Mutt and Jeff, the >Almost< First Daily Comic Strip, Ended Forty Years Ago Today

Mutt and Jeff, recognized as the first regularly published daily comic strip >see Allan Hotz’s comment below<, ended after 75 years on June 26, 1983.

© (the estate of) Pierre S. de Beaumont

Above are the last daily (June 25, 1983) and the last Sunday (June 26, 1983) strips from the Charlotte Observer which carried the strip to the end, by then being done by the paper’s staff cartoonist George Breisacher.

The strip began on November 15, 1907 by San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Bud Fisher who had convinced the editor of the rewards to be had by running Fisher’s comic strip on a daily basis.

Yes, comic strips had appeared in weekday newspapers, as opposed to the Sunday editions, before Mutt and Jeff, as far as we know none ran or were created to run every day of the week for an extended period until Mr. A. Mutt.

The immediate success of Mutt and Jeff led Bud Fisher, who had wisely copyrighted the strip in his name, to take to a life of ease. Within a few years he hired assistants and ghosts to create the comic strip while he reaped the praise and rewards. One such was Al Smith who began on the strip in 1932 and began signing it in 1954 and continued with the strip until 1981. That is when George Breisacher took charge with his assistant Jim Scancarelli.

Mutt and Jeff reruns remain in syndication, though whether any papers in the U.S. carry it is questionable.

8 thoughts on “Mutt and Jeff, the >Almost< First Daily Comic Strip, Ended Forty Years Ago Today

  1. “The Importance of Mr. Peewee” ran as a true daily strip for just short of five months in 1903-04 in the New York Evening World (see my article in Hogan’s Alley #12).

    1. David, the strip is carried by many papers online through the GoComics platform,
      but is it published in the physical paper?

      1. I read a few print editions of that paper two or three years ago. “Mutt and Jeff” was in them. I cannot say if it still is.

  2. I do not think those final two strips have an antique look and feel. It appears that Mr. Breisacher was doing a good job making it contemporary.

  3. I remember Mutt and Jeff ending! It was still being carried in one of the newspapers we got, I want to say the [Perth Amboy] News Tribune. It seemed to break the rules of the universe that a comic strip that old could end and I was a little distressed it wasn’t a bigger news item.

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