October 17, 2003 by

Ned Riddle

32 comments

Categories: Artists

Ned Riddle, a former Dallas Morning News artist who drew the syndicated cartoon, Mr. Tweedy, died on Oct. 14 from complications of a stroke. He was 81.

Riddle served in the Navy as a navigator’s assistant aboard the submarine USS Piranha during World War II. To entertain the crew, he drew caricatures of his superiors for a weekly newsletter. After he returned to the states, Riddle graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and began painting in watercolors.

In the 1950s, the Dallas Morning News hired Riddle to work as a commercial artist. The editors at the paper were so impressed with his work that they suggested he syndicate his cartoons. Syndication executives in New York told him to focus on drawing a single character, and so Mr. Tweedy was born. For the next 34 years, Mr. Tweedy was published in newspapers in the United States, Canada, Australia and South America.

32 Responses to Ned Riddle

  1. Rich

    Jan. 18 2004
    Ironically, I was sorting through 50 years worth of “my” stuff this morning & I found a cache of “Mr Tweedy” cartoons which I had cut out of the local Hartford paper when I was but a tyke. Tyke or not; I was mesmorized by Ned’s sense of humour,actually, all the kids my age looked fo0r “Mr. Tweedy” B4 we even went to the sports page. This is how I found out the sad news that another Icon has passed to a better place.
    I am going to turn my 13 yr old son onto Ned’s work, now. I’m ceertain he will enjoy this stack of cartoons I faithfully cut out of the paper every day as much as I did.
    A Question: Were any of Ned Riddle’s works published in book form. I am certain I do not have all of his cartoons & would love to have a complete anthology of Ned’s wounder hunour.
    Sincerely with a Tear, Rich

  2. Terry Haug

    I grew up in Wichita, KS. I carried newspapers during my high school years, 1960 thru 1964, for the Wichita Eagle Beacon. I remember reading the comics daily with a dose of humor from the always-one-frame cartoon, Mr Tweedy. One that I can alswys remember showed Mr Tweedy in his living room with a 35mm slide projector on a table and a veiwing screen also in the room. Two neighbors were on the sidewalk talking. A sign was placed in the yard of Mr Tweedy that said “Vacation Slides 50cents. One of the neighbors said to the other that Mr Tweedy would pay 5o cents to anyone that would come in and view his slides. My deceased father also took tons of slides and although most relatives enjoyed viewing his photographic skills, perhaps they just watch the slides to please my father. I hope you can put a book of these cartoons together for all to enjoy.

  3. thierry

    I loved Mr. Tweedy, and always wondered what happened to him. His gentle humor and general confusion at the vastness of life always brought a smile. In the Washington DC area, he was in the Star, a paper that ceased publishing in the early 70s, and the only surviving paper–the Post–did not pick him up. I too would like to find a collection of Tweedys. I understand two or more paperbacks were published, but so far no luck. I’ll keep searching. Thierry Sagnier

  4. Robert Johns

    Just came across this site and, as a long-time Mr. Tweedy fan, wanted to add my notes.
    Like others who have posted tributes here, I looked forward every day to Ned Riddle’s cartoon. When he retired I called him in Texas to thank him for years of pleasure. (I’m a recruiter, so finding people, even before the Internet, wasn’t hard to do.)
    We had a great conversation and Ned told me he was having a ball, painting and sculpting. At the end of our conversation he kindly offered to send some originals. I was thrilled and told him so. He asked what profession I was in and that of my wife and sent two that were appropriate, with photos of his sculpture and a nice note.
    Like Peanuts, his work is timeless and should be re-run.
    Robert Johns
    Farmington CT

  5. Jim McCall

    Loved Mr. Tweedy while growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. Any chance anyone knows where to find any of the Mr. Tweedy cartoons? I’d love to re-read them again. Thanks in advance.

  6. Tracy

    I have an original Mr Tweedy cartoon hanging on the wall of my office. It ran Dec 3rd – of what year I don’t know. Mr. Tweedy is picking up his car at a parking lot next door to a bug killer factory. His car is on it’s back, tires pointed to the sky. The car is of course a VW Bug.
    My dad drove a Bug at the time and the comic so tickled his funny bone that he wrote to the syndicate. The letter must have gotten to Ned because a few months later we received the original in the mail along with a personal note. When my father died, I got the drawing and it’s been in my home office ever since.

