IMAGE: Steve Canyon daily comic strip, July 28, 1947 — Copyright 2014 the Milton Caniff Estate. This is the first introduction to character Madame Lynx. She was shown in the previous day’s Sunday comic, but she didn’t reveal her name until this comic strip.
One of the earliest femme fatales in “Steve Canyon“ was Madame Lynx. In the May 1953 issue of “Pageant,” Caniff notes that Madame Lynx was based on actress Ilona Massey because she’s pretty and she often “plays the type of role that he wanted Madame Lynx to play in the comic strip.”
However, some people erroneously report that Madame Lynx was based on Madame Egelichi, a character played by Ilona Massey in the 1949 Marx Brothers film “Love Happy.” This can’t be the case however, since Madame Lynx was introduced into the comic strip in 1947 and the film was released nearly two years later. (You can catch a glimpse of Madame Lynx in the trailer for the Miss Mizzou book I made; check out my blog post about the trailer for more info.)
Marilyn Monroe also had a small part in the film “Love Happy.” Though Marilyn had done other films, this was the first one that played up her sex appeal. If Caniff was an Ilona Massey fan and he was watching her in this film, I wonder if he also took notice of Marilyn Monroe, who would later inspire Miss Mizzou?
This is a book trailer for the book “Miss Mizzou: A Life Beyond Comics” that I created. Let me explain a little background info about the trailer.
In the trailer I use several images from my book, but I also use footage of Milton Caniff that I found on the internet archive that comes from the Prelinger Archvies in San Francisco. The film is around 11 minutes and silent. Given some of the images, I’d place the footage as being shot around 1947, but I might be off a bit.
I re-cut the footage of Caniff to make it look as if he’s creating Miss Mizzou in 1952, but this is not the case. Caniff in the film is actually inking a stylish portrait of the character Madame Lynx. Earlier in the film we see a larger portrait which he labels Lynx:
Later still, he’s drawing a full body portrait of the women we saw before who was labeled Lynx.
The part that I used in the trailer is the lower portion of the drawing:
If you squint a little bit, the legs and shoes look a little bit like Miss Mizzou, so that’s why I put that footage in the book trailer. I hope I didn’t confuse anyone by using this footage, but I thought it was too good not to use somehow.
The music that was used for the trailer is a track that comes with the iMovie software, and it’s called “44th Street.” I couldn’t find much information about how this music came about, or which “44th Street” it was referencing, but I think it fits in with the character well. Oddly enough, when Marilyn Monroe moved to New York, she studied at the Actors Studio at 432 West 44th Street under Lee Strasberg.