Monday, December 29, 2014
News of Yore 1977: Sam & Silo hit the Papers
Walker and Dumas Producing New Stripby Lenora Williamson
(Editor & Publisher, April 23 1977)
Mort Walker, the most prolific creator of comic strips in the past 25 years with three current successes in syndication around the world, is teaming with his longtime collaborator Jerry Dumas for a new strip based on Keystone Cop-type antics of a small town sheriff and his deputy.
The new strip titled for its main characters "Sam & Silo" premiered April 18 in over 100 newspapers from King Features.
Prior to the debut of "Sam & Silo," Walker was the only cartoonist who has three successful strips syndicated— "Beetle Bailey," "Hi •& Lois" and "Boner's Ark"—appearing in nearly 2,500 newspapers around the world.
Because of his cartoon output, Walker long ago organized a "laugh factory" in Greenwich, Connecticut where he collaborates with Dumas, Bob Gustafson, Ralston Jones and Dik Browne, creator of "Hagar the Horrible."
Walker writes children's books, has designed games and furniture and in 1975 Mason/Charter published a study of cartooning, "Backstage at the Strips." During recent years, the cartoonist has spent considerable time and money getting the Museum of Cartoon Art founded in Greenwich.
Dumas has worked with Walker for almost 22 years. His writing and drawings appear frequently in The New Yorker.
The new daily and Sunday strip draws on the small town background of both Dumas and Walker. J. F. D'Angelo, King Features president, says, "This is an uncomplicated strip and its chief asset is humor. That's what a real comic should be—funny."
The cartoonists say they feel readers want "a little relief from super-sophisticated comics that comment constantly on politics." They set the new strip in the town Upper Duckwater (pop. 437) and concentrate mainly on capers of the sheriff, Sam, and his deputy, Silo. They aim to create "old time humor in an old town setting" and to be "just plain funny." Dumas says that "Upper Duckwater is a combination of every village and town I've ever been in love with."
Of Sam and Silo, Walker explains, "It's a case of double stupidity and together they really foul things up." Dumas adds, "Deep down Sam and Silo are nice guys. Mort and I like both characters; if we didn't like them our readers wouldn't either."
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