Tired of “Taxes to rise 15 percent” and “Roads torn up again” leaping out at you from the front page of your Sunday paper?
Return with us now to the glory days of newspaper comic strips. Yes, we’re going back to the time when Sunday meant a big thick paper wrapped in endless colorful sheets of comics, instead of a litany of threats to your wallet and peace of mind.
Here’s the catch, though. You’re going to have to identify the old comics by name after I give you a description. Answers are below. Don’t peek: cheating isn’t funny.
One: An Irishman, new to the upper classes, keeps outraging his social climbing wife by dashing down to “Dinty Moore’s” for beer and corned beef. Then she throws a rolling pin at him.
Two: A dashing young knight from King Arthur’s court wields his “singing sword” as he travels the world to fight injustice. He has a beautiful blonde wife named Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles. This strip was so incredibly detailed, it was often given a full page.
Three: A detective, thought to be dead, wakes up in a cemetery and reinvents himself as a terrifying crime fighter, prowling the big city in mask and trench coat. It was done in 1940s film noir style.
Four: A short-lived character called “The Wilkes-Barresaurus” was just one of hundreds of figures appearing over the years in this tale of life in the mountain community of Dogpatch. The strip spawned a Broadway musical and a popular high school theme day.
Five: An intrepid police detective, using his “two-way wrist radio,” battles a host of weird villains like “Flathead” and “Pruneface.” Aleta wasn’t in this strip, of course, but now I can’t help thinking about her.
Six: A downtrodden Army enlisted man is the fall guy every time something goes wrong. Hint: It’s NOT Beetle Bailey.
Seven: The nonsense word “foo” bedecked this absurdist strip about a firefighter and his pals. Hint: A top pro football player of the 1960s used the same name.
Eight: I really liked this tale of an adventurer who traveled to the planet Mongo and fought Ming the Merciless, all in the company of his pretty girlfriend Dale Arden. But I’ll never be unfaithful to you, Aleta from the Misty Isles.
Nine: Here’s one that’s still around. Centered on a married couple, it features a husband who makes enormous sandwiches and knocks the mailman down when he rushes out of the house in the morning.
Well, I’ve got to stop at nine because I’m running out of space. Do your best.
Dum de dum!
OK – here are the answers: One - “Bringing up Father” (sometimes incorrectly called “Maggie and Jiggs”); Two - “Prince Valiant” (Why did he run off to fight barbarians when he had Aleta?); Three - “The Spirit” (real name Denny Colt); Four - “Lil Abner” (anybody recall Sadie Hawkins Day?); Five - “Dick Tracy” (The most interesting villains of all time lived here); Six - “Sad Sack” (anybody who’s ever been an enlisted man can identify with this fellow); Seven - “Smokey Stover” (Personally, I didn’t enjoy it much, but oh that Aleta); Eight - Flash Gordon (described as a Yale grad); Nine: - “Blondie” (It gave rise to a series of hilarious movies in the 1940s.)
Well those days are gone. Only the pallid remnants of Sundays past remain, and we must grow up and accept as adults all the changes life brings. Certainly I will.
You know, I think I’ll head down to the travel agency tomorrow morning. I’ve always wanted to see the Misty Isles.