Thursday, April 11, 2013

Demographics Research with Annette!


In our last post, mourning the passing of Annette Funicello, we noted her appearance in an “unusual venue” -- the Gold Key comic WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES # 289 (October, 1964), and posted the cover image (above) of the lovely Ms. Funicello, with an adorable little puppy dog!

Today, we look at the BACK COVER of that same issue, to find Annette and the puppy (…I WANTED that puppy so much, in 1964!) inviting us to participate in a rare example of Demographics Research on the part of Western Publishing, K.K. Publications, or whichever entity was then behind the WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES comic magazine.



Click on the images to enlarge, and get all the details!

For your participation, you (Yes, YOU!) could win a trip to Disneyland or the New York World’s Fair! Surely, a dream for any kid reading this!

And, all you had to do was name Annette’s puppy, provide some personal and family information, and (presumably) help the editors of the book by telling them which characters you most wished to see.



For anyone wondering how I would have responded:



A: if a male, I would have named the puppy “Butch” and, if a female “Lily”, or “Tawny”.

B: I would become a subscriber with the very next issue.





C: No one else read my copy… I was never the “sharing” type of kid! That’s why I still have my old comics today, Nephew! Snort!


D: Favorite Disney Characters (at the time – and no different today, for that matter) 1-4:



1: Donald Duck.



2: Mickey Mouse.






3: Uncle Scrooge.









4: In “Others”, I would have written in “The Phantom Blot”.




I’m guessing Annette didn’t poll too well, as she would only have one more appearance in WDC&S.

 As for “The Scarecrow”, he’d have to wait two more years, and appear in this comic!





E: Favorite of ALL comic book characters: In 1964, I’d probably have answered Donald Duck or The Phantom Blot. Imagine if they asked two years later, and I said “Batman”! …Much less in the ‘90s, when I’d say “Lobo”!


F: Comments for Improving WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES: Back then, in the throes of my youthful exuberance, I’m sure I’d have said “Publish it EVERY DAY!”, completely unaware of the work-related trauma, I’d be inflicting on poor Carl Barks, Paul Murry, and Tony Strobl! …There’s a question that I’d really like to have seen the general responses to.



All are welcome to retroactively answer the survey right here!  Go on, try it... It'll be fun! 

I seem to vaguely recall a one (or so) line blurb in a future issue of WDC&S naming the winner – but I don’t recall where, and it’s hardly worth looking up.

But, the bottom line is that Western got a rare look into the demographics of its consumer base (…Wonder what they did with that?) – and we got one more look at Annette Funicello, and that wonderful puppy!


I may have had my fun with this "contest business", but Annette will be missed by all.  Rest In Peace, Annette Funicello! 



35 comments:

joecab said...

My sister was named after her!

Well, actually, my parents were trying to come up with names and my brother, being a fan of Mickey Mouse Club, suggested "Annette", so ...

Joe Torcivia said...

So, did your brother go to Disneyland, or the World's Fair? :-)

Comicbookrehab said...

I would have suggested "Cubby" and see how that would have fared. :)

favorites? I would have checked "others" anyway so that in addition to 1) Scrooge 2) Donald 3)Ludwig Von Drake 4) Pluto, I could mark Merlin the Wizard.

I would probably be stuck between "Daffy duck" or "Batman" for the non-Disney characters question and suggest a regular comic starring Pluto.

"The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh", eh? Patrick McGoohan vs. Adam West - that was a missed opportunity!

Joe Torcivia said...

“Cubby”, as a name for the puppy? HA! I like that!

I’d have given anything to be the guy who read the responses that came in to Western’s offices!

Dan said...

Hi, Joe:

A new issue of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories EVERY DAY? As of April 2013, I'd settle for once a month, man!

This is a fitting comic book themed tribute to sweet Annette... sad to learn of her passing, but relieved that her suffering is at an end.

Western Publishing put out a pretty wide variety of Annette products, from comics to paper dolls and storybooks. A Google search on the subject will present some attractive illustrations from those publications.

