My Greatest Hero - The Fastest Draw in the West By Christina Applebaum My grandfather was the fastest draw in the west, he was a sports cartoonist for The Daily Review for over 40 years - a newspaper out of Hayward California. His name was Clyde E. Schmidt and was known as "Smitty" to his friends. He was a super cartoonist and my greatest hero. He was my Pop. When I was growing up during my early school years he would come to my classroom and every one of my classmates would have their caricatures done by him on a sheet out of his sketchbook that had a frame boasting "I Was Framed By the Fastest Draw in the West". He turned each of these sketches around in 30 seconds or less - thus the "The Fastest Draw in the West" title. I was so young the sheer scale of his talent was lost on me. I also grew up thinking drawing was something he just did well, I never knew until after he passed that he had several degrees from well known technical art schools. He was a Daily Review sports illustrator and every week he would pick up a photo of the athlete being featured in the newspaper's Prep of the Week. I remember sitting in his den watching him do his thing, he would clip the photo above his desk and begin to draw. His hand would glide back and forth and to watch him you would swear the pen hardly touched the canvas, then quite suddenly the image would begin to appear, as if by magic. He made it look effortless. He would first draw an exact replica of the athlete's photo and then a caricature of the athlete incorporated into a comic he made about the player. The walls of his den were lined with framed original works of art from famous American cartoonists drawn just for him with personal inscriptions from the artists such as Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts) and Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace) to name a few. The fact that he was friends with such people was also wasted on me as a child but understanding it now as an adult makes me no more proud of him than I was then. My Pop was born on Jan. 12, 1921, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. He joined the Navy in 1941 and was a veteran of World War II during which he served on the USS Hornet and the Korean War. After returning from his tour of duty, he worked as an airplane mechanic at the Naval Air Station in Alameda until he retired later in the 1970's. He met my grandmother Women's City Club in Oakland, CA (a place where all the sailors hung out according to her) and lived out his years with her in a house he bought in San Leandro.