Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, November 13, 2020


 I would say it's time to thrill to the exciting adventures of a real American boy,  Bobby Shelby, but that would be stretching the truth beyond all recognition.  Perhaps it is better if I say it's time to plod through the adventures of a real American shill for a major bicycle company -- except, of course, Bobby Shelby is as real as Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima, and Mrs. Dash.

Bobby Shelby Comics was a short-lived advertising comic for Shelby bicycles that was published for the firm by Harvey Comics.  Chock full of advertisements, safety tips, and tips on bicycle care, this issue contain four short tales about the all-American boy Bobby Shelby and his trusty Shelby bicycle.

First, Bobby is at the ol' swimming hole with his friends when he overhears a pair of neer-do-wells plotting to rob the local bank.  Clad only in his swim suit, Bobby hops on his Shelby and pedals to the police station with his warning about the soon-to-be robbery.  Bobby was able to outrun the baddies because he had earlier checked the bicycle tires to be sure they were okay, giving the police enough time to set a trap.  

Then, when a movie company decides to shoot a western movie in town, Bobby and his pal (not girlfriend -- all American boy bicyclers have no truck with that sorta stuff!) Carol are watch the filming.  Come the scene where the beautiful blonde lead actress is driving a buckboard when she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a cattle stampede.  The actress accidently drops her reins and her horses are panicked by the stampede and they got racing off.  What to do?  What to do?  To save the girl, Bobby hops on his bicycle and outraces the runaway horses, jumping off his trusty bike to grab the reins.  Bobby is a hero and gets a part in the film; the bicycle doesn't.

Then, there's a wild storm hitting Centerville, washing out all means of communication and the rail bridge to the town.  Word reaches the Bobby Shelby Club meeting and Bobby's buddy (appropriately named Buddy) is upset because his father is due soon an a train that uses the bridge.  Bobby and Buddy hop on their Shelbys and arrive at the washed out bridge just before the train.  Using a flashlight, they signal an SOS and the train engineer manages to stop the train in time.  Bobby and Buddy are typical "ah-shucks!" American boy heroes who saved the day because of their fast and reliable bikes.

At a homemade soapbox race, Jackie is in trouble -- he has lost control of his cart while speeding down a dangerous hill.  Sharp-eyed Bobby sees that something is wrong and hops on his Shelby.  Going downhill, he manages to catch up with Jackie and pull him off the soapbox car before it crashes.  Bobby thinks those soapbox cars are cool, but he's rather have his bike.

The stories are short, two pages each; they had to be short to cram in all the promotional material.  Bobby is a blond, freckle faced kid with a winning smile and an even more winning attitude.

I. still waiting to see a comic book about the exciting adventures of Mrs. Dash.  Or Betty Crocker.  Or Aunt Jemima.  I guess I'll just have to settle for Bobby Shelby.

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