junk when they finished.
I am going to Tijuana and San Diego this week--will be here next Sunday. About 15th I will stop off and see you.
It is now 9 o'clock--and all is well--no sound breaks in on my solitude. Every day in every way &c.
DadTim Colvig collection
Pinto Colvig Gets Big Boost in the Portland Journal
Because he was the "freckledest" kid in Jacksonville, Ore., Vance De Bar Colvig became "Pinto" to the youngsters of the bailiwick the year he started to school. And "Pinto" he has remained to this day, sawdust trails and celluloid routes to fame, fortune and family notwithstanding.
"Pinto" came to claim the attention of Judge and Mrs. William M. Colvig at Jacksonville "in the fall of '92," and while the good judge was advancing politically and otherwise his youngest gave much evidence of the quality of genius that has now brought him to the fore in motion picture work. Both father and son are well known in Portland and the state. The former became head of the tax and right-of-way department of the Southern Pacific, and "Pinto," by way of the circus bandwagon, the cartoonist's easel and matrimony, became a "gag" man and a sometimes comedian in pictures.
The Jackson County youth someday will write it all under the head of "From Sawdust to Celluloid, via the Wedding Route." In the meantime his press agent supplies some vital information for those who know him and those who ought to.
Vance Colvig received his first recognition as a cartoonist at nine years of age when his teacher called upon him to explain his weird caricature of the prominent features of C. C. Beekman, honored Jacksonville banker. "Since then," the artist confesses, "I have avoided being offensive, for memories of that teacher's practical application of a vigorous lesson about respecting dignity remain very fresh."
It was about the same time that the wanderlust seized "Pinto," and found its only rebuffs in the fact that freight trains and hoboes were at Medford, a whole five miles away. Hence he contented himself playing in a small-town band, witnessing crucial horseshoe pitching contests and being a regular boy generally.
Three or four times a year the Quaker Doctors, the Georgia Harper Stock Company and the like would appear. Those were happy days! As a showman "Pinto" was a huge success carrying banners or holding music for the colored trombonist, or "suping" for Georgia Harper. When he was 13 the family moved to Medford--a metropolis of freight cars, twice-a-year circuses and consequent opportunity to defy paternal regulation. Going to school, he avers, was much like taking poison, especially when spring burst upon the orchard lands.
"I thought it would be mighty nice to find myself on the twenty-fifth floor of the New York Times building wearing an artist's purple smock, my studio laden with Persian rugs, with Venus and Dante in statue and incense burners in every corner, while I turned out a "Homer Davenport" daily and received a weekly check that made the telephone number blush," Colvig recalls. "Never having been in a big newspaper office, that was my idea of its class. Imagine my chagrin when I did invade the artist's stuffy corner when they had to hang the inkwell from the ceiling for want of room.
"I had visualized a book I would write. 'Around the World on Thirty Cents,' bound in bright yellow, after I had beaten my way around the world. It would be 'By Pinto, Tramp Cartoonist.' But I'm glad now that I never wrote that book.
"My future was a serious matter with Dad. He wanted me to become a great lawyer or a great baseball player, but after mature deliberation he got me a job in the freight department of the Medford depot. One of my daily duties was to check up every car on the side tracks and enter it in a big book. One evening, with time to waste, I made the entry by drawing a picture of the car, putting a hobo on top of it with a brakeman kicking him off. A week or so later the efficiency expert sweetly informed me that I was working for a railroad, not a comic supplement in a newspaper. I objected to the way he 'ran down' my art and I quit.
"Next day I was en route to Portland to take a job with a traveling band. The band breathed its last a few days later in Pendleton, and I was put to it to move around on the under or top side of freight cars. The following fall I became an earnest student at the Oregon Agricultural College. I learned how to paddle a canoe and roll Bull Durham with one hand before I broke loose as a vaudeville chalk talker and wound up in Seattle. There a circus bandwagon claimed me and my E-flat clarinet. I quit the show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa [July 10, 1913--see above], and with another ne'er-do-well with a millionaire father somewhere in Kentucky, I did some tall traveling. In one town I hocked the clarinet for a meal ticket and sought a job. My partner landed one at $2 a day, and with his first wages we reclaimed the music maker. The restaurant man hired my friend as a waiter. At meal times I would come in, order T-bone with trimmings, and my waiter would slip me a bill for 'coffee and toast, 15 cents,' and hand me the dime to pay it.
