Radio Patrol by Charlie Schmidt
'Radio Patrol', 6 September 1936.

Charlie Schmidt was an American newspaper comic artist, best known as co-creator of the police comic 'Radio Patrol' (1933-1950), which gained such a popularity in the mid-20th century that it was adapted into both a radio series, as well as a feature film.

Early life and career
Charles Schmidt was born in 1896 in New York City. He never went to art school, but learned the trade from newspaper artists when he started as a copy boy. Prior to 'Radio Patrol', Schmidt had drawn a closed-end biographical feature about American boxer John L. Sullivan for the Ohio-based Central Press Association from January to March 1932. Sometimes photo panels were used in addition to Schmidt's artwork.

Radio Patrol by Charlie Schmidt
'Radio Patrol', 27 August 1939.

Radio Patrol
Together with crime reporter Eddie Sullivan, he worked for the Boston Daily Record in the 1930s. In 1933 their editor William Randolph Hearst Jr. (son of famous newspaper tycoon  William Randolph Hearst) asked them to create a detective strip to compete with Chester Gould's 'Dick Tracy' (1931) in The Detroit Mirror. The daily strip came about in 1933 and was originally called 'Pinkerton, Jr.', after the protagonist: a young boy named Pinky Adams. Pinky eventually became a youngster and was demoted to a sidekick of a new main character: Sergeant Pat O'Hara. Sergeant Pat is a brave police officer of Irish decent who often works together with his obese colleague, (Stutterin') Sam Maloney. The team is completed by the sharp policewoman Molly Day. Molly was modelled after Schmidt's daughter Muriel, and Pinky after his son Jimmy.

Radio Patrol by Charlie Schmidt
'Sergeant Pat of Radio Patrol', 8 December 1941.

While the series clearly tried to mimick 'Dick Tracy', it still had a more realistic tone. Schmidt didn't use grotesque villains or far-fetched plot developments. Everything was plausible, down to the backgrounds which show an almost photographic depiction of Boston and its surrounding cities. 'Pinkerton, Jr.' quickly caught on and from 1934 on received a more nationwide distribution after being picked up by King Features Syndicate. The series was then retitled 'Radio Patrol', named after the characters' radio patrol car: a brand new invention at the time. Later the newspaper comic was retitled again as 'Sergeant Pat of Radio Patrol', despite the fact that Pat always worked in a team. The daily strip ran until October 1946, the Sunday strip until December 1950. A Sunday topper called 'Public Enemies Through the Ages' appeared in May and June 1935. It featured background information about notorious criminals in previous centuries, told in comic strip format.

'Radio Patrol' inspired a radio serial, as well as a 12-part film serial, produced by Universal Pictures in 1937. Between 1935 and 1940 four comic books were published, followed by reprints in King Comics from 1941 on. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Big Little Books also printed the series. The 'Radio Patrol' comic strip additionally enjoyed popularity abroad. Between 1935 and 1938 it ran in Italy under the name 'Radio Pattuglia', while it was published in the Turkish children's magazines Çocuk Sesi and 1001 Roman under the title 'Küçük Yılmazın Maceraları' ('The Adventures of Little Yılmaz', which was their translation of Pinky's name).

Death and legacy
In 1958 Schmidt passed away in Winthrop, Massachusetts. His son Jimmy followed in his father's footsteps, and ran the art department of the Boston Daily Record (nowadays the Boston Herald) in later years.

Charlie Schmidt. 

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