Freaky Halloween

October 27, 1989

Strictly speaking, “The Summer of 35” is over, but I’m going to keep showing some older material for a few weeks more. Some of you seem to enjoy it, and it’s a bit of an education for those of you who haven’t been following the strip since its early days. I chose two strips from October of 1989, because the bewitching season is nigh, but the first strip has additional significance. When Arlo & Janis launched, a major premise was that the couple had been counter-culture types in their youth. They were not straight from the corner of Haight and Ashbury, for heaven’s sake; this was a newspaper comic strip after all. No, they were like many of us at that time. Their deepest commitments had been to wearing weird clothing and having lots of (We thought!) previously forbidden fun. Now married with a young son, Arlo and Janis were set up to be gobsmacked daily by life’s realities. Ha ha.

63 thoughts on “Freaky Halloween”

  1. Thank you for continuing to run these older strips. I absolutely love seeing them! I don’t remember when I first started reading Arlo & Janis but I’m pretty sure it had happened by this time. The problem is, I have a memory like steel sieve. The upside is it means I can enjoy the same cartoon multiple times, each time with just as much pleasure as the first. So whether I have seen these before or not, I am LOVING them right now. In this case, I particularly always enjoy the references to counter-culture days and living off the land and all of that. I don’t think you could be a person of a certain age (cough) and NOT have been part of all that in some way — even if only to read Mother Earth News. And of course, it’s hilarious that Arlo’s (or Janis’s) dad managed to get in a dig at his kids after all these years, scoring a point for his team by influencing the next generation. 🙂

  2. In some ways, things have gone full circle. Gene ended up married to a childhood friend / single Mom and together they try to live off the land and make a go of a little bistro. So……Arlo and Janis went mainstream, and Gene did not. And I am also enjoying the anniversary strips in this space. Please do continue.

  3. I started reading “Arlo and Janis” from the start, at least once The Boston Globe started carrying the strip – drawn to it for the obvious [to me] references to our counter-culture heroes, but then stayed glued to it for the gentle humor and relevance to our lives back then. Thank you Jimmy J. for helping ‘lighten the load’ for all these years. And yes, the flashbacks are delightful.

    • What do you mean, ‘back then’? I think the strip is still quite relevant. A&J have aged in something approaching real time (one A&J year = 1.5 ‘real time’ ones…) Janis’ insecurities have evolved to a smart, sassy lady. Arlo appears to be retired. The only thing that doesn’t change is Ludwig!

  4. Ironically my late husband had dreams of becoming a forest ranger, stationed on a tree top guarding the woods, while we lived off the land in a log cabin without electricity.

    His second off the grid dream was a floating house boat in a swamp that could move locations, living off the water. His third was a live aboard sailboat that cruised the Carribean with me and two children aboard. We actually acquired that one but like Arlo we never went.

    Being a loving Southern girl I got and read all the appropriate books and magazines. I was ready to go. Since I was the only one with any real life experience at living without a housekeeper, Cadillac and a grocery a few blocks away, my contribution was essential. I was to help support us by writing about our life.

    Mike was still working on this when he died. The boat had changed.

  5. Some years ago, there was discussion here regarding the difficulty usually encountered in trying to open the plastic bags found in produce departments of food markets, as well as the wisdom, or lack thereof, of licking one’s fingers to improve the ease of opening said bags, especially after one’s fingers had been in contact with a shopping cart. Even in those pre-COVID-19 days, it was agreed that was An Unwise Thing To Do.
    Quite recently I realized that the plastic produce bags in both of our local markets are now extremely easy to open, even with fingers like mine that have been left very dry by repeated use of alcohol-based sanitizers. Some unheralded company has done A Good Thing.

  6. Re the 9-25-20 real-time cartoon: Since my calibrated eyeballs have determined that the size of the avocadoes Janis is holding against her chest are about the same as her cup size, the obvious question is, “Are those California avocadoes or Florida avocadoes?”

  7. Am I dreaming or was there an arc about Arlo and Janis going to Cuba? I asked Ghost who I consider the Resident Expert. He does not remember such a trip.

    Does anyone? Jimmy you would know if anyone does!!

  8. While researching something entirely unrelated i discovered that Ghost is related to one of the South’s greatest legendary writers. He had no idea and had in fact not read the books. The same ancestor we had found
    Previously links him to this writer.

    This substantiates my theory that in the 1700s and Colonial America there were so few people that we all share the same ancestral pool and we are all related.

    • I flew Southern and Delta both on DC2 and DC3 beginning in 1952. What year did they get the 404?

      The song is hilarious. I ised to hate flying Southern. I was on one where wings iced to point we made emergency landing at another airport.

