* Zack Mosley, 87, who mixed humor with aviation...


December 25, 1993

* Zack Mosley, 87, who mixed humor with aviation adventures for four decades in his "Smilin' Jack" comic strip, died Tuesday at Martin Memorial Medical Center in Stuart, Fla., of a heart attack. Inspired by a mail plane that flew over his boyhood home in Oklahoma, he created a comic strip full of characters based on real people and drawings portraying aircraft in close detail. "Smilin' Jack" appeared in more than 300 newspapers from 1933 to 1973. "It was the most popular aviation adventure strip in the country in the 1930s and '40s," said Ron Goulart, editor of the Encyclopedia of American Comics. "This was a time when flying was literally by the seat of the pants. There was a romance to aviation, and Mr. Mosley got in on that." The strip was launched Oct. 1, 1933, as "On the Wing." The story of nervous flying students -- Mr. Mosley started taking flying lessons in 1932 -- took off several months later when the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate changed the title to "Smilin' Jack." The strip featured a motley cast of characters, including Fatstuff, whose belly was so big that buttons popped, and dashing faceless pilot Downwind Jaxon, who symbolized the period's colorful aviators.

* Bob Shepard, 76, a radio and television announcer of a generation ago, died Dec. 17 of a heart attack on a visit to Manhattan. He had homes in Boca Raton, Fla., and Wilmington, Vt. After graduating from the City College of New York, he became a staff announcer for WOR in 1941 and over the next two decades was the announcer, master of ceremonies or commercial voice of hundreds of programs. He was the announcer for the NBC radio show "Mr. District Attorney" in the 1940s, and in the early days of television worked on the "I Love Lucy" show, "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show," among others. He stopped announcing in the 1960s and opened an antiques store in Bronxville, N.Y. He later became an appraiser of antiques and jewelry, maintaining offices in Boca Raton and Wilmington.

* Sir Philip Christison, 100, Britain's oldest surviving general, who accepted the Japanese surrender at Singapore in 1945, died Tuesday at his farm in Melrose, southern Scotland. The cause of death was not released. He was born Nov. 17, 1893, the grandson of Queen Victoria's senior physician in Scotland and son of the Bengal Army's surgeon-general, the first man to use chloroform in a war zone. He joined the army in 1914 and distinguished himself in World War I and II. He was believed to have served in more regiments than any other officer in the British army. In World War II, he inflicted the first decisive defeat on the Japanese in Burma at Arakan in 1944, turning the tide in what had been a disastrous Allied campaign. On Sept. 3, 1945, he accepted the surrender of the Japanese 7th Area Army and South Sea Fleet at Singapore, avenging one of the worst British defeats of the war -- the loss of the island's garrison 3 1/2 years earlier. He retired in 1949.

* A.H. Raskin, 82, a reporter and editor who covered the labor movement for The New York Times for four decades, died of cancer Wednesday in New York. He joined the Times in 1934 and wrote about the hardships of people seeking work during the Depression. After World War II, he covered the growing strength of organized labor and union corruption. In 1952, his articles encouraged the American Federation of Labor to set up an anti-racketeering committee. Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa once warned him, "Abe, you're going to scratch yourself on your typewriter one day and die of blood poisoning." His honors included the George Polk Memorial Award and a Page One Award from the Newspaper Guild. He joined the editorial board of the Times in 1961 and became assistant editor of the editorial page three years later. He retired from the newspaper in 1977.

* Harold Morrison, 62, a country music entertainer, died Tuesday in Springfield, Mo. He got his start as a banjo picker and comedian on "The Ozarks Jubilee" show with Red Foley that was televised nationally from Springfield. He later worked on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

* Lee Barron, 78, a former big band leader and radio and TV personality, died of respiratory failure Tuesday in Omaha, Neb. His bands included Elroy Lee and the Crookston Dinner Club Orchestra, Snorty and His City Slickers, Lee Barron and His Belltone Music and the Lee Barron Orchestra. He started in radio at KOIL in 1944 and later worked for several other radio and TV stations. In the late 1980s, he wrote the book "The Odyssey of the Mid-Nite Flyer," about the bands he traveled with.

* Alexander Mackendrick, 81, director of classic British comedies such as "The Ladykillers" and the American drama "Sweet Smell of Success," died of pneumonia Wednesday in Los Angeles. With his directing debut in "Whisky Galore" in 1949, he established himself as a player in classic British comedy. Alec Guinness starred in "The Ladykillers" in 1955. "Sweet Smell of Success" in 1956 starred Burt Lancaster. His other movies included "A Boy 10 Feet Tall," "The Man in the White Suit," "A High Wind in Jamaica," "Don't Make Waves" and "Mandy." He moved to the United States in 1955. In 1969, he founded the film school at the California Institute of the Arts.

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