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First and Last – Rick O’Shay, Latigo

The western strip Rick O’Shay by Stan Lynde began in 1958. It first appeared on April 27, 1958 (below), taking over the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate spot occupied by Ferd Johnson’s Texas Slim Sunday strip which ended the week before; both being humorous cowboy strips.

Ferd Johnson, who had been ghosting for Frank Willard’s Moon Mullins for years, was hired by the Tribune-News Syndicate to take full responsibility for Moon on Willard’s death in early 1958. Whether it was serendipity or planned that Rick O’Shay took the Texas Slim spot I don’t know. Maybe the syndicate moved up the Sunday debut of Rick a few weeks to fill the departing Johnson strip? There was certainly promotional material (top) available for the daily strip, whereas the Sunday inauguration not so much.

Anyway, it took a few weeks for the daily Rick O’Shay strip to debut on May 19, 1958.
Below is the first strip and the first appearances of some characters.

After almost 20 years Stan Lynde and the syndicate couldn’t agree on new terms in the contract talks, and Stan walked in 1977.
Or…

July 2, 1977 (above) was Stan’s last daily, July 4, 1977 (below) began the Marian and Alfredo run.

Stan’s last Sunday Rick O’Shay Sunday was July 17, 1977.

 

update: Bob Selig informs me that the last two months of Stan’s tenure on Rick O’Shay were reprints, Robert Boyd confirms that the last original Lynde daily was on May 7, 1977.

 

A number of papers soon dropped the strip with the change of creative staff, among them was the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (where these latter-day samples are taken from). But newspaper readers in Ft. Worth demanded the return of Rick O’Shay, and the Star-Telegram complied. Even giving readers the three weeks of dailies they had missed.

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram would run Rick O’Shay until it ended in 1981.

Alfredo Alcala left the strip after six months.
Alcala’s thick lines were replaced by the slicker art of Mel Keefer, Marion Dern remained as writer.


Above: last Alfredo Alcala daily from January 7, 1978
Below: first Mel Keefer daily from January 9, 1978

The Sunday switch would happen from January 28 to February 5, 1978.

The Marian Dern Rick O’Shay kept the basics of the Lynde strip,
though it did become famous for one September 23, 1979 Sunday strip:

Marian Dern would soon become the wife of Chuck Jones.

Rick O’Shay and Hipshot came to an end in 1981 – February 7 for the daily, March 8 for the Sunday (replaced in the Star-Telegram by Garfield in both instances).

 

Meanwhile…

Stan Lynde had returned to the funny pages with a more serious western, Latigo (though the Sundays did tend toward the lighter side).


Latigo began on Sunday June 24, 1979 (above), with the dailies beginning June 25, 1979.





With help on the art from Russ Heath and John Wehren it rode the late 70s/early 80s adventure strip spurt until 1983.


above: the last daily, dated May 7, 1983
below: the last Sunday, dated June 5, 1983

 

 

 

 

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