Zack Mosley, creator of the nationally syndicated aviation feature. "Smilin' Jack," since 1933, started taking flying lessons that year and has been a licensed pilot since Friday the 13th of November, 1936. He has owned 9 airplanes and logged over 3000 hours at the controls.
He is one of the volunteer pilots who helped form the Civil Air Patrol, now Aux.-USAF, which became an official organization of the U.S. government only six days before Pearl Harbor.
He was one of the few hundred C.A.P. pilots awarded the USAF air medal for flying over 300 hours in bomb-loaded civilian planes during the first 18 months of World War II-off the Atlantic coast.
Besides private flying, he has flown over 1,500,000 miles in military and commercial aircraft which has taken him about one-half of the world to gather authentic material for "Smilin' Jack."
He studied art at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the Chicago Art Institute.
He personally knows and has known many famous pilots from the "Jenny Days", Jimmy Doolittle, Roscoe Turner, etc., up to Ed Aldrin, the second astronaut to set foot on the moon!
Zack has been a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Aviation-Space Writers Association, National Cartoonists Society, B.P.O. Elks, Silver Wings Society, OX-5 Club, and the Quiet Birdmen Fraternity for many years. On September 18, 1976, he was inducted into the Civil Air Patrol Aux.-USAF Hall of Honor.
His "Smilin' Jack" feature was retired April 1, 1973.
He was born in Hickory, Oklahoma, December 12, 1906 and is the first nationally syndicated cartoonist to have an autobiographical book published.
|Smilin' Jack kept current with
all the latest developments in aviation. He traveled all over the
world getting ideas and information for all the different episodes that
Jack was involved in, whether it be the Air Force, CAP, Navy, Army, Space
Flight, Air and Sea Rescue, Undersea Research, World War II, Vietnam War,
Sky Diving, Car Racing, Water Skiing and on and on!
Some of the most remembered characters are: Fat Stuff, Downwind, Stretch, Joy, Jungle Jolly, Cindy, Dixie, The Head, The Claw, Limehouse, Teekeela, Tomaine, Tish the Dish and many others!
Jack was in a number of different disguises over the years (Powder, Hammerhead, Nevada Jack to mention a few). He was first married to Joy, that is an exciting episode! She is lost at sea, rescued, becomes the Coral Princess on a south sea island, where she gives birth to their son, Jungle Jolly. Of course, Jack almost marries Mary, Dixie and Cindy but something always comes up to keep the ceremony from finishing! Later he marries Sable (taken after my mom) and they have a daughter, Jill (after me). Later on, she becomes a stunt flyer, not after me! I chose to marry young and was blessed with three wonderful children and now grandchildren. That would have been too boring for the strip!
|Dear Ms Mosley -
I just had to tell you that I am 72 years old, a pilot for many years
and Zack Mosley has been, and still is, my hero. As a child on a farm
in Maine, I was (and still am) obsessed with airplanes. Not having electricity
or telephones, we were quite cut off from the world. However, we did
buy the Sunday edition of the local newspaper which contained your father's
famous cartoon. There was no one in my life as important as Smilin'
Jack and his creator. Zack's beautiful drawings of the airplanes of
the thirties and forties were absolute treasures to me. I would cut
them out and save them. I would study them by lamplight and imagine
myself in the cockpit flying so high in those gorgeous chines. Your
dad filled a great void in my otherwise drab farm life and his cartoon
inspired me to become a pilot, in spite of almost
insurmountable obstacles. I owe him a great debt. I repeat again,
| Ms. Mosley -
I am looking forward to reading your Dad's book. Thank you for your
prompt attention. Shalimar is near Fort Walton Beach (60miles west
a note to let you know that "Brave Coward Zack" arrived safely yesterday (Thursday),
and that, as expected, it was absolutely delightful--and hilarious!
Of course, I had to sit right down and read it from cover to cover, occasionally reading excerpts to Fay (my li'l de-icer). Your Dad's narrative has such drive and momentum that I was just swept along by the current. And no wonder; his style is breezy and irreverent; he never gets bogged down in pointless detail, never whines about his temporary reverses, isn't afraid to laugh at himself. Ya gotta love th' guy!
Later, as we were having dinner, I remembered the account about your Dad taking his flight test with the C.A.A. examiner and related it to Fay. When I quoted the examiner's final remark--"Now you can legally take up passengers, and God help 'em!"--Fay had to stop eating, being momentarily overcome by a hopeless case of the giggles.
Thanks, Jill, for a most special treat, one I will enjoy savoring often. I wish I could have known your Dad. His strip is justly famous for its action plots, beautiful women, and exquisite renderings of aircraft. But it should also be recognized for the originality of his irrepressible humor, not only in riotous gag lines, but in the witty dialog and in the sly, offbeat cartooning touches. He could expertly navigate between serious--even tragic--events, and wacky, side-splitting comedy. And both sides of his style fully engaged the reader--at least this reader! I have both laughed and wept. Thanks again.
My Dad drew the "Armour of God" at the request of his father. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I remember seeing this drawing displayed under the glass, on top of the their coffee table.
I want to share this with whoever would appreciate it. I believe that we need to put on the "Armour of God" spiritually every day.
|Click on the drawing above for a full size version.|
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CAVU (Ceiling and visibility unlimited)