Monday, January 26, 2009

Dennis the Menace Meets Jewish Neighbors (1971)

DENNIS THE MENACE comic books were part of kids' reading for decades. Now gone, the comic books, usually ghosted by long-time assistant to Hank Ketcham Mr. Al Wiseman, were well distributed, in groceries, drugstores and barbershops. There were regular DTM issues, along with larger (and more pricey) specials, and the smaller digest comics.

In 1971, at a Rexall Drug Store in Lawrence, KS, I spent 35 cents on an issue of the DENNIS THE MENACE BONUS MAGAZINE SERIES No. 99, October 1971 (a magazine published 12 times a year, once a month with the exception of September, November and December, and twice in June, July and October).

In a five page story "Christmas Happy Holidays," I found out about the new milkman in Dennis' neighborhood.

Thanks to Mssrs. Ketcham and Wiseman, I learned about Jewish people via Dennis. The milkman and his son explained that they were Jews, and the regular milkman wanted Christmas off and they, celebrated Hanukkah instead of Christmas, etc. They told Dennis about their religion.

This was all completely new information to me. What can I say? I lived in a small town in Kansas! (I also did not understand what a golf bag was, so the cover gag was a complete non sequitor to me at the time.)

By chance, I found a copy of this story in a comic book at an antique store in nearby Wells, ME. And here it is.

Related Links:

Fred Hembeck on Al Wiseman and Fred Toole

Bill Alger's Al Wiseman site


Hans Flagon said...

Its nice to see the "Whipped the Tar" idiom used. In our neck of the wood it was "Wail the Tar", and it was more Appalachian than Jewish.

You could not get away with printing that euphemism today, because it is too suggestive of the phrase it is meant to replace. But that is the point of euphmism, to present an acceptable alternative.

Mark Anderson said...

"Is your grampa a hippie?" LOL! Whata great find!

Benita said...

Oy vey!

Daryll Collins said...


You beat me to it! When I read that line I laughed out loud too!

Mike Lynch said...

I still cannot believe I can remember this little 5 page story so many years later, and was so surprised when I ran across it at that antique store last weekend.

Thanks for your comments.

Steven Rowe said...

i believe this art is by Frank Hill, who did a fair number of comics strips (as assistant, ghost, and on his own)

Fun Ideas said...

Yes, art by Frank Hill and script by Fred Toole.