Today's Connecticut Post reports that THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME, the newspaper cartoon panel drawn by Al Scaduto, will end on February 2, 2008. The decision was made by King Features.
As Tom Spurgeon wrote in today's Comics Reporter:
"It was created in 1929 by cartoon juggernaut Jimmy Hatlo, was nationally syndicated starting in 1936. Bob Dunn followed Hatlo on the feature and Scaduto followed Dunn, giving the strip a strong creative continuity during its multiple decade run."
And I agree, as Tom writes further, that it was surprising that King would pull a feature that had over 100 papers. But, there was no one who could do it like Al Scaduto.
Al was the last of the bigfoot cartoonists -- guys like Rube Goldberg, Elzie Segar and Milt Gross (who Al knew). Perhaps it's fitting that the 79 year old feature ends with him. There is, sadly, no one around to fill those big feet.
Above is a photo of Al and me, taken a year ago. As some of you know, I had the honor of being the Chapter Chair of the National Cartoonists Society Long Island Chapter for a while.
I was pretty nervous about being the ringleader of what's called the Berndt Toast Gang; a legendary group of Long Island cartoonists. Getting up to talk about chapter business, in front of the likes of Scaduto, Giella, Drucker, Orehek, Sy Barry and others, was daunting. I tried not to let it show. the first couple of months I had that whole I'm-not-worthy feeling.
Out of the blue, Al Scaduto called me after a get together. Since I was still on the Long Island Expressway (or, the Long Island Parking Lot, due its reputation for gridlock), he'd leave a message, telling me how much he and his fiance Claire enjoyed themselves at the BTG lunch. And he always thanked me for being responsible for such a relaxed atmosphere at the get togethers.
To get a phone call like this made me feel great. Al was always a gracious gentlemen. He would always ask after me, and my wife, and ask how things are going. And he would listen to the answers.
Al was very much part of the heart of the Gang. He will be missed.
Above right: a small selection of a large number of originals that he brought in last year to show the Gang.
A hat tip to Journalista! where I first saw mention of the CT Post article.
Memories of Al Scaduto
Some Al Scaduto Links