Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fat Tum Tum: Laffs Galore in This 1936 Squirrel Cage/Room and Board Color Page!

Here's a lovely full page Sunday comic by Gene Ahern from 1936, featuring The Squirrel Cage and Room and Board, scanned from my own collection.

Here we find Ahern in about the fourth month of production on his two new series.

The Squirrel Cage has not yet settled into the conflict with the "Nov shmoz ka pop?" hitch-hiker. It centers around the silly inventions theme that launched the series. Some nice screwball background details are evident, including conducting a radio, and a stairway to nowhere.

The protagonist of Room and Board, the Major Hoople clone named Judge Puffle, is much younger and less careworn in this early episode than he would soon become. Nonetheless, the episode is classic Hoople/Puffle as he can't resist braggadocio even in the company of a toddler. Every time I read "fat tum-tum," I crack up.

Gene Ahern's work in 1936 was exceptional, as seen in this example from October 25.
(from the collection of Paul Tumey)

Screwball Paul

1 comment:

  1. "Make fire engines come!" is among the most perfect lines of comedic dialog yet written. Four simple words that express the inherent desire of every eight year-old boy, past, present and future. I think Mark Twain would have been envious of the precision and beauty of that short phrase. And, yes, "fat tum-tum" is a killer!