Monday, April 09, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Air-Minded Junior
In the aftermath of Lindbergh's dramatic trans-Atlantic flight, American kids all seemed to have their heads in the clouds. Newspapers responded with adventure strips like Tailspin Tommy and Flying to Fame, and also with weekly flying pages geared toward kids. One of those syndicated pages was called Junior Birdmen of America, a relative late-comer which seems to have debuted in 1934. The page was syndicated by Hearst, and may never have been picked up by a non-Hearst paper.
The Junior Birdmen page really went all out. There was a club with neat swag for kids who joined, the dashing airplane racer Roscoe Turner was on tap as the figurehead leader, and there was even a club song, "Up in the Air, Junior Birdmen." The song later became notorious as a favorite putdown ditty when aimed at young pilots in World War II.
The Junior Birdmen page almost always had a comic strip or panel cartoon series running as part of the layout, and I believe Air-Minded Junior was the first. It debuted on August 12 1934 and ran on the weekly page until August 11 1935. Presumably by then the very inquisitive Junior had all his questions handled.
The creators of the strip were writer W.D. Tipton and artist J.H. Mason. I know nothing of either of these fellows.
It seems to have started on 18 July 1935 and ran weekly until 9 January 1936.
It looks as if it ran in the Salt Lake Tribune, but I haven't actually seen it. And it also appeared in "Famous Funnies", http://www.comics.org/issue/108/
And I have found an actual image from the "Flight" panel in the Salt Lake Tribune, http://newspaperarchive.com/the-salt-lake-tribune/1935-08-24/page-19, so it can be removed from the "mystery comics"!
So Fram, you're due a goodie box. And since I lost most of my addresses in the big computer crash, please send me your address via email and I'll ship out a big box o' goodies to you!
I'm part of the Digital Comics Museum initiative (found online) and we've almost completed scanning of all issues of Famous Funnies and made them available on the web in case anyone is interested in seeing the Flight strip or any others that ran in Famous Funnies or other similar reprint comics.
I am an online reseller and recently acquired a 1936 boys scrapbook which included clippings from "Flight" by W.D. Tipton. I was researching these and came across your posts. I would love to share the pics of these with you if you have an address for me to send them.