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First and Last – Hippy And Pop, and Miss Caroline

There have been some short-run syndicated comic strips; mostly holiday themed (Christmas, Easter) or news related (Mrs. Simpson, The Crime of the Century). Those were planned as closed-end mini-series.

Hippy and Pop by Pete Murphey was not planned for a short run,
but it became one of the shortest run syndicated comic strips in modern history.

Pete had unsuccessfully submitted a few comic strips to syndicates when they took favorable notice of his Hippy and Pop strip.

As Pete tells it:

Of course I had no new ideas, so I started combining side characters from my old strips and putting fresh titles on them, in hopes that no one would notice. This brought together a cranky, bitter, old man character,“Pop”, with a pony tailed, wild eyed, idealist, “Hippy”. I teamed them up as father and son duo with a contentious past and polar opposite views of the world. The hippie was named Alan Mcklusky an aging baby boomer fighting retain his ’60s sensibilities as he coped with middle age, the new millennium and his cantankerous father, Eugene, who just moved in. I named it “Hippy and Pop”, which seemed to me a good name for a comic strip and a sugar coated cereal.

The new strip made its syndicated debut on January 7, 2002 (above). Take note of the date.

As is often true with life, timing is everything. As fate would have it, our meeting had taken place exactly a week before September 11th. Fortunately no one at King Features or any of their family members were directly effected by the attacks but, as one could imagine, everything else became discombobulated. The sales people were grounded, the phone lines at King Features couldn’t call out for a couple of weeks and most importantly the newspaper business was turned on it’s head.

So less than three months later the syndicate called it quits on Hippy and Pop.

I was consoled by the fact it may have set a record of some sort for shortest-lived daily strip in history.

On March 31, 2002 (a Sunday) Hippy and Pop ended (below).

Pete Murphey has put the full account of his syndicated career, and all of Hippy and Pop, on line.

 

Though it may be scant comfort to Pete, there have been syndicated comics with shorter runs. While 9/11 was a mitigating factor ending Hippy and Pop, the next one ended as a direct result of a calamity.

 

In what has to be the the worst timing in the history of comics, Gerald Gardner and Frank Johnson got Adcox to syndicate their 1963 “Miss Caroline” book as a daily panel. It was a gentle look at the life of John and Jackie Kennedy’s daughter in the White House. Utilizing pages from the book and new gags the panel began November 4, 1963. Tragically President Kennedy was assassinated on the 22nd of that same month. The panel ran 17 daily installments, ending on Friday, November 22, 1963*.

 

Philip R. Frey, via the Hogan’s Alley Facebook page, shares the entire run.

A look at the mass market paperback book is here.

 

*erratum: Allan Holtz, in comment below, found a newspaper that ran the Saturday, November 23 issue.

Dave Strickler’s L. A. Times comics index says that paper ran the panel on the 23rd…

… others have checked those archives and not found it in the Times.

 

Community Comments

#1 Darryl Heine
March/8/2020
@ 9:31 am

How many newspapers carried the 3 month Hippy and Pop comic strip?

#2 Darryl Heine
March/8/2020
@ 9:36 am

There was another comic strip that ran 3 months besides the January-March 2002 Hippy and Pop:comic strip: Retro Geek by Steve Dickerson and Todd Clark from January to March 2008.

#3 Allan Holtz
March/8/2020
@ 2:33 pm

How weird that I was actually doing some research on Miss Caroline just last week. In the process I found at least one numskull paper that ran the panel on the 23rd. One of these days I’ll reveal it on Stripper’s Guide.

–Allan Holtz

#4 Colonel Tom
March/8/2020
@ 3:46 pm

Didn’t Todd Clark have a comic with Tribune Syndicate that least like. Week?

#5 D. D. Degg
March/8/2020
@ 9:55 pm

My records show that Steve Dickenson and Todd Clark’s Retro Geek ran from January 7, 2008 to March 30, 2008. The same amount of days as Hippy and Pop, since 2008 was a Leap Year and 2002 was not.

#6 Darryl Heine
March/9/2020
@ 12:24 pm

Allan Holtz: Has your Strippers Guide blog site ever done for an OBSCURITY OF THE DAY Hippy and Pop?

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