Friday, October 02, 2009
Obscurity of the Day: Betty and her Beau
Cartoonist F.W. Parks was employed by the NEA syndicate from 1918-1921 and produced a spate of unmemorable series, of which Betty and her Beau was the last. It began on October 27 1920 and ended sometime in 1921. The end date is unclear -- the NEA archives at Ohio State University are incomplete for 1921, so the best I can do is that it ended sometime in the second quarter. Checking newspapers that ran NEA material is inconclusive since this strip tended to run ROP -- I've seen it running as late as September.
Betty and her Beau is a pretty straightforward copy of other 'pretty girl playing the field' strips of the time, like Polly and her Pals, Petey Dink and Bedelia's Beaus. Though predating the era when every second strip seemed to be about a flapper, they shared the same sensibility, heralding (and ridiculing) the arrival of the liberated woman. Cartoonist Parks certainly didn't add anything to the genre. His strips, drawn in the basic Landon School bigfoot style, have gags that seem to be cribbed from the competition and almost invariably end with that hacky 'falling out of the panel' pratfall.