Berk Anthony is the artist who created the mascot, Sparky the Sun Devil, for Arizona State College, known today as Arizona State University (ASU). Currently, ASU athletic teams are represented by a three-tine pitchfork. Sparky appears as a costumed character at the school’s sports venues and other events.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Berkeley Frederick Anthony was born on December 31, 1908, in Los Angeles, California. Anthony’s full name and birth information were on his World War II draft card. Find a Grave said his parents were Howard E. Anthony and Olga Gertrude Anthony. The California Death Index, at Ancestry.com, said his mother’s maiden name was Olsen. According to the California Birth Index, at Ancestry.com, the maiden name Olsen was recorded on the birth certificate of “Gordon B. Anthony” who was born on December 31, 1908 in Los Angeles.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, “Gordon Anthony” and his parents, Howard and Olga, were in the household of Fred and Mayetta Anthony, who were Anthony’s paternal grandparents. They resided in Los Angeles at 646 West 41st Street. Anthony’s father was a traveling salesman and his grandfather was an engraver.
The 1920 census said “Beasley Anthony”, his parents and paternal grandparents lived in Alhambra at 900 Dos Robles. Based on the 1910 and 1920 censuses, Anthony’s birth name was Gordon Beasley.
In the summer of 1926 “Berkeley Anthony” (below) graduated from Los Angeles High School.
Anthony continued his education at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He was the editor of the school’s humor publication, The Chaparral.
While in school, Anthony contributed art to Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, October 1929. Information about his art training has not been found.
The Oakland Tribune, October 8, 1931, noted Anthony’s involvement in an annual football game between humorists and journalists.
The San Francisco Chronicle, January 8, 1933, listed the students who were awarded degrees in the autumn quarter. In the School of Social Sciences, Anthony received an economics degree.
The 1934 San Francisco city directory listed Anthony and his wife, Harriet, at 1053a Broadway. Anthony worked in advertising.
Anthony illustrated the book, I Think I Am Slowly Recovering: Letters from a Forgotten Democrat to His Government (1934).
In 1936 Anthony, a Democrat and artist, was a registered voter who lived at 3369 Hamilton Way in Los Angeles. The same address was in the 1937 Los Angeles city directory. The 1938 voter register said Anthony was a Republican who lived at 3892 Clayton Avenue.
Anthony was mentioned as a member of Ward Kimble’s Pinocchio animation team in They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Mid-Century Era (2018). Pinocchio was released in February 1940.
Anthony was at the same address in the 1940 census. He was divorced and worked as an animation artist. In 1939 he earned three-thousand dollars. After the census enumeration in April, Anthony’s voter registration address was 224 South Commonwealth Avenue.
The same address was on Anthony’s World War II draft card which he signed on October 16, 1940. His employer was Walt Disney. Anthony was described as six feet and one inch, 153 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Anthony enlisted in the Army on May 21, 1941. Eight days later a large number of Disney animators went on strike. It’s not known if Anthony was for or against the strike.
Anthony’s Army duties were noted in film and entertainment trade publications. Variety, July 2, 1941, said
H’wood Moves to N.J. FortFort Monmouth, N.J., July 1.Large contingent of drafted Hollywoodites already here has been swelled during the past week by the arrival of a flock more. They are assigned to the Army’s Training Film Production Unit, headquartered here under command of the Signal Corps.Among the newcomers was Lester Cooper, former Warner Bros. writer, who was transferred from Camp Callan, Cal. He’s doing scripting on the training pix. Other arrivals were principally cartoonists, six of them from the Disney plant. They are Berk Anthony, Rodell Johnson, Victor Michonski, George Paliwoda, George Feed and Robert Perry.
Film Daily, July 10, 1941, said Anthony was in the Signal Corps Script Division.
Film Daily, August 4, 1941, noted “Berk Anthony, Disney story man, has considerable footage ... in “The Reluctant Dragon” ... i.e., the straight photography portions.”
Film Daily, August 11, 1941, said “... Script department is supervised by Capt. Rigby. Personnel and their former occupations include Pvt. Berk Anthony, Disney …”
Film Daily, October 1, 1941, reported “... Lieut. Julian Blaustein and Pvt. Berk Anthony took another flying trip to Fort Monroe in Virginia for further fact-finding on their Coast Artillery project.”
An article in Variety, October 29, 1941, said
Flock of Showmen Discharged Nov. 1–3Ft. Monmouth, N.J., Oct. 28.Army training film labs lose a flock of professional talent with the discharge of the final 23 men over the 28-year-old category in two groups being released from service Nov. 1 and 3. ...... To be released from service as of Nov. 3 are Berkeley F. Anthony, Disney unit story director ...
