Monday, September 04, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Snoodles
Cy Hungerford's long-running kid strip Snoodles isn't so much a true obscurity -- it was relatively popular in syndication in its day -- but has since been pretty thoroughly forgotten. I guess that's because it was completely eclipsed by blockbuster kid strips such as Reg'lar Fellers and Skippy.
Hungerford's ambitions lay more in the editorial cartooning world than in comic strips, but his simple unadorned drawing style was ideally suited for a comic strip. So it's a good thing that the Pittsburgh Post enthusiastically accepted from him Snoodles, which debuted in that newspaper on February 23 1913 (a Sunday, but the strip was in daily format, and ran daily from then on). The Post was a member of Associated Newspapers, so they submitted Hungerford's strip to the co-op, and soon Snoodles was popping up at other major metropolitan papers that were Associated members. The strip initially used a diary format, and thus was titles Snoodles' Diary. This conceit was dropped after a few years.
At some date which is practically impossible to pinpoint (my guess is circa 1916-1918), Hungerford broke free of Associated Newspapers, which as a co-op probably paid him nothing for the syndication of the strip, and signed up with the George Matthew Adams Service. The new syndicate put Snoodles on a paying basis for Hungerford, and in the cartoonist's own words, he continued "until he got tired of it."
In my book, I offer the strip's end date as 1927. Most histories suggest a date sometime in the mid- to late-1920s, Hungerford himself mentions ending it in the latter part of the 1920s, and the strip was last advertised in the 1927 E&P Syndicate Directory. Problem is that now that I have reviewed some papers running it later, ones that did not run reprint material, and it seems as if the new material was produced into the 1930s, perhaps ending October 30 1932 (date from Hamilton Journal-News). Only after that does it seem to appear in newspapers that buy old material. Reprints continued to be sold to rural papers well into the 1940s.