In addition, I believe the issue depicted signifies the last time Barks utilized Neighbor Jones in a comic book story. Some of the more recent Daan Jippes stories carry on that torch nicely (e.g. "Deep Un-pact" in WDC&D #672)

For the record, I'd have named the pup "Scamp" (as long as he was drawn by Al Hubbard) - Dan

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

I'd like to know who designed that demographic form. They actually wanted people to write the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 in those MINUSCULE boxes? How could one possibly DO that?

Chris

joecab said...

Oh! He very well could have, since this was back when we were still living in the Bronx and she was born after that. Hmmm, I'll have to ask him...

Joe Torcivia said...

Dan:

Consider, for a moment, just how MANY issues we’d have by April, 2013, if my youthful 1964 wish of an issue EVERY DAY were somehow granted! Either my house would have explosively burst at the seams causing me and my loved ones to be swept away in a raging torrent of comic books (in a pulp-and-newsprint recreation of the “Money Dam” sequence, from the first issue of UNCLE SCROOGE) or, more likely, I’d be found crushed beneath a collapsed stack of issues designated January 01, 1965 – December 31, 1989. …In which case, the pulp would have “pulped” me!

…There’s a reason Rod Serling and Billy Mumy made the case against a child having ultimate power over all things, in an early sixties TWILIGHT ZONE, and the prospect of living with an issue-a-day of WDC&S for just short of FIVE DECADES makes the point better than any “jack-in-the-box-guy-in-a-cornfield”!

Annette certainly lent herself to the types of Western Pub merchandising you mention – but why wasn’t she given more of an opportunity in comics? Gold Key could have tapped into the Archie market with an Annette and Merlin Jones title. …And, even if single-digit age me would have passed it up as “icky-girl-stuff”, I can’t see why it would not have been successful.

As I’m sure you know, Carl Barks revived Neighbor Jones twice in the sixties, after many years of abandonment and obscurity. Here, and previously in WDC&S # 281. Barks even acknowledges this in # 281 by having Donald say (about the mysterious new occupant of the empty house next door): “I hope he’s not like JONES who lived there long ago! Remember old Jones?”

…And I don’t think he appeared on a cover again until Disney Comics’ DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES # 3 (1990).

“Scamp”? How come everyone picks better names than I did? Good thing I finally saw Disneyland on my own in 1988, ‘cause I’d have NEVER won the contest!

Finally, let me plug the great job you’re doing at your own Blog on the Disneyland comics! I hope to put up a post formally linking to your work soon.

Joe Torcivia said...

Chris writes:

“They actually wanted people to write the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 in those MINUSCULE boxes? How could one possibly DO that?”

…Um, with a very, very tiny pencil?

No doubt, if your favorite characters “lost”, or were discontinued, you could have played yourself a sad tune on the (two-finger-gesturing) “world’s smallest violin”!

Joe Torcivia said...

JoeC:

If so, let’s hope your brother chose Disneyland, because he could have gone to the World’s Fair on just one fifteen-cent subway fare!

Joe Torcivia said...

Additional comment to Chris:

I should point out that the contest rules state:

“In the event that two or more entries suggest the winning name, the NEATEST ENTRY (caps mine) will be judged the winner.”

Now, I don’t think they mean it in the sense that “Emperor Charles Cedric” is a “neater” name than “Fido”… so not only must you write very SMALL, but also very NEATLY.

…Good luck, kids!

ramapith said...

Hey, Joe! How do you transport the world's smallest violin between performances?

Joe Torcivia said...

I dunno, David, as that link goes nowhere. So, I’ll have to improvise a solution.

Um, send it by “U Flea S” (UPS).

What can “very little brown” do for you?

…Can’t save this bit, no matter how hard I try!

