Monday, December 10, 2007


Santa's Secrets, Day 1

Today we begin a complete reprinting of NEA's 1940 Christmas strip, Santa's Secrets by Howard Boughner. NEA has been producing an annual Christmas strip since 1936, offering it to subscribing papers as a holiday bonus.

The NEA Christmas strips typically run about four weeks. Some feature regular NEA characters, others adapt classic Christmas stories, and others (like Santa's Secrets) feature original stories and 'one-off' characters.

Although NEA continues to produced the Christmas strips to the present day (the 2007 strip is titled Roamin' Holiday - A Humble Stumble Christmas) few newspapers run them anymore. Lots of papers printed the freebies back in the 30s and 40s, but things tailed off after that. Finding a paper that runs the NEA Christmas strip these days is a rarity indeed. What a shame that such a nice holiday tradition has all but ended. I guess in one-paper towns these days editors see no reason to go to the bother of opening up a little space for three weeks of holiday cheer. A big "Bah, humbug!" Christmas message to their readers. Nice.

Here we go...

The only newspaper I've seen that has announced it will run the "Roamin" Holiday" strip this year is The Dalles (Oregon) Chronicle.
Haven't seen the actual paper to confirm.

A page one item introducing "Santa's Secrets" in the November 25, 1940 Modesto (Ca.) Bee lists Hal Cochran as the writer of this series.
Hi DD-
Thanks for the Hal Cochran info. I get the impression that he wrote quite a few of those earlier Xmas strips without a byline. As I read over this one I kept saying to myself, "no one writes sappy kiddie stuff like this quite like Cochran. Gotta be him at the helm."

I don't mean to put you on the spot but how would you feel about me reproducing your NEA Xmas list on the blog. I contributed quite a few of those listings, some directly and some through Merlin Haas, but you found some of the real toughies, so I don't want to step on your toes. Lemme know.

Feel free to post it. I posted it on RACS and sent a copy to Mary Anne Grimes at United Media; both with credits to you and Merlin Haas.
Thanks DD, we'll make that the grand finale to this week's reprint series. Mucho gusto!

Um, there's a paper in Plainview Texas that's announced it's running it, too...

Thanks for the mention!

Roy Schneider
For some years King Features did a Christmas special with the Disnery characters. Very elusive to find our information of this. Does anyone know when it ceased being produced?
Hi Dana -
The latest one I was able to document was 1997, but I'm pretty sure they continued on, perhaps even to the present day. Maybe Mark Johnson at King Features could give us more info. Mark, you out there?

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