      • I didn’t fly till I joined the Navy in 1973 so I don’t know when Southern started using those, but they were definitely not first class transportation. I recall one flight that made its stop in Columbus, MS before continuing to Tuscaloosa. On takeoff they had some weird winds and the plane yo-yo’d up and down about three times. I was thinking that if they couldn’t get it into the air they needed to go back and land it. That was the same flight where I looked out the window and realized one of the bolts holding down a port on the wing was fastened and was pumping up and down like a piston.

    • I flew a few times on 404s with Piedmont Airlines back in the ’60s. Can’t say the experience was notably better or worse than other flights during that era. I will say, however, that my 404s didn’t flap their wings nearly as much as another unnamed airline’s plane did (admittedly, during a violent storm) a day later.

  9. “The Shawshank Redemption” is a movie that I enjoy watching many times. Lots of people consider it their favorite movie. It was a Stephen King short story, interesting but not his best work.

  10. I used to fly Piedmont quite a bit or at least had tickets. Our joke was Piedmont was the safest airline because they never left the ground.

    Piedmont saved my life by causing me to miss my flight to Caracas which subsequently crashed, washing luggage and corpses up on the beach below the golf course where my mom was playing golf.

    Needless to say I was in NYC alive and having a great time.

  11. I just asked Jackie if she ever flew on TTA (Trans Texas Airways) DC-3s. She didn’t remember she had until I reminded her that TTA was widely known as “Tree Top Airlines”.

    • The San Salvadorian airline TACA is also known as Take-A-Chance Airline. Although, in fairness, in 1988 a TACA Boeing 737 had a double flame-out due to heavy rain on approach to New Orleans, and the captain, unable to glide to New Orleans International or Lakefront airports, pulled off a safe, dead stick landing on a levee.

  12. Southern Airways operated pressurized, 40-passenger Martin 4-0-4s from 1961 to 1978. During my college years, my Air Force service, and my own aviation career, I few on them a number of times. One thing I learned quickly was to grab the rearmost, aisle seat on the starboard side. Ah, yes, you may say, that was because the rear-most seats were the ones in which passengers were most likely to survive a crash. (Or so it was said, although I personally felt an over-wing seat, where the emergency exits were located, would be preferable.) No, it was because the single flight attendant on a 4-0-4 invariably used the two rearmost port side seats for her “in-flight office” and luggage storage space. Which invariably made the scenery at the rear of the plane much nicer for me than further forward and, as most flights were fairly uneventful for her, provided me with a pleasant conversationist for the flight.
    On one flight when I was flying military stand-by (and in uniform, of course,) I was not able to claim the rearmost seat, and instead took the aisle seat on the port side about three rows forward. I can’t recall for sure, but that may have had something to do with the window seat being occupied by a tall, willowy young blonde who appeared to be about 20 years of age. She was as talkative as she was attractive, and by the time the captain started cranking the engines, I had learned (among other things) that she was a student at Ole Miss, where she belonged to the skydiving club; and that she was terrified of flying. I was pondering the unlikelihood of both of those facts being true when the pilot went to full throttle for takeoff. Pulchritudinous Seatmate immediately wrapped both her arms around my left arm; pressed the side of her face against my left shoulder; and proceeded to boob-hug my arm all the way to our destination. That seemed to comfort her, and I was proud that I was not only serving my country but was also able to offer support to one of its more comely citizens.

  13. I was at the corner of Haight and Ashbury in 1968. I was 13 and safely in the car with mom and dad and California Aunt and Uncle. We were there for sight seeing, and my cousin wanted to stop and buy a poster. She was vetoed.

  14. Where has everyone gone?

    About Monday’s current strip, thank you for this one! Arlo expresses EXACTLY how I feel.

    Yes, I am tired and depressed by my lockdown. I am wasting what is left of my life. But I am hardly willing to give it up because I miss eating restaurant food.

    Arlo says it and nailed it.

      • Haven’t the responses and comments been great Mark? It is so great seeing that. I asked Ghost last night if he tjought Jimmy knew how amazing the fan page was growing?

        Still can’t get Ghost to join but he did look at the jokes.

        Keep posting Mark, people are really enjoying.

  15. Here I am 15 hours later. Had a major root canal dug through a $7000 bridge. Had no idea they could do that! Idea is to save the tooth, bridge and three “teeth.”

    Entertaining myself over on Facebook Arlo and Janis Fans with choice examples of Jimmy’s work, all positive. I hope Jimmy doesn’t mind?

    Mark is contributing lots of grist for the mill.

    • Helping you find the strips is fun and I’m seeing material I don’t recall reading when it was new. I had a cleaning at my dentist yesterday and found that there are 6 teeth he plans to extract from the lower jaw. Now I have to figure out when to schedule that.

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