And I’m the guy who figured out a reason why Scrooge McDuck would have a huge, Warner Bros. Cartoon-like giant firecracker stored in his Money Bin (“Brutopian Independence Day”, UNCLE SCROOGE # 370), and why Mickey and the gang (even Brigitta and Trudy) are worshipped as celebrities (“Calisota Shore”, WDC&S # 720).

You’d think a small violin would be a piece o’ cake – but nooooooo! Sorry readers, but some things are beyond even my capabilities! :-)

Elaine said...

Puppy name: Trilby.

1) Uncle Scrooge
2) Huey, Dewey & Louie (they *are* really one character)
3) Madam Mim
4) Magica DeSpell

favorite comic book character: I probably would have said Uncle Scrooge, because it was Uncle Scrooge stories I liked the best. If I was really deciding on a favorite character, I might actually have said Madam Mim...followed by the girl who was Lulu's alter ego in the stories Lulu told, because she got to have great adventures. I didn't like Lulu *herself* all that much.

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

“Trilby”? I can’t even tell you exactly why, but I LIKE that!

For sure I’d never with the contest with “Butch” or “Tawny”.

Interesting that Scrooge would not have been my favorite character then. His stories may have been better (owing to that guy I’d come to know by 1971 as “Carl Barks”), but he wasn’t my favorite character. I know it was Donald, as I related to him best. That’s since flipped.

Mickey would have been second, because he was still riding the wave of the recently-concluded “Return of the Phantom Blot”. Still one of my all-time favorite stories!

And I really did like Mim too, especially as she appeared in that vintage of story in the ’64-’65 period.

Even if the rankings changed a bit between 1964 and 2013, Donald, Mickey, and Scrooge were – and still are – the top three. …And, The Phantom Blot might actually still be Number Four!

Dan said...

WHOA—an Annette & Tommy Kirk/Medfield College line of Dell or Gold Key "funny teen" comics!!! What an inspired concept—if a Dan DeCarlo type cartoonist took that on, it could've given Archie & Jug some real competition. Hmm... and hmmm.

Funny thing is, the company has their current stable of teen TV stars that could translate to funny, cartoony (non-realistic) "Archie" style comics. Well, let's get the mice & ducks nailed down first.

And thanks for the very generous props, as always, Joe: Part II of the Dell & Gold Key Disneyland/Disney World comic book stuff was posted earlier this week. A nice bonus/surprise at the end!

Elaine said...

I also liked "The Return of the Phantom Blot" story a lot (read it at the time!), and it stuck with me through the years. I would therefore have said that I liked the Blot as a character...but not Mickey. I never found Mickey at all interesting or engaging as a character, in the stories I read in childhood. When I liked a Mickey story, it was because of something *else* about the story: the mystery of the PB, or (in my favorite Mickey story, Fallberg's "Pineapple Poachers") the "little people" of Hawaii. They speak in rhyme, like the Peeweegahs--but I didn't read the Pygmy Indians story until adulthood (thanks to Gladstone), so I didn't realize these Menehunes were derivative. And actually, even if I had read the Peeweegahs story, I probably would have liked Fallberg's Menehunes better, because they're not so fierce. Though...I did also very much like the Arab mini-ducks in Barks's "Pipeline to Danger," and they're pretty fierce, too!

Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine:

You know… when you come right down to it, you really have a point! Thinking back on the Mickey stories that were my most favorite in the Dell and Gold Key years, what I may have actually liked best about them (…Joe says, setting his “Mental Way-Back Machine” to 1964, and doing his best to recreate his thinking of the time) were “The Things That Happened TO, or AROUND, Him”, more so than anything intrinsic about Mickey himself.

He didn’t have a defining shtick like Scrooge’s vast wealth and cheapness, Gyro’s inventiveness, Goofy’s eccentricity, or Donald’s incredibly simultaneous “mastery and incompetence” and the highs and lows the Duck would experience negotiating daily life. Mickey didn’t crack jokes, or come up with (intentional or otherwise) tension-diffusing remarks in tight situations.