  7. Kate

    My sister just came upon this site last night. I can’t tell you heartwarming it is to hear that there are still “Tweedy” fans out there. Ned was our father. Growing up, we never realized how far reaching our dad’s cartoons were, and now as grown-ups, we are constantly amazed when someone says “I remember Mr. Tweedy.” Dad loved his fans and was always happy to hear from them. It’s great to hear your stories about him. There were two books published in the 60’s – both New York publishers – both are now out of print. After he died last year we decided to put together a third collection. We’ll let you know when that happens. Thank you for sharing your memories. -Kate

  8. ed

    I have been reading cartoons for nearly 50 years, including the top of the line New Yorker, and my favorite cartoon of all time is a Mr. Tweedy. I wish I could find it, but it is burned in my memory, so I don’t really need it.
    It was the one where there is a nursery van parked in front of Mr Tweedy’s house, and they are unloading a tree, obviously to be planted in his yard. The side of the van has the name of the nursery: “Caveat Emptor Nursery”. Mr Tweedy has clearly asked a question, and the nurseryman’s reply is the caption to the cartoon: “It’s Latin for ‘Guaranteed to Grow'”.
    It doesn’t get much more clever than that.

  9. John Gaither

    I remember Mr. Tweedy from the Thomasville (Ga.) Times-Enterprise in the early 1960s. We children always made a special effort to read it, and sometimes the older ones had to explain it to the younger, which was me. The comic was always back in the classifieds, because of its size. This made it special.
    I remember one where he was waiting to be seated at a crowded restaurant, and the waiter is telling him there’s only one seat available — it’s a baby’s highchair. Another one: he’s saying to a painter, “How did you use three gallons of paint so fast?” and we can see around the corner, but he can’t, that the painter had climbed to the top of the ladder and poured the paint down the wall.
    I can say that Mr. Tweedy was often getting the short end of the stick, but was not mean-spirited in response. A good role model for children, and adults too.
    I would be happy to buy a collection of Mr. Tweedy comics for my own children to enjoy.

  10. Jim

    Kate,
    If you don’t have enough proof already that your Dad’s wit and artistry touched so many people…here’s more. I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania, ‘way out in the country. The Oil City Derrick carried the Mr. Tweedy strip, and I’d always save it for last. I’d read the rest of the comic section first, while eating my breakfast cereal and toast. When I’d finished that, I read Mr. Tweedy for dessert. I’d get on the school bus feeling a little more enlightened, a little more insightful, a little more realistic about life. Ned’s work has a whole new potential audience out there, not to mention a lot of us who would just revel in seeing those one-frame cartoons again. Please keep pursuing the third edition. If it’s already out there, let me know.
    Jim

  11. Stephen Lawrenz

    I would like a copy of the new book because, born in 1950, I always saved Mr. Tweedy for last when reading the Milwaukee Journal Green Sheet because it was the best cartoon of all. To this day I miss Mr. Tweedy.
    Steve Lawrenz, Lusaka, Zambia, Africa.

  12. Terry M

    Once a week during the 1960s my uncle in Milwaukee sent me the week’s Mr Tweedy as it did not appear in the local paper. I was hooked and corresponded with Ned Riddle on several occasions telling him of my and my uncle’s admiration of his cartoons. He sent me the original panel of Mr. Tweedy in the oculist’s chair reading the “barking dog” (window washer making hand signals on the wall) and the turned away doctor asking, “you see what sir?” with a personal inscription to me from Ned. It still proudly hangs on my office wall today. I sure miss him . . . and Leonard Tweedy.

  13. Palash Ghosh

    So sad to hear of Ned Riddle’s death. I loved Mr. Tweedy from my local paper. I actually bought a Tweedy paperback book which Mr. Riddle actually signed! Tweedy was the greatest!

  14. Vernon P.

    Mr. Tweedy was a favorite of mine throughout the sixties and seventies.
    I best remember the one where he was being pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle. The vehicle was a crane.