Film Daily, November 5, 1941, said
Training Film Lab. Loses 25 More Pic, Radio Men... Many of the men will return to the film and radio industry. Granville (Owen) Scofield will take up his acting career where it left off with “L’il Abner.” Herman Cohen returns to his job at Schlesinger’s and Berk Anthony will be back at Disney’s. Floyd Foran and Austin Doyle return to Technicolor. Donald Mike Robinson hopes for an early opening for his play written with Brother Charley Robinson. Joe Thompson is due back in the production department at NBC after a vacation in California.
Motion Picture Herald, November 12, 1941, said
New Groups Join Army and Navy... Also Granville (Owen) Scofield, film actor; Herman Cohen, Schlesmger Studios; Berk Anthony, Disney Studios; Floyd Foran and Austin Doyle, Technicolor; Joe Thompson, NBC production staff in California; Dick Blake, screen writer; Bob Hoover, Columbia writer ...
After his release from the Army, Anthony joined the Naval Reserve. Veterans’ Gravesites, at Ancestry.com, said Anthony served from February 25, 1942 to April 21, 1946. His naval rank was commodore.
Anthony’s 1944 California voter registration listed his address as 1919 North Argyle Avenue in Los Angeles.
On April 17, 1945 Anthony married Beverly L. Koenig according to the California Marriage Record at Ancestry.com.
Anthony’s 1946 California voter registration address was 71554 Park Avenue in Los Angeles.
In 1946 Anthony stayed away from animation and found employment at Telefilm. He was in charge of production. In the 1950s Anthony worked at the aerospace company, Lockheed.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 1, 1959, reported Anthony’s suicide. He was laid to rest at Golden Gate National Cemetery.
The Birth of the Sun Devils and Sparky
Sun Devil Athletics said
The nickname “Sun Devils” is the third in the school’s history. Back when Arizona State was still the Tempe Normal School, the student body chose “Owls” for its moniker, later changing it to “Bulldogs” when it became the Arizona State Teachers College. On Nov. 8, 1946, the student body voted 819 to 196 to make the change to the “Sun Devils” after frequent appeals made in The State Press—the student newspaper. The moniker was officially adopted on Nov. 20—Sparky’s birthday. Sparky the Sun Devil has been the official mascot of Arizona State University ever since. The problem of coming up with a face for the Sun Devil was handed over to the late Bert [sic] Anthony, an artist for Walt Disney. Anthony, designed the current Sun Devil logo we know and love today. ...
Anthony drew Sparky in 1947. The Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, April 14, 1987, said the first use of Sparky was on September 2, 1947, which was the same date of the Sun Devils first use.
There are two excellent articles on the history of Sparky and the Sun Devils name. ASU Insight, April 20, 1987, published John Matthews’ “Normals to Bulldogs to Sun Devils” on pages 10 and 11. Azzam Almouai’s investigative report, “Sparky’s Origins: The search for ... Disney?”, appeared in The State Press on September 12, 2018 and later online. Both articles said Sparky’s first appearance was in The State Press on September 26, 1947, in an advertisement for Bright’s Style Shop. Matthews said The State Press added Sparky to its masthead on November 14, 1947.
According to Matthews, Anthony created Sparky free of charge. So, how did Anthony, a Californian, get involved in an Arizona art project? Matthews and Almouai identified Walter E. Craig as the person who contacted Anthony, a Stanford schoolmate, class of 1932. Walter Early Craig (1909–1986) was born in Oakland, California, where he was recorded in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. The 1930 census listed him in Maricopa County, Arizona. Craig received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1931 and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1934.
Matthews also described the meeting at Arthur E. Burgher’s home where the Sun Devils name was conceived.
Angels and Devils
Arthur E. Burgher was the first president of the Sun Angels, an organization devoted to raising funds for ASU’s athletic programs. Burgher’s role in the Sun Devils name was detailed in ASU Insight, April 20, 1987. A comment at flickr said
... Arthur Burgher, co-owner of Tempe Citrus Company/Tempeco Groves, and an enthusiastic supporter of ASU athletics led the successful campaign to replace the old ASU Bulldog mascot with “Sparky, The Sun Devil”.
Arthur Epperson Burgher was born on June 26, 1904, in Dawson, Nebraska, according to his World War II draft card. In 1923 Burgher graduated from Central High School in St. Joseph, Missouri. He continued his education at the University of Missouri. The 1930 census recorded Burgher in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he lived with a cousin. Burgher was a foreman at a citrus farm. Soon after the census he married Elisabeth Swofford on April 4, 1930. The 1940 census said the couple and their daughter lived in Maricopa, Arizona. Burgher was a field executive who earned $2,300 in 1939. On February 16, 1942 Burgher signed his World War II draft card which said he was employed by the Arizona Citrus Growers Association.
The Desert Grapefruit, October 1946, said
Dwight C. Hartle and Art Burgher, co-owners, began packing operations at the newly-purchase Tempe Citrus Company, Tempe, plant last week.Formerly owned by Lynn Bayless and known as Bayless Fruit Company, Phoenix, the present plant and equipment was located in Tempe this year, and then sold ‘lock, stock and barrel’ to the present owners.
