The Saturday Funnies

Hands up, all of you of a “certain age.” Don’t be shy! I know you’re there! Anyway, you’ll be glad to read this post, because it’ll take you back, waaay back…

…to a time when daily newspapers did not publish on Sunday. Nope, Sunday was the Lord’s day, and it was decreed that no business of any sort should be carried out on that day that was deemed sacred. Now I’m talking about 60 years ago or more, and I’m talking about Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was a rather religious, mostly Catholic region, back then.

Ah, but Saturday! That was entirely a different story. That was the day we in our household all looked forward to the fat weekend edition of our favourite daily paper, The Montreal Star. (Sadly, the Star met its demise in September, 1979, throwing my reporter-brother out of work, among many other fine writers. I mention this in an earlier blog post here. Since then we’ve had to rely on the Montreal Gazette. But it’s just not the same.)

As soon as the Star was brought into our house, we attacked it, in order to grab our section of choice. Usually my brother got to the Funnies first, darn it. He was older and faster than I. But as soon as he was finished with it, he passed it to me.

O, joy!

Here were some of our faves back then, in no particular order:

Pogo
by Walt Kelly

This is a little animated (1954) taste of the strip now on YouTube, set to a catchy Cajun song (appropriate for the fictional Okefenokee Swamp where Pogo and his pals all lived):

Uploaded to YouTube by East Coulee Boy:
•    Category Entertainment
•    License Standard YouTube License
•    Music “Jolie Blonde” by Harry Choates

The main character, Pogo Possum, was often quoted for the pithy sayings Kelly put into his mouth. Arguably the most famous is, We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Blondie
by Chic Young

Who can forget the Bumsteads – Dagwood, Blondie, Alexander, Cookie – and of course their dog, Daisy? Actually, it’s hard to forget them now, because they’re still going strong, drawn and written by Chic’s son Dean Young with John Marshall.

My mom used to get a kick out of Daisy, who always seemed to mirror her owners’ emotions and thoughts.

Dagwood was sort of the antithesis of the dad in “Father Knows Best,” I think. Dag usually found some way to get himself in hot water, as opposed to Jim Anderson on the TV show who, yes, always “knew best”!

Dick Tracy
by Chester Gould

Ah, Dick Tracy, that square-jawed gumshoe, right out of a film-noir classic! Here’s an original movie of him from 1945, available on YouTube. See if you can spot his “smart” watch, pre-dating Apple by some 70 years (and two-way, no less)!

TCM – Timeless Classic Movies, 1945

There are so many other strips to talk about; this post could turn into a book if I’m not careful! So I will just share with you the names I remember; you can find them all on Wikipedia if you’re so inclined.

Alley Oop

Steve Canyon

Mary Worth

Rex Morgan MD

Maggie & Jiggs

Henry

Popeye

Li’l Abner

Gasoline Alley

The Katzenjammer Kids

Of course there were other comics I loved in the ’50s – but they weren’t published as strips in the Star‘s “funny pages.” I’m thinking of Little Lulu (my favourite by far), Richie Rich, and later, Archie, for example.

If any of you can think of other comic strips that could be included in this list, by all means, let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and liking this post.

 

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