Every so often useless information pops into my brain for no apparent reason. Usually I just dismiss it and go on with whatever I was doing. Which is usually nothing, because I lead a very dull life. But, once in a while, such as today, the name “Fearless Fosdick” popped into my cobweb infested thoughts, and I had to follow through on it.
Now I realize that many of you have no idea who the hell “Fearless Fosdick” is. So I’ll have to enlighten your little minds.
He was a comic strip character who appeared in Al Capp’s “Lil Abner” strip starting in 1942. He fought crime and corruption in a city similar to Chicago, lived in squalor at a dilapidated boarding house run by some weird landlady, “Mrs. Flintnose,” and never married his long-suffering fiancée “Prudence Pimpleton.” Guess he was too busy fighting crime and corruption. Lots of that stuff going around in those days.
Fosdick could never suffer any fatal wounds inflicted by the bad guys, which used to amaze the hell out of me when I read the strip as a mere innocent child. He would get shot, and this huge hole would appear in his mid section but he appeared to be perfectly intact otherwise. Which, I assume, would be a good thing if he ever needed a quick through the hole in your stomach colonoscopy or something to that effect. Beats going in the other way.
(For you fortunate individuals who have ever had the pleasure of having a colonoscopy or endoscopy procedure…..have you ever noticed that the long scary looking tube that resembles something you’d snake out your sink with is used for both procedures. Makes ya wonder doesn’t it.)
Fosdick was a very bad aim when it came to firing his weapon….a very big gun. As an example, in order to scare off a guy who’ selling balloons without a license, Fosdick would shoot three or four innocent housewives through the head, all in the line of duty. Capp played this up because he felt men enjoyed this type of humor, although it didn’t seem very amusing to housewives who read the strip. Capp’s wife may have killed him later on in life.
Also interesting was some of the characters in the strip. “Prudence Pimpleton,” Fosdick’s homely girlfriend, (formerly known as Bess Backache) which was a parody of Dick Tracy’s sweetheart, “Tess Trueheart.” Fosdick and Prudence were engaged for over 17 years. Most likely he didn’t marry her due to the fact that she was so homely. As a child, her mother had to tie a bone around her neck so that the dog would play with her.
(sorry…old joke I couldn’t resist)
Others in the strip were, “Mrs. Flintnose,” Fosdick’s hatchet-faced landlady. “Lester Gooch,” supposedly Fosdick’s cartoonist creator, which suspiciously resembled “Dick Tracy’s” creator Lester Gould. “Anyface,” a diabolical master of disguise. “The Chippendale Chair,” a murderously evil piece of furniture. “Benedict Arnold Fosdick,” Fosdick’s traitor ancestor. “Rattop,” a heinous villain, with a mouse head. And “Boldfinger,” disguised as master spy, “James Bumm.”
Now Fosdick was a man’s man type of guy. Sometimes he never wore a shirt and used to pin his badge to his bare chest. (ouch) He would get shot up by the bad guys almost every time but return back to the police station completely intact always reporting for duty the next day. When the Chief once said to him, “Fosdick, we thought you were dead!” Fosdick replied, “I was, but it didn’t prove fatal. Only a mild case.”
During its tenure, hundreds of innocent bystanders were shot down by Fosdick due to his bad aim. He regularly apprehended the wrong individuals, while real criminals went free. He would consistently bypass obvious felonies such as murders, bank robberies and assaults to shoot someone who walked on the grass or sold balloons without a license.
Kinda like today’s cops, sometimes……………given the choice to arrest me for not wearing my seatbelt vs chasing a bank robber, lest we get all outta breath and be unable to make it to the nearest donut shop. Completely understandable. I’d opt for the seatbelt arrest and donut shop in a heartbeat.
Fosdick also inspired an ad for “Wildroot Cream Oil,” a hair product. He was also the inspiration for Harvey Kurtzman’s “Mad Magazine.”
Some other facts: During the 1968 presidential campaign Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey accused his Republican opponent Richard Nixon of playing loose with law and order and said, “His (Nixon’s) privilege, if he wants to play Fearless Fosdick.”
Fearless Fosdick is also the title of a jazz instrumental by Bill Holman.
Fosdick’s oft-mentioned weekly salary of $22.50 is a direct reference to Al Capp’s own pitiful salary when he was still anonymous doing ghost work on another strip, “Joe Palooka.”
Harpo Marx, of the Marx Brothers, named one of his dogs “Fearless Fosdick.”
So there ya have if. Remembering Fearless Fosdick.
Um….no, there is no truth to the rumor that Antny Weiner has named his woody Fearless Fosdick. Although that might not be such a bad idea. Might rejuvenate the ol comic strip once again and at the same time give Antny a new way to strip……..comically.
Or….did he already do that?
UPDATE: Antny Weiner resigned this afternoon thereby ending the saga of “Weinergate” or “Battle of the Bulge.” He announced his resignation in a press conference in Brooklyn, N.Y. There was a heckler, or two in the crowd yelling, “pervert” and “how big is your wiener” but authorities couldn’t get Newt Gingrich to sit down and shut up.
(Fearless Fosdick source: Wikipedia)
(Offbeat comments…myself, including Weiner)
Copyright 2011 MisfitWisdom RLV