Obscurity of the Day: Dooley’s World

Dooley’s World got off to a strong start in a generous number of papers when it debuted on September 11 1972. Apparently the gentle humor of the strip appealed to newspaper editors, perhaps reacting to the country’s brittle divisive mood.

The strip was about a little boy and his toys. Dooley’s toy bin has three members that have come to life — two wind-up dolls, one named Professor, the other a knight named Norman, and a rag doll named Thelma. A fourth pal, Max the mouse, rounds out the strip’s cast. All of the characters are sweet and tender, all wide-eyed and amazed by the great big world with the exception of Thelma. In a strip full of Linuses, she’s a Lucy. The cantankerous and angry Thelma provides the only antagonism in the strip, and its muted by the rest of the cast who always turn the other cheek to her tirades.

The Sunday and daily strip seemed assured of a long and successful run, but in 1975-76 the client list dropped off precipitously although I can see no real change in the strip. I asked Roger Bradfield, the creator of Dooley’s World, why he thought the strip ultimately didn’t succeed. I expected an answer that involved newspaper economics or changing tastes, but Bradfield, seemingly channeling his mild characters, simply said “It probably wasn’t good enough.”

Although I’ve been unable to locate any strips later than 1977, and that’s the last year the strip was advertised in Editor & Publisher, Bradfield tells me that it lasted, to the best of his recollection, to September 1978.

If you’d like to see more of Dooley’s World, visit Roger Bradfield’s website.

5 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Dooley’s World

  1. Hi Anonymous —
    For my records and giving proper attribution in the listings, who are you and what’s your source for these dates?

    Thanks, Allan

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