Thursday, November 18, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: Sidney Smith's Untitled Comic Strip
Smith modeled this feature after others of the day that used revolving or inconsistent titles, like the features of Rube Goldberg and Clare Briggs. Among Smith's line-up of recurring titles were The Bunk of a Busy Brain, It Depends on the Point of View, Tell Me Does It Pay? and Wasted Energy. As you can see above, other one-shot titles were used as well. The one consistent title to the feature was for the panel cartoon portion called Light Occupations. Some papers actually ran this panel as a separate feature (the Cleveland Leader for one).
Smith's untitled 1916 effort was a really wonderful feature. The lack of a consistent plot or set of characters really gave him room to spread his comedic wings. Sometimes witty, sometimes goofy, but always pretty darn funny. Almost makes me wish he had stuck with this rather than creating The Gumps.
Thanks for confirming that this was indeed a ChiTrib feature. I do seem to recall Smith's sports cartoons in the Trib, was there a specific date in which he switched in the direction of straight humor, or at least sports humor as opposed to sports editorials? The feature only seems to have been syndicated in 1916, and by then there's no sports content.