Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ted Key 1912-2008

Above: the first collection of HAZEL cartoons sold 500,000 copies.

Ted Key, best known for creating the cartoon panel HAZEL, passed away on Saturday at his Tredyffrin Township, PA home. Mr. Key was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in 2006. He had suffered a stroke this past September. He was 95.

There are many obituaries online:

Associated Press

Philadelphia Inquirer

New York Times

All I wanted to add were a couple of images to demonstrate that he really was a master of media. Heck, the fellow kept up Hazel while serving in World War II as a Master Sergeant.

From the AP story:

"Key literally dreamed up the concept of his wildly popular maid cartoon.

"'Like a lot of creative people, he kept a notepad near his bedside,' Peter Key said of his father. 'He had a dream about a maid who took a message, but she screwed it up completely. When he looked at the idea the next day, he thought it was good and sold it to the Post.'"

And this is from the Times:

“'He picked the name Hazel out of the air,' Peter Key said. 'But there was an editor at The Post who had a sister named Hazel, and she thought her brother came up with the name and she didn’t speak to him for two years.'”

Editor & Publisher credits him with creating idea of the cartoon-a-day calendar in 1951. Jack & Jill Magazine published his long running "Diz and Liz" series of cartoons.

Mr. Key also created the time-traveling boy & dog "Peabody and Sherman" for Jay Ward's Bullwinkle TV show. Ward was a friend of Key's brother.

MILLION DOLLAR DUCK, GUS and THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE were three of his screenplays that were made into movies.

According to several of the obits, the family is finding all sorts of notes and sketches for ideas and gags all over the place. From the Inquirer:
"'He executed a ton of ideas, but he still didn't have time to execute them all,' Peter Key said."
Image of the HAZEL book cover from the University of Syracuse where " ... the Ted Key Papers extend to twenty-three linear feet and include more than twelve hundred original cartoons, correspondence, book and screenplay manuscripts and production records, published cartoons, and other printed material."


Daryll Collins said...

Wow! What a highly prolific and successful career. I had no idea he created Peabody & Sherman along with those Disney movie screenplays.

Hats off to Mr. Key!

Brian Fies said...

It's hard to feel sad when an old man dies after living a great life. So good for him. He leaves a legacy to be proud of.