June 1st, 2014

50 Years Ago

by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne

Spring is finally in full bloom after a long, cold New England winter.  The leaves are on the trees, the grass is lush and green and bright-colored flowers are sprouting everywhere.  The nights are cool and the days are warm.  All good things come with a price, so allergies and bugs are also back.  The hot humid days of summer will be here soon.  It’s an idyllic time of the year.

In the world of Hi and Lois, the cycle of seasons provides a backdrop to the rhythms of family life.  Here is a classic spring-themed Sunday page from 1964 that shows how little has changed in half a century.

Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, April 26, 1964. Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, April 26, 1964.

Girls today rarely wear dresses, socks and patent-leather shoes like Dot’s when playing outside but, other than that, this episode doesn’t feel dated.  Ditto has his baseball cap on backwards which is still fashionable.  Hi and Lois are dressed appropriately in old clothes for a weekend of spring-cleaning.

This is another fine example of Dik Browne’s mastery of graphic composition.  Each panel is designed to vary the perspective and move the story forward.  Dot’s exuberance is expressed through her animated hand motions, skipping feet and cute smile.  The drawings of butterflies, birds and flowers look natural.  The clutter in panels two and nine provides a contrast between Lois and Hi’s indoor and outdoor chores and Dot’s carefree romp through the back yard.   Every line in Dik’s work has a function and there is never any extraneous detail.  His pages are simple and elegant.

If any of our readers are looking for a Father’s Day gift, there is still time to order a print of a recent Hi and Lois strip.  You can use the “CALENDAR” function above to find a favorite episode and then click on “BUY PRINT” to place your order.  The prints can also be matted and framed.

Enjoy the weekend!

– Brian Walker

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