Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Obscurity of the Day: Classie Addie, Classified Ad Fan
A couple of gal-friends in Paris Texas, one a passable cartoonist, the other afflicted with the jingle-writing bug, decided to combine their talents and offer a feature to their local paper. To sweeten the offer, they made their feature a daily paean to the wonders of the newspaper classified ad. Newspaper editors of the day seemed to just love those features, and the editor of the Paris News was apparently no exception. Thus was born Classie Addie, Classified Ad Fan, a daily cartoon and poem in which classified ads are the one thing that can heal you of all the multiplicity of ills in this life.
The panel cartoon by artist Lorene Rutherford and writer Ellen Connor debuted on the front page of Paris News on December 11 1938. Evidently Paris News thought a lot of it, because they seem to have created a syndicate, Publishers Press Features, to hawk it to other papers. However, they then found Agnes A. Kelleher*, a syndicate out of Dallas, and contracted out the actual distribution of the feature to them starting April 11 1939. The feature seems to have ended up appearing in at most 8-12 Texas newspapers.
Evidently the ladies had bigger dreams than a small client list like that, because they gave up on the daily grind of extolling the virtues of classified ads in pretty short order. The last daily appeared in the Paris News on May 16 1940.
As an aside, this was not the pair's only feature -- they also did a weekly comic strip for the same paper, titled Snaggle Tooth and Little Ruth. That feature only lasted six months.
* the Agnes A. Kelleher syndicate is quite mysterious to me. It was based out of Texas, and my guess is that it was associated with one of the big Dallas newspapers. But who Agnes was, and how she came to be running a newspaper syndicate out of Dallas I have no idea.
If you have a subscription to newspapers.com, you can probably find out more than I can.