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Looking Back: Who remembers Alley Oop? 

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the full comic page of the January 12, 1937 Daily Telegram. Work the crossword puzzle while there!

Comic page from the January 12, 1937 Daily Telegram

–How many of us have the habit of taking a quick glance at the newspaper headlines then turning right away to the comic page? Who still practices the ritual of morning coffee, the comics, the advice column, the crossword puzzle and then the news?

This comic page from January 1937 gives us a look at what the local community was chuckling about back in the day. The comics, along with political cartoons, have been mirroring and in some cases, even shaping, American society since the first comic appeared in 1896. reports, “The first newspaper comic strip in the United States was Richard Felton Outcault’s “The Yellow Kid,” which appeared in the Hearst New York American on February 16, 1896.”

One of the side effects of the decline in print newspapers is that there are entire generations who no longer have the special pleasure of arguing with siblings over who gets to read the Sunday funnies first, or know that the “jeep” was really a character (Eugene the Jeep) first introduced in the Popeye comic strip by creator, Elzie Seeger. When a new off-road vehicle was introduced to the United States military in 1941, servicemen began calling it a “jeep” because the new vehicle seemed to defy the laws of physics in the same ways as Eugene the Jeep.

How sad that so many today think “Popeye” is just chicken. credits the origins of “Sadie Hawkins Day” to the “Lil Abner” comic strip, and the everyday sayings we all use such as “Are we having fun yet?” and “Back to the drawing board” as originating in popular comic strips of their day. “Hard-boiled,” “For crying out loud,” “You tell ’em,” and “drugstore cowboy,” are credited to 1902 comic strip pioneer, Tad Dorgan. Dorgan was employed by the San Francisco Chronicle when he created his first comic strip, Johnny Wise.

Brendan Gallagher, writing for includes the following in his list of “The 25 Best Sunday Comic Strips of All Time:”

  • Number 25—Beetle Bailey
  • Number 21—Garfield
  • Number 18—Dick Tracy
  • Number 13—Dilbert
  • Number 11—Zits (created by Jerry Scott, a Central Coast local)
  • Number 5—Doonesbury
  • Number 1—Calvin and Hobbes


What is your favorite comic strip of all time?

Read previous Looking Back articles

This “Looking Back” view at Paso Robles history comes from one of the hundreds of local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. Several local newspapers, dating from the 1800s, have reported on local, national and world events, providing priceless historical views of our community that are not available from any other source. The Historical Society is seeking community support for the multi-phased Newspaper Preservation Project to help fund the transfer of these aged and fragile pages to microfilm and digital images. See the society website for more information about becoming a member or donating to any phase of this project.

The Paso Robles Daily News is pleased to support this important project. Watch this space for future “Looking Back” articles.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.