Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday Memories -- Old Comic Strips

A while ago I talked about comic books that I liked as a kid. Now I want to talk about old comic strips that used to appear in newspapers.

A couple of blocks from my home there is a restaurant whose decor includes some old framed vintage newspapers from the WWII Era, and not just front pages but pages further back. One of them includes comic strips from the early 40s. One, that predates me by years, was called Boots and Her Pals whose strip has a woman working at a desk and her boss his talking to her as she daydreams, and he finally says in the final frame "Boots, if the war was as far away as you are we would just now be learning of Pearl Harbor!" I really don't see much humor in that, but further down is one that takes place in an Army field hospital where a couple of officers are talking to an (apparently) wounded soldier "You need to get recover! We need you!" and he responds "Don't worry sir I won't let you down!" and the officer continues "You're the only man in our company who can KO A company's champ this weekend!" A little better.

Those strips were unknown to me, but there are other old strips that I read daily in the paper that have faded from the scene.

Do you remember the caveman named Alley Oop? I remember him quite well but by the time I was following him he was spending a lot of time in the present thanks to Dr Wunmug's time machine. (Wunmug = One Mug = Ein Stein = . . . hmmm). It says that he is still around but I haven't seen him in years.

How about Priscilla's Pop which is trials and travails of a growing girl in a middle class family. One of the on-going jokes of this strip was her father's lunch has her mom knew how to make one kind of sandwich and I don't even want to imagine eating a mashed potato sandwich which was the poor guy's daily lunch. Her humor was light-hearted.
One that stands out in my mind had nothing to do with her, but with her pastor who was hanging a picture on the wall while his wife worked on embroidering; he hit his finger with the hammer and as he stood their in anguish his wife said "Now Reverend . . . No shoptalk."
Another was little Priscilla looking at the moon and saying "He's out there and some day I'm going to ride off with him!" and her father says "Priscilla! I have told you not to think about boys until you are 16" She replies "Boys? I'm talking about my horse!" (To own a horse was her biggest dream.)

One very old comic-strip that was still around when I was a Kid was Freckles and His Friends which apparently started around the time my Grandfather was born and involved a teen-aged boy and his friends. His strips were not stand alone but were usually a series that would last for weeks or even months.
One series that I remember involved him being very excited about being hired as the life guard at a girl's summer camp and envisioned himself surrounded by pretty teen-aged girls only to discover he was going to watch over a wading pool as the campers were 6 to 9 years old. Not what he had in mind.
Another series involved an Indian (native American) girl named Honeybee Birdwhistle, so named because her tribe named their babies after the first thing the mother saw and heard when the baby was born. Had she born a few minutes later her name would have FighterJet Sonic Boom. She was going to buy Manhattan Island back.

One series that was popular in the 50s and 60s but fading by the 70s was Dondi. I was familiar with his on-going stories but was totally unfamiliar with his origin. He was a war orphan from WWII who never grew up, hence 30 years later his origin as a war orphan had to be quietly ignored for modern strips. I never really cared for his strip but it was quite popular.

My favorite Newspaper Comic Strip from when I was a kid was Hatlo's They'll do it every time! which was a single panel daily cartoon showing the ironies of everyday life. A few stand out in my mind even today.
The header says "Mom sent Dad and kids to the grocery store for a loaf of bread". You see Dad and kids carrying in bag after bag of groceries describing all the neat stuff they bought. Mom just shakes her head in disbelief and at the bottom it says "They forgot the bread." I could see that happening.
It appears to be still in syndication, but I have not seen it in years until I saw the recent ones on the web at this page. Some good things live on.

Of course there are many others. More recent loves included Calvin and Hobbs, Geech, and Bloom County.


Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

Interestingly, today is the 75th anniversary of Dick Tracy. In honor, myself and other cartoonists have done strips commemorating same.

See below link.

I've always loved "the funny papers"


12:05 PM  
Blogger Skip said...

Every Sunday we get "They'll Do It Everytime" its still funny (sometimes)... I always liked "Nancy" and still like Family Circle

7:18 PM  
Blogger dons_mind said...

dondi was one of my favorites - gives my age away!...along with the katzenjammer kids....of course dagwood is a perennial...i keep telling everyone, the only reason i subscribe to the washington post is to read the comics! sally forth, peaches, foxtrot, zits, for better or worse - - i love the comics!

7:31 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

oneonta teletype: I thought Dick Tracy was ok but I disliked the Warren Beatty movie of him

Skip Family Circle is great, I had forgotten about Nancy

dons_mind there are so many good comics.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I remember them all. "They'll Do it Every Time" was also one of my favorites. I had forgotten about these until you brought them up. You are definitely taking me back in time, Shoprat. The Katzenjammer Kids was another favorite. I remember all the one's mentioned here but can't think of any that haven't been.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Priscilla's Pop" was one of my all-time favorite comic strips all through my childhood in the l950's and teen years in the l960's! The mashed potato sandwiches Waldo had to take to work for lunch were an ongoing joke--but not because Hazel couldn't make any other kind--they had to continue until the mortgage was paid off! (If I recall correctly, the strip occasionally referred to this economy strategy of Hazel's.)

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