And, David Gerstein says that he and Goofy were often plugged into the “Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken” mode of comedy and adventure scripting. He’s not wrong, and there are clear instances of it…

…But, there was something MORE to Mickey, even in his lack of demonstrated personality.

He was the ROCK of the Disney Comics Universe! Donald may have been more fun to hang with, but Mickey was the one you’d want with you in that now-clichéd, metaphorical “foxhole”!

And, to separate him from Andy and Charlie, it was HE (and I believe only he, among the Western Pub. stable of characters) who was just right to be cast in something like “The Return of The Phantom Blot”!

By that I mean he had the sort of (and I cringe at the word, but I can’t think of a better one) “gravitas” to pull that story off – and make it, as I’ve said elsewhere on this Blog, the single story that made me a Disney comic book fan for life!

Now, oddly, as you will see when I post on “PORKY PIG in Phantom of the Plains”, Porky and Sylvester, as presented in the comics of around 1950, had the potential for a run of stories like that too. But, somewhere along the way, they fell short of fulfilling that potential – and it was Mickey who ended up with the mantle of Dell and Gold Key’s foremost “funny animal straight adventure hero”.

…And, at least through the very early ‘70s, I think he wore that mantle well.

Joe Torcivia said...

Dan:

“An Annette & Tommy Kirk/Medfield College line” (as you say) is exactly what I had in mind and, as billed on the cover of WDC&S # 289, they could have titled the series “The Adventures of Annette and Merlin Jones”.

The fact that this story appeared – and that there was one more after it – has me wondering if Western didn’t at least CONSIDER the concept of a Disney teen comic, and then back off, depositing the “audition stories” into the catch-all of WDC&S. And then… um, building a demographics research and marketing campaign around one of the two stories, before ending the series? Ahhh… So much of what they did looks unfathomable to us today. Oddly, that’s a part of why their history is so appealing to me!

Still, for a publisher that did as many diverse things as Gold Key did in its early years of 1962-1966, you’ve got to wonder why they didn’t explore (what was for them) an untapped market and give a few quarterly issues to Annette and Merlin Jones… at least as many as they gave The Phantom Blot!

Finally, Medfield College (if not Annette and Tommy) actually did surface in modern Disney comics, in the Mickey Mouse story I titled “To the Moon by Noon” (WDC&S # 718). Ludwig Von Drake and his colleagues were to attend a reunion of scientists from Medfield.

Giving full credit where it’s due, I wanted to call Von Drake’s college “Paulfrees University” – in honor of Ludwig’s voice actor Paul Frees, and so I could trot out the ancient joke where someone refers to the institution as “Good Old P.U.” But David Gerstein and the book’s editor Chris Meyer had a better idea… and once I saw it in print, I absolutely agree!

I’ll have a formal link to your great posts later in the week.

scarecrow33 said...

"…But, there was something MORE to Mickey, even in his lack of demonstrated personality."

I agree with you on that one, Joe. In fact, I tend not to separate out the Mickeys...Gottfredson's Mickey, Murry's Mickey, Strobl's Mickey, the Disneyland Mickey, etc. I think of Mickey as the same basic personality, just at various stages of development. As far as his personality, Mickey seemed to me (as a kid) to be always proactive in a crisis, constantly using his wits to get out of tough situations, very determined when faced with an obstacle and above all very moral--he would never compromise his basic values no matter what was at stake. He also seemed very brainy to me. And some of the exposition in Murry's stories particularly required some astute intelligence just to grasp the premise. Murry did not write "down" to readers, but expected them to keep up with plots that could get quite complicated. Gottfredson was much the same way, but then he was writing more toward adult readers of the comic strip, whereas Murry was generally aiming at a younger crowd. But I do agree that Mickey had a definite "something more" to his personality than the other lead characters that you mentioned in the humor/adventure genre.

