His Life and Times (1891-1964)
Page 4
"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison - 1788


Although Percy Crosby had been drawing numerous cartoons for Life, Charles Dana Gibson, the publisher (and famous creator of "the Gibson girl") ran an ad in the March 15, 1923 issue to introduce Skippy, whose impish character and mischief quickly captivated the hearts of both adults and children. Crosby, who called his character "the child of my soul", used his childhood adventures in Brooklyn and Richmond Hill to portray life in a small American town, as seen through the eyes of children. Skippy became known as "the little boy inside every man". Crosby had finally arrived and his cartoons on Life covers, which originals today are worth thousands of dollars, increased circulation. The Skippy weekly feature commanded the attention of William Randolph Hearst, who offered a contract to Crosby with King Features Syndicate that began in 1926 and lasted until 1945. The Skippy daily strip was was the only comic featured on the first page of the Hearst papers. The Sunday Skippy strip began in 1929, and the character had such universal appeal as "the All-American boy" that Skippy was syndicated worldwide and translated into over fourteen languages. Crosby was then making more money than the President of the United States. In 1927, Crosby hired Fred Wish, a well-known agent for famous artists and celebrities, to handle Skippy licenses. A major law firm (Lord, Day & Lord) was retained to protect Percy Crosby's valuable reputation and Skippy business, including trademarks and copyrights.


Lord, Day & Lord, then a prestigious Wall Street firm, valued Crosby's estate in early 1932 in excess of $3 million dollars, and advised Crosby to incorporate under his famous Skippy trade name to protect the "immense good will" he had created, from unauthorized uses. Skippy, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware on May 11,1932, and Lord, Day & Lord partners became Skippy officers, directors, the named incorporators, and trustee for Crosby's infant children. The firm was also Crosby's personal executor. Percy Crosby was president. Skippy licenses were assigned by Crosby to Skippy, Inc., including Standard Oil of New York, General Mills, Paramount, Effanbee Doll Co., General Ice Cream Corp., New England Confectionery Co. (candy), U.S. Printing & Lithograph Co.( bread), American National/Gendron, (pedal cars, wagons, etc.)., Milton Bradley Co.(games), Hearst, Ethyl corp., children's clothing , novelties, publications and product endorsements. The primary business of Skippy, Inc. was to license all uses of the name and character Skippy for royalty income, and designed to continue after the artist's illness or death. Percy Crosby's art and signatures commanded top dollar, and the $35,000 price that Standard Oil of New York(now Mobil) paid in 1929 for 35 Skippy billboards was considered unprecedented.

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