Thursday, March 04, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Trixy and Frisky and Flitchy

The feature Trixy and Frisky and Flitchy is over a hundred years old, but looking at it you'd swear it was more like 150. The subject and art style just seem so mid-Victorian to me. It's all quite attractively done, mind you, but it looks like something cribbed out of an old copy of Phunny Phellow or Frank Leslie's Budget of Fun. The creator, who signed him- or herself only as Arrowhead, seems an apt moniker. As in "this stuff looks so old I bet they dug it up with some old arrowheads".

The versifying, on the other hand, is truly timeless. What was the mania these early cartoonists had for poetry, anyway? Sure, I know it comes from the Victorian tradition, and that people in this period still appreciated a little iambic pentameter sprinkled about in their newspapers. But if you were so completely inept at the activity, like our pal Arrowhead here, why wouldn't you stick with prose? Why torture the poor newspaper readers of Philadelphia -- what'd they ever do to you?

Anyway, no point in flogging a century-dead horse. Here are the stats. The clowns Trixy and Frisky and their lovely porcine assistant Flitchy took their first bows in the Philadelphia North American on April 15 1906 and got the hook on June 3 of that year. Artist Arrowhead wasn't heard from again -- presumably he was put back in the Indian burial mound where they found him.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan!


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