"But another winter was in the offing, and I drifted westward to Denver. An old-time circus bandsman with whom I had traveled enlisted me in a carnival circus band working west. It featured a Roman circus, and our uniforms had Julius Caesars looking to their laurels. We opened in Cheyenne and went broke three weeks later in Colorado Springs. [The Consolidated Roman Carnival Company opened in Cheyenne August 19, 1913.]
"Back home again and then for a brief stab at college. But I didn't hit the stride and soon went to Nevada to work on a Reno paper, the Nevada Rock Roller, a yellow political sheet. The editor was sent to the pest house with smallpox, and I landed in Carson City as a cartoonist for the News during a legislative session.
"And then came another spring. 'Twas circus time. I was off. I finished the season atop the bandwagon and sailed from Los Angeles to Portland. There I met a wonderful girl, Miss Margaret Slavin, who was willing to play a Steve Brodie and 'take a chance.' On February 23, 1916, I kissed all the elephants goodbye forever, held my freckled 'duke' high in the air and said, 'I do.' Believe me, I did."
"We moved to San Francisco, where I made animated film cartoons for a couple of years. Worked a year as feature writer and cartoonist for the Bulletin, where I was known as 'the boob reporter.' I quit that to make the first colored animated cartoons for Prizma, Inc. Then I made a strip for the Chronicle, which was syndicated through the country. My newspaper interviews put me in touch with movie people, who encouraged me, and I kicked over the traces and came to Los Angeles. I worked as 'gag' man on a picture for Century Comedies and then was called by Jack White, where I am doing gags, titling and acting when I feel like it in Mermaid Comedies. Jack White, only 24 years old, with 12 different minds where only one ought to be, is a great fellow to work for. Yet I seem to work with--not for--him. There you are. The whole truth, but not all of it."
"Pinto" now gets his kick out of taking his four fine boys to the circus and making himself one of the "hicks" with a bag of peanuts, balloons and all. It's better than trouping under the big tops, he says. But hoboing, circus days and Jacksonville nativity have given this "boxcar idol" and "circus bandwagon enthusiast" a great grasp of details and human nature, and he's capitalizing [on] these in films.
Until he married and until boy number four arrived there hadn't been a half dozen serious moments in Colvig's life. Now he's serious all over, though he still finds time to let a smile break through his freckles and "I'm enjoying life as I never did before," he says.
Al G. Barnes, in whose circus band "Pinto" was many times a trouper, was a practical school master for the Medford boy. The way Barnes has of going after a problem and solving it with the least ceremony, grasping big things by the nape of the neck, without a worry for the outcome, has been a continuous inspiration to Colvig and one from which he is profiting every day. There's nothing to worry about, he believes, for everything has to turn out right in the end.--Oregon Journal.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 3, 1923, page 8
"Cold Chills," a Jack White comedy, starring Louise Fazenda and written by "Pinto," is also on the program. . . .
"Jack London's 'Brute' Now at Granada," San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 1923, page 3
Byron Hot SpringsDear Don:
It is beautiful here and I like it after the heat of Los Angeles and the rush of San Francisco. I hate Los Angeles. It is hot and dirty there. But the trip down & back on the steamer was delightful. We found Vance and family established in a nice little bungalow out in Hollywood. Vance wasn't home when we arrived and Margaret was doing the family laundry as per usual. When Vance came home he looked all in. He is with the "Century Movie Co.," a sort of assist. director & actor. We went out to some park to see them "shoot" and the "Buckeye Comedies" of Merton fame were classic compared to the acts we saw put on. Poor Vance--I think a lot of his splendid optimism has petered out. Looking for apartments in Los Angeles or bungalows with 4 kids in the offing--and haunting studios for a job about used him up. Margaret is as fat as ever & a little fatter. Ditto is cute and smart as can be. Mason is pretty & unmanageable and the two youngest are regular shamrocks.
Micawber-like, on Sunday they had us out to dinner, and friends and acquaintances from all around were bidden to the feast.
We will be home Tues. eve--I hate to go as I've had such a good, lazy time. I'm afraid I'm spoiled--up to date I don't think I've made any mistake in my selection of a husband.