As for the notion of an ongoing Merlin Jones/Annette comic book series, well, it almost happened, at least briefly. There were comic book adaptations of "Misadventures" and "Monkey's Uncle" and I suppose it's possible that a comic book series with original Merlin Jones adventures could have ensued. One thing is a little odd--in the adaptations from the TV episode/movie compilations, Annette's character is referred to as "Jennifer" as in the movies, but in the WDC & S story which you reference above, she is referred to as "Annette". An ongoing comic book series would probably have been ensured greater success if Annette's name had been used instead of the character name. I get the sense from this WDC & S issue that the Merlin story therein might be a sort of prototype for a possible Merlin/Annette series. Imagine if such a series had actually made it into its own comic book? Then imagine if it had gained the popularity of, say, the Archie series? In that event, there might still be Merlin/Annette stories being churned out today despite the fact that the original performers had long since aged beyond their comic counterparts! It's kind of staggering to think about.

But my final comment is about the puppy contest. Wouldn't it be nice to find out who won? (Maybe they announced it in a later issue...my collection from that era is far from complete.) I would be interested to know what the winning name was for the puppy, and who got to go on the trip, and did they choose Disneyland or the NYWF?

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

Perhaps it's for the best that Western didn't create a "Medfield College" title. The thought of how the straight-laced company might have handled (or mishandled) the transition into the turbulent era of the late 60s is not a pleasant one to contemplate. We might have had another BUNNY on our hands. (Not that I don't enjoy BUNNY, but I read it with tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

Chris

Joe Torcivia said...

Chris:

I think things might have gone on as usual at “Gold Key Comics’ Medfield”, at least until about 1968, if that. Then, we might have seen longer hair on some of the boys (though probably not Merlin Jones), surely a teen rock band (a la The Archies), and perhaps a few joking protest signs.

But Western would probably have played things as straight as possible. Annette would certainly have not changed with the times, but more likely have served as a counterpoint to them. Meaning the changes would have gone on AROUND our two principals, and would have been reflected in ancillary characters.

That’s my take, anyway. What say you all?

Joe Torcivia said...

Scarecrow:

I’d say you see Mickey pretty much as I see him… though I never considered incorporating the “Disneyland Version” into the mix. But, why not? Maybe that was the Mickey that starred in “adventure movies” for Walt Disney in the Gottfredson strip… eventually leading to his fleeting time as a later-career celebrity on “Calisota Shore”! :-) One could say that's how the Disneyland Mickey got such a "Big Head"! (...Sorry, I can’t help myself, sometimes!)

Isn’t it great, how you can tie different things together!

It should be remembered, however, that (despite a remarkable consistency to the stories that would have readers believe otherwise) Paul Murry did not write his Mouse Tales. Among those who did, were Del Connell, Don R. Christensen, Bob Ogle, the ever-present Vic Lockman – and most of all, Carl Fallberg. It was probably the fact that Fallberg wrote SO MANY of them, and did so with such consistency, that creates the impression (that I once held, as well) that Murry wrote and drew his stories just as Barks did.

I think that, if it had occurred, the Annette comic would have been called “The Adventures of Annette and Merlin Jones” – proceeding as per the two stories that appeared in WDC&S, and (as you correctly suggest) taking full advantage of Annette’s name to draw attention to the book. As in the comic stories, she would certainly have been called “Annette”, and not “Jennifer”.

See my comment to Chris (above) as to how I believe the comic would have proceeded as the sixties wore on.

I’m absolutely certain the contest winner was at least passingly referred to in a future issue of WDC&S. It was very low [Gold] key (pardon the obsessive pun), and nowhere near as “out-front” as was the contest announcement itself. And, because you ask, I’ll look for that. If I find it, I’ll post it here. …You’ve got me curious, too!

Comicbookrehab said...

I think the Medfield College of the 70s would be the Medfield that appears in "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" and it's sequel, both featuring Kurt Russell. I think Annette and Merlin would have "graduated" then and the spotlight would shift to Russell's character.

You're forgetting there would have been more scenes set at beach parties and auto races. ;)

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s one GREAT piece of extrapolation, ‘Rehab!

