|Born||Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr.|
August 25, 1913
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||October 18, 1973 60) (aged|
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Helen DeLacey (divorced), Stephanie Waggony (widowed), Margaret Selby Daley|
|Children||Kathleen, Peter, Carolyn, Stephen|
Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. (August 25, 1913 – October 18, 1973), commonly known as Walt Kelly, was an American animator and cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Pogo .He began his animation career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios, contributing to Pinocchio , Fantasia , and Dumbo . In 1941, at the age of 28, Kelly transferred to work at Dell Comics, where he created Pogo, which eventually became his platform for political and philosophical commentary.
Kelly was born of Irish-American heritage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Walter Crawford Kelly, Sr. and Genevieve Kelly (née MacAnnula). When he was two years old, the family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. After graduating from Warren Harding High School in 1930, Kelly worked at odd jobs until he was hired as a crime reporter on the Bridgeport Post . He also took up cartooning and illustrated a biography of another well-known figure from Bridgeport, P. T. Barnum. Kelly was extremely proud of his journalism pedigree and considered himself a newspaper man as well as a cartoonist.
Kelly became close friends with fellow cartoonists Milton Caniff and Al Capp, and the three occasionally referred to each other in their strips.
In 1930, Kelly graduated from high school and met Helen DeLacy at choir practice. Delacy was a few years older than Kelly. Delacy left her southern California position as a Girl Scout executive in 1935, hoping to leave Kelly behind. Kelly gave up his job at Bridgeport General Electric and followed DeLacy to Los Angeles, where he took a job at Walt Disney. Eventually Kelly and DeLacy married.In 1951, Kelly divorced DeLacy and married Stephanie Waggony.
This section does not cite any sources . (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
After relocated to Southern California, Kelly found a job at Walt Disney Productions as a storyboard artist and gag man on Donald Duck cartoons and other shorts. In 1939, he requested a transfer to the animation department. Kelly became an assistant to noted Walt Disney animator Fred Moore and became close friends with Moore and Ward Kimball, one of Disney's Nine Old Men. Kelly and Kimball were so close that Kimball named his daughter Kelly Kimball in tribute.
Kelly worked for Disney from January 6, 1936, to September 12, 1941, contributing to Pinocchio , Fantasia , The Reluctant Dragon , and Dumbo . Kelly once stated that his salary at Disney averaged about $100 a week. During 1935 and 1936, his work also appeared in early comic books for what later became DC Comics.
Kelly's animation can be seen in Pinocchio when Mastro Geppetto is first seen inside Monstro the whale, fishing; in Fantasia when Bacchus is seen drunkenly riding a donkey during the Beethoven/"Pastoral Symphony" sequence; and in Dumbo of the ringmaster and during bits of the crows' sequence. His drawings are especially recognizable in The Reluctant Dragon of the little boy, and in the Mickey Mouse short The Little Whirlwind , when Mickey is running from the larger tornado (the tornado even blows a copy of The Bridgeport Post into Mickey's face).
During the 1941 animators' strike Kelly did not picket the studio, as has often been reported, but took a leave of absence, pleading "family illness", to avoid choosing sides. Surviving correspondence between Kelly and his close friend and fellow animator Ward Kimball chronicles his ambivalence towards the highly charged dispute. Kimball stated in an interview years later that Kelly felt creatively constricted in animation, a collective art form, and possibly over-challenged by the technical demands of the form, and had been looking for a way out when the strike occurred.
Kelly never returned to the studio as an animator, but jobs adapting the studio's films Pinocchio and The Three Caballeros for Dell Comics, apparently the result of a recommendation from Walt Disney himself, led to a new and ultimately transitional career.
On May 25, 1960, Kelly wrote a letter to Walt Disney regarding his time at the studio:
Just in case I ever forgot to thank you, I'd like you to know that I, for one, have long appreciated the sort of training and atmosphere that you set up back there in the thirties. There were drawbacks as there are to everything, but it was an astounding experiment and experience as I look back on it. Certainly it was the only education I ever received and I hope I'm living up to a few of your hopes for other people.
