Thursday, July 26, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: VIPeewees
VIPeewees, a short-lived United Feature Syndicate panel series from 1972, offered a daily answer to the question "What were today's celebrities like when they were kids?" It was a goofy enough premise, but cute in its way.
There were some seriously high powered guns in the writing and art arsenal. The panel was officially credited to "Jack Wohl + 3", but promos confessed that the "3" were writers Jim Mulligan and Don Reo, and artist Mel Crawford. Wohl was already a successful newspaper comics creator, responsible for the brilliant and popular PIXies, and the less successful Versus. Mel Crawford was a fabulous artist excelling in many disciplines, but whose main claim to fame was found in painting highly stylized illustrations for children's magazines and books. Mulligan and Reo were successful TV writers, whose biggest credits up to this point were staff positions on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In; both of them would continue on in high profile writing assignments for decades.
With all that talent in harness it's amazing that it didn't gel into something substantial. But sad to say, VIPeewees is reminiscent of a throwaway feature found in the back pages of your typical issue of Cracked magazine. It's no great surprise, then, that all this talent decided to go on to bigger and better things elsewhere, and VIPeewees was dropped after a mere nine months. It began on January 10 1972*, and ended on September 30* of that same year.
Oddly enough, the pregnancy-length series somehow managed to rate a book collection. Price-Stearn-Sloan issued a book just in time for Christmas 1972, several months after the feature had bit the dust. Not surprisingly, the book didn't hit the bestseller list.
* Source: Editor & Publisher, 12/18/1971
** Source: Boston Globe