Where’s Arlo?

Someone asked recently on Facebook, “Has Jimmy ever told us where A&J live?” The short answer would be, “No, he hasn’t.” However, as is the wont of Facebook, a discussion ensued, and much was made of their proximity to “the coast.” It is true, the fact they’re within a day’s drive of an ocean, or a gulf, is one of the few tangible references to geography. More broadly, there is the weather, but that becomes a less reliable indicator every year. Speaking of weather, that does remind me of a backstory, which some of you have already heard. When United Media began syndicating Arlo & Janis, my editors in New York City were scrupulous about monitoring my work for any reference that might cause Arlo & Janis to be pigeonholed as a “southern” strip. I should mention that I am, by accident of birth, a native of the southeastern United States. My editors were not being condescending; they wanted A&J to have a broad appeal and not unintentionally be perceived as “Snuffy Smith, the Next Generation.” Choosing to ignore the slight slight that I couldn’t be trusted, I was on board with this completely. I, more than anyone, wanted the strip to have broad appeal. However, inadvertent cultural identifiers did slip in occasionally. I remember one conversation in particular, about black-eye peas being considered luck on New Year’s Day and whether it was a “southern thing.” However, I couldn’t help noticing it was always acceptable in cold months to depict a foot of snow on the ground, although probably half the nation’s population rarely sees an accumulation of show. So, where do Arlo and Janis live? Obviously the answer is going to be “nowhere in particular,” but that won’t stop me from talking about this more tomorrow.

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63 responses to “Where’s Arlo?”

  1. Arlo and Janis live in our hearts and minds….That just sounded poetic. I think that your syndicator gave you great advice as everyone can relate to them/.

    Now another question? Where and/or do Arlo and Janis work? Again less discussion about the workplace has lead many to believe that they are retired…or are they working from home? Like their creator?

  2. Like things created by one’s mind, it doesn’t matter. But humans have to attach reference points and personification to inanimate or nonhuman things.

    Roger Rabbit anyone?

    Jimmy it really doesn’t matter where.

  3. Our home on the Isle of Wight is less than ten minutes’ walk from the sea. (I’ve always assumed that you’re one of those old-fashioned Americans who likes to walk places.) Before that we lived on the mainland (aka ‘The North Island’), where nowhere is much more than a couple of hours’ drive from the sea. I can recommend it.

  4. @Steve from Royal Oak-

    A really early strip showed Janis at work behind a drafting board, so always assumed she was an engineer or maybe a graphic artist; knowing a lot of intelligent, attractive woman engineers, I’ve favored the former. Arlo on the other hand has always been depicted as a corporate drone at an anonymous corporation, which was sticking his carefree, counter-culture attitude.

  5. Just did some research, Since Arlo and Janis live about 4 hours from the beach, that means they are about 200 miles inland. Since Gene has an alligator in the water, that leaves only as far north as North Carolina. North Carolina has a Springfield about 175 miles from the shore. Alabama has a Springfield about 110 miles from the nearest shoreline. The other states have a Springfield that is too close, or almost no chance of snow.

    My guess would be Springfield, NC because of the snow.

    What do all of you think?

  6. Something is wrong with me. I do not think of where cartoon characters live or worry about it.

    Any theories on Garfield, Jon and Odie? And the farm and relatives he used to visit at holidays?

    Who Killed Roger Rabbit?

  7. Actually, I would say there are two locations. One is inside Jimmy’s mind and the other is as Steve from Royal Oak said, inside our hearts and minds. And why would they need to be anywhere else?

    As for where the cartoon characters live, some have been placed in real-life locations. Dick Tracy is in Chicago and Pogo is in the Okefenokee Swamp. Others get fictional homes, like Donald Duck and family in Duckburg, Calistoga. But really they all live in our hearts and minds. You nailed it, Steve.

  8. Garrison Keillor? Latest falling rock in the #Pervalance? Apparently being a stuffy, sanctimonious public radio show host will no long shield one from improper sexual behavior.

    Jackie has just changed her plans for us to attend the Garrison Keillor Show in Tulsa in April. Well, that’s $250 we can spend elsewhere.

  9. Ghost: “Apparently being a stuffy, sanctimonious public radio show host will no long shield one from charges of improper sexual behavior.”

    Now that so many are being accused, I have to wonder which accusations are accurate? Which ones are not? Not all accusers are necessarily innocent victims… some may be frustrated “victims” who willingly submitted to casting couch propositions and now have regrets or feel they didn’t get what they bartered for. Or are hoping for a payday if the accused pays up?

    My point: Sex should never be used as a cudgel or bargaining chip.

  10. You know Don, Michigan is surrounded by beaches, although we are probably less than 4 hours away from one. They have pulled some alligators out of some ponds around here. Usually they are pets that got too big.

    All of these celebrities being exposed reminds me of a Fibber McGee closet. Well before my time, but my parents called our hall closet that. I think we may have a whole houseful of them in America. I hear Bob Hope was quite busy On the Road as was Charles Kuralt. Although in Kuralt’s case, it was a “shadow family” that came out after his death.

  11. Trucker: Totally agree with your point. But whatever it was in Keillor’s case led MPR, after investigating the allegations, to completely sever all commercial relationships with him. An awful lot of costly smoke for there to be no fire.

    And today the #Pervalanche hits just keep on coming. What is it they call Wednesday? Oh yeah, Hump Day.

  12. Will you have sex with me for $100,00?

    Of course!

    Will you have sex with me for $2.00?

    What do you think I am?

    We’ve already established that. We’re just negotiating the price.

  13. ? I started reading this strip when I had a job in Boston, and Arlo’s office looked like mine, so I might even have heard his voice in my mind with a New England accent. The horror!

  14. Maybe Bill Hinds doesn’t ink his own cartoon drawings?

    Jeff Millar who wrote dialogue script for Tank for Bonds drawing is dead and Hinds does both dialogue and art now.

  15. Looks like he crowded too many words in and left out one n so it would fit. Would like to see the uninked version for comparison. Comic artists don’t always letter their own finished product.

  16. Dang Hal. Bill Hinds draws and writes Tank. Ignore what the spell check people said.

    I own an early original Tank McNamara cartoon done by Millar and Hinds. It is drawn in pencil then inked and the dialogue added last.

    The version I heard was that Millar created plots and jokes, dialogue and sent to Hinds who drew and Millar revised dialogue to fit art before it was inked.

    They never actually worked together despite living in same town, Houston.

    After Jeff became ill with cancer Hinds continued strip alone.

  17. emb
    Woodstock would Springfield a run for most prevalent town.
    I was told by the Post Master of Woodstock CT (by the way the second town of Woodstock
    in the world, named after the one in England – 1686) that there are 38 states with a Woodstock.
    The Famous one is in NY.

    Steve fRO
    There are more shoreline (and Lighthouses) around the Great Lakes than around the the Continental US ocean sides.

  18. Since I live on largest body of water in Oklahoma and Oklahoma has had billboards claiming more shoreline than eastern and Gulf coast combined, I almost offered up Oklahoma as candidate for home of the Days.

    Unfortunately nearest alligator in Oklahoma wss down in southeast corner of state and proven by tags he was wearing to be an illegal who came from Arkansas

  19. Hey, I live in Starkville Mississippi and we have alligators in our waters around here … Starkville is in the northern part of the state… and the coast is around 4 hours….

  20. I’m going with Forrest Gump here, Jimmy, and suggest that you live within a few hours of “GREENBOW, ALABAMA” or Bayou La Batre. Actually, I know where you live since I participated in your parsonage restoration project – and proudly display your personalized artwork over my fireplace. It is one of my few treasured possessions.

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