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Cartoon Culture

Who Is This Character?

Filmmaker Fran Krause writes, “I found this guy in Syracuse over the holiday. Do you recognize him? It looks like it’s from the 1930s but I’ve never seen the character before.”

I have no idea what it is either though it looks more like some underground comix Gilbert Shelton-ish creation than anything from the Thirties. If anybody knows who this is, let us know!

  • My first thought was Alice the Goon’s husband? But no, slightly different…

  • E. C. Segar’s Goon?
    Kilroy from WWII?
    The VD PSA spokesperson from the movie GROOVE TUBE?

  • Ron

    Looks like a modified version of one of the Goons from Popeye.

  • clint

    Looks like an old Popeye character… but that’s just a guess.

  • Mr. Professor

    It looks like a Gilbert Shelton character. It’s true raison d’etre may be discovered if you turn it upside down and squint a little bit (how long is that nose, anyway?) I’m afraid to say I have seen this sort of thing before but never one so elaborately disguised.

  • it looks a lot like cartoon brew’s own jerry beck, but the “c” on his pants makes me think i might be looking at an unauthorized version of myself. i’m calling my lawyer…

  • Little Dutch Mill – Fleischer – close? –

    • The Gee

      I could only guess.
      If it is a recurring cartoon character it has to be either a “major” main character or an importing supporting character in a strip or something. But, other than all the appearance of hillbillies during the first half of the 20th Century, I can only think of three major strips that had characters like that and it doesn’t seem like that guy fits in any of the three. (L’il Abner, Barney Google, Snuffy Smith)

      bone, thanks for sharing “Little Dutch Mill” It just shows there was always experimenting going on with the Fleishcers. That Mill!
      And, then there is the prophecy that was fufilled: “A duck shall save them.” ha ha.

      Anyhow, the character looks like a stock character rather than some sort of lead.
      If it is/was a mascot like Mr. Shaw suggests, the school dropped him so it would no longer offend hillbillies.

      My guess is a hypothetical: what if it is just a handmade doll some one crafted? How the markings on the face were created would tell a lot.

  • Kukla from Kukla Fran and Ollie?

    • this can be deleted – I surely had the wrong thing in mind. – thanks

  • Gray64

    Some kind of condor?

  • Boy, I’m stumped. That “C” must provide a crucial clue and those overalls indicate a rural theme…I think it may be a college team mascot from the South, but it’s definitely not one of Gilbert Shelton’s established characters…

  • Bill Andres

    Looks like a mix between a Goon and a bad Larry Fine from the Three Stooges caricature.

  • Adam

    The single strap, patched up overalls and huge nose remind me of a Scandinavian troll, it that’s any help.

  • Gray64

    Looks a little like a “prize grabber” doll, too…

  • TJR

    To bad you can’t google images like you can google words……But I gotta agree with Cathy C. It does remind me a bit of the character from Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Kind of a cross between a Rasta Kukla and Killroy :)

    • Jabberwocky

      You can google images– check out :)

  • Adrian Gofar

    To me, he looks alot like an Osamu Tezuka character design. The face looks a bit like an evil version of Professor Ochanomizu (Dr. Packadermus Elefun).

    • I agree! He also reminds me of Warner Bros.’ Egghead. Could be his country cousin.

      I feel pretty sure that it wasn’t made in the ’30s. I think it was made in 2005, by hand, by some clever, quirky girl who’s now selling stuff on Etsy. That’s just my guess. Take it to a historical doll expert, and they can probably tell a lot from the material and the buttons.

  • Robert Schaad

    It’s a mash-up of Kilroy, a Goon, Egghead (WB), and one of the fabulous furry freak bros.


  • Robert Schaad

    It’s a mash-up of two of the aforementioned, Egghead (WB), and one of the fabulous furry freak bros.


  • I think it might be an obscure relative from The Raccoons?
    Couldn’t give you a name without plenty of googling though..

  • Try asking about this doll on “Antiques Roadshow”. Or even “History Dectivites”.

    Any of those two PBS shows will give YOU an answer. People who comment on Cartoon Brew are no history dectives.

