Monday, December 12, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Lanky Loo

Thanks to Cole Johnson, here we have a Pulitzer series that somehow escaped the notice of Ken Barker when he did his generally authoritative New York World index. For a long time we assumed that Lanky Loo for some reason only appeared in the syndicated version of the Pulitzer Funny Side section, but Alex Jay has found a mention of an upcoming episode in the New York Evening World,which means it did appear in the World itself. Perhaps this is one of the times when the World microfilm had a gap in their Sundays, which Ken used to warn me about. Shame I was never able to get a list of those missing Sundays from him, because the information can now be readily filled in from digital sources of the syndicated section.

Anyhow, this delightful short series about a cocky rookie basebell player coming up to the big leagues is, in my view, a gem. I love the loosy-goosy art, and the prose is so full of great wacky jargon that even Tad Dorgan would have to tip his hat. The series is in five installments (April 5 - May 3 1908) in which Loo tries out at various positions -- pitcher, catcher, shortstop, first base, third base -- and finds out that he has seriously underestimated the level of player he is up against in the majors.

The creator of the series, Robert J. Burdette Jr., was the son of a famed humorist of the late 19th century. Junior became a journalist, contributing to several different newspapers before eventually settling in Salt Lake City. As best I can tell, this series was Junior's only major attempt at newspaper cartooning. What a pity.


I Think the files used in the digital file is from the same microfilm. At least that's what I have found for other such files. Usually, the Library of Congress made a microfilm of a title, and many years ago, to boot. After it was made, and if that locality didn't have a file of their paper, the LOC's will be duplicated. Saved a lot of money, but now there's just the one file that will represent it forever.
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