News of Yore: Short Items from 1952

Today Blogger has a brand new bug that doesn’t allow me to upload pictures properly, so let’s do a text only post. Here’s a group of interesting short news items from various 1952 issues of E&P.

60-Foot ‘Gordo’ Towers Over Arizona State Fair
The biggest comic strip charac­ter in the country this week is undoubtedly “Gordo,” created by Gus Arriola for United Feature Syndicate. The Arizona State Fair, now under way in Phoenix, features a 60-foot high figure of Gordo, along with his compan­ions, Pepito and Senor Dog, to keynote the Mexican motif of this year’s fair.The giant display is constructed of wood, structural steel, plastic and wire, and supported by two telephone poles. Windshield stick­ers and other Gordo items will further promote the strip with fair visitors.

One-Year Strip to Tell Louisiana Purchase Story
By Erwin Knoll
Here’s a strip guaranteed to last for just one year. No peren­nial tenant on your comic pages, this. Just 52 weeks-Jan. 5 to Dec. 31, 1953-and it’s done. No Sunday pages either; just six re­leases weekly, in four-column width.

The strip is called “Louisiana Purchase”-1953 is the 150th an­niversary of that historical event -and is the story of the 14-state region comprising the Louisiana Territory from its early discovery and exploration by Spanish conquistadores to its incorporation into the United States. All authen­tic history, lots of adventure and wrapped up in a humorous draw­ing style.

Creator is John Chase, editorial cartoonist for the New Orleans States and author of the prize-winning narrative history of New Orleans, “Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children.”
The Register and Tribune Syndicate, which will distribute “Louisiana Purchase,” suggests ample promotion opportunities for the strip in connection with schools and patriotic organizations and possible use in contest tie-ins.

Joseph Shuster Creating New Comic Strip
Joseph Shuster, the original art­ist-creator of “Superman,” has de­veloped a new comic strip and is seeking a syndicate outlet, he an­nounced this week. The strip is called “Golly Galoo, the Magic Genie,” and follows science-fiction fantasy lines, Mr. Shuster said. The William Morris entertainment agency has expressed interest in the feature as a tele­vised children’s program.
[anyone know if anything ever came of this? – Allan]

Cartoonist Syndicates Own ‘Our South’ Panels
“Our South,” a weekly two-col­umn cartoon panel, is offered for immediate release by the cartoon­ist, Henry McCarn, 428 Haw­thorne Lane, Charlotte, N. C. The panels will embody a hu­morous approach to the peculiari­ties and customs of the South. Mr. McCarn was formerly a staff artist on the Charlotte News, and has been a free-lance editorial cartoon­ist for the past two years.
[Can anyone supply samples of this feature? I’ve never found any – Allan]

Third-Page Size Started For AP Newsfeatures Comics
Three AP Newsfeatures comics -“Oaky Doaks,” “Scorchy Smith” and “Modest Maidens”-will be available in third-page standard size color format beginning Jan. 4. They have previously been avail­able in tabloid mats, and appear in a tabloid readyprint section.

Artist Loses (1/5/52)
A suit filed by Elmer C. Stoner, formerly artist on Enterprising Feature Syndicate’s “Rick Kane, Space Marshall” strip, to restrain the syndicate from proceeding with the strip under another artist, was turned down by New York State Supreme Court Justice Aurelia December 17.

The artist had contended that his dismissal and the continuation of the strip under another artist were violations of his contract with the syndicate.

Space, Western Strips Launch Johnson Syndicate (2/52)
A cartoonist who be­lieves in doing his own selling is Walter T. Johnson, formerly artist on Enterprising Feature Syndi­cate’s now defunct “Rick Kane” strip. Mr. Johnson has just launched Walter T. Johnson Features, Inc. at 1475 Broadway, New York City. First two features, slated for late March re­lease, are “Captain Johnny Fal­con,” a space adventure strip, and “The Sundown Kid,” a Western. Two other comic strips are planned for release this fall.

Mr. Johnson will draw all four strips, sell, and write the contin­uity for “Johnny Falcon.” The Western strip will be written by William F. Crouse, formerly as­sociated with “Hopalong Cassidy” television productions.
[Does anybody have samples of The Sundown Kid? – Allan]

McNaught Syndicate Offers Auto-Racing Strip
A new comic strip from Mc­Naught Syndicate is “Johnny Comet,” a daily and Sunday ad­venture strip with an auto-racing setting. Plot lines will be based on the life of speedcar driver Peter DePaolo, who is acting as technical consultant on the strip. “Johnny Comet” will stress rac­ing on speedways, safety on highways, and has the backing of safety councils in a number of cities where it is now appearing.

Author of “Johnny Comet” is Earl Baldwin, screenplay and mys­tery writer. Art work is done by Frank Frazetta, 23-year old grad­uate of the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts and a comic book illus­trator since the age of 16.

‘Peter Rabbit’ Streamlined
Vincent Fago, who started streamlining Herald Tribune Syndicate’s “Peter Rabbit” strip when he inherited it from Harrison Cady four years ago, this week led the veteran strip into a new story line. Abandoned was the previous “realism” of talking animals in a nature setting. In its place readers found the first in­stallment of a series of phantasy adventures in “Doll Land” and “Backwards Land,” “peopled” by stuffed dolls, galloping alarm clocks and freckled toadstools.

To point up the change, one strip in the Sunday release for Feb. 17 was left in black-and-white, with readers invited to par­ticipate in a coloring contest. Stuffed “Peter Rabbit” dolls were offered as prizes.

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