October 12th, 2010

Snarky Candiru2

The Nearly-centennial Men: Gasoline Alley.

The odd thing about the recent cancellation of what used to be the mainstay that was Little Orphan Annie is that there are other strips that pre-date it that are still on-going and have no real end in sight. The first of these dinosaur strips to be discussed is Gasoline Alley. Originally a feature about Walt Wallet, owner-operator of the titular garage, and his cohorts as they talked the cars of the day, it started on the path of becoming the saga of the Wallet family when Walt discovered a foundling child on his doorstep. The child's legal name might have been the then-male 'Alison' but he's more widely known by his nickname 'Skeezix', a colloquialism meaning 'motherless calf'. The strip's creator, a Frank King, made a decision that would affect the way the medium would develop: he started to age the characters in real time. What this means, of course, is that Walt himself is in his second century of life while Skeezix himself is in his late eighties. Since the circulation figures seem to be fairly good, we could well celebrate the strip's centennial. Bear with me as I discuss the Wallets, their neighbors and the odd way the writer transcribes Appalachian English.