August 22nd, 2013
by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne
In his 1975 book, Backstage at the Strips, Mort Walker wrote, “Dik Browne says the definition of a family is a group of people who don’t laugh at their father’s jokes. But the truth is, our families write all of our gags, or they are at least the source of most of them.”
He provided an example of how this worked. “The ‘Better Words’ series in Hi and Lois was directly attributed to our kid’s early fumbling with the language. Later our readers contributed.”
In a previous blog post, dated March 14, 2013, I told the story of how Mort first came up with this idea and showed some classics. “The Better Words” series lasted from 1963 to 1966. Like the daily strips, this Sunday page is a compilation of suggestions that readers sent in.
This demonstrates how cartoonists interacted with their readers in the days before the Internet. After a few years, the letters slowed down, the mangled phrases weren’t as funny and the series was discontinued.
We have more ‘Better Words’ strips in the archives, so stay tooned.
– Brian Walker
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