Blondiegate: The day America lost its innocence, or an event of no consequence whatsoever?
It was June 20, 1982, when the Associated Press wrote:
From the article, readers also learned:
- The strips were virtually identical except for the final panel, where a quip by Blondie was replaced by a funnier quip by Herb (hmm, 75% repetition!).
A follow-up story a couple of days later quoted Dean Young as saying: “Who cares?... I mean, golly, give me a break.”
I agree with Dean Young, but King Features obviously didn’t, as I learned from this lot to be auctioned Feb. 27, three boxes full of correspondence from the files of King Features editor Bill Yates.
The documents therein show that King Features launched into damage-control mode, demanding that Young re-do from scratch any strips with partially re-used gags, with the exception of those that had already been published or were too far along in the process to stop.
From handwritten notes, presumably by Yates:
"TOO LATE TO STOP: 6/7/82 redo of 3/10/63
anything we can pull, we must
Sunday holds (KILL) Aug. 15 + 22"
A few thoughts here:
- Writing a comic strip is one of those things lots of people think they could do well. Many probably could come up with a week’s worth of funny gags. Maybe a month’s worth. Perhaps even a year’s. Dean Young, though, had thought of about 4,000 gags by 1982, the vast majority funny. Try that sometime.
- If someone reminded me of something today that made me smile or laugh in 1991, I would thank him, not criticize him.
- If re-using premises was a crime in 1982, the makers of Three’s Company, the Dukes of Hazzard, and Love Boat should have all been sent to San Quentin.
In closing I quote a King Features memo from June 21, 1982, also part of this auction lot:
- Barry Sandoval