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Life On the Line

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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)

Fontaine Fox’s Carlton Avenue Home

“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.