Monday, January 13, 2020
Obscurity of the Day: The Cat and the Kid
Cartoonist John Rosol lucked out when the Saturday Evening Post took a shine to his comic strips that featured a small boy and litter of white-faced black cats. The cartoons began appearing there around 1934, and were to become a regular fixture.
Eager to parley his good fortune, Rosol signed a contract with Philadelphia's Ledger Syndicate to produce a daily comic strip on the same subject, though the cat population was cut back to one. The Cat and the Kid debuted on March 8 1939* in a very small list of client papers.
Considering that Rosol wasn't making much off of this major investment of effort it is perhaps not altogether surprising that he started making his life easier by adding word balloons to what had been a pantomime strip. He also started penning typical kid gags in which the cat only figures as a background object. It wasn't long before Rosol threw in the towel, ending the feature on February 17 1940*, apparently not even finishing off a one-year contract.
The Ledger Syndicate, as with many of their features, had the strips numbered rather than dated. That made it all the easier to resell the strip on the reprint market. Western Newspaper Union took the bait, and resold the series at least 1941-46. Oddly, they did not include the strip with their own regular weekly line-up that I know of; and they never removed the Ledger copyrights in favor of their own.
If you'd like to see a much more intriguing series penned by Rosol, I commend you to the archives of King Features' Ask The Archivist to check out a real oddball item, Here and There.
* Source: Philadelphia Evening Ledger