Monday, September 10, 2012
Obscurity of the Day: Ossie Tittle
With all the interest in so-called 'screwball' strips, I was surprised to find hardly a word being mentioned in the standard references, nor around the whole darn interwebs, about Frank Owen or his strip Ossie Tittle. While I would not call it a great strip, it certainly was about as screwy as they come. About the only thing I could find was a very short piece on the Comics Journal's site by the usually anything-but-terse Donald Phelps.
Owen's drawing style recalls Milt Gross, and his gags are, if anything, crazier than most of the stuff Gross came up with. Owen is well into Bill Holman no-holds-barred asylum-bound wackiness. If there was any underlying plot-like structure to the strip it is lost on me, though Phelps seems to have managed to uncover some method to the madness. All I can say is that we have Ossie himself, a big stupid lug, and a lot of second-banana big stupid lugs (both male and female varieties), some even stupider lugs that make cameo appearances, and the occasional child who is smarter than the balance of the cast put together.
Ossie Tittle ran from January 6 1936 to March 6 1937, distributed by Consolidated News Features, one of the several NANA syndicates. It was a daily and Sunday effort, with the Sunday being accompanied by the topper strip Bumpy Bear. The Sunday may well have had an even shorter run than the daily; I have only seen examples from June to September 1936.
Whether the strip did badly, or Owen felt under-appreciated is unknown, but the strip was discontinued in favor of another feature, which we will get into tomorrow.