Ham Fisher’s Joe Palooka went through a lot of topper strips in its day. The hardest to find, as is true for all toppers, are the ones after 1940. Compounding the problem with Palooka is that by this time it usually only used a topper in the tabloid format (I have on occasion seen half-pagers with the topper, but that was the exception, not the rule). Worse yet, the Palooka tabloid version was available with the paper’s choice of a topper or a large title bar, and unfortunately for us completists, most papers opted for the title. Why so many papers chose a title bar over an extra feature is a bit of a head-scratcher.
Today we have samples of some of the toppers in Joe Palooka‘s 1945 crop. This was the last full year of toppers, as the feature was dropped entirely in July 1946. Fisher didn’t stick with any topper title for long in this era, and often juggled toppers from week to week. Some topper titles were one-shots. Here’s the vital statistics on the toppers in today’s samples:
Sidewalks Of Manhattan – 11/18/45 – 2/24/46
Miss Jones – 3/12/44 – 11/11/45, also ran under the titles of Miss Jones On The War, The War And Miss Jones, the title on our sample was used only once, on this last installment of the series.
The Atom Age – 10/14/45 – 11/4/45
Fisher’s Current History – one-shot title, ran on 10/28/45
Now That It’s Over – one-shot title, ran 10/7/45
Fisher’s Follies – 8/12/45 – 9/30/45
Letter From Home – one-shot title, ran 9/16/45
War Time Anecdotes – 11/21/43 – 9/9/45
Art on all of these is presumably by Mo Leff.
I’ve managed to get almost all the Joe Palooka toppers fully researched, but if anyone happens to have tearsheets of the JP topper Smile Darn Ya! by George Sixta, a really rare one that ran in 1941, I’d love to know what dates you have.