    • The Gee

      Turnaround time and accessibility.
      People here would be more likely to divine an answer quicker than trying to fit into production/shooting schedules of either of those television shows. That just goes without saying (so I am glad I just wrote it instead of uttering it.)

      Are there experts who could be consulted elsewhere? Sure. If knowing is worth tracking them down and getting them to do the legwork for Fran.

      Anyway, I know of at least two people who have posted whose knowledge should probably be respected a lot more than by dismissing them. I surely won’t dismiss what they know.

    • Robert Schaad

      Or even detectives, eh?

  • docnad

    As an alumnus of Colgate University, the Syracuse, NY location of this doll leads me to speculate that this is a relic of the longstanding football rivalry between Syracuse University and Colgate University. The hillbilly would then be a slur against Colgate’s more rural location in Hamilton 45 miles away from Syracuse. The C would be the school letter against Colgate’s school color of maroon. This might then be a one-off sophomoric creation inspired by Gilbert Shelton. Maybe the red nose is an allusion to the cold weather of upstate New York which both universities share.

    My totally unbiased advice would be to destroy the doll and support Colgate’s Raiders. Go ‘Gate!

  • Looks like one of the Fabulously Furry Freak Brothers.

  • Charlie

    Seems to me he has that “Dr. Suess” vibe…

  • David Shepherd

    A sloppy Earthquake McGoon knockoff?

  • Is it a nose or a cigar?…

  • F

    Well, I’m no animation expert, but speaking as a doll collector and a professional sewist… It does appear to be vintage (although perhaps not 30s), and commercially made.

  • Ridd

    Hard to tell for sure but I believe this is Captain Camel Toe. Hence the ‘C’ on his skin tight overalls. You’re welcome.

  • dbenson

    Guessing the “C” is actually a stylized safety pin or belt buckle, a shorthand device like Dagwood’s one-button shirt. It would certainly go with the hillbilly thing.

  • Whoa! Thanks, everybody! I just sent this image over to Amid when I was home for Thanksgiving, and when I got to class this morning at CalArts, my students were asking me why my name was on Cartoon Brew!

    Well, if there’s any group who would be able to figure out an obscure cartoon character, it’s the folks who read this site. What a great bunch of ideas and information! The doll looks like it’s from the 30’s since it’s made from felt with fine stitching and is stuffed with something pretty solid – sawdust or horsehair? Something like that. Not a cuddly plush doll. The details on the face are stitched-on pieces of black felt.

    I’m not sure which is the right theory – though Docnad’s Colgate idea makes sense for this area! In any case, it’s a really nice-looking design that will look great hanging around my office.

  • Vik

    Is there a photo showing the doll’s feet? The shoes/feet may provide a clue

    The design of the hillbilly pants (with the single strap across the chest and the patches on the knees) is exactly how Al Capp drew his “Li’l Abner” characters. The way the doll’s eyes and brows are drawn look exactly like Capp’s The Schmoos. It could have been some sort of toy for the “Li’l Abner” comics strip.

  • teresa

    I know the C doesn’t make much sense with this guess. But maybe it’s a version of the dwarfs from Snow White or some type of take off of them (homemade version)?
    The doll immediately reminded me of grumpy? The big red nose, the brows, the beard isn’t white but it’s similar, and the clothes are different but of a similar red and patches…
    and Snow White was released in the 30’s?

  • Its a Sneeze from “Puff The Magic Dragon”

  • Christof

    This doll is absolutely without a doubt from the 30s. I have another one with an “F” on its overalls, and a slightly different face, but the same idea. Yes, it looks a lot like something out of the Popeye comic strip, but I have never seen this character anywhere in that or any other comic strip. It must either be from some such strip, or just a character of its own for kids in those days. I have a friend with another one as well, so it seems it is something that was mass produced on a fairly large scale. I am a huge comic strip enthusiast and have no idea what strip it comes from, but that is surely what it looks like. I know a thing or two about old dolls like this, and the materials and craftsmanship of these dolls definitely dates them to the 30s, or maybe the 40s at the latest. But still a mystery…

  • zoidzen

    I just picked up one today with a floppy hat and a K in front…. what’s that spell? Could this be related to that old Country Joe & The Fish spell out song from Woodstock? Has anyone found the correct identification yet? Thank you