Friday, February 16, 2018

Separated at Mirth: Three Bears and a Chicken Go Log-Rolling!

Our recently-added feature "Adventures in Comic-Boxing" has gone over so well, that I decided to create another such feature that I call "Separated at Mirth"!

The focus of "Separated at Mirth" would be when two or more comic book covers execute the SAME GAG, only with different characters and separated by years or even decades!

This could also apply to interior gags as well, but will mostly focus on covers.  

Our first entry in this series is ANDY PANDA # 44 (Dell Comics, 1958) and YOGI BEAR # 41 (Gold Key Comics, 1970).  

Once upon a time, there were THREE BEARS...

A fat, dumpy-looking bear...  A cute little bow tie-wearing bear... And a panda bear who, for some inexplicable reason (at least in comic books), liked to hang-out with a very annoying, smart-alec chicken!  

This chicken was SO annoying and smart-alecy that one wonders how Andy found, within himself, the strength to refrain from, choking the chicken! 

As for our other two "woodland creatures" (as their cartoons often called them), this answers the age-old question: "Does a bear LOG-ROLL in the woods?"

Clearly, the answer must be "Yes!"... and, by that, one can surmise that "The Woods" must be a very boring place!  

There you have ANDY PANDA # 44 and YOGI BEAR # 41 - Separated at Mirth!  

We'll have more instances of  "Separated at Mirth" soon.  Dunno if that's a promise... or a threat! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: We Interrupt this Gag for an Important Announcement…

While we're still paying deserved tribute to the awesome creative force that is Mort Walker, I thought I'd bump this one up to directly follow our post devoted to Mort Walker and voice actor Doug Young.  It just seemed appropriate.  

Anyone who read comics in the 1950s - or, more likely, collected them afterward - is familiar with the "Dell Comics Pledge to Parents"!  

This self-proclaiming blurb of assurance was intended to "calm" parents who were needlessly alarmed by self-serving politicians and know-it-all psychologists in a concerted effort to demonize comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency.  

Well, comic books have since been marginalized down to cult status on the mass entertainment scale - and the overall behavior of American citizens has become worse then ever... So how'd that idea turn out, eh?  

Nevertheless, Dell played the game with its expected dignity, issuing "The Pledge" at every available opportunity...

...Such as at the end of this back-cover gag from Dell Comics' UNCLE SCROOGE # 13 (1956).  (Click to Enlarge!) 

We'll probably never know if Carl Barks was asked to draw this as a seven-panel gag, or if there was an EIGHTH panel that was cut for "The Pledge".  Fortunately, cutting one panel of Scrooge saying "Mush!" would not impact the gag!  

However, "The Pledge" didn't always fit as neatly into every gag, as it did above!

Consider its odd placement in this gag from the inside back-cover of Dell's BEETLE BAILEY # 12 (1957)!  (Click to Enlarge!)

Yes, the gag is ACTUALLY INTERRUPTED for Dell's important announcement!  

...But, at least the parents who purchased this issue of BEETLE BAILEY for their children could sleep confidently in the knowledge that it  "...contains only clean and wholesome entertainment"!   
DELL COMICS ARE GOOD COMICS!  ...And Dooon't You Forget it! - As that guy below would say!

Oh, and as a bonus, here is the front cover of BEETLE BAILEY # 12 - with it's odd-looking anthropomorphic mouse!  

Such an animal character would be unheard-of at Camp Swampy, until some years later when Sarge's dog OTTO would join the cast!  

But, hey... That mouse is showing the kids the importance of washing regularly... talk about  "...CLEAN and wholesome entertainment"!  

UPDATE: February 10, 2018: Our diligent friend Debbie Anne Perry earns some Extra Credit by bringing to my attention another odd placement of the Dell Comics Pledge to Parents in Dell's THE THREE STOOGES # 7 (Cover Date: December/February, 1962).  

We've already seen The Pledge tacked-on to the END of a gag, and INTERRUPTING a gag in progress... but this THIRD VARIATION has The Pledge INSERTED INTO THE ARTWORK OF A GAG!  

I wonder if artist Joe Messerli was asked to leave room for The Pledge, or the empty space (which a canyon scene should have anyway) was just fortuitously used for that purpose?  

Dell Comics, it would seem, are not only "Good Comics", they're also efficient ones!  

Friday, February 2, 2018

R.I.P. Mort Walker and Doug Young!

You know it’s a bad week when we lose a legendary cartoonist, and one of the last surviving classic-era animation voice artists – and so it was, as both Mort Walker and Doug Young left us this past week. 

Mort Walker was the creator of Beetle Bailey, and was also instrumental in giving us Hi and Lois, Boner’s Ark, and more! 

