Ted Mullings – RIP

Cartoonist/artist Ted Mullings has passed away.

Harry Theodore (Ted) Mullings
April 7, 1926 – April 12, 2019*


commercial artist, painter, cartoonist

From the obituary:

Ted was a commercial artist for the Climax Molybdenum Company and the owner of The Little Cottage Art Gallery in Leadville. He was a member of the Ski Club in Climax, a member of the National Ski Patrol for 45 years, was active in the Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Museum, and the Arts Coalition, and served as a volunteer with Lake County Search and Rescue using horses to aid in searches. He competed in amateur rodeo circuit in bull riding, bareback riding and saddle bronc riding. He won money in all three venues. He competed in Ski Joring winning many events in Leadville, Frisco, Dillon and Vail. He loved to be outdoors, especially on his horses, loved to ski the powder and loved to create fine art.

Excerpts from a 2000 profile:

Leadville’s Ted Mullings began his art career literally at rock bottom — a thousand feet underground on the Phillipson Level of the Climax Mine. Despite that inauspicious beginning, Mullings has earned a reputation as one of the region’s best-known artists.

“In the fall of 1954, the rodeo season was over and I was in debt. I heard Climax was paying pretty good, so I figured I’d go up to Leadville and see what mining was all about.

“I showed up at Climax flat broke,” Mullings remembers. “But I hired on as a miner’s helper, then they put me on a Phillipson Level form crew. A lot of guys didn’t like the work, but it was sure no worse than ranchin’ and bronc ridin’.”

A month later, the Climax safety director asked Mullings if he’d be willing to draw weekly safety cartoons for three dollars each. Eager to put his artistic abilities to use, Mullings agreed.

During his career, Mullings documented every part of life and operations at Climax in more than 7,000 drawings. These ranged from simple cartoons that still draw smiles today, to intricate renderings that demystified complex mining operations for tens of thousands of people.

Mullings took an early retirement when the 1982 molybdenum-market crash closed the Climax Mine.


This new book features a compilation of cartoons and drawings Mullings
created from 1954-1982 for the Moly News, a Climax publication.


Hogan’s Alley #22 contains a feature story about Ted as the first underground (heh, heh) cartoonist. The magazine had an abundance of image material and so put some that didn’t make the magazine into their issue 22 “Web Extras” installment (scroll down).

Happy Trails Ted.


*apologies for the lateness of this notice