  15. greg taggart

    I grew up in Dallas, and remember reading Mr. Tweedy every morning in the Dallas Morning News. I also went to high school with Emily Riddle, and remember thinking how neat it must be to have that sort of talent in the family – a famous dad who made people laugh with some of the cleverest and most insightful cartoons ever.
    I too, would cheerfully by a Tweedy book.

  16. James "Jimmy" T. Chiles

    As a Dallas Morning News paperboy in Old Preston Hollow, I enjoyed reading Mr. Tweedy every morning while folding my papers prior to my daily deliveries. Thanks for the funnies Ned, you always made me chuckle.
    James T. Chiles – Dallas,Texas

  17. mark warren

    My brother and I were just remembering ‘Tweedy’ this morning and thinking what a cool name for a guitar sound. It would fit the comic image perfectly. We grew up in Wichita, Ks. The comics were a first for me from the first day of school, in 1962, and I remember ‘Mr Tweedy’, being my favorite from the beginning. Our father worked for Boeing as a ‘jig builder’ and we had many neighbors that worked more or less ‘professional’ jobs and had to wear a shirt and tie every day to work. I often wondered how many, lived a ‘Tweedy’ life. I do know there is at least a little ‘Tweedy’ in all of us. I can only wish and hope for the best for the ‘Tweedy’ family and the ‘Riddles’.
    marquew

  18. Frank Kunkle

    Another Wichita Person here. Does anyone know any websites where there are Mr Tweedy strips? I remember really liking the strip when I was a kid and I’m actually kind of shocked how little there is on the net about it. My favorite strip had Mr Tweedy taking a phone survey. Pro wrestling is on the TV in the background and he is saying something like, “A telivision survey? What am I watching now? er, It’s a gladiator type epic.

  19. Luke Lavin

    I (heart) Mr. Tweedy. I don’t know why he popped in my head today. I haven’t seen one since I was young (it must be at least 25 years ago). Obviously, the comic made a lasting impression. I also remember saving Mr. Tweedy for last.

  20. David

    Funny thing life is. Now that I’m in the advanced stages of “Baby Boomer,” seems like more of the “baby,” is beginning to boom in me. “Mr. Tweedy,” was so much a part of my youth. As a child, nine or ten years old perhaps, I would walk to the train station to greet my father on his way home from work. When we met, the second thing he did, hugs came first, was to hand me the newspaper. I went straight to the comics’ section. “Mr. Tweedy,” was always there waiting for me, too. No other comic in my past had left such a long lasting and wonderful memory than good old “Mr. Tweedy.” I sure do miss both fathers. Would love to have a picture or publication of a “Mr. Tweedy,” comic(s). Any suggetions, please? Thank you

  21. Blaine Searcy

    I saw Mister Tweedy daily in The Jacksonville Journal in Jacksonville, FL more than 20 years ago. Today I am 53 and my son put a few of my favorite strips on gocomics.com that aren’t in my daily newspaper and I asked if he could put Mr Tweedy on too. It was always my favorite. I hope someone will rerun a collection of his stuff.

  22. Sarah Smith

    Oh how I love my paperback book of Mr. Tweedy (#1). I keep it in the bathroom for me & my guests to enjoy. He, too, was one of my all time favorites in the local paper as I was growing up. I sure wish now I had cut them all out. Please, please, somebody out there publish an anthology of Mr. Tweedy cartoons!

  23. Scott Bentley

    Did anyone know that there was a collection of Mr Tweedy cartoons published in a book many years ago? I just found it in my attic and sat down and read it cover to cover. It’s a classic and at this very moment my kids are reading it.

  24. Terry R,

    One more fan from the Wichita, KS area, who always, like dessert, saved Mr. Tweedy for the last, to be savored.
    My favorite cartoon features Mr. Tweedy standing watching, bug-eyed, a lion-tamer who had his head in a lion’s mouth, while unseen to the tamer, a vendor’s cart was about to run over the lion’s tail, which was protruding from between the bars of the cage. PRICELESS! The memories still bring a smile even today.
    I would love to obtain a copy of an anthology of Mr. Tweedy cartoons, please let me know if one exists, and where it might be purchased.

