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Gasoline Alley turns 90 today

Gasoline Alley turns 90 today. The feature, created by Frank King, was first published in 1918 and is often cited as the first comic to age its characters. In an effort to attract more female readers to the Chicago Tribune, the editor asked Frank to introduce a baby – which posed a problem as the main character, Walt Wallet was a bachelor. The baby, Skeezix, was introduced into the strip by Walt finding the abandoned child on his doorstep on February of 1921 and who quickly grew to be a man serving in World War II.

Bill Perry took over on the Sunday strips in 1951 and Dick Moores became the sole writer and artist for the daily strips in 1959 when Frank fully retired. Dick took over both the Sunday and dailies in 1975 when Bill retired. After Dick’s passing in 1986, Jim Scancarelli who has worked on the strip ever since.

Today, several strips are tipping their hat to Gasoline Alley’s anniversary including: Gasoline Alley, Blondie, Dennis the Menace, Alley Oop and Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Dawson
@ 4:19 pm

Frank King was the best! I recently read the Walt and Skeezix books and loved the heck out of them. And the Sundays he did in the twenties and thirties were incomparable. A true cartooning genius. Either that, or he just had a lot of fun.

#2 Garey Mckee
@ 5:31 pm

” A true cartooning genius. Either that, or he just had a lot of fun.”

Two sides of the same coin.

#3 D.D.Degg
@ 6:26 pm

Scancarelli used today’s strip as Sunday’s drop panel:

The Gasoline Alley debut is available online as part of Frank King’s Sunday “The Rectangle” page of 90 years ago:
(click on image to supersize).

#4 Tom Heintjes
@ 1:32 pm

In a way, it’s too bad the syndicate has shattered the illusion of the passage of time by not allowing elderly characters to pass on. How old is Walt supposed to be now?

#5 Ted Dawson
@ 3:24 pm

Instead of letting Walt die, to me it makes more sense to re-start comics this old. Heck, Lynn is doing it with a strip only 20 years old. Why not begin again and retell the story from when Walt found Skeezix on his doorstep?

#6 R.C. Harvey
@ 10:01 pm

I rehearsed the history of the Alley and its various “mechanics” at my website’s “Hindsight” department. With samples of the work of all the cartoonists.

#7 joel harris
@ 6:27 pm

skeezix followed my whole life.i was born in 1921.
iwent to air 1942. i got married to niecy on june 25 1944, 3days before he married nina. my first child ,alan was born march23,1945,one week before chipper was born.
sincerely,joel harris dec.28,2011
i was just 90 today
i can tell you more if you would like.
you can write to me at my email address or
joel harris
7033 n kedzie av apt.915
or phone at 773-465-2229

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