Ask The Archivist: Merry Christmas from King Features

By Mark Johnson

The days are dwindling down to Christmas, and the shopping days are melting away like snowflakes. 

Years ago it was part of the Yuletide Season in the newspaper world to print a daily countdown to the big day, reminding readers of just how close the final day of shopping (Christmas Eve) would be.

Often these one column spots would be dropped into the front page, usually close to the weather forecast or table of contents, sometimes becoming one of the “Ears” on either side of the masthead.

Sometime in the 1940s, I guess, some syndicates started taking advantage of this annual tradition, offering free “Christmas Boxes” as they are known, boasting comic characters their clients would have on the Funnies page.  So today I present a charming Hi & Lois original proof of just such a series from 1960, issued far in advance (4 October) so the papers could plan ahead.

Incidentally, next year it will be Hi & Lois 60th anniversary! So look forward to more Hi & Lois in 2014.

Hope you all get your gift buying done in time, and have a warm and wonderful holiday.


Archivist Claus