Monday, June 13, 2011

Lee-Lee Land

Tuesday Comic Strip Day.

Last week I showed you one of Stan Lee's rare newspaper outings, Mrs. Lyon's Cubs. Today, I have an even raren one, Lee's first stint as a newspaper gagman assisting Chad Grothkopf with Howdy Doody. This item has been on Stan Lee's biographical list for some time, but is rarely seen. A couple of years ago a fan/collector pointed out to me that Lee may have admitted to writing this strip for a short time, just before he and Dan DeCarlo took over the newspaper version of My Friend Irma from Jack Seidel, but he only seems to have written it for one month or less. My guess is that includes dailies and sundays, although I have never seen a daily of this strip (by any creative team). Checking though these, it is clear Stan Lee only signed the strip for the month of januari. He may have contributed to it longer, but the Sundays after that have a continuity story that doesn't read like Lee's work and before that there are only a couple unsigned that may be his, but before that the original writer Neil is still signing.

Here's what Alan Holtz, a far better source for this sort of infromation, has to say: Credits on the strip are confusing (at least to me, no expert on things Doody). Some websites give Disney alum Milt Neil credit as the creator of Howdy Doody, others say he just designed marketing materials. In any case, when the strip began he was given credit along with Chad Grothkopf. To my eye the art throughout the series looks to be Chad's. Neil's credit (for writing?) only lasted until December 3. Then Chad got sole credit until January 7 1951 when someone named Lee took a share. Lee got a credit on just three Sundays, then Chad once again stood alone. Then on April 15 a new credit was added for someone named Kean. The team of Chad and Kean were credited through the remainder of the run which ended on June 21 1953.

He ads a couple of color Sundays to his post about Howdy as well. Follow the link to the Strippers Guide and enjoy all of Alan's posts.

1 comment:

josemas said...


Milt Neil was one of my teachers when I attended the Kubert School. I first met him soon after I arrived there in 1979.
He told us many stories about working at Disney and on the Howdy Doody Show (among other things).
He had worked at Disney in the 1930s and 40s. Donald Duck was one of his specialties (somewhere in one of my storage boxes I still have a sketch or two of the Duck that he did for me).
By the 1950s he had left Disney and was doing work for television. One of his early television animation pieces was the animated Lucy and Desi pieces used on the opening (or was it the closing) of the I Love Lucy show.
He hooked up with the Howdy Doody show when it was launching and took the rough design they had for Howdy and came up with the slicker version that became the Howdy that everyone is familiar with. He even mentioned that he had carved the puppet.
He spoke about the Howdy comic strip too. He told us that he and Chad had started the strip but that he only stayed on it for a short time before turning it over to Chad.
There is an episode of The Howdy Doody Show that is available on DVD that shows Milt and Chad coming on the show to plug the new strip and drawing sketches of Howdy and the gang for the kids in the Peanut Gallery.


Joe Moore