Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, April 16, 2021


 Cartoonist Gene Byrnes (1889-1974) created the popular comic strip Reg'lar Fellas, which ran from 1917 to 1949.   With a recommendation from Winsor McKay, Byrnes got a job with the New York Telegraph as a sports cartoonist, which led to a regular feature, It's a Great Life If You Don't Weaken, which had its own subset (a feature within a feature, if you will) called Things That Never Happened, which ran from 1915 to 1919.  In 1917, the Reg'lar Fellas characters were introduced in this feature and continued regularly.

In 1919, Byrnes went to the New York Herald with Wide Awake Willie, a Sunday strip with Reg'lar Fellers starting as a daily strip the following year; at the same time the Sunday comic strip changed its title to match the daily strip.

Reg'lar Kids made Byrnes a wealthy man.  The strip was syndicated in over 800 newspapers.  There were also book reprints and comic books, as well as baseball and football equipment merchandising.

The comic strip collections were published by Cupples & Leon; their "First Series" (linked below) features young Jimmy Dugan, a kid who tries to understand the adult world about him literally.  The jokes may be old and somewhat corny, but they have a charm about him that is missing from most of today's "funny papers."


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