web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #77

This is the seventy-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous seventy-six. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

This week is a special theme week. All the urban legends are about Harvey Comics, and here to help me this week is Mark Arnold, author of The Best of The Harveyville Fun Times!

Let’s begin!

The Best of Harveyville Fun Times is a collection of the newsletter Mark has been doing for well over a decade, detailing the history of Harvey Comics.

display_thumbnail.php.jpg

Click here if you’re interested in purchasing a copy.

For each of the Urban Legends, I’ll be turning it over to Mark to give his answer to each of the question I ask.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Warren Kremer created Richie Rich.

STATUS: False

The creation of Richie Rich is a bit of a mess, but quite often, artist Warren Kremer is the one who gets the credit.

richie_rich2.gif

I asked Mark about it, though, and Mark had this to say:

Over the years, I have taken both sides of this issue and have always tried to deal with it fairly, but I end up upsetting one side or the other. The Harvey family maintains that Richie Rich was created by Alfred Harvey as far back as the 1930s. Richie Rich first appeared in “Little Dot” #1 (9/53) and that version was drawn by Steve Muffatti, a longtime Famous Studios artist who was Warren Kremer’s mentor.

I have confirmed through my research that Kremer did not draw Richie Rich for the comic books until the later 50s, which seems odd to me if he indeed created the character. Also, Kremer claims that Richie was named after his son Richie, who actually was born after Richie Rich first saw print! Longtime Editor Sid Jacobson also maintains that he created Richie Rich explaining that Alfred Harvey did not participate at all in the creation process of many of the later characters. As Alfred and Warren are no longer with us, it’s hard to confirm or deny Jacobson’s claims.

What is true is that all three men were working at Harvey when Richie Rich first appeared, but no one could have predicted the phenomenal success of that creation. Otherwise, there would have been better documentation. In comparison, if Richie was a flop, nobody would care less. You never hear of anyone tooting their horn saying that they created Mr. Cheepers (a minor Richie Rich supporting character).

Very interesting, Mark, thanks.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Buzzy the Crow had his voice changed in recent re-airings of his old cartoon because it was considered racially offensive.

STATUS: True

Buzzy the Crow was a popular animated character for Harvey in the late 40s and early 50s.

buzzy.gif

He also appeared in comic book form, although never in his own series.

An interesting thing happened awhile back, though, when the cartoons were repackaged for current syndication.

Here’s Mark on it…

Buzzy was originally voiced by the late Jackson Beck (Bluto in the “Popeye” cartoons). The voice was replaced by another actor in the early 1990s for the reason that the cartoons were considered racially offensive. The background music was also changed at that time to a more synthesized sound to give the “Harveytoons” a more “modern” feel. Eventually, the music reverted back to the original Winston Sharples score, but the replacement Buzzy voice remained. (I have heard that Beck’s voice was returned on the recent “Harveytoons” DVD set, but I have not purchased the set yet to confirm.)

Interesting move by Harvey.

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Tommy Tortoise and Moe Hare never made a comic appearance until the late 90s!

STATUS: True

Tommy Tortoise and Moe Hare were a popular series of cartoons by Harvey, even though they didn’t have THAT many features (only four feature cartoons).

tommy.gif

Probably because they appeared in the opening credits of each episode of the syndicated Harveytoons series.

However, surprisingly enough, despite first appearing in cartoon form in 1953, they did not appear in a comic book until 1999!!!

I asked Mark about it,

“Harvey, The Magazine for Kids” came out in 1999 and was indeed the very first appearance in comic books for these two characters. That’s not to say they never appeared in print before. I have a coloring book from the early 60s that is devoted to the two characters and obviously they appeared in a handful of Famous Studios animated cartoons as well as on the “Harveytoons” opening.

Pretty weird, eh?

Okay, that’s it for this week! Thanks to Mark Arnold for the info. Check his book out if you’re interested in more Harvey history!

Feel free to drop off any urban legends you’d like to see featured!

36 Comments

Moe Hare and the Nestle Quik Bunny: Separated at birth?

They actually have a character named “Moe Hare”. Ouch.

I was really hoping for an item on whatever happened to Casper The Friendly Boy…

(I’ll be back for the 11:00 show, enjoy the buffet!)

The live action/CGI Casper film of a few years ago actually did explain what happened to Casper the Friendly Boy. Ugh. It was a gruesome back story for a kids film, and not needed. That was a horrible movie.

Again, I say, “Neat!”

This being the 77th installment, I figure it’s got to be good luck to be the seventh person to post.

*double and triple posts until the deed is done*
*has second thoughts*

When I read that this week’s theme was Harvey Comics, I was hoping—but with little expectation—of learning about their Golden Age anthology title “All–New Comics,” which ceased publication in 1946 after 13 issues, then came back several months later for two more, the second of which was black–and–white with an unconventional cover and sent to subscribers only (according to the Grand Comicbook Database [comics.org]). I can’t help but suspect some sort of legal/postal regulation forced it, but that’s nothing more than my speculation. If Mr. Arnold can fill in, I’d be grateful. If he in fact specializes in those cartoon properties and knows nothing about THIS, that’s completely understandable. (The only reason that I myself am aware of this situation is my serious interest in The Green Hornet radio character, who not only had a regular Harvey comic series of his own at that time but also one story each in “All–New” #s 13 and 14, not any interest in Harvey Comics in general, and fair is fair.)

ive got further info about the Harvey racial scandal on my site. thanks for another great entry!

-GABE CAREY

sorry, that link to my site was broken, try this one. incidentally, the same thing has happened with Heckyll & Jeckyll cartoons

Is it just meant to link to your myspace page, Gabe?

