July 20th, 2017
As it nears 100 years in syndication, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith is one of the longest-running comics in history. From its humble beginnings as Take Barney Google F’rinstance to today, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith has delighted generation of readers.
When it debuted in 1919, the work of Billy DeBeck, Take Barney Google F’rinstance featured the high-living Barney Google and his hapless racehorse, Sparkplug. Barney Google was a worldwide phenomenon, the subject of pop songs and collectibles! But in the midst of the Great Depression, in 1934, Barney Google visited the town of Hootin’ Holler and met Snuffy Smith, who became the new runaway star of the strip, and one that felt much more with the times: a poor-but-jolly hillbilly who remained hopeful even when things were tough.
DeBeck’s assistant, Fred Lasswell, inherited the strip from DeBeck in 1942, and continued working on it until his death 2001, when John Rose, a lifelong comic lover and artist who is also an award-winning editorial cartoonist, took the reins. John’s charming, happy-go-lucky hillbillies and effusive cheer delight us to this day.
Snuffy may be the protagonist of the strip these days, but he is accompanied by his family — wife Loweezy, baby Tater, and nephew Jughaid — and friends — Lukey and Elviney– and the entire cast of characters of Hootin’ Holler, whether it’s Jughaid’s imperious teacher, Miss Prunelly, or Sheriff Tait, the straightlaced officer of the law.
The denizens of Hootin’ Holler are an irrepressible source of cheer– whatever problems they may have in their lives, they always seem to find something to be happy about, and reading about them never ceases to put a smile on our faces!
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