Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Obscurity of the Day: Yankee Rangers
This one is a real oddball. The Yankee Rangers, which gives every impression of being an ongoing adventure strip was, for reasons lost in the mists of history, a closed-end strip slated for a six week run. According to Ron Goulart in The Funnies neither Andriola or the folks at King Features had any recollection of the reason for the creation of the strip.
Andriola at the time was between jobs, having quit from Charlie Chan at McNaught and was in negotiations to start Kerry Drake for Publishers Syndicate. The temp job was a perfect way for him to keep active, but why King offered it to him is a mystery.
The Yankee Rangers were a trio of military men recruited to go on a dangerous mission in the Netherlands. The six-week strip was full of action from end to end, and Andriola's best Caniff impression made for an eye-catching as well as entertaining strip. At the end of the six week run the Rangers sailed off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.
Of the small number of papers that ran the strip (including the Butler Eagle, my wife's hometown paper) most started the strip on different dates. The earliest found is the Massilon Independent which started it on December 10 1942 (a Thursday). The intended first release date was more likely to be December 7th, and maybe that's a clue. Perhaps the strip was originally conceived as a memorial tie-in of some sort with the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. If so it certainly went off track since the action is in Europe and doesn't refer to that event.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the examples reproduced above.