Charles (Chuck Waggin) S. Amesbury
1914 – 1993
and his Light-Harted Look At The Desert
So, why is Charles Amesbury called ‘Chuck Waggin?’ Good question. My answer, is that on Cattle Drives the cook drove a wagon from which he prepared meas on the drive. And, since this was Tucson in the fifties, it seemed a good play on words. Here is a photo of a Chuck Wagon, courtesy of Texas Rancher Girl, and for which I thank her, them, or whomever. And, while on the discussion of Chuck Wagons, you can usually find them slinging grub at a Cowboy Jamboree, during cook off contests. They also race the Chuck Wagons. Here is a clip from 1916 courtesy of youtube. YeeHaw! Oh, and the actual racing is at about two minutes into the video.
So, for whatever reason, Charles Amnesbury called himself ‘Chuck Waggin’. So let us learn a bit more about him.
There is a social security death index For Charles Amesbury, which indicates he was born 13 May 1914, and died 24 June 1993. I assumed that record belonged to our cartoonist.
Other information comes from public trees on Ancestry.com. Many times those trees are poorly or not at all sourced, however I feel confident that the photo at the end of this post is that of our ‘Chuck Waggin’.
I grew up in Tucson, in the early 50’s, and left in 1957. I do not remember the cartoon show, but do remember a teacher complaining about how a local TV station answered the phone. The station call letters were KOLD, and in the middle of the summer they would answer the phone with, ‘it’s cold in Tucson’. Mind you the temps were usually well past the century mark.
Chuck obviously had a long association with the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, and while we are on the subject of heat and the museum, I took a photo of a urine chart conveniently posted in the bathroom, but now can not find it. However just so you might know ahead of time, do a search for ‘color chart dehydration urine’ and keep an eye on your pee when hot and thirsty.
And a reference, to his show on the Tucson Channel. Cartoon Corral KVOA, Tucson.
From the Arizon Daily Citizen (Tucson) 17 Feb 1958, page 19, the show was rated ‘fair’. Danny Thomas was excellent…
Different strokes for different folks.
The Television Station had an article about their Station manager, Gordon E. ‘Doc’ Hamilton, from which we have the following excerpt: Recognizing the impish humor and tremendous talents of the KVOA-TV art director, Chuck Waggin (the late Charles Amesbury), Doc kept him busy all the time with promotion and other station projects.
What is the old saying, never play cards with a man named ‘Doc’….*
Back to our cartoonist. He has two books on Amazon, one about Roadrunners, and this book.
And, from this book, we have the following information on the cartoonist,
He dedicates the book to his wife.
Also from this book, two pages of information.
Finally, we get to the cartoons and the texts accompanying them.
When my Daughter was in Middle School, or maybe High School, I ended up caring for the class Tarantula. One day I looked in the aquarium and there the critter was. Lifeless, and on its back. I was going to flush it, but thought I had best wait and break the news to my daughter. An hour later I looked in the cage, and there was a bright and shiny Tarantula stomping about. Thus I learned that Tarantulas molt. Good thing I did not flush it down the drain.
Chuck Waggin 14
Here is a little information on that National Monument– Pay special attention to the following excerpt from the National Park Service park brochure for that National Monument.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a safe place to visit. However, illegal border crossings and activities, including drug smuggling, occur daily. It is unlikely that you will encounter any illegal border activity, but you should be aware that such a situation is possible. Many safety precautions are in existence as a means to protect you and to continue preserving this national treasure.
Remember that cell phone service is usually out of range within monument boundaries.
Observe the following for a safe trip:
- Know where you are at all times, follow good safety procedures and use common sense when making decisions.
- Do not pickup hitchhikers.
- Keep valuables, including spare change, out of sight and lock your vehicle.
- Avoid traveling in well-used but unofficial trails.
- People in distress may ask for food, water or other assistance. It is recommended that you do not make contact. Report the location of the distressed people to park staff or the Border Patrol.
- Report ANY suspicious behavior to park staff or Border Patrol. Please do not contact suspicious persons.
Just makes you want to run right down there. Best to stay here and enjoy Chuck’s drawings in safety and comfort.
For Petrified Wood, see also the USNPS brochure, Many years ago I was a National Park Ranger, and had a friend stationed at that place. He lived in a condemned trailer, at least I would have condemned it, as the door would not shut, and the floor had some questionable spots. He pointed out where he would lurk so that he could jump out and cite folks for picking up Petrified Wood (illegal in the park). One day, he heard shouting and cries for help, and leaped out of hiding to find someone had left their baby in a car seat on the car, and forgot to place said baby in the car when driving off.
Turned out the baby was fine, and a testament to car seats. Everybody was happy that the Park Ranger and swooped in to help, a hero, and all that. He glossed over how he had just happened to be there.
I like that the park is its own post office:
1 Park Road, #2217
Petrified Forest, AZ 86028
Well, here we are at the end of the post. I will close with a photo of our cartoonist, unknown date, but obviously late in his life.
and a copy of his memorial service program.
Thanks for reading.
*“Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.” That’s the famous quote — the “three rules of life” — from the 1956 novel “A Walk on the Wild Side,” by Nelson Algren.