Cole Johnson, comic strip scholar extraordinaire, sent me a goodie package of photocopies that I want to share with the blog. His reason for sending was to contribute Happy Hunch strips to eliminate that title from our Mystery Strips list (this was before I found a few samples myself). His strips come from the Tampa Evening Globe, a paper that unfortunately does not seem to exist on microfilm. Here are his two samples (the second of which required a bit of reconstructive surgery on the final panel – sorry about my bad lettering). Both are from February 1926:
In addition to these rarities, Cole sent some more goodies. Here’s a promo cartoon that Rube Goldberg did in connection with a CBS radio show he hosted. According to Cole it was a 15-minute twice a week program that ran on CBS starting December 3 1935. The robot was named Irving Q. Ironsides. Anyone know if the recordings of these programs still exist?
And here’s the inaugural episode of Hickory Hanks, a strip that Ben Batsford penned for Plane News. Cole says this was a weekly paper for factory workers at the Grumman Aircraft plants, and that Batsford also contributed editorial and spot cartoons to the publication. This first episode ran in the February 4 1943 issue:
And here’s a still from the 1946 film Li’l Iodine. Cole says that there are no known copies of this comic strip-based film still in existence. It starred Hobart Cavanaugh and Irene Ryan, with Jo Anne Marlowe as Iodine. The movie was produced by Buddy Rogers, husband of Mary Pickford. I hope it was funnier than the strip, which remains my nominee for the unfunniest (successful) comic strip of all time.
Cole sent even more rare material, the rest of which I’m going to hold for a later date. Of course Cole earns a goodie box for his submission of the Happy Hunch photocopies, but choosing goodies for him is a real head-scratcher considering he has a stupendous collection. I solved the problem, though. Since Cole is a big fan of movies as well as comic strips, he’ll be the recipient of one of the odder items in my collection – a huge, and I do mean HUGE, movie poster from one of the Bringing Up Father movies of the 1940s. Being a big Jiggs and Maggie fan I bought it years ago but then realized I have no place to display it in my home.
All of which I mention not only to reinforce that my goodie boxes are worth the effort involved in getting them, but it brings me to a burning question: do any of the Bringing Up Father movies exist on video? I’ve never found them and I’d love to see one.
EDIT: Cole Johnson writes to tell me that this may well not be the first episode of Hickory Hanks – it’s just an assumption I made based on reading the strip. Cole also reminds me that it’s not “Li’l Iodine”, it’s “Little Iodine” – okay, Cole, but I still stick by its being the unfunniest successful humor strip of all time. Cole also says that he’s seen really awful 10th-generation copies of Maggie and Jiggs on video, but none of a quality worth watching.
Cole also asks if anyone has every tried to come up with a serious list of comic strips that were made into films. He volunteers a list of really obscure ones — Mischievous Willie, Wille Westinghouse, Desperate Desmond, Everett True, Smitty, Uncle Mun, Lady Bountiful, Mr. Jack, The Newlyweds, Mike and Ike, Let George Do It. Sounds to me like the best candidate for the job is Cole Johnson…