Fans of artist Wallace Smith and his macabre art as epitomized in his drawings for Hecht's shock book, Fantzius Mallare, know Smith did jail time for his art in that book, while Hecht got off with a no lo contendere plea. The U.S. postal authorities took offense at Smith's drawing of a man embracing a tree. Little has been published about Smith recently, but the Snickersnee Press offers two publications with new content about him.
Ben Hecht's relationship with Smith is divulged by FW Kovan and the Snickersnee Press. Smith argues about art in Hecht's "Notes by a Bogus Classicist," his Chicago Daily News story, which is reprinted in Snickersnee's 2003 Hecht anthology Art & Architecture on 1001 Afternooons in Chicago: Eassys and Tall Tales of Artists and the Cityscape of the 1920s. The handsome illustration above appears with other drawings by Wallace Smith, for whom art was an unfortunate sideline: He was the rock star reporter when Hecht joined the staff of the Chicago Daily News. Together they became boulevardiers of the Chicago loop scene, keeping an eye on Chicago and one another and eventually working together on Mallare, the artist's first book. Wallace Smith also became a Hollywood screenwriter, whose filmography and biographical notes are addressed in The Ben Hecht Story & News: "A Hecht Reprint in Every Issue," . The series may still be bought loose or compiled.
Left, artist Wallace Smith in his fashionable hat of the 1930s. We managed to publish the whole thing in the Ben Hecht Story & News.