Alas, poor Bosko! I knew him well. The stretch-and-squash star of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes for three years, his rubber-hose antics became a victim of the “realism movement” in Hollywood cartoons of the mid-30s. In his new home at MGM, his earlier pie-eyed persona (poster, above left) only lasted two cartoons. Re-positioned as a realistic little black boy (poster, above right) the character appeared in some of the most elaborate fantasies Harman-Ising ever produced.
Bosko’s “last hurrah” in his earlier incarnation was in a series of comic strips – or rather, comic panels – begun by artist Robert Allen, and syndicated by “Red Ryder” cartoonist Fred Harman (Hugh’s brother). For one last time, from the collection of Martin Almeyra, we present a selection of rare Bosko comic clippings from the 1930s (these latter strips have been identified as being drawn by Win Smith, according to David Gerstein). These six panels begin a new adventure, which leave behind the native cannibals of the previous story – to depict even more racial stereotypes (Italian produce vendors, Chinese laundry men) than before. (Click the final four thumbnails below to enlarge)