Hope Star & the youngsters are well. Give my love to them and with much for yourself.
As everVance's youngest is named "Bourke." Good name for a policeman.
Tim Colvig collection.
In the first of the [Mermaid Comedies] series, "High Life," which has been finished under the direction of Hugh Fay, [Lige] Conley is supported by Lillian Hackett, Otto Fries, Jack Lloyd, Sunshine Hart, Eva Thatcher, Gloria Gilmore and those two inimitable colored comics, "Moonlight," formerly known as Spencer Bell, and Henry Trask. . . .
The settings being used in the new series of Mermaid Comedies would do credit to some of the more elaborate dramatic feature productions. With the space and facilities of the entire Fine Arts studio at his disposal, [Jack] White is endowing the Mermaids with settings such as have never before been used in the production of pictures of this type.
The story has by no means been forgotten, either, for White is a firm believer in the necessity of a logical plot for a genuine comedy. To this end he is giving personal supervision to his own scenario department, with such clever "gag" writers as "Pinto," the cartoonist, Roy Myers and Joe LeBrandt working with him.
"Mermaid Favorites Retained," Motion Picture News, August 25, 1923, page 911
"PINTO" WITH CENTURY
"Pinto," whose cartoon work is syndicated in a large number of newspapers, has been engaged by Century to pass on the scripts for all completed comedies in the capacity of gagman.
The Moving Picture World, December 15, 1923, page 643
"Pinto" the Cartoonist Joins Century
Century Comedies will have "Pinto," a well-known western cartoonist, to work on all completed scripts in the capacity of "gagman." Each script will be built up carefully by directors, writers and gagmen and "Pinto" will be associated with several other men on this staff, among whom is Edward Luddy, Al Harman's personal gagman and scenario writer.
Motion Picture News, December 15, 1923, page 2804
Colvig Vance D, title writer, h 1342 Myra av
Los Angeles City Directory, 1924
Editors of the Century Comedy studios are cutting and titling three of the newest pictures produced by this company. . . .
"Past and Present," which was made by Bob Kerr, features Jack Earle and Harry McCoy. Marjorie Marcel plays the leading ingenue role. Frank Alexander, a veteran of two-reel comedies, plays the prehistoric and present-day father. The story, written by Pinto, the famous cartoonist, deals with love and prize fighting in [the] B.C. period as well as the present finale hopper craze.
"Three New Centuries Being Cut," Exhibitors Trade Review, January 26, 1924, page 31
Made Head of Century Script Building Department
News dispatches from Julius Stern, president of Century Comedies, who is now at his West Coast studios, report that the script building department, a new unit designed to aid directors, has been already formed, and Pinto, the famous cartoonist-gagman, will head it.
This new department, which should do much for the betterment of the Centuries in the way of stories and direction, will be headed by a man who is ably fitted for this work. Pinto, known by millions for his cartoons, has won recognition as a first-class gagman from his work with Al Herman, director-in-chief of Century Comedies. His work as head of the script building department will bring all original and purchased material under his jurisdiction, and before a script is turned over to the director for production it will undergo rigid alterations and building up. This will make every Century story holeproof and as near-perfect as possible. Gagging will play the biggest part in the "building up," since it is the intention of Julius and Abe Stern to make every sequence exceedingly humorous and lifelike, as well as original.
The advisory staff is headed by Julius Stern, and consists of Sig Neufeld, Bert Sternbach and Max Alexander.
Exhibitors Trade Review, February 2, 1924, page 29 This press release also ran in the Universal Weekly of February 16, 1924, page 34.
New Century Scripts
Century reports the purchase of three new scripts which will be handled by the new script-building department, which Pinto has been selected to head. They are "The Stilts Man" for Jack Earle and Harry McCoy, "Pal's Clever" for Pal the dog and an unnamed story for the Century Follies girls.
Moving Picture World, February 2, 1924, page 417
Good Number of Its Type
Type of production 2-reel comedy
This is a more than usually entertaining Century comedy, featuring Jack Earle and Harry McCoy, and a cute little girl whose name is not mentioned. Jack Earle is the very tall man on the Century lot, and in this comedy his job is that of a traffic cop. He is the favored suitor of the girl who is also loved by Harry McCoy. There isn't much to the action, but the gags are funny, and the finish with the girl falling into the lake and the boys afraid to rescue her is lively. A particularly amusing bit is the sequence in which the cross-eyed taxi driver figures. His name isn't mentioned either, but it should be.
