Monday, January 27, 2014


Advertising Strips: The Ribbers

If you don't haunt the old newspapers like I do, you might be surprised at how many advertising campaigns for liquor involved comics. Take my word for it, though, the liquor folks definitely liked cartoons for selling their wares. The Ribbers, for instance, hawked whiskey for a couple of years at least in the early 40s.

This particular hootch they shilled for was called Ten High Bourbon Whiskey. I'd never heard of it, but according to Wiki it used to be one of the most popular brands. Gosh, I thought Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, and so on, but what do I know.

Anyways, The Ribbers concerned a group of guys typically engaged in good American manly activities. They all incessantly discuss the wonders of Ten High Whiskey, and how they just can't hardly wait for their next tipple of the whiskey with "no rough edges". Although the characters usually look about the same from ad to ad, the names change each time. But all those characters had one thing in common, and that was the love of putting the screws to the fat member of their little love-in. In most of the ads the fat guy is in the process of losing some bet that will have him buying the next round of Ten High giggle juice. These guys were mean drunks.

The first artist on The Ribbers, which seems to have begun around mid-1941, was a fellow who signed himself Westcott. He didn't seem to last for very long at all until he was replaced by the great Noel Sickles. Sickles, unfortunately, wasn't moved to create any particularly memorable art for this campaign. In fact his panels are hard to tell from Westcott's.

Sickles handled the art chores until early 1942, and then Jack Betts took over. We'll learn about Betts tomorrow from Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile. I've never seen any ads later than March 1942. I presume  the ad budget was cut when it became clear that the war was more than enough stimulation for liquor sales without the dubious help of The Ribbers.


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