Monday, April 19, 2010


Obscurity of the Day: Frappe the Snowman and his Papa

I like the title of this obscurity, Frappe the Snowman and his Papa. At first when I read some strips I wondered, "okay, so where's the papa?" -- and of course as the more nimble-minded of you figured out right away, the little boy is Frappe's papa since he created him.

This delightful little gem of a strip ran in the C.J. Hirt-copyrighted version of the McClure Sunday section from December 4 1904 to April 9 1905. It is not unusual for McClure strips to be unsigned in this era, and this strip was never signed once by the cartoonist. I'm thinking maybe A.D. Reed?

I wondered if the concept of a snowman coming to life, Frosty-style, was already a common bit of imagery in 1904. Most likely a much earlier invention but I found nothing specific in a quick skate around the web. I did, however, find out that Frosty himself dates back only to 1950, introduced in a song recorded by Gene Autry. Also the earliest known image of a snowman goes all the way back to 1380 in a Book of Hours. And believe it or not, there's an entire book devoted to the history of snowmen, titled, appropriately enough, History of the Snowman.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan!


I remember seeing one of those regional treat shows on The Food Network a couple of years ago and remember seeing a place where milkshakes are traditionally called "frappes".

A quick internet search tells me, in New England and some British Commonwealths, milkshakes aren't made with ice cream, but when they are they call them frappes.

A fitting name for a snowman.
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