Yeah! I can see that. Though, I’d figure that Annette and Merlin would take jobs AT Medfield after their eventual graduation, keeping them as the primary focus of the comic (without having them become the
perpetual students that the Archie gang became) – and Kurt Russell and a new generation would enter the student body to amuse us with their wacky antics.

Just imagine the “Special Graduation Issue” giant comic of “The Adventures of Annette and Merlin Jones” that makes the transition!

Comicbookrehab said...

An "Annette" comic would have probably been based on the series-within-a-series that aired in "The Mickey Mouse Club" (was there an "Annette" comic in the 50s? there was a "Leave It To Beaver" comic!), while "Annette & That Teenage Whizkid, Merlin Jones" (the title would never be simple! :) ) would be the title of the 60s comics. In the 70s, it would probably be titled "Medfield College Cut-Ups", I guess.

"Paul Murry's Mickey Mouse stories" became the shorthand. Adding to that is the fact that the writing styles of each scripter require a sharp eye to distinguish them by recurring themes/character arcs/elements, etc.. without any credits. To a new reader, it could easily look like the work of one man.

I remember Gottfredson's "The Brave Little Tailor" strip, which featured a framing sequence with Mickey taking an acting job from Walt over the phone - I liked that. In some ways, Mickey is like a versatile actor who can take on specific roles and stay consistant. This approach was also used in MICKEY MOUSE MYSTERY, in which the adventures (Mickey in film noir stories that resembled the series of Ellery Queen novels set in the town of Wrightsville)were considered too offbeat for comfort, so it was rebooted as a series of movies that Mickey had starred in and was watching alone, presumably in a private theatre.

Comicbookrehab said...

The "Double-Size" "Special" would probably feature the return of Professor Ned Brainard, Alonzo Hawk, and his son, Biff, and perhaps a new variant of Flubber - "Son of Flubber" had introduced "Flubber Gas" to create a super-grow plant food; maybe "Flubber-Cola"? :)

Merlin would probably be working on earning his Doctorate by teaching classes at the college, while Annette would probably be working as an assistant to Brainard, who would probably have his own official laboratory and no longer be working in his garage.

there's not much in way of "Absent-Minded Professor" fan fiction outthere, is there? pooh. ;)

Comicbookrehab said...

BTW, Frank Welker - in one of his few acting roles onscreen - played one of Russell's pals in those two films! We'd wind up with a cartoon incarnation of Welker as a college student! :)

Joe Torcivia said...

‘Rehab:

I actually like “Medfield College Cut-Ups” as a title, but I’m still on-board with Scarecrow, in that Annette’s name, somewhere in the title, offered greater recognition value. In the same way there was an “Archie at Riverdale High” comic book title, as opposed to just a “Riverdale High” title. That’s also why they’d find a way to keep Annette (and Merlin) on in some capacity after graduation.

And, yes… As I said, I was once of the opinion that Paul Murry wrote his own Mickey Mouse stories, until I heard otherwise from persons who would have been definitively in the know. There are VERY subtle ways that might allow you to distinguish the writer of a Western Publishing script (with Vic Lockman’s more unique style making him a tad easier to identify) but, mostly, I’d have to chalk it up to “gut feeling”. Even today, I can’t make a call on most of them.

“The Brave Little Tailor” sequence was exactly what I meant, when referring to Mickey being an “actor” within the continuity of his strip. There was also a similar “Robinson Crusoe” sequence. These, of course, reflected different animated projects, that might have been more problematic to adapt for the strip, without this device.

I like your more-fleshed-out thoughts on the Annette/Merlin/Medfield title. I can see it all working, with the proper writing and editorial guidance. Though, the story of Ludwig Von Drake as part of Medfield’s science faculty (WDC&S # 718) would probably remain an “Untold Tale of Medfield College”.

