I was born in Philadelphia. Well, I wasn't exactly born, I was discovered
there by Benjamin Franklin (Oct. 5, 1922). I grew up in that city with a penn by
my side--William Penn! When asked who cracked the Liberty Bell I replied, "Not
me!"--my first association with that invisible gremlin who showed up in "The
Family Circus" many years later.
Taught myself to draw, so I can't blame anyone but me. Started cartooning in
high school which I attended when I grew too tall for low school. Spent 3 years
in the U.S. Army during World War
II, but we won anyway. While stationed in
Australia I met a cute koala bear named Thel Carne who was trying futilely to
throw away a boomerang. I, too, returned--5 years later and we were married in
Brisbane. In Roslyn, Pa. we started our real-life family
circus. They provided the inspiration for my cartoons; I provided the
I worked at the Phila. Bulletin for 15 years where I was a staff artist. I
drew staffs. I launched "Channel Chuckles" in 1954, a syndicated cartoon about
TV. The TV repairman
was at our house so much I thought he was part of the family. In fact, later I
named one of my cartoon characters after him: Barfy. I drew free-lance cartoons
for the major magazines and a Sunday comic for the Bulletin called "Silly
Philly." In 1959 I decided to work from my home and we moved the
whole family lock, stock and barrel to Arizona. We managed the lock and stock
okay, but had trouble with the barrel. We still live in the same house near
Phoenix and love the state. Even its canyons are grand.
"The Family Circus" bowed in 1960 and I've been going around in circles ever
since. It now appears in over 1500 newspapers whose editors have excellent
taste in comics. Readership polls place "The Family Circus" at the top regularly.
And it's a very nice view from atop a poll.
"Family Circus" has appeared on TV in holiday specials and has been published regularly by Fawcett Gold Medal Books in
paperback collections. There are over 14 million "Family Circus" books in print.
If you can't find a copy in your book store, come over to my house--I have 13 1/2
million of them.
In 1983 I was named cartoonist of the year by the National Cartoonist Society
and at the awards dinner I was given a sitting ovation. We now have nine grandchildren
who I like to follow around for grand ideas.
Thel is my editor and consultant. Youngest
son Jeff inks and colors the cartoons. The Syndicate does the
selling. Come to think of it, what do I do? I keep in shape (I'm not sure what
the shape is) by playing tennis and jogging.
If asked when I will retire I say "probably about 11 o'clock tonight. But,
hopefully, I'll be back at the ol' drawing board in the morning and happy to be
Love to All!