Life On the Line
Fontaine Fox (1884-1964), the celebrated “Toonerville Trolley” cartoonist, lived in Port Washington from 1914 to the 1930’s. His “Terrible Tempered” Mr. Bangs, the “Powerful Katrinka,” Banker Grey, and Old Man Flint were small-town characters who earned Fox a syndication in over 200 newspapers.
In the interview excerpt below, long-time Port resident Bill Bohnel tells historian Elly Shodell about the local inspirations for these memorable characters, and about Port Washington’s history as a home for artists and writers.
“The whole town was a cartoon!” Click the arrow to listen. (3:49)
“Toonerville Trolley” (officially known as “Toonerville Folks”) ran from 1908 until 1955. It was adapted into cartoons, used in numerous advertisments, and inspired a number of short films starring Mickey Rooney.
To hear more of this interview, read transcripts, and view more photos, please visit the Port Washington Public Library Local History Center.“Toonerville” cut-outs are from the collection of the PWPL Local History Center.