Frank Welker? So, Freddy was a college dropout? Probably the WHOLE Scooby-Gang was! And, since Daphne was rich, they were probably just hangers-on, anyway. …Get a JOB, you mystery-solving slackers!

Dan said...

To quote several John Stanley characters: YOW!

The Notion of a Gold Key "Medfield College Capers" (or whatever you like) title has taken off around here! Many of the things I've been considering have already been brought up (Kurt Russell and a new class bringing in the turbulent/"Mod" generation, while Merlin & Annette grab University gigs post-Graduation) Great minds DO think alike!

The inclusion of the "Flubber" characters truly fill out the landscape as well. If my plate wasn't so full, I'd love to sketch up something along these lines just for fun.

Thinking about the output from that time, it's odd Gold Key never took on the "teen antics" market, leaving it wide open for the Archie comics and D.C. (who had some success with the Riverdale-influenced "Binky" books.)

I admit it's been well over a decade since I've seen "Merlin" or "Uncle" but from what I recall, the wide foundation for expansion in comic books is certainly built-in there... besides the unlikely couple of Tommy and Annette, there were rivals, a goofy/chubby pal, and A MONKEY SIDEKICK!!!

The use of Annette's actual name is an easy (and logical) retcon, as are the photo covers, which would sell at least twice as many issues of anything in the early-mid 1960s.

Of course, the success of all this would inspire the usual spin-offs and one-shots within that world. Wouldn't you love to go to the newsstand for a 7-Up and to pick up a copy of "The Nefarious Schemes of Alonzo Hawk #1"?

Oh, Bill Walsh would be proud!

Joe Torcivia said...

Dan:

I really enjoy how this “Medfield College Comics and Stories” thing has taken off in the hearts and minds of our little group – and thanks for your contributions to that great comic that might have been!

Sometimes, you just inadvertently strike Blogging Gold!

Again, I’ll never understand why Gold Key failed to take a real turn at (as you say) the “teen antics” market, back in the early to mid-sixties – when they seemed to be trying darned near everything.

However, there WAS such a comic, released a decade later. It’s just not well remembered by anyone who has not made the study of Western Publishing their life’s work. It was written by Mark Evanier, drawn by Lee Holley, and called “Tom, Dick and Harriet”. Here’s a link on it, below. I even have one of them, but not the issue pictured at the link.

http://cartoonsnap.blogspot.com/2011/03/great-ketchams-ghost-meet-tom-dick-and.html

Check out the great line: “Research has found that ANYONE with a shirt pocket full of pens is automatically assumed to be in charge…” That’s why Evanier was Gold Key’s best writer of the seventies!

Still would have liked to have seen the “Annette/ Medfield” version we all cooked up, though!

Joe Torcivia said...

And, because Scarecrow33 (and presumably others – including me) wanted it, here’s the WINNER of the Annette’s Puppy Contest!

The announcement was made in WDC&S # 295, six months (and six issues) after the Contest Issue, # 289.

It appeared at the end of the “GOOFY JOKES” feature which, if you recall, was a page of jokes and riddles submitted by readers – usually with a single Paul Murry illustration at the top, representing our “Lead Joke”. Before proceeding, please permit me a digression, concerning “Goofy Jokes”.

In my collecting years, I’ve come to know a fair number of persons who read WDC&S during this period. …Fans, collectors, and even future professionals. Yet, I’ve never seen a name I recognize in any of the “Goofy Jokes” columns.

Of course, I’ve not gone back and re-read ‘em all lately – but, each time I do read an issue from that time, I scan the names, and never see the name of anyone I’ve come to know (or “know of”) in the intervening years. In contrast, read DC letter columns of the Silver Age, and you’ll see names that you will later come to know. No such thing here.

Now, that’s not so strange, as I never contributed to the thing myself – and I read EVERY ISSUE of the period! But, I’m left to wonder… How many of those readers who contributed to “Goofy Jokes” actually followed the path to fandom and collecting? …Much less becoming comic book professionals in any capacity.

