Monday, August 01, 2022
Obscurity of the Day: The Flapdoodles
Per Ruse, who created comics under the Americanized pen name Pete Hansen, is one of my guilty pleasures. Even in the 1970s, when male bigotry was still a popular sport, I imagine even a chauvinist pig like Bobby Riggs would have flinched a little at Hansen's horribly sexist comic strip about a dippy blonde bombshell secretary, Lolly. But Lolly ran in my hometown paper, and I have to admit, though it sometimes made me almost as uncomfortable as Andy Capp's wife-beating episodes, something about the art and style was so darn appealing that I read it religiously every day.
The same would not have been true of Flapdoodles, Hansen's first comic strip. The art style is already coming into focus, but the crushing boredom of domineering wife gags practically every day, over and over and over ... my gosh, doesn't Bringing Up Father pretty much have that subject sewed up? As best I can tell from the relatively small number of Flapdoodles strips I was able to force myself to read, this seems to be about the sum total of the strip.
Evidently the King Features salesmen knew dirty secrets about enough editors to nudge this stinker over the brink as a launchable feature. The title was originally going to be The Noodles, but was changed shortly before the launch to Flapdoodles. The launch was supposed to have been on September 12 1949*, but perhaps due to the name change, it was pushed back to October 10 1949**. It was a daily-only strip, giving readers a well-deserved day off from it on Sundays.
King Features is notorious for sticking with a strip to the bitter end, and they stuck by Flapdoodles for four years, which may qualify the syndicate editor for sainthood. The strip was finally put out of its misery on September 12 1953***. Less than a year later Hansen would launch the much more successful Lolly through a different syndicate.
* Source: Editor & Publisher, 8/27/1949.
**Source: Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph
*** Source: Ottawa Evening Citrizen