Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Bumgardner
Most of the samples above are from the final year of the strip, when Smith was really hitting on all cylinders. I included so many because practically every one I looked at seemed to make the cut as chuckle-worthy.
The strip has a very simple premise -- Wallace, Laverne, Leonard and dog Spike are a houseful of rather dopey suburbanites who deal with everyday life. Their familial relationships are prone to be obscure -- sometimes Leonard is a grandson, sometimes a son. No matter; once Smith had hit his stride we didn't need to know the background of their relationship to get the gags.
The strip is by Jim Smith, of whom I know nothing. There is a Spumco animator of the same name, but I can find no indication that they are the same guy. In fact I can find not a word of information or comment anywhere about either Smith or his creation. All I know is that it was syndicated by the LA Times and ran at least from June 3 1984 to June 23 1986. Some papers ran it as Baumgardner, apparently a little modest about that first syllable.
I sent an email to 'this' Jim Smith. We'll see what he has to say. If I don't hear from him and update the posting I think we can assume they're two different guys.
Thanks for visiting, and taking my somewhat critical evaluation of the strip with good humor. We here at Stripper's Guide would love to know more about the strip and your experiences being syndicated, and also what you've been up to since then.
Do I have the running dates of the strip correct? Did you do any other newspaper series?
Thanks, Allan Holtz