Monday, November 27, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Private Dobb's Diary

Private Dobb's Diary is a mite text-heavy to qualify for Stripper's Guide as a cartoon panel, but it gets at least an honorary pass onto our hallowed grounds because of the creator. Norman Anthony, as far as I know, only created this one newspaper cartoon series. However, he later became extremely notable in the world of cartooning as the editor of the old humor Life magazine, Judge magazine, and as creator of the superb and groundbreaking Ballyhoo. After the humor magazine market dried up, he wrote several bestselling humor books, including the autobiographical How to Grow Old Disgracefully.

Private Dobb's Diary was a daily panel syndicated by Hearst's still very young King Features Syndicate imprint. With our young men being drafted to go over and fight the Hun in World War I, military features were extremely popular. Anthony's entry in the genre, though, seemed to not garner much interest, and I have yet to find it appearing anywhere other than the Pittsburgh Press. It ran there daily from March 4 to December 6 1918, then appeared sporadically until early January 1919. Since the copyrights of the late entries are all in 1918, I'm guessing that the feature did end sometime in December, maybe on the 14th.

On March 4's episode young Dobbs is already in camp, leading me to wonder if the Post picked up the feature late. A copyright entry mentions a date of February 23 (a Saturday), leading me to guess that the real start date of the feature is likely to be February 18.


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