The same holds true for the later “Gold Key Comics Club”. So, I’m left to wonder if the majority of readers just “dropped these things” when they reached a certain age, and never looked back. It seems inconsistent with comics from certain other publishers – and sure isn’t the way *I* did it. Okay, back to the contest:

The text of the announcement reads as follows:

THE WINNER of “Name Annette’s Puppy Contest”
Cris DeWald (They published the street address – but I won’t!)
Raleigh, North Carolina

Cris DeWald’s winning name is Lady Star.

Cris has been notified, and the prize for naming the puppy is a trip to California for a four-day vacation at Disneyland, with hotel, meals and transportation paid for two people. Congratulations, Cris.

[End of Text]

It was actually more than the simple blurb in my recollections – and I hope Cris didn’t have a big family, because only TWO got to go.

Finally, in the original story, Annette does say the puppy is female, so it’s just as well I never submitted the name “Butch”.

Comicbookrehab said...

Wasn't Alonzo Hawk the villain in "Herbie Rides Again"? Medfield just became far more interesting than a lot of people realized...I guess the 1980s incarnation of "Medfield College Cut-Ups" would HAVE to include Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan's characters from "Tron". And the Shaggy D.A., or maybe he would be "The Shaggy Mayor" by now. That's if Gold Key was still hanging in there.

"Lady Star" - reminds me of "Lady and The Tramp". maybe they were thinking of having Lady Star appear in her own strip!

Most contests don't offer "all-expenses paid" these days. it's usually "pay your own way!" or "Disney Dollars - it's like real money, only ... fun."

Joe Torcivia said...

Odds Bodkins, ‘Rehab! Comics Medfield is becoming more populated than Duckburg! Maybe, in an unprecedented crossover, even “Shaggy” himself would show up… with Scooby!

The second Annette and Merlin Jones WDC&S story, which I read last night, while looking for the contest winner issue, featured a big football player (who Annette used to gin up some jealousy in Merlin) that looked like a cross between Big Moose of Archie Comics and “Hoss Cartwright” of TV western BONANZA. The actor who played “Hoss” was named Dan Blocker – and the football player was named “Mike Blocker” (also a football pun) – so perhaps SOMETHING was afoot, on some unofficial crossover level!

…Could all those other characters – and Shaggy – be far behind?

And, imagine that poor puppy, walking around nameless for six months or more, before someone finally started calling her “Lady Star”. …A tad snooty for my tastes. Annette didn’t come across as that kind of pretentious. She wasn’t Veronica, after all! I still prefer “Tawny”, not to mention all of the names proposed here.

Finally, “All Expenses Paid” was once the rule in contests – in fiction, at the very least. Like when Yogi Bear and Boo Boo were flown to Paris (in a particular favorite of mine) – and more that I simply can’t summon up at the moment. Now, you’re probably correct about “Disney Dollars”… The Happiest Dollars on Earth!

Comicbookrehab said...

By Gad, Sir! You assume Norville Rogers actually made it past High School? You'll see Maynard G. krebs with a job before Shaggy gets a diploma!

But with Annette's musical ability, a crossover with Josie & The Pussycats seems more natural.

Hmm... "Big Hoss", eh? Honestly, most of what I know of BONANZA is Jackie Gayle's rant to Danny Devito about the show in the film, "Tin Men": "Can you believe a 50-year-old father with three 47-year-old sons? You know why they get along together? It's because they're the same age!...and how come you never see those guys talk about broads?! 'Yes, Pa - where's Little Joe?' - nothin' about women!" It's worth a rent.

I convinced they were seting up a girlfriend for Scamp with "Lady Star" - or maybe Gold Key had the rights to a "Brenda Starr" comic. :P

I remember that Talespin comic - "Congradulations, You Have Just Won..." where Baloo and Rebecca had to sit through a presentation from a guy selling condos to "enjoy" a "vacation".. In a hotel that was on fire. Those early Talespin comics printed in Disney Adventures had a lot of satire!