Mr. Walker dates back to when I actually enjoyed reading newspaper comic strips.  He was a TRUE cartoonist, in the very best sense of the word!  His art was clear, clean, easy to look at… and, most importantly, always carried-off the gag as intended! 

Today, to have a successful comic strip (as is sadly indicated by any random perusal of what is left of the once grand newspaper comic strip sections), all you need be is a “gag-writer-who-can doodle”, and you’re in! 

Not so in the days Mort Walker, Chic Young (Blondie), Al Smith (Mutt and Jeff), and their many presumed “assistants”!  Folks that that made comic strips fun – both to READ and to LOOK AT! ...(Click to enlarge, though Jeff will remain "small"!) 

For the best Mort Walker tribute post I can direct you to, go to the newly rechristened Blog of our friend Jaime de Andrade HERE!   Be sure to read all the links Jaime provides WITHIN his post!  He did a really fine job!  

Doug Young, up until now, would have been the last surviving voice actor of the wonderful early years of Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons!   

You *could* count Jimmy Weldon, whose only character was “Yakky Doodle”...

 ...but, if you consider multi-voice-providers, who did starring characters and tons of ancillary ones, Doug Young was the last. 

Mr. Young was best known as the Jimmy-Durante-like voice of DOGGIE DADDY, “Dear Old Dad” to his precocious pup Augie Doggie!

Other regular H-B characters in Doug Young’s stable included Hokey Wolf’s idolizing sidekick DING-A-LING FOX...

...And YIPPEE of the “Three Goofy King’s Guards” Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooey! (...That's Yippee in front!) 

…And a whole-lotta hunters, farmers, western-bad-guys, and what have you. 

Mark Evanier has a nice tribute post to Doug Young HERE, and Yowp has one HERE

The character of Doggie Daddy became such an institution that he even made a brief cameo appearance on FAMILY GUY!  Such endurance for a character who's original first-run lasted only from 1959-1962 must be largely attributed to the "life" breathed into him by Doug Young! 

What strikes me most sadly about the passings I’ve reported on lately, such as Walker and Young, as well as Bob Dowdell and Vic Lockman, is that, in their own unique fields of endeavor, they either WERE, or were perilously close to being, the LAST at what they did!  

We’ve discussed the lack of remaining contemporaries for Mort Walker and Doug Young.  

Other than David Hedison, who played Captain Crane, Bob Dowdell was the only surviving regular cast member of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.  

And Vic Lockman would have been the last (…or certainly the last of anyone considered to be PROLIFIC and IMPACTFUL) writer for the historically great line of DELL and GOLD KEY comic books produced by Western Publishing Co. 

Of course this sort of “transition” has always gone on… one generation of crafts-persons passes-on, and another two or three take their place. 

…But, it’s always saddest when it’s “your particular formative era” that inevitably comes to its end.  …And that’s true no matter what that “particular formative era” would be! 

Rest in peace, Mr. Mort Walker and Mr. Doug Young!  …And thanks for making “my particular formative era” a much better place!   
   You think he's reading "Beetle Bailey"

Monday, January 29, 2018

R.I.P. Bob Dowdell

Another really sad one for me, actor Robert Dowdell passed away on January 23, 2018, at the age of 85.

Bob Dowdell was best known as Lt. Cmdr. Chip Morton, Executive Officer of the submarine Seaview on the classic TV series VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.  

As Morton, Dowdell was truly the "rock" of the Seaview crew.  He was that dedicated, focused, and unshakable presence, throughout the Seaview's four TV seasons of incredible adventures.  

This, in contrast with Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart) who sometimes exhibited questionable judgement and sanity - and often kept it from his crew, and Captain Crane (David Hedison) who was prone to outbursts of "William Shatner-Level" intensity. 

Be it Communist spies, gigantic sea creatures, or Shadowmen from Centauri...

...Chip Morton was unaffected by it all, and could always be counted on to set course, depth, and speed, organize a search party, and prepare the Flying Sub for immediate launch!  

...He did have that one "way-overly emotional moment" during "Deadly Amphibians" which seemed out of character (If you've seen it, you know what I mean!) - but, for only once in four years, I think we can forgive him that!  

Prior to VOYAGE, Bob Dowdell co-starred with Jack Lord in the one-season western series STONEY BURKE!  

Bob Dowdell in STONEY BURKE, solo and with the great Bruce Dern! 

HERE is a list of Bob Dowdell's credits from IMDB.

And HERE is a tribute to him from ME-TV, that still runs Voyage each week!

Rest in Peace, Bob Dowdell, and thanks for "keeping it together" each week on my favorite sci-fi series!