How do I get to the stuff about the Harvey stuff?

Again, I say, “Neat!”

Thanks, West!

I think Casper was the Ghost of Richie Rich!

Maybe, Richie decided the pursuit of money was too empty and took his own life.

Anyone remember what that is from? :)

From the episode of the Simpsons where Bart and Lisa go to a comic convention (third season?). IIRC, Lisa voiced that theory.

Re: Casper the Friendly Boy — As a young kid reading Harvey Comics, I always assumed (without actually putting it into so many words) that Casper was the adolescent son of Mr. and Mrs. Friendly-Ghost; that in the Enchanted Forest, even the ghosts could have children. I heard years later that at least some folks at Harvey confirmed this, although even THAT topic was considered too taboo to bring up in the stories themselves.

Harvey Comics claims that Casper was born a ghost.

Apparently their definition of ghost is different than any other person in the history of the mankind. In the Harveyverse, living people don’t die and become ghosts. Ghosts are a separate race of beings (ghost mommies give birth to ghost babies).

Goofy as hell? Yep, but, unlike the movie, in the cartoon and comic Casper the boy never existed and therefore never had to die.

And James is right. The movie was terrible.

Thanks everyone for the great comments! I would like to address Ted Watson’s comments. Although I do indeed focus on the Harvey World characters (Casper, Richie Rich), I know some about the rest of the history.

I would say your speculation is probably correct about postal regulations, but the person who may know is Alan Harvey (son of Alfred Harvey, the original publisher). You can contact him at his website at http://www.sadsack.net

As far as “Casper, the friendly boy” goes, let me refer you to Marvel’s “Crazy Magazine” #8 for an answer…

-Mark.

Casper is INDEED a dead boy.
In the first couple Casper cartoons ever he is seen waking up at his grave which is clearly marked “Casper.”

In the first cartoon, he makes friends with a fox which promptly get killed. Casper buries the fox and is delighted when the ghost of the fox (“Foxy,” I believe)rises from the ground and remains his chum.

Weird stuff!! I can’t make this up!!

I’m pretty skeptical but I can’t believe Uncle Stan made up Foxy. Harvey Comics must have came up with the retcon to seem less ghoulish.

Or Superboy punched another wall.

what do you mean? theres a big link to my Archie Comics/Harvey Comics stuff…

All I get is a link to a myspace page for Sigmund & Edmund.

To Gabe Carey:

Sorry, but Brian is right. The link in your name in the yellow bar above your posting, #8 on this thread, takes me also to a MySpace page about Sigmund & Edmund. There’s nothing there about Harvey comic/cartoon characters, unless a link is mislabeled or something.

im sorry guys, try *this* link. i’ve been building an online archive of articles on Archie and Harvey for some time. im not trying to trick you into my MySpace sites, but thats the only place i have the archive up right now.

For those wanting a good link, click on my Harvey website at http://thft.home.att.net

Thanks for your support!!

D’oh!

I should have linked to that above.

Sorry, Mark!

Mark Arnold..

..whats your problem?

Sigh. Well, I got tricked into going to the Gabe Carey spam site . . . did anyone else?

Far more interesting than the Moe the Hare story (it’s at best for the hardcore Harvey fan, and just trivia, not an urban legend) was the great discussion in the comments about Casper the Dead Boy. Urban Legends is always my favorite feature on CSBG, so please keep them coming!

spam site…! where is the spam?? thats obviously one of my sites. as it is, i contest you to find anyone with a bigger archive of Harvey/Archie/Red Circle material. included stuff i have are:

-interview with Ernie Colon (about his Richie Rich work)
-interview with Dick Ayers
-articles from the 70s and 80s about Harvey Comics
-original sketches of Harvey’s “Black Cat”

so what scam am I seemingly trying to run?? i dont have a page counter. im sorry i gave the wrong link. but gorjus, you need to settle down man.

Actually I address the Casper origin issue in David Feldman’s excellent book, “Do Elephants Jump?”, one of his many “Imponderables” books. Feldman contacted me a few years ago about it and the book was published in 2004 with comments by me about “Who was Casper the Friendly Ghost before he died?” It’s available through my website at http://thft.home.att.net or in most bookstores.

-Mark.

Mark Arnold:

My apologies for somehow missing your comment directed to my query, posting #15 here. Thank you.

Gabe’s insistance that he has Archie and Harvey material at his site makes me wonder if he actually believes it’s there, and is just giving the wrong link (or the material is not easily visible)?

Gabe: how about trying to post a few direct links directly to some of those articles you mention? Because if they really are contained on that completely-not-comic-related myspace, they’re clearly not easily found.

Uncle Stan? You mean Uncle ALFRED (Harvey), don’t you? As to “who” Casper was, he was just a boy, nobody famous. Never mind the revisionist stuff – he didn’t become famous until he became Casper the ghost – duh!

And what’s up with the continuing nonsense about casper being Ritchie?! Casper was already a ghost long before Ritchie was even around!

Ghost mommies give birth to ghost babies? I suppose that’s what they mean by ‘phantom pregnancies’…

Don’t you people know anything, Ritchie Rich was Bruce Wayne’s nickname from before his parents got shot.

I’m Still Farting….

Uncle Stan is not making stuff up. I bought a set of DVD’s from the clearance bin of one of the *Mart stores with like 500 classic cartoons on them, and one of the cartoons is that first Casper with the fox. The whole cartoon is very sad, much like the opening to Bambi except worse, so I think it was later “swept under the carpet” as Harvey got more slapstick and silly.

Jon, are you going to say absolutely nothing about Gabe Still Farting??? I can almost smell that butt…

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives