The Christmas Caller V

December 25, 1993


This wraps up “The Christmas Caller” sequence. We will continue to look at some older material the remainder of this “Summer of 35,” material that isn’t in the GoComics archive and isn’t in the book Beaucoup Arlo & Janis. That means much of it will have been unseen since it first appeared in newspapers. I suppose I know more about Arlo & Janis than almost anyone, but it’s interesting for me to look at this material from a distant perspective. For example, the above sequence was a marked transition, and an important one, for Gene. He went, within a week, from a little kid to a young adolescent. He still would be good for a lot of little-kid humor, but there would be other girlfriends and other adventures. He was never the same after “The Christmas Caller.” And, no, I neither planned that nor even suspected it at the time I drew it. (Cartoonist’s note: in the first panel, you can see where I botched the lettering. In those days, I had two choices, let it go or literally paste paper over the mistake and reletter it. I’m sure I was running short of time, so I chose the former. Today, I’d “cut and paste” the corrections digitally and easily. That, I like.)


26 thoughts on “The Christmas Caller V”

  1. JJ- We probably would not have noticed the words in panel 1if you didn’t point it out. I was wondering if you had plans down the line for Gene & Marylou. Thanks for letting us know. Stay safe if Laura comes your way.

  2. I, for one, immediately noticed the botched lettering in the first panel. Immediately after reading your comment about it, that is. 🙂
    Of course, one likely doesn’t become a renowned national cartoonist (which I’m not) without paying at least some attention to detail. And how you got it so close freehanding it is beyond me, anyway.

  3. Rusty: Thanks for your explanation at the end of the previous post for why Arlo was running around the house like the Tasmanian Devil. I’ve not previously had cats, and Jackie says that hers, rather than running around at night, have always been comatose lumps. That’s possibly a function of how she has fed them.

    • Over the past year, one of the cats has developed into a beachball on legs. Remember how we used to draw a picture of the rear view of a sitting cat in elementary school? A small circle on top of a larger circle with two triangular ears at the top and a curled tail at the bottom? That’s just the way he looks from that angle…with a *very* large lower circle.

  4. I was never a cartoonist but I sure was in commercial illustration for a long while, and drafting of several different kinds. I knew those days were gone forever when, a couple of years ago, I wanted to do a project of my own. I went to a university-associated (!) art supply store and asked for a sheet of hotpress illustration board. The kid paused, then asked, “Is it, like, something you use with iron-on stuff?” So you made my heart warm with the description of your correction means for hand-lettering. There’s not that many of us left who remember those “old days” I guess! 🙂

    • Dawn, try to find parts for your old Rapidograph! 🙂 Last I was in an art store, they had them, but as disposables only. I wasn’t an artist, but we used them for field notes & specimen tags when I was more active as a marine biologist (one of my “former lives”). 🙂

      • Rusty, I was a field biologist for a long time too! My work as a graphic artist got me through grad school. And later, a lot of the illustrations I did were for scientific papers. Boy, I had no idea the Rapidographs have gone all-disposable. Although I had a love-hate relationship with mine. Remember the clogging!? 🙂

  5. Rusty,
    “… active as a marine biologist (one of my ‘former lives’).” Am a landlubber mammalian evolutionary biologist. In ’62, spent 8 wks @ a NSF-sponsored Marine Biol. Inst., @ U OR MB Station on Coos Bay, OR. Every 2 wks, a few morning field trips [coll. permits issued by ORDNR]: lo-lo tides are early mornings in summer, when rich rocky habitats are usually foggy, protecting lovely nudibranchs & such. Rest of time in lab IDing specimens & taking notes from 2 topnotch faculty. Lotsa info, insights, & Kodachromes that enriched my classes for the rest of my 36 yr at BSU.
    Peace, emb*
    P.S. You new here? Welcome. [*emeritus MN bologist.]

  6. emb,
    Not new, but have mostly lurked or “read the mail” the last several years. Don’t post very often, but have always enjoyed reading your wildlife observations. My daughter is living up in WI, in Aldo Leopold country. 🙂
    Peace to you also,
    Rusty

  7. Tonight my orchestra met for the first time since the virus shut us down. The strings practiced, wearing their masks and staying at least 6 feet apart. We winds picked up our music and slunk away since we’re the lepers of the musical world right now. We’re to practice at home until we get the all clear.

