Monday, December 08, 2008

No Peanuts

Monday Cartoon Day

These days it seems as if you need to have at least a couple of years as a political cartoonist to get a new newspaper strip launched. In the late fifties and early sixties the only artists getting a chance to start a strip were former magazine cartoonists. This trend started with Hank Ketcham, Mort Walker and Charles Schultz, but before the decade was over everyone who did regular cartoons for magazine such as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, True, This Week, Look and other nationally distributed magazines had his own strip. Some were succesful, others were cancelled or have been forgotten.

One of the most weird and interesting cartoonists was Mel Lazarus. He was selling his cartoons as early as 1951 and probably before that. For years I though he didn't get his break until 1957 when Miss Peach started. Miss Peach was a unique concept, with weird kid characters all standing in line and completing each others sentences. Their classroom scenes were all in one panel, which made the strip different form that other smart kids strip, Peanuts. Maybe Miss Peach was too smart. Although it did get him some atention, it wasn't until he started his decidedly less intellectual strip Momma, that he became a nation wide succes. But apparently he had a short lived strip in 1955 as well. I have found only two samples of this single panel strip, which seems to have been tailored to be fit into any available space. That makes it quite hard to find in the newspapers (as I am not often looking though the small ads section where these things usually appear) and I am not even sure fit was produced six times a week ever other day. A true oddity, but charming nonetheless.

Cartoon from the Saturday Evening Post Jan 27 1951:

Cartoon from the Saturday Evening Post Feb 18 1951:

Lil Ones from July 2 1955:

Lil Ones from July 27 1955:

Miss Peach from Jan 9 1958:

Miss Peach from Sept 1 1959:

Miss Peach from Sept 3 1959:

Miss Peach from Sept 7 1959:

Miss Peach Sunday from Jan 5 1959:

Miss Peach Sunday from Jan 12 1959:

1 comment:

Ramon Schenk said...

Hello Ger,

Thanks for bringing this all-but-forgotten artist back for us. However, his name is Lazarus (two 'A's'), not Lazerus.