The Film Daily, February 10, 1924, page 8 See the March 21, 1924 article below.
Julius Stern has selected the personnel of his recently inaugurated script-building department. Pinto, the well-known cartoonist, is the head, and associated with him are Tom O'Neil and Max Alexander of the technical department, Sig Neufeld and Bert Sternbach of the production staff, together with Edward Luddy and Ray Herman.
Moving Picture World, February 23, 1924, page 673
March 21, 1924 Medford Mail Tribune
Pinto Colvig, a former Medford young man, will be seen in his first comedy, called "Keep Moving," at the Rialto today and tomorrow. The following is from one of the trade journals:
"A great character in this comedy is the cross-eyed, mute taxicab driver, played by Pinto Colvig. He certainly puts 100 percent in this part. He puts on one of the funniest portrayals ever seen on the screen. Ben Turpin may get an injunction out on this. He can borrow the one Lasky used on the prodigal son. Two very funny gags are used by this driver. He charges McCoy ten dollars for a ride. McCoy holds up a five. Well, the driver sees two fives and is satisfied. Again, a double exposure shows two winding roads that the driver is on at the same time."
"Pinto Colvig in Comedy at the Rialto," Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1924, page B3
Pinto Colvig scored a big hit in his first comedy, "Keep Going," which had its premiere with May McAvoy in "Only 38" at the Rialto theatre yesterday. Pinto's impersonation of the world's greatest cross-eyed taxi driver was heartily enjoyed. It amply justifies all the praises bestowed upon it by the reviewers. The comedy has a lot of new tricks and stunts.
"Pinto Colvig Scores Big Hit," Medford Mail Tribune, March 22, 1924, page 3
Century People Sign Cartoonist As Head Gag Man"Pinto," known for his cartoon work for several well-known syndicates in New York and in the Northwest, has been engaged by Century Film Corporation to work on all completed scripts in the capacity of head gagman.
The appointment is not a recent one, for "Pinto" has been with Century for some weeks, but it was not until last week that Stern Brothers wired from their New York office to place "Pinto" in charge of script-building, as Century calls it. Each script will be built up carefully and painstakingly by directors, writers and gagmen.
Oakland Tribune, March 23, 1924, page 42
Al Herman is directing "Some Pal" for Century Comedies with Pal the dog as star. Fred Spencer, Ernie Shields, Earl Marsh and Ted Ross are in the cast.
The story is from a series of cartoons penned by Pinto Colvig before he entered Stern Brothers' employ.
"Harry McCoy Stars in His Third Comedy," Motion Picture News, March 29, 1924, page 1442
DOG IN TITLE ROLE
"Some Pal," with Pal the dog in the star and title role, has been placed in production by Julius Stern with Al Herman wielding the megaphone. This will be Pal's first Century Comedy since Lincoln's birthday, just passed.
An excellent supporting cast has been engaged to appear in this fun film, among whom are Fred Spencer, Ernie Shields, Earl Marsh and Tad Ross. The ingenue shall be either Bartine Burkett or Betty Young, although information concerning this has not yet been sent from the Century Hollywood studios.
The comedy is based on a series of cartoons which appeared in Northwest and Southern California papers, from the pen of Pinto Colvig. They have now been brought into screen form, and under Herman's direction it is expected that another "exceptional" comedy shall be made with Pal, the clever canine.
Exhibitors Trade Review, April 5, 1924, page 29
Famous Cartoonist Has Entered Movies
"Pinto," famed for his cartoons in many newspapers of this country, has been engaged by a producer of two-reel comedy films to work on all completed pictures in the capacity of "gag man," or in plainer English, "joke writer." Noted for his brilliant humor and ready wit, "Pinto" should do a lot towards making comedies of the screen real digestion aiders.
The far-seeing company that signed this gentleman up is the Century Film Corporation, producers of "Century Comedies." It is interesting to note that this is the company with which Baby Peggy, now internationally known baby star of the screen, climbed to success.
