Monday, December 26, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: O.U. Busher

F.W. Parks, as far as I know, managed to talk only the NEA syndicate into distributing his 'humor' cartoons to the national stage. Why NEA did this is beyond me, because although Mr. Parks could draw a perfectly decent if pretty standard-issue cartoon, he had a funnybone so small and undeveloped that it could only be detected with special high-sensitivity equipment.

Parks's second feature for NEA was O.U. Busher, a tale about a bush league baseball player trying out for the majors. I'm a sucker for any baseball strip, but this one tries even my patience. The feature debuted as a sort of Abe Martin-style panel cartoon on December 26 1919. The country bumpkin tells us of his dreams of stardom in the majors pretty much all winter long, boring us all to tears listening to his dim-witted pickle barrel philosophizing. Then on March 1, with spring training starting, the feature changed to a comic strip as O.U. arrived in Waco, Texas, to try out with Pat Gleason's Chicago White Sox. If Parks's panel cartoons had any redeeming qualities at all, they were lost in the transition to strip format. Parks uses old joke book material so ineptly that you wonder if he isn't actually trying to make readers groan.

Thankfully, O.U. Busher didn't survive spring training and we were spared his 'gags' for the 1920 major league season. I wonder if Mr. Busher had made the team if he would have been caught up in the Black Sox scandal?

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples.


Of course, there were no minority players in the big leagues then.

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