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Walt Kelly + Famous Studios = Cilly Goose

Walt Kelly, a former Disney animator and one of the greatest cartoonists of the 20th Century, is not one usually associated with the likes of Paramount’s Famous Studios. But did you know Kelly illustrated two comic book stories starring Paramount’s animated characters of the 1940s?

Long before Harvey Comics, or St. John for that matter, had the rights to Paramount’s cartoon menagerie, Western Publishing (Dell Comics) acquired those rights in the mid 40s — and produced comic stories featuring such animated “stars” as Hector the Henpecked Rooster, Herman the Mouse, Blackie Sheep and Cilly Goose. Kelly illustrated two 8-page stories – the first of which I’ve post below (click thumbnails to enlarge each page). These were done for Animal Comics, the book in which Kelly developed Pogo Possum and are thus worth hundreds of dollars each. My thanks to Mark Kausler for loaning me his copies to scan. Cilly Goose is based on a one-shot Noveltoon cartoon of the same name from 1944. The Famous Studios comics ran from issue #7 through #17 as far as I can tell. This Cilly Goose story, from Animal Comics #15 (June-July 1945), has no relation to the animated film, and I have no idea who might have written it.

This post was inspired by the many new sites popping up reprinting classic comic books (such as Cartoon Snap and The Big Blog of Kids Comics). I have no intention to compete with them – though if there is interest in seeing Kelly’s other Famous story (featuring Blackie Sheep) let me know.

  • Please reprint the other Kelly story.

  • Gregg Hammond

    Yes, please post the Blackie Sheep story by Walt Kelly. Thank you!

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Something about the mouse-in-the-piano bit and the line “What’s wrong with mustache cups?” makes me wonder whether Kelly didn’t have a hand in the script as well. Those seem like perfectly Pogo moments.

  • Brad Strickland

    I agree with Daniel J. Drazen. There are lots of Pogo-esque touches in the dialogue, and I’d be surprised if Kelly had not contributed to the writing. The fountain-pen gag was pure Kelly–I can imagine Albert the Alligator making the same pronouncement–and Kelly had (as I do) a fondness for the dash as punctuation that shows up in the script.

  • Jerry: Wonderfull stuff, and thanks for the mention!

  • Jeffers

    Can someone explain to me what a mustache cup is?

  • Brad Strickland

    Why, yes, Jeffers. In the good old days when men wore great big walrus or handlebar mustaches, a hazard of drinking coffee was getting the ‘stache soaked and matted in an unsightly manner. The solution was the mustache cup–a regular coffee cup, except it had a mustache guard built in. There was a small hole for the lips, then a curved porcelain strip that would protect the mustache from defilement. The strip went rim to rim on the cup and occupied about the bottom third or so. I used to have an antique mustache cup–may still have it, I don’t remember. You can find some photos if you do a Google image search for a mustache cup.

  • Jody Morgan

    Please upload the Blackie Sheep story by Walt Kelly; I (and many others, I’m sure) would love to see that as well!

  • Well, I see this discussion went on long ago, so you presumably have all the data by now, but … In tracking down fondly remembered panels for a brief article in Comics Buyer’s Guide, I located one of my favorite “Cilly Goose” stories, obviously by Kelly. In Animal Comics #16 (Aug-Sep 45) are a couple of my favorite exchanges:
    Cilly: “I’ll enter the baking and hat contests! I make the best turnovers in Gooseberry Hollow.”
    Minefield: “The best turnovers you ever made were three somersaults on the cellar stairs with your foot in a bucket.”
    And …
    Cilly: “Well, look here, Minefield, there are contests you CAN enter – boxing, wrestling, sprinting …”
    Minefield: “I used to belong to a Western Sprinting and Lithographing Company. I can do the twenty yard lithograph in seven days flat.”