Obscurity of the Day: Rolls Rosie

The breakout hit feature Flapper Fanny by Ethel Hays spawned quite a parade of pale imitators. By the late 1920s, any newspaper that didn’t yet have a dim-witted young beauty making daily commentary was strictly behind the curve.

One of the least of these was Rolls Rosie, by writer Irma Benjamin and artist Harry Weinert. Syndicated by Philadelphia’s Public Ledger Syndicate, it seems to have been either a replacement or a companion for Marjorie Henderson’s panel,  The Boy Friend. Rolls Rosie began sometime in late 1926 (earliest I’ve found are from December), and The Boy Friend has been seen later than that, so seemingly one was not a replacement for the other. However, these two features were run by most papers on a space-available basis, so the overlap might be illusory. The Ledger folks couldn’t fit this feature into one of their own papers until January 1927, and then it was in the lowly tabloid Sun.

Rolls Rosie ran in a small complement of papers, and a rare paper it was that used it on a daily basis rather than strictly as an occasional space-filler. However, evidently enough papers took the feature to keep the Ledger Syndicate happy, for a while at least.  The panel continued to be offered by the syndicate into 1928, but then sometime in 1928-29 it switched over to the Iowa-based Register and Tribune Syndicate. The exact date on which this change occurred is unknown, again because of the dearth of papers that ran the feature consistently.

When Rolls Rosie motored over to the new syndicate, the art by Philadelphia-based Weinert was dropped in favor of Frank Ellis. Ellis was a hard-working R&T man who already had two other features for which to provide art, Jane Arden and Parking with Peggy (the second yet another Flapper Fanny wannabe!).

Apparently the anemic sales that had satisfied Ledger weren’t good enough for R&T; either that or poor Frank Ellis waved the white flag on being asked to handle the art on yet another feature; because Rolls Rosie does not seem to have lasted until the end of 1929.

2 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: Rolls Rosie

  1. "ROLLS ROSIE" is a real oddity, basically centering on not a guy, but a girl's attitude toward automobiles. The only other strip like this I can recamember is another Ledger Syndicate item, "CARRIE AND HER CAR" by Wood Cowan.

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