Thursday, July 25, 2019


Mystery Strips: Small Fry Diary

[the following article ran in the April 8 1961 issue of Editor & Publisher. The mystery in this case is not about the existence of the feature; Small Fry Diary was successfully syndicated for many many years. However, in my experience the feature never featured a panel cartoon by Reamer Keller; it was always a little text feature with a teeny tiny never-changing masthead. Granted, the masthead may well have been supplied by Keller, but this article certainly makes it sound like Small-Fry Diary featured a new cartoon each day. I've been able to verify that two of the papers mentioned in the article did in fact not run the feature with a cartoon panel. Can anyone solve the mystery?]

‘Small Fry’ Writes ‘Diary’

After 20 years of gag writing for cartoonists, N. E. Coan (1083 W. 37th St., Norfolk 8, Va.) is now syndicating his own feature, “Small Fry Diary.”

The panel drawing has appeared on the front page of the Norfolk (Va.) Ledger Dispatch for the last eight years and in the comics section of the Salisbury (Md.) Times for the last seven years. Since the first of the year, it has been appearing in the Bridgeport (Conn.) Post.

The short, one-column panel is drawn by a cartoonist friend of Mr. Coan, Reamer Keller, for whom Mr. Coan, an accountant, has written for 20 years. Mats of the panels are sent to papers with four weeks of gags in diary form.

“Small Fry” is about a precocious lad who writes a daring diary that reveals the provocative and humorous incidents engaging him, his mother, dad, brother, sister, uncle and aunt in gales of spontaneous laughter.

Samples of “Diary” copy: “Monday: ‘Every time my girl and I kiss, sparks fly. It’s not that we’re so romantic. We both wear dental braces.’ ” “Thursday: ‘Mother puts up the best jam, but she puts it up so high. I can’t reach it.’” “Saturday: ‘Tonight was a wonderful evening. The moon was out and so
was her parents.”


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