Obscurity of the Day: Andy and Agnes

Time to take a breather from the mystery strips; the letter M promises to be a long list. So today instead we have Andy and Agnes, a strip by John F. Hart which ran in the Philadelphia Record from December 17 1911 to February 4 1912. Though formatted like a daily, the strip ran weekly on the the Record’s Sunday humor and cartoon page. The Record resolutely resisted the higher circulation figures promised by adding daily strips and a color Sunday comic section for years after all the other Philly papers hopped on the bandwagon. Instead they stuck with their black-and-white half-page Sunday strip Willie Green plus an assortment of cartoons, humor, and comic strips on the other half page.

J.F. Hart was an excellent cartoonist who seems to have spent almost his entire career at the Philadelphia papers (the Record mostly, but he did work for others as well). His specialty was cartoon puzzles, and he produced a series of them that ran for years in Philadelphia and were syndicated around the country. The puzzles took the form of a series of cartoons, and the reader was to deduce a common phrase, a geographical landmark, a famous person, or what have you, from the clues in each drawing. For instance, a washerwoman working her way through a huge pile of dirty clothes might have the answer Washington. The puzzles were often quite tough, but apparently the audience was up for the challenge.

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