    I hate being shunned!

  8. Those might work with some smaller instruments, but for larger ones (I play bass clarinet) they’d be both awkward and uncomfortable since we need to move a LOT of air through them. Also, I can’t imagine that approach working for the flutes!

  9. I just found the Facebook page for one of the four high schools I attended, the one I graduated from in 1961. It was mostly obituaries, not pleasant reading.

    The rest were lots of reunion photos with REALLY OLD people in them. I cannot posibly be as old as those people, especially those deceased. I do not feel old even on days I don’t crawl out of bed. I suppose I should join the group and send a current photo? It seems unlikely any of my old boyfriends are alive, even my first grade “love” died four years ago.

    I laughed, an old boyfriend from college was checking out my page recently. I’d hate to see him now. Based on his looks back then, little hope.

    Ghost says I am vain and superficial but I think we can be entitled.

  10. It’s been a small source of pride for me that my now three-days-per-week hometown newspaper has carried A&J for many years, along with about a dozen other daily cartoons. I get the on-line version of the newspaper and about 10 days ago I noticed only two cartoons were printed. I didn’t think too much about it, as that was also the edition in which the past-due property tax notices (the pay-up-or-we’ll-sell-your-house-out-from-under-you notices so beloved by small town gossips, snoops, and people with inquiring mind that want to know) were printed. But then the next edition was also missing every cartoon except Beetle Bailey and Mallard Fillmore. Hmm.
    Yesterday, a publisher’s note revealed the truth…they had cut the cartoons down to those two, in what he claimed was an attempt to provide “quality over quantity”. (One may make one’s own mind up as to whether the selection those two particular cartoons was the optimal way to accomplish that.) He also revealed that their office phones had blown up with calls from unhappy subscribers. (Did I mention the paper had also made the strategic error of touching the “third rail” of newspaper publishing? They had dropped the horoscope feature as well.)
    Likely, none of you will be surprised to learn that all the banished features have been restored. In My Little Town, at least, the print newspaper still matters for something and an audience for print cartoons has survived.

    • With the print press in so much trouble these days, you would think they would quit trying to commit suicide by dropping the features that people care most about. Local news, an editorial stance which reflects the general population in the distribution area, and the entertainment people want. No popular features equals dropping subscriber numbers, which equals dropping ad revenue, which equals the Titanic sinking after hitting that iceberg.

      • The only small town paper in my immediate region has survived by going weekly and concentrating on local issues only. The local “paper of record” is owned by a large newspaper conglomerate which mostly prints newswire national and international news (which could have been read the day before on the internet) and state government items from the capital. (Oh, and ads, lots of ads). I assume the comics page has survived because they are arrive from corporate headquarters, read for the press).

        What I really want from my newspaper is what I can’t get from the internet: what were the police doing at the store last night? Was anyone hurt in that accident the tied up traffic for two hours? When is the next church carnival?

        • Yep, that’s the approach My Little Town’s paper has taken, and it seems to have been rather successful for them, so far. Notwithstanding the comics kerfuffle.

        • In our small town I serve this purpose because our local small paper doesn’t very well. I created a Facebook page almost 3 years ago called Eufaula Friends-A Good Small Town. No political posts, no profanity, no negative posts, I own and read every word.

          What happened at Dollar General? Whose house burned? Daily specials at diner? Lost dog? Benefit for fire department?

          And cartoons. Lots of cartoons all family rated as much as possible

  11. TruckerRon, I also play …Houston Brass Band. Our director is with the Houston Symphony (trumpet), and they are currently involved with a study (Rice University, I think?) that is looking at how far droplets actually travel from wind instruments. I’ll let you know when I know more. As for us, we are still not meeting in person, but are working on some “remote” projects/recordings. Take care!

  12. You have material that isn’t in GoComics or in “Beaucoup”? You have been holding out on us. I look forward to the reintroduction of the (new) old material. I pray you stay safe as Laura comes in tonight.

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