Monday, November 21, 2022
Obscurity of the Day: Ginger
To the admittedly slight extent to which I have considered Ginger, a daily panel about an impish little girl, I always assumed that the creator, Orla Gettermann, was female. Oops! Turns out that we better call him Mister Gettermann, or better yet, Herr Getterman, since he was Danish.
Ginger was just one of many Dennis the Menace competitors who ran rampant on the comics pages starting in the 1950s, and for the life of me I can't see what might set Ginger apart from all the others. The art is okay but nothing to get excited about, and most of the gags feel like they could have been recycled from all the other panels of this type. My problem with these features, generally, is that I sense no actual personality in most of these kids -- they are just automatons, programmed to produce a wearisome formulaic gag every day.
Ginger debuted in Denmark in 1958*, and got picked up for American distribution by United Feature Syndicate the next year, debuting on September 7 1959. The panel was not picked up by very many U.S. papers, but UFS stuck with it, presumably because they were paying a low re-run rate for the work.
Ginger had a surprisingly long run in the U.S., almost twenty years. It was last advertised in Editor & Publisher in 1977, and the latest sample I can find is an appearance in the Gettysburg Times dated September 23. That places the earliest possible end date as September 24 1977. The Times, who evidently felt that impish kids were a necessary ingredient in the paper, replaced Ginger with yet another of these panels, Gumdrop, also from United Feature.
* Under the title "Gitte" I think, though there is very little information out there, and most of it is of course in Danish. Any Danes out there to tell us more?
It's impressive this panel lasted so long, as either I somehow managed to never see a paper that took it in my life, or it's so amazingly hackneyed it didn't register.
Might you consider that a precursor in the shall we say, distaff Dennis panels like "Sweetie pie" may have been, for at least a while, been a hit with client papers, so it brought about also rans like "Ginger" and "Amy?"
Today's date reminds me of another little girl panel, the uniquely ill-timed "Caroline" panel, about JFK's young daughter, launched in November, 1963.