Obscurity of the Day: Lord Chumpleigh

For a little over three months the readers of the San Francisco Chronicle daily comics page were tormented by the appearance of a locally produced strip titled Lord Chumpleigh. The strip was badly drawn and the gags were copied verbatim out of cheap jokebooks, but it was inexplicably given a prime spot at the top of the comics page from December 22 1921 until April 1 1922.

The new strip knocked Mutt and Jeff from the comics page to the sports page in the middle of the week before Christmas. A short promo ran the day before, saying that R.E. Parker (he signed himself “Tops”) was a former lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps credited with shooting down seven German airplanes in the Great War. He supposedly created the strip as a revenge against a former superior officer, a stuffy old titled Brit. One hopes that Mr. Parker got some closure from his revenge, but his readers may have suffered more greatly than he did. I also have to wonder about the veracity of  his claim, since there seem to be no pilots by his name listed here as aces with seven WWI victories. I checked the list for five through ten victories as well, with nary a Parker to be found.

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