Daily Archives: May 22, 2012
Elzie Crisler Segar grew up in the small town of Chester, Illinois, where he worked at a theater. This being the silent era, he helped out with the musical accompaniment to the films by playing on the drums. Eventually, he got a job as a projectionist. Cartoons eventually caught his fancy, and he took a correspondence course from a fellow in Cleveland, OH.
After Segar moved to Chicago, he met up with Richard F. Outcault, who was a bit of a cartooning pioneer and superstar after creating The Yellow Kid and Buster Brown. Outcault helped Segar network, where he bounced from one comic to another. Eventually, he ended up at the New York Journal, where he debuted his new comic, Thimble Theatre.
The comic seems to draw experiences from Segar’s theater days. There was a regular cast of characters. The main one was Harold Hamgravy (later just known as “Ham Gravy”), a sort of clueless everyman with a fondness for drink. There was Bondo Bitter, a Dirk Dastardly sort of fellow with all the accoutrements, such as the fiendish little mustache that wants stroking. And then there was Ham and Bondo’s love interest, a rail-thin gal that you may recognize as the one-and-only Olive Oyl.