Monday, March 25, 2013
Obscurity of the Day: Amy
Unfortunately for Mace, he was not going to bask in his success for long. After a brief illness of some kind, Mace died at the age of 41 in December 1963. That could have easily been the end of Amy, which was not setting the world on fire, except that Mace's close friend and neighbor, fellow gag cartoonist Jack Tippit, had been assisting on the feature. At first Tippit had supplied occasional gags, but when Mace got sick Tippit took over the entire production. Register & Tribune was so impressed with the perfect match between Mace's style and Tippit's that they saw no reason to drop the feature, and Jack Tippit's byline started appearing on the strip on January 27 1964.
Tippit, obviously seeing the same writing on the wall regarding the decline of the magazine gag market, readily accepted the assignment and continued Amy. He shepherded the feature to a thirty year run, never in a lot of papers, but enough to make the feature worth producing, ending sometime in 1991. By then the feature had outlasted it's own syndicate, and had been taken over by King Features for the final half-decade of its run.
Despite its long run, Amy was only once collected in book form, an Ace/Grosset & Dunlap paperback issued in 1978.
This is the sort of syndicate business minutiae that I just dote on!
I was aware of the R&T - Cowles name change in 1985, prior to the sale to King. What I thought you were indicating in your first ms. was that the name changed signaled that R&T's features were now being distributed by King (sort of like George Matthew Adams' Sundays way back when). I gather I misunderstood you.
Ger -- those Harry Mace cartoons look to be in the standard Laff-a-Day format, but I wasn't aware that King ever provided daily titles and credit slugs for them. So it sure looks like it could be a Harry Mace-only gag feature. Or, the editor of that paper REALLY REALLY loved Harry Mace's work, picked out the Laff-a-Days by Harry, and added a credit. Which seems pretty far-fetched.
Bill Prindle, Charlottesville, VA
Harry Mace was my father.
You might be interested to know that the original name for the panel was 'Phoebe' but the syndicate rep didn't like it. He said it remiinded him of a former girlfriend, so my dad changed it.
I'll be sending you an email shortly to clear up some of the mysteries that I've just learned are floating around and to offer you some clean clip sheets of both Amy and Junior Grade. Not being sure how often you check back for new postings, email seems safer for that.
Janet (Mace) Splan
Sara W. Duke
Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art
Prints & Photographs Division
Library of Congress
Washington DC 20540-4730