Billings Gazette, Montana, April 20, 1924, page B5
STERNS PROMOTE CHARLES LAMONT TO DIRECTORSHIP
Charles Lamont, who has been assisting Noel Smith in his directing of Century Comedies, has been assigned a complete producing unit by Julius and Abe Stern. This recognition comes to Lamont after faithful cooperation with several Century directors during the past months. Lamont came to Stern Brothers after producing several comedies for another company, but no units were free for him to direct. He assisted Herman for awhile. Later he co-directed with Smith.
His first subject for Century is temporarily known as "The Farmyard Flapper," and is Lamont's own story. Harry McCoy and Hilliard Karr will be Lamont's comedians, with Wanda Wiley appearing in the ingenue role. "Pinto" Colvig, famous cartoonist-gagman, has been turned over to Lamont, so that his first picture will be outstanding in every way. Lamont has been given a month in which to complete his first two-reel Century, and Stern Brothers anticipate an A-1 comedy.
The story deals with a farmyard Beau Brummel, his love for a city girl and the interference of the city slicker. The Century Follies Girls will be used for several sequences.
Universal Weekly, May 10, 1924, page 39 "The Farmyard Flapper" was most likely released as "Her City Sport."
"Pinto" Colvig, noted newspaper cartoonist and writer, is another new member of the Century comedy circle. A college man and the son of Judge William Colvig, noted jurist of Oregon, the former newspaper man turned to screen comedies as a greater field for expression, and he has appeared in a number of Century fun films recently, including "After a Reputation."
"Century Sticks to Two Reelers," Exhibitors Trade Review, May 23, 1925, page 39
"Hay Fever" in New York
W. Ray Johnston, President of Rayart Pictures Corporation, announces that the print of "Hay Fever Time," the fourth of the Butterfly comedy series, starring Gloria Joy, has been received in New York, and that the fifth of the series, "The Merry Widower," has just been put into production.
In addition to Miss Joy, the cast of "The Merry Widower" includes Conrad Hipp, Joe Bonner, Blanche Payson, Tiny Sandford and Pinto Colvig.
Exhibitors Trade Review, June 13, 1925, page 56
In "After a Reputation," Miss [Edna] Marian was given unusual opportunity to display her ability to draw laughs. It is a hilarious takeoff on the adventures of a hometown girl who has stage aspirations. It contains some jazzy backstage chorus scenes and also is notable by the appearance of Pinto Colvig, the man with the funny face.
"Four Comedy Two-Reelers from Century this Month," Moving Picture World, August 8, 1925, page
The titles are by Pinto Colvig and help things along materially.
"Peggy's Heroes," Exhibitors Trade Review, September 21, 1925, page 45
A McKnight-Womack production. Story by King Benedict. Titles by Pinto Colvig.
Summary--A fairy entertaining two-reeler with a number of funny gags which should cause laughs in houses where physical mishaps to the players get a mirthful response from the audience. The titles are fair, and it has been given a good production. The action moves at a fast pace.
"Peggy's Heroes," Motion Picture News, October 10, 1925, page 1716
During this period Pinto also wrote the titles for "Ringling's Rivals," viewable on YouTube.
The same principals are being used throughout the Buster Brown Comedy series. In addition to Arthur Trimble, Doreen Turner and Pete the dog, in "Oh! Buster," the cast also includes Pinto Colvig, a character comedian recently seen as the cross-eyed taxi drier with Edna Marian in "After a Reputation."
"Century Studio Starts Work on Third Buster Brown Film," Moving Picture World, October 17, 1925, page 572
The last Century release of the month, on November 25th, will be "Oh, Buster," the third of the Buster Brown comedy series, and said to be far better to the first two, which now are establishing new records for Century Comedies. "Oh, Buster" was directed by Gus Meins, a newcomer to the Century lot. He has obtained the maximum comedy out of the ability of Pete the dog-comedian, and has made Tige a very laughable and important figure in the picture. These comedies are adapted from the famous R. F. Outcault newspaper cartoons, but are played by real people. Buster is played by little Arthur Trimble, Mary Jane by Doreen Turner, and the butler by Pinto Colvig.
Pinto and the cast of "Oh, Buster," November 21, 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review, page 24
"Big Month for Universal," Exhibitors Trade Review, November 7, 1925, page 40