Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bobby Make-Believe

The old clock on the wall says it's Slumberback Saturday, so let's step into the wayback machine once more and check out some more vintage cartoons.

I closed last Saturday's blog post with a comment that the days for Bobby Make-Believe, the Sunday comic by Frank O. King, were numbered. Today's post skips ahead a few years from 1916 to 1919 in search of that final strip.

Gasoline Alley was an established feature of King's "The Rectangle" by this point; here's the bottom half of "The Rectangle" of June 1, 1919:

But King was still drawing Bobby Make-Believe for the Sunday funnies. It would be nicely poetic if this Bobby Make-Believe from May 11, 1919 were Frank King's farewell to the lad, but it isn't.

In my searches, I ran across a couple web pages that state that Bobby Make-Believe came to an end when Frank King stopped drawing it. That isn't quite true. More authoritative sources agree that another cartoonist took up the cartoon after King, but none of them say who that was.

In the Chicago Tribune funny pages on September 21, Bobby, still nursing a grudge against Adolph the grocery delivery guy, takes up only half of a page. (The Chicago Tribune had experimented with including the comics in a tabloid formatted "color section" over the summer, but the Sunday funnies had returned to full-size sheets by the fall. Some cartoons returned to full size, while Bobby made room for another cartoon on the page.) This cartoon is signed by King:

I'm not able to find a signature in the following Sunday's installment (September 28). Unless King's signature is obscured by the dark color of Fatty Green's woodshed in the last panel, this may be the first post-King Bobby.

I don't perceive a marked change in style, so I could easily be wrong about the pen changing hands on September 28. Jumping ahead to November, the episode below (now back to a full page) is initialed by someone other than King, and the lettering of the title of the cartoon is very different:

Whoever took over the cartoon from Frank King, by New Year's Day, 1920, the Tribune dropped Bobby Make-Believe from the Sunday funnies. It would be a while, however, before Gasoline Alley would find a home there.

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