Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Obscurity of the Day: And His Name is Mr. Bones

June 14 1914
October 4 1914
November 30 1919

November 16 1919

February 1 1920

February 8 1920
Veteran newspaper ink-slinger Everrett Lowry started his Chicago Tribune dog feature, And His Name is Mr. Bones, on March 22 1914. At first the stray dog and the strip itself were unnamed, and Lowry ran a contest to name the mutt. Soon after the debut of the strip, the still-unnamed character was pressed into service in the Crazy Quilt jam page. When Crazy Quilt came to an end, the next week the dog had, with no fanfare, been named Mr. Bones and the strip titled And His Name is Mr. Bones.

Mr. Bones shared his philosophical ramblings in the Tribune until January 24 1915, at which point both the dog and his creator dropped out of sight for a very long period. Finally, over four years later, acting as if the strip had merely taken a short vacation, Mr. Bones was back in the Trib's Sunday section on May 4 1919.

Mr. Bones went right back to doing his business until November, when Frank King abruptly dropped his popular Sunday feature, Bobby Make-Believe. First Frank Willard was assigned to continue the strip, but that only lasted two weeks, and then Lowry was elected. Apparently not too keen on the assignment, Lowry tried to turn it into a vehicle for his character, renaming the strip Mr. Bones and Bobby. Even though Lowry was at the time using a kid character in his Mr. Bones strip, apparently it did not sit well with him to take on King's character. After just two weeks, Lowry was released from the assignment and the Mr. Bones strip went back to it's normal self, with Bobby Make-Believe now consigned to the ashcan of history.

I get the feeling the Bobby Make-Believe episode may have left a fatal wound in the relationship between Lowry and the Tribune. The strip did continue for five months, ending on May 5 1920, but it was Lowry's last work for the Tribune, or for that matter, any major paper or syndicate.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the images!

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