Friday, September 19, 2008


Obscurity of the Day: The Potts

An obscurity only in the U.S., The Potts was an Australian import that was created there in 1919 by Stan Cross. Under Cross' regime in Smith's Weekly the strip featured political humor and low comedy. Cross left the paper and the strip in 1939 and it was taken over by Jim Russell who would steer the strip single-handed for an incredible sixty years. Russell gradually toned it down into a more traditional domestic comedy, but introduced a new character, Uncle Dick, who injected some of the earlier raucous flavor that older fans loved.

In 1957 Arthur Lafave decided to give the strip a go in the U.S. market and the daily first appeared in a short list of papers on June 3 1957 through his Lafave Newspaper Features. Despite the small client list and the not inconsiderable work of translating the 'Aussie-isms' for an American audience, Lafave took it up a notch by additionally offering the Sunday page starting September 29 of that year. Like most foreign strips, The Potts did not find a particularly enthusiastic audience here. In 1961 Lafave tried stirring the pot by renaming the U.S. version Uncle Dick but it didn't help. The strip was last offered here by Lafave in 1962 as the syndicate ittself was winding down after the death of its founder.

The strip was offered once again to the U.S. market by Creators Syndicate in 1999-2003 but I have yet to find a single paper that ran the strip.

I've searched the web to find out if The Potts has survived Jim Russell's death in 2001 with no luck. Was the strip handed over to someone new? Was Creators syndicating reprints or new material? Has anyone seen The Potts running in the U.S. from Creators?


An Aussie institution, as you know. Surprised to see our old chums here, thanks!
Hi Lyn -
So is the strip still running down under?

No, I don't believe it is.
I have not seen Potts family comics for many years but thwy were one of the best ever produced - even if they were produced "down under". That is probably the very reason why they did not take off elsewhere in the worls. They were simply Aussies and did not measure up and comply with the seeping Americanisms of that time. Another strip of similar hype was Bluey and Curly. They were both really great comic strips equalling Dafwoof and Blondie. May they all rest in peace - even though we can't access them any more.
Hi, just looking through the computer to find out more about my grandfather and low and behold I find a item regarding his comic strips. I have around 2000 of his original comic strips and I am trying to figure out what to do with them before they get ruined.
Anyway it was good to see that he was appreciated.
Many thanks
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