Bernie’s People by Senior Stripper Bernie Hurlbut

Observer-Dispatch (Utica, N.Y.) has a nice article about local (Rome, N.Y.) cartoonist Bernie Hurlbut.

In recent years, several local papers have featured Bernie’s People, including the Mid-York Weekly out of Hamilton where Hurlbut’s work appears regularly. He also does cartooning seminars for all ages as far away as the Old Forge Library.

It is no small accomplishment for a 91-year-old retiree who is challenged — but never stopped — by macular degeneration.

In 1957, he founded the Rome Sign Company to craft signage until he retired in 2013. But retirement hasn’t slowed him down at all, as now he concentrates on his artwork. Although he once drew landscapes and buildings, since 2017 he has focused nearly exclusively on his cartoons.

From 2018 is a 55 Plus profile where Bernie talks a bit more about his early art career.

He completed art school, spent time in the U.S. Army, then returned to the Mohawk Valley to work at Nelson’s Department Store as a display man.

“What I did then, nobody does anymore,” Hurlbut said. “Everything was hand lettered. I made show cards, which had the item listed, the price, and put it in the window, that sort of thing. Then a friend of mine said, ‘You should open your own sign shop.’ I did that in 1957 and made about $30 a week. I think I had six grocery stores that I’d do signs for. I’d letter buses, trucks, cars, and posters for organizations. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years.”


Hurlbut says he has a backlog of over 1,000 cartoons at home, each cataloged according to topic. He says he enjoys drawing animals more than people, but does occasionally venture into the political realm.

“I’ve got a political file, but I’m a little scared to use it,” he said. “There are a lot of people that hate politics.”

Hurlbut has illustrated six of his own books and has had work published in various area newspapers over the years. These days, he cartoons mostly for the fun of it, but part of his disciplined regimen is to continue trying to get his work in front of others.

We have no idea when Bernie’s People began running in newspapers.

Our research shows that Bernard Otis Hurlbut was born in February 1930 (either on the 18th or on the 12th), conflicting with the O-D article that claims Bernie was born in 1931.

Either date adds the still active Bernie to our Senior Strippers list!

The Observer-Dispatch let us have only one free look at the article
so we went through the MSN reprint for our report here.