Obscurity of the Day: 25 Years Ago Today

I wrote an overview of Camillus Kessler’s career way back in 2006, and I haven’t learned much more about him in the meantime. However, when I decided to do a post about his feature 25 Years Ago Today I sniffed around again and found this short item that adds to the knowledgebase. I’m delighted to find he was a fellow Canuck, hailing from Ottawa …. oops, no, Alex Jay tells me my reading comprehension is devolving even faster than my memory — he’s from Ottawa Kansas. Hmmm … how dare those Kansans piggy-back on the goodwill of our fair capital city.

Kessler’s 25 Years Ago Today, which ran for an astounding (to me at least) two decades, was a daily panel distributed by Bell Syndicate. The idea of the panel is that all the items pictured happened on this exact date, a quarter century earlier. Okay, he did fudge that a bit, but I can imagine Kessler having a run of newspaper bound volumes, and his research every day consisted of merely reading the next issue. Fun work if you can get it, at least it seems so to this archivist.

25 Years Ago Today debuted on September 9 1929, and was last solicited by Bell in 1949. A book of the cartoons was published in 1931 by Coward-McCann.

If only Kessler could have kept the feature in production for another five years, Bell could have resold it from the start of the series as 50 Years Ago Today, and then as 75 Years Ago Today, and so on and so on. Boy did they miss out on an opportunity!

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