News of Yore 1951: Spector’s Coogy Graduates

‘Coogy’ Sunday Page Due from Herald Tribune

Cartoonist Irving Spector crossed the country 13 times in three years awhile back and there­by became infatuated with the desert in New Mexico and Ari­zona. “I remember everything in vivid detail,” he says. “I can draw it without seeing it.”

That helps explain the locale of his Sunday page, due May 27 from the New York Herald-Tribune Syndicate. The char­acters apparently stem from 20 years of animated cartooning and the result: “In animation, you get so you consider that animals are people.”

Mr. Specter’s career goes back almost, but not quite, to the age of 14. At 14, he tucked some of his drawings under his arm, hied from his home in Los Angeles to the Walt Disney studio, in Holly­wood—only to learn that Mr. Disney was “out.” He came back that night though and noticing a light on at the back, gathered his courage and walked right into a story conference attended by, among others, Walt Disney.

“They all seemed amused and Mr. Disney was kind.” says Mr. Spector. “He told me there’d be a place for me at Disney’s when I finished school.”

As a matter of fact, the car­toonist (who has recently taught motion picture cartooning at the College of the City of New York) didn’t finish school. He left with half a year still to go at the age of 16, got a job with Universal Studios. A year and a half later he went to Disney’s as an assis­tant. and, at 20, he became an animator for Columbia Studios.

As a writer later for Warner Bros., he helped in the develop­ment of the “Bugs Bunny” type of humor (zany, wacky humor as opposed to sweet, cute animals, he explains.)

Mr. Spector’s animals, none of which struck us as sweet, include the title character, which has rather faint resemblance to a cougar and serves mainly as the interlocutor of the piece. Others are Big Moe, a bear; a tortoise; and Arresting Sam, a deputized dog.

The cartoonist, who is now con­nected with Famous Studios as a writer, started the strip as a small-sized Sunday filler in December.

9 comments on “News of Yore 1951: Spector’s Coogy Graduates

  1. Expect Coogy in my blog a couple of weeks from now. I will have some interesting things to say, as it appears to be a missing link in one of comicdom’s maddest myths. I hope I can quote from this piece, Allan.

  2. And it is an ersatz Pogo… including comedic phonetic writing of big words… but it is also much more. There are some actual movie and genre parodies, for instance. Was it a sunday only, Allan? If you have any dailies, please show them. I just bought a couple more samples, so I will be waiting for those to arrive. It’ll probably be tuesday plus two weeks before I get around to that.

  3. If this piece ends up being quoted (on Ger’s site) let me know, and I’ll correct a few minor errors. I’ve never seen it before, but it explains why I’ve seen the exact same misinformation elsewhere on the web (not from this blog, but someone else cribbing from it previously); e.g., he never worked for Disney — the story behind it is true but slightly different. A few other things too. “Embelished” maybe, by a Trib copy editor?

    Ger, if you do Coogy on your site, feel free to let me know. If you like, I’ll help you out (Yes, I have original boards).


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