  25. Pete

    Folks,
    I, too, grew up loving Mr. Tweedy in the long gone, dearly missed Washington Star. Mr. Tweedy was a daily joy. I hope Ned Riddle would be proud to know just how many kids grew up loving the comics and newspapers in general because of his work. A collection of cartoons would be a wonderful thing to have. Best Wishes to Ned’s family and Tweedy fans everywhere.

  26. Robert Lewin

    I grew up in Milwaukee, WI where the Milw Journal carried “Mr. Tweedy.” My mother, the archetypal “suburban mother of two,” wrote and sold jokes (“gags”) to some famous people, including Phyllis Diller, and Ned Riddle, in the 60s.
    I remember her typing them on index cards (and numbering them) and sending them off. A week or so later, she would get a note saying, “I like 106, and 111. Number 104 is a little too ‘dark’ for me…” and so on. She was paid $5.00 per gag, and I always thought the signed check was worth more as a collectible than to cash them!

  27. TerryR

    Kate, have you and your sister made any progress on your proposed new collection of your father’s works? You last posted in this blog January of 2005, and haven’t seen or heard anything more? Please tell us that it is still in the works!

  28. Robert Mundella

    I also think I have an original Mr. Tweedy Cartoon, looks given to my Mom and a letter from him to my Dad. Dad was Managing Editor of The Texarkana Gazette, and when he suddenly died in 1962, Ned Riddle sent my mom a cartoon. I posted it and letter on Facebook – Remember in Texarkana . Dave Mundella Jr.

  29. Robert Mundella

    Kate, I really did not expect to find an actual relative of Ned Riddle! My Dad was Bob Mundella, Managing Editor of The Texarkana Gazette. Seems like your Dad knew my Dad. I have a letter from Ned to my Dad. My Dad died very suddenly in 1962.Ned then sent my Mom a Mr.Tweedy cartoon, guess an original. I had recently found boxes of pictures and documents belonging to my late Mother, Jean Mundella, and posted the letter and cartoon s on Facebook – Remember in Texarkana . I had just turned 6 when Dad died, so I have been building our Family Tree. I have 3 grown children and now also have a 19 month old Grandson! Anyway, just wondering if you may have anything about Mundella Family in your Dads collection you would like to share. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Dave Mundella Jr.

  30. Barbara Tobey Williams

    I went to school with Emily, she was a very close friend, and I’m sorry that we have lost touch. I remember a special Mr. Tweedy cartoon which shows his wife wearing their daughter’s drillteam uniform, and a Hillcrest sign on the wall. Emily and I were on the drillteam together at Hillcrest, so that one particular cartoon was very special. I hope to reconnect with my dear friend again!

  31. winfield scott

    MEETING NED RIDDLE, THE FATHER OF MR. TWEEDY

    For many years I am a voracious reader of the LINCOLN STAR daily newspaper circulating in Lincoln Nebraska. My favorite part of the paper is a one panel cartoon, Mr. Tweedy. The genius/artist that birthed Mr. Tweedy is Ned Riddle and the cartoon is syndicated by the Los Angeles Times. I can’t wait to see what the cartoon has to say on a daily basis. In his circle the whole world is a tuxedo and Mr. Tweedy is just a pair of brown shoes. That is the best way I can describe him.

    Somehow I find Ned Riddle living in Dallas, TX so I contact him to tell him how much I appreciate his humor and artistry in drawing the feature. He invites me to stop by anytime and visit so the next time Karon and I travel to Texas we take him up on his offer.

    On arriving at his home we are graciously greeted and invited in. He knew we are coming so he is expecting us. My first impression of Ned is he reminds me of Mr. Tweedy, neatly dressed, kind of meek and mild, yet with a self assurance I never see in Mr. Tweedy. Ned’s stature is about the size I imagine Mr. Tweedy would be in real life. The big difference is Ned is no pair of brown shoes! I suspect Ned is usually a step or two ahead of the
    Tuxedo’s around him. Ned is very polite and Karon and I are immediately comfortable in his presence. The family residence is upper middle class and very homey inside. Karon likes the flora and fauna surrounding the home. The interior is well kept, clean and neat with furnishings appropriate for such a home. I seem to remember there is a lot of natural light in the interior of the residence.