In November 1947 the Tempe Citrus Company filed an application to trademark Tempeco Groves which was used on a crate label.
Burgher passed away on March 3, 1974 in Los Angeles. His obituary is here.
The Omaha World-Herald, December 11, 1950, published the following Associated Press item.
The Devil Made Me Do It
Consolidated Citrus Growers of Mesa, Arizona paid homage to ASU when it produced a Sun Devil crate label in 1952. The company filed for a trademark in September 1952. The figure of a devil charging with a three-tine pitchfork, by an unknown artist, was clearly based on Anthony’s depiction of Sparky.
Possible Influences on Sparky’s Design
Betty Boop in Red Hot Mama (1934)
Donald’s Better Self (1938)
Feature Comics #69, July 1943
Apple Andy (1946)
Traffic with the Devil (1946)
Suspense Comics #11, June 1946
Underwood Deviled Ham
Life, October 14, 1946
Racked, November 20, 2017:
How Tights Took the Devil
From Terrifying Demon
to Mustachioed Prankster
Sparky Gets a Makeover, Twice
Look closely at the Sparkys below, left to right, of 1947, circa 1963, and 1982. By 1963 Anthony’s Sparky had been redrawn by an unknown artist. A significant change in the middle version was Sparky’s left foot which became pointed. His tail was lengthened with less of a curve. The face had slightly smaller eyes and mouth, and a thinner mustache. An arrowhead was added to the middle tine of the pitchfork. About twenty years later Sparky had another facelift; his outline disappeared; and a tiny amount of mass was added to the body and tail. Sparky was given a slightly thicker and shorter pitchfork.
On October 11, 1985, the Arizona Board of Regents filed an application to trademark Sparky. The Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, April 14, 1987, published the latest version of Sparky. At the bottom it said the first use of Sparky was on September 2, 1947.
Sparky in the ASU Sahuaro Yearbooks
Sun Devil Band wore a Sparky shoulder patch.
Paul V. Trovillo, Dean of Men, holds State Press
newspaper with Sparky in the masthead.
Sun Devil Band visited Disneyland.
Sun Devil Band half-time performance displayed Sparky on tuba covers.
Sun Devil Band visited Disneyland.
Sun Devil Band on the road again
Sun Devil Band Director, Harold Hines, left,
with a Sparky shoulder patch
The second version of Sparky was televised
on March 16, 1963 during the
Profile of a Sun Devil
Below is most of the ASU yearbook wrap-around cover, Sahuaro 71; art on the spine of the book is missing. ASU graduate Barry Shepard and his company, shr, produced the art. A full-page article detailed the controversy about the Sun Devil head to replace Sparky and debut at the 1970 Peach Bowl. SHR copyrighted the design. The ASU Library’s Digital Repository has images of other Sun Devil designs which were voted on by the students and alumni in 1972.
Did Orange Julius Get Squeezed?
A Mental Floss article, dated April 10, 2007, said the ASU alumni association threatened the Orange Julius company with a lawsuit because its logo had similarities to Sparky. Documentation of the proposed lawsuit has not been found.
Orange Julius began in 1926. A trademark application was filed and published in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, August 2, 1949, for the design below. The slogan, “A Devilish Good Drink”, was included.
A new design was developed by an unknown person or firm and debuted September 26, 1969. On January 10, 1974, a trademark application was filed. The design became a registered trademark on January 28, 1975. The slogan, “A Devilish Good Drink”, was not included.
The stylized lettering appeared to have been influenced by poster lettering of the psychedelic era. Unlike Sparky, the sitting cartoon devil wore a cape and had no facial hair. He held a three-tine pitchfork with arrowhead points. On Sparky’s pitchfork only the middle tine had an arrowhead point. The cartoon devil was replaced, beginning in 1978, by a series of typographic designs.
Further Reading and Listening
Arizona State University: ASU owned trademarks
United States Patent and Trademark Office: Sun Devils
Valley 101: Was Sparky the Sun Devil created by a Disney animator?
Pixellogo: Arizona State University Reveals New Logo
History Advertising: How Arizona State University became the Sun Devils
ASU News: A look back at Sparky the Sun Devil mascot
State Press: A brief history of Sparky the Sun Devil
Die Hard Devil: How Arizona State University Became the Sun Devils
Virginia-Pilot, October 1, 2007: Arizona State gives Salem H.S. devil of a time about nickname
Las Vegas Trademark Attorney, October 5, 2007: Arizona State University Alleging Trademark Infringement by High School Team Named the SunDevils
East Valley, October 7, 2011: It’s all about ASU’s image as others try to steal Sparky
The State Press, February 27, 2013: What makes ASU?
Packer News, July 20, 2015: ASU says Florida High School should forget the fork
Decal sample at eBay
(Next post on Monday: Comic Book Trademarks, Part 2)