A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about Walt's early days and got to thinking about the photos I have and which we've seen many of him and the Laugh-O-grams staff clowning in Swope Park Kansas. I typed Swope Park into the e-bay search and immediately found the above 1919 post card of the Colonel Swope Memorial also the grave site of Colonel Thomas Hunton Swope (Kansas real estate magnate) who passed away in 1909 under mysterious circumstances and was finally laid to rest in Swope Park (land which he donated in 1896) on April 8, 1918.
Here was an easy landmark to identify from the Laugh-O-gram photos which would have been taken around 1922 probably the fall since the trees are bare yet no snow is visible. The photos look like they've been inscribed with a date April 1922. Seems kind of odd to be playing on what's essentially a tomb, yet I've seen photos of weddings being held on the tomb itself which is at the foot of the plaque.
Looking at some of the photos I found on Google it's easy to imagine, Walt, Red Lyon, Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising playing and posing around the place on a long forgotten afternoon before any of them were ever known to the world.
It's possible, the modern day photo would have been taken from the right side of the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH photo. Fun to imagine.
|THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH?|