After 75 years America’s maid is no longer being regularly published. September 29, 2018 was the date of the last Hazel panel distributed by King Features Syndicate.
Hazel was a cartoon panel created by Ted Key that first appeared February 13, 1943 in the Saturday Evening Post. It took a year to actually put a name to the Baxter household’s maid, who by that time was becoming a very popular feature of the weekly magazine.
Ted’s son Peter Key on the early Hazel:
[Dad] drew up the cartoon and it sold. Soon he was selling cartoons with this maid character to The Post and Colliers, until the Post editor said they would buy no further cartoons from him unless he drew these maid cartoons exclusively for their magazine.
Hazel was awarded the prime back of the magazine spot in 1945 when Marge’s Little Lulu left.
“Don’t sh-h me! I said it once and I’ll say it again!
Woman’s place is in the home.”
above: an early (December 7, 1946) Hazel panel
The Saturday Evening Post had published for decades and at one time was a goldmine, but by the 1960s the magazine was a losing proposition. It ceased publication on February 8, 1969. Hazel appeared in the magazine all those years, right up to that last issue.
But Hazel wasn’t gone for long. Four months later, on June 16, 1969, Hazel began appearing as a nationally syndicated daily panel from King Features Syndicate.
Hazel ran daily from 1969 until 1993, when cartoonist Ted Key retired.
Though original Hazel cartoons ended with Ted’s retirement, reruns have been syndicated since then.
Peter Key again,
“King Features began syndicating Hazel in 1969, so it did so for 49 years, 24 before my father stopped drawing Hazel and 25 after.”
After nearly 50 years King Features says goodbye to their famous housekeeper.