|Born||October 10, 1915|
|Died||November 10, 1970(aged 55)|
|The Commercial Appeal editorial cartoonist (1945–1970)|
Hambone's Meditations (1934–1968)
|Awards||Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award, 1955|
Born in Memphis, Cal Alley was the son of James Pinckney Alley, creator of the syndicated cartoon panel Hambone's Meditations, and the first editorial cartoonist at The Commercial Appeal in 1916. Hambone's Meditations ran on the front page of The Commercial Appeal.
When the elder Alley died April 16, 1934, his wife Nona, Cal Alley, and his brother James took over Hambone's Meditations.
Mr. J.P. really did stay here in Greenwood once. You say you heard dat an' didn't know whether to believe or not? Well, yes ma'am, he was here sho nuff. Dat's been somethin' like 25 year ago. He had an office over de Crumont—does you remember de Crumont? You mus' have been jest a li'l chile when it closed up. Well, upstairs, dat was where Mr. J.P. had his office—leastways his li'l room where he did his drawin' at. Twan't no regular office. I cleant up that place in dem days, an' I come trompin' up de stairs wit my mop an' bucket de fust time Mr. J.P. ever seed me. He cotch one glimpse of me, an' he jump an' holler: "Bless goodness, uncle! You stand right there 'til I can git yo' picture." Den he hole up his fingers like dis and squinch he eye at me, and fus' thing I knowed he had my picture. "Now," he says, "I got to get a name for you." And sho nuff, I'se comin' up de stairs one day a-gnawin' on a big ham-bone what a white lady had guv me. "I got it!" he hollers, "Hambone! From now on yo' name is Hambone!" An' dats what I been ever since, wit my picture in de Commercial Appeal ever' morning. Mr. J.P. he went on back to Memphis, and he dead now, but Young Mister an' his momma what was Mr. J.P.'s lady, dey draws my picture now. Hambone! Yassuh, Mr. J.P. Alley was sho one fine young white man.
Editorial cartoons and The Ryatts
Three years later, he signed on with The Commercial Appeal, where he launched a comic strip, The Ryatts, syndicated by the Post-Hall Syndicate from 1954 to 1994. Comics historian Don Markstein noted:
Besides Mom and Dad Ryatt, there were five kids: Missy, Kitty, Pam, Tad and Winky. If there was one family member who could be singled out as the star, it was Winky, the youngest. In fact, for a while during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the strip had the alternate title Winky Ryatt. Like many working in the domestic comedy genre, Alley drew inspiration from his own family. Alley retired in 1965, and died in 1970. The Ryatts was taken over by Jack Elrod, who later also took over Mark Trail from creator Ed Dodd. The (North America) syndicate folded the strip in 1994.
Alley's sister, Elizabeth Alley, was married to Frank Ahlgren, editor of The Commercial Appeal from 1936 to 1968.
Alley received the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for a 1955 editorial cartoon. He was inducted into the Tennessee Hall of Fame which "honors those who have made an outstanding contribution to Tennessee Newspaper journalism or, through Tennessee journalism, to newspaper journalism generally, or who have made an extraordinary contribution to their communities and region, or the state, through newspaper journalism."
Alley retired in 1965 and died of cancer five years later at the age of 55.
- "Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
- MSG Web Library: Tom Hunley
- "Henry, Wiley. "D'Army Bailey: Once a radical, still an activist", Tri-State Defender, February 11, 2010". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- The Ryatts at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015.
- "Tennessee Press Association: "Frank Richard Ahlgren (1903-1995)"". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-11-03.