Thursday, October 25, 2012


Foster Follett Week: Mr. Scrapple of Philadelphia - He Sleeps

Foster Follett takes out his aggressions on Philadelphians in this strip, Mr. Scrapple of Philadelphia -- He Sleeps. Philly folk get roasted for enjoying that deliciously lowbrow pork melange, scrapple, and more importantly, for residing in a city that hotsy-totsy New Yorkers like Follett laugh at as a sleepy backwater town.

Follett's idea, I suppose, was that Mr. Scrapple had such an exciting somnambulant life to counter the utter and complete boredom of living in Philly during his waking hours. I suppose we can congratulate the City of Brotherly Love for having shaken off that old reputation for being boring -- the more modern nickname Murder City USA, earned for their impressive homicide rate, not to mention the also colorful Killadelphia and Filthadelphia, lend the city a much-needed aura of excitement.

Mr. Scrapple was also known on occasion as Mr. Sleeper and his Surprises, presumably for those papers with possible circulation in eastern Pennsylvania.The series, which was a part of the McClure pre-print section, ran from May 15 1910 to April 30 1911. Although Follett's style is obvious on this feature, he never signed it (a common convention at McClure after about 1903).

Annotation Corner:
* The reference to Lydia Pinkham in the top strip refers to the creator of a woman's tonic, mostly alcohol, that was supposed to relieve menstrual pains, not to mention almost every other female complaint under the sun.

* The term 'drummer' in the middle strip refers to a traveling salesman.

* "Bob, Son of Battle", seen in the bottom strip, was a popular children's novel about sheepdogs, published in 1898.

Thanks to Philadelphian Cole Johnson for the scans, and for being a good sport!


Did this strip, or the McClure pre-print section publish in a Philadelphia newspaper?

Hello, GRIZEDO----The Philadelphia Press ran the McClure section before they had their own syndicate up and running, 1901-1905. The Press came back to McClure for a couple of years after their syndicate went kaput in 1915, but soon drifted into a blend of McClure, King features, and Chicago Tribune strips. In it's last couple of years (1919-20), the Press had the only three-page section I ever heard of.
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