Kelly began a series of comic books based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes along with annuals celebrating Christmas and Easter for Dell Comics. Kelly seems to have written or co-written much of the material he drew for the comics; his unique touches are easily discernible. He also produced a series of stories based on the Our Gang film series, provided covers for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories , illustrated the aforementioned adaptations of two Disney animated features, drew stories featuring Raggedy Ann and Andy and Uncle Wiggily, wrote and drew a lengthy series of comic books promoting a bread company and featuring a character called "Peter Wheat",and did a series of pantomime (without dialogue) two-page stories featuring Roald Dahl's Gremlins for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #34–41. Kelly also then wrote, drew, and performed on children's records, children's books, and cereal boxes.
So highly regarded was his work that the introduction, likely written by Dell editor Oskar Lebeck, to Fairy Tale Parade #1 spoke of him as "the artist who drew all the wonderful pictures in this book."
Although his health would not allow him to serve in the military,during World War II, Kelly also worked in the Army's Foreign Language Unit illustrating manuals, including several on languages, one of his favorite topics. One manual depicted his friend Ward Kimball as a caveman.
This period saw the creation of Kelly's most famous character, Pogo, who first saw print in 1943 in Dell's Animal Comics. Pogo was almost unrecognizable in his initial appearance, resembling a real possum more closely than in his classic form.
Kelly's work with Dell continued well into the successful run of the newspaper strip in the early 1950s, ending after 16 issues of Pogo Possum (each with all-new material) in a dispute over the republication of Kelly's early Pogo and Albert stories in a comic book titled The Pogo Parade.
He returned to journalism as a political cartoonist after the war. In 1948, while serving as art director of the short-lived New York Star (successor to the afternoon liberal tabloid PM), Kelly began to produce a pen-and-ink daily comic strip featuring anthropomorphic animal characters that inhabited the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. The first Pogo strip appeared on October 4, 1948. After the New York Star folded on January 28, 1949, Kelly arranged for syndication through the Hall Syndicate, which relaunched the strip in May 1949. Kelly eventually arranged to acquire the copyright and ownership of the strip, which was then uncommon.
The Pogo comic strip was syndicated to newspapers for 26 years. The individual strips were collected into at least 20 books edited by Kelly. He received the Reuben Award for the series in 1951.
The principal characters were Pogo the Possum, Albert the Alligator, Churchy LaFemme (cf. Cherchez la femme), a turtle, Howland Owl, Beauregard (Houndog), Porkypine, and Miss Mam'selle Hepzibah(or Miz Mamzelle Hepzibah), a French skunk. Kelly used the strip in part as a vehicle for his liberal and humanistic political and social views, and satirized, among other things, Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist demagogy (in the form of a shotgun-wielding badger named "Simple J. Malarkey") and the sectarian and dogmatic behavior of communists in the form of two comically doctrinaire cowbirds.
The setting for Pogo and his friends was the Okefenokee Swamp. The Okefenokee Swamp Park near Waycross, Georgia, now has a building housing Walt Kelly's relocated studio and various Pogo memorabilia.
Additionally, Kelly illustrated The Glob, a children's book about the evolution of man written by John O'Reilly and published in 1952.
Kelly died in 1973 in Woodland Hills, California, from diabetes complications, following a long and debilitating illness that had cost him a leg. During his final illness, work on the strip had fallen to various assistants and occasionally reprints, and Kelly characteristically joked about returning to work as soon as he regrew the leg. He is sometimes listed as having been interred in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York, but there is no grave for him there. He is believed to have been cremated.
This section does not cite any sources . (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
His influences included cartoonists George Kerr, Frederick Opper, E. W. Kemble, A. B. Frost, John Tenniel, George Herriman, and, especially, T. S. Sullivant. Kelly, a great admirer of Lewis Carroll, was also a prolific poet, especially in the "Anguish Languish" form (of which Deck Us All with Boston Charlie is considered one of the prime examples). Kelly's singing voice, a boozy Irish baritone, can be heard on the Songs of the Pogo album, for which he also supplied the lyrics.
Pogo was continued by Kelly's widow, Selby, and various assistants until the summer of 1975. Reprint books continued in a steady stream, including a series reprinting several original books under a single cover according to various themes—romance, elections—that ran into the 1980s. In 1977, Gregg Press reprinted the first ten Pogo books in hardcover editions with dust jackets. In 1995 Jonas/Winter issued another ten Pogo titles in navy blue cloth editions.
