Thursday, December 06, 2007


Obscurity of the Day: Pop's Place

Sam Rawls, who went by the nome de plume 'Scrawls', produced Pop's Place for King Features. Pop is a bartender who, along with his partner Harve, served up laughs from March 24 1986 to sometime in 2001. The strip was originally both a Sunday and a daily but the Sunday seems to have been dropped in 1993.

Rawls was a well-regarded editorial cartoonist who worked at an impressive roll call of papers, starting at the Ocala Star-Banner just a short drive from Stripper's Guide world headquarters. He then went on to the Palm Beach Post-Times, Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution.

Though Pop's Place had a pretty long run it never ran in many papers. Why King held onto it for so long is a bit of a mystery. King is notable for their indulgence in keeping strips that are clearly not making any headway.

One tidbit about Pop's Place -- the bar setting seems to have morphed into more of a restaurant over the years. I have to wonder if the American newspaper is so prudish that the change was deemed necessary to make the strip more wholesome? Watch out Andy Capp, they'll have you joining a book club one of these days.


Wow, I vaguely remember this strip. Around the time I first went to look for comics online, this strip was still around and King had it up on their site (along with others).

Another strip that King had around at the time was "Walnut Cove." Remember that one?
Sure; Walnut Cove was a lot like Pop's Place -- both "shrug" features. The art is okay, the gags are okay but neither are particularly memorable. So if they got cancelled from your paper you just shrugged and went on.

I found it interesting that one of the best Pop's Place gags I found was in the two drop panels of the second sample strip. The main gag is barely a gag, but the drop panels are pretty darn funny. Why waste 'em in drop panels???

Hello, Allan----According to my Brother Mark, POP'S PLACE ran from daily from 3-31-86 to 4-6-02, and Sunday from 3-30-86 to 6-13-93 in the US, but was still marketed internationally until 4-7-02. (In the Toronto Star, for example.) At it's peak, this strip ran in about 60 papers, including the EAU CLAIRE LEADER-TELEGRAM and the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER.--------Cole Johnson.
Hi Cole -
Thanks for the end date on Pop's Place. I'm curious about the Sunday -- why would King continue it but not offer it to the US market. If they have to do the production work anyway, what benefit is there to making it available only outside the US?

-- Curious Al
Hello, Allan-----King Features has a bunch of strips and features that are only run internationally. (BRINGING UP FATHER, for example, lives on in reruns overseas.)In the case of POP'S PLACE, the reason the Sundays were relegated to the foreign market are obscure. It was sub-syndicated by the Toronto Star throughout Canada, and sometimes King will sub-syndicate a Toronto Star feature. (Remember "HORRORSCOPE" ?)-------SNARKY COMMENT ALERT: Why did the characters in POP'S PLACE always have those spots floating around their faces? It's a device I associate with lightheadeness, being high, or about to pitch your oreos. These characters aren't healthy!---------Cole Johnson.
Hi Cole -
I never noticed those spots until you pointed them out. I guess they mesh well with the spots orbiting my own head.

I still have some college newspapers from Florida Southern College in which Scrawls sports column appears. Where is he new?
Hi Caroline -
I assume he's retired, but that's just a guess.

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