Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Obscurity of the Day: Little Reggie
By the 1940s Western Newspaper Union, one of the premier providers of material for weekly newspapers, was offering a mix of new and previously syndicated strips. Along with Mutt and Jeff, Reg'lar Fellers and other repeats bought from other syndicates, they still offered up some new material like Little Reggie.
Little Reggie was offered from December 20 1945 to May 26 1949*. A fairly innocuous kid strip, Reggie is a bit bratty and not above playing a prank, but his blonde locks and winning smile help him to avoid any serious retribution for his misdeeds. Just like Buster Brown, whose wardrobe he echoes in a slightly updated fashion, his co-conspirator and constant companion is a dog, this one named Rumpus.
The strip was credited to 'Margarita', and the art was unsigned. It wasn't until I did a little Googling that I discovered the creator of the strip was Margaret Ahern (nee McCrohan). After Little Reggie folded, she got involved with the National Catholic News Service, a syndicate specializing in news and feature material of interest to Catholics, primarily run in Catholic papers, which were a thing back then. (The syndicate still exists, though I guess now they offer their material primarily to websites.)
Ahern took over their (sole?) comic, An Altar Boy Named Speck, and penned that feature for almost a quarter of a century. It must have been a popular feature as there were a number of reprint books issued of the cartoons. The feature was offered to any newspaper that wanted it (not just Catholic ones), but I've never encountered a mainstream paper that ran it, and therefore that long-running feature doesn't get a listing in my book. If you've encountered An Altar Boy Named Speck running in a general readership newspaper I'd like to hear about it.
* Source: Big Piney Examiner; note that weekly papers can be published on various days of the week. The dates cited here are Thursdays, but other papers would have run the material on whatever day of the week they published.