The “Phantom” Predescessor

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You may not have read this comic but if you grew up in the US before 2000, I bet you’ve come across it while looking for Garfield in the newspaper. Lee Falk’s The Phantom predates Superman by 3 years and set the standards for many tropes we associate with the Man of Steel.

I would provide a full retrospect but YouTuber Midnight’s Edge has that covered.

 

Little Orphan Cliffhanger

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While I’m sad that Little Orphan Annie no longer graces the Newspaper page, I do feel a sense of content closure for the series. After 86 years and several ghost writers and artists taking over for original creator Harold Gray, it couldn’t have lasted much longer than a Soap Opera would on television. Besides, 86 years of strips is a lot to compile into book collections. Imagined if it kept going on past a century?  If only they hadn’t ended it on an emotionally sensitive cliffhanger. 

What do Bermuda, Garfield and Malcolm X have in Common?

It’s funny how you recall one thing which leads to something that would seem completely unrelated if not for interlinking circumstances. In the summer of 1997, I was in Bermuda with my mother and grandmother the week international news outlets reported the death of Betty Shabazz by injuries inflicted by her grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, who himself later passed away in 2013. We received Hamilton’s local paper, which I at the time naturally turned to the comics section. It ran Tumbleweeds, the comic I had also learned that year cartoonist Jim Davis helped work on before he created Garfield. I don’t think I’ll ever think about Garfield or Bermuda without immediately recalling the Shabazz family.

Thank “Mickey McGuire” for Mickey Rooney

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Last Week, Mickey Rooney passed away at the age of 93. Known for his roles in Boys Town, National Velvet, the Andy Hardy series and the now infamous yellowface character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Rooney career shot to the top with one good role: Mickey McGuire. Who is Mickey McGuire?

Well, that story begins with the comic strip called Toonerville Trolley or Toonerville Folks by Fontaine Fox. Running in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1915 to 1955, the strip humorously chronicled a neglected trolley and its conductor as they serviced an upstate new york community.

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 Fox’s cartoon proved so popular with the public that in 1927, a film series was adapted centering on one character from the cast: Mickey McGuire.
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The studio cast a young actor and son of vaudeville comedians, Joe Yule Jr. The decision to proved successful, as the series rivaled the series Our Gang (known today as “the Little Rascals”) for 10 years. The series itself helped launch Joe Yule to celebrity status.

 

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When the young Yule left the series at it’s end to pursue his growing career, Fontaine Fox’s copyright restrictions prevented him from using his role’s name, so Yule took another option—changing his name to Mickey Rooney. And the rest was history…….

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So yeah: If it wasn’t for a comic strip, Mickey wouldn’t have his career.