    After introductions he takes us on a tour of the environment wherein his creative juices flow for each new cartoon panel. Upstairs there is a small room with a twin bed and a modest size desk/drawing table. Ned is very organized, no sloppy mess of pens and paper, wadded up cartoon rejects on the floor or other clutter. He explains his regular daily routine starts at 8:00 a.m. The first thing in his routine is to wet a washcloth. Next he lies down on the bed with the damp cloth on his forehead, closes his eyes, exercises his mind and within a few minutes he has arranged his thoughts to the extent he can arise, sit at the table, organize the theme and the layout of the cartoon, then draw it to completion. Ned tells us he has about

    (1)
    6 weeks of inventory of finished cartoons in stock so he never has to worry with the stress of meeting a publication date. Mr. Tweedy would be just the opposite in the same circumstance. I can visualize Mr. Tweedy chasing a UPS or FEDEX truck, tie flying over one shoulder, waving a sheaf of cartoon panels over the other shoulder and leaving a trail of cartoons on the pavement behind him as he tries to meet the submission deadline.

    I can’t help but wonder, “How in the world is Ned able to come up with so many ideas for the subject matter of the cartoon and then visualize the layout and the environment of the panel? After all that, drawing it to fruition must be the easy part.” Ned reveals he is phasing out Mr. Tweedy and beginning to focus on sculpting; primarily commemorative medallions. I am saddened to learn of the demise of Mr. Tweedy. What will I do without essence du Mr. Tweedy to start each day?

    Next Ned escorts us to an adjacent room where he is transitioning to the art of medallions. This room is larger than the cartoon room and Ned has several medallions in progress in various stages of production. The quality of this work is as exceptional as his cartooning is. Thinking myself to be an artist of some sort, all of this is of great interest to me, and he is generous in recognizing me as “one of him” but only because of my sense of humor, not my artistic talent. Ned makes me feel we have bonded.

    However, the holy grail of the experience waits quietly while Ned gives us the tour. Finally he takes us to the garage and it is like the Fort Knox of Mr. Tweedy cartoons is appearing in the flesh. In his garage he has stacks and stacks, literally hundreds, if not thousands, of the originals of the cartoons he has drawn over the years and they are stacked up waist high. I now discover he is a mind reader as he advises me to sort thru and pick out some (several) of the cartoons that I like and I can take them home with me. How did he know what I was wishing for but afraid to ask? Now I wish I had an armored car to haul of and protect this mother lode of a gift. In no time at all I find several with attorney/ legal themes and I can’t believe they are actually mine until I drive away with 10 of them safely in the trunk of my car. He offers to sign each one with a salutation that includes my name which I allow him to do. That makes each cartoon even more precious. I struggle with the fact he is so willing to give me the original of the cartoons

    (2)
    because I have created some things I just can’t part with. For me
    it is a personal Mr. Tweedy moment. How can this be happening to me?

    I have one other original cartoon and it is a full panel from a Sunday paper comic page from the “Smilin’ Jack” cartoon, drawn by Zack Mosley. It is a nice piece of comic cartoon history but it will never be more valuable to me than a single one of the Mr. Tweedy panels.

    I have always thought it would be fun to market a line of Mr. Tweedy polo shirts. The chest logo would be a head shot of Mr. Tweedy and the target market would have been all of the “brown shoe” men in the world. (that would be a lot of us, huh?)

    In the moment of this gift Ned is the artist and I am a weak kneed, emotional Mr. Tweedy. My life is richer because of the daily delight of Mr. Tweedy and the privilege of meeting his father, Mr. Riddle. Thank you Ned for your gesture of friendship and generosity! I hope my appreciation of your artistry was of great satisfaction to you that day and I assure you there are many others just like me.

    Winfield J. Scott J.D.
    120 Porter Road
    Forsyth, MO 65653
    417.546.7986
    Winfieldscott1844@gmail.com

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