'Rural Delivery' (The Plattsmouth Journal, 11 January 1951).

Paul Gringle was an American newspaper comics artist, animator and designer of humorous greeting cards. In comics, he is mainly known for his own feature 'Rural Delivery' (1951) and as one of the artists of the 'Out Our Way' Sunday page (1968-1971). Both comics focus on inhabitants of the more rural areas of the USA.

Early life and career
He was born as Arthur Paul Gringle in First View, Colorado in 1922 (or 1924, sources differ) as the son of a school principal. Gringle was in the US Air Force during World War II, and served as a radio operator and mechanic in Europe. His unit was often tasked to go into enemy territory and bring back the remains of American planes that had been shot down. After the war, he spent a year in France on a scholarship at Biarritz American University, studying fine arts. He later graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, additionally studied at the National Academy of Design, and took a correspondence course from the Landon School of Cartooning. His first known comic strip was called 'Doc Syke' and presumably ran between 1945 and 1948.


Introduction strip of 'Rural Delivery', apparently drawn by Al Smith, but starring Paul Gringle (The Plattsmouth Journal, 4 January 1951).

Rural Delivery
On 4 January 1951 readers of local newspapers like The Plattsmouth Journal were introduced to a new set of six comic strips distributed by the Al Smith Service. Besides Al Smith's own 'Jackie', the new comics were 'Deems' by Tom Oka, 'Off Main Street' by Joe Dennett, 'Those Were The Days' by Art Beeman, 'Going West' by Frank Thomas and a family comic called 'Rural Delivery' by Paul Gringle. In the first 'Rural Delivery' strip, a pretty housewife introduces the readers to the man who will draw "these funny pictures", only to find Paul Gringle asleep at his drawing table. Strange enough, this first strip was signed by syndicate chief Al Smith.


'Rural Delivery' (The Plattsmouth Journal, 18 January 1951).

The main star of 'Rural Delivery' was a pretty country girl called Jenny, who lives with her "Ma and Pa" in Snow Falls County. The focus of the later episodes seems to shift towards Jenny's father, the mailman Mr. Jingle. By October 1951 Gringle's strip apparently disappeared from the comics section. Despite his short tenure on it, Gringle felt personally connected to his strip. In an interview with the Arizona Republic of 2 August 1976, the artist revealed that he got most of the ideas while listening to soap operas on his grandmother's radio. At one point, he said, he got so involved in the main character (the postman), that he began to believe he was him. 'Rural Delivery' was later continued by Al Smith, who combined it with his own strip about the black kid Jackie (first found strip dates 16 April 1953). Smith's version ran well into the 1980s, although most of the original cast had disappeared by then.


'Rural Delivery' (The Plattsmouth Journal, 22 March 1951).

Commercial art
The following years were spent largely as a commercial artist. Paul Gringle worked as an illustrator for Ford Motors between 1951 and 1955. During a period of five years, he designed humorous greeting cards for the American Greetings Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio, eventually becoming one of the firm's most fruitful contributors of ideas. Through a studio in Orchard Lake, Michigan, he created an advertising film for Champion Spark Plugs, that won second place in a national film festival. In the film, a mouse drawn by Gringle showed how the electrical system of a car works.


'Out Our Way with the Willets' (The Manhattan Mercury, 15 June 1969).

Out Our Way
During the 1960s, Paul Gringle returned to cartooning, finding a new association with the Newspaper Enterprise Service. Along with Neg Cochran and Walt Wetterberg, Gringle was one of the artists of the 'Out Our Way' newspaper comic. The original daily panel was created by J.R. Williams in 1922 and largely based on its creator's own experiences in factories, mechanic shops and cattle ranches in the USA's rural areas. While the dailies presented various scenes from the doings in small American towns, the Sunday comic focused essentially on the Willets family. Cochran did the initial run of this Sunday page from 1922 until 1966, followed by Wetterberg. Gringle took over in October 1968 and continued 'Out Our Way with the Willets' until 1971. He also did one cartoon a week for the daily series. It is not sure if Gringle had been involved in the production prior to these dates? He was succeeded by Ed Sullivan.


'How Wyn Sock Saved Christmas' (The Hawaii Tribune Herald, 10 December 1969).

Other comics work
In 1969 Gringle was additionally tasked to provide the NEA syndicate's December feature, this time called 'How Wyn Sock Saved Christmas'. It ran from 1 through 24 December. In the late 1960s he also made a single panel western cartoon called 'Rip O'Hare' for the syndicate. Later features by Paul Gringle include 'Park Ave.' (1972), 'Kookie the Cook' (1981-1982) and 'Witty World'.


'Rip O'Hare' (presumably).

Later life
At one point in his career, Paul Gringle was director of comic art at Dickson Feature Service. During the late 1970s and 1980s, he was teaching classes in cartooning and greeting card design at nearly all Maricopa County community colleges. His lessons included basic drawing and design, but also marketing techniques. The artist passed away on 22 April 2012.


Picture accompanying an article about Paul Gringle in the Arizona Republic of 2 August 1976)

Series and books by Paul Gringle in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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