By Bjorn Skaptason, Tom's Town Historian
KANSAS CITY, 1939: S. J. “Silvey” Ray was no fan of Boss Tom, and he used his gig as editorial cartoonist at The Kansas City Star to cut the Machine any time he got the chance.
A natural-born rube from the sticks outside Marceline, Sil landed in Tom’s burg in 1915, then immediately started scratching out doodles for Colonel Nelson’s rag, The Star, and also for the KC Journal. Few of Sil’s toons seemed to show much appreciation for the great things Tom’s Machine was doing for a very thirsty city.
Sil Ray drew six cartoons a week for the Kansas City newspapers for about forty years, and received much public acclaim for his work. He held a real affection for the politicos he liked to skewer, once observing “Kick in the pants or pat on the back, it’s all one to him. All he asks is that you don’t ignore him.”
Before retiring in 1955, Sil advised aspiring young political cartoonists, “Get Bible stories right and find out which way a plow turns and on which side a flute player holds his instrument. Otherwise you’ll hear from every Bible reader, every plowhand and every flute player in Missouri and Kansas.”