Friday, September 21, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Windy Riley
Ken Kling is middling famous as the creator of Joe And Asbestos, a strip that ran for many years, most of that time only in a few New York papers. The strip, which had started out innocently enough in 1923 as a Barney Google rip-off, eventually turned into a horse-racing tip strip. We'll get further into that story some other day, though, since today we'll look at Kling's second most successful strip, Windy Riley.
Kling ended his first run of Joe and Asbestos in 1926 and didn't start this new strip until December 12 1927 (the samples above are the first week of the strip). In between he may have taken a detour to the McClure Syndicate to do another run of an earlier strip, Those Folks, but to me the 1926-27 run of that strip looks to be reprints. Sorry, digressing again.
Anyhow, Windy Riley, as the name suggests, was a young gasbag. He was home from college determined to set podunk Scramsburg on its ear. Riley was an inveterate schemer, always on the prowl for a quick buck. When not scheming for dough, Windy was busy wooing his sweetie, the delightfully named Sheila Gree (I'm betting the name was cribbed from a George McManus strip).
As the strip wound down, Windy did finally win the fair maiden and in the waning weeks of the strip the two were married and off to Atlantic City. The strip ended sometime early in 1932, probably late January or February, though you'll see 1931 cited in the history books. Kling then revived Joe and Asbestos for a second much longer run.
Windy Riley was by no means a great strip, but Kling infused the proceedings with so much joie de vivre that it's impossible not to like it. If you get a chance to read more of the strip be sure to take it - it's really a blast.