Wednesday, May 27, 2009


News of Yore 1949: Strip Comes Out of Mothballs

"Them Days" Return
(E&P, 1/15/49)

Al Posen is a rare New Yorker. He was born in New York, and goes out West every year because he likes to ride cowponies.

However, he may wind up singing "Them Days Are Gone Forever," as he expects his new comic strip, "Rhymin' Time," to keep him too busy for riding.

Four years after World War I, Posen conceived the famed strip, "Them Days Are Gone Forever," which featured a three-line rhyme and ended up with the title theme.

It was a popular comic, was often clipped out of local papers and pinned up in barber shops because of the strip's universal, nostalgic appeal.

Posen went on with it until he signed up with the Chicago Tribune Syndicate in 1927, having sold to Patterson the idea for the four-word "Jinglets," ancestor of the present-day Sweeney of Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate.

Using the theme song that previously proved popular, technically set to "Turkey in the Straw," Rhymin' Time is by a maturer and more practiced artist. The feature will be released daily, beginning Jan. 17.

Posen, although admitting life was more fun when he had to do only a Sunday feature, has become enthusiastic about Rhymin' Time. He insists that now it is specially apt, as he sees a trend toward nostalgic strips and the rhyming idea has always had appeal. He is nearly as often editorial as humorous in his strip concept.

One of the recent strips, for example, contained this jingle:

My business is conducting polls
And, Gosh, is my face red!
Since last election, everyone
Hurls insults at my head!
They used to think me wonderful.
"Infallible," they said.
Them Days Are Gone Forever.

Posen, a bachelor, has found time each winter to go to Lake Placid, N. Y. (he's an ardent skier), or on a ranch out in Wyoming. He learned to ride in China, where he went as member of a research expedition sent out by a mining syndicate. The experience also included a year in Siam and Yunan.

With other friends of the Marx Brothers, Posen once produced the first movie of the then-noted vaudeville team. It was a two-reeler that flopped financially. Posen and his associates went around, carrying the reels under their coats and begging show houses to show the film.

Prior to Sweeney, now about 15 years old, Posen did "Ella and Her Fella," and for several years has been doing illustrated continuities for advertising.

Posen was a soldier in World War I, and worked for a film advertising agency as soon as it ended. He had no art schooling, but always desired to draw. The more colorful episodes in his life, he says, were just stepping stones to becoming a comics cartoonist.


Hello, Allan---The Marx Bros. film mentioned that Al(vah) Posen produced was the two-reeler "HUMOR RISK" (Caravel 21). It was supposed to be the first in a series of six, but this initial film did not elicit interest from any distributor, and the project was scrapped. Posen had a copy of it, and supposedly it was brought out sometimes to tease the Marxes after their success in Hollywood. HUMOR RISK is now among the most sought-after lost films. Keep your eyes open at the next church sale!--Cole Johnson.

I was lucky enough to purchase three of the engraving plates of his "Them Days Are Gone Forever" strip yesterday. I love comic strips and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the Artist and these plates. Does anyone know more about this and where I can find more information?

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