Monday, April 14, 2014
Obscurity of the Day: Curly
As far as I know, the prolific Lee Stanley worked exclusively for the NEA Service syndicate until the mid-1920s. That is, except for one short foray into the big leagues of New York City.
In 1914, Stanley had a strip accepted by the biggest of the big -- Hearst. Despite a somewhat weak and already overused premise, Curly was syndicated by Hearst's International Feature Service imprint. The strip concerned the romance between our hero, Curly, and the gal of his dreams, Elsie. The main obstacle to bliss is a rival named Baldy. Baldy is unattractive, but a healthy bank account and a willingness to spend it keep him in the running for Elsie's heart. The strip offers few surprises, recycling the same sort of gags that have been related in most tales of young romance.
The one (slightly) interesting facet of the strip is that Stanley offered a 'Krazy Kat-esque' strip-within-a-strip that ran along the bottom of the feature. Informally titled Mr. Batch vs. The Well Known Mr. Cupid, it chronicled cupid's attempts to spear Batch with his arrows of love. Frankly, Stanley just wasn't much good at pantomime, and some of the little dramas are a bit hard to follow, at least for this reader.
Stanley's shot at New York fame was ill-fated, as you might guess. Curly ran less than a month, from September 14 to October 10 1914 in the New York Journal.