Here’s one of my favorites called Then The Fun Began. The concept is simple — we see a scene that is about to erupt into mayhem of one sort or another. What makes it stand above the crowd is that the reader gets to fill in the punchline. The cartoonist leads us to the water, but it is up to us to figure out how to get a drink.
Then The Fun Began began on March 3 1919 (at least that’s the earliest I’ve found) and was initially done by Walter Berndt, shortly before he struck real paydirt with Smitty. Berndt left on October 13 1921 and the feature was taken over by Fred Faber. Faber continued it until sometime in 1928 (anyone have a specific end date?). The feature can even be found later than this, because the material was resold to a low-end syndicate which continued to redistribute it to small papers for years afterwards.
The Encyclopedia of American Comics states that Milt Gross began this feature, but I haven’t yet found any tearsheet evidence that supports the assertion.
I really like this feature, especially for the occasional panels where you really have to pay attention to figure out the punchline. Anytime I sit down to peruse a part of the run I am amazed at just how many solid variations on the theme that the cartoonists were able to come up with. I’ll be running samples of Then The Fun Began for the next 3 or 4 days, hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.