In 1988 Steve Thompson issued The Walt Kelly Collector's Guide, (Spring Hollow Books) an invaluable and comprehensive resource of Pogo and other Walt Kelly-related memorabilia.
In 1989 the Los Angeles Times attempted to revive the strip with other artists, including Kelly's two children, Carolyn and Peter, under the title Walt Kelly's Pogo. The new strip ran through the early 1990s. Also in 1989, Eclipse Books began publication of a hardcover series called Walt Kelly's Pogo and Albert collecting the early Dell Pogo comic book stories in color, starting with the characters' first appearance in 1943. The series reached four numbered volumes, with volumes two, three, and four subtitled At the Mercy of Elephants, Diggin' fo' Square Roots and Dreamin' of a Wide Catfish, respectively.
In 2003 Reaction Records reissued Kelly's 1956 album Songs of the Pogo on compact disc. The album features Kelly singing his own comic lyrics and nonsense verse to melodies written mostly by Norman Monath. Kelly wrote music to seven of the 30 songs, according to the printed song book. The disc also features the content of Kelly's later recordings, No! with Pogo and Can't! with Pogo, which were issued as children's 45 rpm record sets in 1969, with booklets written and illustrated by Kelly to accompany his recorded performances.
In February 2007 Fantagraphics Books announced that it would begin publication of The Complete Pogo, a projected 12‑volume series collecting the complete chronological run of daily and Sunday strips, to be overseen by Jeff Smith and Kelly's daughter Carolyn. The first volume in the series was scheduled to appear in October 2007 but was delayed, reportedly due to difficulty in locating early Sunday strips in complete form. It was finally released in October, 2011.Volume two was released in November, 2012, and three was released in November 2014. Four was released in January 2018 and five was released in October 2018. Volume six was planned for release in November 2019 but was delayed until January 2020. Volume seven is planned for an October 2020 release.
In 2013 Hermes Press began reprinting the comic book series of Pogo that pre-dated the comic strip, originally published by Dell Comics.The first two volumes were nominated for the 2015 Eisner Awards, and the third volume came out in late 2015; followed in 2016 by the fourth volume. The fifth volume was released in 2017, with the sixth and final volume appearing in 2018.
Carolyn Kelly, having worked extensively on The Complete Pogo, died on April 9, 2017.
In Nickelodeon's animated series The Loud House, the Loud Family's canary was named after Walt Kelly.
Kelly has been compared to everyone from James Joyce and Lewis Carroll, to Aesop and Uncle Remus . He was elected president of the National Cartoonists Society in 1954, serving until 1956, and was also the first strip cartoonist to be invited to contribute originals to the Library of Congress.
Arthur Floyd Gottfredson was an American cartoonist best known for his defining work on the Mickey Mouse comic strip, which he worked on from 1930 until his retirement in 1975. He has probably had the same impact on the Mickey Mouse comics as Carl Barks had on the Donald Duck comics. 17 years after his death, his memory was honored with the Disney Legends award in 2003 and induction into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.
Mark Stephen Evanier is an American comic book and television writer, known for his work on the animated TV series Garfield and Friends and on the comic book Groo the Wanderer. He is also known for his columns and blog News from Me, and for his work as a historian and biographer of the comics industry, such as his award-winning Jack Kirby biography, Kirby: King of Comics.
Silly Symphony is a series of 75 animated musical short films produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1939. As their name implies, the Silly Symphonies were originally intended as whimsical accompaniments to pieces of music. As such, the films usually had independent continuity and did not feature continuing characters, unlike the Mickey Mouse shorts produced by Disney at the same time. The series is notable for its innovation with Technicolor and the multiplane motion picture camera, as well as its introduction of the character Donald Duck making his first appearance in the Silly Symphony cartoon The Wise Little Hen in 1934. Seven shorts won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Disney comics are comic books and comic strips featuring characters created by the Walt Disney Company, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge.
Pogo was a daily comic strip that was created by cartoonist Walt Kelly and syndicated to American newspapers from 1948 until 1975. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeastern United States, Pogo followed the adventures of its funny animal characters, including the title character, an opossum. The strip was written for both children and adults, with layers of social and political satire targeted to the latter. Pogo was distributed by the Post-Hall Syndicate. The strip earned Kelly a Reuben Award in 1951.
