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1924 is Now Public Domain for 2020

Print and film classics from 1924 become public domain on January 1, 2020.

Some famous comic strips which were created in 1924 finally have their debut year now p.d.


Boots and Her Buddies first appeared on February 18, 1924 from the NEA Service.
So there is most of the year available there. Here is a very clean look at the first week.

 


H. T. Webster’s The Timid Soul (aka Caspar Milquetoast) was humbly welcomed in 1924;
or maybe 1923, there seems to be some disagreement. The name did become a word though.
Above is from March 29, 1924, below is from April 2, 1924; both seized from The Washington Star.

If the character was introduced in 1924, he became very popular very quickly.
Here’s a look at Caspar more fully developed.

 


Washington Tubbs II by Roy Crane was launched with a bevy of girls. While the title was shortened to Wash Tubbs in a few years, there never was a shortage of girls in Roy’s strip.
That first year, from his April 14, 1924 intro on, can be read here.

 


Unlike Milquetoast, Keeping up With the Joneses, Banana Oil, and so many others, the term “Dumb Dora” did not originate in the funny papers. It was already a popular slang phrase when Chic Young brought Dumb Dora (“She’s Not So Dumb As She Looks”) to newspapers on June 25, 1924.
More about Dumb Dora from the King Features Archivist.

 

And finally, in 1924, there was a spunky little orphan girl.


Little Orphan Annie first appeared on August 5, 1924. Soon Sandy and Daddy Warbucks made their appearances. Annie, along with Wash Tubbs (after the introduction of Captain Easy), would become true classics of the form.
Little Orphan Annie is being reprinted in full.

Of course all the other newspaper comic strips published before or during 1924 are also public domain.
Keep in mind that companies may very well have legal trademark claims for these characters.

 

Community Comments

#1 Ignatz
January/1/2020
@ 6:28 am

Glad to see these are public domain. But 96 years is ridiculous.

#2 Steven R
January/2/2020
@ 10:46 pm

what percentage of 1924 comic strips actually had their copyrights renewed – back when that needed to be done?

#3 D. D. Degg
January/3/2020
@ 10:53 am

1924 creations would have needed to renewed their copyright in 1952. All the comics shown in this post were still running then, so probably renewed for another 28 years – by which time the Copyright Act of 1978 kicks in and extends it.
There are untold numbers of comics and other creations that never renewed in time and went public domain in 1952. The trouble with the more famous of them is: do you want to fight a court battle with the companies that think they still own them?

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