Friday, September 17, 2010
Obscurity of the Day: The Stanley Family
For every gag that lent itself to greeting cards, Barbara and Jim came up with and filed away dozens that didn't really work in that application. Thus came about a few cartoon books, and, in 1990, a feature for Universal Press Syndicate titled The Stanley Family. The daily panel and Sunday strip featured the now-familiar Dale look and humor.
I don't know if the market for the Dale style had cooled by 1990, or if there was a glut of similar material on the market, or the panel was a tad too edgy, or even if perhaps marital problems were to blame (Barbara is a single act these days) but for some reason the feature hit the newspaper market with a dull thud. Marketing claims that the feature ran in about 70 papers are undoubtedly rose-colored, I'd guess more like 20-30 actually ran it. The feature debuted on April 2 1990 and, as best I can tell, didn't even make it to the end of a one-year contract. The latest I've found it running is February 17 1991.
Bruised but unbowed from the newspaper syndication experience, Barbara Dale is still coming up with greeting cards (even more off-color and deliciously snarky these days), writing children's books, dabbling in fine art and coveting cupcakes. You can visit her website at http://barbaradale.com/