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, sometimes abbreviated WDC or WDC&S, is an American anthology comic book series featuring an assortment of Disney characters, including Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Mickey Mouse, Chip 'n Dale, Li'l Bad Wolf, Scamp, Bucky Bug, Grandma Duck, Brer Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, and others. With more than 700 issues, Walt Disney's Comics & Stories is the longest-running Disney comic book in the United States, making it the flagship title, and is one of the best-selling comic books of all time.
Mutt and Jeff was a long-running and widely popular American newspaper comic strip created by cartoonist Bud Fisher in 1907 about "two mismatched tinhorns". It is commonly regarded as the first daily comic strip. The concept of a newspaper strip featuring recurring characters in multiple panels on a six-day-a-week schedule had previously been pioneered through the short-lived A. Piker Clerk by Clare Briggs, but it was Mutt and Jeff as the first successful daily comic strip that staked out the direction of the future trend.
John Morin "Jack" Bradbury was an American animator and comic book artist.
Carl Robert Fallberg was a writer/cartoonist for animated feature films and T.V. cartoons for Disney Studios, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Brothers. He also wrote comic books for Dell Comics, Western Publishing, and Gold Key Comics.
Paul Murry was an American cartoonist and comics artist. He is best known for his Disney comics, which appeared in Dell Comics and Gold Key Comics from 1946 to 1984, particularly the Mickey Mouse and Goofy three-part adventure stories in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories.
Jeff Smith is an American cartoonist. He is best known as the creator of the self-published comic book series Bone.
Anthony Joseph Strobl was an American comics artist and animator. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Cleveland School of Art from 1933–37, with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who actually got some help from Strobl creating Superman. Gerard Jones in his book Men of Tomorrow reveals at one point Jerry Siegel contemplated ending his partnership with Joe Shuster in developing what became Superman and work with someone else instead. Strobl was among those approached but he respectfully declined, feeling his more cartoony artstyle was ill suited for such a serious character.
Michael Barrier is an American animation historian.
Wingate Chase Craig was an American writer-cartoonist who worked principally on comic strips and comic books. From the mid-1940s to mid-1970s he was a prolific editor and scripter for Western Publishing's Dell and Gold Key Comics, including the popular Disney comics line.
Hermes Press is an American publisher of art books, comic books, and comic book reprints. The company was founded in 2000 and is best known for their archival reprints of classic comic book and strip series and art books.
Silly Symphonies: The Complete Disney Classics is a book series which reprints Walt Disney's Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip, drawn by several different Disney artists from 1932 to 1945. The strip was published by King Features Syndicate. The strip often introduced new Disney characters to the public, including its first comic character, Bucky Bug. The series was published by The Library of American Comics from 2016 to 2019.
Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips is a series of books published by Fantagraphics Books collecting the complete run of the Pogo comic strips, a daily and a Sunday strip written and drawn by Walt Kelly, for the first time. Debuting in 1948 in the short-lived New York Star newspaper, during the strip's golden days in the mid 1950s it had an estimated readership of 37 million, appearing in 450 newspapers. The first volume of this reprint series was released in December 2011.
Mickey Mouse Magazine is an American Disney comics publication that preceded the popular 1940 anthology comic book Walt Disney's Comics and Stories. There were three versions of the title -- two promotional giveaway magazines published from 1933 to 1935, and a newsstand magazine published from 1935 to 1940. The publication gradually evolved from a 16-page booklet of illustrated text stories and single-page comic panels into a 64-page comic book featuring reprints of the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comic strips.
Silly Symphony, initially titled Silly Symphonies, is a weekly Disney comic strip that debuted on January 10, 1932 as a topper for the Mickey Mouse strip's Sunday page. The strip featured adaptations of Walt Disney's popular short film series, Silly Symphony, which released 75 cartoons from 1929 to 1939, as well as other cartoons and animated films. The comic strip outlived its parent series by six years, ending on October 7, 1945.
Uncle Remus and His Tales of Br'er Rabbit is an American Disney comic strip that ran on Sundays from October 14, 1945 to December 31, 1972. It first appeared as a topper strip for the Mickey Mouse Sunday page, but after the first few years, almost always appeared on its own. It replaced the 1932-1945 Silly Symphony strip, which had spent its final year on gag strips featuring Panchito from The Three Caballeros.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Walt Kelly|