Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Obscurity of the Day: Dip and Duck, or Forest Falls Folks, or The Frog Pond Ferry
The Brooklyn Eagle didn't let M.E. Brady slip by producing only his Buttons and Fatty Sunday strip each week. In addition, he was also tasked with a companion piece, first titled Dip and Duck. The strip began on December 28 1924 after an intro teaser the week before. Brady didn't labor over this strip quite as hard as the busy and action-packed Buttons and Fatty. The characters were simply drawn animals and the backgrounds were sparsely drawn woodland scenes, but the strip was nonetheless really attractive.
The format of the strip changed over the years; sometimes it was a full tabloid page in the Eagle's children's sections, other times it was a half-tab, and sometimes a daily-style format. The feature also took vacations now and then, presumably when MEB was pressed for time.
In 1925, MEB actually turned over the reins on the strip to someone who signed themselves only 'H' for a month in the summer, presumably while he took a vacation. At the start of 1926, the title was changed from Dip and Duck to Forest Falls Folks in recognition of the expanding cast of characters. A year later, though, MEB changed his mind and changed the title back to Dip and Duck.
In 1930 the strip settled into a groove of appearing in full tab format in color on a consistent weekly basis. Then on February 28 1932 the final title change was made, to The Frog Pond Ferry.
On January 8 1933, the Eagle did some rejiggering of their comics, and Buttons and Fatty was promoted to appearing as a full page in the regular comics section, instead of on the back cover of the children's Sunday tab section. As a full pager in the era of toppers, MEB took the obvious path of making The Frog Pond Ferry into the companion piece to his bread-and-butter strip. Unfortunately, as discussed in our Buttons and Fatty post, this was a terrible move for the syndication of Buttons and Fatty. The new full page combo of the two strips crashed and burned in terms of syndication popularity, and both features ended only a year and a half later, on June 6 1934. It was an unfortunate end to a pair of very long running and undoubtedly beloved features of Brooklynite kids.