Bernard and George Kashdan at DC Comics

BernardKashdan1948

Photo courtesy of Paul Levitz and © DC Comics, Inc.

In my recent blog article “The DC Comics Offices 1930s-1950s Part 3,” I examined a large 1948 photo of the National Comics (now DC Comics) staff, trying to identify as many of the people in it as possible. I thought the gentleman above might be a young George Kashdan (a DC editor), while others thought it could be someone else. Recently I was contacted by Bennett Kashdan, who told me he and his mother are sure it’s a picture of Bennett’s father Bernard Kashdan, George’s brother. Bernard Kashdan worked on the business side of National Comics, starting work there in 1940. With some additional photos and information from Bennett, I’ve put together what I know about the two Kashdan brothers.

BernardKashdan1940s2

Photo courtesy of Bennett Kashdan.

According to the Social Security Death Index, Bernard Kashdan was born in 1918, so he would have been 22 in 1940. The 1940 census does not list a job for him, and shows him living at home in The Bronx, New York, so he must have started his job at National Comics after the census was taken. In an interview referenced below, George Kashdan said their father Philip worked for Harry Donenfeld’s Donny Press where he was a foreman, and when Philip died, Harry offered Bernard work in the accounting department of National. Bernard attended the Baruch (now Zicklin) School of Business, so was well prepared for that.

BernardKashdan1940s

Photo courtesy of Bennett Kashdan.

Here’s Bernard at his desk at 480 Lexington Avenue some time in the 1940s clearly involved in some paperwork. While researching this article, I wondered if, as sometimes happens, Bernard might have tried his hand at writing for the comics, and I searched for his name in the Grand Comics Database. I found some entries, but when I looked at them I realized Bernard had been listed as the “writer” of the Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation for some comics in the late 1960s to early 1970s when he was the company’s Business Manager. Apparently he stuck to the business side and left the creative writing to his brother George.

BernardKashdanWedding

Photo courtesy of Bennett Kashdan

In 1952, Bernard and Harriet Kashdan were married. Bennett thought I would find this photo from their wedding of interest. From left to right are Harry Donenfeld, Rose Liebowitz,  Jack Liebowitz, Herb Siegel and Ben Weinstein (with his wife, I assume). Siegel and Weinstein were also from the business side of National Comics, with Weinstein being the Controller or Business Manager at the time, and Bernard’s boss. Those two can also be found in the large staff photo from 1948 in my previous article.

BernardKashdanbyRayPerry

Photo courtesy of Bennett Kashdan.

This photo from Bennett is my favorite, it shows a painting of Bernard by artist Ray Perry, who began working in comics in the earliest days, having art in the very first DC Comic, NEW FUN #1. Later he worked in the National Comics Production department, while becoming a well-respected fine artist in his spare time. I’ve heard of several Ray Perry portraits of company employees, but this is the first one I’ve seen. The inscription reads, “To Bernie from Ray” and the date looks like 6-23-55, though it’s hard to read. I find it an excellent work of art, and quite a good likeness to the photos. Bennett tells me it still hangs in his mother’s bedroom.

BernardKashdan1960s

Photo courtesy of Bennett Kashdan.

One final photo of Bernard is from the offices at 575 Lexington Avenue in the 1960s, probably taken by Bennett. Bernard continued to work for the company until 1976, reaching the position of Vice President – Business Manager. After that he worked in related businesses. He died in 2003.

GeorgeKashdan1949

Photo courtesy of Bennett Kashdan.

I don’t have much new information about George Kashdan, Bernard’s younger brother, but I do have this fine new photo from about 1949, which I’m happy to be able to add to my articles, replacing a rather poor and much later one. The 1940 census shows that George was born in 1928, so was about 10 years younger than Bernard. In a lengthy interview conducted by Jim Amash, and published in ALTER EGO #93 and #94, George gives more details about his comics career than I had previously discovered, and tells some interesting stories about the folks he worked with, including his brother. I highly recommend it for further reading. There George says he began writing for the company in 1947, after his brother Bernie told him the editors were looking for more writers, and did some part-time copy-editing in the late 1940s, filling in for ailing editor Bernie Breslauer, but did not become a full-time staffer until Breslauer passed away, around 1950. Thereafter he worked with Jack Schiff, Mort Weisinger and Murray Boltinoff as an assistant editor for some years, as well as continuing to write comics scripts, eventually becoming a full editor on some titles starting in 1961. In 1968 George was let go from his staff job, but continued to find work as a freelance writer in comics and elsewhere until health problems slowed his output in the late 1980s. George died in 2006. A fine remembrance by writer Mark Evanier can be found HERE.

3 thoughts on “Bernard and George Kashdan at DC Comics

  1. Steven Rowe

    The Kashdan brother’s father, Philip, was born in Russia 1892 and moved to the US in 1915, and became a printer for the Otis Elevator Company. At the time of his death on August 20 1940 of a brain tumor, he was a foreman at Donny Press. (source for most of this is the NY Sun obit)

  2. Pingback: The DC Comics Offices 1930s-1950s Part 3 | Todd's Blog

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